New aerial images of Apple's planned NC fuel cell, solar farms emerge

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  • Reply 81 of 143
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post


    Based on your 30 kW psf estimates, Apple's data center would average 15 GW of power. A typical data center uses about 200W per square foot.



    Sorry, missed the units. The figures I have say that for LARGE data centers 50 W per square foot is average and I made the assumption that Apple is going to be more willing to invest in energy reducing technologies and that theirs is newer, so I guessed 30 W.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    And what an incredible economic opportunity that will be, considering each one will cost $5B - $10B to build.



    Think of all the upstream and downstream business opportunities! Everything from Caterpillar tractors, to computers and control systems, to engineers,........ One could go on.



    Here's a similar size (20 MW) unit being built. The consultant said the cost would be around $70 M - about two orders of magnitude less than your estimate.

    http://articles.herald-mail.com/2012...lc-first-solar

    That is in line with typical numbers used for the southern U.S. of $3-5,000 per kW.



    Funny how you manage to simply make up numbers that are 100 times off from reality.





    I should add that another source came pretty close to my numbers. I guesstimated that the data center could provide around 40% of the total power needed by the facility. Several sources (including The Register and Huffington) say it's 30-40% - far different from the Greenpeace estimate of 9.8%.



    A discussion of Apple's 'green' efforts:

    http://www.apple.com/environment/rep...eport_2012.pdf
  • Reply 82 of 143
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,232member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    After initial purchase cost, maintenance on solar is near zero. Maintenance on a biogas generator is quite small. These things will reduce Apple's costs over the long term rather than increase it.



    In my mind, this is a FAR better use of their cash than a dividend because the savings for the solar system will increase year over year. Most solar systems have a life of around 25 years. Want to guess what Apple's fuel or electricity costs would be in 25 years?



    Solar involves a very high initial purchase cost and then near-zero operating costs. For a company which is cash-rich and doesn't have greater needs for the cash, it's a fantastic solution - even aside from the PR benefit.



    I only wish that they had put the panels on the roof rather than clearing another 100 acres of



    I don't think you can compare this to a dividend. I've been watching people make remarks about how Apple should spend their cash, and some of what is being said is worthy of a good head scratching.



    So I read people saying that Apple should build a couple of server farms each year. Well, that would take a good $2 billion off the table.



    The idea behind a dividend is more than just taking some money away. It changes the investment climate as well, which building a few things for a few billion won't do. Apple will be making far in cash flow each year than they could ever possibly spend on appropriate installations. So if some people want Apple to build things they have no use for, just to get rid of the money, that's a waste.



    On the other hand, whether or not they are doing this because they really believe its important to do so from a green philosophy, or because it's good marketing, is something I don't know. I imagine the same thing is operating for Google.



    But being an environmentalist myself, I certainly have nothing against it, even if it brings Apple's cost up a bit each year. It's not as though a few tens of millions in extra cost is going to affect their financial status one way or the other. And, if it convinces some people to buy their product because of it, it might be paid for that way.
  • Reply 83 of 143
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    Sorry, missed the units. ......



    That is in line with typical numbers used for the southern U.S. of $3-5,000 per kW.....



    Funny how you manage to simply make up numbers that are 100 times off from reality......



    Huh!? Did you read what I wrote, or did you simply miss the units again? And surely, you understand the difference between kW and kWh?



    I was talking about the price per kWh of grid-delivered electricity foregone that would make 500kW - 1MW capacity PV solar installation a break even proposition (it also depends on the capacity factor, i.e., the location, of course). I was asking you for what the equivalent units for a 20MW installation would be.



    If you don't understand something, it is generally a good idea to seek clarification.



    The fact that keep needing to appeal to external news sources to validate your claims makes it sound suspiciously unlikely you have a client for whom you're doing this. It seems more like you pulled out "10 - 20 year payback" and "5% - 10% return" out of your hat, and are scrambling for an ex-post validation.
  • Reply 84 of 143
    I think you may want to think of this in a completely different way:



    Maybe this is one large scale laboratory that will be used to practically develope alternative power.



    If apple uses its resources including funding and ability to manufacture and produce a more efficient and affordable alternative power system available for everyone, the would have not only made an important contribution to Mankind but also has the potential of freeing the world on its dependence on petroleum. In turn it will be the most powerful entity on the planet
  • Reply 85 of 143
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    But being an environmentalist myself, I certainly have nothing against it, even if it brings Apple's cost up a bit each year. It's not as though a few tens of millions in extra cost is going to affect their financial status one way or the other. And, if it convinces some people to buy their product because of it, it might be paid for that way.



    Well put. I think that the economic justification for this is not on a standalone basis. It is, as you say, from other aspects of the business, such as convincing a few more people to buy the product because of initiatives like this.
  • Reply 86 of 143
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 987member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    For reference, most existing plants were licensed for 30-40 years. As a plant nears the end of its design life, it is possible to do a life extension project which involves extensive modifications to get an additional 10 years (it is possible to get multiple extensions for a plant, so there is no absolute maximum life).



    However, as the plant gets older, the cost of maintenance increases and the cost of a life extension project eventually becomes uneconomical. One way or another, we need to have a plan to replace the existing nuclear plants, most of which will be taken out of service over the next 20-30 years.



    Solar PV requires little to no maintenance. Most of the maintenance requires spraying the panels down with a hose every summer.

    I can't believe people still consider nuclear as a viable economical, alternative.
  • Reply 87 of 143
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 987member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    You're kidding, right!? This is the kind of embarrassing cr4p that is getting the good (science) thrown out with the bad.



    It's a travesty.



    See http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/...a-death-study/



    PS: As an FYI, the Scientific American is not some right-wing rag.



    My source is a peer reviewed scientific journal. Yours is by a dude with a blog.
  • Reply 88 of 143
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Huh!? Did you read what I wrote, or did you simply miss the units again? And surely, you understand the difference between kW and kWh?



    I was talking about the price per kWh of grid-delivered electricity foregone that would make 500kW - 1MW capacity PV solar installation a break even proposition (it also depends on the capacity factor, i.e., the location, of course). I was asking you for what the equivalent units for a 20MW installation would be.



    If you don't understand something, it is generally a good idea to seek clarification.



    The fact that keep needing to appeal to external news sources to validate your claims makes it sound suspiciously unlikely you have a client for whom you're doing this. It seems more like you pulled out "10 - 20 year payback" and "5% - 10% return" out of your hat, and are scrambling for an ex-post validation.



    You said that Apple would have to spend $5-10 B for their project. I showed you a roughly equivalent project for $70 M. Clearly, you're pulling numbers out of your rear.



    I'm not the one confused about kW or kWH. As I said, my company does this quite a bit. I've provided you with plenty of links to back up my claim while you've provided.....nothing but your own wild guesses.



    BTW, there are two ways to size the system. You can talk about kW/MW/etc which is peak output or you can talk about kWh/MWh/etc which is the annual output. To get from the first to the second, you have to know the capacity factor. Apple uses both figures, but the easiest way to compare capital costs is to use peak output - since that will determine how many panels are needed. A 20 MW system in Maine is not significantly different from a 20 MW system in Arizona. OTOH, a 20 MHh system in Maine is very different from a 20 MWh system in Arizona because the capacity factors are so different.



    As for data, I'm not giving out my customer's confidential information. Sorry you don't understand that concept. But considering that I've provided plenty of data and you've provided nothing, that's not a big issue.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    I don't think you can compare this to a dividend. I've been watching people make remarks about how Apple should spend their cash, and some of what is being said is worthy of a good head scratching.



    So I read people saying that Apple should build a couple of server farms each year. Well, that would take a good $2 billion off the table.



    Of course you can compare it. A business executive must constantly decide how to spend their money and one of the decisions was clearly to either save $70 M or so or build a solar farm in NC.



    The investment has a relatively low payback period of 5-10% per year (although that number is likely to increase as energy prices go up). However, Apple is in a consumer business where they're targeted by every environmental group around as well as all the Apple haters. So they have to add in the PR value to determine if the investment makes sense. Considering how much Apple puts into renewable energy (see the apple.com link above), they clearly think that the cash return plus the PR value is sufficient to make the investment.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    The idea behind a dividend is more than just taking some money away. It changes the investment climate as well, which building a few things for a few billion won't do. Apple will be making far in cash flow each year than they could ever possibly spend on appropriate installations. So if some people want Apple to build things they have no use for, just to get rid of the money, that's a waste.



    No one is suggesting that Apple build things that they have no use for. That's a silly straw man argument. Apple obviously felt that they needed it.



    From an economic sense, there's some value, as well. A simple back of the envelope calculation says that Apple will save about $5 M per year - which adds to their net income and therefore benefits the share price - possibly as much as giving it out as a dividend.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    On the other hand, whether or not they are doing this because they really believe its important to do so from a green philosophy, or because it's good marketing, is something I don't know. I imagine the same thing is operating for Google.



    But being an environmentalist myself, I certainly have nothing against it, even if it brings Apple's cost up a bit each year. It's not as though a few tens of millions in extra cost is going to affect their financial status one way or the other. And, if it convinces some people to buy their product because of it, it might be paid for that way.



    It's not going to bring Apple's cost up a bit. It's an initial investment and provides nearly free energy after paying for the equipment. It will SAVE them about $5 M per year - as well as providing some PR value.
  • Reply 89 of 143
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rickmont View Post


    I think you may want to think of this in a completely different way:



    Maybe this is one large scale laboratory that will be used to practically develope alternative power.



    If apple uses its resources including funding and ability to manufacture and produce a more efficient and affordable alternative power system available for everyone, the would have not only made an important contribution to Mankind but also has the potential of freeing the world on its dependence on petroleum. In turn it will be the most powerful entity on the planet



    Don't count on it. As large as this project is, it's an insignificant proportion of global solar capacity and is not sufficient to drive the market.
  • Reply 90 of 143
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,304member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tyler82 View Post


    My source is a peer reviewed scientific journal. Yours is by a dude with a blog.



    It's obvious you didn't read what the 'dude' (who is their technology editor) wrote.



    Or if you did, it's not clear that you understood the merits of his argument.



    'nuff said.
  • Reply 91 of 143
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,304member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    The US has about 110 nuclear power plants (the largest number of any country in the word), average age 30+ years.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    For reference, most existing plants were licensed for 30-40 years. As a plant nears the end of its design life...... we need to have a plan to replace the existing nuclear plants, most of which will be taken out of service over the next 20-30 years.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    And what an incredible economic opportunity that will be, considering each one will cost $5B - $10B to build.



    Think of all the upstream and downstream business opportunities! Everything from Caterpillar tractors, to computers and control systems, to engineers,........ One could go on.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    You said that Apple would have to spend $5-10 B for their project.



    See above: Clearly, you've had some difficulty following the thread of discussion. I talked about nuclear; you responded to my post about nuclear; I responded to your response about nuclear (actually agreeing with you); then you post saying I am talking about Apple...



    Sigh.



    Maybe you're on too many threads talking to too many people about too many things, and are having trouble keeping it straight.



    I'll ignore the rest of your post, which is essentially a non-sequitur.
  • Reply 92 of 143
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 987member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    It's obvious you didn't read what the 'dude' (who is their technology editor) wrote.



    Or if you did, it's not clear that you understood the merits of his argument.



    'nuff said.



    Yes I did read it and admit my rebuttal was a bit histrionic. My main thesis is that a nuclear power fallout can have devastating consequences across the globe. Even oil and coal plants are much more contained than that. There is also a finite amount of uranium supply, so it is not the solution to long term energy use, and storing all of those spent rods takes thousands of years- quite a burden on your grandchildren's grandchildren's grandchildren's great great grandchildren.
  • Reply 93 of 143
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,304member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tyler82 View Post


    Yes I did read it and admit my rebuttal was a bit histrionic. My main thesis is that a nuclear power fallout can have devastating consequences across the globe. Even oil and coal plants are much more contained than that. There is also a finite amount of uranium supply, so it is not the solution to long term energy use, and storing all of those spent rods takes thousands of years- quite a burden on your grandchildren's grandchildren's grandchildren's great great grandchildren.



    Nuclear's been around for a century, and considering that almost all of what's around is very old stuff, i.e., Gen 1, it is pretty impressive that there have been only three major incidents: Chernobyl (really scary), Three Mile Island (ridiculous hyperventilation), and Fukushima (scary). All these were instances of human failures more than they were technological.



    You should really find out a bit more about the safety of Gen 3. It's remarkably safe. You can't base public policy on vague statements such as "...can have devastating consequences...." Lots of things that we spend money on as societies -- wars, chemical plants, automobiles, air travel, space exploration, dead zones from agriculture, waste/emissions/pollution we produce fro our production and consumption -- have devastating consequences.



    Yes, I would be somewhat worried about nuclear in its current installed form in countries like the US -- almost entirely first generation -- where it's a matter of time. In another decade or so, we'll start to see some real issues. We really should be thinking about how to leapfrog to Gen 3 and 4 (esp. Gen 4) reactors. Given the lead times involved to set up a plant, which is a decade or so, we should be starting now.



    In any event, many countries, such as India, China, and Brazil are plowing ahead: there are nearly 60 being built today around the world (none in the US, perhaps one or two in Europe). I can assure you that countries such as India and China would not be going nuclear it if it was more expensive than wind and solar (which, btw, are prone to intermittency issues, have poorly developed storage technologies as backup, can take up huge tracts of land, use up massive amounts of water in the case of solar CSP, prone to breakdown and noise and visual pollution in the case of wind, and whose core components are very dirty to produce).



    Two other points. One, you claim that "oil and coal are more contained than nuclear." Seriously?! Leaving aside issues such as emissions, toxic pollutants, and particulates, coal alone has probably directly killed over 100,000 people (mostly miners) in just the US alone this past century! You can look it up. We all know how many lives have been lost over oil.....



    As to uranium being finite, know that less than 1% of the energy is used in Gen 1 - 3 nuclear reactors. 99% of the energy is currently wasted. Gen 4 will used reprocessed stuff, and people expect that it can last for decades, if not hundreds of years. (See, e.g., a company such as Terra Power: http://www.terrapower.com/home.aspx). Scientists and technologists (e.g., in India) are also experimenting with thorium reactors, of which there's abundant supply (see, e.g., http://www.forbes.com/sites/williamp...fire-possibly/).
  • Reply 94 of 143
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,226member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tyler82 View Post


    My source is a peer reviewed scientific journal. Yours is by a dude with a blog.



    It is an example of really bad science. It could be that the journal was the only journal that would publish that paper. Not all peer reviewed journals are equal.



    If you read the paper, it make a basic assumption that any change in death rates is attributed to a single impact. It makes no attempt to look at historical data and variances. Even its sad attempt at correlation to Chernobyl has drastically different time cause/effect differences.
  • Reply 95 of 143
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 987member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Nuclear's been around for a century, and considering that almost all of what's around is very old stuff, i.e., Gen 1, it is pretty impressive that there have been only three major incidents: Chernobyl (really scary), Three Mile Island (ridiculous hyperventilation), and Fukushima (scary). All these were instances of human failures more than they were technological.



    You should really find out a bit more about the safety of Gen 3. It's remarkably safe. You can't base public policy on vague statements such as "...can have devastating consequences...." Lots of things that we spend money on as societies -- wars, chemical plants, automobiles, air travel, space exploration, dead zones from agriculture, waste/emissions/pollution we produce fro our production and consumption -- have devastating consequences.



    Yes, I would be somewhat worried about nuclear in its current installed form in countries like the US -- almost entirely first generation -- where it's a matter of time. In another decade or so, we'll start to see some real issues. We really should be thinking about how to leapfrog to Gen 3 and 4 (esp. Gen 4) reactors. Given the lead times involved to set up a plant, which is a decade or so, we should be starting now.



    In any event, many countries, such as India, China, and Brazil are plowing ahead: there are nearly 60 being built today around the world (none in the US, perhaps one or two in Europe). I can assure you that countries such as India and China would not be going nuclear it if it was more expensive than wind and solar (which, btw, are prone to intermittency issues, have poorly developed storage technologies as backup, can take up huge tracts of land, use up massive amounts of water in the case of solar CSP, prone to breakdown and noise and visual pollution in the case of wind, and whose core components are very dirty to produce).



    Two other points. One, you claim that "oil and coal are more contained than nuclear." Seriously?! Leaving aside issues such as emissions, toxic pollutants, and particulates, coal alone has probably directly killed over 100,000 people (mostly miners) in just the US alone this past century! You can look it up. We all know how many lives have been lost over oil.....



    As to uranium being finite, know that less than 1% of the energy is used in Gen 1 - 3 nuclear reactors. 99% of the energy is currently wasted. Gen 4 will used reprocessed stuff, and people expect that it can last for decades, if not hundreds of years. (See, e.g., a company such as Terra Power: http://www.terrapower.com/home.aspx). Scientists and technologists (e.g., in India) are also experimenting with thorium reactors, of which there's abundant supply (see, e.g., http://www.forbes.com/sites/williamp...fire-possibly/).





    Where is the nuclear waste stored? And for how long?
  • Reply 96 of 143
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,687member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Opened in early 2011, Apple server facility supports its iTunes and iCloud services and is the nerve center of the iPhone 4S' Siri virtual assistant.



    Source? I've never seen Apple admit to anything in that level of specificity.
  • Reply 97 of 143
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,687member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JONOROM View Post


    I assume by "largest privately owned in the US" the author actually means non-utility owned.



    Those fuel cells are pretty new and pricy - it could be the largest install of them - even among utility companies.
  • Reply 98 of 143
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,687member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post


    along with the purchase of a few Chevy Volts



    People need to seriously lay off the Chevy Volt. With all the half-assed and half-baked "green" shit out there, the Volt is EXACTLY what a hybrid car should be. 100% electric drivetrain, with a gas generator to give you range and is optimized to run at a single speed for peak efficiency when recharging the batteries.



    How Toyota with their fucking "synergy" drive ever managed to get mindshare boggles my mind.



    And the "volt fire" crap is just that - pure crap. The damn things caught on fire DAYS after the crash test and after the NTSA ignored GM post crash procedures to secure the batteries.



    Do you think they would leave a traditional car sitting there leaking gas all over the damn floor for several days? It's the direct equivalent of what they did with the Volt. Talk about a complete cock up.



    And then what does the average asshole in the US do? Support one of the last manufacturers still producing a product in the US? Hell no - you get a bunch of ignorant and flat out stupid piling on about an issue that is complete bullshit.



    Wanna know why there are no manufacturing jobs in the US? We don't really want 'em. It's more fun to make a parody video on the Internet and yuk it up with the talk show hosts that pretend to be news outlets than hold an intelligent thought
  • Reply 99 of 143
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    I'm sure this is just a publicity stunt to get those hippies off of Apple's back for using coal powered energy plants to power their server farms.
  • Reply 100 of 143
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,687member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tyler82 View Post


    Where is the nuclear waste stored?



    Would have been safely in the desert if a bunch of people who freak out about invisible shit they don't understand hadn't interfered.



    Quote:

    And for how long?



    If it's re-burned like they do in France not only is the amount greatly reduced but it's a few thousand years instead of the <Carl Sagan>billions and billions</Carl Sagan> the anti-nuke nuts would have you believe.



    I'm always amused at the number of anit-nuke people that can turn around and disparage religious people for being unscientific or emotional based....
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