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Old 06-22-2015, 09:03 PM   #241
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... they actually have peak winter rates of 8 plus cents for first 750 KWH and 5 plus cents over 750KWH. So they actually encourage you to turn up the heat. Maybe I will!
Or you can ask your neighbor to plug into his outlet and share the "savings".

Why that rate structure? They've got more power than people can use? I wish my rate got lower the more I use.
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Old 06-22-2015, 09:16 PM   #242
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I have seen people rig phone and cable lines between houses before so it can be done.
We must have plenty of power as there as never been a conservation alert that I am aware of. I had no idea it got cheaper in the winter. I need to see how close I get to 750kwh on a monthly basis. I will admit to being dumb and having no clue how much use that is. But if Im close and its February I will toss the blanket and warm the place up. Utility is 65% coal fired. Rates were even cheaper until the past few years they made them spend mega bucks on sending less pollution.



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Old 06-23-2015, 06:45 AM   #243
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What I am curious to know is the investment cost of pumped water storage systems. There's a large initial cost, plus some maintenance and operating costs. How's that relative to the current small-scale battery cost? I am sure the numbers are available, but just not accessible to laymen.
Here is a site with some info: http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/...p-the-storage/

The good news is that they are quite efficient. The bad news is that all the best sites have already been taken. The other bad news is that all that water has to be pumped back uphill, so best case is that it will produce power no more than 12 hours per day.

We visited the Boulder Canyon hydro plant when I was in college. They told us that the worst case scenario was if something happened and the water flow got shut down during operation. The water hammer could cause massive damage.

He related one of the tests they had run. They abruptly closed the bottom water valve under load. Slowly enough that the water hammer didn't damage the generator, of course. Then again, the operators at Chernobyl thought their test procedure was safe, too.

He said that the reflection when the water hit the closed valve was impressive. The surge traveled back up the water passage and sent a 3' diameter fountain of water very high up at the upper lake.

A cubic meter slug of water moving at 100 m/sec has an impressive amount of momentum. If it it abruptly halted all the energy has to go somewhere.
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Old 06-23-2015, 08:35 AM   #244
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The drumbeat of solar was in the daily rag this morning's op-ed. Talking about the German transformation of energy by moving power from where its produced to where its consumed. It was sounding pretty good until they had to slide in the disclosure last paragraph hoping most were too bored to finish reading it. That being their electricity costs are three times as high as North America. I would be digging for coal myself if my rates were jacked up 3X what I am paying now.


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Old 06-23-2015, 09:13 AM   #245
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re - pumped storage:
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...
The good news is that they are quite efficient. The bad news is that all the best sites have already been taken. The other bad news is that all that water has to be pumped back uphill, so best case is that it will produce power no more than 12 hours per day. ...
I noted that the SMUD system plan for a 400MW (capacity) unit is expected to cost $800M. I think it is safe to assume that this is sized for that late afternoon peak, so probably no more than a few hours storage. Making that lake bigger would be added expense for very little benefit, so I bet they stopped there.

And I agree, there probably aren't too many places available for this. I've read that there is very little hydro we could add in the US, and while the 'run of the river' style could be applied more, the total power is so low it doesn't add up to much.

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Then again, the operators at Chernobyl thought their test procedure was safe, too.

He said that the reflection when the water hit the closed valve was impressive. The surge traveled back up the water passage and sent a 3' diameter fountain of water very high up at the upper lake.

A cubic meter slug of water moving at 100 m/sec has an impressive amount of momentum. If it it abruptly halted all the energy has to go somewhere.
Chernobyl pales in comparison to the failure of a hydro-electric plant:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banqiao_Dam#1975_flood

Quote:
According to the Hydrology Department of Henan Province, in the province, approximately 26,000 people died from flooding and another 145,000 died during subsequent epidemics and famine. In addition, about 5,960,000 buildings collapsed, and 11 million residents were affected. Unofficial estimates of the number of people killed by the disaster have run as high as 230,000 people.
Even the highest estimates for Chernobyl don't come close. Plus, Chernobyl was not really a 'power plant', it was a nuclear weapons plant that produced power as a by product. They eliminated a whole level of containment for the sole reason of being able to pull the weapon grade material from it more efficiently. It really doesn't even count as a 'power plant' disaster. France doesn't seem to have these sorts of problems with their 58 plants (~ a dozen accidents, zero fatalities over ~ 45 years).

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Old 06-23-2015, 09:51 AM   #246
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If you want to invest in a company that actually utilizes renewable energy with a commonsense approach then a good investment could be IDA -(IDACORP), which garners a significant amount of their energy 64 % from renewable energy primarily hydro mostly in Idaho though they are trying to work to bring power to west coast as well.
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:13 AM   #247
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The drumbeat of solar was in the daily rag this morning's op-ed. Talking about the German transformation of energy by moving power from where its produced to where its consumed. It was sounding pretty good until they had to slide in the disclosure last paragraph hoping most were too bored to finish reading it. That being their electricity costs are three times as high as North America. I would be digging for coal myself if my rates were jacked up 3X what I am paying now.


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Is that all due to higher costs or just taxes like they throw on gas (for cars)....
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:37 AM   #248
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Is that all due to higher costs or just taxes like they throw on gas (for cars)....
There is a 20% tax to support renewable energy sources and a 20% VAT tax in Germany. Because electricity is so expensive and China uses primarily coal at a world low cost of 8 cents per KW to users of Chinese electricity, Germany exempts business and industry from any taxes, business pays about 12 cents per KW and residential pays about 35 cents per KW. Germany uses about 1/8 the amount of electricity China uses. The increase for China in electric use from 2010 to 2011 was nearly the amount of electricity produced annually in all Germany.
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Old 06-23-2015, 12:40 PM   #249
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The article didnt say so Running Mans response is more thorough than anything I know. Interesting part of the article was despite the high costs they still use 45% of energy production from coal. I do not know if that is keeping costs from being higher or contributing to their higher costs; ie building scrubbers that almost touch the moon.
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Old 06-23-2015, 01:05 PM   #250
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Here is a site with some info: http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/...p-the-storage/

The good news is that they are quite efficient. The bad news is that all the best sites have already been taken. The other bad news is that all that water has to be pumped back uphill, so best case is that it will produce power no more than 12 hours per day.
I glanced through the article, and did not verify all his numbers and calculations. Assuming no serious errors, the author makes a good point that we cannot build enough pumped storage to stockpile our national power need for 1 week. Not even 1 day, as suitable sites are few.

In the far future, when fossil fuel runs out, we may be able to have enough solar and wind capacity, but without storage, we are still screwed. Coal will last us more than 100 years, so we have some time to figure this out. He talked about using the Great Lakes for storage which still may not be enough, and about us not having enough lead nor lithium to build the batteries that we would need.

Unless really new technologies are found, we cannot count on scaling up existing devices that we are currently using. Is it that bleak?
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Old 06-23-2015, 01:58 PM   #251
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...

Unless really new technologies are found, we cannot count on scaling up existing devices that we are currently using. Is it that bleak?
It's an opportunity!

I do think we will find alternatives that provide base power (new nukes, something else?). If wind and solar get cheap enough (relative to other sources), and we develop alternative base power that can ramp up/down fast, we might just 'waste' the excess wind/solar. It could be cheaper to just use 60% of it, rather than try to use 100% by storing it (which will probably waste 20% of what we stored in the process!).

Another hypothetical big-picture view to see just how BIG an issue we are facing to try to make solar fit. Very round numbers for convenience, but they actually work pretty well:

Recall the saying "It takes money to make money"? Well, it takes energy to save energy! A solar panel requires a lot of energy to produce, and it takes about two years for it to produce enough power to make up what it used. And...

since we saw that the US only gets ~ 0.4% of its electrical power from solar PV, let's imaging we want to really scale up, to where solar is really making a difference, and get to 40% in ten years. That means 100x the amount of panel production as we have today, so let's put in 10X per year.

It gets interesting - for year 1-10, we need to dedicate 8% of our electrical power to produce the panels, which are adding 4% points of overall generation each year. So we are negative for two years, and go step-wise from 4% solar net in year 3, 8% in year 4, finally up to 32% overall solar power in year 10. We get the full 40% for years 11 through 25, and then we start all over!

So 40% maybe is not such a crazy high target number, as it takes 11 years to get there even at a very aggressive rate. So our average solar savings is still somewhat small overall (edit/add: ~ 14% for years 1-10, and 29.6% average over the 25 years). And as we get to these overall numbers (remember, that 24/7/365 average!), that sounds we will have an excess at the daytime peaks (that 40% is compressed into daylight hours), which means storage/waste, so 40% installed capacity won't get you to 40% overall offset.

Hmmm, do we dare run $'s?

Let's see, if the 20GW current installed capacity figure is correct and in-line with the 0.4% production number (if that is correct - this source says closer to 0.22% from solar 29 ∕ 13010 ≈ 0.0022290546) ....

Our 10x installed capacity increase for 10 consecutive years means we install 200GW, at a conservative $1/watt (I imagine this kind of demand would cause shortages which would drive up prices, but let's be kind), is $200 Billion per year (plus up front energy costs the first two years), times 10 years $2 Trillion (did I get my decimals and money/SI units correct?).

Perspective? Oh boy... In 2013 the total US consumption of electric energy was 4113 Terawatt hours (TWh) (or million mWh or billion kWh)

so at a rough average of $0.10/kWh, we currently spend ~ 4113 x 10^9 kWh = $411.3 Billion per year? So even with my conservative $1/W installed (likely 2x that), we are looking at increasing our energy spending by at least 50% for ten years, probably more like double or more. It would start to get offset in year three, but could we really muster up that kind of up-front expenditure? What effect would it have on the economy?

And is doing far less really doing much at all (environmentally)?

OK, my brain officially hurts, off to something else.

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Old 06-23-2015, 07:33 PM   #252
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I don't know what the Iowa Hill project will cost, but it won't be cheap. That is all going to be completely underground, the generator and the upstream 'lake'; none of it will be dectectable from above ground that there was anything built there. 400 megawatts of generation is a HUGE plant. What a cavern they are carving out of the mountain. Then a lake built under ground above it!! I think the lake above will be built, then covered.


I can't imagine a battery stack that could stand a 400 MW draw. That would be a site to behold.
There is a process called the Sabatier process that can be used to convert Hydrogen into methane (proposed for use in some plans for mars missions). If you took extra solar energy and used it to split the water, and then made methane from CO2 and the Hydrogen you have a pre-built distribution network. Put the plants near current natural gas storage facilities and the distribution would be very low cost. Note that this process would be very low in net Co2 emmissions. Wikipeida says there is a demonstration plant in Germany. Of course if you did this big time, you would make the middle east which has lots of sun a real energy hub. (put the plants on the shore of the ocean.
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Old 06-23-2015, 09:09 PM   #253
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You can drive past this one on Independence Pass from Granite over to Aspen:

Powerplant details - Mount Elbert Powerplant - Bureau of Reclamation
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Old 06-25-2015, 08:43 AM   #254
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This article capsulizes some of the things I've been talking about:

The economic limitations of wind and solar power - Vox

I've been saying that once renewables get near peaks, it's going to be harder for them. They need back-up and/or storage, and/or some power is wasted, so their costs will go up. They need to re-coup their investment, even if the fuel is free, so they will need to charge more for the energy they are able to sell.

Quote:
Jenkins and Trembath propose a "rule of thumb": "It is increasingly difficult for the market share of variable renewable energy sources at the system-wide level to exceed the capacity factor of the energy source."
Capacity factors (average energy delivered divided by nameplate energy delivered) are in the 10's-20's for solar, 30's-40's for wind. But they say this is a very rough guide, subject to many variables.

They also address what I pointed out on the fallacy of some of the high renewable %'s reported from places like Denmark and Iowa. These places connect to neighboring grids that source/sink any dips/excess, but these high % figures are based on renewable generation divided only by their local grid - not a real world number at all. And of no help when your neighbors bring on renewables (and if they don't, that average number drops based on that math).

Quote:
Iowa is not actually 29 percent wind-powered

... One often hears about places where wind or solar is providing some startlingly high percentage of energy. These figures can be somewhat misleading. For instance, Iowa is said to get 28.5 percent of its electricity from wind. And that's true in terms of markets and accounting: 28.5 percent of the power contracts signed by Iowa utilities are with wind generators.

But Iowa does not have its own grid; it is part of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) grid region, which includes all or part of 13 other states. The electrons on the MISO grid cannot be divided into wind electrons and coal electrons. Every load (user of electricity) on the grid is, physically speaking, consuming the same mix of energy. Currently the MISO grid gets 5.7 percent of its energy from wind and, thus, so does Iowa. ...
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Old 06-25-2015, 09:33 AM   #255
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This article capsulizes some of the things I've been talking about:

The economic limitations of wind and solar power - Vox

I've been saying that once renewables get near peaks, it's going to be harder for them. They need back-up and/or storage, and/or some power is wasted, so their costs will go up. They need to re-coup their investment, even if the fuel is free, so they will need to charge more for the energy they are able to sell.



Capacity factors (average energy delivered divided by nameplate energy delivered) are in the 10's-20's for solar, 30's-40's for wind. But they say this is a very rough guide, subject to many variables.

They also address what I pointed out on the fallacy of some of the high renewable %'s reported from places like Denmark and Iowa. These places connect to neighboring grids that source/sink any dips/excess, but these high % figures are based on renewable generation divided only by their local grid - not a real world number at all. And of no help when your neighbors bring on renewables (and if they don't, that average number drops based on that math).



-ERD50

You have to love progressive states such as mine in MO. They are attempting to build wind farms in Kansas and neighboring states and are wanting to transmit the power back east for use. Unfortunately for them the lines have to go through MO and they are showing little interest in accommodating the rights to do this.


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Old 06-25-2015, 12:43 PM   #256
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I don't disagree entirely, but many of those standby generators are already bought and paid for and are in place.
They were in place, but the EPA is forcing many coal plants to close down for good.

AEP Closing Six Power Plants
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Old 06-25-2015, 01:53 PM   #257
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They were in place, but the EPA is forcing many coal plants to close down for good.

AEP Closing Six Power Plants
Most peaker plants are gas. Coal plants losing market share primarily to nat gas plants.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peaking_power_plant


Coal had provided AEP with over 60% of fuel used. I imagine this number will be shrinking and the six plants mentioned will probably not be the last.

Stock:American Electric Power Company (AEP))
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