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Energy Industry Under Attack from Green Terrorists

PopeRatzo (965947) writes | about a year ago

User Journal 5

"Just the other day, Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers said, 'If the cost of solar panels keeps coming down, installation costs come down and if they combine solar with battery technology and a power management system, then we have someone just using [the grid] for backup.' What happens if a whole bunch of customers start generating their own power and using the grid merely as backup? The EEI report warns of 'irreparable damages to revenues and growth prospects' of utilities."

"Just the other day, Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers said, 'If the cost of solar panels keeps coming down, installation costs come down and if they combine solar with battery technology and a power management system, then we have someone just using [the grid] for backup.' What happens if a whole bunch of customers start generating their own power and using the grid merely as backup? The EEI report warns of 'irreparable damages to revenues and growth prospects' of utilities."

Solar Panels Could Destroy U.S. Utilities

5 comments

How many scandals are necessary (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year ago | (#43649311)

. . .to underscore the need to let markets, not crony capitalists, figure this noise out.

Less risk and more profit from the micro-producers (1)

evought (709897) | about a year ago | (#43650413)

What happens if a whole bunch of customers start generating their own power and using the grid merely as backup?

EDF published figures years ago that the risk/reward for utilities building new plants to meet demand is not good. If micro-installation alternative energy takes off, then the grid will still be needed for backup power, for new construction, and a lot of other things; it may be less fragile and its profit margins may end up actually being higher with fewer risky capital-intensive investments. So, no, I don't think that is a legitimate worry.

The other side of the coin is that the utilities can hedge that risk by diversifying into sale/installation of push-button PV/micro-wind systems and make money either way.

My uncle recently put in a grid-tie PV system in a rural area. Post-Sandy the grid went down. His utility contract had required him to put in a battery-less system that sent everything to the grid and bought power back (the PV power, being subsidized, went for a slightly higher rate, so it made a small profit besides the excess power). So, now he is sitting there with enough PV to supply his house and no power. He probably could have violated his contract and bridged the circuits, but... it convinced him that the small profit from the grid tie was simply not worth the contract hassle. Easier to put in batteries and cancel his account. Not going grid-tie also means you can get away with a lot less expense in inverters (most utility contracts need 2-phase true-sine to sell to them; you can often get away with single phase and only one true-sine circuit if you aren't tying to the grid). The Xantrex Trace whole-house inverter we are using costs a third of what the local utility would have required and even after adding the true-sine circuit for sensitive electronics, we still save enough that the small profit from grid-tie is just not that exciting.

Re:Less risk and more profit from the micro-produc (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#43651831)

The Xantrex Trace whole-house inverter we are using costs a third of what the local utility would have required and even after adding the true-sine circuit for sensitive electronics, we still save enough that the small profit from grid-tie is just not that exciting.

That's fascinating. I have a lot to learn. I would love to see "grid-optional" become more practical.

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