Junk Science Assumption
"Solar energy is free." The hell it is. The energy cost to create power from solar energy is no different than the energy cost to supply other resources to be extracted and utilized for electric power and energy.
Avoided Fuel Cost & Avoided Energy Cost
It doesn't matter how the resources that are extracted to make energy or to build solar panels is spent they all have costs. There isn't a total avoided energy cost to operate a solar PV system, or a standard conventional power plant, and, there are substantial energy costs for solar energy power systems as well. The energy costs to provide energy and electric power, by either means, is the cost for all infrastructure and operating costs to operate as a utility or as a generator & transmitter (G&T) to include such things as; power line service and maintenance, displacement, replacement and retirement of energy and electric power assets, employees and their benefits, wheeling costs, voltage drop (line resistance), operational capital debt, a return or loss of their future capital reserve margins, return on shareholder equity etc., at-load or otherwise. Available oil, gas, coal, and any other elements to manufacture solar panels and systems are free until they're to be extracted to make energy delivery products. "Free" is just an unqualified claim.
Example, of the insanity of those who believe solar energy could be the backbone of our future energy supply, as solar expansion technologies to replace fuels and energy can be understood here; This power plant's actual power island is located on approximately 163 acres. here For solar PV to replace this power island would require approximately 49,879 acres to accommodate its regional minimum available solar service hours supplied by this one power station, based on the 30-year solar irradiation averaged hours of service record. That's 38.96 miles in both directions north and south, and 1 mile inland from the Gulf of Mexico of this operating power station. And when the minimum solar irradiation service hours can't be met the entire electric power region shuts down. That's no solution.
Usually it's advisable to rely on currently operating and future fuel companies, they brought you your modern world of energy, cursing them is foolish. Before utter depletion you can count on them to shift to providing kilowatt hours rather than gallons, cubic feet and tons of coal for our future energy needs. Most fuels companies already have experts in the business of resource extraction to provide liquids and solids to power our world. Utility companies do not have a monopoly on resource extraction nor electric generation. Should the world transition to electric vehicles, as well as other means of heat provisioning, fuel companies will continue to supply the world's energy resources that will continue to supply our world's energy needs, kilowatts are only a byproduct of various fuels resources.
Before utter depletion of oil, natural gas and coal nears solutions must be deployed. Wind and solar may operate in isolated areas but as a solution to replace fuels and energy this site provides a look into what this would mean.
By massively overbuilding expansive solar arrays to accommodate at-load minimum solar service hours, if one is to consider solar to be a replacement for future fuels and energy when minimal solar service hours can't be met, entire regions of the world needing energy would simply shut down. And in addition to shedding over capacity during daylight hours whom would the world plan to relocate? All areas of the world would be grossly affected.
Encroaching on croplands, the Arctic and Antarctica with ideal weather energy technologies are not recommended.
Shutting down regions of the future world because of less than ideal weather is intermittently senseless.
As well is the attempt to transmit electricity do to voltage drop line losses of 7% to 10% per 100 miles.
One gallon of U.S. gasoline is equivalent to 36.6 kilowatt hours of electricity
One tonne of coal is equivalent is 8.141 megawatt hours of electricity
One tonne of oil is equivalent is 11.63 megawatt hours of electricity
3.41 cubic feet of natural gas is equivalent to one kilowatt hour of electricity
"Any bad weather standard of energy shutdown is no future energy solution."
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