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Oh well. If you insist.

Very well, so conventional plants are intermittent. Yes, but their failures are randomly and independently distributed. This is not true for the main cause of intermittent operations of wind plants. The strength of the wind is quite correlated in large areas.

To counter this very large networks can be used to some degree. However, even under the current conditions, capacities are strained and construction of massive new grid capacities is already meeting stiff resistance.

by oliver on Mon Aug 6th, 2012 at 09:29:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For the 90th time, wind is not meant to be sole generation, rather a part of a mix of generation and demand-side technologies. Please stop discussing wind as stand-alone generation.

No matter the cause of the stiff resistance to grid upgrades, they would have to be done anyway. Not merely to increase security, but for economic and technical reasons as well. Plus the populace needs to finance a spare parts store, so when a sunstorm or other failure occurs, it can be repaired in weeks rather than many months.

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

by Crazy Horse on Mon Aug 6th, 2012 at 10:14:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Either it is a significant contributor or it is not. If it is not, we need not bother with subsidies. If it is, the increased variability will have to be compensated for.

As for the necessity of major upgrades I have to note that the current grid with the current generation capability does work very well.

by oliver on Mon Aug 6th, 2012 at 05:42:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Either it is a significant contributor or it is not.

Nope, it's not that simple, but we are repeating ourselves on this, too. If there is some correlation with other significant non-load-following contributors (and there is: with solar), then it makes no sense to consider its variability isolated.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Aug 6th, 2012 at 06:00:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As for the necessity of major upgrades I have to note that the current grid with the current generation capability does work very well.

Fun fact about networks like currency unions and power grids: If you cheap out of maintenance, routine upgrades and proper design, they will work very well right up until they don't work at all.

Which of course makes it open season for quacks and charlatans. Such as the people who are feeding you your talking points.

The German grid in particular has built up quite a deferred maintenance log since the experiments with open access and unbundling began. Funny how that works, because the rail and telecommunication sectors had precisely the same experience with unbundling.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 6th, 2012 at 07:22:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The German grid in particular has built up quite a deferred maintenance log since the experiments with open access and unbundling began. Funny how that works, because the rail and telecommunication sectors had precisely the same experience with unbundling.

You can certainly argue that these are natural monopolies. And keeping it in the hands of the suppliers doesn't work.

So either only those who own the infrastructure may use it, or it has to be split up fully.

by oliver on Tue Aug 7th, 2012 at 03:38:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And keeping it in the hands of the suppliers doesn't work.

Why not?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Aug 7th, 2012 at 03:53:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where I note that my own preferences differ for the three named systems:
  • In the electricity sector, I'd like to see a state-oned grid, at least partially state-owned peaker plants and either state-owned legacy plants or a law making closure without compensation for "lost profit" a possibility (thus the state would be the supplier keeping the infrastructure in its hands),
  • In the rail sector, I'd like to see integrated railways, that's more important than whether they are public or private (but I still prefer public) and how large an area they cover (close cooperation can realise the same benefits as a total monopoly).
  • In the telecoms sector, I have no solid opinion, other than seeing the need for strong regulation.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Aug 7th, 2012 at 04:31:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In telecommunications, the historical experience seems to indicate that it is sufficient to have strictly enforced interoperability requirements at all levels (between networks and between phones and networks - none of the American crap where the phone is hardwired to one network). Plus a few ad hoc regulations like number portability and a hard cap on roaming charges.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 7th, 2012 at 01:41:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is designed to create a conflict of interest. The owners are given an incentive to neglect infrastructure, which is partially used to benefit competitors.
by oliver on Wed Aug 8th, 2012 at 09:46:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Competitors?

EDF and Gazprom have worked fine for decades with no competitors.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 8th, 2012 at 10:37:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The German grid in particular has built up quite a deferred maintenance log since the experiments with open access and unbundling began.

Do you have good sources on this? I only read into the backlog in new construction, and the connected finger pointing. In the case of the 20-year-delayed project I mentioned downthread, grid operators and approving authorities are pointing fingers at each other for slow and sloppy work with documents; and the line originally projected to enhance east-west connections, with a Hamburg-area nuclear power plant at one end, is now called Windsammelschiene (wind bus bar) to give the false impression that it only became necessary due to the spread of wind power.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Aug 7th, 2012 at 03:51:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope, only people I trust to be well informed making disparaging comments at the TV whenever the German grid is mentioned.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 7th, 2012 at 04:25:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Trouble is all I can find is of the same level, too. In some pro-unbundling pieces, there are claims that the grid is underfuded and in a bad shape, with the only specific detail I saw was that the maintenance budget is dwarfed by grid use tariff income, but there is no source or context.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Aug 7th, 2012 at 04:34:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but their failures are randomly and independently distributed. This is not true for the main cause of intermittent operations of wind plants. The strength of the wind is quite correlated in large areas.

So what? Conventional baseload plants also have the trait of being much bigger, thus a single failure or maintenance shutdown is a significant grid event. You could talk about the relative distribution functions, or about the difference in the pattern and spectrum of fluctuations.

However, even under the current conditions, capacities are strained

Yes, but not as much as claimed by certain circles; see my Enron diary.

and construction of massive new grid capacities is already meeting stiff resistance.

This argument is overblown to the extent that it sounds like an excuse. (And now a tool; with Rösler seizing on the opportunity to call for the easing of environmental restrictions.) There are 20-year-delayed power line projects in Germany with no significant counter-protests. There is also the issue of excessive coal plant production assumptions in the forecasts of the grid operators.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Aug 6th, 2012 at 05:55:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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