leafme
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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:08 am

walterbays wrote:
drees wrote:Well, it depends on how much more it costs to deliver electricity when the sun is shining compared to when it's not, right? Daytime electricity is generally much more expensive than off-peak electricity.
Yes, not only generation but also transmission capacity is more likely to be exhausted during heavy air conditioning loads of hot summer days. Here is a graph of renewable production on one summer day. http://content.caiso.com/green/renewrpt/20110822_DailyRenewablesWatch.pdf. Notice how nicely the wind and solar power curves complement one another. I think the reason you see solar production extending into evening hours is that much of the utility scale solar is thermal solar rather than PV, and continues to produce power until it cools. That's probably one reason utilities seem to prefer large desert solar plants over rooftop PV: the thermal storage smooths out the power production.

As far as distribution costs - distributed generation should reduce distribution costs by lowering loads on equipment. Electricity my PV system generates in excess goes straight to my neighbor - presumably the cost of distribution should be much lower when they are able to sell my excess electricity to my neighbor.
Tony is right there is no distribution cost because the distribution network is already built, and local generation reduces both distribution and transmission costs. Transmission costs aren't zero though, because we PV producers need to import power now and then, whether from desert solar plants, wind farms, nuclear reactors, or natural gas plants.

It's debatable whether money is better spent building distant power plants and transmission lines to connect them (e.g. Sunrise Powerlink) or building more local generating capacity. The optimal solution might include some of each. I only wish that utilities were given full renewable credit for locally generated power, so that the mix they choose as optimal for their shareholders would also be optimal for society.

In The Third Industrial Revolution, Jeremy Rifkin argues that distributed power generation will transform the world economy to the same degree as previous revolutions. http://www.amazon.com/Third-Industrial-Revolution-Lateral-Transforming/dp/0230115217/ref=wl_it_dp_o_npd?ie=UTF8&coliid=I13ERE7KJWJQY3&colid=DCG7YHFGBHDZ. However I doubt that local power generation will spell the end of utilities. Rather I think they will be the power brokers, the suppliers of a still very significant portion of total power, and the power reliability insurers.

Don't forget, the cost of capital recovery (for distribution and transmission facilities) is done over time. Facilities installed (for the sake of discussion here) over the last couple of years, still have 28-38 years left to fully be recovered in rates. To say, "...there is no distribution cost because the distribution network is already built..." is not correct. The owners of the utility (the shareholders) put the money up to pay for the facilities when they are installed. The recovery of that capital outlay plus a return on that investment is done over the life of the facilities (30-40 yrs or so). For facilities older than this period the cost has likely already been recovered but there are a LOT of facilities not yet 30-40 years old and therefore not yet recovered. Up to now we residential customers paid for the demand charge as a function of energy use. Appropriately, it should be separate but before the advent of the smart meter it was not cost effective to give every residence a commercial TOU meter to split out the two. The demand has a value (cost of facilities) and the energy has a separate value (cost of energy) hence the appropriateness of selling both as individual products. With the advent of the smart meter this can now be easily done. Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of PV as it was the primary reason I went to electrical engineering school in 1980. Personally I want as free a lunch as the next guy but why should I pay for the capital recovery for facilities that my neighbor uses? With PV on my roof, if I am unhappy with paying for the "stand-by" or "demand" charges to my electricity provider I can always leave the grid and do the entire energy thing myself. We all have that option.

Malcolm :geek:

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walterbays
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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:38 am

leafme wrote:Don't forget, the cost of capital recovery (for distribution and transmission facilities) is done over time. Facilities installed (for the sake of discussion here) over the last couple of years, still have 28-38 years left to fully be recovered in rates.
Good point. I do not think PV customers like myself should be subsidized by other customers. The right formula is devilishly complicated to figure out. I'm just not convinced that SDG&E's proposal gets it right, because the regulatory environment gives them all sorts of perverse incentives that are against the public interest - such as counting a MW of desert solar 100% towards their renewable target while couting a MW of rooftop solar 0% towards that target. Not to mention the way generation and transmission assets were split and accounted separately. It looks to me like the current proposal if accepted by PUC would result in a near total freeze on rooftop solar. To me the right fix for California is not to accept whatever the utilities want, nor to beat them up as bad corporate citizens, but to set their regulatory incentives in accord with the outcomes we want as a state.
With PV on my roof, if I am unhappy with paying for the "stand-by" or "demand" charges to my electricity provider I can always leave the grid and do the entire energy thing myself. We all have that option.
I wonder if an unintended consequence of the new solar rates might be many homeowners installing small battery storage systems. Huge battery systems sufficient to carry you through a week of cloudy days are terribly expensive. But a much smaller battery would absorb your entire afternoon peak production on a single day, and feed it back into the house after sunset. So a net-zero house would in fact send no energy onto the grid during the day, would draw much less from the grid at night, would pay virtually none of the new transmission fees, and would still get all the benefit of the grid for atypical power needs. I don't know if this is technically or economically feasible, but I'm checking into it just in case PUC accepts the solar rate proposal unchanged.

solartim
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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:46 am

If you're connected to the grid, you pay the transmission fee. Doesn't matter if you're not transmitting.

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TonyWilliams
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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:29 am

My current thought is to add more solar (currently at 8kW DC/6.7kW AC), some battery storage (probably something that can double as a range extender for the LEAF), inverter, and disconnect from the electric grid.

I would keep Natural Gas from SDGE, to power a backup generator, and also use a compressed NG storage tank for the eventual earthquake that disables gas/electricity for weeks/months.

Part energy independence, part survival, part applicable to other applications (generator can go on camping trips, etc).

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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:40 am

I've been thinking along those lines as well -- except a more permanent NG generator.
A slab-mounted full duty box, with a transfer switch and all that. They're not crazy expensive.. $5k or so.

I haven't worked the math yet, but generating night electricity from NG is probably cheaper than maintaining a large battery bank.

Just enough batteries to get through short-term cloud cover and soak up the overage in the afternoon, then in the evening switch to NG generation.

Financially, even the ridiculous proposed costs are still less than all this. :(

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TonyWilliams
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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:48 am

GroundLoop wrote:Financially, even the ridiculous proposed costs are still less than all this. :(


Well, they started at $1100/year, or $33,000 over 30 years in fees AFTER I bought my $43,000 system. Of course, they quickly lowered that number, but as we all know, that is just to get the fee approved by CPUC, and then they just ask for more money in the near future.

So, I don't mind spending $10,000-$15,000 on a few more PV panels, genset, natural gas pressure tank and compressor, batteries, and inverter that SDGE won't get from me.

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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:55 am

TonyWilliams wrote:
GroundLoop wrote:Financially, even the ridiculous proposed costs are still less than all this. :(


Well, they started at $1100/year, or $33,000 over 30 years in fees AFTER I bought my $43,000 system. Of course, they quickly lowered that number, but as we all know, that is just to get the fee approved by CPUC, and then they just ask for more money in the near future.

So, I don't mind spending $10,000-$15,000 on a few more PV panels, genset, natural gas pressure tank and compressor, batteries, and inverter that SDGE won't get from me.


Have you looked at natural gas fuel cells?
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TonyWilliams
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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:56 am

jcesare wrote:Have you looked at natural gas fuel cells?


No, what's the advantage over a conventional genset burning CNG ?

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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:59 am

TonyWilliams wrote:
jcesare wrote:Have you looked at natural gas fuel cells?


No, what's the advantage over a conventional genset burning CNG ?


No CO2. Not sure about the economics. I was just asking if you had researched it.
http://www.fuelcellresidential.com/index.php
Last edited by jcesare on Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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GroundLoop
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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:05 am

Installation in a newly constructed home can run between $3,000 and $4,000, on top of the $50,000 for the system. In an existing home, installation can add $12,000 to $25,000 to the total bill. Costs escalate depending on how far the system is from your electrical panel and boiler, and how much wiring and plumbing is involved.

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/s ... z1d2mfvaBg


Compare to:

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Briggs & Stratton 40243 10,000 Watt EmPower Natural Gas/Liquid Propane Powered Air Cooled Home Standby Generator (CARB Compliant)
by Briggs & Stratton
Price: $2,299.99 Eligible for free shipping with Amazon Prime.

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