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Sweden has little wind-power, but good statistics. So I decided to check the numbers from the energy authority on if wind is less reliable then water or nuclear power.

Energimyndigheten - Energiläget

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Now, I find a handy set of data on installed windpower (MW) and delivered power (GWh) (set 23), on water and nuclear I find only delivered power (21 and 25). I assume that installed effect was roughly the same for water and nuclear  over the years 1991-2010 (water was afaik, nuclear somewhat with Barsebäck closing down and the other reactors receiving upgrades). Water is in Sweden used both as baseload and topload because we got so much (Vattenfall is Swedish for waterfall). If anyone comes across a handy set of numbers on installed nuclear and water 1991-2010 please let me know so I can improve this.

For wind I chose production/effect as it was being constructed at the time. 1991 is chosen as startyear because the production before that was so small that rounding errors in the set could disturb the outcome.

They yearly standard deviation (in percentage of the main value) then becomes:
Wind 9.5%
Water 10.8%
Nuclear 9.9%

So about the same. Can we now in the future get some reference if it is claimed that wind is more variable then nuclear?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 10:31:14 AM EST
.. wrong time scale. Neither I, nor anyone, expect significant problems with variations in annual wind output. The issue is that in order to avoid large and well correlated variations in wind output on a day to day basis, your wind power installations need to be spread out over an area significantly larger than typical weathersystems, and be scaled to move a heck of a lot of power from one end of that grid to another. Much the same argument states that grids with very small numbers of reactors in them are daft. (.. if denmark were to go nuclear, the country would need.. 3 eprs. That would not be amusing when it is refueling time)
- So much larger grids are a nessesity, no matter what we do.
For reference: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/satpics/latest_IR.html
That is the weather pattern over europe right now. This is the size of the area that needs interconnecting to level out output. Solar-in-europe is extremely unhelpful for adressing this problem, because unlike wind, it has huge seasonal variability across the continent, which rather obviously happens at the same time, and at the time of maximum demand, to boot. Winter always comes.
Desertec makes sense. Domestic solar amounts to iceskating uphill.
by Thomas on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 03:14:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to grid technicians from Vattenfall (speaking at a seminar I attended) the additional grid-cost for an all-wind grid in Sweden, compared to todays, is 0.2 euro-cents per KWh - a cost increase that most Swedish consumers would not notice.

I agree that larger grids are needed in general, however the problem is political not technological or economical. Today we have a margin-priced market-system that benefits gas, we also have a EU commission that thinks that the way to improve the grid is to carve up energy markets and make consumers pay more in low-producing areas. Exactly how this will result in a better grid is very unclear. I kid you not, this happened in Sweden last summer. A European grid appears to be far away.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 03:50:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ABB just received an €125M order for HVDC cabling from Svenska Kraftnat. This is to facilitate wind onshore and off, connection with Norway, and upgrade grid capacity particularly in the south.

Interesting that it will be underground, showing that it was deemed cost-effective to avoid opposition to overland cabling.

So it also shows some reality to funding grid enhancement.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 05:33:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Crazy Horse:
So it also shows some reality to funding grid enhancement.

I should have ranted more clearly.

The electricity cost is in Sweden divided in two seperate bills - one from the producer and one from the grid owner. Producer is chosen while grid owner depends on ownership of the actual cabels, so it is decided by where you live. Up to this summer producers had to offer the same price in all of Sweden on a somewhat competitive market. Grid prices on the other hand is fairly strictly regulated as it is a natural monopoly.

This order apparently violated some EU regulation (which is unclear, saw somewhere that the danes were discriminated, the grid has however been the most common excuse) so Sweden is from this summer divided into four price areas for producers where the price somehow (mechanism unclear) is connected to how much power is produced in the same area. The line was drawn so that northernmost and northern gets the water, middle gets the nuclear power and southern gets nothing. The result is lower prices in northernmost and higher prices in the south.

How exactly the grid will be improved because waterpower-owners in northern Sweden gets to charge more from residents in Scania remains a mystery - after all it is not the grid owners that gets paid.

Crazy Horse:

ABB just received an €125M order for HVDC cabling from Svenska Kraftnat. This is to facilitate wind onshore and off, connection with Norway, and upgrade grid capacity particularly in the south.

Interesting that it will be underground, showing that it was deemed cost-effective to avoid opposition to overland cabling.

Depending on where they are cabling underground can also be a choice to avoid trees cutting down the lines. A lot of Swedish lines are drawn through forests where there are little opposition but quite a lot of trees. Storms (as Dagmar and Emil that visited during the holidays) has a tendency to move trees upon powerlines, thereby cutting them and making that cut hard to reach through a lot of other trees being in the way.

In general the connections between the Swedish grid and neighbouring grids are improving, a new cable was recently laid over to Finland.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Jan 7th, 2012 at 09:57:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, Sweden is looking quite smart for having insisted on underground cabling, unlike Finland where most of the lines are above ground. The two storms that blew through after visiting your neck of the woods (Tapani and Hannu as they are called over here) caused approximately 60,000 folks to be without electricity for an extended period of time.
by sgr2 on Sat Jan 7th, 2012 at 01:36:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet again repeating again & again: wind also has a seasonal variability, in fact just the opposite of solar; and seasonal variability of demand is not the same in electric heating Sweden and air conditioning southern lands. (In Germany, seasonal variability is only around 10%, tendency was downwards at least a few years ago.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 08:08:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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