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With GE's Big Turbines on the Way to R.I., N.Y. Jumps into the Offshore Wind Game; Plus, Utilities Feel the Winds of Change

Offshore-wind-nuon.jpg

This week’s news includes some big news for the nascent American offshore wind industry and more calls for updates to the utility business model. Come along with us to the shores of Rhode Island for this week’s news round up.

This is the year, folks, it’s finally happening! Offshore wind in the U.S.A.! Off the coast of Rhode Island, the Block Island project, which “broke water” last year, is set to install actual wind turbines that will actually deliver actual wind-generated electricity to the actual grid. This week GE Renewable Energy announced that the company is shipping five 6 MW offshore wind turbines to Rhode Island from the company’s manufacturing facility in France. From there, Deepwater Wind will install the turbines beginning in August, and voila! The race for offshore wind is over… or at least it has finally begun.

“This marks a milestone for the company and we are proud to contribute to the Block Island project, the first offshore wind farm in the United States,” said Jérôme Pécresse, Chairman and CEO of GE Renewable Energy. The shipment from the company’s Saint-Nazaire facility, he continued, “demonstrates our readiness to respond to not only the French but also expanding international demand.”

And expanding it is. As shown in AEE’s Advanced Energy Now 2016 Market Report, offshore wind had a record year globally in 2015, adding 3.7 GW of capacity (up from 995 MW in 2014) and bringing cumulative installations worldwide to approximately 12 GW by year’s end. Over 65% of the 2015 capacity additions was installed in Germany. Other leading offshore wind markets, such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and China, added capacity as well.

The Block Island Tourism Council’s website claims that “getting here is half the adventure of the vacation.” Maybe “getting to” American offshore wind is half the battle.

Now, right behind Little Rhody, here comes New York! This week came the surprise announcement that the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) would be moving forward with the construction of a wind farm off the coast of Montauk. The 90 MW facility will be developed by Deepwater Wind, the same developer doing the Rhode Island installation.

The Block Island project “probably shaved three years off the development time by going first,” LIPA CEO Tom Falcone told Politico New York.

LIPA trustees had once before rejected the proposed offshore wind project, saying it would be too expensive for Long Islanders. Since then, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an ambitious statewide goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030. The decision to move forward with offshore wind now was made because “it’s the lowest cost renewable option to meet the governor’s clean energy goal,” LIPA CEO Falcone said. The LIPA board will be voting on the project next week.

The winds of change are blowing onshore as well, and utilities are feeling them. This week Navigant and Public Utilities Fortnightly released a report entitled “State & Future of the Power Industry.” The report, which interviewed industry leaders and surveyed hundreds of industry insiders, signals that utility stakeholders and energy industry professionals see a sea change coming in the utility business model: more than 90% of survey respondents believe that the growth of distributed energy resources (DER) will “force a major shift in utility business models.”

DER is “already growing faster than central station generation this year in North America,” said Jan Vrins, leader of Navigant’s Global Energy segment, but added it varies by region. North American utilities are “at various stages of integrating” these advanced energy technologies into their business models.

The headlines at Utility Dive this week show some examples of utilities trying to make the transition to a more distributed electricity system. Rochester Gas and Electric, a utility based in upstate New York, is looking to add at least 1.5 MW of DER in its territory so it won’t have to spend $11.8 million on an upgrade to a substation. In California, Pacific Gas & Electric has announced a partnership with SolarCity for a pilot solar+storage program in San Jose. At a recent conference, Public Service Electric and Gas CEO Ralph Izzo indicated that he wants to make efficiency and DERs “available to all consumers,” with the New Jersey utility incorporating, and financing, these investments into its customer offerings – a prospect not likely to be welcomed by independent sellers of DER.

As AEE’s webinar yesterday on how utilities make money pointed out, the times, they are a-changin’. Utility business models need to update or risk being left in the dust (or worse, losing out on billions of dollars in advanced energy economic activity). View the webinar at the link below.

View the Webinar

Content Discussion

Torrey Beek's picture
Torrey Beek on July 19, 2016

Lexie, does the LIPA OSW project also include land-based storage? I had heard from a contact that Deepwater is aiming to enter the project into the capacity market for peak reduction load services, but have not been able to confirm the intended market for the output.

Also, thanks for providing updates on utility DER efforts! Such a long way to go with distributed energy, but encouraging to see some utilities (once again, in Cali and New York) pushing ahead.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on July 19, 2016

Lexie, I get the impression renewables evangelists think electricity is just waiting inside their walls for someone to let it out.

What they all need – and they’ll get, soon enough – are blackouts, to gain an understanding of the value of utility electricity. Because you have none whatsoever. Your talk is cheap, based not on experience, but on hype. And once blackouts start happening on a regular basis, your grand renewables visions will blow away like scraps of paper in the wind.

Lexie Briggs's picture
Lexie Briggs on July 20, 2016

Hi Torrey,

Although the article doesn’t mention it, it looks like storage was originally part of the LIPA plan. Here’s the press release from Deepwater: http://dwwind.com/press/deepwater-wind-proposes-innovative-offshore-wind-energy-storage-solution-to-meet-growing-energy-demand-on-long-islands-south-fork/

Lexie Briggs's picture
Lexie Briggs on July 20, 2016

I think you’ll see, Bob, if you read my article, that it’s utilities that are actively purchasing electricity generated from advanced energy sources, in part to avoid blackouts.

It’s always a pleasure to have you comment, though! Thank you for your thoughts.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on July 20, 2016

Lexie, thanks for your response. I was beginning to doubt your humanity, but here you are. Welcome to TEC – participation is progress.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on July 20, 2016

Lexie, you were so kind to respond to my post, I went back and read your article again. I thought I had missed some support for your notion that renewables, which are not “advanced energy” but centuries old, help avoid blackouts. Predictably, it was a waste of time. More cheap, ignorant hype.

There’s a lot of that flying around, but yours is harmful to the environment. I kind of have a problem with that – sorry. I hope my thoughts are pleasureable for you, but I have no doubt these will go unanswered.

Lexie Briggs's picture
Lexie Briggs on July 21, 2016

I think part of the problem, Bob, is that we’re using different vocabulary. When I say “advanced energy,” I’m talking about an entire ecosystem and industry of advanced technologies that includes renewable generation sources but also software to coordinate utility responses to peak demand, natural gas generation, electric and hybrid vehicles, natural gas vehicles, and a lot more. Check out this report (don’t worry, it’s free!) for more information about advanced energy: http://info.aee.net/this-is-advanced-energy

As you point out, many renewable technologies are actually centuries old, making them some of our more reliable generation sources.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on July 21, 2016

many renewable technologies are actually centuries old

And they were abandoned for fossil fuels because they were so UNreliable.

Robert Hargraves's picture
Robert Hargraves on July 22, 2016

One turbine nacelle alone is 370 tonnes, generating 6 MW peak power. Wow! But that’s almost the same weight as the 250 MW ThorCon molten salt reactor Can. thorconpower.com

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on July 22, 2016

How many thousand thorconpower-systems have been installed so far? Where can I visit one in operation?

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on July 22, 2016

Lexie, thanks for your response.

It is, nonetheless, a case in point. We are using a different vocabulary, because an ecosystem (“n. a community of living organisms…”) makes no sense in the context you’re using it, and words matter.

The words “natural gas” matter a lot, and you use them twice in the next sentence as part of a solution, not a problem. But they are a problem. Because natural gas is methane, and when it’s burned a lonely atom of carbon floats free from every molecule, to wreak climate change/ocean acidifcation havoc for a long, long, long time.

Let’s be charitable and assume, as many do, that methane is a bridge fuel – that Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, et al will be happy to go bankrupt after SolarCity convinces them of the error of their ways. That software will be capable of addressing the significant shortcomings of renewables, like a platoon which, given enough weapons and strategy, could overcome a regiment. In that context, one of the most famous strategists in history has some advice:

If equally matched, we can offer battle; if slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy; if quite unequal in every way, we can flee from him.

Words matter, and those of Sun Tzu are timeless. In the vernacular: “Strategy only helps so much. If you’re outnumbered, don’t be stupid – get the hell out.”

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on July 22, 2016

Robert, why is the ThorCon reactor 30m underground?

Another example of the “beyond unnecessary” safeguards contributing to nuclear energy’s current predicament.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on July 22, 2016

Helmut, there are just as many Thorcon Nuclear Islands in operation as 250 MW wind turbines. The difference is that there could be a lot more.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on July 22, 2016

Why do you want someone to build a 250MW Wind turbine? I asked the question, because from the state of development of this reactor is, the sentence shold inclode a “expect” or a “hope for” or something similar, and not present the weight as a fact derived from existing equipment in the field.
German engineers have a vapourware-allergy. and prefere to descibe things which are just pans as plans, so as “could be”.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on July 22, 2016

Electricity supply reliability in US is far behind that in modern countries.
So you should be glad with the introduction of more wind & solar as experience shows that countries which introduce more wind & solar also get improved electricity supply reliability! Hence less blackouts!

It occurred in Germany when wind & solar took steam (they produce 22% now), so electricity supply in Germany is now 8 time more reliable than that in USA (SAIDI 15minutes vs 2hours).
Denmark, where wind generate more than 40% (!), has a slightly higher reliable electricity supply than Germany.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on July 22, 2016

Bob, Of course you don’t see it as USA is ~20years behind more advanced countries regarding renewable, but natural gas will partly be replaced by renewable gas, partly by renewable electricity. As gas storage in earth cavities is extremely cheap, it no problem to store renewable gas for half a year or a year. So don’t worry.

In addition to bio-gas, Germany targets to have 1GW Power-to-Gas (P2G) capacity in 2022. They have many MW-scale pilots running (also to convert electricity into car fuel, etc): http://www.powertogas.info/english/.

The ideas are that coming hydrogen car refuel stations will get a power line and an unmanned P2G plant (housed in a standard sea container) with some storage.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on July 22, 2016

Bob, that’s obvious. As it’s vessel isn’t made of thick (>30cm) steel, it’s easy to penetrate it with some grenade or a plane or .. and create a radio-activity horror scenario.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on July 22, 2016

Robert, your reactor generates only heat.
The nacelle generates electricity.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on July 22, 2016

Talk about lying with statistics!  European electric supply to consumers is more reliable because most wiring is underground.  Most US consumer interruptions are due to severe weather knocking trees into wires and drivers knocking down poles.  The USA is a very big place and can’t afford to put all its wiring underground; reliability of generators has nothing to do with it.

Sean OM's picture
Sean OM on July 22, 2016

Germany is tiny, it is only like 10% bigger then California. California was getting around 35% of it’s electric from renewable sources in 2014.

The US could improve it’s SAIDI number far cheaper by just hiring more tree crews. We would have it down to like 5 minutes if we wanted to pay more. If we paid as much as Germany does for electric, we wouldn’t have a tree left in the states to knock down a line.

Paul O's picture
Paul O on July 22, 2016

That isn’t what I saw at the website, but even so, what should the Germans do when they need heat? I would love to hear an answer (hint..Brown Coal…CO2……Global Warming Gasses).

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on July 23, 2016

…US consumer interruptions are due to severe weather…
US SAIDI figures exclude outages due to severe weather conditions, while the EU figures do not. People need power & light in severe weather conditions more than in normal conditions.

So electricity supply in US is even more lousy compared to advanced countries such as Germany, than the huge difference in SAIDI figures indicate.
Not strange as the regulatory environment is also backwards with utilities that still can operate as monopolies, etc..

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on July 23, 2016

If we paid as much as Germany does for electric,…

When you;
– take the general taxes off; (car fuel is here also ~2-3times more expensive due to taxes); and
– compensate for the lower electricity consumption in Germany per household;
I estimate that Germany pays less.

Note that av. German household pays lower share of its income for electricity than than av. US household, despite the higher taxes in Germany…

The >85% support for the Energiewende is only possible because the costs are insignificant as repeatedly promised by German governments (incl Merkel). It’s also the reason that the Energiewende goes relative slow (they are 15years behind Denmark). Though in past 5 years it accelerated (due to the price fall of wind & solar) towards a transition speed of 3%/a (target is 1.5%/a, resulting in 80% renewable in 2050).

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on July 23, 2016

We have natural gas for heating (nearly every house is connected).

1. For buildings the Germans may (partly) follow Denmark. In Denmark you can only get a license to build a house when you can show that it will be energy / climate neutral! Regulations are underway in Denmark to force gradually all houses to become climate neutral (~2020). Denmark is at similar latitude as Alaska!*)

2. Part of the pilot Power-to-Gas (P2G) plants (av. 6MW each) injects their gas into the gas grid. P2G will expand greatly (click the English option at the right-top).

They will need substantial P2G when wind+solar share is ~50%, which is at ~2035. So they still have ~15years to improve the different P2G processes further. They make good progress. US also contributes with its MIT research
___
*) Denmark target to be 100% renewable regarding all energy (incl. transport, etc) in 2050.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on July 23, 2016

Bas, so you consider burning methane until 2050 is an acceptable option?

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on July 23, 2016

That’s very frightening, Bas. More frightening – and incaclulably more dangerous – is your insistence we must rely on fossil fuels to generate electricity through 2050.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on July 24, 2016

Now, right behind Little Rhody, here comes New York! This week came the surprise announcement that the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) would be moving forward with the construction of a wind farm off the coast of Montauk.

No. July 20:

At the request of the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) has postponed its board of trustees meeting that will consider Deepwater Wind’s proposed offshore wind farm.

nawindpower.com/per-nyserda-request-deepwater-winds-offshore-proposal-hits-snag

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on July 24, 2016

When you;
– take the general taxes off; (car fuel is here also ~2-3times more expensive due to taxes); and
– compensate for the lower electricity consumption in Germany per household;
I estimate that Germany pays less.

Great plan. Germany should then triple or quadruple its electricity rates, driving electric consumption down to poor third world levels, and then they will pay less than, say, Haiti per household.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on July 25, 2016

Governments need a certain income. They can create that by general taxes such as V.A.T, etc. or tax primarily those items which harm the people now or in the future.
So increase taxes on tobacco, alcohol. asbestos, sucre, soft drinks, nuclear, fossil fuels, etc. Hence people stay more healthy and the climate is less affected; and decrease general taxes such as V.A.T. accordingly.

But keep it reasonable as otherwise it will harm economy. Present electricity taxes in Germany clearly do not harm their economy (they are richest in the EU!).
Av. German household pays a lower share of its income for electricity than av. US household. The costs of the Energiewende are insignificant as promised by German governments since 2000. Hence the relative slow target progress (a shift of 1.5%/a towards renewable) and the high support by German population (>85%).

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on July 25, 2016

they were abandoned for fossil fuels because they were so UNreliable.

Technology progress was not far enough to use them for electricity generation (except hydro).
E.g. PV-panels were exceptional expensive in the sixties. Thanks to:
– the technology developments for smaller computer chips;
– the mass market created by the Germans in 2000-2010
the costs/KWh decreased a factor >100. So they became competitive.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on July 25, 2016

In the US you prefere to pay extremely hich taxes on real estate and similar things, which are cheap in germany.

if you reduce german power prices for household customes by taxes and similar costs which do not exist in the US or are payed by general taxes, and distribute the costs of the grid on the 2x more kWh the average US customer draws from the grid by his significant weaker power connection to get the same result as a average german power customer, you get the same power price in the US and in Germany. If you add the money a US citicen pays as general taxes which german citicens pay on electricity, US citicens at the end of the year pay more for the same result.
Be awre that differences in reliability are by far not only the question Overheadline underground line. In the countryside in germany most powerlines in germany beside the last meters are overhead lines.
But if one pole there is knocked down, this does not cause any, or at least not a significant outage, sice there is _always_ a redundant power supply avaiable from another direction. Only lonly farms have a power connection just from one direction.
Also Power lines are always run with huge reserve capacity.
Which reduces the effects of failures.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on July 25, 2016

As you know Bas, electricity is not tobacco or asbestos that causes cancer. Electricity is a foundation of modern life; making it not affordable means some people will have to go without, mostly those with the least means.

So far, German industry is immune to paying the elevated prices, the common man is not immune, with consequences.

Der Spiegel, translated via google:

Exactly 351,802 residential customers in the basic supply of electricity was 2014 temporarily disconnected, report the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) and the Federal Cartel Office in its new monitoring report.

The main reason for the increasing number of locks [electricity disconnects] are the rapidly rising electricity prices. Since 2002, the cost to consumers have nearly doubled, partly because the levy for renewable energies rose,…

spiegel.de/wirtschaft/service/strom-350-000-haushalte-mit-stromsperre-a-1062889.html

.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on July 25, 2016

The Block Island offshore wind project used some relatively large and expensive construction techniques to secure the turbines from Atlantic cyclones. The project can not be accurately described as simple continuation of common European offshore in US waters.

The most common foundation in European waters (per EON) is the monopile. Monopiles can be installed in 24 hrs after arrival on site, weigh 800 tons, are submerged ~30 meters below the seabed, and are suitable for up to 25 meter water depths. By contrast, BI Wind used jacket foundations in 30 meter waters. The BI foundations weigh 1500 tons each, with four piles per tower driven ~66 meters in the seabed, and required 18 weeks to install all five.

Thus the BI Wind cost of 24.4 c/kWh, with an escalation of 3.5% per year, is unsurprising, though how that the cost of such project was approved is surprising.

BI Wind four pile jacket foundation. Fully assembled prone foundation shown in background.

Common monopile foundation in the North Sea (Wiki):

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on July 25, 2016

if you reduce german power prices for household customes by taxes and similar costs which do not exist in the US or are payed by general taxes

But that’s exactly it:  they’re not reduced for the German consumer.  If the German consumer needs air conditioning, it’s likely that they can’t afford it.  Americans can.

The rest of your post is so mind-blowingly ignorant I am forced to fisk it:

In the countryside in germany most powerlines in germany beside the last meters are overhead lines.

In America most power lines besides the last 100 meters are overhead.  This is the only way to get the required insulation and heat dissipation at acceptable cost.  In my case, the last 30 meters (from a pole-mounted distribution transformer fed by a 7600-volt single-phase line) is underground, and the rest is quite vulnerable to nearby trees for several miles back to the supplying substation.

But if one pole there is knocked down, this does not cause any, or at least not a significant outage, sice there is _always_ a redundant power supply avaiable from another direction.

Who pays for all this excess capacity to be available in case of a fallen tree?  Nobody, that’s who.  You’re making this up as you go along.  In reality losing a single phase out of a substation will take down about 1/3 of homes and businesses that it feeds, and there is no backup.

I’ve seen what happens when 2 phases out of a substation trip off.  One local business had overhead lights, but no A/C, refrigeration or cash registers.  Given that the A/C and chillers probably required 3φ there was no possible way to rig redundant power.

Power lines are always run with huge reserve capacity.
Which reduces the effects of failures.

Most lines between markets in the USA are designed for balancing use; for instance, they connect an afternoon-peaking industrial load center with an evening-peaking residential load center and share generation and spinning reserve.  It was an overloaded line which began the cascade of failures which produced the Great US Blackout of 2003.

You really are special, aren’t you?

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on July 26, 2016

And again a pile of trash from your side. Who ever wants to have air conditioning here can buy one. But as well as electicity consumption per head is lower due to more efficient use, als house construction here is different from the one you are used to. It is time for you to travel to other countries and learn how other people solve things in a differnt way.
First you need to understand differences in climate. Then you need to understand the much higher mass of buildings here, and the much longer time span for which buildings are constructed here. (It is well known, that a US standard house, shipped to germany, needs about the same amout of wood added to fulfil german construction codes, than it originally had in the US. On the other hand the improved construction is so stiff and redundant, that with some paint and care it can be used nearly eternaly – different way of doing things)
About redndant connections – As I said, the grid in the US is by design lower in reliability, so less strong.
Here people are happy tp pay a premium if this removes all worries about the grid being present – same for water and all other pasic services of life. In the US you prefere to have things at a bit lower unit price, but with the nuisance that you always have to consider what to do when things don’t work. Here you can concentrate on doing business. Calculation shows this aproach is slightly more efficient than the US-Approach.
People coming here from the US find it very convinient that Things. Simply. Work. A different way to do things.

Here your buisness would never see their phases trip during the existence of the company. at statistical average. Last plackout I remember was in the 1990’s when a really stron thiunderstorm blew away a 60m long metal roof at the main substation here and threw it over all 110kV, 60kV 20kV swithing yard, producing a short circuit over all circuits simultaniuosly and blowing a lot of fuses on the surrounding substations too. It took about 90 minutes to seperate the substation by swithing off the connections in that direction at the next switchyard and transformer stations (which could not be done automatic from remote then – these switches are usually not used or only used once in many decades) and to switch on the power in all houses (remember – redundant supply) To remove the debris from the substation and repair the things broken by the roof took about a week.

In your case power would have been gone for theat week, unless someond organizes some mobile power generators.

The result of unrelyable grids can be seen in many places – e.g. in another country we need to equip all traffic lights in the city with backup power generation, because loosing them on a regular base, would result in many people dead or injured. In germany you do not need to think about this. So a lot of money saved. (As a example, saving goes on in many similar cases. And saves a lot of management time)

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on July 26, 2016

And if you look behind the big headline and into the statistic you find
– there are mostly the same people over and over again in this number
– what is counted is not hte actual disconnection of the grid, which rarely happens but the threat of disconnection by the utility because of unpayed bills.
– as soon as the possibility exists that power is disconnected, the money is usually found to pay the bill.
– usually the people in this statistic have a overall debt problem.
Costs per month for electricity in a household here and in the US are about the same, despite higher electricity prices here. The equipment is choosen accordingls to compensate this. And in the US you pay more for real estate, which rises your rent for the flat for poor people, which is a result of lower taxes on electricity since states money has to be collected somewhere. Either on real estate, or on electricity, or on work, on capital, or on other things. It will not fall from heaven.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on July 26, 2016

As is typical of a propagandist, Frik subtly (for him) tries to change the subject:

Who ever wants to have air conditioning here can buy one.

Not subtly enough, though.  I didn’t say they can’t afford air conditioners, I said they can’t afford air conditioning.  Unless you have miracle air conditioners which are 3x as efficient as ours (you don’t), Germans can afford to run their machines a whole lot less.

Construction practices are beyond the scope of this discusson, but maybe after you’ve had a few years of native Germans being ethnically cleansed from your built-for-centuries cities by rapefugees and having to build new housing that may also have to be abandoned as areas are “culturally enriched” you will begin to understand what’s been happening here since the 1960’s.

Climate control is of personal interest to me at the moment, because it is the height of summer and even here at 45°N temperatures of 30°C and up are not uncommon; both the record highs and lows are beyond the bounds I find for Munich, which is some 3 degrees further north.  Areas to the west of me, which do not enjoy the moderating influence of a large body of water, suffer far greater extremes (both high and low).

And again a pile of trash from your side.

You, sir, are a hypocrite.  Simply put, you have no grounds on which to lecture Americans.  About anything.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on July 27, 2016

a) average airconditioner in US is/was until recently efficiency class B (When I looked for advertisements in the US it was difficult to find out at all how much power the system needs for cooling, nobody seems to care about this) typical sale in germany is A+++. The difference in efficiency between a monoblock airconditioner class B and a split System class A+++ is about Factor 3, but that is not the topic here,
Differences in building standards, and differences in climates reduce use of airconditioners here down to about 200hours, maximum 500 hours per year. So with a system which draws 1kW electric and delivers about 5-6kW cold air, (much more than needed here usually) this results here in costs of 52€/year to 130€/year operating costs for the air-conditioner. So in usual cases bying is the more relevant part of the costs.
having a badly insulated house with loww building mass, which does not allow to cool tha house by opening some windws during the night and keep the cold inside till next evening, force you to run air-conditioning much longer, on top of this comes the warmer climate in your place. On top of this again comes the poor efficiency of the airconditioners in use. in the US. Resulting in much higher electricity consumption per head in the US compared to here. With the same temperatures inside. (It’s warmer here than in munich, I have a winyard in front of the window, nevertheless temperature without airconditioning does not exceed 26°C at any time her…)
I pay 26ct/kWh here – so if you pay 1/3 you pay 8,7ct/kWh all in?

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on July 27, 2016

Comment with full links posted at The Ergosphere.

a) average airconditioner in US is/was until recently efficiency class B (When I looked for advertisements in the US it was difficult to find out at all how much power the system needs for cooling, nobody seems to care about this) typical sale in germany is A+++.

There you go again, using a ratings system which is peculiar to your region instead of converting to common units.

US units are rated by SEER, which is BTU/hr/kW(e).  To convert this to CoP, you divide by roughly 3.4.  A quick check of a major domestic retailer’s selection finds window units of SEER 11,2 in the cheapest, 11.8 for a slightly more expensive unit, and SEER 10.7 for a much more expensive multi-function unit (links deleted).  These numbers correspond to CoP of ~3.4, ~3.5 and ~3.1.

A newer ductless heat pump with a much larger outer unit (link deleted) has a SEER of 19, CoP about 5.6… but it costs more than 4.5 times as much as the cheapest window unit.  Further, someone who rents cannot modify the building.

Producing the same 15,100 BTU/hr with both the cheapest and ductless units would show a power difference of 553 watts.  At 13¢/kWh, this is a cost difference of 7.2 cents per hour; at 500 hours per year, you’d save a whole $36.  Paying interest on the $1450 cost difference at 3%/year is $43.50.

On top of this again comes the poor efficiency of the airconditioners in use. in the US.

Owner-occupied dwellings in hot parts of the USA almost always have central air.

having a badly insulated house with loww building mass, which does not allow to cool tha house by opening some windws during the night and keep the cold inside till next evening

This is impossible in many areas.  Phoenix, AZ often has overnight temperatures which do not fall below 90°F (32 C).  Areas eastward to Texas are not all that much better, and then you run into tropical coastline humidity.

Thermal mass is a waste in such areas.  It is more efficient to let an empty dwelling heat up during the day and minimize its conductive heat gain, then bring the temperature down quickly when people are home.  True, it would also help to have some “thermal mass” in the form of ice storage which could cool the space quickly without placing demands on the electric grid, but that works in conjunction with a low-mass building.

BTW, as I write this I have a fan bringing in cool outside air to chill the bedroom, and a dehumidifier to keep the basement dry.  I have no other climate-control systems running.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on July 28, 2016

Well you use btu/hr, a unit which is not used outside your place and UK. Power is measured in kW or W, as you should know. ACOP of 3,1-3,5 is very low. especially while not telling the detailed temperatures wher you measure them – with the D…A+++ classification comes the temperature profile which is used for the measurement.
COP is the amout of kWthermal received on the kW electrical invested (heating)
SCOP is the seasonal accumulated COP over a year,and makes only sense in connection with a place (town, house) and a house which is assumed for this measurement.
EER is the kW thermal (cold) received on the kW electric invested. No need to do divisions with queer numbers.
SEER is again the seasonal corrected EER for a special place and a special house.
A typical system in germany istalled would be e.g. a Panasonic WH-MDC05f3e5 which runs water based, provides heating in winter (5000 hours here) with COP >4, >4,5 in well designed houses, Cooling in summer, and Hot water all the year. For less than 2800€ including transpoert when using the common european market. EER, for climate here would be (A35W18) 5.

First of all: germany is not in Arizona. You were telling that all we do in germany is nonsense, so we should discuss things based on the climate here.

But if you wish we could also discuss about Arizona.

What use is cooling by windows in Arizona, what would a house according german construction standars behave like there ?

This is very simple:
a) in Arizona there are many days where nicht temperatures are _not_ at 32 degrees. During 8 months average minimum temperature is below 25°C, allowing passive cooling. When insulation is good and building mass is high.
b) a building designed according todays building standards here would include shadowing of the building during the day, often automatic, reducing the thermal intake significantly. A typical building here would have a thermal capacity of about 50kWh/°K aand a thermal intake oe 2-3kW during the day.
c) so a building according german standards (so designed for germany not for Arizona) would require active cooling, during 4 summer months. But it would heat up just around 1°C during a whole day without cooling. So running air conditioning at full blast after comming home in a hot house after work would never ever happen with such a building. If you leave it with 21° in the morning it would not have more than 22° in the evening when you come back
So coolig with expensive peek power electricity during times when airconditioning is most inefficient would be nonsense.
With PV cooling would happen durin morning/noon, when there is pleny of power and air is still cooler. Or without PV it would happen between late evening and noon, whenever efficiency/price is highest.

But if you are happy in the US with the buildings you have, keep them. People here would find them inconvenient, but if you come here you might find things you see as inconvenient as well. In the end it is a benefit that people at different places are doing things differently. You can see then what results the differences produce. Naturally this includes that you really look how things work, and do not judge based on assumptions and rumors.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on July 28, 2016

Mr. Special Snowflake goes all psychobabbly:

Well you use btu/hr, a unit which is not used outside your place and UK.

For which I gave you (a) the units, (b) the conversion factor, and (c) the conversions for every pertinent figure.  “A+++” doesn’t even have a conversion factor.

ACOP of 3,1-3,5 is very low.

Window units are constrained by their form factor.  I notice that you couldn’t be bothered to point out any window units offered in Germany and what their CoP figures are.  I doubt that they’re a great deal better (still under 4).

First of all: germany is not in Arizona. You were telling that all we do in germany is nonsense

It is grossly foolish of you to make claims like this when your words are on record above proving the exact opposite:  you were attempting to lecture Americans about their methods of dealing with their own local conditions.

“house construction here is different from the one you are used to. It is time for you to travel to other countries and learn how other people solve things in a differnt way.”

“First you need to understand differences in climate.”

“having a badly insulated house with loww building mass, which does not allow to cool tha house by opening some windws during the night and keep the cold inside till next evening, force you to run air-conditioning much longer”

For that matter, I’d like to see you back up this claim:  “The difference in efficiency between a monoblock airconditioner class B and a split System class A+++ is about Factor 3”.  A factor of 3 is the difference between a CoP of 5.6 and a CoP of 1.9.  Show me a window unit with a CoP that low, preferably one offered for sale in Germany.

I’m sure you won’t actually provide figures, or back down on any of your faulty claims.  You’ll go all emote-y with your hurt ego and try to score rhetorical hits because you fail at logic, and fail there too because your skill with the language is far too poor.

And it’s all because you cannot defend your false and indefensible claims about wind and PV.  You can’t even go back and build a solid technical case, because there isn’t one.  You’re stuck.  I can’t even pity you; it’s what you deserve.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on July 30, 2016

Yes obviously are struck and once again become insulting when you are at the end of arguments.
We talk about air conditioning where you say that germans can not afford to pay the electricity for it, not about window units.
You will not find morre efficient window units here and you will not find less efficient window units here becaus you will not find windoe units here at all. Nobody here would want such a power guzziling eyesore for free, especially since adopting the window to host such a unit would cost more than a usual split unit. Window units are a very US-specific product, which I have not seen in operation in any other country.

A typical eqivalent here would be a mobile monoblock like this:
http://www.ebay.de/itm/Mobiles-Klimageraet-/331920406142?hash=item4d47ff767e:g:eDEAAOSwSv1XmILE
If you manage fo find one in efficiency class B it would have a EER around 2.
And sinz nobody here would buy such a pwer guzzling system you can only find rare ones second hand here. People here buy more efficient systems as I told you.
But I still miss your proof for power prices of 8,7ct/kWh with fixed payments included all over the US, as you claimed that this is standard.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on July 30, 2016

Yes obviously are struck and once again become insulting when you are at the end of arguments.

Oh, no.  I never bother insulting you just for its own sake.  I save the insults for when I’ve finished demolishing some claim you never would have made if you had either the honesty or the intelligence to stick to facts.

There is an insult coming very shortly.

We talk about air conditioning where you say that germans can not afford to pay the electricity for it, not about window units.

Yes, about that.  I looked at your eBay page, which offered a second-hand unit.  I tried to check out one of the better-looking ones in an ad referenced on that page, a Bosch REKM 10.  I couldn’t find that model number on the Bosch site or elsewhere, so I quit.

However, your insistence that window units are unavailable in Germany because inferior piqued my interest again.  I found a “monobloc” unit for sale on Amazon, a Honeywell MN10CESWW, which costs about the same as a window unit.  I was able to find its specifications page, and lo and behold, what does it say?

Cooling BTU:      10000
Cooling Wattage:      1050

That’s an EER of 9.5, a CoP of just 2.8.  That is 10% worse than the worst window unit I found in my search of Sears.  Worst of all, such units only have hot-air exhaust hoses.  They draw their cooling air, not from the outdoors, but from the space being cooled.  Every watt of cooling they provide is offset by having to cool the un-conditioned air drawn in to replace the exhaust air.  Window units recirculate air and do not have those extra losses.

So on top of having a piece of furniture which takes up floor space and has a cumbersome exhaust hose to trip over (unlike a window unit which hangs outdoors), you get distinctly inferior performance out of it compared to to even the worst of window units.  Combine this with electric rates that are double what I pay, poor Germans who cannot afford fancy split units receive less than half the air conditioning I can get for the same amount of money.

sinz nobody here would buy such a pwer guzzling system you can only find rare ones second hand here.

Yet people are buying the grossly inefficient, power-guzzling “monobloc” units.  Or at least, they’re re-selling them.  I’d love to ask them why.  How many can’t afford the electric bill to run them?

Helmut, do you take the people here for fools… or are you a fool yourself?  You show all the signs of being a True Believer, someone who is so deep into ideology and its dogma that you cannot question it no matter how many contrary facts are put in front of you.

Know what that makes you, in terms of functional thinking ability?  An idiot.