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Thread: California's solar mandate

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    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    California's solar mandate

    Starting today all new residential building in California three stories or less will be required to have rooftop solar panels, or access to community solar projects. I suppose experts have studied this, but it seems like a myopic solution to achieving reductions in greenhouse gasses. My energy provider here has proposed to reduce carbon emissions to meet the 2030 goal of a 50% reduction and the 2050 goal of zero emissions using a combination of wind and solar farms. They've currently retired half of their coal plants in the 12 state area they serve. It's probably just paper shuffling, but I opt for my billing to reflect all my electricity coming for wind power. It's all positive news, but it does seem like there should be more uniform solutions?

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    A lot of energy is lost over transmission lines. I liked the Smartflower but the company never got back to me. I also wish there were batteries for houses, like exist for hybrid cars, using hydrogen fuel cells. I would love a future in which we can ditch the utility companies in the same way we can now ditch land line phones with all their wires.

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    California is a little different with respect to energy production. We don’t use coal at all. Oil has been almost totally eliminated. The majority of energy is already wind, solar, and hydro. What they are really after with the solar mandate is eliminating the use of natural gas, now used for furnaces, stoves, and water heaters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mschrisgo2 View Post
    California is a little different with respect to energy production. We don’t use coal at all. Oil has been almost totally eliminated. The majority of energy is already wind, solar, and hydro. What they are really after with the solar mandate is eliminating the use of natural gas, now used for furnaces, stoves, and water heaters.
    You mean the things that work, during their rolling blackouts?

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    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mschrisgo2 View Post
    California is a little different with respect to energy production. We donít use coal at all. Oil has been almost totally eliminated. The majority of energy is already wind, solar, and hydro. What they are really after with the solar mandate is eliminating the use of natural gas, now used for furnaces, stoves, and water heaters.
    I understand most of that and it makes sense, but one thing I don't get is how solar can be used in place of furnaces. There are electric stoves and I believe electric water heaters, but home heating is traditionally forced air natural gas furnaces. The only alternative I know of is possibly hot water baseboard heating. Around here it's know as very inefficient and uncommon. I suppose at least for new housing there could be reasonable alternatives. I think the real breakthrough in renewables will be battery technology advances that will allow homes to truly be off the grid with solar panels but that's a ways off.

    Our public service provider has some commitments to reducing carbon emissions. I wonder if there are initiatives on the east coastal areas? I'd think the areas that still use heating oil would be difficult for any sort of renewable conversion?

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    Simpleton Alan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar View Post
    Our public service provider has some commitments to reducing carbon emissions. I wonder if there are initiatives on the east coastal areas? I'd think the areas that still use heating oil would be difficult for any sort of renewable conversion?
    I'm sure there are initiatives everywhere, the problem is governments involve themselves and do feel good things which then have a major impact on service providers and their customers. The state of New York banned additional natural gas pipelines in the state which effectively limited the supply of natural gas to whatever was currently being used to service existing customers. Then areas began new construction and their is now not enough capacity to provide clean natural gas to the sites. This leaves the dirtier, less environmentally friendly heating oil to do the job.
    "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler." ~ Albert Einstein

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Serious question

    Since climate change is now recognized by most, since for-profit companies must answer to shareholders who expect high annual returns and current investment is focused on fewer and fewer companies who are aggressively buying back their shares, where is the initiative to deal with the effects of climate change going to come from except from governments setting standards to achieve?

    It is so easy to bash governments who try by pointing out the limitations of the initiatives presented but rarely do I read about suggestions from individuals or corporations to develop significant proposals or improvements on the government initiatives on how to deal with climate change.

    Before one bashes, should one not be prepared to offer an alternative or even a better initiative? The bashing routine gets very tiresome and reflects very limited thinking on an issue that will and does impact our world and our children's children.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    You mean the things that work, during their rolling blackouts?
    Solar power had nothing to do with blackouts.
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    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I get the feeling natural gas has dwindling support in the PNW. I have electric heat (forced air), and I strongly prefer it to gas or oil.

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    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    Serious question

    Since climate change is now recognized by most, since for-profit companies must answer to shareholders who expect high annual returns and current investment is focused on fewer and fewer companies who are aggressively buying back their shares, where is the initiative to deal with the effects of climate change going to come from except from governments setting standards to achieve?

    It is so easy to bash governments who try by pointing out the limitations of the initiatives presented but rarely do I read about suggestions from individuals or corporations to develop significant proposals or improvements on the government initiatives on how to deal with climate change.

    Before one bashes, should one not be prepared to offer an alternative or even a better initiative? The bashing routine gets very tiresome and reflects very limited thinking on an issue that will and does impact our world and our children's children.
    My short answer from what I've read of our regional service provider, which invites fact checking, is that solar and wind power costs have come down so much in the last few years that it is as cost competitive to traditional coal or natural gas. Some of this has to do with government financial incentives but not all. So regulation really isn't needed in a lot of places because it makes good business sense. One problem is that the sun and wind are not constant, so it requires traditional energy sources to ramp up and down during shortages of wind or sun, but I think still here it a business decision. They are saying we may get to the 2030 goal of 50% reductions and still be profitable, but just doesn't get to the carbon zero goals without new technology like better battery storage. It obviously takes time to replace the old technology with the new. It's not so much government regulation or incentive, it's just not very feasible yet.

    Here in the windy sunny west it makes sense but there are places with less opportune climates. Maybe in those places the government has to intervene somehow. I don't have those answers. To think that the alternatives are particularly green is not totally realistic. I think there are a few tons of plastic in just one turbine blade. Solar panels are not forever and have to be replaced and recycled, which goes for any battery storage as well. It's not an easy problem.

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