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Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby REAL Green » Sun 17 May 2020, 09:17:45

vtsnowedin wrote:
MonteQuest wrote: Transmission line capacity was not adequate after installations last year.

A problem easily solved.
One thing I like about home owner owned solar panels is that their interconnecting wires can be as short as twenty feet. And if they are grid tied it places many small input points to the grid that don't require new high capacity distribution lines. The latest trend in installing power wall style batteries along with the panels allow that power to be fed into the grid during peak after sundown hours getting around one of solar's main drawbacks.


I would not go that far "problem easily solved". To get to the higher end of renewable penetration into the grid will have to have many giant wind and solar farms which require lots of storage strategies plus serious grid upgrades eventually. The big farms are where the affordability comes from. That said it also represents the dangers of stranded power and grid instability from many diverse failures. Individual homes and micro grids are more resilient and sustainable if properly configured. Ideally the two will be combined rationally along with behavioral changes. We could easily see rural areas that live more in tune to seasonality and intermittency if those areas for power 24/7 would be willing to support areas of intermittency. Germany is at this grid saturation point now and part of the reason for its stalling. People don't want grid upgrades in their back yard. Wind is moving offshore to small gathering points that must feed large areas in Northern Europe this will have to have large grid upgrades to handle the long distances.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sun 17 May 2020, 09:42:57

By easily solved I mean it is just construction work that can be done with current technologies. No need to invent anything new. The Right of Ways in most cases already exist and NIMBYism can be easily fixed by turning their lights out. :twisted:
A new line out to an offshore project is of course bigger but nothing new or more difficult then ones years old. Of course a lot of the existing grid does need upgrading just from it's age and changing use patterns but that is not a fault caused by renewables. I see millions of plug in EVs out there in the not too distant future that will act as energy sinks for daytime solar as long as they are plugged in where ever they are parked in the daytime. This and battery walls will go a long way towards solving the intermittency problem of both solar and wind.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby MonteQuest » Sun 17 May 2020, 10:16:15

vtsnowedin wrote:
MonteQuest wrote: Transmission line capacity was not adequate after installations last year.

A problem easily solved.


Not for grid capacity. The Academy of Civil Engineers' report card estimated $1.7 trillion is required to bring the existing grid up to a C from its current D+, not to mention an A or to accommodate new power lines required for remote power like we see with wind or local lines to meet an increase in EV recharging demand.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby REAL Green » Sun 17 May 2020, 12:40:35

MonteQuest wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:
MonteQuest wrote: Transmission line capacity was not adequate after installations last year.

A problem easily solved.


Not for grid capacity. The Academy of Civil Engineers' report card estimated $1.7 trillion is required to bring the existing grid up to a C from its current D+



I think the academy is juicing the situation looking for infrastructure dollars. Most places are doing better than D+.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sun 17 May 2020, 12:52:54

Again it is just work that needed doing and needed to be done anyway due to the age of the existing grid and the deferred maintenance that has been the practice of the utilities. Just get on with the job.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 17 May 2020, 13:03:12

REAL Green wrote:
MonteQuest wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:
MonteQuest wrote: Transmission line capacity was not adequate after installations last year.

A problem easily solved.


Not for grid capacity. The Academy of Civil Engineers' report card estimated $1.7 trillion is required to bring the existing grid up to a C from its current D+



I think the academy is juicing the situation looking for infrastructure dollars. Most places are doing better than D+.


Perhaps fewer than you think.

One keeps putting on patches which present the consumer with the illusion of reliability until one doesn’t and the whole thing comes down. I’ve not followed recently but there was a time about 15 years ago when the USA had outsourced almost 100% of its HVAC production. I think we have walked that back a bit since then but it’s still a dire situation. If we were to loose a dozen of the big transformers at generating stations around the country we could be in tough straights. Often looking at 6 months to 2 years delivery.

If we were to embark on some big infrastructure project one that would be very useful would be the replacement of standard HVAC lines with HVDC transmission lines. The inherent efficiency increase Is on The order of 10% to 15%, maybe more. That’s big and cheap. But if we were to do it in the USA we would have to develop the manufacturing capability for the DC-DC conversion plants that replace transformers.

Back to the tie lines, many years ago congress voted to have the power to condemn property for the construction of power lines but they have either never or very little used it. Using existing ROW is not alway so easy because you may have to remove old infrastructure to add new. And if that old infrastructure is in use then you have a problem.

Nothing is as simple as it sounds.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sun 17 May 2020, 13:23:12

Yes HVDC lines have ROW and NIMBY problems. New Hampshire has fought over bring Hydo Quebec power through the state to Massachusetts for years even though there is already one such line. For wind and solar though it is easier as all you have to do is get to the nearest public road that has poles down it and then upgrade the poles and lines. I see wind farm power brought down from the windmills on a triple cable on top of regular (a bit tall) wood poles down to an upgraded substation to feed it into the grid. Passing drivers don't even notice the line is there.
My local utility just rehabbed and upgraded the local substation to the tune of three million dollars. That work was the first in about thirty years and past due but at least they are getting to it instead of whining about how hard it is to do.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sun 17 May 2020, 13:32:45

The government has had the power of eminent domain (The power to seize property for public use) sense the adoption of the Constitution which makes clear the owners have to be fairly compensated. It really came into use in the eighteen hundreds as they were building railroads and telegraph lines through the already built up areas of the East and again in the 1950s and 60s as they built the Interstate highway system.
Some property owners always feel aggrieved but without it nothing in transportation or utilities would get completed.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby REAL Green » Tue 19 May 2020, 07:15:32

Big is not always better:

“Why it’s short-sighted to do centralized planning in a decentralizing electricity grid”
https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/20 ... city-grid/

“A report published by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in 2016 and re-released in 2019 reveals the data that undercuts the persistent myth of big being better, particularly because the point of grid interconnection and proximity to load matter. The following chart from the report, “Wind Economies of Scale,” compares the levelized cost of wind power projects at different scales (based on 2011-2015 project data). Most projects larger than 5 megawatts will interconnect to the transmission system and compete with other wholesale producers. In this market, greater size does matter. But at the smallest scale, where size would appear as a disadvantage, projects can receive higher prices for displacing transmission losses and providing supply to meet the growing load on the distribution system. The distributed wind avoided cost figure came from contracts secured by a community wind developer in Minnesota.”
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby C8 » Tue 19 May 2020, 11:52:21

vtsnowedin wrote:Yes HVDC lines have ROW and NIMBY problems.


I don't understand. Aren't they just replacing old lines with new? why would this generate opposition?
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby C8 » Tue 19 May 2020, 12:00:16

vtsnowedin wrote:
MonteQuest wrote: Transmission line capacity was not adequate after installations last year.

A problem easily solved.
One thing I like about home owner owned solar panels is that their interconnecting wires can be as short as twenty feet. And if they are grid tied it places many small input points to the grid that don't require new high capacity distribution lines. The latest trend in installing power wall style batteries along with the panels allow that power to be fed into the grid during peak after sundown hours getting around one of solar's main drawbacks.


This is going to sound crazy, but would a personal home water tower work? You pump up the water when there is surplus energy from your panels and let it gravity power a turbine for electricity as needed- sort of a personal water-fall battery. How big would such a thing need to be for one home and how much energy is saved by having it right next to the house instead of longer transmission lines from a distance. IOW: how much energy is really lost the farther it has to travel on transmission lines?
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Tue 19 May 2020, 12:47:37

C8 wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:
MonteQuest wrote: Transmission line capacity was not adequate after installations last year.

A problem easily solved.
One thing I like about home owner owned solar panels is that their interconnecting wires can be as short as twenty feet. And if they are grid tied it places many small input points to the grid that don't require new high capacity distribution lines. The latest trend in installing power wall style batteries along with the panels allow that power to be fed into the grid during peak after sundown hours getting around one of solar's main drawbacks.


This is going to sound crazy, but would a personal home water tower work? You pump up the water when there is surplus energy from your panels and let it gravity power a turbine for electricity as needed- sort of a personal water-fall battery. How big would such a thing need to be for one home and how much energy is saved by having it right next to the house instead of longer transmission lines from a distance. IOW: how much energy is really lost the farther it has to travel on transmission lines?
The math just doesn't work on that one. Pump efficiency going up and and turbine efficiency coming back both take cuts plus there is the cost of the tank that needs to be as high as possible. A power wall battery has much better numbers.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 19 May 2020, 16:43:45

C8 wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:Yes HVDC lines have ROW and NIMBY problems.


I don't understand. Aren't they just replacing old lines with new? why would this generate opposition?


Oh so many answers, a few of them even make sense.

Three phase power essentially nulls our the electro static and magnetic fields. If the phases are balanced it’s a zero sum solution. Single phase AC has high filed strength because it is unbalanced. Probably the strongest filers you ever experience are from an electric blanket. Yet people are terrified of HVAC. No enter HVDC, the fields are also unbalanced. It will magnetize stuff. You will be able to see effects from them. That will really freak people out.

Then when building on an existing ROW you have the existing lines in the way. If they are operating you need to reroute that power or find some alternative source while the installation is going on. Not so easy as it sounds. Kind of like turning a circle into a cloverleaf. The actual job is simple. It’s the rerouting of traffic that’s killer. If you end up needing to do power outages people will scream.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby C8 » Tue 19 May 2020, 18:02:54

I read up on HVDC, Wiki seems to list the main disadvantages as reliability, costs, complexity, and the fact that the tech is still being developed so spare parts won't be standardized. It seems to be the basis of this "smart grid" idea"? So, these disadvantages I read about don't seem too big as far as mounting a NIMBY battle. What am I missing? Are there additional fears making the rumor mill such as cancer causing fields, endangered species, etc.?
And how founded are these concerns?
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 20 May 2020, 16:48:24

C8,

I don’t know that you are missing much. I think the main deferents are capital, folks want quarterly earnings, they are not interested in long term capital investments.

HVDC has a sufficient history to demonstrate its value. It’s been used in some very hostile Environments including undersea cables.

25 years ago I worked on a 60hz to 25hz conversion plant. It was basically a 60hz to DC converted married to a DC to 25hz inverter. It is still working today. Built by ASEA. It was providing propulsion to a section of rail lines so it was not a small unit.

The psychological objections can be overcome by public education. And there will be those holdouts you just have to buy out or do eminent domain.

If we were to take on a national scale project there would be enough manufacturing to Build the manufacturing base. Hell, we don’t have the manufacturing base for the old style transformers.

Personally I would nationalize the grid. Take it away from the generators. It’s a shared asset paid for by the people that they are ruining through neglect. Then make the generators pay to use the system. Threat it like an interstate highway.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Thu 21 May 2020, 11:35:18

Newfie wrote:
Personally I would nationalize the grid. Take it away from the generators. It’s a shared asset paid for by the people that they are ruining through neglect. Then make the generators pay to use the system. Threat it like an interstate highway.
I can't go with you on that one. Every time an industry is nationalized corruption sets in with a few power brokers at the top getting rich while the customers get over charged for declining service.
The utilities need to be regulated as they are monopolies using the public right of ways for most of their distribution system. They should be well regulated not nationalized.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby Tanada » Sat 23 May 2020, 17:51:48

Newfie wrote:C8,

I don’t know that you are missing much. I think the main deferents are capital, folks want quarterly earnings, they are not interested in long term capital investments.

HVDC has a sufficient history to demonstrate its value. It’s been used in some very hostile Environments including undersea cables.

25 years ago I worked on a 60hz to 25hz conversion plant. It was basically a 60hz to DC converted married to a DC to 25hz inverter. It is still working today. Built by ASEA. It was providing propulsion to a section of rail lines so it was not a small unit.

The psychological objections can be overcome by public education. And there will be those holdouts you just have to buy out or do eminent domain.

If we were to take on a national scale project there would be enough manufacturing to Build the manufacturing base. Hell, we don’t have the manufacturing base for the old style transformers.

Personally I would nationalize the grid. Take it away from the generators. It’s a shared asset paid for by the people that they are ruining through neglect. Then make the generators pay to use the system. Threat it like an interstate highway.


I wouldn't nationalize the grid. In the period up until about 1985 the state regulatory agencies enforced maintenance procedures that kept everything updated on a regular schedule. This meant not only were plants kept trimmed well back from power lines, but regular testing was done of power poles to make sure they would withstand regular weather events like high winds and freezing rain. Once upon a time transformers were tested and replaced on a regular schedule. If the old rules were put back in place and enforced thegrid would go back to a B+/A- Rating instead of the C-/D rating it now has.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sat 23 May 2020, 18:35:35

Tanada wrote:
Newfie wrote:C8,

I don’t know that you are missing much. I think the main deferents are capital, folks want quarterly earnings, they are not interested in long term capital investments.

HVDC has a sufficient history to demonstrate its value. It’s been used in some very hostile Environments including undersea cables.

25 years ago I worked on a 60hz to 25hz conversion plant. It was basically a 60hz to DC converted married to a DC to 25hz inverter. It is still working today. Built by ASEA. It was providing propulsion to a section of rail lines so it was not a small unit.

The psychological objections can be overcome by public education. And there will be those holdouts you just have to buy out or do eminent domain.

If we were to take on a national scale project there would be enough manufacturing to Build the manufacturing base. Hell, we don’t have the manufacturing base for the old style transformers.

Personally I would nationalize the grid. Take it away from the generators. It’s a shared asset paid for by the people that they are ruining through neglect. Then make the generators pay to use the system. Threat it like an interstate highway.


I wouldn't nationalize the grid. In the period up until about 1985 the state regulatory agencies enforced maintenance procedures that kept everything updated on a regular schedule. This meant not only were plants kept trimmed well back from power lines, but regular testing was done of power poles to make sure they would withstand regular weather events like high winds and freezing rain. Once upon a time transformers were tested and replaced on a regular schedule. If the old rules were put back in place and enforced the grid would go back to a B+/A- Rating instead of the C-/D rating it now has.

I would not be so sure of that. Back in the 70's to early eighties the ROWs here got very overgrown and the regulators obviously were not doing their job. It must be Well Regulated, not just regulated. But I would much rather try to achieve that well regulated state the go to Nationalization.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sat 23 May 2020, 18:39:53

I saw a story today where California was considering how plugged in EVs could be used to help control the grid. That is something we talked about here months ago.
It is good to see the powers that be in California are up to date on the latest technology and are visionary in their plans for the grid. :roll:
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 23 May 2020, 20:16:23

The reasons I suggested nationalization.

Moving from the current AC system to a DC system will require planning on a national level. And will require much coordination and cooperation between various private entities in numerous states. It’s not quite like the interstate highway system that can be done state by state. It’s more like changing the gage of the railroads from standard gate to wide. If it were Just a matter of maintenance then I would agree.

Second is that it will require a large and expensive project funded by the federal government. Federal spending requires federal oversight.

The project makes the most sense if done in conjunction with large scale renewable generation facilities. Wind, PV, and solar thermal collection. It also requires the construction of storage facilities. There are advantages with just converting the existing system but the planning should be to incorporate Increased renewable generation and storage. The generation will likely be in the SW. Storage closer to the end users. Not sure what the storage would look like; some kind of compressed gas or perhaps thermal heating in super insulated containers. The states are not equipped to handle projects on this scale that work across state lines.

But this is a bit nit picking. Don’t really care how it gets done. We can realize insignificant efficiency increase. If Capitalism was allowed to work it should be embracing these upgrades. That it is not working means something is broken in the economic system. If we can’t fix it within Capitalisim then use something different.
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