The Changing Face of the Electric Industry

An interesting article on Yahoo News (via Bloomberg) titled “Why Elon Musk’s Batteries Scare the Hell Out of the Electric Company” talks about the potential impact of Tesla Motors’ Gigafactory which is being built in Reno, Nevada, and which is projected to produce 500,000 battery packs per year for Tesla Motors electric vehicles.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/why-elon-musks-batteries-scare-050001220.html

Here are a few key points and quotes from the article:

  • “Musk’s so-called gigafactory may soon become an existential threat to the 100-year-old utility business model. The facility will also churn out stationary battery packs that can be paired with rooftop solar panels to store power.”
  • J.B. Straubel, CTO of Tesla says the company sees utilities as partners, not rivals.
  • Distributed energy coming on the scene is now putting pressure on utilities, e.g. Germany’s EON this week said it will sell it’s fossil fuel plants.
  • Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute has a monthly electric bill of $25 from due to a home solar installation, which he also uses to charge his electric car.
  • The Edison Electric Institute, a trade group that represents for-profit utilities, has issued a call to action to convert from gasoline to electric vehicles, saying the move is nearly essential for utilities’ survival, saying, “the bottom line is that the electric utility industry needs the electrification of the transportation sector to remain viable and sustainable in the long run.”
  • SunPower is providing solar and storage systems to buyers of Audi electric cars and rebates for solar-panels to people who buy Ford plug-in EVs. SunPower CEO says the time when people will charge their EVs with excess solar power from home systems “not decades away, that is years away.”
  • Ellen Hayes, a Pacific Gas and Electric Company spokeswoman states, “The electric grid will be just as important in the years to come because the grid is becoming the platform that makes it possible for people to plug in solar panels, batteries and charging stations . . . having a solar panel that isn’t connected to the grid is like having a computer that’s not connected to the Internet.”

While we concentrate on LENR at this site, there are other technologies, trends and business moves afoot which could have important implications for the future of energy. Where it all will lead is hard to say right now, but even without LENR entering the scene there are clear signs that things are changing quite quickly, and the status quo is going to be changing.

When you add LENR to the mix, the solar/wind models that are being discussed in this article could change quite significantly. However that would only happen if LENR can produce electricity efficiently, and it might take some time before we see that happen, as the first commercial plants are likely to be heating plants only.

  • Kenneth Brunstein

    this is whats wrong with America https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RSXnBdDJFU

  • Omega Z

    We occasionally have discussions of how alternate energy has dire effects on the conventional power grid. How can 1 to 3 percent of alternate energy have such a dire effect.

    Simplistically it’s like building/selling 9 cars. These pay all your overhead & fixed cost, Labor infrastructure etc. The 10th car is mostly profit. Obviously, you make profit from car 1, but the loss of the 10 negates all those profits that have to cover fixed cost.

    Speaking in terms only of the U.S. that is highly regulated right down to profit margins which are in the range of 6%. A 1% loss in sales can wipe out (2% or 1/3rd) of profits & 3% can put them on the verge of going in the red due to the fixed costs. Most of these issues can be alleviated by reasonable people.

  • Kenneth Brunstein

    I dont agree with the last statment in the artical. Here is why the grid takes the efficence down the electricity has to travel long distances than when its converted back to dc it drops more. Micro grids would be better.

    • Omega Z

      Ultimately, I expect Micro grids is where it will end up at.
      If E-cat power plants come into being, They will be located at point of use like at the cities edge. Possibly some in the Cities center where the excess waste heat can be utilized. It will be the end of 1Gw or more generators.

      I can see places like NYC who have large demand having multiple smaller power plants providing operating power & back up to each other.

  • US_Citizen71

    I agree not all biofuels are created equal they all have pluses and minuses and should be looked at individually. But when debating with a true believer in a quasi-religious belief that all biofuels are bad it becomes quite difficult to insert specific facts around specific crops. There are many policies in the US that need severe revamping agriculture and defense being the the top two as they make up a large part of the budget and affect the economy and the world at large the most.

  • Heath

    A few things start to make sense to me with the utility stories of late–look at what a little minuscule solarwind threat can do to huge corporations and their view of the future. Look at what the threat of not being the number one oil producer can do with Saudi Arabia and the price of oil? How false has the price been for the last few years? Utilities crumbling, oil prices falling on such seemingly small things. Imagine what LENR will do once its presence is well understood? This to me is why Darden understates the value of the Lugano results and why all the quiet posturing seems necessary. The emissions reduction deal with China, I think, is without question, tied to the “nickel reactor” and the research institutes in China and North Carolina. Or perhaps the drop is intentional to prepare the markets (it would make sense). Things are moving so fast now, fast with business, slower with publicity for LENR, but it is happening. Just look at the front page of E-catworld. It is busier than I’ve seen it in years with new stories.

    • we want LENR Fusione Fredda

      What if E-Cat World could make some viewings statistics visible on part of the page… Or would there be an issue with that?
      It is my impression that this site is polarizing exponentially increasing interest during these last two months.

  • Frechette

    Took the words right out of my mouth.

  • Bob Greenyer

    In India, I bought a $3000 solar array with controller and batteries and two electric mopeds that cost $500 each – Total cost – $4000.

    For 3.5 years, my electricity bill was around $5 per month when no A/C used and the total cost of transport on the bikes for my business partner and I including pumping tyres and a kickstand repair on both bikes was… around $1.

    Excluding A/C – total additional energy and transportation cost $211 or just over $30 per year per person.

    The solar and batteries still work, but they do not now provide 8 hours of back-up, so we need to get new batteries – after 7 years. Solar array is fine.

    • Mats002

      Great! Why dis you switch to cold fusion?

      • Bob Greenyer

        My well ran dry!

        • Mats002

          🙂

    • Kenneth Brunstein

      look up auroratek worth taking a look. A lot of scientist are trying to discredit the inventor thats when I start paying attention. The reason why is this fact https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RSXnBdDJFU

  • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

    Tesla will probably be out of business in a few years. Solar is exactly the wrong way to go. We need terrestrial nuclear energy, not extraterrestrial nuclear energy (the Sun). We do need small, light, and efficient batteries & capacitors to power automobiles, but for large scale electricity storage they are too expensive. Solar energy is just too diffuse, weak, and unreliable, even if you cover your entire roof with them. Only a tiny percentage of Americans can live in the desert and afford the kind of costly home Amory Lovins lives in, and remember Amory Lovins is the man who first promoted biofuels to President Jimmy Carter. SEE – http://renewable.50webs.com/Starvation-Hall-of-Shame.html Don’t follow a man who is responsible for the deaths of millions of human beings around the world, and who won’t even admit guilt or appologize to his victims.

    Batteries are really too expensive even for cars right now, and we have to bring the cost down. A Japanese company has a battery (it may be a capacitor) made with carbon that sounds great. I might buy stock in that company, but not in Tesla.

    • EEStorFanFibb

      Tesla will be out of business in a few years…. LOL

      • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

        Without federal tax credits to buy his cars, will he sell enough to survive? His business plan is to sell cars with just a few dealerships on special order. Will that last? When electric cars really do become affordable and usable on their own merit, who will sell the most of them, …Tesla, GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda? My guess is Tesla will not be anywhere near the top of the list. The new Congress may cut all federal subsidies for electric vehicles, and I hope they do. Such subsidies are unfair handouts (welfare) for people who are already wealthy. Let the free market decide these issues, not our corrupt and foolish politicians.

        • Daniel Maris

          If you’d let the free market decide, you wouldn’t have had any transcontinental railroads in the USA.

          If South Korea had “let the free market decide” it would have foresworn protectionism and still be dirt poor.

          • psi2u2

            Yes, sometimes the “let the market do it” mantra is pretty misleading. We need both robust markets and wise government investment.

        • bitplayer

          So, it would have been great if the federal government had never gotten involved in nuclear energy?

      • builditnow

        Electric cars could get a boost: Electric cars could be the first to go LENR / Cold Fusion powered. A micro turbine powered by a hot cat could be retrofitted to electric cars and provide say 5 KW of electricity on a continuous basis. On new models, a bigger Cold Fusion turbine generator could be built in, resulting in a Cold Fusion hybrid. The US government demonstrated fission powered turbines in the 60’s and 70’s and they perform close to identically to jet fuel powered turbines, see NASA seedlings talk Jan / Feb 2014.

        • US_Citizen71

          The same style application could work for homes as well. When combined with batteries and maybe even rooftop solar, always have a backup, a small gas turbine possibly closed cycle could reach the efficiency needed to run itself and provide useful power. I think adapting one of Dean Kamen’s Beacon 10’s might be better.

          • GreenWin

            I would rather see the LENR component remain in a residence or neighborhood microgrid. LENR in vehicles requires more components than a simple battery and electric motor. With the unknowns in LENR, the safety standards may disqualify it until long, long term testing proves it can handle catastrophic collisions. First, we could see LENR APUs in military and private aircraft.
            US, you are on the nose with the Kamen/NRG Energy Beacon 10 as a great test bed for residential LENR CHP system.

    • EEStorFanFibb

      Chris, you crack me up.

      For those who want a more honest appraisal of Mr. Lovin’s here is his bio.

      Paragraphs 6 and 7 are particularly interesting.

      Amory B. Lovins (1947– ), an American consultant experimental
      physicist and 1993 MacArthur Fellow, has been active at the nexus of
      energy, resources, economy, environment, development, and security in
      more than 50 countries for over 40 years, including 14 years based in
      England. He is widely considered among the world’s leading authorities
      on energy—especially its efficient use and sustainable supply—and a
      fertile innovator in integrative design and in superefficient buildings,
      factories, and vehicles.

      After two years at Harvard, Mr. Lovins transferred to Oxford, and two
      years later became a don at 21, receiving in consequence an Oxford ma
      by Special Resolution (1971) and, later, 12 honorary doctorates of
      various U.S. and U.K. universities. He has been Regents’ Lecturer at the
      U. of California both in Energy and Resources and in Economics; Grauer
      Lecturer at the University of British Columbia; Luce Visiting Professor
      at Dartmouth; Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of
      Oklahoma; Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of
      Colorado; Oikos Visiting Professor of Business, University of St.
      Gallen; an engineering visiting professor at Peking U.; 2007 MAP/Ming
      Professor at Stanford’s School of Engineering; and 2011– Professor of
      Practice at the Naval Postgraduate School.

      During 1979–2002, Mr. Lovins worked as a team with L. Hunter Lovins
      (his wife 1979–99). They shared a 1982 Mitchell Prize, a 1983 Right
      Livelihood Award (often called the “alternative Nobel Prize”), the 1999
      Lindbergh Award, and Time’s 2000 Heroes for the Planet Award.
      In 1989 he won the Onassis Foundation’s first Delphi Prize for their
      “essential contribution towards finding alternative solutions to energy
      problems.” That contribution included the “end-use / least-cost”
      redefinition of the energy problem (in Foreign Affairs in
      1976)—asking what quantity, quality, scale, and source of energy will do
      each task in the cheapest way. This economically based approach first
      permitted successful foresight in the competitive energy-service
      marketplace. In 1993 he received the Nissan Prize for inventing
      superefficient ultralight-hybrid cars (www.hypercar.com),
      and in 1999, partly for that work, the World Technology Award
      (Environment). He also received the Heinz Award, the Happold Medal of
      the [UK] Construction Industry Council, the Benjamin Franklin Medal of
      the [UK] Royal Society of Arts (Life Fellow), and in 2007, the Blue
      Planet Prize, Volvo Prize, honorary membership of the American Institute
      of Architects, Foreign Membership of the Royal Swedish Academy of
      Engineering Sciences, Time International’s Hero of the Environment award, Popular Mechanics’
      Breakthrough Leadership award, and honorary Senior Fellowship of the
      Design Futures Council. In 2008 he was named one of America’s 24 Best
      Leaders by U.S. News & World Report and Harvard’s Kennedy School,
      and received the first Aspen Institute / National Geographic
      Energy and Environment Award for Individual Thought Leadership. In 2009,
      he received the National Design Award and an Ashoka Fellowship, while Time named him among the world’s 100 most influential people, and Foreign Policy, one of the 100 top global thinkers. In 2011, he was co-Runner-Up for the Zayed Future Energy Prize.

      In 1982, the Lovinses cofounded Rocky Mountain Institute (www.rmi.org),
      an independent, entrepreneurial, nonprofit think-and-do tank. RMI’s ~80
      staff drive the efficient and restorative use of resources to help make
      the world thriving, verdant, and secure, for all, for ever. Ms. Lovins
      left RMI in 2002; Mr. Lovins is now its Chief Scientist and Chairman
      Emeritus. The Institute’s ~$12-million annual revenue comes both from
      programmatic enterprise, chiefly private-sector consultancy, and from
      grants and donations. RMI’s balance sheet comes largely from Mr.
      Lovins’s having cofounded, led, spun off, and in 1999 sold (to the Financial Times group) E source, the premier source of information on advanced electric efficiency (www.esource.com).

      Mr. Lovins led the energy design for his home (and RMI’s original
      headquarters), whose ~99% savings in space- and water-heating energy (to
      –44°C or –47°F) and ~90% in home electricity paid back in ten months
      with 1983 technology. An $18-million utility experiment he cofounded and
      -steered in the 1990s, PG&E’s “ACT2,” validated his claim that very
      large energy savings could cost less than small or no savings, e.g. in
      houses comfortable with no air conditioner at up to +46ºC (+115°F) yet
      costing less to build. He founded and until 2007 chaired RMI’s fourth
      spinoff, the advanced-composites technology developer Fiberforge
      Corporation (www.fiberforge.com,
      whose technology was sold in 2013 to Tier One automotive supplier
      Dieffenbacher), and is RMI’s lead practitioner—lately helping redesign
      >$30 billion worth of facilities in 29 sectors—in implementing for
      major firms the tenets of Natural Capitalism (www.natcap.org),
      which shared the 2001 Shingo Prize (Research), the “Nobel Prize for
      Manufacturing.” In 2004, he led a Pentagon-cosponsored synthesis of how
      to eliminate U.S. oil use, led by business for profit
      (www.oilendgame.com), and in 2007, became the first member of the
      Transformation Advisory Council for the Executive Chairman of Ford Motor
      Company. He has advised the leaders of Coca-Cola, Deutsche Bank,
      Holcim, Interface, Wal-Mart, and several startup firms.

      Mr. Lovins’s clients have also included Accenture, Allstate, AMD,
      Anglo American, Anheuser-Busch, Bank of America, Baxter, Borg-Warner,
      BP, HP Bulmer, Carrier, Chevron, Ciba-Geigy, CLSA, ConocoPhillips,
      Corning, Dow, EDS, Equitable, Ford, GM, HP, Invensys, Lockheed Martin,
      Mitsubishi, Monsanto, Motorola, Norsk Hydro, Petrobras, Prudential, Rio
      Tinto, Royal Dutch/Shell, Shearson Lehman Amex, STMicroelectronics, Sun
      Oil, Suncor, Texas Instruments, UBS, Unilever, Westinghouse, Xerox,
      major developers, and over 100 energy utilities. His public-sector
      clients have included OECD, UN, RFF, the Australian, Canadian, Dutch,
      German, and Italian governments, 13 states, Congress, and the U.S.
      Energy and Defense Departments. He has been profiled in The Wall Street Journal (twice), Fortune, Harvard, The New Yorker, and The Economist. His latest book, with 60 RMI coauthors, is Reinventing Fire (2011).

      Mr. Lovins has briefed 23 heads of state, given expert testimony in
      eight countries and 20+ states, delivered thousands of lectures, and
      published 31 books and over 480 papers, as well as poetry, landscape
      photography, music (he was a pianist and composer), and an electronics
      patent. In 1980–81 he served on the U.S. Department of Energy’s senior
      advisory board, and in 1999–2001 and 2006–08, on Defense Science Board
      task forces on military energy strategy. He is a member of the Chief of
      Naval Operations’ Advisory Board and the National Petroleum Cuncil. In
      1984 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the
      Advancement of Science “for his book Soft Energy Paths and many
      other noteworthy contributions to energy policy,” in 1988, of the World
      Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2001, of the World Business
      Academy. Dr. Alvin Weinberg, former Director of Oak Ridge National
      Laboratory, called him “surely the most articulate writer on energy in
      the whole world today”; Newsweek, “one of the Western world’s
      most influential energy thinkers.” Dr. John Ahearne, then Vice President
      of Resources for the Future, remarked that “Amory Lovins has done more
      to assemble and advance understanding of [energy] efficiency
      opportunities than any other single person.” The Wall Street Journal’s Centennial Issue named him among 39 people in the world most likely to change the course of business in the 1990s; Car called him the 22nd most powerful person in the global car industry; and The Economist wrote in 2008 that “history has proved him right.”

      An occasional advisor to the National Association of Regulatory
      Utility Commissioners and World Business Council for Sustainable
      Development, Mr. Lovins has addressed hundreds of fora sponsored by such
      groups as The Engineering Foundation, Association of Energy Engineers,
      ASHRAE, Society of Automotive Engineers, Royal Academy of Engineering,
      National Academy of Sciences, American Physical Society, International
      Association for Energy Economics, Montreux Energy Forum, Institution of
      Electrical Engineers, McKinsey and Company, Accenture, Merrill Lynch,
      JPMorgan, Allen & Co., News Corporation, Fortune, Forbes, Time,
      ULI, IDRC, CoreNet, AIA, API, AAPG, AGA, EEI, EPRI, CRIEPI, Hoover and
      Brookings Institutions, CSIS, Chatham House, Council on Foreign
      Relations, Pacific Council, Commonwealth Club, Keidanren, Conference
      Board, World Economic Forum, Tällberg Conference, TED, FiRE, eg, World
      Bank, GBN, Highlands Forum, NPS, NWC, NDU, DAU, Aspen Design Conference,
      Royal Society, and Royal Society of Arts. He collaborates on landscape
      photography and orangutan conservation with his wife, fine-art landscape
      photographer Judy Hill Lovins (www.judyhill.com).

      • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

        How is all of that relevant to the fact that Amory Lovins misled the world with his poor math skills and horrible judgement with regards to the global biofuel hoax and scam? His ideas literally killed millions of people and continues to kill people every day by driving up the cost of food. Malnutrition is the world’s number one cause of premature death worldwide and the number one cause of preventable mental retardation in children. Lovins is the mad scientist most responsible for all the deforestation, water pollution, air pollution, automobile engine damage, topsoil erosion, fertilizer resource depletion, unemployment, and death that biofuels have caused the world. I have corresponded with many of his disciples (Lovins is a guru) and they cannot debate his ideas on their own merit. They simply quote back to me the words of their great leader who they trust as all-knowing, without themselves understanding the basic science and mathematics of energy production, or the economic and environmental consequences of following Lovins wrong-headed ideas. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ha7lUWlZaOY

        • EEStorFanFibb

          Chris, your repeated defamation of a good man is very distasteful, Frank?

          It’s relevant because if he is so obviously a liar and/or just wrong then why does he continue to consult like crazy with big firms and many governments around the world?

          You act like he is some discredited hack from the seventies. Maybe you’re just a nutter. readers can decide for themselves.

          • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

            You have not made any scientific arguments. You, as the Lovins disciples I have conversed with, seem to know nothing. Lovins promotion of biofuels is on the record. It is not debatable. The devastation of the biofuel hoax worldwide is a provable fact that cannot be denied by any honest person. When people make mistakes, they must be held accountable for those mistakes, especially mistakes that kill millions of innocent men, women, and children. The greatest number of global biofuel deaths have been children under the age of twelve. Our television media is culpable as well for not reporting the biofuel deaths and for actively promoting biofuels in the early days. Now they just remain silent on the issue. When you raise the cost of fertilizer, farmland, and food all over the world, you kill people. Lovins promoted raising the cost of fertilizer, farmland, and food all over the world with his bad ideas. You cannot ignore provable world history just because you don’t like the truth. To quote Jack Nicholson, “You can’t handle the truth.”

            • bitplayer

              Citations, please, other than polemic videos.

            • US_Citizen71

              How about some facts other than self published? Everytime biofuels are mentioned you go off the deep end with your opinion not facts. The youtube link above is for your own video. Just because a country that has no problem feeding itself decides to use excess land to also fuel itself does not mean starvation for the world. Agriculture is a business and responds to the laws of supply and demand when supply is too high for a certain agricultural product they plant less of it and plant a different crop or plain just do not plant anything. It is not the responsibility for any country to feed another one. It is a kind and humane thing to do, but not an obligation. The real core issue is overpopulation in areas that have limited local resources.

              • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

                Parts of what you say are true. The USA has no responsibility to ship food to other nations. The free food we ship to Haiti every year, as an example, has only made matters worse there. Overpopulation is a horrible problem. We have a responsibility to protect our agricultural resources from destruction, and water, phosphates for fertilizer, farmland, topsoil, etc., are all limited, finite resources we should not burn up producing engine rotting biofuels. Biofuels have skyrocketed the cost of food for everyone on the planet because food is an international commodity, just like oil. Biofuels are energy inefficient, cause more air pollutions, deforestation, etc, so there is no legitimate motive for creating them except greed. George W. Bush is an exception. He wasn’t greedy, he was and is just plain stupid, and that is why he supported biofuels. Barack Obama was warned about biofuels and admitted on television they were skyrocketing the cost of food, but he didn’t care. Big Ethanol put Obama in the White House. Farm Belt greed is a powerful political force in the USA and in Canada. Many, if not most American politicians now privately admit they know the biofuel fad was a huge mistake, but now biofuels are a welfare program for farmers, Monsanto, ADM, and the big distillers. How do you retreat from a horrible mistake without admitting horrible guilt? Politicians don’t like to admit murderous, devastating guilt in public.

                • US_Citizen71

                  You seem to think the farm bill and biofuels are the same thing. You know money from the farm bill actually pays farmers not to grow anything in order to protect pricing. Our production capacity is no where near full. The biggest factor in the cost of food in the US in the last decade was fuel costs not competition from biofuel. I do not believe biofuels are a complete solution for the worlds energy needs but I believe they can be an important piece of one. They are not the great satan you try to make them out to be.

                • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

                  My full answer as to why you are wrong in your ideas can be found here

                  http://renewable.50webs.com/

                  There are many reasons to oppose biofuels, not just one or two. I list and detail the top 10.

                • Heath

                  Despite some of my disagreements with your statements, biofuels as an energy solution make no sense and I agree with you in part. Why not have a more specific strategy on biofuels–and harvester, tractor, or machine involved with agriculture using only biofuels to fuel their tasks? Don’t deploy it to the masses, but make farming as carbon neutral as you can. Or even to fuel a microgrid in the farming communities? Why hasn’t this happened? Perhaps tie it to the Farm Bill. Sometimes the Free Market that you speak of needs a little push.

                • Heath

                  Sorry, any harvester…etc I mean

                • US_Citizen71

                  Thanks for the link to your rant, but once again self published. I read it and the supporting links and as a whole I do not find them compelling. You seem to start with a predetermined belief and then attempt to find support for that belief elsewhere, (the wayback machine is great for showing the evolution of a webpage). Many of your links do not really support what you try to convey and facts used from them are cherry picked and often misquoted. Many of the studies you try to use for support are for the small geographical area of the state of Oregon. Oregon is not the country nor the world and as of 2013 was 28th in the US for agricultural production. With a large portion of the agriculture not being for food. I now understand that you are a true believer and like a religious zealot no amount of facts will likely ever dissuade you from your belief. So, I will not further waste my time trying to do so.

                • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

                  None of your statements are accurate. Only one study is from Oregon. No one has ever been able to find a serious flaw in my arguments against biofuels. You smear my web page without giving specifics and make a generalized attack not supported by any facts. All of the links I post support my arguments and most are given in direct connection to exact quotes from the articles themselves. You are simply not an honest person.

                • US_Citizen71

                  I will use one quote as an example as I do not want to waste the space on this blog or my time doing a point by point refutation.

                  Your rant “The International Food Policy Research Institute states that biofuels are responsible for rapid grain price inflation, and a detailed analysis by Don Mitchell, an internationally respected economist at the World Bank, stated that biofuels have forced global staple food prices up by 75%.”

                  The supporting link “World Bank economist Don Mitchell concluded that biofuels and related low grain inventories, speculative activity, and food export bans pushed prices up by 70 percent to 75 percent.”

                  Funny how four different factors leading to a 70-75% increase become just biofuels responsible for a 75% increase. I deem this a mis-quote at best.

                • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

                  The title of the Reuters story is:

                  “UPDATE 3-Biofuels major driver of food price rise-World Bank”

                  Quoted from that article:

                  “(Reuters) – Large increases in biofuels production in the United States and Europe are the main reason behind the steep rise in global food prices, a top World Bank economist said in research published on Monday.”

                  “World Bank economist Don Mitchell concluded that biofuels and related low grain inventories, speculative activity, and food export bans pushed prices up by 70 percent to 75 percent.”

                  And goes on to say:

                  “The findings by Mitchell, a widely respected agricultural economist, are controversial because they goes beyond most other estimates for the impact of biofuels on rising food prices.”

                  “Still, his findings correspond somewhat with the International Monetary Fund, which estimated in May that biofuels accounted for 70 percent of the increase in maize prices and 40 percent in soybean prices.”

                  Full story at:

                  http://uk.reuters.com/article/2008/07/28/worldbank-biofuels-idUKN2861501620080728?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0
                  ———

                  Aside from Oregon State University agricultural economist William Jaeger, who else have I quoted from Oregon? He found “Given currently available technologies, it is difficult to see the net contribution of biofuels rising above 1% of our current fossil fuel energy consumption – for either Oregon or the U.S.” – From Biofuels in Oregon from an Economic and Policy Perspective

                  I have quotes and links from all over the world. How is your argument that my web page is based mainly on Oregon sources an honest and unbiased criticism?

                • US_Citizen71

                  Don’t change the subject, the article does not explain your misquotation of it.

                • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

                  To clarify the headline of the Reuters news story, I added one word,…”helped.” It now reads:

                  “The International Food Policy Research Institute states that biofuels are responsible for rapid grain price inflation, and a detailed analysis by Don Mitchell, an internationally respected economist at the World Bank, stated that biofuels have helped push global staple food prices up by 75%.

                  Has the message of my web page changed? No. Have you explained your blanket condemnation of my page as an Oregon-centric? No. Have you made any real arguments in favor of biofuels? No. No one can make an honest case for biofuels.

                • Kenneth Brunstein

                  Most people are only into affordable clean energy because they want to save money not the world. I ve never stepped over dead bodies and it is sad that that is a reality. I can feel what your saying. I want a better future for all the children in the world thats why we are here to pass down what we learn with love in our heart. Dont waste your time trying to fix stupid people keep your passion focused on your hopes and support like minded people.

            • bitplayer

              That doesn’t sound hysterical…I don’t think. Well…hmm.

              • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

                There is no way I am NOT going to alienate people who don’t care about the security and affordability of the human food supply. There is no way I am NOT going to alienate those people who have made the dream of renewable energy into a false religion. If people are irrational and do not care about the welfare of others, including their own children and grandchildren, there is no way I can sweeten the conversation to make them happy and still tell the truth. If we destroy this nation’s topsoil through erosion, then what will our grandchildren eat? Will even LENR give us the ability to create topsoil out of thin air at a low enough price to have affordable food? Food has to be affordable. The renewable energy cultists don’t care about that as long as they personally have enough to eat. Obama gets his food for free, …all he wants. Al Gore is a millionaire. He probably has not been in a supermarket in years. I lived in India for five years and have stepped over corpses in the street and seen the results of malnutrition, not only on human bodies but on human brains. People need adequate protein to develop fully functional brains, not just low cost carbohydrates. I use direct arguments, but I don’t throw out cheap shots at people and I don’t accuse people I disagree with as being communists or Tea Party members or anything off topic. I am on topic like a laser.

        • bitplayer

          “His ideas”? Show us process where Lovins invented the idea of bio-fuels and drove it’s realization.

    • Daniel Maris

      You don’t seem to understand the concept of storage. Storage addresses solar’s weakness.

      Given the continued drop in the price of solar, I see no reason why Musk – who has slashed the price of space launches – won’t succeed here as he has elsewhere. Unless of course someone like Rossi can make LENR energy a reality very quickly.

    • Ophelia Rump

      I’m sorry you lost me, what man are you talking about, Adolf Hitler?

    • bitplayer

      “who is responsible for”? Like, single-handedly?

      So you post reads:

    • Job001

      Utilities charge 150 times fuel cost increasing 1+%/yr for nuclear while RE is going down 15%/yr. The monopoly game is over. Beat the competition or quit. Case closed.

    • Albert D. Kallal

      Telsa has a great and innovate product. Much is depending on big pig trough feeding from the government.

      Keep in mind that for every hour of charging in a standard wall plug, you get 3 miles of driving. And does not include heat or if air conditioning. So in 8 hours of charging you can drive 24 miles (without hear or air conditioning on).

      And as I stated several times here, some huge mega battery plant will NOT really help the Telsa car that much. So you go from having to purchase a $12,000 battery pack to one now that is say $8000. That means you $110,000 Telsa now sells for $106,000 dollars (hardly some big price point that makes the car more practical or even more affordable).

      As noted, even with better batteries, you still only getting 3 miles for every hour of charging. Of course you can build special charging stations at you home. However the “basic” STARTING number for people to “think” in terms of electricity vs gas SHOULD start with this basic knowledge (ie: 3 miles of driving for every hour of changing). It “moot” to point out that higher charging can be done. My point is armed with this “basic” knowledge, then you can quite much cost out electricity vs gas. So about 1200 watts per hour to get those 3 miles of travel.

      In places like California that has ULTRA high electric prices due to all those “green” folks, you now pay up to 80 cents KwH (or more!!!). This means using electricity will cost you MORE then burring gas in your car to drive a given range! In fact a LOT more! (and now with pump prices dropping, this gap widens even further!).

      And many people don’t live in a home (hard to get a charging system for all the cars in such higher density housing), and worse many don’t live in warm climates. So using heat (or air conditioning) REALLY starts to chew into that 3 miles of driving per hour of charging. Start adding up these factors, and the electric car becomes a hard sell.

      Having said the above, I still like the innovative designs in the Telsa, and the car is currently for the rich – not a solution to getting one off of carbon fuels to power your car. And their mega battery plant will not change the cost of their cars in a significate way. The problem is not really batteries, but where you going to get all that electricity from – especially when places like California have such high rates due to being green. Rates are so high you can’t afford to use your air conditioning at home, let alone drive an electric car with the “electric fuel” being far more costly then driving a gas car for the same distance.

      Telsa being in the luxury car market likely can succeed, but we need affordable electricity in a BIG way for electric cars to really take off.

      Regards,
      Albert D. Kallal
      Edmonton, Alberta Canada

      • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

        That is why I oppose subsidies. I am not against Tesla Motors at all. I would love to have one, but like most people I cannot afford one even with the subsidies. The people of Tesla have talent, but the technology is not there to make it practical as yet. I like the Toyota Corolla LE. You can get them for $17,500 and if you are not heavy footed you can get 40 miles per gallon. That is a practical car that does not need subsidies, and I love the styling as well. With so many people suffering in the world, I would feel guilty driving a $70,000 car in any case.

      • psi2u2

        It appears that the average California rates are more like 16-18c/KwH, about twice what they are in Washington and Oregon, which benefit hugely from cheap hydro. The absence of hydro would appear to account for much of this different.

  • Mats Lewan

    As I argue in the last chapter of my book, LENR and other technologies for distributed power will probably make traditional grids obsolete, but they might accelerate the development of smart grids. It will be essential for the owners of the grids to keep up with this development, making their infrastructure smarter, to be able to offer an added value for connecting distributed energy devices to their smart grid. Otherwise they will be out of business.

    • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

      smart “home producer” grid is the only future of grid, with CHP.
      or else independence

      • we want LENR Fusione Fredda

        Amen

    • GreenWin

      I see no future for over-engineered central “smart” grids. This is a concept dependent on the “not enough” belief. “Smart” grids want to control every appliance in your house to match use to central generating capacity. This is intrusive and unnecessary in the LENR age. There WILL be logic built into microgrids. If a neighbor’s CHP unit goes down, remaining nodes on the microgrid kick up a portion of their energy to compensate. Regular excess is directed to municipal, school, community and medical buildings.
      The microgrid operator can monetize this model by power purchase agreement and lease of the equipment to residents and light industry. However the idea of a “smart” grid that controls your air conditioning temp and when you can use your clothes dryer is intrusive and in the USA, violates the Fourth Amendment.

      • Fortyniner

        One downside common to both ‘smart grid’ and microgrid concepts is that all monitoring and communication is via wifi, adding to the microwave ‘electrosmog’ we are increasingly bathed in 24/7. This may not be such a great idea as far as our health is concerned:
        http://electro-smog.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/vormt-de-elektronische-technologie-echt.html
        http://www.nbcnews.com/id/34509513/ns/health-cancer/t/electrosmog-harming-our-health/#.VINXF5tgA2A

        It would have been far better if this type of equipment communicated over the mains wiring itself, using the technology employed in Powerline/Homeplug/Devolo devices, or radio for longer distances.

        • GreenWin

          Good point. Agree, there’s little need for electrosmog with microgrids. Monitoring and logic should be accomplished via buried fibre. The energy portion would be copper. The only place for wireless might be a master monitor – which should backup the fibre in case of earthquake or fibre damage.
          Still, far better than hanging wires across 130M wooden poles.

  • Gerard McEk

    The grid and its utilities will only profit from the electrification of the transportation. Batteries will make it easier for the utilities to do it more economically, so I see only $$ in the eyes of the utility and grid directors.
    Tesla could be facing a fierce compatitor. See:
    http://dailykanban.com/2014/12/battery-breakthrough-nissan-poised-take-range-off-table/
    I am sure they wiil try to join with Nissan if this is true.

  • mcloki

    Oddly enough. LENR might actually save the centralized utility business. If Rossi and IH develop Coal plant replacement LENR heating units. Refurbished Coal plants would provide cheap electricity thereby negating people from installing their own solar and wind units. The end customer would have to do nothing and still get cheaper electricity. Still going to be an interesting time.

    • bachcole

      But eventually the price of an e-cat (generic term) will get so low that people will start to wonder why they are paying the energy utilities.

      • Fortyniner

        True, but ‘eventually’ might mean decades. Initially at least, I think most people will be happy to continue to get their power from the grid, especially if the price is declining, rather than stump up capital costs and assume responsibility for maintaining a home device.

        There is also the factor that governments are committed to paying ‘feed in tarriffs’ to people who have invested in wind and solar power, and some form of grid will continue to be necessary for load balancing and backup. They would be extensively sued if they unilaterally attempted to end the tariffs.

        There is also simple inertia to consider. People don’t change their banks or mortgage companies, and only rarely change their energy suppliers, even when either option is virtually automatic once initiated. If grid prices are reasonably low, they won’t change that setup either.

        • GreenWin

          However it is doubtful with utilities unable to borrow money (due to falling revenues) they will be able to build massive LENR replacement generation. Many utilities are struggling and their equity severely downgraded to junk bond status.
          A similar proposal arose around WWII with the advent of home refrigeration. Once people realized a refrigerator could replace their ice box – and they could make their own ice – it was game over for the ice man.
          Utilities IF they elect to remain in the energy business should begin designing, manufacturing, marketing, installing and maintaining appliances like Kamen’s Beacon 10. This is what NRG is doing via leases and power purchase agreements.

  • EEStorFanFibb

    Do these Google guys have any connection to Darden and Vaughn because it looks like they are saying we need the hot cat!

    “Unfortunately, most of today’s clean generation sources can’t provide
    power that is both distributed and dispatchable. Solar panels, for
    example, can be put on every rooftop but can’t provide power if the sun
    isn’t shining. Yet if we invented a distributed, dispatchable power
    technology, it could transform the energy marketplace and the roles
    played by utilities and their customers. Smaller players could generate
    not only electricity but also profit, buying and selling energy locally
    from one another at real-time prices. Small operators, with far less
    infrastructure than a utility company and far more derring-do, might
    experiment more freely and come up with valuable innovations
    more quickly.

    Similarly, we need competitive energy sources to power industrial
    facilities, such as fertilizer plants and cement manufacturers. A cement
    company simply won’t try some new technology to heat its kilns unless
    it’s going to save money and boost profits. Across the board, we need
    solutions that don’t require subsidies or government regulations that
    penalize fossil fuel usage. Of course, anything that makes fossil fuels
    more expensive, whether it’s pollution limits or an outright tax on
    carbon emissions, helps competing energy technologies locally. But
    industry can simply move manufacturing (and emissions) somewhere else.
    So rather than depend on politicians’ high ideals to drive change, it’s a
    safer bet to rely on businesses’ self interest: in other words, the
    bottom line.”

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/what-it-would-really-take-to-reverse-climate-change

    I don’t agree with them that renewables can’t do it all… but I’m thinking they are hinting at something with this “new energy technology for industrial processes” theme. It almost looks like they are setting the stage for a LENR+ reveal.

    • EEStorFanFibb

      “What’s needed, we concluded, are reliable zero-carbon energy sources so
      cheap that the operators of power plants and industrial facilities alike
      have an economic rationale for switching over soon—say, within the next
      40 years.”

    • Ivy Matt

      “We’re not trying to predict the winning technology here, but its cost
      needs to be vastly lower than that of fossil energy systems.”

      Doesn’t sound very specific to me. The following is a bit more specific, though:

      “A disruptive fusion technology, for example, might skip the steam and
      produce high-energy charged particles that can be converted directly
      into electricity.”

      • EEStorFanFibb

        “A disruptive fusion technology, for example, might skip the steam and
        produce high-energy charged particles that can be converted directly
        into electricity.”

        BINGO!

  • Curbina

    If anything I think that LENR is going to add more changing speed to an already concoluted industry. Spain has already been discussing a 30% Tax on self produced energy because the utility energy sector complained that the increasing massification of Photovoltaics is hurting their profitability.

    • mcloki

      It’s the fact that the Spanish gov is losing tax dollars. Gas taxes will need to be replaced with electricity taxes. Taxation is going to be one of the big problems in the coming decades as governments are forced to find other sources of taxable income.