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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 kublikhan » Sun 25 Dec 2016, 21:28:54

I would not be using off grid storage to predict what will happen in the grid storage market. Pumped storage, CAES, flow batteries, these are all off the scale for off grid residential applications. However they are the very approaches being used for grid storage because of the large amounts of energy they can store. What is the best approach for off grid residential is not necessarily the best approach for utility scale.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sun 25 Dec 2016, 22:39:34

Grid storage? Great...can't wait till it happens. In the meantime two states stand out in the non-hydro alt energy category. And apparerntyly neither have meaningful grid storage. Might want to try to get the other 48 states ramping up their alts so they'll be ready to add all that economical storage. Chicken and egg: don't need much storage until there's a big source.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kublikhan » Mon 26 Dec 2016, 01:40:39

IF it's currently economical. With gas prices this low it might just be cheaper to build a peaking gas plant. Of course gas prices won't stay this low forever. But that is could comfort to the grid storage project that got denied because of cheap gas.

The installation of energy storage in the United States, especially at the scale of the electricity grid, might already be much further along if not for one major countervailing economic factor. The problem is that energy storage competes quite directly in many cases with natural gas, and in recent years, natural gas prices have been quite low. That’s been thwarting storage adoptions even though, in the long run, and especially from an environmental perspective, more storage would be a desirable option. “Since 2008,the energy storage industry has faced an unfortunate trend: as the new storage technologies have become ready for the market and the more mature technologies have lowered their costs, the decreasing cost of natural gas has been reducing the potential revenue of energy storage.”

Indeed, if you take the logic one step further, what this means is that the so-called “fracking” revolution, which has given us plentiful and affordable natural gas, may have thwarted a very different revolution — in energy storage. “Hydrofracking has resulted in cheap natural gas, and that cheap natural gas has really stunted the growth of the storage industry, and really set it back a couple of years.”

when natural gas is cheaper, storage systems just aren’t as valuable, and their operators can’t make as much profit. For instance, having a large battery on the grid to unleash power when demand peaks in the afternoon and evening makes less sense if it’s relatively cheap to just fire up a natural gas plant at that time instead.

This doesn’t mean, to be sure, that the storage industry is finished — far from it. It’s actually having a very good year, though it remains quite small. So storage isn’t doomed, but natural gas prices seem to have delivered a significant setback. “The thesis would be that if natural gas prices had stayed at the level they were in 2007, there would be a lot more energy storage now. So the energy storage industry just kind of took a punch in the gut to some degree, and they’re doing fine recovering out of this, but they’d probably be doing better if that hadn’t happened.”
Why cheap natural gas is thwarting the battery and energy storage revolution
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kublikhan » Mon 26 Dec 2016, 02:21:06

Also, all states are already ramping up their renewable generation.

Renewable energy in the U.S. through the first half of 2016, including hydro-electric power, biomass, geothermal, wind, and solar (including distributed solar), provided 16.9 percent of electricity generation. In all of 2015, that number was 13.7 percent. Non-hydro renewable energy was 9.2 percent of U.S. electric generation through the first half of 2016. For all of 2015 it was 7.6 percent.

Since June, numerous large-scale wind and solar plants have already been completed. More are under construction. So renewable energy generation will rise even higher by year’s end. Next year looks to be even better. With thousands of megawatts of solar and wind under construction, 2017 could see non-hydro renewable energy rise to well over 10 percent of U.S. electric generation.

For renewable energy, growth is occurring in virtually all 50 states, as new wind and solar installations are placed into service. Every region is enjoying this growth. Requests for interconnection to utilities throughout the country are now primarily for wind and solar projects.

In Iowa, wind power is rivaling coal as the top source of electric generation. By 2017, Iowa may become the first U.S. state in history to generate a majority of its power from wind.

Wind energy generation doubled between 2010 and 2015. Solar energy generation increased by more than 20 times between those years. By the end of 2017 solar energy will likely double 2015 generation.
Renewable Energy Was 16.9 Percent of US Electric Generation in the First Half of 2016
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Mon 26 Dec 2016, 03:05:29

Cheap gas has slowed down renewables, closed existing nuclear plants, and slowed down grid energy storage projects. But it has also done the most to reduce carbon emissions from coal. But it won't last, it is a temporary reduction.

It would be wise to bank some cash and implement both an alternative HVAC scheme and as many improvements to insulation and glazing as you can afford. It is appalling the number of residences in the USA that won't be habitable without gas. I refuse to let my home be one of those, and all of you should give it some thought.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sun 24 Sep 2017, 16:59:04

This seems to be the appropriate thread to discuss whether or not the USA can achieve a 100% renewable energy goal by 2050. It is becoming increasingly popular, California is actually targeting 2045. Reading this article piqued my interest:

https://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/the-smarter-grid/big-customers-demand-100-percent-renewablesand-utilities-look-set-to-deliver

My view is that this is doable if we are committed. But even if we failed miserably and only transitioned 75% of the power grid to renewables, the remaining supplies of coal/oil/gas would represent a supply that would last 3X as long as the present outlook.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sun 24 Sep 2017, 22:44:17

KaiserJeep wrote:This seems to be the appropriate thread to discuss whether or not the USA can achieve a 100% renewable energy goal by 2050. It is becoming increasingly popular, California is actually targeting 2045. Reading this article piqued my interest:

https://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/the-smarter-grid/big-customers-demand-100-percent-renewablesand-utilities-look-set-to-deliver

My view is that this is doable if we are committed. But even if we failed miserably and only transitioned 75% of the power grid to renewables, the remaining supplies of coal/oil/gas would represent a supply that would last 3X as long as the present outlook.
I can't see that happening at present levels of consumption. 1The construction program required would be enormous and already well behind any plausible scheduled.
What might happen of course is that both coal and oil decline dramatically in-spite of our best efforts and then renewables will gain the lion's share of what is left not because it is an adequate supply but because nothing else produces more.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Mon 25 Sep 2017, 00:18:57

vt - Same old question: why should 100% renewables by any date be a goal? Has anyone every suggest 100% NG by some date? Imagine the boost to the economy if just 30% of all US electricity came from renewable. And in addition to stronger energy security we could be exporting more NG to a world where demand while likely increase.

Of course the big hurdle with both wind and solar is the intermittent problem. But we may be seeing pilot projects coming online that might prove we have an economical grid storage system :

As pointed out before Texas has a great advantage: we didn’t wait for grid storage to build out wind power. Grid storage could be IMMEDIATELY applied today to deal with the wind intermittent problem. Which is exactly what E.on is in the process of doing.

“E.ON North America (the German owned company) announced today its Texas Waves energy storage projects will be co-located at the existing E.ON Pyron and Inadale wind farms in West Texas. Texas Waves consists of two 9.9 megawatt (MW) short duration energy storage projects using lithium-ion battery technology. The Texas Waves projects will be the second and third grid connected lithium-ion battery systems installed by E.ON in North America and are expected to be online by the end of 2017.”

So Texas overcame the “chicken-egg” hurdle. With an existing huge wind power base we’re immediately ready for a grid storage solution. And if E.on proves the commercial viability of grid storage (at least to itself) it can use that leverage to add to the economic value of building new wind farms. But it can go way beyond wind. Now that solar costs have come down so much Texas is on the verge of a huge grid capacity solar build out where there’s the obvious intermittent problem.

And Texas has a geographic advantage with solar as it does with wind: we have a lot of empty (IOW low cost) land that gets a lots of sunlight even in the winter months. And thanks to the $7 billion already spent by our tax payers to connect those lands to our big electricity consumers we’re ready today for grid storage now. Just a case of “build it and they will come”. With our wind and solar already built grid storage will come when it can stand alone economically.

And if the Texas grid storage model proves its viability it may open up solar build outs in states which either don’t have the wind capacity or the vision of turbines are not acceptable by the locals.

But as you point out how quickly could such a transition take. That's going to depend on the growth dynamic of each state. With the strong growth in Texas we had to expand capacity. So the comparison was between the economics of building new ff fired plants and building renewable energy system. But for states with very slow to no growth it would mean abandoning existing ff powered plants vs new big capex investments. A very different economic model.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby baha » Mon 25 Sep 2017, 06:15:52

I agree with RM,
If you let the free market have control there is no timeline. I think it will happen faster than some govt wants to force it to happen. Already it is a better investment to build utility scale solar than a new Mega-FF or nuke plant. That means Alts will have investors and coal and gas will not.

You're right KJ, just like my experiments, the grid will provide stability as long as it can. Just the presence of a grid stabilizes my system without using any power. A central plant could almost be idling.

Batteries will catch up. When the economics wins, it wins fast. Like RM said, an existing wind farm turns into a predictable and controllable power plant. By 2050 we will be using the last few nuke plants to stabilize the grid for the Alts.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby baha » Mon 25 Sep 2017, 08:24:10

In the end, I think govt incentives and mandates are just there to give momentum. The economics takes over before the mandated time and it all happens automatically. At least I hope so :)
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Mon 25 Sep 2017, 12:43:31

baha wrote:In the end, I think govt incentives and mandates are just there to give momentum. The economics takes over before the mandated time and it all happens automatically. At least I hope so :)

That seems right to me. A big CO2 tax on transport fuels would help give it a "kick start" and ramp up much more quickly, instead of all the dilly-dallying around. (Which makes AGW worse, cumulatively, over time, each year we do that.)

The thing that really aggravates me about that is for all the complaints about it hurting the "poor", and killing the economy, etc., those issues could be heavily remediated. So there's no excuse, except politicians pandering to the FF and ICE lobbyists.

Example 1: There could be an annual tax credit for low income taxpayers. Or there could be some kind of federal gas debit card, for poor people to get the CO2 tax on gas/diesel back right away (for those who cite cash flow problems) -- but I see lots of black market dealing in such cards, without adequate controls. One control would be to strictly limit the amount the card could be used (i.e. 300 gallons of fuel a year), to help motivate the reward being for FRUGAL use of transport fuel in a fuel efficient car, and of course prevent the card from being sold to idiot X who wants to burn 2000+ gallons of gasoline a year commuting.

Example 2: For a big FF CO2 tax, expected to bring in a lots of revenue, some sort of lowering of the lower to middle class tax brackets could be done to shoot for revenue neutrality. This way, the better off folks have only the direct incentive to consume less to much less, but the everyday J6P family who is supposedly struggling as the incentive without paying more taxes, UNLESS they consume a lot of FF's.

The disincentive to purchase a big truck or SUV which hauls mostly one person and rarely goes off road would be gigantic. The person who bought an EV or an efficient PHEV would see a huge savings. And such cars are becoming reasonably available used, and this will get better as time passes.

And except for crying from the auto and oil businesses, net, the economy should see little harm, and in reality, probably benefit over time via greater efficiency.

But we can't or won't do that, as we have so little REAL leadership or vision on Capitol Hill from EITHER major party. This isn't a party issue -- it's a captive stupid politician issue.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Mon 25 Sep 2017, 12:54:14

ROCKMAN wrote:vt - Same old question: why should 100% renewables by any date be a goal? Has anyone every suggest 100% NG by some date? Imagine the boost to the economy if just 30% of all US electricity came from renewable. And in addition to stronger energy security we could be exporting more NG to a world where demand while likely increase.

Because AGW is a serious and growing problem. And because without serious goals and economic consequences for failing to meet the goals, the masses (of both consumers and businesses) will just happily continue BAU and surely destroy ourselves in time. (We have little on lemmings re collective intelligence when it comes to population control, apparently).

And if your objection is that a 100% goal is unrealistic -- fine. How about a realistic goal, like 80% by 2045? Or intermediate goals, with the tip of the spear being significant economic incentives to prod the masses along?

Energy efficiency has come a long way re consumer goods generally, so it's not like the technology isn't there. Hybrids are now becoming common for only a moderate price premium over a conventional car, with huge fuel efficiency gains. PHEV's aren't too far behind. For most commuters, a Volt-like solution can save a solid majority of their daily gasoline needs already.

Let's not make the imperfect the enemy of the good. We can always alter a plan in time as we know more. With all the supposed "smart folks" we have in government in Washington, there's no excuse at all for not having an actual plan with some teeth.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby StarvingLion » Mon 25 Sep 2017, 20:42:41

Junkables = ng turbine starting and stopping ruining equipment and sitting idle most of the time while the wind fraudsters collect the phoney money.

Fail.

"It takes more time for Junkables to mature".

Like never.

Total fraud.

Shale Well = 1/25th of normal well.

WindMillScam = broken and not working at all.

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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby ralfy » Mon 25 Sep 2017, 20:42:59

On a global scale, the catch is that whatever is saved is spent elsewhere, which means both FF consumption and CO2 emissions will continue to rise. It gets worse when one realizes that renewable energy sources have low returns and that most of the world requires FF due to lack of infrastructure.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Mon 25 Sep 2017, 22:43:25

Outcast - "AGW is a serious and growing problem.". Yes, but I probably didn't make NY point clear enough. First, who is going to set the timetable for 100% renewables? And more important: who is going to ENFORCE that timetable? Right now, while the govt can provide some incentives, private investors are building out US renewable energy. And they have little interest in how fast or to what % they grown: they are looking at it as strictly a market driven dynamic.

So when I said a 100% renewable goal wasn't critical I meant there's no way to artificially build toward such a goal. Which, in essence, means it isn't a goal we can work towards. Might it develop in 50 to 100 years? Sure, why not? But not because it was a goal planned by anyone. Which is why, IMHO, arguing that 100% goal is more important then a smaller % seems rather pointless.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Mon 25 Sep 2017, 22:58:02

baha - The really exciting development I want to keep track of is E.on's deployment of their storage system that will be fed by TWO of its wind fields. If it proves itself commercial AND can compete in a state with relatively cheap fossil fuel fired power plants that could be a game changer. And even more so if it can solve the obvious intermittent problem with solar.

I just wish we had a US company leading in that in tech. As much as I don't care for the govt getting directly involved in the free market I wouldn't mind seeing some of the $BILLION NASA is spending on some of its projects diverted to electricity storage tech.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby baha » Tue 26 Sep 2017, 06:31:35

Hi RM,
That's the thing about electricity generation and storage, it's very flexible. A central battery facility can support diverse sources of power, or a central source of power can be stored in diverse locations. Like even an EV.

The import tax on solar panels is going to go thru. If it applies to panels made in the Philippines our usual panel price will go up by 150%. My boss said he can get US panels at about a 20% increase so that is what we will do. There are several US start-ups trying to take advantage of the tax, some in TX.

I support US made goods and giving some momentum to local manufacturing. With that and Tesla we will have a foothold in the new economy. The DOE needs to sponsor research...good luck with that. I also support the idea of govt getting their nose out of my business. Investors should carry the load...and reap the benefits.

Is this a free market or not?
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Tue 26 Sep 2017, 10:10:34

baha - Any increase in panel cost is going to slow up expansion to some degree. Maybe if storage is economical to overcome the intermittent problem it will help. My worry is that E.on is just using those two west Texas wind farms as a "shovel ready" pilot project to test the concept . But if it proves itself it will focus on large scale deployment in Germany/Europe and not the US. As we all know the renewables make better economic sense over there then in the US. Especially in Texas where our electricity rates are already relatively low and we have a huge in state fossil fuel reserve.

Keep us updated on your end. Sounds like our govt's import tax might be akin to screwing up a free blow job. LOL.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Tue 26 Sep 2017, 10:48:53

As I said before, the present low cost for Solar PV is because the Chinese are dumping panels below cost to monopolize the US market. The alternate suppliers in the Philippines and S. Korea are feeling the pressure already with razor thin margins, Trump's import tax will break them. The EU is as always doing it's own thing with two prices for customers inside and outside the union.

The thing that irritates me the most is that the highest efficiency monocrystalline panels are being produced in China on 4" and 6" wafer fabrication machinery bought from the US when Silicon Valley moved to 8", 10", and even 12" diameter silicon wafers. Nothing like equipping your trade rival with the cheap labor costs to compete with you. Literally dozens of SV solar startups died when they could not compete with Chinese PV.

YES, we have to have our own PV production. But like all silicon wafer fabrication, present technology is highly automated. One automated factory ingests sand and soda and a LOT of electricity, and grows up to 12" diameter silicon rods in an electric arc furnace. These get sliced thin and lapped to a mirror finish and become silicon wafers, suitable for PV wafers or any silicon integrated circuit. But here in the USA the other contenders for wafers are cell phone and tablet manufacturers, and other digital electronics - the wafer costs remain high compared to China.

But the best case is that import taxes are not going to save very many US jobs in the PV solar manufacturing business. The level of automation now possible precludes that. As we beat to death in that other thread, most production jobs are now obsolete, as robots are cheaper, more reliable, and produce consistently higher quality products. Trump's protectionism is for domestic consumption, he's pandering for votes.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Tue 26 Sep 2017, 11:20:20

StarvingLion wrote:Junkables = ng turbine starting and stopping ruining equipment and sitting idle most of the time while the wind fraudsters collect the phoney money.

Fail.

"It takes more time for Junkables to mature".

Like never.

Total fraud.

Shale Well = 1/25th of normal well.

WindMillScam = broken and not working at all.

Battery powered Bulldozers will be working pushing all the dead humans into the pits.

Have you thought of starting a business where you make a buck every time you cry "scam", "fraud", etc. with NO evidence and no substance?

You could be rich if you could make that work. :lol: In the mean time, what do you get from the occasional drive-by spewing of the same empty, fact free rhetoric, time after time? Are you a would-be graffiti artist, lacking skills or money for paint by chance?
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