Author Topic: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?  (Read 303582 times)

TomTX

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5093
  • Location: Texas
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2750 on: January 22, 2023, 07:17:50 PM »
Hitting 100% renewables even for a short time is great!

I believe the ERCOT max is around 70% renewables, typically in springtime when the winds blow well and demand is relatively low (compared to summer anyway).

pecunia

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2499
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2751 on: January 23, 2023, 11:32:16 AM »
Hitting 100% renewables even for a short time is great!

I believe the ERCOT max is around 70% renewables, typically in springtime when the winds blow well and demand is relatively low (compared to summer anyway).

One day out of 365.  If three or four more Diablo Canyons were built, emission free energy would be available 365 days of the year.

BicycleB

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4652
  • Location: Land of Lincoln
  • Older than the internet, but not wiser... yet
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2752 on: January 24, 2023, 01:11:49 PM »
Following up the Aptera posts upthread: according to Michael Barnard at CleanTechnica, Aptera is fated to fail. Also, my $1840 investment should be formally consigned to the waste bin.

https://cleantechnica.com/2023/01/23/aptera-arcimoto-solo-are-sliding-into-the-abyss-tech-writers-should-know-better/

This, er, supports someone's comment upthread to the effect that if electric cars finally become popular in the United States it won't be due to Aptera. :(
« Last Edit: January 24, 2023, 01:14:27 PM by BicycleB »

TomTX

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5093
  • Location: Texas
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2753 on: January 24, 2023, 03:11:56 PM »
Following up the Aptera posts upthread: according to Michael Barnard at CleanTechnica, Aptera is fated to fail. Also, my $1840 investment should be formally consigned to the waste bin.
We're on at least the 3rd iteration of Aptera the company. Early investors were wiped out. One theme they have stuck to is projecting incredibly low costs for starting volume production, while continuing to miss their targets for said volume production.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 16591
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2754 on: January 24, 2023, 04:49:36 PM »
Hitting 100% renewables even for a short time is great!

I believe the ERCOT max is around 70% renewables, typically in springtime when the winds blow well and demand is relatively low (compared to summer anyway).

One day out of 365.  If three or four more Diablo Canyons were built, emission free energy would be available 365 days of the year.

At first I thought you meant that 3 or 4 Diablo-sized plants could provide all the energy needs for California. But now I’m pretty sure you mean the added capacity could be used in conjunction with the State’s rapidly expanding wind, solar and existing hydro.

Great, let’s build some. But the major questions surrounding nuclear remain: where to build it, how to fund construction, how long until it’s active (hint: even after design and permitting every plant has taken well over a decade, and no one has built the kind we are talking about), and of course how do you secure the fissle material?
Until all of those get answered (plus a bunch of secondary) it remains a “well we should have been building them, but we didn’t and now this is where we are.

AccidentialMustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 851
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2755 on: January 24, 2023, 09:54:29 PM »
Following up the Aptera posts upthread: according to Michael Barnard at CleanTechnica, Aptera is fated to fail. Also, my $1840 investment should be formally consigned to the waste bin.
We're on at least the 3rd iteration of Aptera the company. Early investors were wiped out. One theme they have stuck to is projecting incredibly low costs for starting volume production, while continuing to miss their targets for said volume production.

I wouldn't assume yet. See, if Aptera actually enters production and delivers vehicles, a tesla supercharger with no CCS plugs suddenly qualifies for federal funds if I recall correctly. There was the bit about charging vehicles from more than one manufacturer. Elon has been getting wrecked by twitter, but I'm sure he still has a few spare Benjamins to invest in a(nother) company.

It was a potentially super clever move on Aptera's part.

AlanStache

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2706
  • Age: 43
  • Location: South East Virginia
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2756 on: January 25, 2023, 07:23:44 AM »
...
I wouldn't assume yet. See, if Aptera actually enters production and delivers vehicles, a tesla supercharger with no CCS plugs suddenly qualifies for federal funds if I recall correctly. There was the bit about charging vehicles from more than one manufacturer. Elon has been getting wrecked by twitter, but I'm sure he still has a few spare Benjamins to invest in a(nother) company.

It was a potentially super clever move on Aptera's part.

You are saying that Elon buys Aptera so that a second manufacturer can use Teslas changing network so to qualify for tax benefits?  I am not really following the plain you are seeing.

dandarc

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5225
  • Age: 40
  • Pronouns: he/him/his
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2757 on: January 25, 2023, 10:01:33 AM »
Aptera sent out an email last night that Launch Edition would have ~50kw DC fast charging capability. I mean, if they actually deliver any. Haven't even bet the $100 to find out, but the mailing list is free (we're probably 5-10 years from next vehicle purchase barring an accident or some major bad luck with a very expensive mechanical issue)

pecunia

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2499
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2758 on: January 25, 2023, 02:44:45 PM »
Hitting 100% renewables even for a short time is great!

I believe the ERCOT max is around 70% renewables, typically in springtime when the winds blow well and demand is relatively low (compared to summer anyway).

One day out of 365.  If three or four more Diablo Canyons were built, emission free energy would be available 365 days of the year.

At first I thought you meant that 3 or 4 Diablo-sized plants could provide all the energy needs for California. But now I’m pretty sure you mean the added capacity could be used in conjunction with the State’s rapidly expanding wind, solar and existing hydro.

Great, let’s build some. But the major questions surrounding nuclear remain: where to build it, how to fund construction, how long until it’s active (hint: even after design and permitting every plant has taken well over a decade, and no one has built the kind we are talking about), and of course how do you secure the fissle material?
Until all of those get answered (plus a bunch of secondary) it remains a “well we should have been building them, but we didn’t and now this is where we are.

In the past, they were able to build these in 3-4 years.  They are able to build them in much less time in other countries.  It's not nature that's forcing the long construction time, it's man.  California has some desert land.  Perhaps they could be built there.  It would be something like Palo Verde.  It's possible they would need to be air cooled like Fort Saint Vrain was. 

AlanStache

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2706
  • Age: 43
  • Location: South East Virginia
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2759 on: January 25, 2023, 03:18:24 PM »
"It's not nature that's forcing the long construction time, it's man."

Yes and no, when a people dont do a thing for a long time they loose the ability to do that thing.  It is not just regulation and bureaucracy, its also skilled trades people. 

TomTX

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5093
  • Location: Texas
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2760 on: January 25, 2023, 09:00:09 PM »
Hitting 100% renewables even for a short time is great!

I believe the ERCOT max is around 70% renewables, typically in springtime when the winds blow well and demand is relatively low (compared to summer anyway).

One day out of 365.  If three or four more Diablo Canyons were built, emission free energy would be available 365 days of the year.

At first I thought you meant that 3 or 4 Diablo-sized plants could provide all the energy needs for California. But now I’m pretty sure you mean the added capacity could be used in conjunction with the State’s rapidly expanding wind, solar and existing hydro.

Great, let’s build some. But the major questions surrounding nuclear remain: where to build it, how to fund construction, how long until it’s active (hint: even after design and permitting every plant has taken well over a decade, and no one has built the kind we are talking about), and of course how do you secure the fissle material?
Until all of those get answered (plus a bunch of secondary) it remains a “well we should have been building them, but we didn’t and now this is where we are.

In the past, they were able to build these in 3-4 years.  They are able to build them in much less time in other countries.  It's not nature that's forcing the long construction time, it's man.  California has some desert land.  Perhaps they could be built there.  It would be something like Palo Verde.  It's possible they would need to be air cooled like Fort Saint Vrain was.
For the past 30+ years neither the USA nor Europe has been able to start and complete* a nuclear reactor within a reasonable timeframe or cost. Typically they're taking at least 3x the promised timeframe and 3x the promised cost. Over a decade of construction time.  Maybe 2 decades. If they get completed at all. Two of the modern AP1000 reactor builds in the USA were abandoned after wasting billions of dollars - each. Not to mention all the wasted raw materials.

Here's the only one I'm aware of which has actually produced power - it started construction in 2005, and even once "completed" it's had to be taken offline multiple times for months of fixes. They pinky swear it will actually, really be ready next month.

https://www.helsinkitimes.fi/finland/finland-news/domestic/22852-tvo-olkiluoto-3-to-resume-electricity-production-mostly-at-full-power-in-february.html

Asia is a different story. China or South Korea can build a reactor more quickly, but there are serious concerns about corner cutting (thousands of counterfeit parts with falsified inspections, etc) and overall safety.

I'd love it if we could actually build nuclear reactors in a reasonable timeframe at a reasonable price. However, the current industry in the West has demonstrated again and again that they are simply incapable. The only hope I have is some of the new entrants like NuScale working on small modular reactors - but they're still years away from the first functioning prototype. We'll see.

In the meantime? Build more solar. Build more onshore wind. Build more offshore wind. Build more transmission. Build more batteries. Better integrate hydro as "on demand" power instead of "all the time" power to backfill solar and wind (looking at you Hydro Quebec with 137 TWh of storage capacity...). Institute policies to encourage flexible demand, like TOU pricing - which is proven to be very effective.

*Watts Bar 2 was completed in the USA in 2015. However, construction was started in the 1970s and was 80% complete when it was paused in 1985.

AccidentialMustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 851
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2761 on: January 25, 2023, 10:30:48 PM »
For the past 30+ years neither the USA nor Europe has been able to start and complete* a nuclear reactor within a reasonable timeframe or cost. Typically they're taking at least 3x the promised timeframe and 3x the promised cost. Over a decade of construction time.  Maybe 2 decades. If they get completed at all. Two of the modern AP1000 reactor builds in the USA were abandoned after wasting billions of dollars - each. Not to mention all the wasted raw materials.

I believe the navy may have a bone to pick with you. Just sayin'. I stopped counting at 25 before y2k (only counting subs and carriers). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_ships_of_the_United_States_Navy

That would suggest the small modular reactors have a chance, since serial production is really the modus operandi for the navy. Okay, the carriers may be more bespoke because there are so few of them, but for the subs, I think all the ones I saw may have been Virginia-class attack subs?

Still, it is a reason to hope.

LennStar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3121
  • Location: Germany
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2762 on: January 26, 2023, 12:26:57 AM »
Asia is a different story. China or South Korea can build a reactor more quickly, but there are serious concerns about corner cutting (thousands of counterfeit parts with falsified inspections, etc) and overall safety.
Chinas first EPR took 10 years to build the first reactor, the second on place one year more. And China has a lot of experienced builders and no problems at throwing as much money and people as they want at a PR heavy project.


TomTX

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5093
  • Location: Texas
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2763 on: January 26, 2023, 10:03:13 AM »
For the past 30+ years neither the USA nor Europe has been able to start and complete* a nuclear reactor within a reasonable timeframe or cost. Typically they're taking at least 3x the promised timeframe and 3x the promised cost. Over a decade of construction time.  Maybe 2 decades. If they get completed at all. Two of the modern AP1000 reactor builds in the USA were abandoned after wasting billions of dollars - each. Not to mention all the wasted raw materials.

I believe the navy may have a bone to pick with you. Just sayin'. I stopped counting at 25 before y2k (only counting subs and carriers). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_ships_of_the_United_States_Navy

That would suggest the small modular reactors have a chance, since serial production is really the modus operandi for the navy. Okay, the carriers may be more bespoke because there are so few of them, but for the subs, I think all the ones I saw may have been Virginia-class attack subs?

Still, it is a reason to hope.
I should have specified either "commercial" or "GW scale"* reactors. The USN reactors are noticeably smaller and use HEU, which is simply unavailable for commercial reactors due to weapons proliferation concerns. Either laws would need to change, or the USN would need to get into the commercial power business.

And yes, as I noted somewhere in the thread - I believe small modular is far more plausible, or somehow using the Navy's A1B reactor.

That said, there is a VAST amount of untapped geothermal power which could be developed far cheaper than nuclear with easier/cheaper responsiveness. New builds of geothermal picked up last year. Geothermal also can offer the opportunity to harvest dissolved minerals - there are at several pilot projects to extract lithium from geothermal brines. The ones in California are likely to get a boost from the new EV incentives requiring domestic or free-trade-partner sourcing of critical minerals.

There is also opportunity for "run of river" hydro, which is far lower environmental impact than the traditional hydro dams with huge pondage.

https://www.energy.gov/eere/geothermal/geothermal-basics
https://theconversation.com/how-a-few-geothermal-plants-could-solve-americas-lithium-supply-crunch-and-boost-the-ev-battery-industry-179465
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Run-of-the-river_hydroelectricity

*I'm using effective electrical energy production, not thermal.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 16591
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2764 on: January 26, 2023, 10:58:11 AM »
Besides the obvious differences, I wouldn’t hold the USN as having a reputation for building large nuclear powered ships “on time and on budget”. Nor does it solve the civilian/private section problems of funding, site selection and security of the material.
M
Asia is a different story. China or South Korea can build a reactor more quickly, but there are serious concerns about corner cutting (thousands of counterfeit parts with falsified inspections, etc) and overall safety.
Chinas first EPR took 10 years to build the first reactor, the second on place one year more. And China has a lot of experienced builders and no problems at throwing as much money and people as they want at a PR heavy project.


Groundbreaking to commission is only a subset of the total time for building a new plant (which as you noted can have multiple reactors).

AccidentialMustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 851
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2765 on: January 27, 2023, 10:29:54 PM »
The subs are also trying to cram the reactor into a tiny space (relatively speaking), so I was okay with calling the comparison. They're not crazy less powerful, wikipedia was citing 200 mw (thermal?) which is less than the AP1000 but not so much less it'd be infeasible to use a half-dozen.

The thing the navy really avoids vs a power plant is the nimbys and faux-environmentalists.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 16591
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2766 on: January 28, 2023, 05:40:48 AM »


The thing the navy really avoids vs a power plant is the nimbys and faux-environmentalists.
…and the funding massive projects issue
…and the placing of  reactor next to water
…and the security issue

Comparing reactors on warships and land based powerplants is comparing apples to cats

CowboyAndIndian

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1885
  • Location: NJ, USA
    • KOWines: Deep discount wine/spirits store.
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2767 on: January 28, 2023, 07:58:46 AM »
We can all agree that the EV's are becoming popular.

Can we change the topic of this thread, @neo von retorch? Or even better, start a new thread since this thread has totally derailed.

The United States has now crossed 6% in total EV market share, working toward its goal of a 50% share by 2030.


https://electrek.co/2022/10/18/us-electric-vehicle-sales-by-maker-and-ev-model-through-q3-2022/#:~:text=The%20United%20States%20has%20now,a%2050%25%20share%20by%202030.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2023, 08:03:56 AM by CowboyAndIndian »

TomTX

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5093
  • Location: Texas
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2768 on: January 28, 2023, 08:43:49 AM »


The thing the navy really avoids vs a power plant is the nimbys and faux-environmentalists.
…and the funding massive projects issue
…and the placing of  reactor next to water
…and the security issue

Comparing reactors on warships and land based powerplants is comparing apples to cats
Maybe. We already have shore power going to ships, theoretically we could do the reverse and build the appropriate transmission/interconnect for a Navy power vessel offshore.

Very likely cost-prohibitive, of course.

pecunia

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2499
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2769 on: January 28, 2023, 09:10:25 AM »


The thing the navy really avoids vs a power plant is the nimbys and faux-environmentalists.
…and the funding massive projects issue
…and the placing of  reactor next to water
…and the security issue

Comparing reactors on warships and land based powerplants is comparing apples to cats
Maybe. We already have shore power going to ships, theoretically we could do the reverse and build the appropriate transmission/interconnect for a Navy power vessel offshore.

Very likely cost-prohibitive, of course.

I read the Russians are building floating nuclear power plants. I also read the nuke thing wasn't sanctioned.

The Turks have floating power plants for use in providing power to Ukraine.  They can station them in Romania or Moldova to avoid the missiles. 

Now back to electric cars or at least bicycles.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 16591
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2770 on: January 28, 2023, 11:32:33 AM »


The thing the navy really avoids vs a power plant is the nimbys and faux-environmentalists.
…and the funding massive projects issue
…and the placing of  reactor next to water
…and the security issue

Comparing reactors on warships and land based powerplants is comparing apples to cats
Maybe. We already have shore power going to ships, theoretically we could do the reverse and build the appropriate transmission/interconnect for a Navy power vessel offshore.

Very likely cost-prohibitive, of course.

Maybe I’m not understanding - are you suggesting we could use our nuclear warships as domestic powerplants?  As in “sorry, the SSN Deleware can’t be deployed to the Black Sea, we need it to power part of San Diego.”?

TomTX

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5093
  • Location: Texas
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2771 on: January 28, 2023, 11:49:47 AM »


The thing the navy really avoids vs a power plant is the nimbys and faux-environmentalists.
…and the funding massive projects issue
…and the placing of  reactor next to water
…and the security issue

Comparing reactors on warships and land based powerplants is comparing apples to cats
Maybe. We already have shore power going to ships, theoretically we could do the reverse and build the appropriate transmission/interconnect for a Navy power vessel offshore.

Very likely cost-prohibitive, of course.

Maybe I’m not understanding - are you suggesting we could use our nuclear warships as domestic powerplants?  As in “sorry, the SSN Deleware can’t be deployed to the Black Sea, we need it to power part of San Diego.”?
Why would you think we should use active warships which have other duties? The discussion was about new nuclear power. Use some of the ships the Navy has mothballed (either reserve or decomissioned but not yet scrapped.)  Heck, there's even a specific designations for mothballed nuclear powered ships - Category Z.

Alternately, build new purpose-built Navy ships that are just a floating power plant with sufficient defenses. This would allow all the power to be converted to electricity. For Navy ships, it's common to have some steam from the nuke go to producing electricity and the rest as direct power for the propellers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Navy_reserve_fleets

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 16591
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2772 on: January 28, 2023, 12:02:32 PM »
Why not just build power plants that are designed to provide power to the grid? I’m not sure what problem you are trying to solve here.

TomTX

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5093
  • Location: Texas
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2773 on: January 28, 2023, 12:53:11 PM »
Why not just build power plants that are designed to provide power to the grid? I’m not sure what problem you are trying to solve here.
The problem is that all of the companies attempting to build commercial nuclear power plants in the West are massive fuckups and have demonstrated again and again and again and again that they cannot build a nuclear power plant remotely close to a reasonable timeframe and cost. Costs and schedules go 3x the original claims, if not longer. Every. Single. Time. They are simply not economically viable.

There's only one commercial nuclear power build attempt in the West which was started in the last 30 years which has actually produced power. It's still not working right, but at least it's produced power. Occasionally.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olkiluoto_Nuclear_Power_Plant

Application for Unit 3 licensing was filed in 2000. Construction started in 2005, with a promise of completion by 2009. First criticality was 2021 and since then it's been a mess of shutdowns and repairs. This isn't even a greenfield site - they already have 2 reactors!

We're into 2023 at this point. They pinky swear it will really be ready next month.

If we want new nuclear power, we need to look to other avenues, such as small modular reactors - or the only Western nukes which are actually being built at a reasonable pace these days. The US Navy.

Realistically? We need to focus on solar, wind (onshore and offshore), battery, geothermal, improved transmission, flexible demand (like most EV charging) and such.

pecunia

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2499
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2774 on: January 28, 2023, 01:13:20 PM »
Why not just build power plants that are designed to provide power to the grid? I’m not sure what problem you are trying to solve here.
The problem is that all of the companies attempting to build commercial nuclear power plants in the West are massive fuckups and have demonstrated again and again and again and again that they cannot build a nuclear power plant remotely close to a reasonable timeframe and cost. Costs and schedules go 3x the original claims, if not longer. Every. Single. Time. They are simply not economically viable.

There's only one commercial nuclear power build attempt in the West which was started in the last 30 years which has actually produced power. It's still not working right, but at least it's produced power. Occasionally.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olkiluoto_Nuclear_Power_Plant

Application for Unit 3 licensing was filed in 2000. Construction started in 2005, with a promise of completion by 2009. First criticality was 2021 and since then it's been a mess of shutdowns and repairs. This isn't even a greenfield site - they already have 2 reactors!

We're into 2023 at this point. They pinky swear it will really be ready next month.

If we want new nuclear power, we need to look to other avenues, such as small modular reactors - or the only Western nukes which are actually being built at a reasonable pace these days. The US Navy.

Realistically? We need to focus on solar, wind (onshore and offshore), battery, geothermal, improved transmission, flexible demand (like most EV charging) and such.

I wouldn't give up quite so soon.  I do agree with smaller units.  Yesterday Ontario signed a deal for a BWRX.

https://www.ge.com/news/press-releases/ge-hitachi-signs-contract-for-the-first-north-american-small-modular-reactor

This is the 10th iteration of the BWR.  Fukushima was a BWR 3.  I don't think there will be tidal waves from lake Ontario and without looking, I am sure the newer design would account better for loss of offsite power.

I look out my window and I see snow falling.  The sky is grey and there is no wind.  They will be building more nukes.

On the other hand, i could be wrong.  Wise men once said, "Man will never learn to fly."

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 16591
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2775 on: January 28, 2023, 03:49:09 PM »
Why not just build power plants that are designed to provide power to the grid? I’m not sure what problem you are trying to solve here.
The problem is that all of the companies attempting to build commercial nuclear power plants in the West are massive fuckups and have demonstrated again and again and again and again that they cannot build a nuclear power plant remotely close to a reasonable timeframe and cost. Costs and schedules go 3x the original claims, if not longer. Every. Single. Time. They are simply not economically viable.

There's only one commercial nuclear power build attempt in the West which was started in the last 30 years which has actually produced power. It's still not working right, but at least it's produced power. Occasionally.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olkiluoto_Nuclear_Power_Plant

Application for Unit 3 licensing was filed in 2000. Construction started in 2005, with a promise of completion by 2009. First criticality was 2021 and since then it's been a mess of shutdowns and repairs. This isn't even a greenfield site - they already have 2 reactors!

We're into 2023 at this point. They pinky swear it will really be ready next month.

If we want new nuclear power, we need to look to other avenues, such as small modular reactors - or the only Western nukes which are actually being built at a reasonable pace these days. The US Navy.

Realistically? We need to focus on solar, wind (onshore and offshore), battery, geothermal, improved transmission, flexible demand (like most EV charging) and such.

Ok, we have basically reached the same conclusions regarding building new nuclear power plants. What threw me for a loop was the suggestion of the USN, which also has a terrible track record of going massively over budget, delivering far fewer ships than initially planned far later than scheduled. Lots of reasons why, too. I also don’t see the navy as being anything but hostile towards using their resources for a civilian works project - I’ve lived near bases and have watched massive fights over funding technically public roads which are overwhelmingly used by base personnel because they on “cannot afford” to support civilians, even if it’s the minor fraction.

What bothers me is the assumption that we can suddenly build lots of plants in just a couple years without anyone explaining how we suddenly accomplish and overcome the sizeable obstacles besides “grit” and “eliminate red tape”. I’m very supportive of new nuclear capacity and I also firmly believe that even if we started designing new reactors THIS YEAR and came up with tens-of- billions to facilitate their production we still wouldn’t see any new capacity for more than a decade. I also think it’s an absurdly stupid idea to cut every corner and build next-gen reactors with the expectation that it will take less time and less cost than all the projects before. I don’t think I’m alone - ask people if they would feel comfortable living within 20 miles of a rushed-to-completion plant where all sorts of corners were cut and all the contracts were fixed-cost well below market value. Consider all the bridges, tunnels and skyscrapers that have been bedeviled with construction corruption.

Regarding small-scale (~<100MW) reactors, FWIW I worked for two years as a data analyst for the decommissioning of several mid-sized plants. Roughly half a typical cost of a plant is keeping it secured - essentially they are like super-max prisons, but in reverse. Smaller reactors have the disadvantage of all the cost, but much less product (power). If we could trust that no one would break into a plant and we had a place to put all the fissle material we could make the actual plant 1/10th the size and a fraction of the cost (this is basically how nuclear navy ships work - they have the security built-in). But unfortunately we’ve got to build plants like bunkers.



TomTX

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5093
  • Location: Texas
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2776 on: January 28, 2023, 04:29:21 PM »
I wouldn't give up quite so soon.  I do agree with smaller units.  Yesterday Ontario signed a deal for a BWRX.

https://www.ge.com/news/press-releases/ge-hitachi-signs-contract-for-the-first-north-american-small-modular-reactor
Yes, I specifically called out small modular as a possible solution. I don't have great hopes, but it's probably worth trying.

pecunia

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2499
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2777 on: January 28, 2023, 08:41:16 PM »
I wouldn't give up quite so soon.  I do agree with smaller units.  Yesterday Ontario signed a deal for a BWRX.

https://www.ge.com/news/press-releases/ge-hitachi-signs-contract-for-the-first-north-american-small-modular-reactor
Yes, I specifically called out small modular as a possible solution. I don't have great hopes, but it's probably worth trying.

Floating nuclear reactors.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnPArpZj8ns

When Greenpeace comes and throws rocks, you can drift away.

jrhampt

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1781
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Connecticut
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2778 on: January 30, 2023, 02:02:12 PM »
So, the interesting thing is that in CT our electricity rates (with the main carrier, Eversource) **doubled** this month.  I'm not sure what the rationale for this was, or if it's going on in other parts of the country, maybe something having to do with more frequent disasters meaning more scrambling around trying to fix infrastructure...but if electricity rates continue to climb like this, you lose a lot of the appeal of switching to electric cars (although solar panels become even more attractive).  It's probably still necessary in the long run, but much like LEDs vs incandescent bulbs, lots of people who really don't care too much about making the switch for environmental reasons can be convinced to switch when they see that it saves them money.  If that's no longer the case, it's a harder sell.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 21161
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2779 on: January 30, 2023, 02:03:34 PM »
So, the interesting thing is that in CT our electricity rates (with the main carrier, Eversource) **doubled** this month.  I'm not sure what the rationale for this was, or if it's going on in other parts of the country, maybe something having to do with more frequent disasters meaning more scrambling around trying to fix infrastructure...but if electricity rates continue to climb like this, you lose a lot of the appeal of switching to electric cars (although solar panels become even more attractive).  It's probably still necessary in the long run, but much like LEDs vs incandescent bulbs, lots of people who really don't care too much about making the switch for environmental reasons can be convinced to switch when they see that it saves them money.  If that's no longer the case, it's a harder sell.

Imagine what gas prices would look like if subsidies stopped.

BDWW

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 723
  • Location: MT
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2780 on: January 30, 2023, 03:47:42 PM »
Imagine what car travel in general would cost if not so heavily subsidized.

pecunia

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2499
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2781 on: January 30, 2023, 05:13:43 PM »
Imagine what car travel in general would cost if not so heavily subsidized.

I think it would start to look like passenger trains in a lot of places.

BicycleB

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4652
  • Location: Land of Lincoln
  • Older than the internet, but not wiser... yet
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2782 on: January 30, 2023, 05:25:45 PM »
Imagine what car travel in general would cost if not so heavily subsidized.

I think it would start to look like passenger trains in a lot of places.

I can imagine some streets converted to bikes in such a situation. A few dedicated bike thoroughfares plus a larger network of bike lanes - restriping would be a cheap and to some extent popular fix if the cost of car travel increased dramatically. 

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 16591
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2783 on: January 30, 2023, 05:41:03 PM »
Imagine what car travel in general would cost if not so heavily subsidized.

I think it would start to look like passenger trains in a lot of places.

I can imagine some streets converted to bikes in such a situation. A few dedicated bike thoroughfares plus a larger network of bike lanes - restriping would be a cheap and to some extent popular fix if the cost of car travel increased dramatically.

Not unlike the changes which have occurred in several European cities over the last few decades.

pecunia

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2499
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2784 on: January 30, 2023, 08:14:30 PM »
Imagine what car travel in general would cost if not so heavily subsidized.

I think it would start to look like passenger trains in a lot of places.

I can imagine some streets converted to bikes in such a situation. A few dedicated bike thoroughfares plus a larger network of bike lanes - restriping would be a cheap and to some extent popular fix if the cost of car travel increased dramatically.

Not unlike the changes which have occurred in several European cities over the last few decades.

15F tonight and lots colder further from the water.  I wouldn't want to have to travel by bike tonight.  Europeans are tough.

LennStar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3121
  • Location: Germany
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2785 on: January 31, 2023, 12:53:53 AM »
Imagine what car travel in general would cost if not so heavily subsidized.

I think it would start to look like passenger trains in a lot of places.

I can imagine some streets converted to bikes in such a situation. A few dedicated bike thoroughfares plus a larger network of bike lanes - restriping would be a cheap and to some extent popular fix if the cost of car travel increased dramatically.

Not unlike the changes which have occurred in several European cities over the last few decades.

15F tonight and lots colder further from the water.  I wouldn't want to have to travel by bike tonight.  Europeans are tough.
No, we just buy clothes for the weather instead of letting us carried around in a climate controlled throne that defies us the good mood that comes after a nice ride in slightly adverse weather.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 16591
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2786 on: January 31, 2023, 04:39:03 AM »
Imagine what car travel in general would cost if not so heavily subsidized.

I think it would start to look like passenger trains in a lot of places.

I can imagine some streets converted to bikes in such a situation. A few dedicated bike thoroughfares plus a larger network of bike lanes - restriping would be a cheap and to some extent popular fix if the cost of car travel increased dramatically.

Not unlike the changes which have occurred in several European cities over the last few decades.

15F tonight and lots colder further from the water.  I wouldn't want to have to travel by bike tonight.  Europeans are tough.

As the saying goes, it’s not bad weather but poor clothes.  It’s pretty amazing how effective the newer equipment is for cold weather - I used to commute daily down to single digits (°F) without real discomfort. Not much different from cross country skiing in terms of clothing. Frankly I found teens more enjoyable than mid 30s because there wasn’t the slush and puddles.

With an aerobic, fast moving activity like cycling he real trick is stopping the wind, less about bulky warm layers.  The act of cycling provides your body with more than enough heat.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 21161
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2787 on: January 31, 2023, 07:49:15 AM »
Imagine what car travel in general would cost if not so heavily subsidized.

I think it would start to look like passenger trains in a lot of places.

I can imagine some streets converted to bikes in such a situation. A few dedicated bike thoroughfares plus a larger network of bike lanes - restriping would be a cheap and to some extent popular fix if the cost of car travel increased dramatically.

Not unlike the changes which have occurred in several European cities over the last few decades.

15F tonight and lots colder further from the water.  I wouldn't want to have to travel by bike tonight.  Europeans are tough.

As the saying goes, it’s not bad weather but poor clothes.  It’s pretty amazing how effective the newer equipment is for cold weather - I used to commute daily down to single digits (°F) without real discomfort. Not much different from cross country skiing in terms of clothing. Frankly I found teens more enjoyable than mid 30s because there wasn’t the slush and puddles.

With an aerobic, fast moving activity like cycling he real trick is stopping the wind, less about bulky warm layers.  The act of cycling provides your body with more than enough heat.

Agreed.  The problem I've always found with winter cycling is staying cool enough once you get going.  I seem to sweat more in the winter than the summer.

LennStar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3121
  • Location: Germany
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2788 on: January 31, 2023, 09:42:25 AM »
Of course, you have way more layers on you, so when you heat up and the sweat comes, it cannot avaporate. That's bad enough but your body is now hot and puts out even more sweat.

I really really wish their were "biker jackets" with open backside. Don't know why nobody is selling it. You need protection on the front from the wind, but not warm your back.

BC_Goldman

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 217
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2789 on: January 31, 2023, 09:45:09 AM »
Re: charging from the grid not being super clean?  Well it depends on where you live.  Where I live, I have the ability to go into my electric bill online and choose what the source of my energy is.  I choose to have my energy derived from 100% renewables.  So, for me, going to an EV will not be 'dirty'.  It will be clean.  And even if that weren't an option, I could still put solar on my roof and get my energy that way. 

At risk of being pedantic...checking a box on your utility settings DOESN'T actually change the source of your power. The power in the grid is a pool from all sources. To my knowledge, there's no way to differentiate which electrons end up at your house based on their source. The only way you can actually have 100% renewable energy is if you're not actually connected to the grid and supply all your own (solar) power. Power companies giving you 100% renewables would require a separate grid and connections unless all their sources were already 100% renewable.

Think of your electricity like your tap water. The municipality increasing the amount of spring water vs river water has a change to the overall mix of the water coming out of the tap but you can't set your tap to provide only spring water.

I think checking the 'renewables' box is more a vote for how you want power to be produced. I don't know if it makes a difference in what a power company builds or not. Seems like the trend is moving in the right direction of building renewables when possible.

AlanStache

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2706
  • Age: 43
  • Location: South East Virginia
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2790 on: January 31, 2023, 09:58:20 AM »
Re: charging from the grid not being super clean?  Well it depends on where you live.  Where I live, I have the ability to go into my electric bill online and choose what the source of my energy is.  I choose to have my energy derived from 100% renewables.  So, for me, going to an EV will not be 'dirty'.  It will be clean.  And even if that weren't an option, I could still put solar on my roof and get my energy that way. 

At risk of being pedantic...checking a box on your utility settings DOESN'T actually change the source of your power. The power in the grid is a pool from all sources. To my knowledge, there's no way to differentiate which electrons end up at your house based on their source. The only way you can actually have 100% renewable energy is if you're not actually connected to the grid and supply all your own (solar) power. Power companies giving you 100% renewables would require a separate grid and connections unless all their sources were already 100% renewable.

Think of your electricity like your tap water. The municipality increasing the amount of spring water vs river water has a change to the overall mix of the water coming out of the tap but you can't set your tap to provide only spring water.

I think checking the 'renewables' box is more a vote for how you want power to be produced. I don't know if it makes a difference in what a power company builds or not. Seems like the trend is moving in the right direction of building renewables when possible.

Maybe sort of but look into the New Zealand power system.

from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_sector_in_New_Zealand#Retail_and_residential_supply
"Electricity consumers connected to the grid have a choice of retail supplier. As at 31 July 2021, there were 40 electricity retailers registered with the Electricity Authority, although only 13 retailers had more than 10,000 customers. The top five retailers by number of individual consumer connections were Contact Energy, Genesis Energy, Mercury Energy, Trustpower, and Meridian Energy.[69] These top five retailers are also generation companies. The Electricity Authority funds a price-comparison service managed by Consumer New Zealand, to assist residential consumers to compare pricing offered by different retailers, and evaluate the benefits of switching suppliers.[81] The rate of customers switching suppliers has increased significantly over the past two decades, from 11,266 per month in January 2004 to 38,273 per month in May 2021.[82]"

When you rent/buy a home you could have the choice of up to 40 retailers!

While you and your neighborhood may have only one 'pipe', you choosing who you want to supply your needs and they put what you need into that pipe. 

dandarc

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5225
  • Age: 40
  • Pronouns: he/him/his
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2791 on: January 31, 2023, 10:07:22 AM »
Our version of that is actually voting with dollars - currently paying more than we could be to opt in to the solar program. Interestingly, the "fuel" component for regular customers has not changed in some time - the deal for the solar subscription is you pay more than that component today, but it is fixed until 2037.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 21161
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2792 on: January 31, 2023, 10:31:21 AM »
I really really wish their were "biker jackets" with open backside. Don't know why nobody is selling it. You need protection on the front from the wind, but not warm your back.

I have one with a windproof front and light breathable material over the back.  Works great in the spring and fall.  The problem is that in the winter my sweat will start migrating out the back and then form a layer of frost.  And then it doesn't breathe at all.  :P

Tyson

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2817
  • Age: 50
  • Location: Denver, Colorado
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2793 on: January 31, 2023, 10:33:23 AM »
Our version of that is actually voting with dollars - currently paying more than we could be to opt in to the solar program. Interestingly, the "fuel" component for regular customers has not changed in some time - the deal for the solar subscription is you pay more than that component today, but it is fixed until 2037.

Same here in CO.  Xcel energy lets you go in to your account and choose if you want to use renewables as the source of your electricity.  It's a bit more expensive but worth it because it shows Xcel that people are willing to pay additional cost, and that will affect what infrastructure they choose to build out next.

AlanStache

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2706
  • Age: 43
  • Location: South East Virginia
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2794 on: January 31, 2023, 10:50:28 AM »
Our version of that is actually voting with dollars - currently paying more than we could be to opt in to the solar program. Interestingly, the "fuel" component for regular customers has not changed in some time - the deal for the solar subscription is you pay more than that component today, but it is fixed until 2037.

Same here in CO.  Xcel energy lets you go in to your account and choose if you want to use renewables as the source of your electricity.  It's a bit more expensive but worth it because it shows Xcel that people are willing to pay additional cost, and that will affect what infrastructure they choose to build out next.

I wonder what would happen if the people who opted to not use renewables had to check a box that said something like:
"By not selecting to use renewables I understand that any future costs Xcel incurs from climate change will be proportionally charged to you within future bills."

I know some people would scoff at it for a dozen different reasons, but would the renewables usage rate double?

Tyson

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2817
  • Age: 50
  • Location: Denver, Colorado
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2795 on: January 31, 2023, 10:54:09 AM »
Our version of that is actually voting with dollars - currently paying more than we could be to opt in to the solar program. Interestingly, the "fuel" component for regular customers has not changed in some time - the deal for the solar subscription is you pay more than that component today, but it is fixed until 2037.

Same here in CO.  Xcel energy lets you go in to your account and choose if you want to use renewables as the source of your electricity.  It's a bit more expensive but worth it because it shows Xcel that people are willing to pay additional cost, and that will affect what infrastructure they choose to build out next.

I wonder what would happen if the people who opted to not use renewables had to check a box that said something like:
"By not selecting to use renewables I understand that any future costs Xcel incurs from climate change will be proportionally charged to you within future bills."

I know some people would scoff at it for a dozen different reasons, but would the renewables usage rate double?

IME, most humans are very bad at understanding (or caring about) future costs/risks. 

pecunia

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2499
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2796 on: January 31, 2023, 12:15:17 PM »
Re: charging from the grid not being super clean?  Well it depends on where you live.  Where I live, I have the ability to go into my electric bill online and choose what the source of my energy is.  I choose to have my energy derived from 100% renewables.  So, for me, going to an EV will not be 'dirty'.  It will be clean.  And even if that weren't an option, I could still put solar on my roof and get my energy that way. 

At risk of being pedantic...checking a box on your utility settings DOESN'T actually change the source of your power. The power in the grid is a pool from all sources. To my knowledge, there's no way to differentiate which electrons end up at your house based on their source. The only way you can actually have 100% renewable energy is if you're not actually connected to the grid and supply all your own (solar) power. Power companies giving you 100% renewables would require a separate grid and connections unless all their sources were already 100% renewable.

Think of your electricity like your tap water. The municipality increasing the amount of spring water vs river water has a change to the overall mix of the water coming out of the tap but you can't set your tap to provide only spring water.

I think checking the 'renewables' box is more a vote for how you want power to be produced. I don't know if it makes a difference in what a power company builds or not. Seems like the trend is moving in the right direction of building renewables when possible.

Maybe sort of but look into the New Zealand power system.

from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_sector_in_New_Zealand#Retail_and_residential_supply
"Electricity consumers connected to the grid have a choice of retail supplier. As at 31 July 2021, there were 40 electricity retailers registered with the Electricity Authority, although only 13 retailers had more than 10,000 customers. The top five retailers by number of individual consumer connections were Contact Energy, Genesis Energy, Mercury Energy, Trustpower, and Meridian Energy.[69] These top five retailers are also generation companies. The Electricity Authority funds a price-comparison service managed by Consumer New Zealand, to assist residential consumers to compare pricing offered by different retailers, and evaluate the benefits of switching suppliers.[81] The rate of customers switching suppliers has increased significantly over the past two decades, from 11,266 per month in January 2004 to 38,273 per month in May 2021.[82]"

When you rent/buy a home you could have the choice of up to 40 retailers!

While you and your neighborhood may have only one 'pipe', you choosing who you want to supply your needs and they put what you need into that pipe.

  As far as electricity, my experience is that municipal sources of electricity are often cheaper than the private source.  Giving the customer the choice of multiple entities with duplicate administration, billing etc never made much sense to me.  In addition, the municipal electricity is supplied without the layer of profit on top.  It is truly in the interest of the customer rather than private owners.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 21161
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2797 on: January 31, 2023, 12:52:03 PM »
Our version of that is actually voting with dollars - currently paying more than we could be to opt in to the solar program. Interestingly, the "fuel" component for regular customers has not changed in some time - the deal for the solar subscription is you pay more than that component today, but it is fixed until 2037.

Same here in CO.  Xcel energy lets you go in to your account and choose if you want to use renewables as the source of your electricity.  It's a bit more expensive but worth it because it shows Xcel that people are willing to pay additional cost, and that will affect what infrastructure they choose to build out next.

I wonder what would happen if the people who opted to not use renewables had to check a box that said something like:
"By not selecting to use renewables I understand that any future costs Xcel incurs from climate change will be proportionally charged to you within future bills."

I know some people would scoff at it for a dozen different reasons, but would the renewables usage rate double?

IME, most humans are very bad at understanding (or caring about) future costs/risks.

Being a naturally suspicious person, I am wondering exactly who is auditing that all the dollars collected for 'clean energy' on the bill are actually being spent on that.  Because that little checkbox would otherwise be a pretty substantial profit generator for the electricity company for no work/input.

TomTX

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5093
  • Location: Texas
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2798 on: January 31, 2023, 01:06:48 PM »
Re: charging from the grid not being super clean?  Well it depends on where you live.  Where I live, I have the ability to go into my electric bill online and choose what the source of my energy is.  I choose to have my energy derived from 100% renewables.  So, for me, going to an EV will not be 'dirty'.  It will be clean.  And even if that weren't an option, I could still put solar on my roof and get my energy that way. 

At risk of being pedantic...checking a box on your utility settings DOESN'T actually change the source of your power. The power in the grid is a pool from all sources. To my knowledge, there's no way to differentiate which electrons end up at your house based on their source. The only way you can actually have 100% renewable energy is if you're not actually connected to the grid and supply all your own (solar) power. Power companies giving you 100% renewables would require a separate grid and connections unless all their sources were already 100% renewable.

Think of your electricity like your tap water. The municipality increasing the amount of spring water vs river water has a change to the overall mix of the water coming out of the tap but you can't set your tap to provide only spring water.

I think checking the 'renewables' box is more a vote for how you want power to be produced. I don't know if it makes a difference in what a power company builds or not. Seems like the trend is moving in the right direction of building renewables when possible.
Some states require that if you "check the box" the power company is obligated to secure an equal amount of new renewables via something like a PPA. Sure, the pool you literally draw from is mixed - but for the energy you take out, an equal amount of clean energy is put in. This does reduce fossil fuel usage.

To me, that's a "good enough" solution.

pecunia

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2499
Re: Electric Cars: Can they finally become popular in the United States?
« Reply #2799 on: January 31, 2023, 01:08:05 PM »
Our version of that is actually voting with dollars - currently paying more than we could be to opt in to the solar program. Interestingly, the "fuel" component for regular customers has not changed in some time - the deal for the solar subscription is you pay more than that component today, but it is fixed until 2037.

Same here in CO.  Xcel energy lets you go in to your account and choose if you want to use renewables as the source of your electricity.  It's a bit more expensive but worth it because it shows Xcel that people are willing to pay additional cost, and that will affect what infrastructure they choose to build out next.

I wonder what would happen if the people who opted to not use renewables had to check a box that said something like:
"By not selecting to use renewables I understand that any future costs Xcel incurs from climate change will be proportionally charged to you within future bills."

I know some people would scoff at it for a dozen different reasons, but would the renewables usage rate double?

IME, most humans are very bad at understanding (or caring about) future costs/risks.

Being a naturally suspicious person, I am wondering exactly who is auditing that all the dollars collected for 'clean energy' on the bill are actually being spent on that.  Because that little checkbox would otherwise be a pretty substantial profit generator for the electricity company for no work/input.

I would consider auditing a form of regulation.  There are many who are advocates of "self regulation."  It seems like it would be easier to put your hand in the cookie jar with "self regulation."  I hate bean-counters but like taxes they are a necessary evil.