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$3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

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$3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sun 29 Jul 2018, 08:47:56

Potentially using Lake Mead as a pumped storage facility could be done for $3B. There would of course be significant changes to the way water levels fluctuate downstream. The factoid that is the pink elephant in the room: Lake Mead has already been below full for the last 34 years due to drought conditions in the seven Western states that use the water downstream. If additional water were to be impounded for energy storage, it would have to come from somewhere, and pumping that much water from the Ogalalla Aquifer would cause it to shrink much faster than it does today. Also, the larger the lake surface, the more water is lost to evaporation due to the increased surface area.

Nicely written with some great animated images:
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/07/24/business/energy-environment/hoover-dam-renewable-energy.html
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby jawagord » Sun 29 Jul 2018, 09:42:08

Every hydro dam has this potential, besides the costs Which are substantial, hydro is a small portion of power generation, and pumped storage is a small addition to an already small source which makes it largely insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Still much better life cycle than batteries.

http://www.brazeauhydro.com
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sun 29 Jul 2018, 10:51:38

It will take a lot of energy to pump water up out of the ground and INTO the reservoir. You'll get less energy out when you put the water through the turbines.

The whole idea is a net energy loser.

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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sun 29 Jul 2018, 10:59:00

Plantagenet wrote:It will take a lot of energy to pump water up out of the ground and INTO the reservoir. You'll get less energy out when you put the water through the turbines.

The whole idea is a net energy loser.

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Yes, but the idea is to surround the lake with solar and wind farms. The idea is to use renewables plus pumped storage to substitute for FF power plants as baseline power.

Practically speaking, this is a California deal. California's usage of Hoover Dam energy slightly exceeds the other six states in most years.
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby jawagord » Sun 29 Jul 2018, 13:04:44

baha wrote:I saw this, and tried to figure it out. They are using some 'pumping process' to lift water back to the top (after it goes thru the turbine)? How does that make sense? Just stop one of the turbines and save some water for later...

This whole concept requires excess energy. You need to put some water back in Lake Mead before it will make a decent battery and that ain't gonna happen. The Colorado River is running out and Las Vegas will drink it anyway. This is a bad plan.

The better plan is build PV and batteries in CA to carry the loads and shut down half of the turbines in the dam. Let the water level come back up...


It's a simple concept assuming the dam has excess storage capacity. Build a storage reservoir beneath the dam, with pumps and generators. During times of excess power production from wind and solar use the power to pump the water from the storage reservoir up into the dam reservoir, this can be 85-90% efficient with the right pumping conditions, during times of high electrical demand let the water back down to the lower reservoir and generate power (again 85-90% efficient). Transmission losses will reduce the efficiency depending how far the renewable power is from the dam. Overall maybe recovering 65-70% of the power but you are delivering it at the time it is needed, so it becomes dispatchable power. By adding generation and re-using water the dam's output is increased beyond its current capacity.
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby GHung » Sun 29 Jul 2018, 13:16:39

baha wrote:I saw this, and tried to figure it out. They are using some 'pumping process' to lift water back to the top (after it goes thru the turbine)? How does that make sense? Just stop one of the turbines and save some water for later...

This whole concept requires excess energy. You need to put some water back in Lake Mead before it will make a decent battery and that ain't gonna happen. The Colorado River is running out and Las Vegas will drink it anyway. This is a bad plan.

The better plan is build PV and batteries in CA to carry the loads and shut down half of the turbines in the dam. Let the water level come back up...


Jeez. There is already about 25 GW of pumped storage in the US. It doesn't take any more water, except for water lost to evaporation. Water that has already run through the turbines is simply pushed back up to the reservoir using excess production or off-peak energy from other sources (nuke, renewable, steady-state fossil plants...) Pumped hydro storage systems have an efficiency of about 80%, which is comparable to most battery systems. This plant is not very far from me.

Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant is a pumped-storage hydroelectric underground power station in Marion County, just west of Chattanooga in the U.S. state of Tennessee.

The facility is owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Construction was started in 1970 and was completed in 1978.[7]

Water is pumped from Nickajack Lake on the Tennessee River at the base of Raccoon Mountain to a storage reservoir built at the top of the mountain. The reservoir at the top of the mountain covers 528 acres (214 ha), with a dam that is 230 feet (70 m) high and 5,800 feet (1,800 m) long, the largest rock-fill dam ever built by TVA. It takes 28 hours to fill the upper reservoir. During periods of high electric demand, water can be released from the reservoir through a tunnel drilled through the center of the mountain, driving electric generators in an underground hydroelectric plant.[7] The plant has a capacity of 1,652 megawatts (2,215,000 hp) of electricity and can generate for up to 22 hours. The plant is used most days and serves as an important element for peak power generation and grid balancing in the TVA system.[8][9]....

Image

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raccoon_M ... rage_Plant


As for makeup water and drought, there's a pumped storage facility in Virginia that gets it's water from what is little more than a big stream. They just use the water over and over again.

Bath County Pumped Storage Station

The Bath County Pumped Storage Station is a pumped storage hydroelectric power plant, which is described as the "largest battery in the world",[2] with a generation capacity of 3,003 MW[3] The station is located in the northern corner of Bath County, Virginia, on the southeast side of the Eastern Continental Divide, which forms this section of the border between Virginia and West Virginia. The station consists of two reservoirs separated by about 1,260 feet (380 m) in elevation. It is the largest pumped-storage power station in the world.[3]

Construction on the power station, with an original capacity of 2,100 megawatts (2,800,000 hp), began in March 1977 and was completed in December 1985 at a cost of $1.6 billion,[4][5] Voith-Siemens upgraded the six turbines between 2004 and 2009, increasing power generation to 500.5 MW and pumping power to 480 megawatts (640,000 hp) for each turbine.[6][7] Bath County Station is jointly owned by Dominion Generation (60%) and FirstEnergy (40%), and managed by Dominion.[3] It stores energy for PJM Interconnection, a regional transmission organization in 13 states and the District of Columbia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_Coun ... ge_Station


Nuclear Plan Vogtle in Georgia also uses Lakes Oconee and lower Lake Sinclair as a pumped storage system, storing water energy during off-peak periods:

Wallace Dam Pumped Storage
In 1979 Lake Oconee was created with the completion of Wallace Dam, which is a pumped-storage reservoir for Lake Sinclair. The water is pumped from Lake Sinclair into Lake Oconee. It is then released through Wallace Dam back into Lake Sinclair - thus generating electricity. The net effect of the power generation process is an approximate 2-foot (0.61 m) drop or rise in Lake Sinclair's water level. .....

https://www.energystorageexchange.org/projects/239
Last edited by GHung on Sun 29 Jul 2018, 13:26:05, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sun 29 Jul 2018, 13:21:30

KaiserJeep wrote:the idea is to surround the lake with solar and wind farms. The idea is to use renewables plus pumped storage to substitute for FF power plants as baseline power.

Practically speaking, this is a California deal. California's usage of Hoover Dam energy slightly exceeds the other six states in most years.


Sorry....its such a weird idea I couldn't believe anyone would propose it at first. Its so wacky...its as almost as wacky as the Soviets stealing all the water that used to go into the Aral Sea and accidentally creating a vast desert.

So the idea is to pump up groundwater from the Ogallala Aquifer, which is already running out of water in some areas, and build an enormous pipeline across four states and then pump the water past farms that rely on the Ogallala Aquifer so the water can be diverted to Lake Mead to make electricity for Los Angeles.

Image
Sorry Prairie States. LA wants to steal some of your water. I'm sure you won't mind.

Fair enough.

Except it would be much simpler to just build nuclear power plants in California and use those to provide baseline energy when the wind is down and the sun don't shine. There is no need for California to steal water from the Prairie States when California has other alternatives to generate baseline power.

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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby GHung » Sun 29 Jul 2018, 13:32:15

Plantagenet wrote:
KaiserJeep wrote:the idea is to surround the lake with solar and wind farms. The idea is to use renewables plus pumped storage to substitute for FF power plants as baseline power.

Practically speaking, this is a California deal. California's usage of Hoover Dam energy slightly exceeds the other six states in most years.


Sorry....its such a weird idea I couldn't believe anyone would propose it at first. Its so wacky...its as almost as wacky as the Soviets stealing all the water that used to go into the Aral Sea and accidentally creating a vast desert.

So the idea is to pump up groundwater from the Ogallala Aquifer, which is already running out of water in some areas, and build an enormous pipeline across four states and then pump the water past farms that rely on the Ogallala Aquifer so the water can be diverted to Lake Mead to make electricity for Los Angeles.

Image
Sorry Prairie States. LA wants to steal some of your water. I'm sure you won't mind.

Fair enough.

Except it would be much simpler to just build nuclear power plants in California and use those to provide baseline energy when the wind is down and the sun don't shine. There is no need for California to steal water from the Prairie States when California has other alternatives to generate baseline power.

Cheers!


Not sure where the silly idea of pumping water from aquifers for electrical generation came from. I know of no pumped storage facilities that do that. Pumped storage facilities simply recycle water that is already in reservoirs; push it back up hill for another run through the turbines using surplus power from other sources.. This is a well established process; been around for decades.
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sun 29 Jul 2018, 14:04:52

The aquifer discussion is NOT part of the plan. I was just noting that they need to refill Lake Meade before the pumped storage plan can be implemented. Using aquifer water would be a bad choice. But maybe we'll get real lucky and the drought will end in lots of rain.
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sun 29 Jul 2018, 14:12:23

KaiserJeep wrote: But maybe we'll get real lucky and the drought will end in lots of rain.


And maybe the rainbows will turn into lollipops and cows will start to talk and beer and ice cream will turn out to make us lose weight. Wouldn't it be grand?

-----------------------

If California needs baseline power for when the wind don't blow and the sun don't shine, they should build some nuclear power plants.

And, as a bonus, there will be no CO2 emissions.

Win-Win.

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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby GHung » Sun 29 Jul 2018, 14:15:43

KaiserJeep wrote:The aquifer discussion is NOT part of the plan. I was just noting that they need to refill Lake Meade before the pumped storage plan can be implemented. Using aquifer water would be a bad choice. But maybe we'll get real lucky and the drought will end in lots of rain.



They don't need to refill Lake Meade to implement this plan since there is little net loss of water from the lake, except from, as I said up-thread, evaporation which is already happening all along the river system. That won't change.. Indeed, this will let them continue to generate while sending less water downstream. Won't make the folks down river happy much.

Now sing along, folks!

The water in the river goes round and round
Round and round
Round and round
The water in the river goes round and round
Power to the town!


BTW: I count at least 7 pumped hydro facilities within 100 miles of my location. Find them near you here:

https://www.energystorageexchange.org/projects
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby Pops » Sun 29 Jul 2018, 17:39:10

What a bunch of silly responses, LOL

Pumped storage is a great idea, we already use it as G said. If you've ever been to the SW you know this is a great place for solar anything.

As things dry out this may be the only use for Hoover. A typical case of looking at a resource and believing it to be unlimited.
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby Pops » Sun 29 Jul 2018, 17:51:32

Actually the silly question I started out to ask is could the generators be jiggered up to work as the pumps?
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sun 29 Jul 2018, 18:32:57

baha wrote:What I saw on PBS said there was two parts. They would pump salt water from CA to NV, desalinate it, and dump it in Lake Mead. As well as recirculate discharged water at the dam. They would build a small reservoir a few miles downstream and pump it with solar.

I suppose this makes sense if the solar field is right there by the pump. I saw a big solar field when I was there near Bolder City. It's closer to the loads (Las Vegas) than the dam. But there's lots of room for more...

A better plan would be to pump water from Lake Mead to Lake Powell. And then let it run back down the Grand Canyon. So we can ride :)

This all depends on water. If the lake is empty it won't work...


Is Rube Goldberg still alive and coming up with all these plans? Or is this something the Ds in California are coming up with?

Its crazy to pump ocean water all the way from the Paciifc Ocean to Lake Mead and then build giant salt pools and then desalinate it and then pump the fresh water into Lake Mead and then build a second dam to catch the water and pump it back again, and cover huge expanses of the desert with solar grids, all to provide baseline power for Los Angeles.

All California has to do is build a nuclear power plant or two, attach it to the grid, and then use nuclear power for their baseline power source. Its a much simpler solution to the problem.

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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby GHung » Sun 29 Jul 2018, 19:41:02

baha wrote:I understand pumped hydro-storage. You need two reservoirs, bottom and top.

What I saw on PBS said there was two parts. They would pump salt water from CA to NV, desalinate it, and dump it in Lake Mead. As well as recirculate discharged water at the dam. They would build a small reservoir a few miles downstream and pump it with solar.

I suppose this makes sense if the solar field is right there by the pump. I saw a big solar field when I was there near Bolder City. It's closer to the loads (Las Vegas) than the dam. But there's lots of room for more...

A better plan would be to pump water from Lake Mead to Lake Powell. And then let it run back down the Grand Canyon. So we can ride :)

This all depends on water. If the lake is empty it won't work...


Gosh, Baha, I'm not sure if you didn't read the NYT article, uptop, or you are just being obtuse. There is no discussion of building another dam downstream. There are already suitable deep sections of the river:
https://static01.nyt.com/newsgraphics/2 ... 9-2000.jpg

No need to put the solar/wind systems close to the pump station. Hoover already has massive transmission lines which would be tapped to power the pumps using surplus generation from all over the area. That's how other pumped storage systems work. If you were familiar with the concept you would know that. Methinks you have a Tesla battery obsession. Storage can be hundreds of miles away from whatever source has surplus capacity.

Planty, you also have a nuke obsession. Compare $3 billion for this proposed system with the debacle going on in GA with Plant Vogtle's 2 new reactors; now expected to surpass $22 billion. But go ahead and build your reactors. Many reactors work in partnership with pumped storage as I've mentioned here many times. Reactors like to operate in steady state regardless of loads. Better to send that surplus somewhere than to power down the reactors. Use that spare capacity during off-peak hours to charge the pumped storage systems.
Again, IT'S ALREADY BEING DONE ALL OVER THE COUNTRY, has been for decades.

As for water availability, Hover dam is still operating at about 75% capacity. Must be some water somewhere. But, yeah, lets build another $30 billion worth of new nukes. Makes more sense than utilizing capacity already built and on the grid.

My grand idea is to get Musk's Boring machines to dig tunnels from the Pacific to Death Valley. Create an inland sea and build multiple pumped storage reservoirs in the mountains above the new sea. Put millions of PV panels around the sea to run the pumps.
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sun 29 Jul 2018, 20:11:28

GHung wrote:Planty, you also have a nuke obsession.


Just because I suggest an alternative technology doesn't mean I'm obsessed with it, anymore then your multiple posts about pumped storage systems mean you are obsessed with pumped storage systems, Gungy.

GHung wrote:Compare $3 billion for this proposed system with the debacle going on in GA with Plant Vogtle's 2 new reactors; now expected to surpass $22 billion.


I'm skeptical that a water pipeline could be built all the way from the Ogallala aquifer or the Pacific ocean to Lake Mead for a mere three billion dollars. For instance the initial cost estimate for the Keystone XL pipeline was 5.4 billion dollars 10 years ago.....current estimates are it would cost over 10 billion now. AND You'd not only need the pipelines, you'd need multiple pumping stations to pump the water up and over some pretty serious mountains, and then you'd have to build electrical capacity to power all the pump stations. And that doesn't even include all the rest of the dispersed infrasture.

GHung wrote:As for water availability, Hover dam is still operating at about 75% capacity. Must be some water somewhere.


Where exactly would that water be located? The western US is in a muti-year drought right now.

GHung wrote:But, yeah, lets build another $30 billion worth of new nukes. Makes more sense than utilizing capacity already built and on the grid.


Where exactly would that existing capacity on the grid be? California has been on the verge of power blackouts during the current heat wave....would you be so kind as to tell California where all tha existing capacity is so they can avoid blackout worries in the future.

GHung wrote:My grand idea is to get Musk's Boring machines to dig tunnels from the Pacific to Death Valley. Create an inland sea and build multiple pumped storage reservoirs in the mountains above the new sea. Put millions of PV panels around the sea to run the pumps.


Since I like to hike around in Death Valley during Christmas break, I would have to write my Congressman and ask him to block your plan----and so would millions of other people who enjoy our National parks.

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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby GHung » Sun 29 Jul 2018, 21:04:06

Plant said; "I'm skeptical that a water pipeline could be built all the way from the Ogallala aquifer or the Pacific ocean to Lake Mead for a mere three billion dollars.


I don't know where TF that came from, but it has nothing to do with the $3 billion plan as described in the article. Please show me a reference about those proposals.

Where exactly would that existing capacity on the grid be? California has been on the verge of power blackouts during the current heat wave....would you be so kind as to tell California where all tha existing capacity is so they can avoid blackout worries in the future.


Power plants have surplus capacity during off-peak periods. Hover Dam stops generating at night to preserve water, but other plants like to keep generating. That's the whole point of pumped storage; charge the system when there's spare capacity, (renewables , nuclear, fossil fuel plants) and make that power available for the peak periods. Simple load/time shifting.
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