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NYTimes left me giggling…

Doug Houseman's picture
Visionary and innovator in the utility industry and grid modernization Burns & McDonnell

I have a broad background in utilities and energy. I worked for Capgemini in the Energy Practice for more than 15 years. During that time I rose to the position of CTO of the 12,000 person...

  • Member since 2017
  • 220 items added with 76,362 views
  • Jul 15, 2021

We get the analog version – so no links, sorry.
Solar Panels vs Power Lines by Ivan Penn and Clifford Krauss makes it seem that there is a fight between solar panels on rooftops and power lines.
We need both, and especially large cities need both.
Perfect conversion of light to electricity in Manhattan, could provide about 10% of the annual energy needs by covering every single square inch with solar panels. we do not and will not ever have them, nor can we expect 90 percent energy efficiency from where Manhattan is today. Then electric transportation will AT LEAST double the need for electricity in Manhattan.
The writers, editors and advisors for this article are creating a war, where none should exist.
Yes, solar panels are cheaper and more efficient when the sun shines.  NYC has less sun in the winter when they need more heat.
Regardless of season, Manhattan will have to import more than 95% of its electricity needs even when they cover every reasonable surface with solar.
NYC will be able to make 5-10% of their daily needs within city limits. NYC is not alone all large, dense cities will need to import, so will most towns that have a population of 50,000 people plus and buildings over 4 stories tall.
The only people who could potentially go “off-grid” with solar are those with large suburban lots.
In Ottawa Ontario, the average homeowner needs 2 kilowatts of PV panels in the spring and 22 kilowatts in December. So, most of the investment would be off most of the year. EVs will make it worse.
No, the NYTimes does not get it, at all, shame on them for trying to create a divide that should not exist. 

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jul 15, 2021

For anyone with a digital subscription, here is the link to the source article Doug's talking about:

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jul 15, 2021

I'm giggling too, Doug, only because this war between two factions of the renewables community only highlights the absurdity of trying to power the world's second-largest economy with wind and solar - and the obscene land use/environmental impact of both.

The "Transmission-ists" want a nationwide, renewables-powered grid, requiring thousands of new transmission towers and thousands of miles of added cable. The goal would be to try to power Manhattan with clean electricity from wind turbines in Nebraska. Not to do it, but to try.

The "Panel-ists" want everyone to have their own solar arrays, oblivious to the fact all would need a grid connection as well (rumor has it the sun doesn't always shine in Manhattan, and snow might occasionally cover their panels).

There is a harmless, two-step solution to this conundrum:

1) Lock adversaries in a large warehouse, armed with Bataca bats, to pound each other playfully into submission. Or exhaustion.

2) Re-commission Indian Point Nuclear Energy Center and make both options unnecessary.

It isn't nearly as difficult as it seems.

Roger Levy's picture
Roger Levy on Jul 19, 2021

Doug - more commentary like this and you’ll get yourself cancelled.  On future posts just remember, don’t let facts get in the way.

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