Tag Archives: distributed solar

Solar power will win like the Internet did

Remember BITNET, FidoNet, or UUCP? Nope, the Internet overtook all of those. And in 20 years that’s how young people will remember coal and natural gas plants, although the waste-disposal costs of nukes will be with us for ten thousand years. Solar power is going to overtake all other power sources within a decade. Here’s why I think that.

Jerry Grillo quoted me in Georgia Trend July 2013, Sun Dancing: As Georgia’s solar capacity shoots skyward, a new state utility is proposed,

“Solar power is the fastest-growing industry in the world, and it’s growing along in the same way the Internet did,” says John S. Quarterman, a Harvard-educated author and Internet pioneer who launched the first commercial online newsletter, among other things, and who lives in rural Lowndes County.

“Think back 20 years to 1993. How many people had heard of the Internet? And look at how far we’ve come. What I’m seeing with solar energy is the same kind of exponential growth. It’s clean energy that works, and it generates jobs.”

Here are 1992 ten-year graphs of Internet growth from that newsletter, Matrix News, using Continue reading

Bubba McDonald’s solar evangelism

I’ve thanked Bubba McDonald for being serious about solar. However, 500 MW by Georgia Power in several years is nowhere near enough, when New Jersey has 1,000 MW already installed. What we need in south Georgia is distributed solar power for local jobs and direct reduction of electricity bills. Making a solar monopoly as in HB 657 wouldn’t solve that problem; it would actually hinder a real distributed solution. Instead we need to reform that antique 1973 Territorial Electric Service Act to enable financing for distributed solar.

Jim Galloway wrote for the AJC yesterday, GOP revolutionaries push Georgia Power to embrace solar energy,

Lauren “Bubba” McDonald Jr. has spent more than four decades in and around the state Capitol. That fact alone should automatically disqualify him as a rabid revolutionary.

And yet here he is, attempting to force real, radical change upon one of this state’s most staid and revered institutions. McDonald is the leader of a new and very Republican effort to require that Georgia Power give solar energy a chance.

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No San Onofre nuke startup decision until June at least –NRC Chair

Two more victories for anti-nuke activists: San Onofre restart decision pushed back at least until June, and webcasts of California Public Utilities Commission hearings going on right now.

Abby Sewell reported for the L.A. Times yesterday, Decision on San Onofre pushed back to June at the earliest,

The plant’s operator Southern California Edison had hoped at one point to have one of the plant’s two units operating by summer, but NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane made it clear that will not happen.

Macfarlane told reporters Tuesday after a speech, “You know, the process is very complicated now. Almost every day it gets a little more complicated…. Right now I can tell you a decision on restart won’t happen until the end of June, certainly after the middle of June.

“It may get pushed back later,” she said. “I don’t know.”

She didn’t say much about the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) decision to require NRC public hearings before any decision on restarting San Onofre, but she did say this:

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NRC tries to ignore hearing requirement for San Onofre nuke restart

Maybe the ASLB was referring to some other NRC that should hold public hearings? The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) agreed with Friends of the Earth (FOE) when it ruled that restarting either San Onofre unit requires a full public hearing like a trial, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) interprets that as having nothing to do with its own staff decision process. This is after the city of Los Angeles (and numerous other southern California cities and the San Diego Unified School District) said it didn’t want any decision about restarting any San Onofre reactor/ without a full, transparent, public decision process. The L.A. Times says all this is creating “confusion”. Just last week I heard Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers say confusion was bad for business. Maybe it will be bad not just for Southern California Edison and its San Onofre nukes, but also for Georgia Power and Southern Company’s 19-month-late and billion-over-budget nuclear boondoggle at Plant Vogtle.

Abby Sewell wrote for the L.A. Times yesterday 7:24 PM, San Onofre ruling creates confusion,

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Electric utiltiies know about Moore’s Law for solar power

And they know compound annual growth, even at a low 22% rate, is going to cause them a heap of trouble.

More from the Edison Electric Institute January 2013 report, Disruptive Challenges: Financial Implications and Strategic Responses to a Changing Retail Electric Business,

The decline in the price of PV panels from $3.80/watt in 2008 to $0.86/watt in mid-20121. While some will question the sustainability of cost-curve trends experienced, it is expected that PV panel costs will not increase (or not increase meaningfully) even as the current supply glut is resolved. As a result, the all-in cost of PV solar installation approximates $5/watt, with expectations of the cost declining further as scale is realized;

Sure, costs won’t continue to drop forever, but Continue reading