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Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sat 28 Jan 2017, 13:44:20

Tanada,

Wind farms in a cow pasture are still mostly cow pasture...
Image
Wind farms offshore are still mostly sea water....
Image
....neither uses more than 5% of the area they are in, and 95% is unaffected.

Central thermal solar is pretty huge, but we have just about proved it is impractical. There is a large solar plant in California that is going to be scrapped because it requires continuous tinkering with either the plumbing for molten salts or the plumbing for liquid sodium, both have been tried.
Image
Rooftop solar has several downsides. Firstly, they pierced my roof and invalidated the remainder of my 40-year roof warranty. Secondly they created an attraction for pigeon nests which had to be corrected with poultry netting. Third in spite of their commitments in the lease, they have never cleaned my panels or serviced the air filter for the inverter, I do that. (I created a wet mop head for my pool cleaning wand.)

All in all, I agree with RM. If you have any other alternative, don't put Solar PV on your roof. Do this instead:
Image
...you will still be able to use the land except for maybe 5%. Some vegetables require part shade, and dogs like it too. Note that the area under the curve represents the power produced, and the array shown re-positions 7 times per day, increasing the power output by 40%:
Image

My call is that the next time I do add-on solar PV, I will use a tracked array. If building a house, I would choose an invisible integrated array such as a Tesla PV roof.

A homestead only needs one small wind turbine:
Image
...which consumes no more space than a conventional TV antenna.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sat 28 Jan 2017, 15:11:47

KJ - Texas is blessed (or cursed) with a lot of wide open sunny and windy land with little value and even fewer residents. Here's the extreme you'll find in the Permian Basin: Loving County. It covers 430,000 acres. It's economy is based almost entirely upon oil and gas drilling and ranching.

And how many folks live on those 430,000 acres? Last census poll counted 83 men, women and children. A good bet that any land owner there would be very happy to lease a few hundred acres to anyone wanting to install a solar array.

Though not many folks living in Loving County it does have some noteworthy history. It was the home of the first elected female sheriff in Texas, Edna Reed Clayton Dewees. Dewees was appointed to the job in January 1945, then won an election to continue in the office through 1947. She never carried a firearm, and reported only two arrests during her entire term. Later she would return as a county district clerk, a job she held from 1965 to 1986. After retirement she lived on a ranch until 2009 when she died. Maybe she won because no man bothered to run against her.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Sat 28 Jan 2017, 19:14:48

KaiserJeep wrote:
Central thermal solar is pretty huge, but we have just about proved it is impractical. There is a large solar plant in California that is going to be scrapped because it requires continuous tinkering with either the plumbing for molten salts or the plumbing for liquid sodium, both have been tried.
Image

What about graphite blocks that are used as thermal storage giving baseload power ?
Image

http://reneweconomy.com.au/hewsons-sola ... wer-86282/
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sat 28 Jan 2017, 21:06:12

Shaved Monkey wrote:What about graphite blocks that are used as thermal storage giving baseload power ?


If it works without excessive maintenance expenses it can be used, but I note no published figures for hot 24-ton graphite blocks in the IEEE archive. Molten salt and molten sodium both worked but required near-continuous tinkering, as both suffered corrosion and blocked pipes above 1000 degrees. But high pressure high temperature steam plumbing is a very mature technology.

Note that lots of projects never scale from pilot to full production capacity. That one is promising because of the modular nature - perfect the module design, and you just replicate it again and again.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Zarquon » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 03:12:10

From Tom Murphy's excellent blog:
http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/201 ... hts-solar/

Note how much bigger the solar potential is than our demand of 0.09 W/m² of land area. This implies that we need only 0.05% of the land to capture adequate sunlight, or that enough sunlight strikes land (the entire Earth) in 4.5 hours (1.25 hours) to satisfy our needs for a year. That’s a powerful resource!

But once we factor in efficiency—say 10% for simplicity and conservatism—we need ten times the land area computed above. Still, it’s a pittance. I have used the following graphic before to illustrate how much land would be occupied by solar photovoltaics (PV) at 8% efficiency to produce 18 TW of electrical output (note that about half of the 13 TW consumption today is lost in heat engines, so 18 TW of electricity more than satisfies our current demand).


Summary of the summary: roughly 0.5% of the Earth's land mass covered in PV would supply 50% more energy than the human race currently consumes.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 03:52:10

baha wrote:You know that, and I know that, but does J6P know that?

Given what we know about exoplanets, there must be on the order of hundreds of billions of planets in just this galaxy (currently estimated to contain about 100 billion stars).

Given that per some new Hubble data (as of Oct. 2016), the number of total galaxies is now estimated at 1 to 2 trillion, that's a LOT of planets. (Conservatively Call it 2-ish X 10**23 (200 billion times 1 trillion)). That's (round numbers) roughly the age of the universe in seconds, for another way to look at the size of that number. Or two-ish hundred thousand million million million. (I get a headache trying to clearly imagine one million of something, and I took a fair amount of college math, and got A's).

Just deciding which ones are deities and therefore should be worshipped is a job beyond human comprehension (even if we had the means to closely examine all the planets).

Now, what are the odds that JUST the Earth is a deity? How many deities does J6P expect there to be? Since most J6P's are monotheistic, I'd say generally, one.

I would expect J6P to be able to exercise a LITTLE logical thinking, until I recall that something like 25% of people in the US think the sun revolves around the earth, that the majority don't believe in evolution, etc.

So, considering how hard it is for many high school graduates to subtract (i.e. make change if the LAN goes down at the retail outlet where they work), that pretty much shows J6P doesn't generally know much about math. Add that to the general science education, and I'm forced to conclude (sadly), J6P doesn't know much of ANYTHING requiring a thought level much above a house cat. (And no, I'm not trying to insult the intelligence of house cats. For what they mainly do (sleep, eat, play, and use the litter box -- they're plenty intelligent).

Ergo, generally, no, J6P doesn't know that (the earth is not some sort of deity to be worshipped).
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 04:25:00

Zarquon wrote:From Tom Murphy's excellent blog:
http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/201 ... hts-solar/

Summary of the summary: roughly 0.5% of the Earth's land mass covered in PV would supply 50% more energy than the human race currently consumes.


Well, at roughly 57 million square miles, half a percent of that is roughly .29 million square miles.

A square mile is a BIG place to cover with solar panels, much less 290,000 of them. Looking around, the largest solar plants I found covering roughly a square mile (round numbers) cost on the order of a billion dollars.

290,000 billion dollars or 290 trillion dollars.

So that's "only" about 4 times the global GDP in 2014.

I wouldn't expect that to be done too quickly, given the subject of land use issues that I noticed cropping up with some of the biggest plants, even if we find that money under various couch cushions.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 05:10:20

A “typical” large-scale Solastor power station capable of providing 50MW in winter and 80MW in summer would be made up of 780 modules and occupy approximately 200 hectares.

200ha= 0.7722043mi²

http://reneweconomy.com.au/hewsons-sola ... wer-86282/
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Zarquon » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 09:26:56

Nobody suggests we should cover 0.5% of the Earth in PV and be done with the whole energy thing. It just shows that the potential for solar is huge, and running out of space for the panels is not a realistic assumption, even if we wanted to go for 100% solar energy. But to continue the hypothetical scenario: Americans use about five times as much energy as the average human. To supply about 150% of curent US consumption with US PV, you'd have to cover 2.5% of the US with panels. That's about Idaho, or three quarters of Arizona. Remember, that would cover 150% of all US energy consumption. There are so many states in the continental US, you can easily afford to lose one or two. I mean, would anybody miss Wyoming?

And there are ways being found to slowly address the intermittency problem. This €1.4bn cable will send surplus German wind power to Norwegian hydro storage, and back when required:

http://www.powermag.com/nordlink-hvdc-p ... -contract/

Expected transmission losses are about 5%. At full capacity, it can cover about 3% of German electricity supply.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby C8 » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 10:10:29

Luckily China is not controlled by Green fanatics and is developing cheap nuclear power construction. Also folks at MIT and others are working on modular floatable reactors, etc. There are tons of advances in alternate fuel sources etc. You can't stop technology.

Nuclear will win in the end due to price, safety and reliable power- and the masses of ugly solar panels and windfarms will be as dated as those 1950's big tailfin cars.

And this is a good thing because it will be the only technology that seriously brings down CO2 levels (much to the chagrin of Greens).
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Zarquon » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 11:24:17

Go tell Beijing. Apparently they didn't get the memo.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_China

"Cumulative capacity now totals over 43 GW as of 2015 year-end which ranks first in the world.[10] According to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association, the total installed capacity could grow to between 47 GW to 66 GW by 2017.[11]:p. 35 Market research firm NPD Group forecasts that China will have over 100 GW of PV capacity by 2018.[12]

In October 2015, China's National Energy Administration (NDRC) set an ambitious 23.1 GW target for 2015, upgrading its previous target of 17.8 GW from March 2015, which was already more than the entire global PV capacity installed in 2010.[13][14]

As of October 2015, China plans to install 150 GW of solar power by 2020,[15] an increase of 50 GW compared to the 2020-target announced in October 2014, when China planned to install 100 GW of solar power—along with 200 GW of wind, 350 GW of hydro and 58 GW of nuclear power.[16]"
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 12:14:43

And let's return to Loving County, Texas. If we filled up the entire 670 sq. miles it covers how much electricity would be generated? Of course we would have to relocate all of the 90 people living there but we could buy each of the 30 or so families a $million Mcmansion and that would still be just a tiny portion of the project cost. And no need to buy the land: the rent paid would be far greater then the cattle income from this semi-arid scrubland and thus no need for financial support for those relocated families. BTW in some portions of the Permian Basin it takes up to 640 acres per head to range cattle. As mentioned before it really is a very large expanse of very crappy land.

And thanks to the $7 billion of taxpayer money spent to upgrade our grid there would be no problem distributing the electricity around the state. And about Texas and electricity:

"Texas is the largest electricity consumer of any state and both electricity demand and power supply have been growing. Most new generation is fueled by either natural gas or wind. The main Texas electricity grid is operated by the ERCOT. The ERCOT grid serves about three-fourths of the state and is largely isolated from the interconnected power systems serving the eastern and western United States. This isolation means the ERCOT grid is not subject to federal oversight and is, for the most part, dependent on its own resources to meet the state’s electricity needs. Among the contiguous 48 states, Texas is the only one with a stand-alone electricity grid."

So someone cook us some numbers: what % of Texas electricity consumption could be met if we turned Loving County into one giant solar array? Here's the latest on electricity consumption in Texas from Aug 2016:

"The Texas electric grid set a new record Monday for the most power consumed at any given time in the state. Peak demand exceeded 70,000 megawatts Monday for the first time, surpassing the Aug. 10, 2015 record of 69,877 megawatts, according to the ERCOT, which manages nearly 90 percent of the state’s power load. Use peaked at 70,169 megawatts after 4 p.m. One megawatt can typically power 200 homes on the hottest Texas days."
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby baha » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 13:43:05

A conservative estimate is 1 Mw = 10000 sq meters. This makes 259 Mw/sq mile. The 670 sq mile county could produce 173529 Mw. This is instantaneous output not Mw-hrs/day. That would make about 17,353 Mwatt hours/day. Enough to run two Texas's.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby baha » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 14:09:40

And if you wanted to back it all up with batteries from the Tesla giga-factory he could produce them in 6 months. :)
A Solar fuel spill is otherwise known as a sunny day!
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 17:47:04

baha - Mucho thanks, amigo. I was quessing some thing on that order. BTW Loving County covers 0.25% of the total area of the state. Now consider the huge area of sunny and empty land one passes thru when making the LA/Vegas run. Lots of solar potential there.

And Texas don't need no stnkin' battery backup. We got turbines still turning when the sun goes down. And if the wind stops blowing at night? We got a lot of paid out lignite burning plants and a 100+ year supply of lignite. Again we haven't been going alt to replace fossil fuels but to supplement them. It might not be 100% green but it's starting to look close to being 100% economic.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 18:11:38

Why not put the damn solar panels over parking lots? That's land we have already despoiled for any other useful purpose.

If you work it right you could use the panels to also collect rain water, divert to cisterns or to replenish ground water, at least reduce run off. And/or it could make the parking lots snow free.

Wind and solar have a place in the future, if we maintain the manufacturing and maintenance base. BUT the low hanging fruit is to just simply learn how to live with less.

We live on a boat, we have wind and solar. I still need to top up the batteries with a generator once in a while. But we are working with 380 watts of panels. Our biggest draw is our Refridgeration followed by my Wife's laptop (ancient 17" energy hog.) When moving things are different, then we need more power for various instruments: radio, radar, etc. Usually we run the engine enough in the normal course of events to satisfy that need.

But there you go, we are living on well less than 400 watt constant load energy budget. Roughly 6kWper day?

What is average for an American household? 30kW/day/person. So, for a family of 2, if we were average we would use 60kW. THATS where the potential savings are.

"In 2015, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,812 kilowatthours (kWh), an average of 901 kWh per month. Louisiana had the highest annual electricity consumption at 15,435 kWh per residential customer, and Hawaii had the lowest at 6,166 kWh per residential customer."
https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=97&t=3
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 18:21:19

Here in Silly Valley, we HAVE put the solar PV panels over parking lots in public schools and shopping malls. It is really very nice. The panels shade the cars during daylight hours, and a few overhead down-facing LED lights, each with a battery, have replaced massive grid-attached sodium vapor lights on poles.

California is at 140% of the renewable energy goals set by the California Solar Initiative. We also have HALF the solar energy installed in all 50 states:

Image

...Sorry RM, but Texas is ranked 11th, well behind them damned Yankees in NY, NJ, and Taxachutsetts....
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Zarquon » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 19:18:15

This is fun. Let's see:
http://www.eia.gov/electricity/state/texas/
Net generation (megawatthours): 449,826,336 MWh in 2015

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_County,_Texas

"Owing partly to its small and dispersed population, it also has the highest median per capita and household income of any county in Texas. The County is also unique for having the lowest percentage of people with college degrees of any county in the US."
Who says you need an education. Or schools. 89.2% voted for Trump in 2016.

We'll treat Loving County as a rack for solar panels. Total land area is 669 square miles or 1,721,213,904 m².

I use the NREL online calculator and Mentone, TX as location. Weather data used is Midland, 85 miles away. Standard modules, open rack, ground coverage ratio of 0.5.
http://pvwatts.nrel.gov/pvwatts.php

At 1000W/m² standard irradiation and panel efficiency of 16% we get 275,394,224.6 kW of installed max. power.

But the maximum calculator input allowed for system size in KW is 500,000. That gives us
837,008,256 kWh/a (Houston would yield only 669,454,592 kWh. Must be all the cigar smoke).

We have 550.7884493 times the max. system size. The energy yield multiplied by 550.7884493 gives us 461,014,479 MWh/a. But to be realistic I'll leave 30% for some unsuitable terrain, access roads, transformers, power lines and the occasional ghost town: 322,710,135 MWh/a.

Sadly, that's only 71% of Texas net electricity production. You'd need to use a quarter of Winkler County, too.

edit: Or use 2-axis tracking panels. That would give you 99.6%, in Loving County alone.

edit: Why in the world did you pick Loving County? I'm getting suspicious.
Last edited by Zarquon on Sun 29 Jan 2017, 20:07:31, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Zarquon » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 20:00:15

You've just installed 275 GW of solar in Loving County, that's 150% of what China aims for by 2020.

Now the costs:
http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2013/08/12/in ... apid-pace/

"The report indicates that the median installed price of PV systems completed in 2012 was $5.30/W for residential and small commercial systems smaller than 10 kilowatts (kW) in size and was $4.60/W for commercial systems of 100 kW or more in size. Utility-scale systems installed in 2012 registered even lower prices, with prices for systems larger than 10,000 kW generally ranging from $2.50/W to $4.00/W."

Our system is a bit bigger than a lousy 10,000 kW plant, so I'll use $2.50/W but generously throw in the land, the roads, power lines etc. for free: $688,485,561,000 system cost. 688 billion, I guess that's a lot of money, even in Texas.

Average Texas retail price per kWh was 8.7 cents and of course you don't want to increase prices. Loving County (with 2-axis tracking) now produces 448,454,444 MWh/a, that's $39,015,536,636 in revenue. You need 17.6 years to pay off your interest-free loan. Less if you sell your old, idle power plants to Oklahoma, or somefink.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby baha » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 20:24:29

Rockman - De Nada

Newfie - Depending on how old your panels are you could probably replace them with new and get 1.5 times the power from the same area.

I see NC is number 4. Not bad for a bunch of rednecks :)

Zarquon - My head is spinning...
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