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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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 ]

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