Tag Archives: Water

U.S. electric power source projections: solar still most by 2023

According to FERC’s own figures from 2012 and 2016, my solar projections from 2013 (and former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff’s) were pretty good, and more U.S. electricity will still come from solar power by 2023. LAKE Solar Table 2017 Since coal and nuclear are already crashing, and natural gas isn’t increasing even as fast as formerly projected, solar could win even faster.

I constructed table below from the 2012 and 2016 summaries of total U.S. electric power generation from all sources, by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Look at the 2012 column: only coal and natural gas generated more than 25% of total U.S. electricity.

But in 2016 it’s only natural gas, because coal’s growth rate actually turned negative: utilities are shutting down coal plants, not building them. Back in 2013 I did not predict that to happen so quickly.

Now look at the growth rates, both my 2013 projections (see also the graph on the right) and my corrected 2017 projections. Only wind (and waste heat) is higher than 5%, plus solar alone at more than 50% new installed capacity per year. According to FERC’s 2016 figures (the “actual:” numbers in the 2016 columns), my 2013 solar projection was a little high by deployed utility-scale solar power, but was actually low as a proportion in 2016, because coal and nuclear are already crashing. Sure, one new nuclear power plant opened in 2016, but more than one closed.

And remember, utility-scale solar power, which is all FERC records in its Energy Infrastructure Updates, isn’t the whole story. FERC recorded 7.748 GW of new solar power in 2016, but SEIA added in rooftop and community solar power for a total of 14.6 GW of new solar power in 2016.

You don’t see rooftop coal, or nuclear, or natural gas. You don’t any of those installed in 9-month or less timeframes, as for solar power: they all require multi-year permitting processes because they’re so environmentally destructive. So it’s very unlikely there are any significant additions to coal, nuclear, or natural gas U.S. energy generation beyond what FERC reported.

Solar power has what we could call the personal computer or mobile phone advantage: anybody can own one. Practically by definition, you’ll never see that advantage for utility-scale power generation.

Looking that the 2021 and 2023 projections in the table, of course they’re naive projections, simply taking the old 2013 rate and the new 2017 corrected rate and projecting them forward. The 2013 rate I made by comparing FERC’s 2012 total figures to previous years. The 2017 rate I made by comparing FERC’s 2016 total figures to its 2012 total figures.

By 2021 coal won’t even account for 25% of U.S. electricity generation, and it didn’t even in FERC’s actual 2016 figures. In 2021 natural gas will account for a higher proportion because of coal’s capitulation, even though it’s actually growing slower than my 2013 projection.

Also in 2021, solar and wind will both be greater than 10% of U.S. generation, although wind will not yet reach that by the corrected projection. Since in 2016 according to SEIA solar actually beat wind for new installed capacity, I wonder if wind is already having trouble competing with solar power.

In 2023, by either my old or new projections, solar power will generate more U.S. electricity than anything else. Wind doesn’t grow nearly as fast by the corrected 2017 factor. Maybe 2016 was a glitch for wind, or maybe there’s something deeper going on.

For how naive these projections are, look at the Total row. U.S. electricty demand is unlikely to increase by 20% by 2021 (only four years from now) and it’s even less likely to increase by 52% by 2023 (only seven years from now). What that actually probably means is that coal and nuclear will crash faster and natural gas will follow them down, leaving solar and wind power as the main sources of U.S. electricity.

These projections and this table are just to illustrate some basic points. Other people are doing much more sophisticated projections, such as Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson and his research team, which graphically show fossil fuels and nuclear crashing while solar and wind win.

Goldman Sachs already called this a year ago, and many other big financial institutions predicted even earlier that solar and wind will win. This economic sea change is driven by solar prices dropping faster than Moore’s Law, which is accelerated by economies of scale as solar deployment increases. Economics are driving politics. Even Georgia in 2015 revised its antique law so third party power-purchase-agreements are now possible, and Georgia has become the fastest-growing U.S. solar market.

LAKE Solar Table 2017

Data from: FERC Office of Energy Projects
Energy Infrastructure Update For December 2012
Energy Infrastructure Update For December 2016
Total Installed Operating Generating Capacity
Projections by: Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE)
2012 2016 2021 2023
Power Source Projected Rates Installed GW 2012
(% of Total)
Projected GW 2016
(% of Total)
Projected %increase to 2016 Projected GW 2021
(% of Total)
Projected %increase to 2021 Projected GW 2023
(% of Total)
Projected %increase to 2023
Coal 2013: 1.3% 2017: -3.6% 337.71
(29.17%)
355.62
(26.93%)
actual: 291.79 (24.65%)
105%
actual:
86.4%
379.34
(19.95%)
corr.: 242.79 (17.13%)
112%
corr.:
71.9%
389.27
(15.13%)
corr.: 225.63 (12.74%)
115%
corr.:
66.8%
Natural Gas 2013: 1.8% 2017: 1.0% 491.82
(42.48%)
528.20
(39.99%)
actual: 511.74 (43.23%)
107%
actual:
104%
577.48
(30.37%)
corr.: 537.90 (37.95%)
117%
corr.:
109%
598.46
(23.26%)
corr.: 548.71 (30.98%)
121%
corr.:
111%
Nuclear 2013: 1.0% 2017: -0.1% 107.01
(9.24%)
111.36
(8.43%)
actual: 106.58 (9.00%)
104%
actual:
99.6%
117.04
(6.16%)
corr.: 106.05 (7.48%)
109%
corr.:
99.1%
119.39
(4.64%)
corr.: 105.84 (5.98%)
111%
corr.:
98.9%
Oil 2013: 1.0% 2017: 1.9% 41.32
(3.57%)
43.00
(3.26%)
actual: 44.85 (3.79%)
104%
actual:
108%
45.19
(2.38%)
corr.: 48.95 (3.45%)
109%
corr.:
118%
46.10
(1.79%)
corr.: 50.82 (2.87%)
111%
corr.:
123%
Water 2013: 1.0% 2017: 0.5% 98.12
(8.47%)
102.10
(7.73%)
actual: 100.59 (8.50%)
104%
actual:
102%
107.31
(5.64%)
corr.: 102.62 (7.24%)
109%
corr.:
104%
109.47
(4.25%)
corr.: 103.65 (5.85%)
111%
corr.:
105%
Wind 2013: 22.8% 2017: 9.2% 57.53
(4.97%)
130.82
(9.91%)
actual: 81.87 (6.92%)
227%
actual:
142%
365.33
(19.21%)
corr.: 127.03 (8.96%)
635%
corr.:
220%
550.90
(21.41%)
corr.: 151.48 (8.55%)
957%
corr.:
263%
Biomass 2013: 3.7% 2017: 2.6% 15.00
(1.30%)
17.35
(1.31%)
actual: 16.78 (1.42%)
115%
actual:
111%
20.80
(1.09%)
corr.: 18.90 (1.33%)
138%
corr.:
125%
22.37
(0.87%)
corr.: 19.89 (1.12%)
149%
corr.:
132%
Geo- thermal Steam 2013: 4.2% 2017: 1.5% 3.70
(0.32%)
4.36
(0.33%)
actual: 3.93 (0.33%)
117%
actual:
106%
5.36
(0.28%)
corr.: 4.23 (0.30%)
144%
corr.:
114%
5.82
(0.23%)
corr.: 4.36 (0.25%)
157%
corr.:
117%
Solar 2013: 60.9% 2017: 57.0% 3.90
(0.34%)
26.14
(1.98%)
actual: 23.70 (2.00%)
670%
actual:
607%
281.88
(14.82%)
corr.: 226.03 (15.95%)
7227%
corr.:
5795%
729.76
(28.36%)
corr.: 557.14 (31.46%)
18711%
corr.:
14285%
Waste Heat 2013: 0.4% 2017: 14.4% 0.69
(0.06%)
0.70
(0.05%)
actual: 1.18 (0.10%)
101%
actual:
171%
0.72
(0.04%)
corr.: 2.32 (0.16%)
103%
corr.:
335%
0.72
(0.03%)
corr.: 3.03 (0.17%)
104%
corr.:
439%
Other 2013: 0.0% 2017: -8.5% 1.04
(0.09%)
1.04
(0.08%)
actual: 0.73 (0.06%)
100%
actual:
70.2%
1.04
(0.05%)
corr.: 0.47 (0.03%)
100%
corr.:
45.0%
1.04
(0.04%)
corr.: 0.39 (0.02%)
100%
corr.:
37.6%
Total 2013: 0.0% 2017: 0.5% 1157.86
(100.00%)
1320.69
(100.00%)
actual: 1183.74 (100.00%)
114%
actual:
102%
1901.49
(100.00%)
corr.: 1417.29 (100.00%)
164%
corr.:
122%
2573.3
(100.00%)
corr.: 1770.94 (100.00%)
222%
corr.:
152%
corr.: LAKE 2013 projection corrected by LAKE in 2017 according to growth rate from 2012 to 2016.
Factor colors: red: < 0%; orange: < 2%; blue: > 5%; green: > 50%. Proportion background colors: darkyellow > 10%; yellow > 25%.

2012 FERC Source: Data derived from Ventyx Global LLC, Velocity Suite.

2016 FERC Sources: Data derived from Velocity Suite, ABB Inc. and The C Three Group LLC which include plants with nameplate capacity of 1 MW or greater. The data may be subject to update.

* “Other” includes purchased steam, tires, and miscellaneous technology such as batteries, fuel cells, energy storage, and fly wheel.

Waste Heat

What is the mysterious Waste Heat that FERC does not define in either of the source reports? EPA defines it like this:

Waste heat to power (WHP) is the process of capturing heat discarded by an existing industrial process and using that heat to generate power (see Figure 1). Energy-intensive industrial processes—such as those occurring at refineries, steel mills, glass furnaces, and cement kilns—all release hot exhaust gases and waste streams that can be harnessed with well-established technologies to generate electricity (see Appendix). The recovery of industrial waste heat for power is a largely untapped type of combined heat and power (CHP), which is the use of a single fuel source to generate both thermal energy (heating or cooling) and electricity.

So waste heat is efficiency measures for existing thermal industrial processes. Thus it is unlikely ever to account for a significant proportion of electricty generation.

Putting it another way, waste heat is greenwashing obsolete power generation. Case in point: Status of Waste Heat to Power Projects on Natural Gas Pipelines, November 2009, prepared for Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA). Sorry, fracked methane purveyors, waste heat won’t save you.

Solar power will soon account for the largest proportion of U.S. electricity generation.

And that’s just the start. We know how to get to 100% sun, wind, and water power for the U.S. by 2050, for everything, including heating, cooling, and transportation. Solar power will win like the Internet did.

Let the sun rise!

-jsq

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Videos: 3 for 2 VLMPO appointments, 2 – 1 rezonings, 3 water + credit cards, alcohol @ LCC 2017-02-14

Tuesday Chairman Bill Slaughter did say there will be a retreat Thursday and Friday this week, but he didn’t say where or what time of day. Yesterday afternoon they finally put on their website that it starts 8AM this morning at Quail Branch Lodge. Here’s hoping Commissioner Joyce Evans is well enough to attend.

In a refreshing change of procedure, Continue reading

Videos: 2 VLMPO appointments, 2 rezonings, 3 water + credit cards, alcohol @ LCC 2017-02-13

They vote 5:30 PM today. The longest item at yesterday morning’s Work Session was 6b. REZ-2017-02 Calles, Alexandria St, R-10 and CON to E-A, Well and Septic, 0213 acres, which also got the longest discussion of any county case at the recent Planning Commission meeting, where GLPC voted to recommend denial. All parties want the other rezoning, 6a. REZ-2017-01 Cone/Malone, tabled.

The second longest item yesterday morning was 7c. Request for Relief for Tuscany Palms Utility Tax District, which had a long list of staff involved in it.

They did name the three three candidates for two VLMPO vacancies, but none of them were present. At least one wasn’t even aware he was actually a candidate.

Below are links to each Continue reading

Videos: 1 Hahira, 4 Valdosta, 2 County @ GLPC 2017-01-30

The controversial case was Georgia Park LLC with VA-2017-03 and VA-2017-04 at an hour and a half, plus a five minute break for the room to empty afterwards. GLPC recommended denial with one abstention. Second longest at 17 minutes was the county case 10. REZ-2017-02 Wilmer Calles on behalf of Rosa Calles 13.6 acres.

Here are links to each LAKE video, followed by a video playlist. See also the Planning Commission agenda. The two county rezonings are on the Lowndes County Commission agenda this morning and tomorrow evening. Continue reading

2 VLMPO appointments, 2 rezonings, 3 water + credit cards, alcohol @ LCC 2017-02-13

On the agenda for 8:30 AM this morning, three candidates for two VLMPO vacancies, and none of the candidates are incumbents, according to Valdosta or Lowndes County. Rezonings on Madison Hwy and Alexandria St, both probably uncontroversial; see the LAKE videos of the preceding GLPC meeting for those two items. Yet again Approval of Elected Officials Using County Issued Purchasing Cards and Credit Cards and as usual a Beer License. Three water items: Bevel Creek Lift Station Automatic Transfer Switch, Professional Engineering Services and Environmental Permitting for Jumping Gully Road Bridge Replacement, Drainage Improvements – Valencia Street.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2017, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2017, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

Continue reading

1 Hahira, 4 Valdosta, 2 County one wants to go backwards @ GLPC 2017-01-30

Nine cases (Hahira, Valdosta, Lowndes County) and one of the county cases wants to go “backwards” to agricultural zoning, Parcel 0167 098A on tonight’s Planning Commission agenda.

Greater Lowndes Planning Commission
Lowndes County City of Valdosta City of Dasher City of Hahira City of Lake Park
REGULAR MONTHLY MEETING
AGENDA

Lowndes County South Health District Administrative Office
325 West Savannah Avenue
Monday, January 30, 2017 * 5:30 P.M. * Public Hearing

Continue reading

Pipelines companies don’t detect corrosion or stop explosions

A reminder of why to stop pipeline companies from burying investors’ money in the ground and get on with solar power: the pipeline that exploded in Texas last week was half owned by Spectra Energy, the pipeline company behind Sabal Trail, AIM, Penneast, and numerous other fracked methane invasions and behind thirty years of undetected corrosion resulting in leaks, explosions, property damage, and deaths. The pipeline company didn’t detect it and couldn’t even turn it off quickly. Want to bet that it, like Spectra’s Pennsylvania explosion last spring, was corrosion?

A very Texas report said “no people or cattle were injured” and also notice: “The fire is under control and will burn itself out.” Continue reading

Videos: Turnberry, Seago, and Branham back again, 3 alcohol, and budget @ LCC 2017-01-09

They vote tonight at 5:30 PM, and yesterday morning they reviewed the three rezonings back the agenda after being tabled last month. County Manager Joe Pritchard said staff would be sending Commissioners a list of upcoming board apointments so they could think of candidates. He didn’t say anything about showing that list to the public.

See also the LAKE videos of last November’s Planning Commission meeting for those three rezonings.

Below are links to LAKE videos from each item yesterday morning, with a few notes, followed by a video playlist. Continue reading

Videos: Turnberry, Branham, Peterson Road Lift Station, and Commissioner Comments @ LCC 2016-12-13

24 minutes on REZ-2016-19 Turnberry at Thompson E-A to R-21 which changed to R-1 at the last minute, 14 minutes on Bill Branham’s REZ-2016-23 Copeland Road development, 4 on REZ-2016-24 Martin< 3 on REZ-2016-25 Cain’s Creekside RV Park, and 3 on the Peterson Road Lift Station Rehab, plus almost 5 minutes of Chairman and Commission Comments! Real discussion and revealing their opinions in public? What’s gotten into them? Did they see in advance the VDT’s Sunlight on the horizon?

Yet the Chairman said nobody could ask the audience to stand up on REZ-2016-19 Turnberry at Thompson and while they were waiting for the room to clear before the next item could start, Continue reading

Videos: Health appointment, 7 rezonings, abandonment, Soil Erosion, Wastewater, and alcohol @ LCC 2016-12-12

Bill Branham’s Copeland Road development got six minutes of discussion, the longest in yesterday morning’s Work Session, with others of the seven rezonings also getting discussion, plus, surprisingly, the proposed VOCA grant, because the outgoing DA spoke. They vote tonight at 5:30 PM. I would like to compliment the Commissioners on asking questions and having discussion in the Work Session. Even ever-silent Joyce Evans spoke up about the MIDS on-call bus system grant re-application.

They’re going to reappoint Dr. Randy Smith to the Board of Health. Chairman Bill Slaughter said: “Inside your packets you have a letter from Dr. Grove supporting Dr. Smith.”

But we the citizens, taxpayers, and recipients of health care didn’t get to see that letter. The Chairman went on to recommend Dr. Smith, and I thank him for making that recommendation in public where we could all see and hear it. Dr. Smith is probably a fine board member: that’s not the point. The point is if the public could see these things they might have useful input, not to mention it’s the public’s business the Commission is doing. Similarly Commissioners had a quarterly financial report “before you”, but the public couldn’t see it. If tiny Effingham County can publish its County Commission packets, mighty Lowndes County could to it, too.

Below are links to each of the LAKE videos, with Continue reading