coal vs wind

Re: coal vs wind

PostBy: ceccil On: Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:05 am

jpete wrote:How the hell does a windmill foundation affect well water?


I was thinking the same think. I guess if it were on the right spot it could close of an underground feeder for the well? Just guessing here!!
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Re: coal vs wind

PostBy: jpete On: Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:05 am

wsherrick wrote:Yes, let's go back to the 1300's with windmills. I have another idea, we can train horses to walk on a treadmill to pump water or work a bellows in the 21st Century Blacksmith shop.
It wasn't until man discovered coal and learned how to make wheels turn with steam that the world advanced from a dark, brutal place where hunger was common place and death at an early age was the norm. The modern world we have enjoyed since the 1880's or so up till now is based on the the abundance of economically produced energy be it from coal, gas or oil. The abundance of these fuels have brought untold blessing to mankind. To remove them with the thought of replacing them with absurd ideas like windmills or solar panels is a ridiculous premise.


Were those wind mills producing electricity? No? Kind of an apples and oranges argument don't you think?

How can solar and wind power be more expensive if the fuel is free? Is your coal free? Do you pay for gas in your car?

This is one more place where government is putting it's thumb on the scale. Give equal tax breaks to alternative energy and I guarantee the prices will at least equivalent.
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Re: coal vs wind

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:43 am

jpete wrote:
This is one more place where government is putting it's thumb on the scale. Give equal tax breaks to alternative energy and I guarantee the prices will at least equivalent.


Are you kidding me? In 2007 the subsidies for renewables were on par with those for fossil fuels BUT, and this is a big but, production by fossil fuels is so much greater the subsidy per unit is very small. For example coal got 44 cents per megawatt of generation, wind and solar were more in the $24 dollar per megawatt range. Subsidies to the petroleum industry comes out to fractions of penny per gallon compared to 50 cents to more than dollar for ethanol depending on how you want to calculate it. The amounts renewables have received has increased tremendously since then, I think ethanol alone gets 5 or 6 billion which is probably more than all fossil fuels combined.

None of the wind or solar projects would get off the ground without heavy involvement at the federal, state and even local level. The only thing keeping them even remotely competitive is the subsidies.

You can make electric with coal for something like 5 cents per kWh wholesale, in comparison the wind farm they plan to build off the coast in Massachusetts has a contract for 22 cents per kWh with a 3.5% increase per year over 15 years that will make it more than 32 cents n 15 years. This is the cost AFTER the subsidies.
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Re: coal vs wind

PostBy: Berlin On: Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:27 am

Jpete you're WAY off on this one. Wind and solar are HEAVILY subsidized and still barely stand a chance against coal and even gas fired generation. The cost of the fuel is insignificant compared to the cost to bring a big powerstation online. It's all about your economy of scale and known sustained power output for known income and ROI. for example: a 4 BILLION dollar powerplant.
http://www.prairiestateenergycampus.com/pages.asp?pagemainlevel=6&pageid=140
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.


I toured this site shortly after they broke ground and the influx of machinery and men from all over the world with various areas of technical expertise was impressive, they were brought together to make this happen. In fact, they had a number of problems finding enough highly skilled labor because of all the other coal-fired power plant construction going on at the same time. In addition they had problems intially sourcing the boiler, but it's since been sorted out and it will be completed shortly. Since 2007 we've had the biggest boom in coal-fired power plant construction since the 1970's.

chart of cost per MMBtu fossil fuels: http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/figes5.html
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Re: coal vs wind

PostBy: jpete On: Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:56 am

Berlin wrote: The cost of the fuel is insignificant compared to the cost to bring a big powerstation online.


So why does my fuel price skyrocket when some M.E. D-bag farts?

And the fact that the price of wind power goes up of the course of the contract is crap. That's someone cooking the books. There's no way the costs go up.

When the oil industry is allowed to write off exploration costs, sometimes up to 125% means oil and gas are WAY more subsidized than "pennies per gallon". Exploration is the most expensive part of the job. If you drill a dry hole, you're screwed. Yet the company just passes those losses to the consumer through their taxes.

The labor costs between a giant wind farm and a traditional power plant don't compare. Maintenance costs are less. Everything about solar and wind, especially wind, are less.

The only advantage traditional power has is that it's already in place. It always costs more to startup than to maintain. But take away all the subsidies from both industries and I believe, the alternatives are price competitive.
Last edited by jpete on Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: coal vs wind

PostBy: cokehead On: Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:21 am

If wind power was economical then it wouldn't be necessary for the government to use money, borrowed in our name, to make it happen.

http://www.popsci.com/technology/articl ... made-china

Importing the turbines just adds insult to injury.

Very little electricity is generated with oil.

http://www.electricityforum.com/images/ ... graph1.gif
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Re: coal vs wind

PostBy: jpete On: Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:29 am

They borrow money in our name to support oil and gas? Does that mean they aren't economical?
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Re: coal vs wind

PostBy: cokehead On: Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:55 am

It is getting off topic and I did initiate the thought (borrowed money) but when it comes to subsidies I think they should all end along with many other government programs so we can live within our means and not need to borrow money. Green energy programs are just one more thing the government is spending on that we really cannot afford. It's so far out of whack at this point we can't recover without major financial pain and maybe worst. If wind mills could stand on their own two feet financially I'd be all for them, but they can't.
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Re: coal vs wind

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:06 am

jpete wrote:
So why does my fuel price skyrocket when some M.E. D-bag farts?


My understanding jpete is the oil supply lines are thin, there is not a whole lot extra in the "pipeline". When a country like Libya stops producing while it might only be 2% of the worlds supply that 2% is hard to make up elsewhere.

And the fact that the price of wind power goes up of the course of the contract is crap. That's someone cooking the books. There's no way the costs go up.


Certainly possible they might be taking advantage of the situation but that is the result of mandates that distributors have X amount of renewable energy. The distributor has no choice, they have to buy it or face penalties. I don't know if you read the topic but check it out, note the underlined:
Solar quote

$65,000 installation with 5 yr. warranty of system malfunction (but not hail damage, etc.)
$12,000 credits within 6 months of install from state.
$19,500 Fed. tax credit which I can use over 15 years (it rolls over).

Then, based upon current markets and billing patterns the projections are (not guaranteed):

Save $200 month on Peco bill= $2400 a year
Earn $4000 a year in renewable energy credits sold like commodities on exchanges.

If all this math holds true I would have a 6 year payback on the install, which is pretty good


That's a green credit, if your power company is under mandate to distribute X amount of renewable energy and they can't meet those goals they either have to buy these credits or pay a penalty. You the consumer who does not have solar power pays this fee.



When the oil industry is allowed to write off exploration costs, sometimes up to 125% means oil and gas are WAY more subsidized than "pennies per gallon".


I'm basing these numbers on EIA figures, what are you basing yours on?
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Re: coal vs wind

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:17 am

cokehead wrote:It is getting off topic and I did initiate the thought (borrowed money) but when it comes to subsidies I think they should all end



I'd agree but Instead I suggest we drop all business taxes and move them to national sales tax so the true tax on something is exposed to the consumer. These companies just pass this tax in the cost of their product.
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Re: coal vs wind

PostBy: wsherrick On: Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:33 am

Green energy means little or no energy. Read about Spain and England's grand windmill projects. Find out just how reliable and productive wind and solar farms are in the real world. It is not cost effective and it does not do what you want and that is to produce power with any kind of reliability or amount that is practical. If these methods were adopted in a large scale, say good bye affordable or available electricity. Power would be rationed and all the creature comforts that make your life so easy would be limited in their use or no longer available for the ordinary consumer. I don't think your wife wants to wash clothes in a tub with a rub board and take the whole day to do it. I remember wash days like that when I was a child. Simple chores once took lots of time and labor. That's why rich people had servants and others had large families.
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Re: coal vs wind

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:51 am

wsherrick wrote: Read about Spain and England's grand windmill projects.


Denmark has the highest percentage of electricity generated by wind mills in the world. They are also the largest manufacturer of windmills in the world... and <drum roll> also have the highest electric rates in the western world. About 43 cents kWh.

If you look at Germany they too have very high rates and are heavily into renewable production.

Spain has relatively low rates but that is only becsue the Spanish government has allowed the state owned power companies to amass huge deficits brought on by..... you guessed it, subsidies for renewables.
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Re: coal vs wind

PostBy: jpete On: Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:14 pm

Richard S. wrote:I'm basing these numbers on EIA figures, what are you basing yours on?


I'm basing it on the fact that if the government told me the sky was blue and the grass was green, I'd run to a window to check.

Let's strip out all the BS and the government manipulation and look at the costs.

What's the construction costs of a coal or NG power plant vs wind or solar. What are the upkeep costs, what are the labor costs? We already know that the sun and wind are free fuel so no matter what the cost of coal and NG, they are more than alternatives.

The numbers just don't add up. Coal and NG have to be more expensive. The only way they are "affordable", is they get government subsidies.

Quote prices in other countries doesn't reflect taxes ans such. Sure, I pay 14 cents/Kwh but that doesn't include every tax and fee I pay. I'll have to do a basic cost/Kwh and see what my electric really costs me.
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Re: coal vs wind

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:09 pm

jpete wrote:The numbers just don't add up. Coal and NG have to be more expensive. The only way they are "affordable", is they get government subsidies.


You keep saying this but where are these mystery subsidies documented? FYI just to give you a little more insight the federal subsidies for coal mostly go to R&D, it's the one energy sector where the subsidies are not being used to prop up production.

The only place you'll find information to support your argument is here:
http://www.eli.org/index.cfm
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.


This is a bias organization, for example coal companies can write off the costs associated with the black lung benefit. This is a subsidy to them. :roll:
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Re: coal vs wind

PostBy: jpete On: Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:31 pm

Richard S. wrote: This is a subsidy to them. :roll:


Does it come out of their profits or is the government giving it back to them at tax time? If it's a right off, it's a subsidy in my book.

http://www.usoilandgas.net/facts_qa.htm

Q. Are there any tax advantages in participating in an oil/gas project?
A. There are many tax advantages to interest holders involved in oil/gas exploration. First, hit or miss, the drilling portion of the participation opportunity is a complete write-off. If oil is discovered, the completion portion can also be written off. Secondly, there is a depletion allowance on all oil produced. This means that part of the oil revenue is free of tax.


Exploration is the largest cost to finding new oil. Refineries for the most part are fixed costs. Once the facility is built, the only cost is operation. But the cost of prospecting is huge. And drilling a dry hole is a lot of wasted money.

Unless of course, you can get the taxpayers to foot the bill. And in some cases, drilling a dry hole is profitable because the costs are 125% deductible. So they can make a quarter more than they invest in drilling a hole.

If a windfarm is built and the wind stops blowing, can I deduct my losses every day the wind doesn't blow?
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