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A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt 2

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kiwichick » Wed 21 Dec 2016, 14:24:26

the trend for solar slows continued improvement

http://www.solardave.com/images/efficiency-chart.gif
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kiwichick » Wed 21 Dec 2016, 14:33:14

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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kiwichick » Wed 21 Dec 2016, 14:40:53

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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kiwichick » Wed 21 Dec 2016, 14:43:41

and if I can google stuff like that in 10 minutes ......why was there no mention of the R&D in batteries , for example, in Gail's article?
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby Zarquon » Wed 21 Dec 2016, 15:57:31

kiwichick wrote:and if I can google stuff like that in 10 minutes ......why was there no mention of the R&D in batteries , for example, in Gail's article?


I partly read the battery article, and I'd be very careful there. I've been following news about solar power for a while, and there's a scientific breakthrough announced almost every week. And the articles always contain sentences like "...if the technology can be brought to the market" or "...if the problem of durability can be solved soon" etc. My favorite is "...there is still some basic science to be done, but... team is hopeful... could be the answer to all our...". But we still install silicon cells on our roofs and the basic technology for them is decades old. It gets refined and improved all the time, but each improvement is a tiny step towards the physical barrier. And most new inventions either don't make it out of the lab in the first place, or fail to find investors, or fail in the marketplace. Any new tech *in a mature industry* that aspires to be a game-changer has to be
- very reliable
- very durable
- ready for mass production
- at least as efficient as the old tech, or considerably cheaper,
and finally:
- compete against billions and billions invested in the old production systems that churn out the old tech by the boatload.

There's a reason why the battery article covers things like potted plants that can recharge your cell phone in eight hours. And the writer then speculates that maybe, one day, we can power all our cities with trees. OK, I know by now that I'm probably a pessimist, but still I'm not holding my breath. Progress happens in tiny steps and only rarely in leaps and bounds.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Wed 21 Dec 2016, 16:18:36

Z - I don't think you're a pessimist. Like me I think you're encouraged by any real tech advancement. But, probably like me also, you're waiting for the really big economics advances when any and all tech advances can be ramped up to a significant commercial scale.

In the meantime we can keep running our potato-fueled digital clocks. LOL.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kublikhan » Wed 21 Dec 2016, 16:59:13

There is already a significant ramp up going on in energy storage. Grid storage now is at an inflection point similar to where renewable energy was 8 years ago: small but growing rapidly.

STORAGE COSTS ARE DROPPING
Both reports find that the age of the battery is here, largely because costs have dropped so far, so fast.“This reminds us very much of where utility-scale renewables were seven or eight years ago,” when Lazard began covering renewable costs in its LCOE series. “To us, this seems like an inflection point where you can see external factors causing demand to really take off and then you wind up with price declines as manufacturing scales up.”

The LCOS calculates the costs of eight different energy storage technologies for ten single-use cases, half behind the meter (including augmenting residential solar PV) and half in front (including transmission-upgrade deferral). It compares these to the costs of conventional alternatives like natural-gas peaker plants or diesel generators. The study finds that the costs of storage are within “striking distance” of conventional alternatives for many single-use cases, including lithium-ion batteries used for frequency regulation and flow batteries used to defer adding a new peaker plant.
How Much Does Storage Really Cost? Lazard Weighs In.

The U.S. energy storage market just had both its best quarter and best year of all time. The U.S. deployed 112 megawatts of energy storage capacity in the fourth quarter of 2015, bringing the annual total to 221 megawatts. This represents 161 megawatt-hours for the year. The 112 megawatts deployed in the fourth quarter 2015 represented more than the total of all storage deployments in 2013 and 2014 combined. Propelled by that historic quarter, the U.S. energy storage market grew 243 percent over 2014’s 65 megawatts (86 megawatt-hours).

GTM research forecasts that the annual U.S. energy storage market will cross the 1-gigawatt mark in 2019, and by 2020 it will be a 1.7-gigawatt market valued at $2.5 billion.

“We can look back at 2015 as the year when energy storage really took off. Energy storage is changing the paradigm on how we generate, distribute and use energy. With exponential growth predicted over the next couple of years, energy storage solutions will deliver smarter, more dynamic energy services, address peak demand challenges and enable the expanded use of renewable generation like wind and solar. The net result will be a more resilient and flexible grid infrastructure that benefits American businesses and consumers.”
US Energy Storage Market Grew 243% in 2015, Largest Year on Record

The global energy storage market is expected to double, from 1.4 gigawatt hour (GWh) added in 2015 to 2.9 GWh this year, offering unique growth prospects for many energy companies as global energy markets continue to cool. Global grid-connected energy storage capacity will surge to 21 GWh by 2025.

“Energy storage is set to grow as fast as solar photovoltaic energy has in recent years, sparking strong interest from a wide range of players. The United States and Japan are leading the way, but we’re also seeing activity in South Africa, Kenya, the Phillippines and other countries, as the cost of batteries continues to decline.” In Australia and Japan, energy storage penetration is expected to exceed 5 percent of installed power capacity in 2025, underscoring the growing role that energy storage will play in grid stability, renewable integration and overall energy management.
Global Grid-Connected Energy Storage Capacity to Double in 2016, IHS Markit Says
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Wed 21 Dec 2016, 20:04:01

kiwichick wrote:and if I can google stuff like that in 10 minutes ......why was there no mention of the R&D in batteries , for example, in Gail's article?

When someone has five megawatts of this on line working at a profit get back to me. :razz:
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby ralfy » Thu 22 Dec 2016, 05:23:48

Technology doesn't stand still if its use leads to high returns on investment. What's earned is reinvested because of expectations of higher returns. That's all part of a global capitalist system that requires the opposite of diminishing returns.

Unfortunately, the physical world works in the opposite direction.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kiwichick » Thu 22 Dec 2016, 05:42:41

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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Thu 22 Dec 2016, 05:50:19

kiwichick wrote:@ V....heard of Sumitomo???....

https://thewest.com.au/business/mining/ ... b88327728z

I had not as I don't follow penny stocks. Interesting proposal but as I said get back to me when they have 5 MW up and running. :)
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kiwichick » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 05:38:31

@ V......funny....well I assume you are joking .....you are joking right??????
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 05:49:40

kiwichick wrote:@ V......funny....well I assume you are joking .....you are joking right??????

Eeeerrrrh?? ........Nope!
Such official sounding announcements abound with every one being the next best thing from pet rocks to alga oil and all sure to make you rich if you get in on the ground floor.
Maybe these guys are the rare exception that is a sound investment but we won't know that until they actually produce real commercial scale devises and they prove themselves.
I've been to Missouri, The"Show me" State . It is a good motto to invest by.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 11:01:56

Let me take a moment and summarize the state of the Renewables.

The solar hype: Solar PhotoVoltaic cells have increased in efficiency by about 15% in the last 50 years. That is an apples/oranges comparison, because in the 1960's one could find the efficient monocrystalline solar cells only in TELSTAR and like satellites, and one satellite of solar cells cost millions of dollars. Consumers only had access to low tech polycrystalline cells then, and even those were prohibitively expensive. However, we developed automated silicon wafer processing machinery which made it practical to fabricate the efficient semiconductor cells much more cheaply, and such technology became commonplace - I put such panels on my roof in June of 2010. Actual apples/apples efficiencies in monocrystalline cells have not increased faster than an average of slightly more than 1% every three years since the technology was invented. The other news, about thin films, nanotech materials, glass tubes (i.e. Solyndra) and mysterious undisclosed and vague technologies are simply hype aimed at financial investors.

The solar truth: There have been no major technical breakthroughs in silicon solar PV since the 1960s. All the advances have been incremental at best and at the worst, pure hype. What absolutely has changed greatly - due entirely to the Silicon Valley breakthroughs in silicon wafer technology, is the fabrication costs for silicon semiconductors, including an increase from the 2" diameter silicon wafers of the 1960s to the present 12" diameter wafers. After you have made the expenditures for the machinery that produces silicon rods, saws them into wafers, and fabricates semiconductors on such wafers, the costs of fabricating silicon devices have decreased to 1/72nd of what they were in the 1960s. Today we could power a TELSTAR satellite for less than $1000, down from millions of $.

At the same time that the tech advanced to allow such incredible savings in solar PV fabrication, the older generations of silicon wafer processing machinery were sold from Silicon Valley firms to other countries, mainly China. These places enjoy such lower labor costs that solar PV cells processed on 6" and 8" diameter wafers are price-competitive with the latest generation 12" wafer tech in the USA. Then when you assemble such devices into large panels, the cheaper labor in China again gives them a price advantage. China has dominated Solar PV production for over a decade.

Wind Energy: Here we need to look at a technology that got it's start in the 1930's. MidWestern and Western farmers and ranchers with a hankering for radio reception had 12v systems charged by wooden-vaned wind turbines. Since then, we have created ever-larger wind turbines using metallic alloys, fiberglass and other composite materials, designed geared high-efficiency alternators, and used advanced software produced for designing aircraft to shape such wind turbines. The cost per Kwh has declined by a factor of 1000 while reliability and tolerance for extreme weather events has increased significantly.

Battery Tech: In the last 50 years we have seen Lithium batteries replace lead-acid and other wet-cell technologies. Storage capacity per cubic inch and storage per pound have both increased over 20X with the change to Lithium, while useful battery life has increased from perhaps 1000 discharge cycles to about 3000 discharge cycles. However, Lithium cells require expensive and complex battery management circuits to monitor, charge, and discharge them, whereas wet cell technology needs a $20 battery charger. New Lithium battery tech and old wet cell technology are comparable in overall cost of ownership still.

That's the technology in a nutshell. Learn to be critical of glowing statements of technological change. There really haven't been any such changes in over 5 decades, only incremental tech changes accompanied by significant manufacturing changes and advancements in materials technology.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby pstarr » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 11:40:40

"That's the technology in a nutshell. Learn to be critical of glowing statements of technological change. There really haven't been any such changes in over 5 decades, only incremental tech changes accompanied by significant manufacturing changes and advancements in materials technology."


So I guess your haughty insistence KJ that we are going to the stars was just a bit premature? But it only gets worse from there.

In spite of all those technological and especially fabrication improvements, in the end none, of the alternative energy systems come even fractionally close to PETROLEUM in energy density, storage, convenience, and cost. Period. End of story. End of technological man. Why? Think of it this way:
Image
There will never be an EV version of this road paving machine. The cost to maintain our current infrastructure and simultaneously build out an electric version of our infrastructure is impossible. We barely have enough energy anymore to fix potholes. How will we repair highways?
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 12:56:54

Terrestrial power sources and space technology are very different topics. The best solar PV for example under near ideal conditions produces about 15% of the rated output on Earth's surface. The day/night cycle, adverse weather events, dirt and miscellaneous shadows all rob efficiency. In space that same PV array would operate near 100% all the time, providing nearly 6X the power it would produce on the Earth's surface.

The biggest problem with renewable energy is regulatory, the rules and laws passed by lobbyists on behalf of energy corporations. In Wisconsin for example, a decades-long ban on net metering was just overturned, and wind and solar energy are enjoying a large upswing in popularity. I have no doubt, Congress will renew the soon-to-expire tax credits for solar and wind power, as they have multiple times before.

These are not technological barriers, they are political ones. Yet all the barriers shrink in comparison to the largest one: most people refuse to believe that we have an insurmountable problem with fossil fuels approaching. As in, they will be exhausted in a relatively short period.

Did you ever hear the aphorism "The perfect is the enemy of the good"? That exactly expresses the state of the art in solar and wind power and other renewable energy production. Such power sources are more than good enough to use, and while they are not as cheap to acquire as a power grid connection, they have no fuel costs and little in the way of maintenance. They are suitable for rural power production today, if you live in the sticks and use grid power, you are a fool with a monthly electric bill - but that will not be readily apparent for another dozen years. Also, both Tesla and GM claim to be producing EV's with 200+ mile ranges and purchase prices of around $35K before refunds. Those are good enough and cheap enough vehicles to replace 95% of the cars and small trucks on the road in the USA today.

You can anticipate and avoid the drastically increased cost of a grid connection by acting today, or you can pay through the nose when renewable power becomes the obviously more affordable alternative.

I have saved over $2800 in electricity charges over the six years since I signed the $0 down, PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) under the terms of the CSI (California Solar Initiative). Just make sure that you act in the early months of the year before that year's funding is exhausted. Consider your current monthly power bill when power costs are 4X or 10X what you pay today.

As for the GM Bolt vs. Tesla Model 3, I am waiting for the head-to-head comparison test. If it takes much longer, I might lease a Chevy Volt as an interim vehicle. Consider how you will get around when gasoline is $5/gal or $10/gal.

Planning is everything.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kiwichick » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 14:21:34

@ V so you have heard of Sumitomo??
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kiwichick » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 14:29:00

@ kj....you need to get out more....

http://energystorage.org/energy-storage ... -batteries
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby pstarr » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 14:31:27

kiwichick wrote:@ V so you have heard of Sumitomo??

You mean sunomono?
Image
I enjoy it with my sushi :)
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kiwichick » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 14:35:30

"reusable over semi-infinite cycles ,discharge 100% of the stored energy and do not degrade for more than 20 years"

"This type of battery can offer almost unlimited energy capacity "

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/ ... 6e1872713a
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