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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
[ Parent ]

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