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post #51 of 55 Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Re: Crazy Propulsion idea for next cruiser... Thoughts...

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I'm not trying to talk anyone out of EP. If an engineless boat is the comparison, I won't argue that EP, even at 2.5kts, isn't a vast improvement. EP is also quieter, cleaner and has less maintenance. No beef there.

However, if one wants the utility to make hull speed in the doldrums, or needs to run out of the way of a storm for 48 hrs, EP with only renewables just won't get the job done. This is done with diesel, without breaking a sweat. Add a fuel burning generator to EP and that changes the calculus. One now has two motors, instead of one, and redundancy is always pretty good. Although, one is right back to why carbon fuel has an energy density and portability advantage.

EP and solar/wind regen only, won't get one cruising too far. Unless, ironically, the engineless comparison is made.

I think we'll see EP on more boats in the near future, because most boats do not go very far and having a small generator as a safety net will get the job done. I don't see it for serious blue water boats anytime soon. Unless, again, one would be willing to make those trips engineless. Ironically, I'd say more than half the sailors I know, typically stay pretty close and could get away with EP, but outfit and keep their boat in the condition needed for an offshore cruise they may make once a year. Has something to do with the bug, I guess.
Remember that 2.5 knots would be totally fuel free. I agree if you had a diesel you would go faster but, you are burning through your limited fuel reserves on a long passage. Using solar would give you more range and preserve your fuel reserves.

I agree also we will start seeing more and more EP boats. I've see a number converted since I did my conversion and often get questions about it. I think this fellow who converted a 58 foot Voyager catamaran pretty much sums up the benefits and trade offs of Electric Propulsion:

Mike
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post #52 of 55 Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Re: Crazy Propulsion idea for next cruiser... Thoughts...

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...In Quebec, which is 99% renewables, it's effectively carbon-free. It's also the cheapest electricity in North America at 7.7c/kwh..
Iím fascinated by this. First thought is whether this is driven by hydro electric production and how that relates to or is impacted by current Great Lakes flooding. Second thought is whether this is the net cost to the consumer and whether there is any government manipulation, such as production subsidies or tax exemption and itís not apples to apples. I really donít know either, but itís curious how one place could figure out how renewables actually cost less (all in) than carbon, at the moment.


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Re: Crazy Propulsion idea for next cruiser... Thoughts...

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I’m fascinated by this. First thought is whether this is driven by hydro electric production and how that relates to or is impacted by current Great Lakes flooding. Second thought is whether this is the net cost to the consumer and whether there is any government manipulation, such as production subsidies or tax exemption and it’s not apples to apples. I really don’t know either, but it’s curious how one place could figure out how renewables actually cost less (all in) than carbon, at the moment.
I lived in Quebec for 2 years before moving to the US. My electricity cost was 5.5c/kwh at the time. (1993-4) I'm fairly certain that electricity isn't subsidized - but production is a state owned entity, which keeps costs down as there's no profit motive. Quebec also sells excess electricity to the US, which I'm sure is sold at a fair profit. Even at 10c/kwh that's a lot cheaper than NY's going rate.

Quebec is 95% hydro power, 4% wind power, and 1% other. If you look at geography, Quebec has a big percentage of mountains and rivers - perfect for hydro and wind. This isn't a recent development - it's always been cheaper for Quebec to build another dam than to build, say, a nuclear plant.

Quebec also went big - the James Bay project, built in the early eighties, has a combined output of ~16GW. It was the largest complex in the world at the time, and built in a very harsh climate.

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Re: Crazy Propulsion idea for next cruiser... Thoughts...

95% hydro is clearly the big answer. Not available everywhere. There is an interrelated dynamic downstream with these dams that I don't fully understand. I suspect they are more impactful than we realize.

When an entity is government owned, it does not take away the profit motive. It only allows them to compete, without paying taxes, which does reduce cost. By extension, everything could be cheaper, without taxes. If these government entities don't profit, they can't afford to rebuild infrastructure, add new dams, etc. Unless, of course, the government provides that with other tax payer funds, it which case, that isn't the all in cost of producing juice.


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Re: Crazy Propulsion idea for next cruiser... Thoughts...

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95% hydro is clearly the big answer. Not available everywhere. There is an interrelated dynamic downstream with these dams that I don't fully understand. I suspect they are more impactful than we realize.

When an entity is government owned, it does not take away the profit motive. It only allows them to compete, without paying taxes, which does reduce cost. By extension, everything could be cheaper, without taxes. If these government entities don't profit, they can't afford to rebuild infrastructure, add new dams, etc. Unless, of course, the government provides that with other tax payer funds, it which case, that isn't the all in cost of producing juice.
Geography definitely plays a big part of why Quebec generates electricity the way it does. Canada as a whole is 60% hydro power. Again, geography.

Quebec Hydro is a state run monopoly. There's literally no one to compete against. It's run as a chartered crown corporation, which means that any time it wants to do something big, a group of lawyers looks at the charter and if it's within the charter's parameters, it goes to the legislature for a decision. This includes things like rate hikes, building projects, etc. The legislature consults with experts and makes a decision. More than once proposals have been shot down as an unnecessary expense. This includes things like CEO raises, bonuses, etc. Consider that the CEO of Quebec Hydro made about $800k last year, including bonuses. Contrast that with the CEO of Pepco making $15.4 million and you can begin to see the advantages of state run utilities. It's hard to get greedy when every major financial decision has to be run by the provincial legislature.

As an aside, there's no money in Canadian politics - everyone runs on state money, the elections are short, and everyone gets the same amount. Without mountains of dark money to influence elections, the politicians are beholden to the people who elected them, not the people who financed them.
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