[ExI] The silent PV revolution

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Fri Mar 30 06:54:42 UTC 2012

On Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 01:01:54AM +0200, Alfio Puglisi wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 8:31 PM, Adrian Tymes <atymes at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Even assuming that increase, and even assuming that an equal
> > amount of fossil fuel energy production is taken offline to
> > compensate, wouldn't a majority of Italy's energy production still
> > come from fossil fuels?
> >

You're underestimating impact of relatively small (4% in Germany at the
moment) contributions which however almost always match peak, and supply
some quarter of peak demand. This is what made Germany still export
energy despite almost complete nuclear capacity shutdown and this is
what's killing new coal and gas plants.

Moreover, PV effectively cuts of the price peak at peak demand and
is thus wrecking havoc to utilities' financial planning which is
based on harvesting price premium at peak. 

> Probably yes, since fossil fuels have now a share of around 75% of total
> production, and they will continue to provide the bulk of it during the

Thin-film PV is the quickest way to ramp up capacity. It's the only
technology capable of scaling from uW to TW without missing a blink.

> night and when the weather isn't that good.

The best way to weather these is swarm power production via 
adaptive micro co-gen. Gas turbines can do it as well, since
harvest is very predictable. You can plan days ahead.

> PV overproduction during the day could be usefully stored on hydro pumped
> storage, in order to further reduce the fossil fuel load. But there is a

Large scale electrochemical storage is coming.

> conflict of interest where the owners of such hydro plants also own
> gas-peaking plants, which are increasingly sitting idle and can't be
> amortized.
> Even so, the change is momentous and is happening with blinding speed: just
> two years ago, not many were convinced that PV had any significant role to
> play at all. In two years from now, roles may be reversed.

Yes, people are stupid. Many still don't believe their own eyes and
even realtime daily graphs.

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