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Unlimited, free, clean Renewable Energy - the Coming Era                    

  source article: Washington Post, September 2014

In the 1980s, leading consultants were skeptical about cellular phones.  McKinsey & Company noted that the handsets were heavy, batteries didn’t last long, coverage was patchy, and the cost per minute was exorbitant.  It predicted that in 20 years the total market size would be about 900,000 units, and advised AT&T to pull out.  McKinsey was wrong, of course.  There were more than 100 million cellular phones in use in 2000; there are billions now.  Costs have fallen so far that even the poor — all over world — can afford a cellular phone.

The experts are saying the same about solar energy now.  They note that after decades of development, solar power hardly supplies 1 percent of the world’s energy needs.  They say that solar is inefficient, too expensive to install, and unreliable, and will fail without government subsidies.  They too are wrong.  Solar will be as ubiquitous as cellular phones are.

    Analysis predicts extremely disruptive, total transition to Electric+ Autonomous vehicles by 2030

Futurist Ray Kurzweil notes that solar power has been doubling every two years for the past 30 years — as costs have been dropping. He says solar energy is only six doublings — or less than 14 years — away from meeting 100 percent of today’s energy needs. Energy usage will keep increasing, so this is a moving target.  

But, by Kurzweil’s estimates, inexpensive renewable sources will provide more energy than the world needs in less than 20 years            ( Even then, we will be using only one part in 10,000 of the sunlight that falls on the Earth.)

In places such as Germany, Spain, Portugal, Australia, and the Southwest United States,  it costs NO more in the long term to install residential-scale solar panels than to buy electricity from utility companies. In other words, it  has already reached “grid parity” with average residential electricity prices.

The prices of solar panels have fallen 75 percent in the past five years alone and will fall much further as the technologies to create them improve and scale of production increases.  By 2020, solar energy will be price-competitive with energy generated from fossil fuels on an unsubsidized basis in most parts of the world.  Within the next decade, it will cost a fraction of what fossil-fuel-based alternatives do.

 

     
It isn’t just solar production that is advancing at a rapid rate; there are also technologies to harness the power of wind, biomass, thermal, tidal, and waste-breakdown energy, and research projects all over the world are working on improving their efficiency and effectiveness. (CITI: Disrupters Multiply)  Wind power, for example, has also come down sharply in price and is now competitive with the cost of new coal-burning power plants in the United States.  It will, without doubt, give solar energy a run for its money.  There will be breakthroughs in many different technologies, and these will accelerate overall progress.

Despite the skepticism of experts and criticism by naysayers, there is little doubt that we are heading into an era of unlimited and almost free clean energy.  This has profound implications.

First, there will be disruption of the entire fossil-fuel industry, starting with utility companies — which will face declining demand and then bankruptcy.  Several of them see the writing on the wall.  The smart ones are embracing solar and wind power.  Others are lobbying to stop the progress of solar power — at all costs.  

 

Witness how groups in Oklahoma persuaded lawmakers to approve a surcharge on solar installations;
 the limited victory that groups backed by the Koch brothers won in Arizona to impose a $5 per month surcharge; and the battles being waged in other states.
 They are fighting a losing battle, however, because the advances aren’t confined to the United States.
Countries such as Germany, China, and Japan are leading the charge in the adoption of clean energies.  
Solar installations still depend on other power sources to supply energy when the sun isn’t shining, but
 battery-storage technologies will improve so much over the next two decades that homes won’t be dependent on the utility companies.
 We will go from debating incentives for installing clean energies to debating
subsidies for utility companies to keep their operations going.

The environment will surely benefit from the elimination of fossil fuels, which will also boost most sectors of the economy.  

Electric cars will become cheaper to operate than fossil-fuel-burning ones, for example.  

  "Thanks to the economies of scale that will come from Tesla's Gigafactory, within 10 years every solar system that SolarCity sells will come with a battery-storage system,  and it will still produce energy, in the long term, cheaper than what is available from the local utility company."

We will be able to create unlimited clean water — by boiling ocean water and condensing it.  

With inexpensive energy, our farmers can also grow hydroponic fruits and vegetables invertical farms located near consumers.  Imagineskyscrapers located in cities that grow food in glass buildings without the need for pesticides, and that recycle nutrients and materials to ensure there is no ecological impact.  

We will have the energy needed to 3D-print our everyday goods and to heat our homes.

We are surely heading into the era of abundance that Peter Diamandis  has written about, ( in his book Abundance) — the era when the basic needs of humanity are met through advancing technologies.

The challenge for mankind will be to share this abundance, ensuring that these technologies make the world a better place.


What it takes for CA and NY State to be only powered RENEWABLE

  Vivek Wadhwa is a fellow at Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, director of research at Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke, and distinguished fellow at Singularity University. His past appointments include Harvard Law School, University of California Berkeley, and Emory University.

TOO VITAL TO FAIL! Should power generating plants, power lines, transformers, etc... ie. the entire Power Transmission &  Distribution Infrastucture not be owned by the people? And Utility Companies be purely service companies? CITI: "Rising Sun: Implications For US Utilities"
How will U.S. Utilities Survive?

 
for the $57 billion to be spent on Plan Bay Area - you can cover half of the 2.5 million homes in the Bay with solar panels and give free electric cars to half as well

Utilities are to operate as “air traffic controllers” of the distribution grid,
coordinating and optimizing all the resources on it.

  wind energy provided 164% of Scottish household electrical needs

and Denmark Sets World Record For Wind Power Production

Suburban sprawl to power cities of the future Jul 31, 2013 University of Auckland  
  the Koch Brothers' Toxic Empire
     
Robotics could create unemployment of 50% by 2045. If we do nothing, we may find ourselves in a very difficult political and societal change. The Industrial Age brought about the Russian and Chinese Revolutions, with a human cost of about 100 million lives. Then 2 million Elite in Cambodia were massacred.  Can we be wiser this time? ( The rich will need to be taxed to keep the poor alive).   April 2016:  The Chinese government invested $1.7 billion in R&D in renewable energy in 2014, (compared with $800 million in the U.S. and $1.4 billion for the European Union).
A Green Bond market & a Green Development Bank for China.
The $100 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the $40 billion Silk Road Fund.

Summary of state level solar incentives (2014) - State Policy summary

Alabama Nothing unless TVA territory (standard PBI for systems up to 20MW).

Alaska Net metering (<25kW) only

Arizona  Central procurement dominates RPS compliance. Corporate / tax credits and PTC for systems above 5MW. Incentives for small-scale based on utility: capex-incentive for residential systems in APS and Tuscon territory; capex-incentive for systems up to 1MW in Salt River Project territory.

Arkansas Net metering (<300kW) only

California Levels based on IOU. Capex incentive for residential, small-commercial can opt for PBI or capex-incentive, larger systems have central procurement. A few municipalities have strong feed-in-tariffs (Palo Alto, Marin, LA).  State-wide feed-in-tariff is pending.

Colorado Programmes by utility; large number of municipals and co-ops (~44% sales). Xcel and Black Hills are largest IOUs. Xcel has PBI for systems up to 500kW; community solar systems up to 2MW can receive PBI.

Connecticut Option of capex-incentive or PBI for residential systems <10kW. Annual solicitation for ZRECs (attribute only PBI): small commercial systems (<100kW) receive fixed amount, systems up to 1MW are competitive.

Delaware Capex-incentive for systems up to 40kW. Delmarva is the only IOU. SRECs.

D.C. SRECs.

Florida Capex-incentives by utility (Florida Light and Power, Progress Energy, Tampa Electric) – largest eligible system size is 100kW.

Georgia Georgia Power has RFPs for large (total 120MW) and standard PBI for <100kW. TVA PBI. Strong (35%) tax credits, but total credits capped and fully subscribed through 2014.

Hawaii Feed-in-tariff for systems up to 50MW to meet RPS. Strong (35%) tax credit.

 

Feed-in tariff Rather than pay an equal amount for energy, however generated, technologies such as wind power, for instance, are awarded a lower per-kWh price, while technologies such as solar PV and tidal power are offered a higher price.

CAPEX =Capital Expenditure,
 Performance - based incentives (PBI) : Programs that offer homeowners an upfront rebate on the cost of distributed generation technologies (with the dollar size of the rebate linked to the kW size of the system) - such as the California Solar Initiative

Request for Electric Energy Proposals RFP

Renewable Portfolio Standard = RPS  , Most RPS standards specify a minimum percentage of electricity that must be procured from renewable sources; Texas and Iowa, however, have “capacity-based” standards that simply require addition of a minimum amount(MW) of renewable generating capacity. Colorado broadened the reach of the state’s RPS program. For investor - owned utilities, the current target is 30% by 2020.

investor-owned utilities (“CA IOUs”), Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas and Electric,

 Renewable Energy Credits = RECSolar Renewable Energy Credits SREC

federal tax incentives: Production Tax Credit PTC and Investment Tax Credit ITC.  
Power purchase agreement (PPA)

Net metering : sell excess power back to the grid

Public Utility Commissions (PUCs)

H.R. 909, sponsored by Representative Devin Nunes (and co-sponsored by 73 other members), calls for establishment of a Federal Reverse Auction Authority (RAA) to initiate and conduct reverse auctions to support the development of domestic, renewable energy sources; RAA would be a private sector non-profit entity overseen by the US Department of Energy (DOE).

Idaho Net metering voluntary. Residential systems receive tax credit up to 100% / $20,000 system cost.

Illinois Small SREC programme. Capex-incentive for systems <7.5kW.

Indiana NIPSCO has feed-in-tariff for 30MW total capacity; systems below 20MW are eligible.

Iowa 15% ($3,000) tax credit or $0.02/kWh PTC.

Kansas Net metering (<200kW) only

Kentucky Nothing unless TVA territory (standard PBI for systems below 20MW).

Louisiana 50% tax credit capped at $12,500.

Maryland SRECs. Capex-incentive for systems below 200kW. Small PTC, minimum credit excludes smaller systems.

Massachusetts SRECs. Capex-incentive for systems below 15kW. Some centralized procurement (<200kW ground-mount). Residential system tax credit ($1,000 / 15%).

Michigan DTE has capex-incentive / PBI for systems below 20kW. Consumers Energy has PBI for systems below 150kW.

Minnesota By utility – dominant Xcel and Minnesota Power have capex-incentive for small-scale systems. Pending PBI for <20kW systems in Xcel territory. Value of solar programme is pending.

Mississippi Nothing unless TVA territory (standard PBI for systems below 20MW).

Missouri Top utilities have capex-incentives (Amaren, Columbia Water & Light, Kansas City Power & Light). Amaren has PBI and KCP&L has capex-incentivs for systems below 100kW.

Montana Northwestern Energy has small capex-incentive for systems below 20kW. Complicated / small tax credits.

Nebraska Tiny PTC.

Nevada Capex-incentive for systems below 50kW (programme is capped at 14MW). Central RFPs for RPS compliance.

New Hampshire Capex-incentive for systems below 100kW.

New Jersey SRECs.

New Mexico PBI by utility for systems up to 10-20MW. Non-residential PTC and 6% tax credit for systems above 1MW.

New York Capex-incentive for systems below 50kW, competitive PBI for systems above 50kW. Long Island Power Authority has strong feed-in-tariff. Residential tax credit.

North Carolina 35% tax credit.

North Dakota 15% corporate tax credit (paid over 5 years).

Ohio SRECs.

Oklahoma Net metering (<100kW) only

Oregon Capex-incentive amount varies by utility; alternative PBI for systems below 10kW in pilot stage. Personal tax credit (50% / $6,000).

Pennsylvania SRECs. Capex-incentive for systems below 100kW.

Rhode Island Excellent PBI for systems up to 5MW that expires in 2014. “Grant” for systems below 50kW.

South Carolina Voluntary net metering. 25% / $3,500 tax credit.

South Dakota Nothing.

Tennessee TVA (dominant) PBI. No net metering.

Texas Programmes vary by utility. Austin (200MW) and San Antonio (100MW) have solar carve-outs in their RPS standards. Austin Energy has PBI or capex-incentive for systems below 20kW, value of solar available for all systems. CPS (San Antonio) offers capex-incentive for systems up to 100kW.

Utah Rocky Mountain Power (dominant) has capex-incentive for systems up to 1MW. 25% personal or 10% corporate tax credit.

Vermont Capex-incentive for systems below 10kW. Competitive PBI for systems up to 2.2MW.

Virginia Nothing unless TVA territory (standard PBI for systems up to 20MW).

Washington PBI ($0.15/kWh) capped at $5,000/year.

West Virginia 30% / $2,000 tax credit.

Wisconsin Capex-incentive up to a maximum award of $2,400, but not all utilities participate.

Wyoming Net metering (<25kW) only