Skip to comments.Study: Solar power could add 123,000 new jobs by 2020
Posted on 07/03/2007 1:32:27 PM PDT by P-40
Development of the solar energy industry in Texas would have a significant economic impact for consumers, the environment and workers, according to a study released by the IC2 Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.
Opportunity on the Horizon: Photovoltaics in Texas finds the benefits of nurturing the solar energy industry will stimulate the state's economy, reduce the cost of power for consumers and minimize greenhouse gas emissions.
"Worldwide, the cost of converting sunlight to electricity is rapidly decreasing. The right public policies, combined with emerging and increasingly efficient technologies in solar power, would create a solid opportunity for Texas to build an economic engine on this non-polluting resource," Joel Serface of Clean Energy Incubator said.
The paper cites a recent University of California-Berkeley study that finds the solar industry produces seven to 11 times as many jobs on a megawatt capacity basis as coal-fired power plants and has a larger positive trickle-down effect than wind energy.
Estimates suggest Texas could generate 123,000 new high-wage, technology-related, advanced manufacturing and electrical services jobs by 2020 by actively moving toward solar power. It is predicted these jobs would be created across the entire state as large solar farms grow in West Texas, silicon plants develop along the Gulf Coast and manufacturing centers appear in Central Texas.
The report evaluates the competitive benefits Texas has in the worldwide market and compares the overall results of Texan efforts against other states and international competitors. The study notes that although Texas consumed more energy than any other state and has the best overall climate for producing solar energy year-round, it ranked 8th in solar adoption in 2006, producing just 1/100th of the solar energy of California.
Texans pay about 13 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity. It is believed that the production of photovoltaics, like other semiconductors, would follow a predictable decline in costs. Analysts predict this cost decline will translate to between 10 to 15 cents per kilowatt-hour as early as 2010.
In 1999, the Texas Legislature adopted a bill that introduced the retail competition in the sale of electricity and renewable portfolio standards (RPS) to consumers. Since 2002, electricity-users in deregulated markets have been able to choose their power providers from a multitude of retailers. The legislation requires energy providers to increase the amount of renewable energy produced through a combination of solar, wind, geothermal, hydro wave, tidal, biomass-based waste products or landfill gas.
To date, energy producers have chosen to focus on wind energy for a multitude of reasons, including federal tax incentives for producers, the large amount of wind resources in the state and the scalability of large wind projects. The report concludes that the legislation has brought many benefits to consumers across the state and can be used as a roadmap for the successful expansion of solar power across the state.
Worldwide, investors are confident in the future of solar power. The solar industry grew to $10.6 billion in revenues in 2006 and is estimated to be greater than $30 billion, with some analyst estimates as high as $72 billion for the entire solar value chain by 2010.
The report outlines several recommendations to strengthen the state's solar strategy. Starting with leadership to create the policies necessary for success, Texas could leverage its natural resources, skilled workforce, existing industries and entrepreneurial spirit to create a new energy industry, the report says.
123,000 jobs is a mere blip on the radar for the US, which will have a total population of 336 million by 2020.
In the areas where they want to put some of these plants, a company offering a hundred jobs would be a major employer. :)
Lest we let business take it's course independently and decide without politicians deciding instead for political reasons.
One shouldn't lose focus as to why life is good relatively speaking and why many want to be here in the greatest country known to mankind.
Point being, let business decide via sales via the public.
We know better and business will cater to us to survive.
That way, life will maintain it's status of being good.
And a requirement for survival in a free nation. ; )
Jobs are jobs, but in the grand scheme of things, the reason to go solar should not be tied to the number of jobs it creates. I am sure that we would create more jobs doubling or tripling the number of our nuclear plants.
We could easily cut back that much if we had to.
It "ain't" getting our needs or where we get them, it's why and who is behind it.
If you are so dead set on closing the market to domestic only without government regulation making it happen, I won't call you an idiot, I'll just consider you confused.
Perhaps, but it's apparently due to a restriction in the ability to supply enough sufficiently-refined silicon. A situation a free-market economy would rectify in fairly short order.
You are correct. The cost has roughly doubled since 1999. I bought the parts for a 1000 watt system for $6500 in 99, and was looking into doubling it last summer, but just the additional panels would have cost $14,000.
more calls for illegal alien help and hb 1 visas? After all God forbid there might be jobs for Americans.
Nope, just political agenda via personal promotion.
And what political agenda would that be?
One can hope thorium will be the prevailing use of nucluer...for many reasons. Although waste disposal is more of cost rather than place...lol...if that makes sense.
I like alternatives and I think solar has a future, but storage is an issue as well. If they can provide cheap forms of storage (preferable at home), and solar reduces cost...which is likely...then good change will come through.
At one point they’ll likely become highly competitive. More so the solar plants, then the home versions.
“More concentrated solar power plants will be built in the Southwest, providing clean electricity for millions of homes and businesses around the region. According to Sandia National Labs, costs are predicted to fall to about 5 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2020, a price competitive with new coal- or gas-fired power plants.”
Except when it’s night. That happens about once a day, last time I heard.
Out at my farm west of Lubbock, I’ve had a well running on solar power (4 x 85w BP panels) for almost ten years. They have been beat by no telling how many hail storms over the decade and they are not much the worse for the wear. They still work fine.
Nuclear power generating capacity is 105,585 MWs, THAT IS A LOT OF POWER.
Solar capacity is a mere 397 megawatts:
So nuclear power today is generating 300 times more energy than solar. Solar generation is miniscule, and as I mentioned only exists at all due to boondoggle subsidies.
Nuclear power is more cost effective, more environmentally friendly (less space needed), yet solar gets all the hype.
I am convinced that energy technology hype is inversely related to its actual utility.
“by 2050, we should have lead-bismuth fast reactors that can use up this stuff and burn it completely so there is zero real nuclear waste ove time.”
Interesting...did not know that. That should reduce costs...shouldn’t it?
“People are paid for solar because it is a taxpayer-funded boondoggle. yet solar gives us less than 1% of our energy. meanwhile nuclear generates 20% of our power”
I’ve heard people say nucluer is a taxpayer boondoggle as well. Not sure how the math works out on that, but it seems nucluer adds more to the system then it takes out...although I’m not quite sure what the truth is.
“With all the money we waste on alternative energy and ethanol subsidies, we could redirect is on cost-effective nuclear power and end forever the threat of global warming.”
Biofuels will likely be really important....especially algae biomass. I’d much rather congress award based on results ie if you meet a particular standard that’s competitive or semi-competitive to our current energy...you get capital.
I don’t think it’s in our interest to depend on foreign petro...but then again just throwing money at the problem isn’t the most efficient way of changing things. For some reason I’m not as worried about electricity than petro. Maybe because we have the means to survive on our resources.
I just don’t think the dems have the political capital to fight companies in that sense. We’ll have electrical energy at home...but the petro is another issue in itself.
Unless you're a troglodyte or a C.H.U.D. or one of the Mole People, 2000 ft, down in volcanic tuff is nobody's "back yard". The place is on the grounds of the Nevada Test Site. They used to light off atomic bombs right on the surface in that place. That is nobody's "back yard" unless you're The Atomic Kid.
“It is cheap, reliable, and waste-free. Nuclear power can make that claim, not solar.”
” Huh? Yeah real safe[roll eyes] “
Let’s start by pointing out that in Three Mile Island nobody was killed or injured. Chernobyl occured using Soviet technology built to be unsafe that was always illegal in any wester country - they didnt have a containment vessel that every western reactor has (the containment vessel proved itself in the Three Mile Island accident, preventing excape of radioactivity).
The heavily-recuglated nuclear power industry has had a very good safety record in the US. When you compare other industries, nuclear is indeed safer (consider coal mining disasters in recent years, or refinery explosions or even construction accidents).
” Underground storage at Yucca Mountain in U.S. has been proposed as permanent storage. After 10,000 years of radioactive decay, according to United States Environmental Protection Agency standards, the spent nuclear fuel will no longer pose a threat to public health and safety.”
Yes, this is following very stringent EPA rules. What they *dont* mention is that most radioactivity is gone in the first 20 years, and by 300 years practically *all* the radioactivity of radiation products is *gone*. The materials is about 5 orders of magnitude less radioactive, ie loses 99.999% of its radioactivity in first 300 years - the used fuel after 300 years is no more radioactive than uranium ore found naturally... But the fact is that nuclear used fuel is a valuable resource that is radioactive partly because *it remains to be fuel*. It has Pu, Ur, and other actinide components that can and should be recycled into nuclear power plants. These actinides have long half-lives that make the remaining radioactivity, tiny though it is, last a long time. If we did recycle such fuel, the already small waste stream could be reduced by a factor of 60, and the radioactive waste would fall to background radioactivity levels within 300 years. I would prefer this method to the ‘once through’ method, but opponents of nuclear energy in the Jimmy Carter era mandated ‘once through’ just to be annoying and it stuck.
Despite all this, it remains that the entire country’s used nuclear fuel can fit into the size of a municipal waste dump... it’s a small, not big, problem:
“High energy means a small volume of used fuel. Every 12-24 months, U.S. plants are shut down and the oldest fuel assemblies are removed and replaced. All of the country’s nuclear power plants together produce about 2,000 metric tons of used fuel annually. To put this in perspective, all the used fuel produced to date by the U.S. nuclear energy industry in more than 40 years of operationsome 50,000 metric tonswould cover an area the size of a football field to a depth of about six yards, if the fuel assemblies were stacked side by side and laid end to end.”
Pledges by politicians are about as useful as the methane they blow out their a$$e$. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1986 set the framework for management of "spent" fuel in this country. A Presidential candidate can pander to the anti-nuke kooks all they want about Yucca Mountain, but unless the NWPA legislation is repealed or amended, the President can't unilaterally change the policy. There would be a court challenge and the President would lose.
If we were really serious about a constructive and practical solution to waste management, we would lift the ban on fuel reprocessing in this country and also implement full actinide recycle with the recovered Pu as fuel for LWRs. Waste partitioning alone isn't going to cut it. Partitioning with actinide recycle will.
Please bury the nuclear waste in my back yard.
There is nothing dangerous about transporting nuclear waste or buryng it after we are done with it as we are just putting it back in the earth where we got from and the technology and equipment is already here.
Also please build a nuclear reactor in my neighborhood as I want reliable grid power (not unreliable expensive enviro feel good power) that does not stop when the sun goes down or the wind dies.
How about this, all the enviros that want wind and solar power so bad have to agree to have their power automatically cut off when the sun goes down or the wind dies.
You know the truth of the matter. I and others here have told you in post after post on these threads what the scientific basis of our positions is. Use that knowledge constructively to change people's minds, if you truly believe what we've told you. If you don't, then tell us why you don't and we'll try to correct any misconceptions.
For the record, I don't "fear" other energy sources. It's all technology, which is amoral. It's all in how you use it. Every technology has advantages and downsides. You have to weigh those as rationally as you can using whatever parameters you think are relevant to such an evaluation, and make your best call. Right now nuclear is the best way to go for reliable, economical baseload electricity generation, with relatively small and manageable environmental impact. We know how to do it. We have the technology. It can be implemented without waiting for any kind of "breakthrough", either economic or technological.
You do a little at a time. Do what you can do. Getting organized is one way. That is what the anti-nukes do. Find an advocacy group and help out. American Nuclear Society is a professional organization but they have a public outreach function. Nuclear Energy Institute is a trade organization but they offer public education services. Take advantage of these.
I have come to a somewhat disconsolate but unalterable conclusion that the average American is quite intellectually lazy. It usually takes a shock to awaken them from their torpor. We've had those in the past with gasoline shortages and high prices, but the primary reaction seems to be screeching and a cry for government to "do something". When the really big shock comes, maybe it will change attitudes, but it may cost a lot of lives in doing so.
The mass-energy conversion per fission is about 220 MeV, a fraction of the rest mass energy of a single nucleon. A rule of thumb is about 1 gram of 235U burnup per megawatt day, but that is not lost mass, simply conversion of 235U to fission products plus some mass to energy conversion.
Yes, key issues in waste management are: how much waste do you have (volume), and where is the waste located? With CO2 emission from coal-fired units, you have millions of tons of gaseous waste going who knows where in the biosphere, a gaseous, mobile material blown about by the four winds. With fission products, you have small quantities and you know exactly where they are (in the fuel pellets). Yes, they are radioactive for a time so you have to manage them, but a little shielding and decay time go a long way towards reducing the hazards.
I do think that west Texas gets quite a bit of "day" as well, and done right, it could probably take care of much of the grids' daytime power needs.
I hope so. I am watching Exelon’s efforts with the Matagorda County effort. You’re looking at a 48% increase in electricity demand in Texas by 2030, and since there’s going to be an 8-10 year lead time in bringing on any kind of significant new baseload capacity, the time is now to move ahead with these things.
The French have reprocessed power plant spent fuel rods at the COGEMA LaHague site since 1966. The French see reprocessing as ecologically sound, economical and profitable and as demonstrating scientific leadership on a world stage.
Imagine you are sitting in the "hot seat" of the regional grid control center (as I have). Your primary source of capacity is a solar-based system in West Texas. You have some spinning reserve in a coal or nuclear plant here or there, and a few GT peakers, but those probably can't handle a significant drop in primary output. So now you see a fairly strong weather front moving across the Southwest. The edge of the front is ragged, the winds chaotic as they are wont to be, there is significant turbulence and unpredictable variation in cloud cover. As the front approaches the PV array the output begins to fluctuate, manageable at first but increasingly variable. You switch in your spinning reserve and maybe fire up some peakers, which calms things a bit but only temporarily. As the weather front covers more of your generating array, you start getting serious voltage sags. You try to balance the load with regional grid interties, but your neighbors have their own worries for capacity and don't have much to give. They see your regional grid instability growing and in fact are starting to think about isolation more than intertie. They don't want to be dragged down into a blackout if you go under. The front has cleared part of your PV array so a little more capacity is available, but the ragged leading edge is still causing worrisome fluctuations and line drops. You start thinking about reducing voltage, but for industrial users brownouts can be more problematic than a straight blackout, because of equipment damage. You look up your contingency plan for rotating blackouts and voluntary load shedding. Just as you're about to pull the switch, the front breaks up and you're in the clear as long as you've got that spinning reserve and those peakers, for awhile. Whew! Close one. But you made it through that one, no worse for the wear but for some extra grays hairs and maybe a little closer to a coronary. Then you look at the weather charts for next week. There's this front sweeping in from the west...
by 2050, we should have lead-bismuth fast reactors that can use up this stuff and burn it completely so there is zero real nuclear waste ove time.
Interesting...did not know that. That should reduce costs...shouldnt it?
COST: The key drivers for nuclear energy cost are thermal efficiency and complexity of the plant construction. Another secondary one is refueling and fuel efficiency use.
heavy metal nuclear reactors were used in Russian subs but otherwise not pursued; commercial nuclear plants in the west are based on pressurized water reactors or boiling water reactors. Heavy metal reactors have real promise in the future for many reasons, mainly to do with the above factors. Lead as the moderation fluid means that you have a non-pressurized vessel that has a safe operating range to very high temperatures, since lead is liquid up to 1700C.
It also doesnt react badly to air, as liquid sodium does.
This is much more stable situation than other reactor types.
Such reactors are ‘fast’ reactors, since lead has low neutron profile. This means they could be used to burn up the fuel more efficienctly and/or be run as ‘burners’ or ‘breeders’ of actinide fuel. The safe operating range means they can run hotter, which means higher thermal efficiency, which means more economical system overall (using a gas/CO2 as heat transport mechanism to a Brayton-combined-cycle turbine, paper studies show a 50% efficiency at 600C or so).
This has been studied by MIT and Argonne National Lab. Such reactors don’t exist except on paper, but the technology is part of the “Generation IV” reactor concepts that may get built in the next 10 years or so, thus it is conceivable that in 3 decades or less, such reactors become commercially viable.
People are paid for solar because it is a taxpayer-funded boondoggle. yet solar gives us less than 1% of our energy. meanwhile nuclear generates 20% of our power”
“Ive heard people say nucluer is a taxpayer boondoggle as well. Not sure how the math works out on that, but it seems nucluer adds more to the system then it takes out...although Im not quite sure what the truth is.”
A) The anti-nuclear folks claim that Govt is paying for waste disposal, when in fact the nuclear industry is paying their own way - they pay .0001/Kw into a fund for it that covers the cost.
B) Nuclear generates 20% of our electricity. If it didn’t pay its own way, it wouldnt be used that extensively. Consider the property taxes and utility company corporate taxes that are paid by it.
C) Govt does spend money on nuclear research, but the cost pales in comparision to the ethanol boondoggle and is less than subsidies and grants for ‘renewables’. Note that we even pay for coal tehcnology research etc., so it is spread around.
Les compare costs:
“EPRI estimates that a 500-MW solar plant would cost about $1.5 billion, or $3,000/kW, Bedard said. A just-built 64-MW solar plant in Nevada cost about $4,000/kW, he said. Nevada Power is buying the output from the Nevada Solar One project.
EPRI has had little involvement with solar power in the last decade, Bedard said. But climate change and renewable portfolio standards have renewed utility interest in the technology.
Currently, electricity from a CSP plant costs about 16 cents/kWh, compared with 7 cents/kWh for wind and 5.5 cents/kWh for coal, he said.”
Nuclear operation costs are so low these days that older plants cost under 4cents/KWh. New nuclear plants can be built for under $2000/Kwh.
Solar is very far from competitive.
“Biofuels will likely be really important....especially algae biomass. Id much rather congress award based on results ie if you meet a particular standard thats competitive or semi-competitive to our current energy...you get capital.”
The best way to keep a level playing field is to focus Govt spending solely on R&D (no subsidies), tax fossil fuels and/or imports to discourage them, and let the free market and efficiency factors do the rest. Private capital will step up if the solution is a competitive one.
The first I heard of them going after hydroelectric facilities was about eight years ago....but at the time I think it was because they did not want a certain river damed so they were saying it causes pollution to dam rivers...or something to that effect. They have been quiet here in Texas though since all the coal talk started up. I do comment TXU for their tough stance in the face of reality.
“Then the opposition to the site was just in my imagination? “
Of coruse there was/is opposition. But the opposition has no basis in reality, or at least real immediate concerns...
The entire county in which Yucca mountain resides has a population of 1400!
“Eureka County has an extremely low population density - only 0.34 persons per square mile, as compared to 22 persons per square mile for Nevada as a whole, and 83.8 persons per square mile nationwide. 51% of the estimated 2005 county population of 1,485 resided in the town of Eureka or Crescent Valley, so the actual population density of areas outside of these towns is considerably lower than 0.34 persons per square mile. This is typical of and consistent with the rest of rural northern Nevada, where population tends to be clustered around small towns and cities which grew up as mining towns, local commerce centers serving the surrounding rural areas, or railroad camps. In addition, approximately 81% of Eureka County land is federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, making these areas presently unavailable for settlement. “