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PostPosted: Nov 17, 2011 3:58 pm 
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DaveMart wrote:
http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/05/21/co2-avoid
http://nukepowertalk.blogspot.com/2011/ ... cost-wind/
http://theenergycollective.com/willem-p ... r_posts_by
http://theenergycollective.com/willem-p ... r_posts_by

The bottom line is that ramping the back up turbines up and down is grossly inefficient, and you may achieve greater reductions simply by building more efficient and more constantly utilised gas plants.

Panasonic and others hope to have home fuel cells available at reasonable cost by 2013, which would increase gas burn efficiency by around another 30%.

Ah well, what's a few hundred billion in subsidies for wind?


Well this forum is meant for serious discussion by people who can do maths (it's not the Daily Telegraph), so I thought I'd look at that.

The bravenewclimate refers to an article which I'd have to pay for, but seems to be looking for evidence to justify beliefs.

The first energy collective article takes the hypothesis: "Ramping wind backup may mean near zero CO2 savings" and looks for evidence to prove the hypothesis. They've found examples of utilities which are compensating for the variability of wind by throttling up and down their coal fired power station, and hey presto, they prove that wind power doesn't save on CO2.

In the example of Texas, the article doesn't mention how the provider currently manages varying demand. Certainly in the UK this is still the major issue, and remains the major issue, until wind gets to 20%. I guess Texans just don't put on a cup of tea in the ad breaks.

But from an engineering perspective, throttling 40 year old coal plants is the dumbest way to compensate for wind variability. Especially as they were talking about throttling up and down 200 times per day - i.e every 6 minutes of so. The cheapest way to account for this kind of variability is to vary demand (free after the smart meter is installed), followed by regional distribution, followed by pumped storage, followed by anything other than coal.

Most of these do have a cost, and yes, it'll all be cheaper if we just build 5,000 Thorium Reactors, but that's not going to happen.


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PostPosted: Nov 17, 2011 4:35 pm 
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alexterrell wrote:
And you can't look at Danish CO2 output as and blame wind. It's much lower than the USA, and similar to Germany and Netherlands which are of similar climate and wealth.


So, after spending giant bucks and parading around about how green the Danish wind power is, they emit just as much CO2 per capita as The Netherlands, where I am right now, and we don't spend that much on wind (thankfully, the people here are less inclined to buy into innumerate nonsense). Climate is almost exactly the same here as in Denmark.

What does that tell us about wind's effectiveness in reducing CO2 emissions?

It is perfectly reasonable to blame wind for being marginal and unreliable as an energy source, because that's just what it is. We can't use it reliably to power electric vehicles (need reliable daily charging) nor to reliably heat up houses with heat pumps (you can store hot water cost effectively for a day or two but not weeks). We can't use wind without also using massive amounts of fossil fuels for when the wind isn't there (which is 75% of the time).


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PostPosted: Nov 17, 2011 4:41 pm 
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alexterrell wrote:
DaveMart wrote:
http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/05/21/co2-avoid
http://nukepowertalk.blogspot.com/2011/ ... cost-wind/
http://theenergycollective.com/willem-p ... r_posts_by
http://theenergycollective.com/willem-p ... r_posts_by

The bottom line is that ramping the back up turbines up and down is grossly inefficient, and you may achieve greater reductions simply by building more efficient and more constantly utilised gas plants.

Panasonic and others hope to have home fuel cells available at reasonable cost by 2013, which would increase gas burn efficiency by around another 30%.

Ah well, what's a few hundred billion in subsidies for wind?


Well this forum is meant for serious discussion by people who can do maths (it's not the Daily Telegraph), so I thought I'd look at that.

The bravenewclimate refers to an article which I'd have to pay for, but seems to be looking for evidence to justify beliefs.

The first energy collective article takes the hypothesis: "Ramping wind backup may mean near zero CO2 savings" and looks for evidence to prove the hypothesis. They've found examples of utilities which are compensating for the variability of wind by throttling up and down their coal fired power station, and hey presto, they prove that wind power doesn't save on CO2.

In the example of Texas, the article doesn't mention how the provider currently manages varying demand. Certainly in the UK this is still the major issue, and remains the major issue, until wind gets to 20%. I guess Texans just don't put on a cup of tea in the ad breaks.

But from an engineering perspective, throttling 40 year old coal plants is the dumbest way to compensate for wind variability. Especially as they were talking about throttling up and down 200 times per day - i.e every 6 minutes of so. The cheapest way to account for this kind of variability is to vary demand (free after the smart meter is installed), followed by regional distribution, followed by pumped storage, followed by anything other than coal.

Most of these do have a cost, and yes, it'll all be cheaper if we just build 5,000 Thorium Reactors, but that's not going to happen.


If you do a serious analysis of this, you'll find that too much pumped hydro would be needed, costing too much (if you look at real projects as any serious analysis would do). So we burn natural gas. Even without an efficiency penalty, is that a strategic goal?

It's not the 20% wind that you need to worry about. It's the other 80% of your grid that will determine emissions.

I continue to be flabbergasted how people can continue to brag about solving a problem 20%. If I solve my clients problems 20%, they will fire me.


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PostPosted: Nov 17, 2011 6:55 pm 
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And here is an analysis of the absurdity of pumped water storage as any sort of 'solution' to wind intermittency:
http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/201 ... e-storage/

It can't be done at the scale needed at any remotely affordable cost.


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PostPosted: Nov 18, 2011 3:07 am 
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DaveMart wrote:
And here is an analysis of the absurdity of pumped water storage as any sort of 'solution' to wind intermittency:
http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/201 ... e-storage/

It can't be done at the scale needed at any remotely affordable cost.


Dave- you started this thread by showing examples of coal plants being used to regulate the output from wind over short time frames - one article mentions 200 throttle cycles per day - i.e every 6 minutes.

Now your pointing to an article which shows that pumped storage created by traditional "Hoover style" dams can't provide the USA with power for a week. This is the wrong way round - fossil fuels can be a >>day solutions.

Pumped storage is always an hour to hour solution - never more than 24 hours as its charged up at night. A sensible target is to provide pumped storage (or flow batteries or other storage) for 24 hours. That way your gas back up plants run for a minimum of 2 days - 1 day to cover the renewables and one day to pump the water back up hill. No 200/day throttling needed. And again, CCGT plants are cheap to build, cheap to staff and maintain, and can be run for 2 day intervals. It's just that the fuel is expensive.

Also the article assumes all pumped storage is made by dams, with the head being the height of the dam. A more normal method is to find two lakes at different altitude. Or a high lake and seal level Fjord. Norway is the place for these. The article claims not enough metal for lead acid or other batteries, without any reference to flow batteries.

Again, another article which starts with a conclusion and looks for some maths to try and convince you of the conclusion.


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PostPosted: Nov 18, 2011 3:12 am 
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Cyril R wrote:
alexterrell wrote:
And you can't look at Danish CO2 output as and blame wind. It's much lower than the USA, and similar to Germany and Netherlands which are of similar climate and wealth.


So, after spending giant bucks and parading around about how green the Danish wind power is, they emit just as much CO2 per capita as The Netherlands, where I am right now, and we don't spend that much on wind (thankfully, the people here are less inclined to buy into innumerate nonsense). Climate is almost exactly the same here as in Denmark.

What does that tell us about wind's effectiveness in reducing CO2 emissions?


It tells me nothing about wind's effectiveness in reducing CO2 emissions, but it does tell me you can't find descent cheese :lol:


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PostPosted: Nov 18, 2011 3:24 am 
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Pumped storage to cover short term intermittency would already be used instead of gas if it were available, as it is much cheaper.
The fact is intermittency over short time periods is largely covered by gas and coal as the places where pumped storage can be used is geographically limited.
You seem to be ignoring the vast capital costs involved in wind and the ensuing grid problems.

I repeat: What problem is wind supposed to solve?


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PostPosted: Nov 18, 2011 5:55 am 
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DaveMart wrote:
Pumped storage to cover short term intermittency would already be used instead of gas if it were available, as it is much cheaper.
The fact is intermittency over short time periods is largely covered by gas and coal as the places where pumped storage can be used is geographically limited.
You seem to be ignoring the vast capital costs involved in wind and the ensuing grid problems.

I repeat: What problem is wind supposed to solve?


I'm not ignoring the capital costs - I'm not just dismissing out of hand alternatives to having all our electricity come from fossil fuels.

Wind (like solar, tidal, nuclear) is supposed to solve an over usage/reliance on fossil fuels for electricity generation. Cyril R raises a good point that it might solve only 20% of the problem.


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PostPosted: Nov 18, 2011 3:10 pm 
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Location: Taunusstein, Germany
Here's another reason why wind will fail (at least in Germany)

This is a testimony by a well renowned German professor addressed to members of the German parliament (in German)
http://www.bundestag.de/bundestag/aussc ... _9_528.pdf

In the paper he questions the legality of German feed-in priority for renewable generators are legal at all in the context of EU contracts. In the PreussenElektra case of 3/13/2001 the ECJ ruled that member states are not allowed to limit the choices of their consumers to buy energy from generators located in other EU states. The court ruled that national feed-in laws do exactly this. The only reason the court allowed for continuation of the German feed-in laws was the negligible market share renewable sources then had. The professor also warns the parliamentarians that some day the wind mills and solar panels could stand around uselessly because cross border trading of electricity is given priority by new rulings by the ECJ . He cites as an example the introduction of catalytic converters for cars by 1/1/1986 in Germany. This discriminated foreign car makers and was done without consultation with the EU. Consequently, German government had to postpone the mandatory introduction of catalytic converters until 1/1/1989.


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PostPosted: Nov 18, 2011 4:35 pm 
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alexterrell wrote:
DaveMart wrote:
Pumped storage to cover short term intermittency would already be used instead of gas if it were available, as it is much cheaper.
The fact is intermittency over short time periods is largely covered by gas and coal as the places where pumped storage can be used is geographically limited.
You seem to be ignoring the vast capital costs involved in wind and the ensuing grid problems.

I repeat: What problem is wind supposed to solve?


I'm not ignoring the capital costs - I'm not just dismissing out of hand alternatives to having all our electricity come from fossil fuels.

Wind (like solar, tidal, nuclear) is supposed to solve an over usage/reliance on fossil fuels for electricity generation. Cyril R raises a good point that it might solve only 20% of the problem.


Look, I'm not opposed to wind, not as much as many on this forum, because I believe it can be paired with ideally dispatchable energy sources like hydro to increase electric capacity at relatively low cost. But Denmark is a clear cautionary tale in my view of banking so much national policy behind something with such a glaring obvious flaw (negative load with seasonal variation) that brings some of the highest electric rates in Europe.

If France builds some wind turbines to supplement a hydroelectric dam, its better in my view than building a natural gas plant. If they try to replace their nuclear power infrastructure with wind and realize they have to build 30 coal plants to keep the lights on, like say Germany, that's probably less good.

As a technology that has influenced policy, wind has been an enormously bad technology; Because its encouraged emissions growth in places like Germany and will continue to do so by masquerading as a plausible alternative to nuclear power.


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PostPosted: Nov 18, 2011 5:07 pm 
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Burghard wrote:
Here's another reason why wind will fail (at least in Germany)

This is a testimony by a well renowned German professor addressed to members of the German parliament (in German)
http://www.bundestag.de/bundestag/aussc ... _9_528.pdf

In the paper he questions the legality of German feed-in priority for renewable generators are legal at all in the context of EU contracts. In the PreussenElektra case of 3/13/2001 the ECJ ruled that member states are not allowed to limit the choices of their consumers to buy energy from generators located in other EU states. The court ruled that national feed-in laws do exactly this. The only reason the court allowed for continuation of the German feed-in laws was the negligible market share renewable sources then had. The professor also warns the parliamentarians that some day the wind mills and solar panels could stand around uselessly because cross border trading of electricity is given priority by new rulings by the ECJ . He cites as an example the introduction of catalytic converters for cars by 1/1/1986 in Germany. This discriminated foreign car makers and was done without consultation with the EU. Consequently, German government had to postpone the mandatory introduction of catalytic converters until 1/1/1989.


He has a point. We have to pay a lot for electricity in Germany and shouldn't we be allowed to buy it from France? (As it happens, I have to buy it from Switzerland - that's a geographic anomaly).

In practice though on major points like this, EU law isn't allow to interfere with domestic policy.

And of course, if the feed in tarrifs ended, lots of buyers would be very pissed off. But you can't really stop solar from producing. Wind though does have higher operating costs, but less than gas if done well.


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PostPosted: Nov 18, 2011 5:21 pm 
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dezakin wrote:
Look, I'm not opposed to wind, not as much as many on this forum, because I believe it can be paired with ideally dispatchable energy sources like hydro to increase electric capacity at relatively low cost. But Denmark is a clear cautionary tale in my view of banking so much national policy behind something with such a glaring obvious flaw (negative load with seasonal variation) that brings some of the highest electric rates in Europe.

If France builds some wind turbines to supplement a hydroelectric dam, its better in my view than building a natural gas plant. If they try to replace their nuclear power infrastructure with wind and realize they have to build 30 coal plants to keep the lights on, like say Germany, that's probably less good.

As a technology that has influenced policy, wind has been an enormously bad technology; Because its encouraged emissions growth in places like Germany and will continue to do so by masquerading as a plausible alternative to nuclear power.


I can't strongly disagree with any thing you say, but would add:

1. Without knowing more about Denmark, I can't really draw conclusions. Lots of factors effect CO2 emissions and retail prices. Of course, if you import Aussie coal and burn it in modern plants, your going to get cheaper electricity, but Danish CO2 output has fallen in the last 15 years. Maybe that's because now over 50% of Copenhageners cycle to work. Or maybe it's the wind. Don't know.

2. You can build some wind to supplement hydro or coal, as the grid has to account for variability anyway. The only question is what is "some". The amount can be increased by applying a mix of cost and creativity - the two being a bit interchangable.

3. I'm less worried about wind because it tends to be strongest in winter and over a large area vary only slowly (24 hours or so). Solar in Germany is surely a bigger issue - already close to 30GW of capacity which is useless at 6pm on a Winter's evening when demand is at it's peak. (Though mixing wind and solar should make life easier as to some extent their counter cyclical). But where air-conditioning is a big driver of demand then solar has real potential. I think maybe German consumers have taken the pain to push down solar costs, and Indian / Arizona / Israel / Sicily residents can take the gain.


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PostPosted: Nov 19, 2011 3:16 am 
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Varies only slowly over a large area??!! Take a look at the graphs here:

http://uvdiv.blogspot.com/2010/03/uptim ... me_07.html

All of Germany's wind turbines output - a huge variation!

And here we have a much more windy country, Ireland:

http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/with ... ure213.png

Wind power is routinely out for several days. The idea of powering countries with such unreliable power is insane. If you happen to have a primarily hydro grid then great, you can have more wind. This is an exception, not the rule. We need solutions for the world's energy needs.


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PostPosted: Nov 19, 2011 4:15 am 
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Based on the costs of the expensive first nuclear build in Finland, the 1/2kw I need to provide all my power including heating using a heat pump at home would cost me well under £2,000 if I paid for it upfront, plus s few pence/kwh for the grid and other running expenses.
The actual cost of the raw uranium would be around £10 per year.

All these insane 'cunning plans' which cost multiples of many times that for unreliable power requiring enormous amounts of fossil fuel back up with extremely complex and expensive grid management are just that, insanity, and a complete waste of resources which hits a struggling economy hard.


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PostPosted: Nov 19, 2011 7:05 am 
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alexterrell wrote:
3. I'm less worried about wind because it tends to be strongest in winter and over a large area vary only slowly (24 hours or so).


It tends to be negative load. Repeat that and wrap your brain around it. I'd hazard that negative load can be beneficial at up to 15% of the fully dispatchable load of a grid, if the dispatchable load is of no extra cost and transmission infrastructure is free. Beyond that you get situations like Denmark, where you end up dumping load at zero value across the border for no gain. It varies seasonally and the swings are big, so your dispatchable load better be able to supply the whole grid for months at a time. Denmark is as ideal a situation as you could hope for for wind and its pretty awful above 20% of the countries power supply.

Quote:
Solar in Germany is surely a bigger issue - already close to 30GW of capacity which is useless at 6pm on a Winter's evening when demand is at it's peak. (Though mixing wind and solar should make life easier as to some extent their counter cyclical). But where air-conditioning is a big driver of demand then solar has real potential. I think maybe German consumers have taken the pain to push down solar costs, and Indian / Arizona / Israel / Sicily residents can take the gain.


Solar is a nonstarter given its cost is twice that of nuclear on a per MW/hr basis even before accounting for system costs. I'm sure someday it will be a contender, like in several hundred years when we do a huge amount of orbital industry because we're running out of radiative capacity of planet earth. But civilization isn't using 10^17 watts yet and solar isn't cheap enough to feed it, nor will it be for the half century or more.

I think they're neat technologies, but I will repeat for emphasis: They are inherently incredibly dangerous because of their political effect. They masquerade as an alternative for nuclear baseload, and then when they fail to deliver, baseload is delivered by fossil fuels. Any policy that promotes these, while potentially benign or at least minimally harmful in terms of health of power supply is dangerously compromised in the political effect that it delivers. Why do you suppose Germany has so much higher per capita CO2 emissions than France, and will likely climb higher still.

France is in danger as well...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15771915

What do you suppose those reactors will be replaced with? I'll wager that the bulk of it rhymes with droll.


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