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What are the limitations of solar energy?

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: What are the limitations of solar energy?

Unread postby Zarquon » Tue 02 May 2017, 16:16:23

ROCKMAN wrote:Z - And it looks like we're on the verge of proving the commerciallity of grid scale battery storage in Texas not only for wind but also solar. As you pointed out rooftop residential solar has a limited impact compared with commercial electricity consumption. If the intermittency problem with solar is in the process of being eliminated and solar continues to get cheaper we have the room to build hundreds of commercial scale solar fields on the hundreds of thousands of sun drenched and rather cheap scrub lands in south Texas.

...nearly 20 MW of battery storage at Texas wind farms
...converting a 36-megawatt battery system at its wind farm in West Texas
...to construct a 20-megawatt, lithium-ion battery project in Dallas


Who would have thought that - batteries have become sexy. But as much as everybody loves them, none of the news clippings you quoted named the storage capacity of these projects, only their maximum power. But the Source of All Wisdom knows, of course:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_e ... e_projects

Sort by capacity. The largest battery storage project (the list might be a tad out of date, but it's good enough for the purpose) has a capacity of 75 MWh (25MW x 3h). That's the power supplied by one utility-scale, steam-fired turbine in about 5 minutes. These storage projects exist to stabilize the grid, not provide anything that comes even close to a significant percentage of demand. Every plant that has some significant storage capacity is pumped hydro.

Here's a good overview of current storage capacities, techs and projects:
http://world-nuclear.org/information-li ... orage.aspx

"Relatively few places have scope for pumped storage dams close to where the power is needed, and overall ‘round-trip’ efficiency is 70 to 80%, but pumped storage has been used since the 1920s and today about 150 GW pumped storage is installed worldwide, including 21 GW in the USA and 38 GW in Europe. This amounts to some 500 GWh able to be stored – about 95% of the world’s large-scale electricity storage in mid-2016, and 72% of that capacity which was added in 2014. The International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook 2016 projects 27 GW of pumped storage capacity being added by 2040, mainly in China, USA and Europe. The scope is limited by suitable sites."
...
"A World Energy Council report in January 2016 projected a significant drop in cost for the majority of energy storage technologies as from 2015 to 2030. Battery technologies showed the greatest reduction in cost, followed by sensible thermal, latent thermal and supercapacitors. Battery technologies showed a reduction from a range of €100-700/MWh in 2015 to €50-190/MWh in 2030 – a reduction of over 70% in the upper cost limit in the next 15 years. Sodium sulfur, lead acid and lithium-ion technologies lead the way according to WEC. The report models storage related to both wind and solar plants, assessing the resultant levelised cost of storage (LCOS) in particular plants. It notes that the load factor and the average discharge time at rated power is an important determinant of the LCOS, with the cycle frequency becoming a secondary parameter. For solar-related storage the application case was daily storage, with six-hour discharge time at rated power. For wind-related storage the application case was for two-day storage with 24 hours discharge at rated power. In the former case the most competitive storage technology had LCOS of €50-200/MWh. In the latter case, levelised costs were higher and sensitive to the number of discharge cycles per year, and “few technologies appeared attractive."

That's the kicker: "Battery technologies showed a reduction from a range of €100-700/MWh in 2015 to €50-190/MWh in 2030". €100-700 per MWh is 10-70 eurocents per KWh. IIRC electricity sells for an average of 9 cents/KWh in Texas.
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Re: What are the limitations of solar energy?

Unread postby Hawkcreek » Tue 02 May 2017, 19:24:33

Zarquon wrote:That's the kicker: "Battery technologies showed a reduction from a range of €100-700/MWh in 2015 to €50-190/MWh in 2030". €100-700 per MWh is 10-70 eurocents per KWh. IIRC electricity sells for an average of 9 cents/KWh in Texas.


Good to know that they have such firm figures for 2030 - I thought they might just be guessing. :)
If they are exactly right, which I am sure they will say they are, that means that a KWh of storage in 2030 will cost between 5 and 51 eurocents. Since most usage will take place during the day (which means your storage should be much less than your max output), that sounds pretty doable, to me
But the important thing is that storage prices show a rapid trend downwards.
Looking better and better.
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Re: What are the limitations of solar energy?

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Tue 02 May 2017, 20:26:18

Z - Thanks. That fits some numbers I saw "like enough power to supply 2,000 homes". Not very impressive in a state with 28 million. The grid stability aspect makes sense. Given we use fossil fuels to back up our alts the battery systems might be the stability hedge for switching.

But just guessing since my EE base knowledge is minimal.
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Re: What are the limitations of solar energy?

Unread postby pstarr » Tue 02 May 2017, 20:37:11

Hawkcreek wrote:
pstarr wrote:
Hawkcreek wrote:
pstarr wrote:There are no chargers in the ocean. Nor plugs in the outback.

There weren't any anywhere, until we put them there. That argument doesn't make sense.

For a guy who doesn't drive an EV, your sure must know a lot about them, huh? Like how the Tesla heater doesn't work in the winter. Or how to run a long extension cord

You don't have to know a lot about them to know that you can't drive one in the ocean. That's just foolishness! :P Don't even try that or you will get wet.
You still aren't making sense.
And I am pretty sure that Subaru will soon be making EV versions of its outback.

this is what baha the Proselytizer said: "To think you can't develop electric mining and shipping processes is closed minded."

Of course we can develop electric mining equipment and shipping (processes? really?). That's because we already have: the latter are called submarines. The former . . . well I'll let you examine that by yourself. The problem with techtopia is in the detail. Something here about batteries, evenings, storms, and . . . long wires . . .
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Re: What are the limitations of solar energy?

Unread postby baha » Wed 03 May 2017, 07:07:39

I like that...Proselytizer...That just means dreamer with a big mouth :)
A Solar fuel spill is otherwise known as a sunny day!
The energy density of a tank of FF's doesn't matter if it's empty.

https://monitoringpublic.solaredge.com/solaredge-web/p/kiosk?guid=19844186-d749-40d6-b848-191e899b37db
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Re: What are the limitations of solar energy?

Unread postby Hawkcreek » Wed 03 May 2017, 10:47:30

pstarr wrote:Of course we can develop electric mining equipment and shipping (processes? really?). That's because we already have: the latter are called submarines. The former . . . well I'll let you examine that by yourself. The problem with techtopia is in the detail. Something here about batteries, evenings, storms, and . . . long wires . . .

If you ever visit an underground mine, you will find them increasingly more and more dependent on electrical equipment. From the long wall grinders, to the conveyors used to move the ore to the surface, more and more is electrical. One reason for this is that it drastically cuts the need for ventilation. I have done commissioning on mines that used virtually no FF machinery from the face to the processing facility.
When you get to open pit mining it is different, I admit. But there is no reason at all for it to stay that way. Look at some open pit mines that use literally miles of conveyor belts to move the ore to the processing plants. Any time you have equipment used at a fixed location, you can make electrical equipment work in place of FF equipment.
Yes, I am speaking of grid tied electrical equipment, but we are slowly weaning ourselves away from FF to power the grid.
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Re: What are the limitations of solar energy?

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Wed 03 May 2017, 12:53:29

hawk - "you will find them increasingly more and more dependent on electrical equipment." I've been around more the a few mines, both surface and underground. And don't recall a single one that could function if it lost 100% of its electricity. There a lot more to mining the just hauling sh*t around in a diesel dump.
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Re: What are the limitations of solar energy?

Unread postby Hawkcreek » Wed 03 May 2017, 13:06:45

ROCKMAN wrote:There a lot more to mining the just hauling sh*t around in a diesel dump.

Yep. Its just my opinion, but I can see most mines cutting their FF use by 60-80 % easily, without it impacting their total output.
We don't really need all the FF we use - its just been the easiest, cheapest way to get things done.
The market is beginning to see that alts are a reasonable, cost competitive method of getting things done, and the market will make it happen. Your country (Texas :-D ) is a good example of that.
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