Re: Making 'Clean Energy' Pay
From: Brian Bartholomew (
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2006 00:49:44 -0700 (PDT)
> The power company pays the people from ratepayer's bill payments.

Then it would use less resources to cancel the purchase program, and
lay off the accountants who shuffle this money.  People who want to
peak shave at home could do it without involving the utility.  The
utility could put a flyer in their bills saying if you install rooftop
PV size X it will payback in Y years.  Or they could save a few trees
and print that right on the envelopes.

> Rather than building peaking plants, which are the most expensive
> type, they can avoid that if enough home-owners supply themselves
> during peak use summer months.

You have assumed that homeowner-sized peaking plants are cheaper per
kWh than utility-sized peaking plants.  I know that assumption is
hugely false for small vs. large fossil, and I strongly suspect it is
false for small solar vs. large fossil.  I don't see how home PV can
be more efficient than large hydro, and since they're deliberately
scrambling the cost accounting we'll never know the truth.

The most efficient mixture of home and utility systems would arise if
the consumer bought power at retail, and sold it at wholesale.  If
home PV won't pay back at wholesale rates, then the proper decision
for sustainability is to not build them.  If your response is that
fossil causes an air pollution externality while PV doesn't, then I
agree; you should put a price on air pollution and add it to the
fossil electric bill.  Maybe home PV will then start looking
attractive...and maybe it won't.

> Living, above all other things, requires a habitable environment as
> you would learn in one hour if they let you visit the space station
> how expensive (and fragile) an artificial environment costs.

I think you're trying to draw the conclusion that since the space
station is hard to keep viable, the Earth is too.  I find the two
systems so different in magnitude in every way that I can't draw that

> If for any reason you don't care about environmental security and
> only care about money

I want to see actual sustainability, backed by engineering analysis,
rather than "we subsidized PV because it's fashionable right now, and
we hid what is actually a net reduction in sustainability by shuffling
the bill monies for six months".

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.