Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Two sources:

(1) total confusion of losses in generation with losses in distribution ~ if you carelessly read "energy source" when the aggregate energy flows through the system are described as being on the "after the generator" side, you easily get 60%~70% losses, the majority of which are really are losses between the energy content of thermal fuels and energy output at the generator.

(2) confusing maximum long-haul AC losses with average grid losses, because the long haul AC interconnects do not carry a majority of the power consumed, but rather only excess of local production over local consumption or deficit of local consumption over local production.

There are two type of "new energy grid" required:

wholesale-grid: inter-regional connections allowing cross-haul of volatile renewable, scheduled renewable and dispatched renewable sources (eg, wind, biocoal, and dammed hydro). This is grid to grid, high voltage DC, which is an excellent efficient long haul point to point technology. In the US we've been relying on natural gas pipeline infrastructure and locally sited natural gas power plants to avoid expanding our long-haul network as energy consumption expands, but we cannot sustain that strategy indefinitely ~ sooner or later we have to catch up with the long-haul power infrastructure deficit, if we are going to take advantage of economy of geographic scope to reduce total volatility of volatile renewables;

retail-grid: "smart" grid to final consumer to permit greater system efficiency by permitting power consuming devices to intelligently shift demand, eg, an energy efficient DVR that charges an internal battery pack when power is cheap and shuts down the power connection when power is expensive or, for consuming device that draws less power than a DVR/set-top box in the average American home, a refrigerator/freezer that schedules topping up the ice-cube tray for periods of inexpensive power.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Jun 25th, 2011 at 02:56:58 PM EST
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