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

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

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

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Tue 31 Jul 2018, 08:44:22

Look, I think for the sake of this entire discussion, we should agree on some general principles. I would suggest:

1) Pumped hydro energy storage is practical and long-proven as a means of time shifting excess electrical energy. Indeed, it is fully mature and various hydropower dams have decades of operating experience. For those of you who do not know, Hoover dam has been in continuous operation since 1936 with an enviable safety record. Numerous engineering updates have been made including computer modeling of power grid ties, and computer modelling of long term power production. Lastly pumped hydro still comprises over 98% of the existing grid energy storage in 2018.

2) Construction of the pumps that pump uphill will utilize modern computer-aided design practices and losses in some similar and recently designed pumping stations in Norway are below 5%. This is about 1/3rd of the mechanical/electrical energy lost in the 1930's-era generators at Hoover dam, even after recent updates.

3) Performance of the dam and lake and pumping station would be maximized by having the lake full and the generators operating at 100% of capacity. At 100% head in terms of power generation, the dam and lake still retain about 35% extra capacity for flood abatement purposes, water would be buypassing the generators but the dam would not be in danger of breaching. Of course, as already noted, the water needed to fill the lake once to produce maximum head is not available in the area, this problem unless resolved would limit storage capacity and power production.

Source: IEEE Transactions on Power and Energy, which is unfortunately paywalled for non members. However I can provide additional details if needed.
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Tue 31 Jul 2018, 11:14:09

You're an idiot. It all fits within the proposed $3B budget.
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Tue 31 Jul 2018, 11:29:04

As you were told before and are ignoring, the river below the dam has more than enough capacity, due to earthen impoundments below Hoover that aid in water distribution. The water tunnel and pumping station are the major expenses.
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Tue 31 Jul 2018, 13:07:58

I can't tell because the detailed design or the assumptions used for the proposal were not stated. However pumped hydro has almost a century behind it, it's the only significant technology in use, and there is already about 1.5GWh of grid storage implemented. Whatever lingering doubts you have would be unjustified.

The major problem with hydro energy production has always been it is limited by terrain and most of the best sites have been built already. The idea of reusing many of these hydro power plants and lakes for energy storage - even when as with Hoover they were not originally designed for such - is a good, low risk idea. Using wind and solar to pump water is also good, you re-use the power lines that already exist for the power plant.

It seems like an all round good idea to me, and it overcomes the intermittency problem that plagues renewable energy sources.
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby Pops » Tue 31 Jul 2018, 15:27:57

So the point is not to build storage until you have excess generation?

For what reason would you build excess generation if it has nowhere to go?

It's conversations like this among people who one would think grasp the situation that make me a doomer.
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Tue 31 Jul 2018, 15:34:57

The point is to store power for baseline power consumption that is sourced from intermittent renewable energy and not from FF's. The renewable sources could be solar, wind, or hydro power. The storage battery is pumped hydro. Beyond that, there is a sizing that says that Hoover dam could be converted to a secondary purpose which is a pumped hydro battery, for $3B.

This seems like a good idea to me. But the only pieces already there are the dam and the power plant and the transmission wires. Everything else would have to be built, including the wind or solar plants.
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby Simon_R » Tue 31 Jul 2018, 16:26:47

I am afraid this conversation should have nothing to do with energy its just money

if the cost of selling the peak rate leccy makes up for the cost of the capex of the 3bn
bobs yer uncle. As they say hydro is for life.

the cost of the leccy is the cost of the pump (to top reservoir) at lowest rate + the VOM of the unit.

The advantage to the grid operator is that keeping thermals going longer drops the wholesale
rate as startup costs are reduced, so ... double bubble.

I would need to see the specifics, but the size of the downstream storage would be

(Rated Energy of plant / Energetic value of CuM of water ) * Hours to store

Excess water would be spilt.

you want to reduce evaporation, add floating solar plants.

Not sure the problem

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

Unread postby Plantagenet » Tue 31 Jul 2018, 17:31:16

I'm warming to the idea of using Hoover Dam as a massive grid battery. However, I still don't see a solution to the problem of evaporation and water loss.

The Colorado River is already oversubscribed when it comes to water use. Already little to no water crosses the US border into Mexico---its all diverted for residential, agricultural and other uses.

If you take the water in Lake Mead, run it through the turbines in Hoover Dam, and then pump it back up into Lake Mead, more and more of the water will evaporate from Lake Mead each time it is re-pumped up there.

This means less water will be available to go down the Colorado---and there already isn't enough for the end users due to the drought. And this problem will get worse with time as global warming heats things up more and more.

What is the solution to the evaporation and water loss problem in Lake Mead?

https://www.hcn.org/articles/as-lake-mead-sinks-states-agree-to-more-drastic-water-cuts/image_large

Evaporaton and water loss from Lake Mead is already a big problem. States are already cutting their water use because of the drought and the evaporation...and re-pumping water back up into Lake mead will only result in even more evaporation losses. CHEERS!
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby Pops » Tue 31 Jul 2018, 18:50:39

Plantagenet wrote:If you take the water in Lake Mead, run it through the turbines in Hoover Dam, and then pump it back up into Lake Mead, more and more of the water will evaporate from Lake Mead each time it is re-pumped up there.

Hmm, I don't see how. Evaporation is a function of surface area, but that wouldn't change much.

I wish we knew what amount of water moves through the powerhouse daily...

Found it. Yesterday 7/30/18 release through the powerhouse was 795,257 acre/ft. Lake level is around 1,077 ft, Wiki says below 1,050 turbines won't work.

Report says current storage is 9,802m a/f in Mead alone, rising from 9,754m to 9,801m a/f in July
Total system storage is 30mm a/f
Mead evap is around 1,066 cubic feet per second --- about 2m a/f/d

Use those for what their worth.
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby kublikhan » Tue 31 Jul 2018, 19:29:46

baha wrote:They have a long way to go before there is any excess generation.
That's not right. Excess generation happens frequently on the grid. So much so, that grid regulators are paying the generators NOT to generate electricity. Happens a lot during mid day, when solar generation hits it's peak. Then turns into a deficit later in the evening when everyone comes home and turns everything on while solar generation trickles out. It's the so called duck curve. It's less pronounced in summer when all of that extra solar energy is sucked up by ACs. However excess generation can get quite bad during cooler months. It's at times like that when a large amount of storage would help alleviate the pressure the grid is already experiencing and is only going to get worse in the years ahead.

Last month, the California Independent System Operator quietly announced that it could face a record-breaking need for curtailments -- paying, or forcing, generators to stop pumping electricity into a transmission grid that just doesn’t have the demand for it at the time.

“With the bountiful hydro conditions expected this year and significant additional solar installations both in the form of central station and on rooftops, we expect to see significant excess energy production this coming spring,” CAISO CEO Stephen Berberich wrote in a memo to the grid operator’s board of directors. “Currently, the forecast is that we could have the need to curtail from 6,000 [megawatts] to 8,000 [megawatts].”

All of this solar has led to what CAISO calls the “duck curve” -- a deep dip in demand during solar-saturated midday hours, followed by a steep ramp as solar fades away.
Image

Curtailment is generally the last step in a long process governed by CAISO, as manager of a commodity market that has to be kept in perfect balance at all times. First of all, when supply of power of any kind exceeds demand, prices drop, and generators can reduce output in response, if they have the flexibility and economic incentives to do so. Of course, most of CAISO’s oversupply is coming from generation resources that lack that flexibility, which has led to an increasing incidence of negative pricing.

CAISO’s next step is to offer generators the opportunity to make money by reducing their power output, he said. “Once we go into an excess or oversupply condition, our market first goes out and sends signals to the generators that say, ‘How much would you take, bid in as a price, to reduce or quit producing?’” That’s called a "decremental" bid, as opposed to an incremental bid that pays generators to increase production, and through it, “The market solves that oversupply almost in every instance.”
California’s Flood of Green Energy Could Drive a Record 8GW of Curtailment This Spring

The end of California's drought is exposing the full effect of the state's move to renewable energy. A wet winter has loaded up the hydroelectric system, while solar generation rose by 33 percent in the past year. These increases, combined with the usual spring winds, are pushing gas off the grid, cutting imports, and reducing carbon emissions at an unprecedented level. As California's independent system operator said: “The growth in these preferred resources is nothing short of phenomenal.” But that "phenomenal" growth is also setting new records for negative prices and curtailment of renewables, primarily utility-scale solar plants. CAISO predicts 6,000 megawatts to 8,000 megawatts of curtailment this year.

“It’s an interesting growing pain of our increasingly green grid,” said Shannon Eddy of the Large-Scale Solar Association. “We’re curtailing the cleanest and newest resource on the grid, and leaving alone the 2,000+ megawatts of mostly fossil imports and in-state gas.”

And the growing pains will likely continue. The latest U.S. Solar Market Insight report from GTM and SEIA counts solar projects in the works that will double California’s capacity from 17 gigawatts in 2016 to 34.5 gigawatts by 2022. With springtime power demand peaking at well under 30 gigawatts, we may see a very solar future. Or a train wreck.

Spring shoulder months are especially concerning. With demand low due to cool temperatures, supply is already high from copious wind, water and sun. As shown in the first interactive figure below, thermal (namely gas) and imports were shoved out of the way by a huge burst of solar power, but came back to cover the evening ramp and peak. Unfortunately, March 26 also saw lots of curtailment of utility-scale solar plants -- about 6,500 megawatt-hours or 8.5 percent of their output for the day. Two-thirds of the cuts were to mitigate local congestion, with the rest to reduce system-level impacts.

This can also result in negative prices. While good for consumers, too much negative pricing can spell trouble for generators of all kinds. Negative pricing has been steadily increasing in recent years, and shifting to midday hours. January and February saw more than twice as many incidents of negative pricing as the year before, and the peak is expected to come in April.

Too much of a good thing
Curtailment and negative prices come from a surfeit of generation. Lots of generation relative to supply means low prices, as generators compete to be called on by the ISO market optimization software. Too much generation, or “oversupply” as CAISO calls it, can create reliability problems, and must be curtailed.
Too Much of a Good Thing? An Illustrated Guide to Solar Curtailment on California’s Grid
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 01 Aug 2018, 06:22:03

It's very discouraging, but AT LAST we seem to be focussing on the idea of using existing pumped hydro power plants and uphill water impoundments as storage for renewable energy. Now realize that the SIZE of the energy output is pre-determined by the generators present and the power distribution, also already present for the dam itself.

For existing dams, the remaining pieces are the lower altitude water impoundment, the pumping station and piping back to the high altitude water impoundment, and the sources of energy that are surplus to the needs of the local consumers, in the form of wind farms and solar arrays, or even solar thermal plants. TODAY the hydro power facility might be online during the day and offline at night, hydropower has the unique ability to be throttled up and down as needed quite rapidly.

TOMORROW after the build-out, the new wind farms and solar power surround the dam, the hydropower facility would be idled as the upper impoundment is filled via pumping from wind and solar, then online whenever the needs of the grid are excess to the online carbon-free power generation - such as at night or even a cloudy day, or a still day with no wind. The hydropower storage is matching grid capacity to grid demand always, and hopefully without needing to burn FF's or emit Carbon Dioxide. That is after all, what a battery does, it stores energy.

Seems like a good thing to me. Any opposed?
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby evilgenius » Wed 01 Aug 2018, 12:27:32

You don't have to pump water as far uphill if you change the scheme. Instead, pump it collectively from the Eastern US. Get it to a place where it can run downhill, all the way into the West. Run generators with it all the way downhill, for thousands of miles. There can be several downhill runs, for each region of the West that may need water. Instead of only thinking about power, this way you can also think about alleviating drought at the end cities.
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Re: $3B to turn Hoover Dam into a Massive Grid Battery?

Unread postby Simon_R » Wed 01 Aug 2018, 15:12:57

@Baha … not only that, we could leave holes in them, and have a sort of summer 'ice fishing' deal, the tourist dollars alone would pay for the scheme.
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