NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, August 13: ECONOMIST NUMBERS ON NEW ENERGY COST WAY OFF; POLITICS AND WIND ENERGY; GEOTHERMAL UPDATE

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    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

    QUICK NEWS, August 13: ECONOMIST NUMBERS ON NEW ENERGY COST WAY OFF; POLITICS AND WIND ENERGY; GEOTHERMAL UPDATE

    ECONOMIST NUMBERS ON NEW ENERGY COST WAY OFF An initial critique of Dr. Charles R. Frank, Jr.’s working paper “The Net Benefits of Low and No-Carbon Electricity Technologies,” summarized in The Economist as “Free exchange: Sun, wind and drain”

    Amory Lovins, August 8, 2014 (Rocky Mountain Institute)

    “A May 2014 working paper by nonresident Brookings Institute fellow Dr. Charles Frank, highlighted in The Economist, claims that wind and solar power are the least, while nuclear power and combined-cycle gas generation are the most, cost-effective ways to displace coal-fired power…[A] detailed twelve-page critique by RMI's Amory Lovins shows that those priorities are artifacts of Dr. Frank's obsolete data. Replacing nine of his wrong numbers with up-to-date empirical ones, even without correcting his methodology, reverses his priorities to the ones most energy experts would expect: after efficiency, the best buys are hydropower (on his purely economic assumptions), then windpower, photovoltaics, gas combined-cycle…and last of all nuclear power…

    "The more obvious of Dr. Frank's data problems were assuming wind and solar power half as productive and twice as costly as they actually are, gas power twice as productive as it actually is but with no methane leakage or price volatility (let alone extractive side-effects of fracking), nuclear power at about half its actual cost and construction time and one-fifth its actual operating cost, a supposed need for new generating capacity and for bulk electricity storage, and no efficiency opportunities worth mentioning…” click here for more

    POLITICS AND WIND ENERGY How Congress Messes With The Wind Industry (Charts)

    Zachary Shahan, August 9, 2014 (Clean Technica)

    …The U.S. Congress has consistently interrupted wind industry growth. While other energy industries’ federal supports are coded into law. the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) has been enacted for 1-3 years at a time and renewal has often been postponed until year-end or longer. Though wind is supported by Republicans, Democrats, and the public, it is the controversial fossil fuel and nuclear industries that get unhesitating federal support while tens of thousands of wind energy jobs and billions in wind revenues must beg year after year while politicians pose and pander…[A chart from The American Wind Energy Association] US Wind Industry Second Quarter 2014 Market Report demonstrates this… click here for more

    GEOTHERMAL UPDATE Geothermal energy has success in Nevada, wants to spread to the rest of the West…

    Megan Guess, August 10, 2014 (Ars Technica)

    “…[S]ome 12 gigawatts of geothermal power are generated worldwide, and the US is one of the largest producers of it, generating nearly 3.4 gigawatts in 2013…Geothermal energy advocates are quick to point out that when the Sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing, geothermal facilities can be brought online [within an hour]…Coal-fired plants, on the other hand, have long and costly ramp-up times…One notable [geothermal] advance occurred in the late '80s, when researchers and entrepreneurs started implementing what is called a binary cycle…[allowing] power plant operators to generate electricity at geothermal wells with lower temperatures…With this method, little water is lost, and the power plant is able to maintain pressure underground…

    "Still, without government help, geothermal energy as an industry has a tendency for stagnation. The risk involved in drilling a geothermal well is much higher than it is to build a solar or wind farm…[and] the monetary reward for drilling and striking geothermal activity is often less than you'd see from drilling and finding, say, natural gas…” click here for more

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