2014-09-13. Sun and Wind Alter Global Landscape, Leaving Utilities Behind.

posted Sep 19, 2014, 10:04 AM by Alan Gould
For GSS Energy Use chapter 10. Excerpt: ...Of all the developed nations, few have pushed harder than Germany to find a solution to global warming. ...wind turbines, standing as far as 60 miles from the mainland, stretching as high as 60-story buildings and costing up to $30 million apiece. On some of these giant machines, a single blade roughly equals the wingspan of the largest airliner in the sky, the Airbus A380. By year’s end, scores of new turbines will be sending low-emission electricity to German cities hundreds of miles to the south. ...Germans will soon be getting 30 percent of their power from renewable energy sources.  ...The word the Germans use for their plan is starting to make its way into conversations elsewhere: energiewende, the energy transition. ...“I am convinced that wind and sun will be the central sources of energy, not only in Germany but worldwide,” said Patrick Graichen, who heads a think tank in Berlin, Agora Energiewende, devoted to studying the shift.  ...One recent day, under a brilliant California sun, ...Lennar Corporation was putting solar panels on every house it built. The prices of the panels have plunged 70 percent in the past five years. That huge decline means solar power is starting to make more economic sense, especially in parts of the United States with high electricity prices. ...The decline in the cost of renewable power spells potential trouble for companies that generate electricity. They make a lot of their money at times of day when demand for power, and therefore power prices, are high. Solar power, even a small amount, could be especially disruptive, shaving wholesale prices during those peak periods. ...some utilities, fearful of losing out as the power mix changes, have started attacking rules that encourage solar panels. Others are taking the opposite tack, jumping into the solar market themselves. ...In Germany, where solar panels supply 7 percent of power and wind turbines about 10 percent, wholesale power prices have crashed during what were once the most profitable times of day.... http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/science/earth/sun-and-wind-alter-german-landscape-leaving-utilities-behind.html. By Justin Gillis, The New York Times.