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  • In Summary, The Tesla Model S Is A Dirty Car [View article]
    David, carbonkev,

    It does make sense that if a multi-year contract was negotiated last year it would have been far (FAR) lower than current average prices. The glut last year was such that in many cases they were giving away the natural gas at cost and only (barely) profiting from the condensate.

    But those multi-year contracts will be renegotiated, and it's very doubtful the natural gas market will face that kind of glut again. The glut was caused by severe over-production during the time when the wellhead price was over $8/mcf... and the companies were flush with cash and careless, so they didn't respond nearly fast enough. They've over-corrected now, and are emptying out their excess inventory wells... but it's highly doubtful that they'll let the wellhead price dip below $3.50/mcf again, and they are targetting at least $4.50... so prices like those negotiated last year have come and gone, and are likely never to return.
    May 29, 2013. 11:43 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In Summary, The Tesla Model S Is A Dirty Car [View article]
    Weaponzero, Froggey,

    It's clear that one of you is actually looking at that data, while the other is not.

    This should help make it more clear:

    You can see that the first three months of 2012 saw 275 TWh of generation from NG, and the first three months of 2013 saw 253 TWh of generation from NG. For those having trouble remembering grade-school math: 275>253.

    The same data shows the first 3 months of 2012 saw 349 TWh of generation from coal, and the first 3 months of 2013 saw 393 TWh of coal. Again, for those having problems: 349<393.

    Is everyone up to speed now?

    If anyone thinks this is a fluke. Please message me directly, and we can have a bet: By the end of 2013, I'll be happy to pay you one dollar for every TWh of generation from NG that exceeds the total generation from coal... and you can pay me one dollar for every TWh of generation from coal that exceeds the total generation from NG.

    Thanks for being logical Froggey. It's good to have an ally in this thread.
    May 28, 2013. 09:23 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In Summary, The Tesla Model S Is A Dirty Car [View article]

    I have stated that NG averages 40% efficiency, and that peakers overall average lower than that. The Calpine peaker that you highlit apparently has a 46% efficiency. That's well within the plausible range (obviously), but I wasn't trying to pin down exactly which plants would be utilized... only a basic cost comparison using two example situations.

    CCGT's have significantly higher efficiencies, though they are far less common, and tend to be used more as baseload because cycling them ruins their efficiency.

    I just used 50% as an example, assuming a night-time charging scenario would have mostly either CCGT power or coal.

    You are correct on transmission losses. That was stupid on my part, and thanks for correcting my logic. I had been discussing environmental impact, then when I switched to LMP's I just kept adding in the loss factor by rote.

    As for the price of NG. I don't know individual prices that have been negotiated by any specific plant, but I know that as of Feb, 2013, the national average contract for a power plant was $4.59/mcf.
    The price of NG traded through the Henry Hub has increased by nearly $1.00/mcf since that time.

    Thanks for joining the discussion. It's nice to engage people who look up numbers and have specific questions or issues with my posts.
    May 28, 2013. 09:05 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In Summary, The Tesla Model S Is A Dirty Car [View article]

    The switch to NG is based on fit... That's the problem.

    Baseload plants cannot cycle, so if the demand load fluctuates quickly from one 5-minute block to the next, so that spinning reserves cannot compensate, but you must actually ramp or tamp the boiler... then NG beats the crap out of coal in terms of price.

    There are many instances where it is more economical to over-ramp the peakers instead of ramping up the CCGT's, even though the CCGT's get ~20% higher efficiency, just because blowing the efficiency of the CCGT by rapidly cycling the boiler can be more costly than just using the higher-priced provider. That's true by dozensfold when considering coal vs NG.

    The reason that I detest EV's so much is their demand load is a good fit for baseload. They essentially promise to fill the gap and make it easier for coal to continue to compete. Without EV's coal was in the process of phasing out in favor of NG; but if EV's actually succeed (still doubtful), then you breathe new life into the coal industry for the next 30 years.
    May 27, 2013. 12:29 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In Summary, The Tesla Model S Is A Dirty Car [View article]

    Here you are wrong.

    I've been to dozens of conferences devoted to this subject, and had literally thousands of conversations on the topic of greening the grid.

    Long before Tesla was even considered we saw wind power average 33% annual growth rates for over a decade, we saw new regulations forcing coal power to clean their smokestacks, we saw PTC and green-tags force more power onto the grid across America, we saw nationwide efforts to improve insulation and move towards efficient lighting, and we were seeing coal power plants close down because the economics wasn't working out for them as electronics closed the "vampire power" loads.

    The EV was the shot-in-the-arm that baseload power plants have dreamed of for a decade. This is the lifeline that could - if it succeeds - keep thousands of coal plants from bankruptcy.
    May 25, 2013. 03:39 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is The Tesla Model S Green? [View article]

    The oil spills would then have to be balanced by considering mountaintop removal, and all of the harmful emissions associated with coal power (SOx, NOx, Hg, Cd, Pb, halides, PAH's, radioactive isotopes, etc...).


    The traffic issue is a non-starter. Far more traffic issues would be caused by EV's given free license to travel in the HOV lanes than are caused by petroproduct distribution... and no-one cares about traffic in the middle of the ocean (or through a pipeline).

    The noise is an interesting angle for this discussion... but I doubt there's more merit here than there is in the noise-from-windfarm complaints (no merit). I'll admit to having no facts to back up that assumption, but that's my assumption.
    May 25, 2013. 12:08 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In Summary, The Tesla Model S Is A Dirty Car [View article]

    Again, we're talking about fossil fuels here - as that is the only spare capacity... so Froggey wasn't considering things like nuclear reactors (13% efficient) or solar panels (often ~20% efficient), nor was he including hydropower dams (~90% efficient).

    The nationwide average efficiency for coal power is ~31%, with the best plants getting ~40%. The nationwide average efficiency for NG is ~40%, with the best plants achieving ~55% (yes I know the best CCGT - from Siemens - achieves 61% peak efficiency. I also know that in practice no actual plant achieves peak efficiency). The average line losses to get electricity from source to home is ~6.5%. The charging loss for an EV is between 8% and 20%.

    So, if you assume coal, the average case would yield 29.0% net efficiency, and the best possible case would yield 37.4%.

    If you assume NG, the average case would be 37.4%, while the best possible case would increase to 51.4%.

    Note the average case for coal (which is consistant with most EV users' experience) is in line with Froggey's claim.

    Of course, these numbers do not include the losses from the driving experience. However, while the estimate of the efficiency of oil refining includes exploration, drilling pumping, piping, filtering, refining, isomerizing, blending, and distributing... The estimates for coal power here do not include mountaintop removal, collecting, distributing, and pulverizing. Nor do the efficiency estimates for NG include exploration, drilling, fracking, pumping, scrubbing, gas/liquid separations, and piping losses.

    So you are right to call out Froggey's numbers, even though they are defensible in a certain light... they are probably overstating the efficiency by 20% for NG and 30% for coal.
    May 25, 2013. 08:03 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In Summary, The Tesla Model S Is A Dirty Car [View article]

    Your rates are impacted by federal tax credits (PTC would pay solarcity 1/3rd of their install cost, lowering their LCOE considerably), and then further impacted by California subsidies, then further still impacted by PG&E subsidies that they are paying to avoid RPS fines.

    The LCOE doesn't change, it's just hidden by several layers of government intervention in the market. Note I don't disagree with said government intervention (other than wishing it was more efficiently structured).
    May 24, 2013. 09:55 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In Summary, The Tesla Model S Is A Dirty Car [View article]

    I'm trying to understand what you have a problem with.
    That year-old press release was reporting a very critical point in California's renewable energy story... That was the point where the state gave up trying to police other states, meaning that their imports could be as clean or dirty as the power companies in other states wished. So it became a question of economics rather than source priority.

    The marginal cost of energy from a baseload coal plant is lower than the marginal cost of energy from an NG CCGT and much lower than the marginal cost of energy from a peaker.
    I don't even know where to look for that, as it's so well known it doesn't often get spelled out in any specific report.

    As far as the system response to increased demand, even if 100% of it were to come from natural gas - which is not the case whether you accept that or not - the Tesla S would still be more dirty than many vehicles on the road. The amount of pollution per mile would be slightly less than the Prius only if you didn't also include the embodied emissions, and the emissions resulting from the battery maintenance systems while the car is parked. Including those, the Tesla would be far more dirty than many luxury hybrids even if you did assume 100% NG charging (which I maintain is absurd).

    You are, of course, welcome to believe what you want.
    May 24, 2013. 09:06 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • In Summary, The Tesla Model S Is A Dirty Car [View article]

    "Where we're headed" is a meaningless concept unless you factor in the expected length of time it will take for us to get there.

    The actual amount of time needed is measured in decades. Any EV purchased today will be in the junkyard before the grid gets clean enough to justify an EV.
    May 23, 2013. 08:38 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In Summary, The Tesla Model S Is A Dirty Car [View article]

    Of course I have no interest in a true discussion... I've commented dozens of times in this thread, offering a clear knowledge base and specific examples when called upon.

    You've simply come in and sniped at me, then left with a "you're wrong, so there" statement.


    So let's see what the actual DATA says, yes? I don't think it's likely that anyone will find a solar installation who's total cost is less than $3/W unless they do the labor themselves. So let's take that as a base assumption:
    $3/W cost, 0.8%/year performance degradation, 21% capacity factor (sunny region), 15-year longevity on the inverter (first major component to fail), and 5% discount rate.
    LCOE: $163.60/MWh.

    New SCPC coal:
    $2/W, 60-year longevity, 7% discount rate, 38% efficiency, $50/ton fuel costs, $4/MWh O&M/emissions control costs, 60% capacity factor.
    LCOE: $49.56/MWh

    Old sub-critical coal:
    $0/W, 30% efficiency, $50/ton fuel costs, $6/MWh O&M/emissions control costs:
    LCOE: $30.00/MWh

    $30.00/MWh is indeed less than 1/5th $163.60/MWh. Though you would be right if you were referring to new coal plants - which aren't being built due to regulation hurdles.
    May 22, 2013. 04:09 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In Summary, The Tesla Model S Is A Dirty Car [View article]

    If the word "engineer" impresses you, I can certainly change my profile. I've worked as an engineer in the past.

    I don't really care about claims to authority here. I have the authority of the little boy yelling that the emperor has no clothes: the truth. That trumps any actual work experience I could attempt to claim or cling to.

    As for why they want middle-of-the-night demand load, that's pretty well covered: They currently have to tamp down baseload power at night, yielding ruinous economic returns for baseload power operations. Some of the worst-performing baseload power plants have had to shut down, and more may have to over the next decade if there's not a significant change in the demand load curve.

    I didn't need to spend $100,000 on a car that I don't want in order to figure that out. I was able to discover that while owning my $15,000 2005 Nissan Sentra... It seems as though - if the purpose of choosing a car was to discover that particular information - you paid $85,000 more than you had to.

    emphasis not needed.
    May 22, 2013. 12:21 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • In Summary, The Tesla Model S Is A Dirty Car [View article]

    So I'm "impressed with my knowledge", which I have earned by doing many years of focused study... while you seem to think that is a bad thing and are more impressed by others "lack of knowledge" from which they dream big things that have very little likelihood due to their incorrect understanding.

    I'm confused as to who you are attacking here.

    Oh, and for the record, solar power has a levelized-cost-of-energy (LCOE) of roughly 5 times that of coal in regions of high sun. I'm pretty certain that lack of storage is not the largest issue, though it is in the top three. But I guess I'm just exhibiting knowledge again... while you have DREAMS, which are somehow bigger than knowledge!
    May 22, 2013. 09:19 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • In Summary, The Tesla Model S Is A Dirty Car [View article]
    May 22, 2013. 09:14 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In Summary, The Tesla Model S Is A Dirty Car [View article]

    There is no such thing, in America, as a pure NG-charged EV. Furthermore, the original discussion that we had specified that the EV must have high-efficiency NG, most of which coming from a CCGT.

    If you overnight charge an EV on today's grid, there will be a substantial portion of the charge coming from coal. If you use a daytime fast-charger, then it will be NG peaker - sourced.
    May 22, 2013. 09:06 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment