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Do you have detailed land use statistics so we can begin to consider how much wind power can be generated?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 12:35:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not the issue I was wondering about: I'm thinking of the oft quoted 20% from wind/wave bit. How much is actually available is another matter, and not important if we can't use it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 12:37:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think enough is done to make electricity more expensive at peak times in order to encourage power-intensive industry to operate outside the peak. This could be done on daily, weekly, and yearly cycles.

But anyway, where does the 20% figure come from?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 12:47:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no idea. I am sure I read it somewhere, but whenever I google it, it leads me back to things I've written myself.

But surely, some grid operator must know these things.

Anyone happen to know one?

One possible explanation is that wind is 15-20 % of all power in Denmark (no. 1 wind country), and I read somewhere (can't find the source) that they had to build new coal plants to deal with all the wind (or really to free up gas power from baseload duty to use the gas for load balancing).

Still, the 20 % number derived from Denmark doesn't make much sense as some magic rule of maximum windpower share as the Danish situation is very special, with acess to massive amounts of highly flexible Nordic hydropower.

It's all rather foggy I'm afraid.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 01:00:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not sure of the details: paging Jérôme.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 01:00:48 PM EST
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See this diary by Jerome based on EU Energy factsheet (pdf) where renewables are given at 13.74% of EU (production or capacity, that I can't make out) in 2004, with 21% as the target for 2010.

The 20% figure always seemed to me to be a target not yet reached.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 02:41:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I got the impression, as said below, that's it's considered a limit for some reason.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 02:52:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, no my 20% refers only to wind, not including the other renewables. A lot of hydro would actually make it easy to deal with more wind as it is easily switched on or off on demand, and can even be used to store power by pumping water back up.

The 20% for wind has been reached in Denmark and northern Germany.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 04:49:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I found some more on this subject.

Warren Frost, vice-president for operations and reliability at the Alberta Electric System Operator, said studies done over the past couple of years showed there can be problems when wind contributes more than about 10 per cent of the province's electricity -- about 900 MW -- because of the chance the wind could stop at any time.

[...]

There are a number of ways to allow wind power to make up a greater proportion of the electricity supply, but they require more study, Mr. Frost said. First, he said, the province can develop more sophisticated ways of forecasting the wind so the power it generates is more predictable.

The province could also build more plants that can quickly respond if the wind dies down during a peak period, for example. But building new gas-powered plants merely to help handle the variability of wind is certain to raise the ire of environmentalists.

The province could also increase its connections to other jurisdictions, where it would buy surplus power when needed. Alberta is already looking at links with some northwestern U.S. states, including Montana.

[...]

Mr. Frost, of the Alberta system operator, said European countries such as Denmark and Germany have been able to maintain a high proportion of wind power in their electricity systems mainly because they have multiple connections to other countries' power grids. That gives them substantial flexibility to import or export power to compensate for wind fluctuation.

Germany, for example, has 39 international interconnections, he said, making variable wind conditions much easier to manage.



Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Nov 1st, 2006 at 10:18:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That sounds coherent with what I wrote. 9,000 MW is a pretty small system and it's not surprising that it would find it slightly harder to cope with intermittence. Also, I suspect that seasonal swings of demand in Alberta are pretty massive for weather reasons.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 1st, 2006 at 11:26:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, if we start forcing energy intensive industry to pay for power depending on demand they'll just build their own power plants to avoid the hassle and volatility.

And even if we could install all that fancy metering equipment people wouldn't like it and buy fixed price contracts anyway.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 01:03:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, if we start forcing energy intensive industry to pay for power depending on demand they'll just build their own power plants to avoid the hassle and volatility.
That's a problem?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 01:04:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, not generally, but it would be in Sweden as all power plants are owned by a handful of oligopolistic power companies (private and state owned, all evil) while new power plant construction in practice is illegal.
 

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 01:07:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's  effectively how the new Finnish nuclear plant is built - with long term supply contracts with several energy intensive industrialists (pulp and paper mills and a couple others).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 02:14:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, they are on the same market as we are as there in effect is no Swedish power market but only a Nordic one.

Or well, it's not really long term supply contracts is it? Isn't it more like owning the shares gives you a certain power quota? 10 % of the shares gives 10 % of the generated power (about 1,3 TWh) and any power not consumed by the shareholder is sold on the market. And the big industries own all the shares of this in effect not-for-profit nuclear plant.

By the way, it would be great if it would be open to small investors. What a great way to hedge against rising power prices, just buy one millionth of the shares of the new reactor and get power for free, so to speak. Any surplus power is sold on the market.

A one time payment of maybe €3000 (=13 MWh per year as long as you hold the shares) and no more power bills for me. And then you also get value if shares prices rise, as they are bound to do due to peak oil.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 03:19:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And of course you can always sell the shares later if you'd like.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 04:00:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
regularly, because it comes form the experience of Denmark and northern Germany, where that level has been reached, and where the system copes (with the help of Scandinavian hydro, which is connected to the same regional grid).

Most grid operators say the same thing - that this is the level that can be reached with minor investments in the existing systems, with more requiring new investment to be made.

In the worst case, you force the wind producers to pay "balancing costs" to the network (i.e. a penalty that you pay if you deliver a volume of production different from what you announced a day or so before). The UK system works that way; what happens is that windfarms sell to utilities that manage the balancing requirement within their wider portfolios - the utilities get a cut for that service.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 02:12:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So could a smarter electricity distribution system allow for a higher proportion of unreliable alternative power generation?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 02:53:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you by "smarter" mean "more hydro, pumped storage and gas", then yes. If you with smarter mean smart metering, then I have no idea.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 03:08:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm thinking smarter demand management - there's lots of domestic things that could be turned off when the power isn't there. Phone chargers for instance, heating, things like that.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 03:19:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think pumped storage is a good way to get around the intermittency of wind and solar.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 05:24:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as it goes, I agree.

It doesn't scale very well though - not enough sites.

Regards
Luke

-- #include witty_sig.h

by silburnl on Wed Nov 1st, 2006 at 09:29:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you mean? You can build a pumped storage facility next to each renewable power "plant". Who tells you you have to "pump" water? All you have to do is store the energy into easily recoverable mechanical form. Imagine a spring-loaded electromagnet or something like that [this is where I, not being an engineer, reach my limitations]. Also remember that typically you only need to store one day's worth of power.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 1st, 2006 at 09:54:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You may need to stor for more than a day. Wind actually often has pretty strong seasonality, with one half of the year producing close to 2/3 of yearly power, and the other half the rest. Monthly variations in some sites can be 3:1 between the best month and the calmest. So to have smooth production over the year (admittedly a tougher requirement than may be needed in practice) might require a couple months' worth of storage.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 1st, 2006 at 11:29:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How does that seasonality correlate with the seasonality in energy demand?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 1st, 2006 at 11:37:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It depends. (sorry, no better answer)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 1st, 2006 at 11:51:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We could always learn to arrange our life around the seasonality of renewable energy. Tapping into pumped storage must have a price, different from just using the energy as it is produced. Making that price explicit would "teach" us to adjust our behaviour appropriately.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 1st, 2006 at 11:54:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I own a small apartment building in Canada. I have been keeping a bit of an eye on hydrogen fuel cells. Ideally we would like to install and heat hot water with a fuel cell, recharging it off the grid in non-peak time.  Probably it will take a very long time before it becomes financial feasible. While the cost of electricity is discounted for non-peak times, the cost of transmission (and all the other sub-charges) are not discounted - radically diminishing the advantages of arranging to use off peak power.

We recently needed to replace our flat roof. There were a number of choices, but when analyzed financially, only two really made sense. The short term $10,000 membrane roof with an expected life between 10 and 15 years and the Cadillac long term $30,000 roof with an additional R12 of insulation with an expected life between 40 and 50 years. Given the way small apartment buildings turn over, the first choice is often the most financially desirable. That needs to change. (By the way we went with the Cadillac. Even though it is somewhat unlikely we will hang on to this building for another 10 years.) Oh - our building is heated by electric baseboard.


aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Wed Nov 1st, 2006 at 09:54:14 AM EST
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