Hi David,

I'm hoping you can do more transcripts of your podcasts--or Canary will do them for you.

Trying to listen to the podcasts in their entirety but reading them is faster and more convenient to start and come back to throughout the day.

I don't what's possible or practicable for you, but I'm voting for transcripts of all podcasts if that is feasible.


Ron Sykes

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Count me in re transcripts!

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Agree! I can read it likely twice as fast as the podcast can be played.

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me too I would love to read transcripts rather than listen

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I'm looking into it, y'all! Remember that I'm just me.

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Great podcast, but the smart panel product being hawked is too expensive for us. even though in the next year we'll be replacing our filled-up panel and adding breakers to the new panel, requesting increased service run from the utility, and having wiring/outlets installed to be ready to electrify our gas appliances as they die out in the near future (and a second car charging breaker is needed too, as well as panel space for home storage tie in, but we think purchasing storage for ourselves is ten or more years away).

But I was struck by the argument about batteries and home batteries at the end. We used to have a 2014 Nissan LEAF with a 24 kwh battery, about two tesla powerwalls. We sold the car, but I was frustrated we had to sell it for so little when the batteries still had so much value than the actual used selling price.

If we'd had the opportunity to keep our paid-off LEAF, store it permanently in the garage and plug it into our grid (like the future Ford F150) we would have done so, because that would have given us home storage, and more home storage than we could ever expect to buy outright.

On the other hand, the batteries themselves are only part of the cost. there's the hardware, software, installation labor and the wiring infrastructure to run the house off the car storage, but I would think that those are fairly solvable small problems. and as the first generation of electric cars continue to reach the end of their usable battery life I would think there's a strong home market to turn those paid-off first gen electric cars into home storage.

There's another angle in terms of removing the battery from a first gen car and placing it into storage/wall enclosures, but I think you would have tremendous labor costs in doing so, not to mention having to create thermal management systems for such a set up. probably easier and cheaper to simply develop a product that transforms an old generation electric car into home storage, whilst leaving the car itself intact.

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Thanks so much for tackling this topic. I was one of the many suggesting it. Home electrification is so critical, and yet it's ALL hand-to-hand combat, like the opening scene of Lincoln. Just this week, contractors I hired just finished replacing my gas furnace and gas water heater with two air-source heat pumps (Bay Area, CA). I also piled on wall and ceiling insulation, and they upgraded the ductwork. All told it was 12 days of work. OK, take out the insulation, and just do the HVAC, and it's still 6-8 of those days. And the guy I used is booked well into next year. We are in a sweet spot for these conversions, despite PG&E forming an obstacle, with probably over a million single-family homes in the Bay Area, and more across California. Developing the labor pool, and the companies to hire them, is a first-order scale problem, no?

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Back in 2013-14 MIT did a series called The Future of Solar. I read the studies and watched the talks and came away with one resounding conclusion -- rooftop solar is not the way to go if you want to achieve anything like 100% emission-free energy in time to avoid catastrophic climate change. For one thing, it costs too much when compared with grid solar. At the time, the MIT engineers said at least twice as much and as much as 8 times as much as single axis solar installed with modern technology in very large arrays. More importantly, it takes too long. In my part of Northern NM the oldest solar installer in the U.S. plies his trade. A couple years ago he installed a 3 MW solar array for our rural electric cooperative. I spoke with him as he was completing the installation, and he said that he had just installed more panels in 2 months than his company installed in the previous 18 years of installing rooftop grid-tied solar arrays. Kit Carson's first goal was to reach what the Coop's CEO called 100% daytime solar - the point at which local solar regularly exceeds daytime demand on the grid. We'll get there in November, a year late because of the pandemic. But every distribution area in the country could reach this point within a couple years. It represents a little less than 40% of our total (pre-EV) load. We're also installing 30 MWHs of Tesla batteries along with the last arrays which total 21 MWs of solar. You can do this really fast anywhere, and we should demand that every utility do it. For one thing, if provides dirt-cheap energy that may, if things work out the way I hope, not entail any transmission costs. Bigger solar arrays in NM and other sunny states now produce electricity at less than 2 cents per kWh. If we also build large scale solar arrays for export to population centers, the transmission lines that feed us electricity when the sun isn't shining will always be full. When the sun does shine and we produce our own solar electricity for local use, the transmission line will be full of solar going to Denver or San Diego or wherever. That means we will not pay a capacity charge for transmission, and our Coop's solar cost will be around 2 cents with no transmission charge. This model works for any rural area where solar is plentiful and land is cheap. The wholesale costs from new large scale arrays will go down to 1 cent per kWh by 2025 and .5 cent and then .25 cent by the turn of the decade. In other words, generation will be a marginal cost. Storage, distribution, and transmission will be the big costs, but with storage prices falling faster than solar generation, we have a completely new price structure from when I first got involved -- back in 2011 I dreaded what warming would do to the world and my family. Then electricity generation exceeded the cost of transmission and distribution combined in wholesale electricity market. And, in 2011 storage was just a glimmer in Elon Musk's and Tony Seba's and Mark Jacobson's eyes. I don't think we should throw away rooftop, but it's just too slow and time-consuming compared to very large arrays. Just as that MIT scientist recommended then, focus on big systems. In Taos NM this winter when you plug into the wall on a sunny day your home will be running on solar. Now we just need to add wind and a lot more batteries, transition our fleets to EVs, and make our homes all-electric. Sorry if this is a little long-winded -- blame it on my Mom and my good luck in landing in Taos after retiring.

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True, Bob. Power companies are slow to change. Rooftop solar can be more efficient if one does it in a similar manner to CA. It is now mandated on new structures in CA, so developers have to install it when building a new structure. That can preserve much of the economy of scale, and it need not take up precious land--in NM, that makes little difference. I lived in ABQ for 12 years.

In CA, land comes at a high cost, so double use makes sense, and using the roof to absorb sunlight--and not heat, is making more sense out here, too. More of the land in the Central Valley is being considered for solar farms--farmland converted to solar as it becomes too expensive to farm due to a lack of water. Here, we will need all the power we can harvest--off-shore, solar, and anything renewable, as we will need to desalinate water in order to continue keeping CA livable in the next 20-30 years. NM will have to follow somehow, as water becomes scarece there, too. In NM, it may mean recycling all the water that can be recovered.

We need a national program to make homes more efficient as you and I have done--I also installed an air heat pump in 2020. I did add rooftop solar, as PG&E is the provider . . . Our rates are even less stable than the grid.

Projections for future power have not yet included the necessity of water processing. Amazing that we have western states well into a megadrought, and no one has yet projected the amount f power will are going to need in order to continue supplying water to current populations, to say nothing of growing populations.

There has been one study in CA of having solar panels installed over aquaducts to provide power for pumping water and managing water. At first, it was not taken seriously, and now it is. It helps to see the scale of power that is needed, and that is not going to be enough as water becomes more scarce.

NM gets some things right. They were one of the first to utilize water source heat pumps in schools. Many public schools throughout NM are heated and cooled by efficient water sourced heat pumps with closed circuit systems. I have always admired that. It is not being done enough It should be mandated in all major commercial projects--Walmarts, Home Depots . . .

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I've seen reports that costs for panels on new houses can be low. Perhaps, but I'm sceptical. It is still one house at a time though, and that is MUCH to slow to get where we need to go.

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Yes, it would seem so, that is why all approaches to power generation should be taken--off-shore wind has enormous promise, and has been too long delayed.

In CA we have passed the 1 million mark for rooftop solar. So, it is not trivial. If you read the Volts issue on the benefits of such distributed power, you know it has a positive impact on the grid. Yes, community solar needs to be expanded, too--in my County, we do have such a project to which I am a member. But, it is also slow, slow, slow!

Rooftop solar has had a major impact on our CA schools. Many of our larger schools have installed solar over parking lots and on rooftops. This powers the schools, and during the pandemic, contributed substantially to the grid.

Commercial installations of this type need to become the norm. The Costco in NW ABQ has such an installation, as do many Walmarts across the nation. If they all used solar, and would adopt water source closed cycle heat pumps, the energy savings would be substantial and benefit everyone.

IMO, one of the opportunities being missed for community solar is that of mass transit programs. Look at the Rail Runner program in NM--the parking lots are a perfect opportunity to have an enormous solar array used to charge EVs right there--ones that are left to charge possibly for free--while their owners ride the rails to and from work. Similar programs could be done for the "Kiss and Ride" bus parking in many cities. Hopefully, as EVs become more utilized, this happens.

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I like your comments. They show that you're really thinking about this stuff. To get to emission-free on the grid by 2035 we need to add gigawatts a year, year after year and to make it will be largely solar and wind and batteries. SWB as Tony Seba says. Community solar is strictly a sidelight. It helped when we couldn't get big utilities to use solar -- especially back before we reached grid parity in solar around 2016. Now given the scale we have to act on it's a diversion. We need lots and lots of really big solar arrays, all over the country, but especially in the sunny states. We need lots and lots of batteries. And we need really efficient transmission -- DC transmission lines, mainly west to east, across the borders of the interconnections. We need a national grid. We can do this, but we have to be brutally honest about the scale of the challenge. That will show the best path -- it should be planned top-down and executed with leadership and financial support from the Federal Government. Remember, we have to replace all the fossil fuel generation and add generation to support electrification of buildings and transportation. And, we have to deal with end of life nuclear which is the biggest emission free generation source. In my opinion at least, we need to really focus and put the pedal to the metal.

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Yes, as are you, and most people subscribing to Volts. The only point I can add to your thorough summary is that we absolutely must expand beyond teh 80% of fossil fuel power that we have to replace to another 20% or so for potable water creation and management. Desalination takes heaps of energy, and the biproducts need to be managed.

Hopefully, geothermal is moe widely used in the future. CA has 47 such installations now, and is gaining a few more slowly--too slowly. We need to get those oil drillers interested and motivated to drill for heat--not oil and gas. If they did that with the same vigor that they put into fossil fuels, we could reach emission goals more quickly.

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Great podcast! I'd take issue with Saul's cost trade-offs on efficiency versus electrification, especially if you move into an old house (built 1937) like I did last year. I spent a few hundred bucks on an energy audit, weatherization and upgraded insulation in my attic and basement. That reduced my heat loss by 30%. I'm not sure what kind of house Saul lives in that upgrading insulation would cost 28k! You don't have to rebuild the wall to get an improvement.

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Another good podcast. I take exception to a couple of points-

* No, wood stoves are not an option for getting us to 1.5, or even close. Wood pellets are proving to be a bad solution at best--borrowing from the future and considering the account to be balanced. It conveniently ignores the environmental/ecological impact during those many years. Creatures live in those forests, and the combustion impacts nature in multiple ways.

* The different heat pumps were not defined and explained. Water source heat pumps are used mostly in institutional and commercial facilities, and generally can be upt to 400% efficiency even in cold climates. Air heat pumps--mostly residential, are getting better at 200-300% efficiency.

They do not do so well in cold climates, or in excessively hot climates--like too much of the west now. Water sources is excellent for even the hottest climates, as water sources can be cooled by ground thermal cooling--around 56 degrees F, year around.

A community approach to water source heat pumps--a Community Unit Plan, or CUP, is an excellent idea that is about 60 years past due. It was first realized in the 1960s along with underground homes--which remain rare, but are enormous energy savers--as well as being disaster resistant when properly located.

When geothermal becomes ubiquitous the surplus heat could readily be used by water source heat pumps nearby. That same kind of savings could be used to utilize waste heat from many facilities when there are people to think this through. The best work being done on this IMO, is in the UK. They are using old coal mines that have flooded to act as water sources for heat pumps in London. Great savings for a bargain price.

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I agree completely about wood. We've decommissioned our Swedish wood stove and are installing air source heat pumps. Coupled with good insulation and a tight envelope, they are sufficient even at 8600' in Northern NM. We get below minus 20, but infrequently and keep a couple room heaters around to warm things up when needed. Sweaters also help.

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It sounds like we are going to have consider the trade-off between the advantages of integrating the household into the grid and the risk of giving institutions (and hackers) control over our homes.

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