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  1.  
    I attended a 3 day Singularity conference here in NZ and have listened to some amazing people, AI, Bio-tec all sorts of technology based subjects (Lawyers & taxi drivers cop it first :) listen to Raymond McCauley if you want to scare yourself!
    As with all singularity the exponential growth of technology is creating a brave new world that is changing at an accelerating pace, Ramez Naam‘s talked on energy storage & solar PV among other things and its subsequent plunge in cost. The price drop is changing the energy market and creating a ‘disruption’ (A singularity term that is frequently used). Is there a minimum cost of PV or is it going to continue to drop?

    Another example is the Dubai electricity and Water authority has received a record low bid to build a solar park for 2.99c/kWh
    https://cleantechnica.com/2016/05/02/lowest-solar-price-dubai-800-mw-solar-project/
    So if this continues and solar can create an Abundance of cheap energy then where does that leave us energy conservers, do we really need passive houses… I would love to know your thoughts?
      PV.jpg
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeNov 17th 2016 edited
     
    Where to start.

    PV is probably about as low as it will go as other costs start to become a larger fraction of the delivered price.
    Don't get the kWh price mixed up with the kWp price. They are not the same thing and are not transferable between different places i.e. a solar farm in Australia may well be cheaper to build than one in the UK (land prices and planning appeals, grid connection costs), and it will produce more energy (the kWh to kWp ratio).

    There is still a need to reduce consumption as this reduces the amount of land that is needed to build PV farms on (land area time solar resource is the key).
    If you look up the amount of energy that the world uses, you will see the problem. Even if you take out transport fuel (where oil is king), it is still a stupendous amount.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeNov 17th 2016 edited
     
    Posted By: SteamyTeaDon't get the kWh price mixed up with the kWh price.
    Think one of those should be kWp but I can't work out which one :tongue:

    Posted By: Jeff Norton (NZ)So if this continues and solar can create an Abundance of cheap energy then where does that leave us energy conservers, do we really need passive houses… I would love to know your thoughts?
    If you want to give 10 billion people 2000 watts each with PV which is 25% efficient (pretty good by current standards) and you can put it somewhere with a capacity factor of 25% (the highest you can get for a fixed panel - somewhere with no clouds at all) then you'd still need the equivalent to an area 17'000 560 km on a side.

    >>> math.sqrt(10e9 * 2000 / .25 / .25)
    17888543.819998316


    >>> math.sqrt(10e9 * 2000 / 1000 / .25 / .25)
    565685.4249492381

    2000 W is a lot less than most people likely to be using this forum use now. Typical for Europeans is a little less than 6000 W.

    So, no, I don't think that even if PV panels were free we'd be wanting to waste too much energy.


    [Edit: oops, having picked Steamy up on the difference between kWh and kWp I immediately confused W and kW - forgot to factor in 1000 W/m². Thought the answer was a bit higher than previous versions of the calculation. However, it'd still need a very large land area to provide so much PV we really wouldn't need to worry about conservation of energy at some level.]
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2016
     
    Posted By: Ed DaviesThink one of those should be kWp but I can't work out which one
    Magic time travel has fixed it overnight. Thanks for spotting it.
  2.  
    Posted By: Ed Davies
    Posted By: SteamyTeaDon't get the kWh price mixed up with the kWh price.
    Think one of those should be kWp but I can't work out which onehttp:///newforum/extensions/Vanillacons/smilies/standard/tongue.gif" alt=":tongue:" title=":tongue:" >

    Posted By: Jeff Norton (NZ)So if this continues and solar can create an Abundance of cheap energy then where does that leave us energy conservers, do we really need passive houses… I would love to know your thoughts?
    If you want to give 10 billion people 2000 watts each with PV which is 25% efficient (pretty good by current standards) and you can put it somewhere with a capacity factor of 25% (the highest you can get for a fixed panel - somewhere with no clouds at all) then you'd still need the equivalent to an area<>560 km on a side.

    >>> math.sqrt(10e9 * 2000 / 1000 / .25 / .25)
    565685.4249492381

    2000 W is a lot less than most people likely to be using this forum use now. Typical for Europeans is a little less than 6000 W.

    So, no, I don't think that even if PV panels were free we'd be wanting to waste too much energy.



    Thanks Ed, while I agree with you and ST about wasting energy ( I have a near passive house myself and work in the energy efficient space) and continue promoting reducing etc.. I am fleshing out how the future is developing and trying to avoid a 'Kodak moment!'

    So you are saying about 4 Terawatts is required and Ramez Naam is predicting 6.4 Terawatts of solar alone by 2030 (I hope my watts are correct?)..
    http://rameznaam.com/2015/08/10/how-cheap-can-solar-get-very-cheap-indeed/
    So it's possible in our life time!
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeNov 20th 2016
     
    10 billion people using 2000 W each would be 20 TW, not 4 TW. For Europeans, antipodeans and, particularly, North Americans that'd still mean an awful lot of conservation compared to current usage.

    Re 6.4 TW of solar by 2030, where does Ramez Naam say that? I've just skip re-read that page and Part 4 on how far renewables can go and searched both for “2030” but didn't see it. Does he mean 6.4 TW capacity of solar? So actual production would about 2 TW given that it's dark at night and so on?
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeNov 20th 2016 edited
     
    Jeff
    Have you read this:
    http://www.withouthotair.com/

    It was written for the UK, but most of it is applicable to other places.
    • CommentAuthorTimSmall
    • CommentTimeNov 21st 2016 edited
     
    Whilst PV will continue to fall in price, I think - the storage and distribution problem isn't fixed, and it'll (probably) take a while to get down to prices where it competes with natural gas generation.

    I don't think low energy building will become obsolete (at least in cold climates) for a whilst, since when it's cold it's also dark, which either means massively larger pv capacity (10x?), massive storage, or very large "super grids", or some of all of those. Wind complements reasonably well in the UK, but not everywhere, and there is still the odd "slack" week to account for too.

    15 minute talk on storage etc. followed by a longer one on one emerging PV technology: https://youtu.be/hzywt2bDP54?t=2m13s
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeNov 21st 2016
     
    Posted By: Jeff Norton (NZ)listen to Raymond McCauley if you want to scare yourself!
    Having barely glanced at his website, would it be fair to say what's scary about him, in talk of 'disruptive start-ups to address humanity's greatest needs', is the unspoken 'and make a monopolistic fortune while doing so'?

    Looks to me that he's mising the biggest trick of all - the venture-capital powered corporation model eating itself via ever-plummetting costs, prices and profits - while a centre-less distributed economic model takes up the slack, leveraging the fundamental infinite-interconnectedness of the world-brain that's being born (which today's winner-takes-all start-up stars have so far managed to subvert).
  3.  
    Posted By: Ed Davies10 billion people using 2000 W each would be 20 TW, not 4 TW. For Europeans, antipodeans and, particularly, North Americans that'd still mean an awful lot of conservation compared to current usage.

    Re 6.4 TW of solar by 2030, where does Ramez Naam say that? I've just skip re-read that page and Part 4 on how far renewables can go and searched both for “2030” but didn't see it. Does he mean 6.4 TW capacity of solar? So actual production would about 2 TW given that it's dark at night and so on?


    Along the bottom of this chart 6,400GW
      6400 GW.JPG
  4.  
    Posted By: TimSmallWhilst PV will continue to fall in price, I think - the storage and distribution problem isn't fixed, and it'll (probably) take a while to get down to prices where it competes with natural gas generation.

    I don't think low energy building will become obsolete (at least in cold climates) for a whilst, since when it's cold it's also dark, which either means massively larger pv capacity (10x?), massive storage, or very large "super grids", or some of all of those. Wind complements reasonably well in the UK, but not everywhere, and there is still the odd "slack" week to account for too.

    15 minute talk on storage etc. followed by a longer one on one emerging PV technology:https://youtu.be/hzywt2bDP54?t=2m13s" rel="nofollow" >https://youtu.be/hzywt2bDP54?t=2m13s


    Thanks TimSmall, the video is well worth viewing and does show technology can replace fossil fuel with renewables in the not to distant future.

    The fact that solar can be integrated into building/urban fabrics (roof tiles, windows even roads and footpaths) with increase in efficiencies, I don't think there is going to be size issue... Also good to see Ramez Naam chart is popular!
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeNov 24th 2016
     
    Posted By: Jeff Norton (NZ)Along the bottom of this chart 6,400GW
    OK. 2035. With a question mark and “difficult to estimate” annotation.

    Still, I stand by my point that that would still be something like 1/10th of the power needed to give everybody even a very-minimal-by-current-western-standards supply. Living with that in the frozen north or south would definitely benefit from good insulation.
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