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02778712

join:2013-07-08
MA
reply to Jack_in_VA

Re: [Electrical] Utilities want to charge for Solar Power

Rates tend to drop in the Winter and rise in the Summer here. I'm sure it has to be similar everywhere.


chamberc
Premium
join:2008-08-05
Irving, TX
reply to fartness
said by fartness:

My power company will charge me more if I opt to be powered by only clean fuel.

As they should. The cost of generation is higher, therefore so should the cost of that service.


02778712

join:2013-07-08
MA
said by chamberc:

said by fartness:

My power company will charge me more if I opt to be powered by only clean fuel.

As they should. The cost of generation is higher, therefore so should the cost of that service.

But how can they really provide you clean fuel power vs fossil fuel power? It's not like there are 2 power lines. It's just a gimmick like buying carbon offsets.

scross

join:2002-09-13
Cordova, TN

4 edits
reply to chamberc
The cost probably won't be higher for much longer, though. Solar is cheap, wind is reasonably cheap, and natural gas is ridiculously cheap - and while not exactly "green" itself, it is the cleanest and greenest of all the fossil fuels. Coal has historically been cheap but very dirty, and now those guys are being forced to either upgrade their plants as they have been promising to do for decades (but managed to always get reprieves for at the last minute) or to just shut them down, which many are choosing to do.

Right now the preferred replacement for a coal plant is natural gas. Locally we have a few relatively small plants that were built about 10 years ago as peak (high-rate) plants, which only ran a few hours a day at most. Then the economy tanked and these weren't really needed, so they were sold off at a loss. The company which bought them turned right around and converted them into non-peak plants (basically running 24/7) so that they could leverage the cheap cost of natural gas. After a couple of years they sold these off at a profit (maybe even back to the same company which originally built them; dunno right off hand), and the buyer is planning to build more of them, and bigger. The reason it makes sense to build them here (near the suburbs) instead of at more traditional remote locations is that (a) there is a huge Texas Gas pipeline running through here, (b) they're so clean that there are very few pollution concerns to deal with, and (c) they're right next door to a major population center, which will readily use all of their available output. Meanwhile their main competition (coal, hydro, nuclear) is generally hundreds of miles away.


tschmidt
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
kudos:9
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reply to 02778712
said by 02778712:

But how can they really provide you clean fuel power vs fossil fuel power? It's not like there are 2 power lines.

Utilities constantly adjust the generator mix on a second by second basis to match source to consumption.

We have power deregulation here in NH. The green energy rate has a higher percentage of renewable power in the mix. Granted, if you sign up for green power there is no way to know where "your" electrons came from but in total you are contributing green energy to the total power mix.

/tom

ke4pym
Premium
join:2004-07-24
Charlotte, NC
Reviews:
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1 edit
reply to Jackal1
said by Jackal1:

said by ke4pym:

At night, I will eat into that 15kwh credit. So, if between the times of the sun going down and coming back up again I consume 30kwh, then I'm in the hole for 15kwh.

Except you're forgetting for one tiny little detail. The 15kWh you're "in the hole" for only covers the energy. You still have to pay for the equipment to get there. Some utilities separate that out entirely, and others use part of the energy cost to pay for the equipment required to deliver that quantity of energy (often based on a demand charge).

Just to help you understand, a demand charge is based on the maximum amount of energy you use over some defined period (usually 5-15 minutes). In your example, your demand would be 30kWh, if you didn't have any higher loads during the month.

If you want to be able to turn on your light switch at midnight, and still have your lights come on, you have to pay for the equipment to deliver that energy when you want it. If the solar rates are "fair" for all users (solar and non-solar) so that everyone is paying their way, then great, have at it with solar. What bothers me is when I subsidize your solar installation through my rates and you aren't paying your fair share of the equipment we both share (power plants, transmission lines, and distribution equipment).

And, yes, you do share the power plant. That's how the energy is available to you at midnight when the solar isn't doing anything. The electric grid isn't like a piggy bank where you can put 15kW in now and take it out 12 hours later. It has to be generated and used and the same moment, and this must always be in balance or bad things happen.

Except, we don't have demand charges here. You pay for what you use. I pay the exact same per kwh as my neighbor and their neighbor. I'm just not paying for as much consumption anymore. How's that any different than me just not turning the lights on anymore? Or running the a/c as much?

It's like the water company here. "Conserve, conserve, conserve, we're running out of water!" Opps. We're not taking in as much anymore, here's a rate increase!

And currently, for me, at least, it is like a piggy bank. If I put 15kwh in, I am credited with it. If I pull 30kwh out, I'm charged for 15.

edit - Oh yeah. You've already directly subsidized me... Uncle Sam gave me a nice fat tax refund this year for their 30% subsidy. So, thank you, tax payer for your contribution. :*)