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$11/kg. The Toyota Mirai holds 5 kg and has a 312 mile (EPA) range. That's $0.176 per mile. A 25 MPG ICEV burning $3/gallon fuel costs $0.12/mile. FCEVs won't gain market presence at those sorts of H2 prices (and that's a non-delivered, non-taxed price.) "The price of clean H2 could drop substantially with very cheap ($0.015 to $0.03/kWh off peak demand periods) surplus-excess Solar and Wind REs and future more efficient technologies." The availability of large quantities of very cheap off peak surplus-excess electricity is a fantasy. Adding EVs, storage and dispatchable loads to the grid will flatten out the price curve. And as coal and nuclear plants exit the grid there will be no one needing to sell at a loss due to the difficulty of shutting down and restarting. "Electricity in the US currently comes 45% from coal, so by your reckoning BEVs should be abandoned." There are only two sources for hydrogen. Reforming methane, which is a high CO2 output process. Or using grid power, like we would use to charge EVs. Big thing is, extracting and compressing H2 would take 2x to 3x more electricity per mile than would charging EVs. And that would mean coal plants staying online far longer while additional renewable generation was installed. "most cars in the world have nowhere convenient to plug in to, or any cost effective means of providing those plugs." That's also a failed argument. At this time over 50% of US drivers have a place to plug in where they park. Workplace and apartment parking lots are adding charge outlets (30,000 in Southern California right now). Other countries may not have as many outlets at the moment but adding an accessible outlet is small work. "You also completely ignore that renewables are not available 24/7 all the year around in Germany" That is true of Germany and true of everywhere. Building a reliable grid based around mainly wind and solar is simply an engineering task. It does not require magic. Widely connected grids minimize the need for storage and dispatchable generation. They also allow storage and dispatchable generation sharing.
" Germany will need grid-scale storage on a scale many orders of magnitude bigger than anything done so far." Some calculations are that Germany will need no storage until renewable penetration is above 80%. Adding a lot of EVs to their grid could take that number considerably higher. "Getting to even 40% RE on an annual basis will be a huge achievement for the country." 28.5% in 2014. We should see 40% achieved before long. Do remember, Germany is not an island. Europe commonly trades electricity back and forth. If France couldn't rely on other European countries to take up its surplus nuclear and then supply their grid when their nuclear isn't sufficient then France would be sunk. France is heavily dependent on German electricity.
I was in Beijing about 18 months ago. More nuclear and less coal certainly would help the quality of their air. But the choice is not "Coal or nuclear?" The choice is "Coal or nuclear or renewables". Renewables are cheaper, faster to install and bring significantly fewer problems into our lives. Best not to judge wind farms on the capacity factor of a farm built a couple of years ago or longer. Wind technology has greatly increased lately and CF numbers are increasing. We used to think of US onshore wind in terms of ~35% CF. GE reports that wind farms with CFs of over 50% are becoming common. Germany is doing great. They have a very reliable grid and their wholesale electricity prices continue to fall. Of course Germany will need to utilize a wider grid with a move to renewables. If you're not relying on large centrally located plants then the best strategy is to maximize your harvest area in order to lower variability and to share dispatchable generation and storage. Renewables require a different approach to supplying the grid 24/365. And the net result should be cheaper electricity for all, even without including the external costs. "To generate 100% of their electricity via solar they'll need to install 8 times their nominal power needs. " This is a pretty worthless argument. No one proposes an all solar or all wind or all any one source renewable grid. The best mix for the US looks to be about 50% wind and 40% solar with other renewables filling in the rest. But that's a 50 state average, the percentages will differ from state to state. Take a look at a few states and see how they differ. Compare Arizona, Washington, and Oklahoma, for example. That's how things will likely work in Europe. Countries with northern ocean access will likely use a lot of offshore wind. Countries with a lot of hydro will use a lot of hydro (or trade it away for wind/solar and profit from the net gain). Countries in Southern Europe or Northern Africa will likely use a lot of solar.
An analysis of the Vogtle reactor costs by Citigroup in early 2014 found the LCOE for electricity from those reactors will cost 11 cents per kWh (subsidized). That assumed no further cost/timeline overruns. They also stated that reactors built after the Vogtle units would likely produce more expensive electricity as they would not be able to receive the low financing rates as Vogtle has obtained. Following the Citigroup study it was announced that the Vogtle reactors would be delayed at least an 30 additional months. The cost of this delay will cost $2 million per day.. That additional cost will push the final cost well over 13 cents per kWh. Take the 13 cents for the Vogtle reactors. Add in the higher financing cost for future builds (the recession is over). Add in the lost opportunity cost for money taken from customers. Add in the value of subsidies. Do a full accounting and you'll see that 13 cents is a lowball number for new nuclear. Will the AP1000 design help reduce costs? Not so far in both the US and China. China's costs are not usable in countries that have labor costs typical of the US and Europe. Nuclear has a very high labor component. You might want to check and see how Germany is getting along. Sounds like someone fed you some faulty information. Will China continue to build nuclear reactor at their current rate? With rising labor costs and falling wind/solar prices I suspect we'll see a slowing in China's nuclear program starting over the next few years. Growth rates for wind and solar are very much higher than for nuclear already. Add to that the facts that China is now starting to move a lot of their manufacturing inland where labor is more accessible (without requiring some many people to move into already oversized cities) and China's statement that they will build no more inland reactors. It's not a good time to go long on nuclear.
E-P. Imagine what it would cost to run a grid on mainly 13+ cent per kWh nuclear. What nuclear now costs in the real world. You'd have to build enough to cover hot summer demand and then you'd have a huge oversupply for nights as well as spring and fall when demand drops. That means that many plants would have to recover their capex/finex and fixed operating costs over less than 50% as much production, driving their kWh cost well over 25 cents per kWh. -- "The people who actually live on RE systems say you need DAYS worth of storage, as in a minimum of 3 days." The people who live off the grid with solar (as I do) will tell you that at today's storage prices it is not economical to store more than 2-3 days of electricity. As storage prices drop the number of 'economical days' will increase. The more sequential days one has to store, the more expensive storage becomes. Try to underbuild nuclear, then store up for extended heat waves or cold snaps and you hit the same wall. The least expensive solution is a heavily wind and solar supplied grid with more modest amounts of hydro, geothermal and tidal generation. Use storage as long as it is affordable (short days). Then turn to dispatchable generation such as biogas, biomass, or synthetic fuels. One could build the same sort of grid with nuclear + storage + dispatchable generation but rather than having the main inputs (~80%) being <4 cent wind and solar the main input would be 13+ cent nuclear. Any engineer should be able to understand that math. Even a poetic type engineer. Sincerely, Windbag Bob
Harvey, your price point it too low. EVs grab the market away from hybrids and PHEVs at about $275/kWh. Tesla is already below that price. At $130/kWh ICEVs would need <$2/gallon gas to stay in the game. If Tesla and GM can put 200+ mile range EVs with 50 kWh packs on the road next year then we've got enough capacity. (More is always welcome.)
Davemart - states that lack excellent solar resources are generally rich (enough) in something else. You can see what a 100% renewable energy mix for each state might look like here - Emily - NG is not a long term solution. NG is finite. So is solar, but we've got a 4 -5 billion year supply. Here's the bottom line. Wind and solar are now dropping below 5 cents per kWh - unsubsidized. Onshore wind in the US is just under 4 cents and dropping. Solar is a penny or so above 5 cents but dropping fast. This is a moving target that cannot be hit with petroleum, hydrogen or biofuel. The cost of batteries is rapidly dropping. Capacity is increasing. EVs are becoming a force.
Notes on the article - Solar PPAs have been clustered around 5 cents per kWh for the last couple of years with reports of 4 cent per kWh PPAs now being signed. There's a good chance that EVs will charge as dispatchable load which would mean even lower than average (12 cent) prices. Likely a very sweet price when sucking down surplus supply. "building more coal and gas power plants to make miles for transport is counter-productive if the game plan is to reduce carbon output" New wind and solar are very much cheaper than new coal on a kWh basis. Wind is cheaper than new NG and solar will soon be. "It is generous to say that an acre of Iowa" Those Iowa acres. Iowa is really windy. A 3 MW wind turbine takes one quarter acre of land. One could install 12 MW to the acre (as long as the quarter acres are not adjacent. Capacity factors are now reaching 50%. 12 MW at 45% CF would mean 47,300 MWh of electricity a year per acre. About 158 million EV miles to the acre. "it makes sense, when possible, to track the sun" As the cost of panels drops it makes less sense to track the Sun. It makes more sense to install more panels, orient some east and some west in order to extend the solar day. Point the majority south and charge EVs right in the middle of the day. (Along with late night hours - see wind above.) "During the midday hours, many grids will experience negative pricing as solar PV floods the market to the extent that the power cannot be stored." Only until coal and nuclear plants are closed. No one is going to pay the grid to take their solar (or wind) power. If they can't make anything they will simply curtail. Coal and nuclear sell at a significant loss because they do not want to shut down and then spend time restarting. "How many gigafactories will Mr. Musk have to build?" The question is how many gigafactories of capacity will all the world's battery manufacturers build over the next 20-30 years? Tesla was first off the line when the gun sounded. Other manufacturers such as LG Chem and BYD have made their moves.
The GigaFactory was designed from the ground up so that it could quickly/inexpensively move to a new type of battery if/when one proves out. If Tesla/Panasonic moves away from wrapped cells to pouches/whatever it would mean scrapping some of their old tooling and bringing in new machines. Tesla recently bought a factory that manufacturers industrial machines.
I read this as a possible cost savings in the electrolyser hardware. Did I miss something about an increase in efficiency or will it still take the same amount of electricity to produce a given amount of hydrogen? Getting the cost of the production plant may make it possible to run the plant only part time, letting it use the cheapest available electricity. But as EVs and storage come online the price of electricity should no longer "approach zero".
It's likely wasted money but unless we give H2 FCEVs a chance to prove themselves in the real world we're going to have to listen to fans talk about how wonderful they would be if we would only give them a chance. Toyota's going to sell a few hundred FCEVs at a $50k loss and give away fuel for the first two years. (A good way to disguise the actual operating cost.) Let's see how they sell.
"What's the "social cost" of CO2 emissions, Bob? " That's not the question that we must answer. The question is "What is the least expensive and least problematic technology we can use to get our CO2 emission levels to zero". As you know, the cost of a nuclear supplied grid would wreck our economy. We can't afford to increase our wholesale cost of electricity by 3x or more. The cost of integrating wind and solar onto our grids has been miniscule. "In ERCOT’s calculations for 2011, Goggin said, “the total cost for integrating wind came out at about $0.50 per megawatt-hour.” And, he added, without 2011’s anomalies in July and August that accounted for 80 percent percent of all costs, the total costs in 2012 for the necessary balancing reserves and other expenses associated with the integration of large amounts of wind are expected to be even lower." The nuclear industry has received massively more subsidies than have wind an solar. For all years up to the end of 2013 US taxpayers subsidized nuclear energy more than $185 billion. During the same timeframe wind and solar received about $25 billion combined. In 2013 nuclear produced 19.4% of all US electricity. Wind and solar produced 4.33% Nuclear has received 7.4x as much subsidy over time and yet is produced only 4.5x as much electricity as wind and solar in 2013. We are currently getting 1.6x more electricity per dollar subsidy with wind and solar. The turbines at Altamont Pass are now being replaced after 30 years of production. New turbines are being designed for 40 to 50 year lifespans. As we move to a 100% renewable grid we will need a combination of storage and dispatchable generation but that's how we run today's grid. Don't forget, the US built over 20 GW of PuHS in order to integrate thermal plants during the time we were building nuclear. And that nuclear/coal plants require spinning reserve to jump in when they go offline without warning. Wind and solar are much more predictable and do not require spinning reserve. German CO2 emissions went up slightly (didn't "soar") following the decision to close reactors ahead of schedule following the Fukushima disaster. Your graph shows a 4.5% increase and cuts off at 2013. This was an unplanned nuclear shutdown and resulted in a 3% increase in coal consumption. By 2014 additional renewable capacity had been brought on line and fossil fuel consumption in Germany dropped to an all time low. German CO2 emission levels fell to their second lowest level since 1990 in 2014. "Germany emitted 912 million tons of carbon in 2014 - 4 percent fewer than in 2013, and down 27 percent on 1990 levels, according to provisional figures from the German Environment Agency." "For the second time in two weeks, wind power once again kept consumers’ energy costs down as extreme cold drove energy prices to record highs across much of the eastern U.S. Electricity and natural gas prices skyrocketed to 10 to 50 times normal across parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes states as extreme cold drove demand for electric and gas heating to near-record levels late last week. Fortunately, regional wind energy output was strong throughout these periods of peak demand, producing around 3,000 megawatts (MW) on the evening of Jan. 22 when supply was particularly tight, and roughly 3,000 to 4,000 MW for nearly all of Jan. 23 as electricity prices remained very high." There will be cold spells with little wind. There will be heat waves during which nuclear reactors have to be shut down. These are grid design issues. Most cities are not going to allow anyone to site a nuclear reactor in their midst.
It's easy to prevent a 'buy and sell' scheme. Require the subsidy to be refunded before the title is released if the car is sold too soon.
I don't understand the $600,000 per charging station cost. The charging hardware can't be that expensive. It's just a surface contact system where the pickups rise to meet overhead outlet contacts. The $600k number comes from a comment that furnishes no supporting link.
Pushing some of our reactors which were initially licensed for 40 years out to 60 years will probably happen. But it won't make financial sense to extend the lifetime of all the existing reactors. Clearly we are now seeing some reactors being closed rather than being refurbished for another 20 years of use. Wind, without subsidies, has now dropped under 4 cents per kWh and after a 20 year payoff should provide 10 to 30 years of < 1 cent per kWh power. Solar prices continue to fall and should soon be under 5 cents per kWh without subsidies. Under 3 cents, new, is not overly optimistic with another 30+ years of < 1 cent per kWh power. Thermal plants that have to average 5 cents per kWh on a 24/365 basis are going to find rough sledding as more and more "penny" power becomes available.
I suspect the US will be using little to no coal by 2030. The energy world is undergoing very rapid changes and the rate of change is accelerating. Some of our nuclear plants will likely be in operation post 2030 but we're probably building the last generation at the moment.
"Of course, Musk has predicted profitability for Tesla in the past, but it is now pushed out to beyond 2020." There are multiple types of profitability. Tesla sells their ModS EVs for about 27% more than it costs to manufacture them. That is profitable. Tesla takes all their profits from the ModS and uses other capital to invest in business expansion. That extra investment in growing the company shows up on the annual profit/loss statement as a loss. It's not that money is being lost. Money is being invested which records as an expenditure. If the "27%" were being spent on hookers and blow, that would be a loss.
A general comment - The grid will get cleaner. It will take years to get coal off our grids but about 20% of it will disappear over the next year and a half. Here's a very interesting and informative article about what is happening in the battle against coal... When we talk about electric vehicles/trains using today's generation mix does not make sense. We're moving away from a grid dominated by fossil fuel generation. By the time we get a significant number of EVs on the road or trains converted to electricity the grid mix will be very different than what it is today.
There is no one making 'green' H2 on a commercial scale. As far as I know no one has demonstrated the ability to make low CO2 H2 at an affordable price. If someone does, some day, then we can redo the math. Until that happens the market will not pay more than necessary for fuel. Capturing and sequestering CO2 from methane reforming is a possibility but would add to the cost. At this point it is not financially viable to capture CO2 from coal smokestacks. We'd need another technological breakthrough. I'm not addressing diesel vs. H2 fuel cells. Diesel needs to go. The issue is the comparative cost of electric trains vs. low CO2 H2 fuel cell trains. I'm not arguing for or against either. I've seen no cost comparison. My gut instincts suggest wiring tracks would be cheaper, but data overrules guesses. --
1. Market forces. Rail companies are not going to pay massively more per mile for H2 just in order to be green. In fact, rail companies would have to be forced to move from diesel to much more expensive H2. Moving to cheaper electricity would be a much easier sell. It might mean using federal funds to help install the catenary, but that money could be recovered over time by via a use fee that kept the per mile fee below what diesel would cost. 2. Fuel cells are 40% to 60% efficient. 3. Nine tonnes of CO2 per tonne of H2. 8.62 tons of CO2 emissions per ton of hydrogen production You're suggesting we could collect the resulting CO2 and put it someplace where it would never enter the atmosphere? That has not worked with coal CCS. We have no affordable sequestration technology.
Still takes about 3x as much electricity to drive a FCEV as it takes to drive an EV a mile. Util that little problem is solved H2 is likely to go nowhere. That, plus infrastructure costs, will make H2 fueling 3x or more per mile than electricity. EV drivers might get a small amount of their electricity from fast chargers during peak hours but 10% high + 90% low < 100% high.
"The availability and cost of surplus/excess clean electricity is very different for every given regions." Over time regions will almost certainly become more connected. If your region is the PNW there's already a HVDC transmission line running down to SoCal. There's likely to be a very large EV fleet there that will be happy to purchase any surplus electricity at a low rate. Need more capacity? Just add more wire. The route is already in place. It's going to be 15 to 35 years before we get all (or almost all) natural gas off our grids. During those hours highly dispatchable NG can and will be turned off while there's cheap electricity available. Remember, there are no additional capital costs involved with EVs. People will purchase them for transportation instead of ICEV. They will be opportunistic consumers of lower cost electricity. Building a hydrogen extraction and compression plant is going to cost a significant amount of capital. It's not going to make financial sense to leave that plant idle, waiting for low priced electricity to appear.
"FC locomotives may be cleaner than electrified rails, specailly where electricity is produced with polluting CPPs like in USA?" Nope. Coal is on its way out in the US. Electrified rail would be powered by natural gas, renewables and nuclear. The Sierra Club has a campaign to get rid of US coal by 2030 and they are a bit ahead of schedule. Here's an excellent read - In the sort term the H2 for trains would come from 100% natural gas reforming. Fuel cells are not all that efficient. CO2 from H2 fuel cell trains would be high. In the long, long term the H2 for trains could come from electricity/water but it would mean building about 3x as much renewable generation as running directly with electricity. Fuel costs for fuel cells is a major problem that fuel cell advocates need to understand. Fuel cells are wonderful pieces of technology and their costs are likely to continue to drop. But unless someone can find a way around the laws of physics and discover a low energy way to crack H2O and compress the H2 the math just isn't going to work. It could be that several decades of H2 purchases would be cheaper than adding catenary but I'd need to see some math.
There are apparently around 300 used Leafs for sale in the LA area. I've seen a number with <30k miles for $13k or less. If I'm reading that right a low income individual/family could purchase a $13k Leaf for $3,500. Fuel savings would pay that puppy off in short years. Perhaps not much more than two. This programs is structured the right way. More assistance for those who need it the most. The federal subsidy is unusable for lower income people. It's a tax credit.