Interesting comment from;Stephen LaGrone
For many years I have been tasked with waste heat recovery projects to capture the waste heat from oil and gas processes. It has never worked out. If you sell back electricity to the power companies you only get a fraction of the cost you pay when you buy electricity.
Here's the deal. If you pay $0.15 for a Kw-hr for your purchased power, when you sell power back, you don't get paid for the transmission (power lines and substations) portion since you still need them, and they stay in place. You don't get paid for the stand by facility, power turbines and machinery at a power plant since you are still going to need to have them in place, and you don't get paid back for the personnel they have on payroll to maintain the machinery and power lines since you still need them. What you DO get back is the fuel cost that they avoid having to burn to deliver power to you. That turns out to be about $0.03 per Kw-hour. At those rates, you can't pay for the machinery and installation cost of the power recovery equipment.
The same is true of personal windmills. Where I live, we get wind almost every day but the cost of a wind generator and the installation and the upkeep won't ever pay out.
I have several friends that live in Kalipornia and have installed solar power and say it's a good deal. But that's ONLY because of the tax breaks and subsidy provided by the taxing authorities. They love it but when the life of the equipment is up, the replacement and maintenance on it will eat them up. I bet they all end up removing that stuff at their expense. Between first installation and the end of the equipment life it will just barely pay for itself AT THE SUBSIDIZED COST. The main benefit is the feel good aspect.
Bottom line is you can't beat cheap electricity generated from the very abundant natural gas generated by gas turbines from abundant and really cheap natural gas, which we here in America have in super abundance. A normal old style coal fired electric plant is about 30% efficient with a steam cycle and other inefficiencies. The gas turbine plants with modern machinery AND waste heat recovery on the turbine exhaust can reach a cycle efficiency of 60%. The old coal fired plants are only cheap generators because coal is not worth anything for much other than burning in power stations. Coal mining and production has become more efficient, so it's really cheap, and the generation stations have all been paid for.
Time for another whiskey.
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