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Nobody is seriously investing in storage, nobody is working on the problem of continental scale grid interconnection. And these are not problems that can be solved quickly as they come up, - Utility scale storage means rockworks!

Demand-side management can be rolled out faster than supply-side management, mostly because there's so much low-hanging fruit. Ammonia synthesis for fertiliser and synthetic fuels can be shuffled around without too much hassle, and to the extent electric cars achieve meaningful penetration in the transport infrastructure you'll have a few GWh of capacity at all points except the morning and evening commutes for the cost of hooking up your chargers to the internet and writing a bit of software. There's a ceiling to how much demand flexibility you can get, but it gives enough time to start with the rockwork.

That aside, nuclear suffers from precisely the same problem, unless you propose to load balance with spinning reserves. Which you can do, in the same way you can load balance a wind-only grid by detuning turbines to varying degrees. But that's a silly way to load-balance.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 08:14:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And UHVDC transmission capacity can be rolled out faster than the volatile sustainable power capacity. The capacity to produce the equipment to produce the power has to be expected to be used over a period of time, so the volatile power harvesting equipment roll-out can't feasibly be, "in 5 years time we will have capacity equal to 150% of average power consumption". The roll out that equipment is going to be over several decades in any event.

But from first serious commitment to a cross-continental network of UHVDC it seems like "catching up" to latent demand for the sustainable power penetration of the day could well be done in five years, and from then on it woud be a matter of keeping up.

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 Tue Jan 10th, 2012 at 02:27:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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