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DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

General discussions of the systemic, societal and civilisational effects of depletion.

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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby Tanada » Sun 30 Apr 2017, 07:54:38

kublikhan wrote:Sparky, do you think we should prop up coal with something like a capacity market to keep them profitable and ensure sufficient capacity is there when we need it? Or do you think that would be a mistake? Coal is dirty, picking winners defies free markets, etc?


The problem is the politicians over the last two decades picked winners in the form of massive subsidies for wind and solar that have massively distorted the markets already. I don't think subsidizing Coal is the answer, how about we strip out all those incentives for Solar and Wind and see what the market actually says?
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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby kublikhan » Sun 30 Apr 2017, 15:04:24

Tanada wrote:The problem is the politicians over the last two decades picked winners in the form of massive subsidies for wind and solar that have massively distorted the markets already. I don't think subsidizing Coal is the answer, how about we strip out all those incentives for Solar and Wind and see what the market actually says?
That is already underway. The PTC(wind subsidy) has already started being phased out. It will be gone completely by 2020. ITC(solar subsidy) phase out will begin in 2020 and the phase out will end in 2024. Except instead of ending completely the ITC will revert to a 10% subsidy in 2024. So at least that problem is being addressed.

However I think there is also another problem. Coal & nuclear provide reliable baseload power. wind & solar do not. We are approaching a point where wind & solar can be competitive with nuclear & coal on a direct cost basis. However this omits the cost of lower grid reliability and/or the need for backup power for wind & solar. Most coal & nuclear do not perform well as load following plants. And our storage options are limited. That just leaves natural gas to fill that role. Natural gas prices are currently cheap so it's not an issue now. However what happens if this trend continues for another few decades and coal & nuclear continue to lose ground in our grid? We will experience the lose of diversity in grid generation that Perry was talking about. We will have a grid with lots of renewables, natural gas, and not much else. So should we throw a subsidy to coal & nuclear or let them continue to fade away?

I was also thinking another approach is to have coal and nukes operate in load following mode. This is less profitable, less safe, and generates more wear and tear on the equipment, but it might be a necessary sacrifice for the grid of tomorrow. France and some German nukes already run in load following mode. Some US nukes do as well:

Why is load following hard to do with nuclear power plants?
Senior reactor operator here. Reactors are actually very good at load following. It's not "hard" to do, it is "undesirable". If you get up to 100% power and sit there, fat, dumb, and happy, you don't have any thermal cycling of equipment, you don't have any potential for human performance errors, you aren't starting/stopping pumps. In other words, it completely minimizes wear and tear and "generation risk". When nuclear units were well below the marginal price of power, it made it completely unnecessary to ever cycle them for load following, other than special grid contingencies. Today, with nuclear units operating at or above the marginal price, some units are using load following for economic purposes such as Exelon's midwest units.
Why is load following hard to do with nuclear power plants.

Same for coal:
Increasing the flexibility of coal-fired power plants is an important priority for most power plant managers and utility executives. Researchers have discovered several ways to increase the flexibility of coal. Improving operational flexibility of conventional fossil generation should be a top priority for asset owners and operators. Historically, operators could ignore the impacts of cycling on equipment, primarily the risks involved - safety, availability and costs because the need for operational flexibility was minimal and therefore the risk was small. Wholesale market deregulation, increased renewable generation and environmental pressures have impacted how plants are operated; but plant cycling is not a new phenomenon. Plants have always cycled; however, it is the intensity of cycling which has been impacted.

Operating units at low loads is not risk free. The equipment at power plants still undergoes thermal stresses and operators who are tuned to running plants at full load for extended periods of time are not trained for this operating mode. Finally, most fossil steam power plants in the U.S. are much older with aging equipment and archaic control systems providing little to no feedback to operators performing increased low load operation. With financial and environmental constraints on existing fossil fleets, it is difficult to justify large capital retrofits.

Whether units should be cycled or not is no longer an important question, instead determining the new improved dispatch stack wherein units are operated economically with reduced long term risks from cycling, and new units are designed and procured based on lessons learnt today, will allow us to meet our future energy requirements safely and reliably.
Improving the Flexibility of Coal-Fired Power Plants
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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 30 Apr 2017, 18:32:17

That's a great point. If you add the cost of necessary energy storage to wind/solar to make it a base load equivelents then coal/nukes still look pretty good.

As always the thing that annoys me is that we focus on how to retain our current wasteful lifestyle rather than learning how to live more efficiently.
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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby sparky » Sun 30 Apr 2017, 18:42:40

.
There is another problem in setting up the multi-sourced grid
the size of the transmission line equipment .
"conventional" power are sized on their baseplate rating , and the usage factor is pretty high
"alternative " power generate a lot of power sometimes , then not at all
the power generated is useless if it cannot be send somewhere ,
it create a traffic jam of sources , where there are more supply than capacity
Germany gave the right of way to alternative supply ,the net result was convectional suppliers had to ramp their production up and down several time a day for the privilege of loosing sale !

Subsidies to develop and deploy a new technology is Fine , but no favor once it meet the real world out there
either it's worth doing or it's not
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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 30 Apr 2017, 18:50:16

Right, which is why you need to develop the source (solar/wind/tide) in conjunction with the storage system AND the transmission system.

Several years ago there was a nice piece on this in Scientific American. They proposed huge wind/solar farms in the SW, tied via a HVDC to locations where there were natural gas wells. Any excess power would be converted into high pressure air pumped into the wells at times of excess. And recovered from the wells when needed to run turbines on a mixture of high pressure air and burning natural gas.

It was a systematic approach that provided a comprehensive solution. Made sense to me.
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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sun 30 Apr 2017, 23:07:17

sparky - "There is another problem in setting up the multi-sourced grid - the size of the transmission line equipment." Which is why Texas wind power boomed and solar is beginning to ramp up significantly: the state govt spent $7 BILLION of tax payer monies (with their concurrence) to upgrade our transmission grid.

And that same grid expansion will allow the first major US city (Georgetown, Texas) to go 100% alt energy. A combination of new wind and solar farms. It will happen because the citizens of the town voted to pay above market rates initially in return for lower rates in the future. That purchase contract allowed the alt investors to acquire the construction loans. But again: none of this would have happened without the grid upgrade since neither of the two new farms are being built near Georgetown.

And being done without large scale battery storage to deal with intermittency. Since 85% of the UPGRADED grid is managed by ERCOT it can tap into the fossil fuel plants as needed. And when large scale battery storage does become economic it will be very easy to tie into the grid since it can located in areas of relatively empty/cheap land. Just as the wind and solar farms are being located.

And all made possible by the investment of $7 BILLION of public money. Which was required because no private investor would have done so.
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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 01 May 2017, 07:39:24

Sounds like some DC to AC conversion going on. Not many AC batteries.
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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Mon 01 May 2017, 09:39:24

Newfie - Glad you mentioned battery storage: just found out we are already moving towards commercial scale storage for our alt energy. Been saying we could get there in the future but it is upon us now. As it expands we'll be able to move further away from our fossil fuel backups to deal with intermittency:

E.ON to build nearly 20 MW of battery storage at Texas wind farms

E.ON North America is installing two battery storage projects, totaling nearly 20 MW, at two of its wind farms in west Texas. The two Texas Waves energy storage projects, 9.9 MW each, will be sited at E.ON’s Pyron and Inadale wind farms. The lithium-ion battery arrays are slated to come online by the end of 2017.

Texas leads the nation in wind power, and it is now becoming a testing ground for energy storage ever since a Brattle Group report came out in 2014 that found up to 5 GW could be deployed on the state's grid. But deploying storage in Texas is difficult because the electricity market rules prevent using all the functions of a battery storage resource. However, that doesn't seem to deter some utilities. E.ON is adding two 9.9-MW storage facilities to its 249-MW Pyron wind farm in Hermliegh and its 197-MW Inadale wind farm near Roscoe. Both wind farms went online in 2009.

The Texas Waves projects are designed to provide ancillary services to the ERCOT market and to increase system reliability and efficiency by quickly responding to shifts in power demand.

{And not just that company. From a year ago}

"North Carolina-based Duke Energy is converting a 36-megawatt battery system at its wind farm in West Texas from outdated lead-acid batteries to the more efficient lithium-ion variety, favored for electric vehicles."

{And not just on the generation end but also the consumption side}:

"Likewise, Virginia-based AES Corp. is teaming up with Texas transmission company Oncor to construct a 20-megawatt, lithium-ion battery project in Dallas to help maintain a steady flow of electricity as demand rises and falls.

Battery storage is often called the "Holy Grail" for turning power grids green, because it could provide power during stretches when the wind isn't blowing or the sun isn't shining."
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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby Tanada » Mon 01 May 2017, 10:52:07

IMO it has never been about the ability to build grid level storage, it has always been and remains to be about the cost. Not only the material cost, but the upkeep and maintenance, recycling and so on and so forth.

There Ain't No Such Thing As A free Lunch. Just because the Feds have been promoting these solutions for a couple decades in both words and with cash doesn't mean they are the best answer to the problem of having sufficient energy post Peak Oil.

The more it costs to build and maintain a system the less likely it is to be adopted by the 5 Billion humans now alive who lack steady electric power and all the benefits that come from access to a stable grid. Expensive solutions sound great for those of us living in wealthy countries, but if you like in Liberia Africa, Venezuela South America or Bangladesh Asia they are non-starters you can not possibly afford to use your few dollars of excess to buy.
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby kublikhan » Mon 01 May 2017, 11:38:45

It's not just about the cost. There are other factors as well:

[There are four challenges related to the widespread deployment of energy storage:
1. cost - competitive energy storage technologies (including manufacturing and grid integration)
2. validated reliability & safety
3. equitable regulatory environment
4. industry acceptance.]

Industrial standards for grid storage are in their infancy. Industry acceptance could also gain ground when we reduce the uncertainty surrounding how storage technology is used, and monetized, at scale. Ultimately, it will be the experience and real-world use of storage that will provide the confidence and desire to expand installed storage.

To realize these outcomes, the principal challenges to focus on are:
* Cost competitive energy storage technology - Achievement of this goal requires attention to factors such as life-cycle cost and performance (round-trip efficiency, energy density, cycle life, capacity fade, etc.) for energy storage technology as deployed. It is expected that early deployments will be in high value applications, but that long term success requires both cost reduction and the capacity to realize revenue for all grid services storage provides.
* Validated reliability and safety - Validation of the safety, reliability, and performance of energy storage is essential for user confidence.
* Equitable regulatory environment – Value propositions for grid storage depend on reducing institutional and regulatory hurdles to levels comparable with those of other grid resources.
* Industry acceptance – Industry adoption requires that they have confidence storage will deploy as expected, and deliver as predicted and promised.
Grid Energy Storage  - U.S. Department of Energy 
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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby sparky » Mon 01 May 2017, 14:40:00

.
the sting is in the tail
"* Industry acceptance – Industry adoption requires that they have confidence storage will deploy as expected, and deliver as predicted and promised."

a 200 millions industrial plant needing 10 Megawatts of power every second doesn't care how it get it
it care very much if it get it .....all the time ,at a reasonable price !
All suburbia might go solar ,that is an irrelevance
it doesn't means manufacturing can survive
no manufacturing ,no jobs ,no taxes ,no retail and service money
the only source of income left is farming and "Ye olde towne " tourist traps for foreigners
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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby Cog » Mon 01 May 2017, 15:32:59

Don't you have a doomer thread to hang out in sparky?
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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 01 May 2017, 15:40:39

Exactly right Saprky. And how long do those fancy battery packs last?

Someone needs to do some life cycle analysis.
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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Mon 01 May 2017, 15:50:14

Y'all make some valid points. But as far as the economics side of the equation goes if the storage is built by private investors with little or no govt support any losses, just like any profits, is on them.

I think that also covers "industry acceptance" if I understand what that means. As far as those other hurdles I again offer how they are met in Texas: ERCOT. Folks toss around phrases like "The czar of X will get things working right". Unfortunately the term czar is usually misused since it implies powers that often don't exist. And without such powers sh*t doesn't get done. Such has been the case with many "czars" appointed to federal govt positions.

But ERCOT is far from impotent: It manages the flow of electric power to 24 million Texas customers -- representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 570+ generation units. It also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching in competitive choice areas. ERCOT is a membership-based nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature. Its members include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities, transmission and distribution providers and municipally owned electric utilities."

And the electricity market rules in Texas: "Balanced market rules are a basic element in Texas competition. Clear, predictable and well-designed rules help foster a stable electricity market. ERCOT market rules are developed by participants from all aspects of the electricity industry. The rules and amendments are reviewed by the Public Utility Commission of Texas to ensure that they satisfy the public interest."

IOW are the players either cooperate in a fair and balanced manner they don't get to be a part of the dynamic. Which means compromise: environmentallists don't get their way 100%. Nor do landowners, private investors, local distribution utilities, etc. And best of all: local politicians don't even have a seat at the table. Doesn't mean a certain amount of politiking doesn't happen but it's controllable.

Which is why I doubt any form of an ENCOT could be deployed in either of the two other US grids. Especially with the huge R/D divide that has developed. It's a long story as to how such a structure as ERCOT's came into being. The short version: a patriotic desire to defeat Hitler and the Nazis. Really. When WWII started the US industrial sector needed a lot of electricity, especially on the east and west coasts. So despite being a desperate grid the Texas utilities formed a collective effort to supplement the other grids. ERCOT eventually evolved from that start.

Heck, maybe we'll have another global conflagration and the R's and D's will unite for the common good. LOL.
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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 01 May 2017, 15:52:39

So long as a total life cycle analysis is done and the cost of disposal/recycling is included then I'm in. Ditto for coal, gas, nuke. Include environmental costs.m all figured in the same basis.n make it a 100 or 200 year basis.
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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Mon 01 May 2017, 16:11:35

And what roll did ERCOT play in the spending of $7 billion in tax payer monies which expanded the grid and allowed alt energy to boom? From Dec 2013:

"Texas' Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) transmission build-out, representing $7 billion in investment and a massive effort to help transport wind power across the state, is on track to completion. Construction work has been ongoing for the past several years, and the final lines are expected to be energized by month's end.

In 2005, legislators passed a law ordering the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) to identify prime regions for renewable energy development in the state known as CREZs. Three years later, with help from grid operator ERCOT, the PUCT designated five zones and over 100 transmission projects, including new construction and upgrades."

IOW Texas has gotten to where it is with alt energy thanks to actions begun by our state politicians 12 years ago.
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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby sparky » Tue 02 May 2017, 19:45:03

.
On batteries life cycle , I worked on Uninterrupted Power Supply batteries rooms ,
the manufacturer recommendation was two years between replacement
but it was to be absolutely sure the system would perform , it was critical
only one Battery going cactus would fail the whole system

We though and talked long and hard about it and set the replacement cycle at four years
( each Olympic year was easy to remember )
there was no problem , the "old" batteries were used for less critical usage
we also had banks of old Lead acid grannies with glass container dating from the 1960ies which performed fine

My point is that the usage requirement for half a dozen led light and a stereo at one's home
are not the same as for an industrial plant or a general hospital

P.S. Cog , my man , where did you pick up I'm a doomer ???
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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby sparky » Wed 17 May 2017, 22:01:40

.
To clarifie the concept of organized society and the grid
Here is a piece from the BBC showing the Syrian cities seen from space as the power failed

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt ... ce_english
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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Wed 17 May 2017, 23:04:01

Newfie - "As long as a total life cycle analysis is done and the cost of disposal/recycling is included then I'm in.". And if it isn't and some of those PRIVATE investments lose money don't the consumers still come out ahead? It's like the share player that drills $500 million in shale wells, adds 20,000 bopd of oil production but only nets $400 million in revenue. So he lost $100 million but we consumers the same production as if he netted $900 million.

Too bad for him but good for us. Folks can argue till the cows come as to whether the industry AS A WHOLE made a profit or not the last 10 years. But what can't be denied is that US oil production came very close to setting an all time high oil production rate. A phenomenon that had to have played some roll in prices falling 50%.

IOW bottom line: are you and the rest of the oil consumers happier with $50/bbl oil or $100/bbl oil? Or do feel sick by the fact ExxonMobil's net revenue decreased y-o-y from $16 billion to only $7 billion? LOL.
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Re: DOE Grid Reliability vs Market Distortions

Unread postby Newfie » Thu 18 May 2017, 07:31:38

Frankly Rocman I would be happier at $100/bbl oil. It would slow our development, help keep cc in check, and preserve the remaining oil for other more useful purposes.

But I'm sure I'm a minority.
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