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Topic: Electricity Update Pt 4

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DunkingDan

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Electricity Update Pt 4
« on: February 09, 2018, 07:26:49 PM »
President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

DunkingDan

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On the Availability and Storage of Energy
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2018, 07:29:26 PM »
There are fundamental limitations on using and storing energy that cannot be worked around.

President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

DunkingDan

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Grid-Scale Storage of Renewable Energy: The Impossible Dream
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2018, 06:22:42 PM »
Posted on November 20, 2017 by Euan Mearns

The utopian ambition for variable renewable energy is to convert it into uniform firm capacity using energy storage. Here we present an analysis of actual UK wind and solar generation for the whole of 2016 at 30 minute resolution and calculate the grid-scale storage requirement. In order to deliver 4.6 GW uniform and firm RE supply throughout the year, from 26 GW of installed capacity, requires 1.8 TWh of storage. We show that this is both thermodynamically and economically implausible to implement with current technology.
 
 [Inset image: The Tesla big battery takes shape in S Australia. 13,954 of these 129 MWh facilities costing £405 billion would have been required to back up UK wind and solar in 2016.]

Introduction
At present, grid-scale wind and solar generation all over the world is being accommodated into power grids parasitically mainly through combined cycle gas turbines (CCGTs) ramping up and down to balance variable renewable energy (RE) supply. To become truly carbon free 100% RE, two strategies have been pursued. The first is to greatly over-dimension supply, e.g. Lappeenranta, [ref 1] and the second is to store surpluses for use at times of deficit e.g. Blakers et al, [ref 2]. This post focusses on the latter grid-scale storage option.
The Blakers et al study has been the subject of recent discussion on this blog where Roger Andrews scrutinised the 100% RE model for Australia that relied heavily on pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) to smooth the fluctuations in combined wind+solar supply. Both Roger Andrews and guest contributor Roger Young concluded that Blaker’s et al seriously underestimated the storage requirement and storage cost by up to a factor of 10.
Roger Andrews’ analysis was based on actual Australian grid data, but at present we only have 3 months of data available. Through the Energy Matters UK Grid Graphed initiative, we have already compiled wind + solar generation for the UK for 5 years at 30 minute resolution (2012 to 2016). I therefore decided to run a storage model for the whole of 2016 in order to constrain the scale of storage required to convert variable wind+solar to uniform firm supply over this longer time period.
RE in the UK 2016
This analysis is confined to variable wind + solar production in the UK. UK hydro electric power seldom produces >1000 MW, and normally produces as base load, has become largely irrelevant to UK RE production statistics. We do not consider burning biomass for grid-scale power supply to be either CO2 neutral or sustainable, and so it too is excluded. The installed capacities of wind and solar in the UK for 2015 and 2016 as reported by the UK government (DUKES table 6.4) are summarised in Figure 1.
Figure 1 Installed RE capacities in the UK according to BEIS.
I assume these are year-end capacities and that the mean capacity for 2016 should lie somewhere between the year-end 2015 and 2016 figures. This detail is not important for determining storage, but it is worth bearing in mind the size of the numbers – 15 GW of wind and 11 GW of solar for a combined 26 GW of RE capacity.
Methodology and Theory
It is convenient to get to grips with the methodology and theory by looking at some actual data. The combined wind and solar output for the UK in January 2016 is shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2 Wind and solar production data for the UK for January 2016. Large wind farms are metered and reported by BM reports via Gridwatch. Smaller wind farms and solar are not metered but their output is estimated and reported by National Grid. All the data used here are 30 minute resolution as compiled by Neil Mearns for UK Grid Graphed. The black arrows mark monthly maximum and minimum values. The red arrow shows the popular depiction of transferring production peaks into troughs via use of energy storage. This strategy falls down during extended periods of low-wind production.
Figure 2 shows the stochastic nature of wind with alternating windy and calm spells for the first half of the month followed by a 6 day calm period (a lull) with a windy spell at the end of the month. On top of wind, daily solar production appears as narrow spikes around mid-day in the short and cloudy winter days the UK experiences in January. Maximum RE supply occurred on the 30th with 11.3 GW and minimum on the 19th where a paltry 0.31 GW was produced (black arrows) from a total of 26 GW capacity.
The methodology employed here is to calculate the amount of storage required to convert this variable supply to uniform supply. This is achieved by calculating the mean RE that could be delivered across the month and then determining the surpluses and deficits that may be sent to or produced from storage relative to that mean value (dashed line, Figure 2).
Figure 3 Wind + solar surpluses and deficits relative to the mean value of 5112 MW. The sum or surpluses and deficits across the month equals zero.
The storage balance model shows alternating to-storage and storage draw for the first half of the month with a large storage draw during the lull that was followed by a windy spell that we shall see filled the storage up again (Figure 4). In Figure 3, the sum of the additions equals the sum of the draws.
In Figure 4 the data shown in Figure 3 are integrated across the month. The initial status of storage is set to a value that ensures the storage is never totally empty. Since the sum of additions equals the sum of the draws, storage at the end of the month is the same as storage at the beginning, in this case 375 GWh. Note that the raw data input is at 30 minute intervals while the chart plots MW hours. This is achieved by dividing the inputs by 2.
Figure 4 Integrating the data shown in Figure 3 at one hour intervals and setting the initial storage to 375 GWh produces a need for 450 GWh storage in January in order to avoid a storage empty scenario.
The storage model illustrates what I’ve just said. In the first half of the month with fluctuating wind, there is not much call on storage. Then, during the lull there is a major draw followed by re-filling. The storage required to get through the month is ~ 450GWh, which is a substantial amount to guarantee the delivery of 5.1 GW firm RE supply. The storage level at the end of the month is exactly the same as at the beginning.
The Annual Picture
The storage model for the whole of 2016 is made in exactly the same as I’ve just detailed for January while of course incorporating the data for all 366 days which requires 17568 lines of data. The result is shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5 This is a LARGE graphic and to view properly you will need a large screen. It is about 15 inches long on my iMac. Click the image to access large format. This chart is produced in the same way as Figure 4 but using data for the whole year. The mean RE production against which surpluses and deficits are recorded is 4.574 GW. Initial storage was set to 0.8TWh in order to avoid a storage empty scenario in December. The energy stored to avoid the empty scenario was effectively stored in May. The same applies to all the storage lows in the second half of the year. Storing energy for 6 months carries a high cost.
Initial storage is set to 0.8 TWh and the maximum storage required is 1.8 TWh set in February. Why is the annual storage requirement 4 times that for January alone? This is a fundamental question. What Figure 5 shows are two instances of substantial storage draw in March and in June. This is because both March and June were low-wind months (Figure 6). June was generally low-wind but with a 15 day lull with virtually no wind from the 3rd to the 18th. It was virtually flat calm across the whole of the UK and surrounding seas. To survive this on RE alone requires a vast amount of storage. The January lull discussed above is clearly visible but palls into insignificance compared with the demands made during the low-wind months.
The mean wind and solar production for 2016 was 4.574 GW and the 1.8 TWh of storage is therefore required to guarantee this fairly meagre amount of generation. If we want to contemplate grid-scale RE in the UK with 25 GW of guaranteed firm supply we would need 9.8 TWh of storage. I will however confine the following discussion to the 1.8 TWh required for 2016 since this amount of storage is already implausible to consider seriously.
Dynamic Range and Power Delivery
Before moving on to explore how 1.8TWh of storage may be delivered we need to define one more variable and that is the instantaneous power that storage may need to either draw or deliver. This is defined by the dynamic range of RE production relative to the mean supply of 4.574 GW. This is illustrated in Figure 6 that shows monthly maximum and minimum RE supply.
Figure 6 The dynamic range illustrates the difference between maximum and minimum power calls relative to the mean. In each month the maximum call is for pumping and not generation. The maximum call is for 9.5 GW pumping power in October.
The minima define the maximum amount of power delivery the system must produce while the maxima define the maximum amount of power diverted to storage. It is plain to see that the maxima extend much higher above the mean than the minima do below it. The maximum amount of power required was in October where 9.5 GW of storage power was required (max production = 14.1 GW minus 4.6 GW to grid = 9.5 GW).
How to Build 1.8 TWh of Storage
In this discussion I am going to consider three different storage options: 1) pumped hydro energy storage 2) Li-Ion battery storage and 3) chemical storage.
Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES)
My basic unit of currency in PHES is the proposed Coire Glas PHES scheme in Scotland that I described in The Coire Glas pumped storage scheme – a massive but puny beast. Its vital statistics are as follows:

To provide 1.8 TWh of storage would require 60 such schemes at a notional cost of £48 billion. 60 Coire Glas schemes would deliver 36 GW of power, 4 times more than is required. The design therefore is over-dimensioned and could be scaled back to 150 MW that would reduce the cost.
Coire Glas is in the Highlands of Scotland and the plan calls for the construction of an upper reservoir but uses the natural waters of Loch Lochy in The Great Glen as the lower reservoir. This design saves on cost since a lower reservoir does not need to be built but pumping from and producing into a natural loch places constraints on utilisation of the facility. Pump too much and the outflow runs dry. Produce too much and the outflow will flood. Reducing the capacity to 150 MW alleviates this problem.
I am going to cut this discussion short since it should be clear that we are unlikely to build 60 gigantic PHES schemes in Scotland or the UK to back up the promise of 4.574 GW of firm RE capacity, let alone 5 times this much to up-scale to ~ 25 GW. The latter is an impossible dream.
Lithium Ion Battery Storage
Elon Musk, Tesla and the Big South Australian Battery (BSAB) has been very much in the news recently. Musk promised to deliver the battery for free if the delivery date of 1 December was not achieved. The clock is ticking. The BSAB is my standard unit of battery currency, here is its vital statistics:

To provide 1.8 TWh would require 13,954 BSABs at a cost of £405 billion, 8.5 times more expensive than the PHES option. The BSAB is a toy designed for short-time-scale frequency control and for bridging short-time-scale grid interruption. It is not grid scale storage and referring to it as such is deception. I think it is time to halt this discussion too.
Chemical Storage
Chemical storage involves using surplus RE to produce a chemical store such as H2 gas or synthetic hydrocarbon fuel that can then be converted back to electricity when it is needed. This is well-established technology that works and is likely more easily scalable than either PHES or batteries. The downfall of chemical storage is energy losses that occur in making the chemical store and converting it back to electricity. The round trip efficiency is typically ~ 30%. The simplest way to express this is to say that our mean firm 4.574 GW of RE would be reduced to 1.372 GW (remember that we have 26 GW of generation deployed to produce this). We would be facing a 1/0.3 = 3.3 times uplift in the nominal capex of our initial investment on RE devices. I am going to defer this discussion to the next section on costs.
[Note added 10:00 on Wed 22 Nov. In this comment, PhilH pointed out a serious error in the logic I applied to chemical storage. The 2/3 fraction conversion energy loss should only apply to the component of power recycled through storage and not to the total generation. In Figure 2 (January) 9% of the power produced is recycled through storage (that component above the dashed line), 91% goes direct to grid. I’m guessing this will make chemical storage the most competitive of the three options, but it will require a separate post to evaluate this properly. The CAPEX on chemical conversion and storage equipment may now become material. The key question is if this option can be cost-competitive with nuclear].
Cost Comparisons
It is time to estimate the costs of the UK Energiewende to date but unfortunately I have not managed to find a readily usable and reliable source. The best I could find was the following chart from Carbon Brief.
Figure 7 Summary of CAPEX on UK RE from Carbon Brief.
Estimating the solar and wind values from the chart I get to £55.5 billion cumulative 2007-2015. Lets say a round £70 billion to 2016. To convert this to 4.574 GW firm capacity using PHES would cost an additional £48 billion (see section above on PHES) giving a total of £103.5 billion and deducting PHES conversion losses of 20% reduces the firm capacity to 3.66 GW. By comparison, the extortionate Hinkley C nuclear power plant will deliver 3.2GW for an inflated price of £20 billion.
The battery option, adding £405 billion, is clearly a non-starter.
The chemical storage option effectively raises initial capex on RE devices by a factor of 3.3 to £210 billion which excludes the cost of the chemical conversion plants. This too is clearly a non-starter on economic grounds rooted in thermodynamics.
Other Considerations
Returning to Figure 5 we can observe that from July to December the system can operate with ~ 0.6 TWh, one third of the total for the whole year. Two months of low wind creates the need for an additional 1.2 TWh of storage. What this means is that 1.2 TWh of storage costing £32 billion stands empty and unused for 6 months. Normally PHES is made economically viable by using all the capacity on a daily basis. The remaining 0.6 TWh of storage will have higher utilisation, but nothing close to 100% daily use. This I believe explains why Coire Glas has never been built and probably never will be.
The 1.8 TWh of storage, wherever it is built, will require in aggregate 9.5 GW of power lines running to it from the sites of distributed generation. Batteries or chemical plants would have an advantage here since they can be built close to centres of generation and population. But this is irrelevant since they are not affordable. In the case of PHES, this would mean an additional 9.5 GW of power lines running across Scotland the cost of which is not included in my estimates here. And remember, all this to provide only 4.6 GW of firm RE capacity.
Storage ends the year on the exact same level as it began. However, there is no guarantee that 2017 could be accommodated with the same 1.8 TWh.
Caveats and Disclaimers
This post has focussed exclusively on the challenge of converting variable RE to firm uniform supply using energy storage. There may well be a host of alternative partial solutions that make more economic sense, such as building inter-connectors or maintaining backup generation. But all of these interventions cost money too. I suspect storage is the least affordable option and politicians and policy makers should be made aware of this economic and thermodynamic fact.
All that I have said is based upon known storage technologies. If a new, cheap, scalable, environmentally benign, safe storage option becomes available then all bets would be off.
Summary
Wind + solar RE utopia often includes the concept of storing surplus supply for use at time of scarcity. It is an appealing concept. However, few politicians or their advisors appear to be aware of the scale and cost of infrastructure required.
An analysis of wind + solar data for the UK spanning the whole of 2016 shows that 26 GW of installed capacity may be reduced to 4.6 GW of firm uniform capacity using 1.8 TWh of storage. The cheapest, though wholly impractical option, is pumped hydro energy storage, which would add at least £48 billion in costs. The 60 usable large PHES sites that would be required for this low level of RE penetration do not exist in the UK.
Renewable energy storage is an impossible dream and will remain so until there is a major technology breakthrough.
References:
[1] The Lappeenranta University of Technology – The Internet of Energy
[2] Blakers, Lu and Stocks: 100% renewable electricity in Australia: Energy 133 (2017) 471-482
Footnote: Comparison with other Energy Matters Storage Assessments
We have had a number of articles assessing storage requirements written mainly by Roger Andrews. Here I provide a brief overview and comparison with the results presented here.
13 November 2017: Australia, energy storage and the Blakers study
Roger Andrews calculated that between 2.8 and 3.0 TWh of storage was required to back up ~ 25 GW of supply in Australia over a three month period. This compares with my estimate of 9.8 TWh to back up a similar amount of supply in the UK. While we are dealing with different wind and solar regimes and wind:solar mix, the material difference is the time-scale of analysis. Roger’s spanned 3 months, mine 12 months.
I observe that for 6 months of the year, the UK could get by on 0.6 TWh which scaled to 25 GW firm supply comes to 3.3 TWh, very close to Roger’s estimate for Australia. Roger noted his estimates over a short three month period could be low. The analysis presented here for a 12 month period suggests they could be seriously low.
The Blakers study that suggested Australian RE could be balanced using 0.5 TWh of storage could be off by a factor of around 20.
20 September 2017: The real strike price of offshore wind
In this post Roger Andrews converted the variable output for an offshore wind farm to firm, uniform supply using energy storage. The data used were offshore wind, hourly, for January 2015. 1.4 GW of capacity was converted to 0.83 GW of firm, uniform supply. It was calculated that 96 GWh of storage would be needed for the month of January alone.
Scaling up to the 25 GW datum used above yields a storage requirement of 2.9 TWh, which again is very close to the short-time-scale estimates discussed above. It is certain that doing this calculation over a longer time period will increase the storage requirement substantially.
6 November 2017: Can Puerto Rico go 100% solar?
In this study, Roger Andrews’ focus was the delivery of 100% solar power to Puerto Rico for the month of November. Average November demand is ~ 1.8 GW to be provided from ~13GW of solar PV and 76 GWh of storage. Scaling up to the 25 GW datum requires 1.1 TWh of storage. This appears to be lower than the mixed wind-solar and wind-only options described above. But once again, the calculation is for a single month and will miss all the seasonal and weather variations.
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http://euanmearns.com/grid-scale-storage-of-renewable-energy-the-impossible-dream/
President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

HK_Vol

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Re: Electricity Update Pt 4
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2018, 08:12:58 PM »
Hi Dan - just a suggestion - just post the "highlights" and a link to the full article - as many times I personally don't want to wade through the entire thing - and if I do, then I'll click the link.  Just my two cents.

In any case.....

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=34892

Utilities continue to increase spending on transmission infrastructure

SNIP:
Transmission spending has increased across all regions of the country. According to EEI members, the primary factors expected to drive transmission investment over the next several years include

  • Upgrades and replacement of aging transmission infrastructure
  • System hardening and resiliency to minimize adverse catastrophic events
  • Fundamental improvements to comply with evolving transmission reliability and security compliance standards
  • Expansion of the transmission system to integrate renewables and natural gas  
  • Some of the largest transmission projects currently under construction include

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator’s (MISO) Multi-Value Portfolio is a $6.6 billion portfolio of 17 transmission projects designed to address regional reliability needs and provide greater access to renewable energy resources (mainly wind and Canadian hydro) across the MISO footprint.  Of these projects, five are complete and nine are under construction, as the others await state regulatory approval.

Energy Gateway is a $6 billion major transmission expansion program that will add approximately 2,000 miles of new transmission lines within the Western Electricity Coordinating Council to more reliably meet new demand patterns, strengthen utility connections, and provide greater access to new wind, solar, geothermal, and other resources. At the end of 2017, 405 miles of new transmission lines had been added with completion dates planned through 2024.

Energizing the Future is a program to replace aging equipment in the PJM Interconnection region with advanced smart grid technologies designed to enhance system reliability by preventing or quickly identifying outage locations, meeting expected load growth from shale gas activity, and reinforcing the current system in light of coal plant closures.  After an initial $4.2 billion investment from 2014 through 2017, FirstEnergy expects to invest another $4.2 billion to $5.8 billion through 2021.

Oncor, located in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), is planning to spend $1.2 billion to upgrade aging infrastructure and build new lines to accommodate large increases in electricity use associated with oil and natural gas extraction in the Permian Basin.

HK_Vol

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Re: Electricity Update Pt 4
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2018, 08:15:55 PM »

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=34852

Future U.S. electricity generation mix will depend largely on natural gas prices



Interesting to see how they see solar blowing by wind......
















DunkingDan

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In the shadow of oil, coal markets rise from the ashes
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2018, 05:19:53 PM »
Far from entering the death throes predicted by some environmentalists and analysts, thermal coal miners are enjoying their best returns in years as strong Asian demand and tight supplies send prices soaring. 
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President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

DunkingDan

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Re: Electricity Update Pt 4
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2018, 10:48:41 AM »
President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

HK_Vol

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Re: Electricity Update Pt 4
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2018, 02:17:50 PM »

https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-england-has-a-power-problem-1519390800?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=5
https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-england-has-a-power-problem-1519390800?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=5


New England Has a Power Problem
The region is struggling to meet electricity needs and ambitious green power goals

SNIP:
Massachusetts officials thought they were close to securing future supplies of green energy by piping in hydroelectric power from Canada.

But a week after Massachusetts said yes to the $1.6 billion project, neighboring New Hampshire said no, jeopardizing the 192-mile transmission line that would bring in the electricity through the Granite State.

The rejection earlier this month marked the latest example of how hard it is to build large energy infrastructure in New England, which is pursuing aggressive renewable power goals and sometimes strains to meet current, pressing electricity needs.

The six-state region—where electricity costs are 56% above the national average—is heavily dependent on natural gas-fired power after years of losing older, uneconomic coal, oil and nuclear plants to retirement. Gas is also in high demand for heating area homes.

Yet New England sometimes has difficulty importing enough natural gas to satisfy its needs due to a shortage of pipelines, including conduits to the cheap natural gas being produced less than 400 miles away from Boston, in Pennsylvania, where shale drilling has helped trigger a boom.

“The not-in-my-backyard concept is extraordinarily powerful in New England,” said Chris Lafakis, the head energy economist at Moody’s Analytics.

New England turned to burning oil for electricity during a two-week winter cold snap around Christmas and New Year’s, using about 2 million barrels—more than twice the oil burned in all of 2016, according to ISO New England, the organization that runs the region’s power grid. The strain was so acute that the North American arm of French energy company Engie SA recently brought a shipment of liquefied natural gas—including fuel that originated about 5,000 miles away in Russia—to Everett, Mass., from Europe.

DunkingDan

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UK government to release funding for mini nuclear power stations
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2018, 02:56:44 PM »
Ministers are expected to back the first generation of small nuclear power stations in Britain with tens of millions of pounds this week, in an attempt to give the UK a competitive edge on the technology and provide a new source of clean power.

Rolls-Royce and a host of US and Chinese companies have been lobbying and waiting for the support since George Osborne first promised them a share of £250m two years ago.

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President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

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Re: Electricity Update Pt 4
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2018, 09:57:14 PM »
President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

DunkingDan

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 Advanced Reactor Design 

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has concluded that application of NuScale Power’s novel safety design approach eliminates the need for class 1E power for its small modular reactor (SMR). Class 1E is the regulatory standard set for the design of safety-related nuclear power plant electrical systems. In its newly released Safety Evaluation Report, the NRC approves NuScale Power’s “Safety Classification of Passive Nuclear Power Plant Electrical Systems” Licensing Topical Report, where the company established the bases of how a design can be safe without reliance on any safety-related electrical power. Currently, all nuclear plants in the U.S. are required to have class 1E power supplies to ensure safety. The NRC has limited its approval to only NuScale Power’s design. NRC’s conclusion is a key step in the review process of NuScale’s Power Module Design Certification Application (DCA). 

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President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

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Re: Electricity Update Pt 4
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2018, 09:44:50 AM »
President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

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UK running out of gas, warns National Grid
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2018, 05:59:47 PM »
National Grid has warned that the UK would not have enough gas to meet public demand on Thursday, as temperatures plummeted and imports were affected by outages.

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President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

DunkingDan

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On the Availability and Storage of Energy
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2018, 03:02:51 PM »
Source your energy but beware of schemes to  store it Wade Allison, Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Oxford, UK
What kind of energy and at what price? The guaranteed price recently agreed between the UK Government and the builders of the nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C for the electricity that it will generate was set at £92.50 per megawatt-hour. Rating energy against money over periods of time is problematic. While energy plays a role as a transient utility, money has a lasting value though not itself intrinsically useful. But why are some kinds of energy more useful than others, and how easy - and how safe - is it to make energy last by storing it somehow? Rather than just hoping that technical solutions will be developed, why not study for yourself what is scientifically possible? When energy is used, it changes form and there are many of these: the readiness of objects to fall from a height; the motion of objects and their rotation; heat; light; the stretching of materials and the compression too. Over the centuries we have learnt more and acquired the technologies to manage these changes usefully: the moving water of a stream into a rotating water wheel; a falling weight into a working clock; a light weight lowered through a large distance used to raise a heavy one by a small distance with a lever.1 We learnt to use mathematical measures to compare energy in different forms, and in the 1840s James Joule showed how heat could be incorporated in a unified energy account. Thus was born the First Law of Thermodynamics that says, although changes may occur, the total amount of energy, mechanical plus heat, is constant (in an isolated system). In the following years light and electrical energy were also added. Finally nuclear energy, discovered in 1896, was included in the story. The conclusion is that the total energy remains the same when all forms of energy are taken into account,. So energy is like gold - it does not increase or disappear. Ideally then we ought to be able to store it and keep it for a rainy day. That would mean that we should not need to spend money buying energy and only need to manage what we already have. But there is a catch. Although the exchange rate between different forms of energy is fixed, not all such exchanges are happy to go. The only ones that take place on their own are downhill, as it were. For example, two similar flasks of hot water at the same temperature do not become the one hotter and the other colder when left to themselves. It is the Second Law of Thermodynamics that shows which changes can go on their own and which cannot. Omitting the technical details, it is the highest concentrations of stored energy that can push their way downhill and become useful mechanical or electrical energy. For example, this puts a premium on a hydroelectric plant with the greatest height difference between the top and the bottom of the dam. Similarly an engine with the greatest temperature difference between the burning fuel and the exhaust is the most efficient - this is why diesel engines are more efficient than petrol ones. So we should look for concentrations of energy, not simply for energy. Wind blowing at 30 mph has a density of 90 joules per kg, but we can find better than that. Water at the top of a dam 100 m high has an energy density of 1000 joules per kg relative to water at the bottom. But this is very small compared to the energy of a giga-watt power station. That needs as much as a million kg of water per second to flow down from the top to the bottom of a 100 m high hydro-electric dam. Alternatively it would need more than ten times as much air blowing at 30 mph. Coal has an energy density of up to 35 million joules per kg. So a gigawatt power plant needs only 30 kg of coal per second or 100 tonnes per hour. Actual efficiencies are only about 30% so the need is nearer 300 tonnes per hour. When that much coal burns, it picks up 700 tonnes of oxygen and releases 1000 tons of CO2 per hour. But the atmosphere is quite small - only ten tonnes per square metre of the Earth's surface. It is not hard to see that this pollution should build up. The use of fuels based on carbon (coal, oil, gas and biofuels) should cease. Evidently wind turbines require more than 10 million kg of air blowing at 30 mph to compete. That is a huge number of turbines and, anyway, the wind is not always blowing. If nothing with energy denser than wind were available the electricity supply would often fail. 1 See the classic book by David MacKay:  Sustainable Energy without the hot air ISBN 978 0 9544529 3 3
Source your energy but beware of schemes to  store it Wade Allison, Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Oxford, UK
So we need either more concentrated sources of energy or else some way of storing extra energy when it is available to provide for times when the sun does not shine or the wind stops blowing. There is no shortage of stored energy in the world but the obvious sources are not concentrated and so not useable. For example, the oceans contain a lot of water and in the tropics it is hot, but we cannot use the heat because everything else is hot too and the energy will not flow downhill. As well as being concentrated, a useful energy store should be able to release its energy quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately this adds up to a good description of a very large and effective bomb! The energy density of the explosive TNT (tri-nitro toluene) is 4.6 million joules per kg, so a TNT bomb of 1000 tonnes stores as much energy as a gigawatt power station delivers in just over an hour. This would be very dangerous but would not back-up the power station for long enough. Instead of TNT hydro-electric pumped storage systems can be used but they need large lakes in a mountainous region and these are not widely available. Because energy cannot be destroyed a safety problem arises if the stored energy needs to be dumped for any reason. This task becomes like the disposal of a very large bomb. The release of the stored energy if a large dam collapses can threaten hundreds of thousands of lives, and fatalities on such a scale have occurred.2 3 Many people expect that advances battery technology should provide the solution sooner or later. A battery is basically chemical, as first shown by Faraday, and its maximum energy density can be calculated for a typical ionisation potential for the lightest ions. Current values are 0.5-0.8 million joules per kg for a lithium battery. Future increases will improve the viability of electric cars somewhat but a bank of several thousand tonnes of batteries to store giga-watts hours of energy is fundamentally unrealistic. The race to build dense batteries will become haunted by the bomb problem. Already there have been accidents with lithium batteries overheating in the Boeing Dreamliner, various mobile phones and laptops. It is quite likely that there will be further instances of fire in the development of electric cars although the media have not yet realised this. Though no great leap forward is possible for energy storage, there is no lack of high density energy sources already developed. Present nuclear fission power could be improved marginally including the use of thorium instead of uranium as fuel. but the Fukushima accident demonstrated that even a plant of old design overwhelmed by an exceptional natural accident resulted in no loss of life from radiation. The traditional fear of ionising radiation is social but the relevant biology has been fully explored 4 The energy density of nuclear fuel (if fully burnt up) is 80 tera-joules per kg. The reason for the factor of a million over and above TNT and other chemical (or battery) energy sources can be explained in a few lines of student physics, see pages 160-161 of Nuclear is for Life. As a result a nuclear fission plant uses less than a millionth of the fuel needed by any other power plant for the same electrical output, but it also leaves less than a millionth of the waste too. Put another way, the energy stored in one kg of nuclear fuel is the same as in 100,000 tonnes of fully charged lithium batteries. There is no merit in waiting for the next generation of fission reactors to achieve the full efficiency that they promise when a gain of nearly a million over carbon is available now. The way that many nations are currently trashing their nuclear power plants is lemming-like suicide in the face of climate change. This crowd behaviour is irrational and a denial of science.
If civilisation survives long enough, there is the promise of fusion power with density 600 terajoules per kg. This process that powers the Sun was understood already early in the 20th Century. It has been demonstrated on Earth at the JET Laboratory and no new scientific breakthrough is required. The advances in material science needed to build a viable power reactor will be studied at the ITER Laboratory now being built in France. However, if we are to survive the era of climate change, the most important need is a stable educated society that can trust and distinguish benign scientific truth from the ersatz science too often offered by the media as stimulating armchair entertainment.
2 A dam failure in 1975 in China with the loss of 171,000 lives https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banqiao_Dam 3 A recent rapid evacuation in USA due to threatened dam failure http://www.ibtimes.com/california-oroville-dam-evacuation-update-nearly-200000-people-evacuate 

https://irp-cdn.multiscreensite.com/1d1b01d4/files/uploaded/Energy%20And%20Storage.pdf
President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

 

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