We need an energy miracle

begreen Posted By begreen, Oct 30, 2015 at 10:03 AM

  1. iamlucky13

    iamlucky13
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 27, 2015
    652
    173
    Loc:
    Western Washington
    Large scale turbine and pump efficiency is generally quite good: 90% or higher each direction. You end up in the same general ballpark as lithium ion batteries and better than flow batteries, but usually lower initial costs and longer service life. The downside is limited locations you can build them cost effectively.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    semipro likes this.
  2. peakbagger

    peakbagger
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jul 11, 2008
    4,566
    1,375
    Loc:
    Northern NH
    I have seen claims of 70 to 80% efficient for pumped hydro. The problem is energy density. It takes lot of water or high elevation to store much power. If its pumped storage, it means an upper lake that gets drained and filled daily. Not really good for wildlife and fish as the turbines act like fish grinders and there are issues with methane release in The Hydro Quebec area. . The Dickey Lincoln project I mentioned was around 80,000 acres (125 square miles) of impacted land. It could put out over 1000 MW but I don't know how many hours it could continue to generate at that rate. If there are no environmental restrictions, pumped hydro can dump a lot of power into the grid quickly. There are several large dams in Maine that are not pumped storage but they crank down the turbines at night and then open them up in the morning, they are restricted to how much water they can draw out of the lake and put in the river. The Hydro Quebec projects have an environmental black eye for their impact to the upstream lakes and rivers but its mostly unpopulated territory, the government owns the land and relocated whatever natives were there to begin with. It got a lot of bad press the first time around as the natives were just kicked out of the homelands, HQ now buys off the tribes and makes sure that anyone in the tribe who wants to work on the projects get priority.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  3. DUMF

    DUMF
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 13, 2016
    297
    92
    Loc:
    Vermont
    There is sufficient inland hydro capacity in many states such as Vermont and Maine to power consistently much of these states.

    We have not touched on more productive and reliable energy sources than wind or solar ( the glamour sources now) in northern and shore states :
    1. TIDAL
    2. OFFSHORE TURBINES
    and.......
    3. NUCLEAR

    Any one of these can be a start to conversations.
     
  4. begreen

    begreen
    Mooderator 2.
    NULL
    
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    77,534
    12,694
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    One part of Grand Coulee is pumped hydro. The storage at Lake Roosevelt is huge, 150 miles long covering 80,000 acres.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  5. iamlucky13

    iamlucky13
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 27, 2015
    652
    173
    Loc:
    Western Washington
    Yep, although the the Banks Lake pumping station is relatively small, making up about 5% of the Grand Coulee Dam's total capacity. They were sized for filling Banks Lank for summer irrigation, with pumped storage being an afterthought.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  6. woodgeek

    woodgeek
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 27, 2008
    4,145
    877
    Loc:
    SE PA
    Pumped hydro is cost inefficient when built for the purpose. Most was built for the nuclear industry back in the day....which have the opposite problem as RE...can't throttle up and down.

    The future is grid batteries...lots of grid batteries for day-duration storage....and long range HVDC lines for seasonal balancing. Won't need the first for a decade or so, or the second for another decade after that.

    As for politics...whatevs. But FWIW, as a liberal, I refuse to accept the characterization that Buffet is a liberal.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    sloeffle and vinny11950 like this.
  7. begreen

    begreen
    Mooderator 2.
    NULL
    
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    77,534
    12,694
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    At 314MW Banks Lake pumping is not small, except by comparison to Grand Coulee's huge 2280MW capacity.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  8. Doug MacIVER

    Doug MacIVER
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 21, 2012
    1,020
    184
    Loc:
    se mass
    i,m really not against these ideas, but? another story that gives another side to the RE story. unfortunately I do not subscribe to the wsj and can't read the whole story.http://www.marketwatch.com/story/could-californias-massive-ivanpah-solar-power-plant-be-forced-to-go-dark-2016-03-16. reminds me of second city tv, not ready for prime time. I do know they have supposedly corrected the bird problem . think they will get things extended. one of their other misses was a backup gas supply, that was an early surprise, now this?
     
  9. jebatty

    jebatty
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 1, 2008
    5,686
    914
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    The simplicity of energy storage in my wood gasification hot water boiler system with 1000 gallons of storage is my picture of an RE future. I burn wood when convenient or when storage is depleted; storage is charged up to about 190F directly from the "high output" boiler and recharged when as low as 100F. Demand is satisfied as needed from storage.

    In many respects the boiler operates or can operate the same as when the wind doesn't blow or the sun doesn't shine. The heated space doesn't care whether or not the boiler is firing and doesn't care when or where the btus come from, just that they are there. The 1000 gallons of storage is usually sufficient to provide up to one week of heat; 2000 gallons of storage would double that. The storage does not wear out, is highly efficient (heat losses from the well insulated tank are extremely low), is technologically simple, is non-polluting and fully recyclable, and is inexpensive.

    An electricity storage and distribution system of the future should be the same. Charge the storage when the sun shines or the wind blows, deliver electricity constantly from storage based on variable demand when needed. If cheap fuels (wood, coal, petroleum, maybe nuclear) had not existed and all that was available were wind, water and solar, then I think the electricity system we would have today would be much like the boiler with storage system and we would live in an accommodating culture.

    In my mind, set the goal, eliminate the barriers, and develop the system of the (near) future.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    Wildo likes this.
  10. peakbagger

    peakbagger
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jul 11, 2008
    4,566
    1,375
    Loc:
    Northern NH
    Unfortunately plants built with heavy upfront and ongoing subsidies don't necessarily have to run long term to make the original developers money. They build the plant, get it commercial and very quickly to sell the project to other longer term investors that may not understand what they are buying. Eventually reality kicks in and there is a financial restructuring to get the project to the point where it can make money.Sometimes that doesn't work and the project ends up with one of these epitaphs http://clui.org/ludb/site/abandoned-solar-power-plant

    Unfortunately solar thermal economics went south when PV prices dropped, the installed cost for PV is now far less than a solar thermal plant. There were several solar thermal plant projects that died due to cheap PV and a few of them got converted to PV.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  11. jebatty

    jebatty
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 1, 2008
    5,686
    914
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    Our co-op electricity distributing utility, which serves a rural and politically conservative area, recently floated the idea of a community solar garden built by the utility and conducted a member (37,000 members) survey to determine interest. Members could buy one or more panels, get kWh credit for the purchased panels, and the utility would build, manage, insure, and maintain the system for its useful life. Only members wanting PV electricity would pay the cost, no cost shifting to non-buying members.

    The member survey was designed and conducted by a professional organization, the survey questions: views on solar electricity, importance of solar/wind as energy sources, reasons for interest in solar electricity, differences in attitudes of different demographic groups, breakdown of member interest based on their views, and willingness to pay a higher cost for electricity from solar.

    The results were: 44% of members would pay more for electricity if the result was CO2 reduction; 53% of members would pay more for electricity from renewable (solar, wind) sources. Only 21% of members were not willing to pay more. The breakdown was: 27% of members were willing to pay an extra $20/month, 34% of members were willing to pay an extra $10-15/month, and 15% of members were willing to pay an extra $3-5/month.

    Finally, as to member willingness (market potential) to actually purchase community solar garden panels: at a represented cost of $1200-1600/panel (about $3-4/watt of panel rating), 4% of members definitely would buy and 15% of members probably would buy; and if financing was available over 5 (?) years, 7% definitely would buy and 17% probably would buy.

    These numbers represent 20-25% of co-op members, or if each member willing to buy would buy only one panel (400 watt panels are being considered), 7400-9250 (8250 average) panels would be purchased: that equates to a 3,300 kWh (3.3 MW) solar system.

    An interesting side note is that the IRS in a letter ruling recently determined that an individual buying into a community solar garden qualified for the federal 30% tax credit. If this becomes a binding determination, then I would assume member interest in buying would increase substantially, as the cost/panel would be reduced to $840-1120/panel ($2-3/watt).
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  12. begreen

    begreen
    Mooderator 2.
    NULL
    
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    77,534
    12,694
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Morocco appears committed to large scale thermal solar.
    http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/02/04/465568055/morocco-unveils-a-massive-solar-power-plant-in-the-sahara
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  13. woodgeek

    woodgeek
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 27, 2008
    4,145
    877
    Loc:
    SE PA
    Hard to see how a solar demo plant built by a chemical/oil company in 1983 with defective cells is relevant to the current economics and prospects of PV solar.

    I suspect that ARCO built the demo plant to sell cells at scale to others when peak oil started to bite in 1988....which then didn't happen. I wonder how all those tight oil fields will look as investments in 33 years.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  14. peakbagger

    peakbagger
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jul 11, 2008
    4,566
    1,375
    Loc:
    Northern NH
    The Arco Solar plant is just the first of many. I could have just as well put up a picture of the Solyndra factory, The Nanosolar factory, the Razor Technologies ORC low temperature geothermal plant , The Sterling Energy Systems never built concentrating dish plants, the linear Fresnel concentrating plants and a fair share of other technologies. They all were built to chase incentives. with marginally proven technology. Throw in Vinod Koslas's two massively subsidized failed cellulosic ethanol facilitys who never produced any commercial amount of fuel. The connecting theme is the government throws money on the table and folks with political connections grab it with marginal pre commercial technology and run when the economics don't work out or in Solyndra's case make a second windfall reselling tax credits saddling the government with the debts rather than restructure.

    I am not down on renewables but the current system where developers have no skin in the game and can cash out long before the plant ever gets to break even is a recipe for failure.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    Doug MacIVER likes this.
  15. woodgeek

    woodgeek
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 27, 2008
    4,145
    877
    Loc:
    SE PA
    And 70% of small businesses fail before making a profit. Should we not have incentives for small business? Or is it creative destruction?

    It is clear that technology innovation in the US is a pale shadow of what it was decades ago, and other nations have taken up the slack....I have a hard time thinking too much govt support for that activity is a big part of the US' problem.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  16. vinny11950

    vinny11950
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    May 17, 2010
    1,586
    324
    Loc:
    Eastern Long Island, NY
    The Solyndra mess was part of a bigger DOE portfolio that hasn't been a failure like people like to think. That fund took on high risk projects for new technologies to advance the industry and push innovation forward. Some ideas made it (Tesla) and others didn't (Solyndra). The point is to purchase something that is priceless - energy independence and diversity - which seems to be the goal of the DOE.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-11-12/u-s-expects-5-billion-from-program-that-funded-solyndra
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    sloeffle likes this.
  17. Where2

    Where2
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Feb 3, 2013
    340
    66
    Loc:
    South Florida
    Did the terms for this plan also include members continuing to pay a distribution charge on the energy your garden panel(s) generated which needed to be transported from the remote garden location to your house over the grid wires (toll road) owned by the Co-Op?

    I'm not against solar gardens, I just realize that the letter I received in the mail yesterday of a proposed >8% rate increase in electricity distribution costs for one of my electric utilities will not be the last rate increase letter I see in my lifetime. In which case, dropping a PV array on my own property and paying once to own the wiring necessary to connect the array to my home is probably a "better deal" for the long term, especially while IRS Form 5695 is still a viable tax credit.

    When the utility begins to charge ridiculous monthly fees to "grid tie", I'll already own the panels. I'll just need to install on-site energy storage, rather than dump my excess to the grid via net metering.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  18. jebatty

    jebatty
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 1, 2008
    5,686
    914
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    Something to watch for as the plan develops, but at this point represented only as a kWh credit against the member's electric bill. MN law allows for the utility to charge a distribution fee on small PV (<=40kW) which is owned by the user, but so far I am not aware that any utility is doing that. This proposed development would be owned by the utility with member's owing the output of a panel. I seriously doubt that a large PV system will be built. I believe the utility was a bit surprised by the large extent of member interest and support for RE.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  19. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 14, 2006
    6,186
    1,105
    Loc:
    madison hgts. va
    "His points are valid. That is the difficulty of wind...it is very localized and it's not always there. When there is too much wind, you have to use massive brakes to slow down the speed of the turbine. This causes heat and can catch the gearbox/turbine on fire...and you lose energy."

    feathering the prop (or varying the pitch of the blades can account for most of the "overspeed" though it doesn't help much with "underspeed" due to lack of wind. simply adding a multigear transmission to vary the speed transmitted to the generator while losing some efficiency through the gear train could help steady out the ratio as well. I doubt they are direct drive to start with.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  20. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 14, 2006
    6,186
    1,105
    Loc:
    madison hgts. va
    I assume someone would have to staff the plant that generates this "free energy" or repair it when it malfunctioned. so, in essence their point was valid. that said making more money than they should have is a horse of a different color and is WAY outside the current discussion, so im gonna just leave it at that
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  21. sportbikerider78

    sportbikerider78
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jun 23, 2014
    2,488
    1,023
    Loc:
    Syracuse, NY
    No, but the government deciding what technology gets taxpayer money gives unfair advantages to companies...which destroys the competition and ultimately wastes money.

    How does the government fairly determine who gets money and who doesn't? It is impossible to make a fair decision and it is always at the whim of whatever political mandate the year/month/day/min/sec dictates to create a positive image for the person(s) in power. It is a smokescreen, nothing more.

    It is up to us to solve our energy and environmental problems. Not the government. Do we really think the government cares more about the environment than us? I sure hope not.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  22. woodgeek

    woodgeek
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 27, 2008
    4,145
    877
    Loc:
    SE PA
    The govt doesn't decide who gets funding....its a peer-review process that tries to evaluate based on merit, feasability, societal benefits of succcess, etc.

    Scientists write proposals to do scientific research, and these are reviewed by panels of scientists from the same research area, who are vetted to eliminate anyone with the slightest conflict of interest. These grant and loan programs to small businesses are reviewed the same way....not personally by BHO giving out grants to his cronies. :rolleyes:
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  23. iamlucky13

    iamlucky13
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 27, 2015
    652
    173
    Loc:
    Western Washington
    Peer review evaluates the research itself to determine if it is validly done and therefore credible. Conflict of interest is nominally irrelevant to peer review. You can have a conflict of interest but still design a valid study, and since at the end of the day, valid data is what counts in the scientific world, that's to some degree a check on the influence of personal interests.

    For funding, it is the government that decides what counts as merit worthy or beneficial enough to fund further. Members of the government can have conflicts of interest, too, but the process of sorting all this out is much more arbitrary. It's not a peer review. At best, oversight organizations like the Government Accountability Office do analyses that sort of resemble peer review, but generally after the fact, their input is non-binding, and the consideration of value is indirect - they might point out, for example, that alternative energy loans broke even on an absolute dollar basis, while losing a small amount of money to inflation, but the decision whether or not that was worthwhile is up to the politicians who DO have conflicts of interest, not the people doing the quantitative review.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    sportbikerider78 likes this.
  24. sportbikerider78

    sportbikerider78
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jun 23, 2014
    2,488
    1,023
    Loc:
    Syracuse, NY
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  25. woodgeek

    woodgeek
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 27, 2008
    4,145
    877
    Loc:
    SE PA
    Sorry. Not correct. The govt decides to fund an agency (like the DOE), companies submit proposals for funding to the DOE, and the funding decisions are made after a merit-based peer review by independent scientists who are affiliated with the agency, and who have no conflicts of interest.

    The 'govt', as in the congress, sets the agency funding level, and the agency might alter its 'calls' to appeal to the congressional cmte and to get more funding. But the POTUS does not set the agency funding level nor pick who gets funded by the agency. The DOE director, as a cabinet appointment IS named by the POTUS, but the director doesn't pick the grantees. IF the director tried to send funds to programs that the congress didn't like, the congress would cut the agencies funding. Checks and Balances.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...

Share This Page