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A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt 2

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kublikhan » Tue 13 Dec 2016, 18:22:10

ROCKMAN wrote:d - "You have to divert current consumption into investment in order to create the future renewable infrastructure so there's a bottleneck you have to pass through between here and there." I would add an even bigger circular logic problem then that: the monetary hurdle. Many will point out that the X alt would create cheaper energy the current ff source. But while that may be true that alt system doesn't exist. And the required capex needed to build out the alts will be in addition to those monies spent on ff systems that have to be maintained until the crossover is made. The savings from switching from the fossil fuels to the alts won't begin until they are in place.

Again back to the world class Texas wind power system. It has not replaced 1 Btu of ff source energy in the state despite supplying a bit more the 10% of our electricity consumption. More power plants had to be built to meet the fast growing demand in Texas. Thus the huge capex required for NEW fossil fuel fired plants had to compete with the cost of the turbines. And even though the state had to spend $7 BILLION of tax payers's money to expand the grid much if not most of that expense would have been required to accommodate new fossil fuel powered plants.
Exactly. When the need arises to build a new power plant then we can start looking at the alts. Those currently existing ff plants will grow old and be in need of replacement eventually. You were going to have to spend $$$ anyway so might as well spend it building up more alts. To some extent this is already happening:

kublikhan wrote:2012 renewable highlights:
* In the European Union, renewables accounted for almost 70% of additions to electric capacity in 2012, mostly from solar PV and wind power.
* The United States added more capacity from wind power than any other technology, and all renewables made up about half of total electric capacity additions during the year.

2013 renewable highlights:
* China's renewable power capacity additions surpassed new fossil fuel & nuclear additions for the first time.
* In the EU, renewables were 72% of new electric generating capacity. 10 years ago, fossil fuels represented 80% of additions in the EU.

2014 renewable highlights:
* Globally, renewables accounted for 59% of new power additions with more renewable capacity added than coal and gas combined.
* in the EU, renewables were 78% of new power additions.

2015 renewable highlights:
* Renewable energy investments hit a new record in 2015: $286 billion(excludes large hydro). This was more than double coal & natural gas investments in new capacity for 2015 of $130 billion.
* For the first time in history, total investment in renewable power and fuels in developing countries in 2015 exceeded that in developed economies.
* The world now adds more renewable power capacity annually than it adds (net) capacity from all fossil fuels combined.
Energy Infrastructure Progress Report

Same goes for the grid infrastructure. The US grid is showing it's age and is in need of an upgrade anyway. Might as well upgrade it to a smart grid while we are making those $$$ outlays.

And given our current limitations, I think 100% renewable is too ambitious of a target for the entire country. It is just more economical to have some ff generation around. Especially given the current limitations of grid energy storage.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby Zarquon » Sat 17 Dec 2016, 11:44:30

diemos wrote:
pstarr wrote:Actually Kub, there are laws of physics that say this cannot be done. Trust me. Really. You can't build a giant energy grid if you don't have energy. It's more or less a horse/cart thing.


Well, it's more subtle than that. You have to divert current consumption into investment in order to create the future renewable infrastructure so there's a bottleneck you have to pass through between here and there.

We already have a baseline amount of wind/solar/hydro/nuclear but it's not enough to both power current levels of consumption and investment in future infrastructure. Something's gotta give.


According to a study on renewables I've (partly) read a while ago, one of the biggest obstacles to getting anywhere close to (insert your goal % here) is, apart from intermittency, the problem of economy of scale. Having a few million extra PV installations on people's roofs is a nice thing - but at tremendous costs. Even though panel costs have dropped some 75%(?) over a few years, they make up only a fraction of the total system cost. Planning, permits, labor, frames, converters etc. can easily cost more than the panels for a small installation. We'd need bigger plants to really make a difference.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby Zarquon » Sat 17 Dec 2016, 11:52:57

kiwichick wrote:interesting battery may help

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-08/v ... ge/8094376


And what's the best source for vanadium? CANADIAN TAR SANDS!

We're so screwed...
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sat 17 Dec 2016, 14:43:41

Z - Exactly...scale. Georgetown, Texas (a distant suburb of the capital Austin) is first major US city commited to going 100% alternative energy. And by committed I mean actually signing contracts. And they are not installing a single solar panel in town. They're signing 20+ year contracts with alt investors of large wind and solar farms. They will initially pat above market rates but in time much lower rates. Especially when NG prices boom once again as they have always done. And the city's politicians are blunt about the motivation: it has little to do with protecting the environment...all about the future economics especially with the continued growth anticipated:

https://www.texastribune.org/2015/03/18 ... le-energy/
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kublikhan » Sat 17 Dec 2016, 15:55:00

Germany seems to think it can tackle the scale of the problem. It has a goal of going 80% renewable for all energy needs by 2050.

By 2050, Germany will use over 80 percent renewables to meet all energy needs, including transportation. Buildings and cities will be smart and energy efficient. For decades, Germany has led in energy efficiency with green buildings and passive haus designs. It led the world in both installed wind and solar power until much larger China commanded the lead in installed renewables. The world’s fourth largest economy, Germany may become the first major nation to be 100 percent powered by renewables because the shift to RE is estimated to save Germany $371 billion in health and pollution mitigation costs.

On December 26, 2015, German renewable energy met 81 percent of the nation’s energy demand for that cold day. Annually, Germany generates about 30 percent of its electricity with renewables. Solar covers 1.5 million German roofs, which is impressive because Germany receives less sunlight than most U.S. states. Germany has 45 GW of installed wind power and leads the world in offshore wind power, putting the nation on a path to 100 percent power from renewables; zero percent from fossil fuels and nuclear.

Renewable Energy + Storage
Storage grows in importance as Germany ramps up wind and solar, replacing the 24/7 baseload of coal, nuclear, and methane (natural gas) power plants. Germany leads other countries with 30,000 homes using storage. The German Energy Storage Association expects 170,000 storage systems to be installed by 2020. Most grid storage in Germany goes beyond batteries with heavy use of pumped hydro and thermal storage.

Some German States are Already 100 Percent RE
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (which borders the Baltic and Poland) reached 120 percent renewable electricity by 2013. In 2015, the state increased its net share of renewables in power supply to 130 percent (report in German). Onshore wind made up roughly 2.6 TWh of the total of 4.9 TWh, followed by power from biomass at 2.3 GWh, PV at 1.2 TWh, and 0.6 TWh of offshore wind. Now the state is able to export excess renewable energy to neighboring states. Schleswig-Holstein is another German state to watch. Located along the North Sea and bordering Denmark, this state had 78 percent renewable power in 2014. Now it meets its electricity needs with renewables. Heat and transportation are the next targets for renewable energy. Biomass made up 46 percent of this energy, followed by 44 percent wind power and 10 percent other. The state has a target of 300 percent renewables.
Germany Will Use 80 to 100 Percent Renewable Energy by 2050
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kublikhan » Sat 17 Dec 2016, 16:43:08

Growing pains. Germany is still hitting it's targets:

In the first half of 2016, 36.4 percent of the electricity produced in Germany was renewable according to preliminary data. The target for 2020 is only 35 percent. Preliminary data from Fraunhofer’s Energy Charts project indicates that Germany will probably surpass its 2020 target for renewable electricity. Indeed, the country seems to be approaching the lower end of the target corridor of 40-45 percent renewable power by 2025.

In the end, Germany may indeed fall slightly short of 35 percent renewables this year. Overall, renewable power production is up year over year by five percent, so we would expect something closer to 34 percent after the 32.5 percent share last year.
Will Germany reach its 2020 target for renewable power this year?

Germany is taking steps to curb its booming windfarm sector in what it claims is a necessary move to stop the renewables revolution from undermining its own success. the government has had to halve its original target for expanding its windfarms in the gale-beaten northern flatlands because it cannot extend its power grid quickly enough to the energy-hungry south.

While the German government admits that transforming its energy infrastructure is a more complex undertaking than originally thought, officials insist that it remains on track to meet ambitious goals, including a 50% share for renewables in gross electricity consumption by 2030.
Germany takes steps to roll back renewable energy revolution
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sat 17 Dec 2016, 17:04:16

pstarr wrote:So is, or is not Germany's goal of going 80% renewable for all energy needs by 2050 still valid?

The energy storage required to reach 80% renewables is an insurmountable task so the 80% figure was always pie in the sky.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kublikhan » Sat 17 Dec 2016, 17:16:32

pstarr wrote:So is, or is not Germany's goal of going 80% renewable for all energy needs by 2050 still valid?
I haven't crunched the numbers so I can't say one way or the other. However I suspect that even if they did hit the number they would do so by exporting/importing large amounts of electricity to/from their neighbors. IE, exporting the instability of renewables to their neighbors. Not exactly a model their neighbors could, or should, follow.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 17 Dec 2016, 17:34:02

diemos wrote:http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/post-index/


Looked through that and read a couple.

It's bookmarked for future reading.

Thanks!
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kiwichick » Sat 17 Dec 2016, 17:46:34

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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kiwichick » Sun 18 Dec 2016, 12:17:39

I would suggest the only reason any country fails to be 100 % powered by renewable energy by 2050 will be stupidity
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sun 18 Dec 2016, 12:47:57

kiwichick wrote:I would suggest the only reason any country fails to be 100 % powered by renewable energy by 2050 will be stupidity

It is optimistic to think that we will overcome the physical and engineering challenges that going 100% renewables by 2050 entail. This is especially true if your talking present levels of consumption adjusted up for future population growth with a bit pf progress thrown in.
Now if your talking living with say 25% of present energy consumption with a population that is greatly reduced or at least greatly impoverished you might make that goal.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kiwichick » Mon 19 Dec 2016, 00:52:20

NZ is generally around 80 % currently ....and we are not even trying

Australia can go 100 % with a bit of effort ....they have enormous solar and wave and geothermal potential

and solar is already smashing coal in optimum areas and there is so much happening in the solar area.... I have trouble keeping up the developments ......one lot of shares recently jumped 400 % ....which was a nice profit pre xmas
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Mon 19 Dec 2016, 04:37:36

kiwichick wrote:NZ is generally around 80 % currently ....and we are not even trying

Australia can go 100 % with a bit of effort ....they have enormous solar and wave and geothermal potential

and solar is already smashing coal in optimum areas and there is so much happening in the solar area.... I have trouble keeping up the developments ......one lot of shares recently jumped 400 % ....which was a nice profit pre xmas

Congratulations on the share price. 8)
New Zealand is a special case with your low population and abundant hydro power potential. It just doesn't gear up in heavily populated flatland countries. No amount of solar panels and wind mills will keep the lights on on a calm night.
On the other hand if we can get say thirty percent from renewables we should go ahead and develop that capacity while working on the intermittantcy and storage issues. We might get a lot further than I think possible today but I'm pretty sure we will never get past fifty percent on a world wide basis.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby Simon_R » Mon 19 Dec 2016, 06:51:44

Snowedin

This is a problem, but this is solved by interconnectors over large geographical areas.
Interestingly, we need to integrate our bidding and power systems supranationally to get this up and running, this is not a popular concept nowadays.
On a brighter note, the evening is off peak, so if we need to it is conceivable that we have a biomass set of generators to supply baseline power, this would need houses to have a small battery bank though.

Thnks

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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Mon 19 Dec 2016, 07:07:18

Simon_R wrote:Snowedin

This is a problem, but this is solved by interconnectors over large geographical areas.
Interestingly, we need to integrate our bidding and power systems supranationally to get this up and running, this is not a popular concept nowadays.
On a brighter note, the evening is off peak, so if we need to it is conceivable that we have a biomass set of generators to supply baseline power, this would need houses to have a small battery bank though.

Thnks

Simon

Only Russia is large enough east to west to have a significant area in sunshine while the other side is after dark. Even then the transmission line losses are prohibitive. If forced to by future realities we may transform our work schedules to only use power when the sun is out or if the wind is blowing. The trick to that is who goes first and has to compete to those still sticking to the reliability of fossil fuel derived electricity.
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