The problem is that peak energy usage now occurs after sunset. So no matter how many solar panels you stack on your home, around 6-7 PM the coal, oil, and gas power plants all have to spin up to their max capacity. Your solar panels are new less likely to _replace_ a coal power plant, although they do change how many hours a day it runs.
Unfortunately for the power companies, running a coal power plant for 3 hours a day costs just about as much as running it for 8 hours a day. This leads to the power companies naturally feeling rather sour about being forced to credit residents for the power they supply to the grid during low-demand hours. Their costs are staying about the same, but now their revenue stream goes down.
In some regions (Utah/Idaho/Colorado is the one I'm aware of) these power companies are now negotiating with governments for lower and lower solar credits for these kinds of residents and they're winning because the abundance of solar power at mid-day is legitimately creating an oversupply, thus making that energy worth less and less.
I see this causing problems for many of my neighbors, who had solar sales reps factoring in energy buy-back rates from 2016 into 10-year loans models to pay for the solar panels. Soon the energy the power companies pay my neighbors is going to offset their panel loans less and less, which may result in a reversal of the economics that led to them buying the panels in the first place.
This is why we need market rates for power, for everyone. If I have a bunch of panels and my power is worthless at 2pm, that's fine. A small battery system will pay for itself quickly if that power is worth peak at 6pm. Or maybe I set my car to charge in the early afternoon? Maybe when I install my system, I put my panels facing West instead of south?
Does a single $4,000 power-wall do that? And if it is merely saving me the cost differential from electricity at noon and electricity at 6pm, is it going to pay itself off in less than 15 years?
Source: I build home battery backup systems for a living.
The types of people buying batteries today live in places where arbitrage is an option (california, hawaii), or where the grid is frequently or always down (puerto rico)... or rich people who want to be energy independent. They generally haven't made it to the general public yet, but cost is coming down every year and utilities/incentive programs are spreading.
They don't have a generator -- their property does not make one convenient, and they don't currently have medical needs that require constant power.
But when the power goes out in their neighborhood, just walk outside after a few minutes and listen to all the generators.
A lot of U.S. infrastructure is no longer really being adequately maintained. I expect quite a few battery packs will be sold to scenarios like theirs. As long as the power failures don't come to exceed the batteries' power delivery capabilities.
Now this is Alibaba so we are talking about dubious quality still it's showing 2,000$ for 25kwh battery pack when buying 2 or more. 50kwh is 2 so that's 4,000$. That's for Lithium iron phosphate battery which should give ~2,000 cycles though they say 3,500.
PS: Grid scale you would want to install the batteries at the solar power plant so again no need for an extra inverter.
In a March 2018 report, BNEF put 2017 utility-scale battery costs at $209/kWh:
And that report was already taking into account global supply chains. That's why I am skeptical about the low Alibaba price. If EPCs can get reliable battery packs at $78/kWh (sans inverter) just by ordering from China, I would expect utility scale battery installation rates to soon go from "brisk" to "breakneck."
Do you believe the batteries should be subsidized - Yes, I think that they should be subsidized now. I normally don't like government involvement in markets other than protecting against externalities, but in this case I believe that subsidies can expedite innovation in the area. Once the market exists and the technology moves far enough along, I think that we will be able to slowly remove the subsidies and battery systems will be cheap enough to warrant their place in the market without. Also I strongly believe that the faster we move away from fossil fuels, the less lives will be lost to climate change.
instead of the power going back into the grid - Not sure what you mean here. People sell back to the grid all the time. A battery backup system in sell mode is essentially another power plant. Great!
> run 2 loads through my washer and dryer (cause I have 3 kids)
Surely you don't run 2 loads through your washer and dryer _EVERY_ day, do you? Do your children change clothes every 2 hours? Do you change bedding and towels every day?
Point being, I can come up with incredibly inefficient and wasteful scenarios too and then say "well, it doesn't serve my needs either, see!"
Shifting energy usage patterns is just as much part of being green as is generating energy in a renewable way. Just because you can come up with a scenario that isn't 100% addressed by that, doesn't mean it's not worth doing in aggregate.
No, but I need to be able to _any_ day, and honestly for us doing 2 loads a day happens very often - it's not an edge case for us. If you're befuddled as to how that is possible, join the club.
As for shifting our day's schedule around electricity rates, good luck bringing that idea up with my wife.
> As for shifting our day's schedule around electricity rates, good luck bringing that idea up with my wife.
The electricity costs of washing and drying are significant, could easily be hundreds of dollars a year. If you could save half of that by generally running a programme overnight, lots of people would do it . Not everyone would be able to because of noise, with that number increased by technological developments in software and hardware specialized for that use-case, but a lot of people would. And you wouldn't do it for every wash, only when it was convenient. This already happens over here, I often run my dishwasher overnight when the tariffs are lower, it's good for the environment and saves me money, or when I need it sooner I run it straight away.
We often had 2 loads of washing a day too; when you're night-time toilet training the kids it's a killer. Fortunately we're past that; now it's just loads of school and sports clothes, still not as much.
Then they should get newer appliances. Modern dishwashers are whisper-quiet, and modern front-loading washers are barely audible for most of the cycle. The energy savings on these newer appliances should more than pay for the initial costs pretty quickly.
No kidding. Our 2006 dishwasher wasn't too bad, but we just got a 2nd-hand 2016 Bosch and you can watch a movie while it's running.
I assure you, the vast, overwhelming majority of households can go a workweek without using washer/dryer.
Many water heaters come with an integrated storage tank for hot water so they can actually be used as a form of energy storage. That leaves lights in your example and yes battery like powerwall will be more than enough to power modern energy efficient lighting and electronics overnight.
But if you absolutely must use active cooling after sunset you might want to get something like Ice bear 20 ( https://www.ice-energy.com/technology/ - i'm not affiliated with them just an example) hopefully it should solve it once and for all.
I mean these temperatures don't strike me as particularly intolerable. I wonder if it's the case of keeping up with Joneses as in "my house is cooler than yours". There are some reports ( https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/07/saudis-... ) that rich Arabs in Saudi Arabia are running air conditioners at temperatures that require sweaters — even when they go on vacation. Which is really amusing for these of us who come from colder climates.
In July and August it will often stay above 90F until midnight. There’s usually a few evenings in August where it will still be 100F at 2200.
The overnight lows in the upper 70s won’t be reached until dawn, and it will be back into the upper 80s before 10.
And the breeze is a hot wind, that feels like it makes it worse rather than helping.
Well, something like IceBear20 ( https://www.ice-energy.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ICE-BE... ) seems to be the way to go. It can run for up to 4 hours off the stored ice so it should be able to cover you from sunset to midnight.
I believe that there used to be many fewer people (absolutely and relatively) living in the southern US. Then air conditioning was invented and people realized they could get away from the sometimes brutal winters in the north without having to be miserable in the summers.
There are many factors that influence how tolerable the heat is - low humidity and the presence of a breeze can make a huge difference on how tolerable 27C is.
And no, our washing and drying can not be done on a weekend. We have 3 kids and if we waited for a weekend to do our laundry then that is the only thing we'd be doing all Saturday long.
With washing, if you have to do it every day you might want to start it right after the sunrise when you're likely to to leave for work. If your kids are old enough you can instruct them to take the washing out and put into a dryer as soon as they get home.
The point is you'll need to make some changes to your lifestyle and habits but these changes are not as severe and problematic as some people claim.
Aren't you looking for a way to store excess solar power generated during the day? Use it to cool your house! If your house is at 68 when the sun goes down and power generation stops, you may very well be fine without AC until the morning.
Use the power when its generated and you don't need as big of a battery to store it for later use.
For example, say you can store up 10 kWh of excess energy during the noon sun when it's worthless. If peak is from 5 to 9, you only need a 10 kWh pack that can discharge in 4 hours.
That's about the ballpark we are talking about though actual numbers will be different.
Where are you getting this assumption from?
In hot climates like Arizona, peak energy usage during the summer months is in the afternoon, not the evening. When it's 115 degrees outside, that's when everyone's A/C is running at full capacity. It gets cooler in the evening and A/C usage goes down then.
In the diagram, you can see that solar power peaked at around 3pm on the graphed day, then declined to near-zero by 6pm. Meanwhile, the total load rose steadily throughout the day, peaking at about 9pm before declining.
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Duck_Curve_CA-ISO_2016-10...
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck_curve
Exe here is San Diego's pricing from the perspective of consumption only: https://www.sdge.com/residential/pricing-plans/about-our-pri...
Electricity price on the market changes every hour depending on production and consumption. You can trade on it like on any futures market, or as an active participant if you had a large battery or transmission cables. Local utilities here offer "market price + 5% margin" plans to home consumers if you want to take advantage of the lows to adjust your usage.
(And wind does not have the problem the first place, obviously)
Sure you can set the dryer and dishwasher if you have one to run at a time when the power rates are lower but you can't really shift most loads. Not even electric cars because you'll use the car to go to work.
If something doesn't need heating or cooling, in the bigger scheme of energy consumption, it barely moves the needle.
That sounds amazing. I can't seem to find any commercial solutions for that, only a DIY-ish toggle between a heat exchanger cooled by the pool pump and the usual condensor. Is that what you've done? Guessing this would also work for heating during winter; use the pool water when it's above ambient?
While looking, I did come across a tangentially related problem I thought was interesting too: cooling your pool in summer. 
There is a controller that takes the pool temp as input, and switches the valves between the heat exchanger or the air condenser, while ensuring the pool pump is running.
I'm not sure these solutions work for even the well off in most parts of the world, let alone common people.
You can't just toss out something like HVDC grids as a quick solution. That kind of infrastructure takes decades to build out.
Consumers are offered reduced cost tariffs to simply request a charging level by a certain time tomorrow morning, and in the meantime let the grid take or receive electricity as it wishes.
Residential users and smaller companies will eventually find ways to make use of such energy in a similar way.
Time to get rid of coal? What the Duck Curve indicates to me, is that California's grad-scale solar really should be located about 6 hours time difference to the west. How about ocean solar farms located in the plastic laden mid-Pacific gyre? They could be equipped with plastic harvesting equipment.
You mean like this? https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-bonkers-reallife-p...
Maybe you refuse to live in such areas, but there's probably several billion people who do.
By your logic, no one should go into a skyscraper: what would happen if it suddenly collapsed? But that never happens.
Good luck with that when you're in the middle of Mediterranean basin.
For example, charging the car when power is cheap.
One of my co-works with a Tesla got a plan where electricity is free at night. He cranks the AC during the night and charges the car and ends up paying around $40 a month. Not bad.
Hey, this AC will cool your house and save you $$$.
Hey, turn on this automatic switch and your car will save you $$$.
The good news is: CO2 emission intensity is going down globally and emissions per capita in US, China and EU28 are going down.
The bad news are: Emissions per capita are still going up globally, and hydrocarbon usage and CO2 emissions are breaking records year after year. http://folk.uio.no/roberan/img/GCP2017/PNG/s09_FossilFuel_an... Economic downturn was the only thing causing temporary decline.
It looks like clean energy reduces the demand in developed countries, thus reducing the prices of hydrocarbons. It will not reduce the CO2 emissions globally, it just moves them from the developed world to the developing world. Maybe it slows down CO2 emission growth rate?
EDIT: Just to point out how complex the dynamics between clean energy, hydrocarbons and policy are, here is nice recent research paper from Acemoglu and Rafey:
Mirage on the Horizon: Geoengineering and Carbon Taxation
Without Commitment https://economics.mit.edu/files/14855
>Abstract: We show that, in a model without commitment to future policies, geoengineering breakthroughs can have adverse environmental and welfare effects because they change the (equilibrium) carbon taxes. In our model, energy producers emit carbon, which creates a negative environmental externality, and may decide to switch to cleaner technology. A benevolent social planner sets carbon
taxes without commitment. Higher future carbon taxes both reduce emissions given technology
and encourage energy producers to switch to cleaner technology. Geoengineering advances, which
reduce the negative environmental effects of the existing stock of carbon, decrease future carbon
taxes and thus discourage private investments in conventional clean technology. We characterize
the conditions under which these advances diminish—rather than improve—environmental quality
If they don't, there is so much demand for the stuff (burning it is so incredibly useful) that it'll all be burned.
edit: Because, they are insulated from the bad repercussions of their harmful policies.
Eg. Trafigura polluting the shit out of Ivory coast and poisoning people there. The CEO doesnt live there, he drinks bottled water and lives somewhere else in a gated compound.
Making those destructive choices makes things better for them so they keep making them over and over.
If a CEO made a conscientious choice then it would most likely be at the expense of short term profit, which would diminish the extent of his power, sort of self-selecting himself out of the decision making pool.
Makes me imagine some weird distopian future where all people with power and wealth are forced to take some anti-self-deciet drug to prevent crimes against humanity :P
But who would force them?
If you get the conversion efficiency to the same level as photosynthesis (30% nominally) the cost of energy could approach the cost of producing biofuels.
Solar panels also don't wear out soil nutrients, don't need crop rotation, and are probably much less likely to be completely destroyed by weather patterns than the average corn crop grown for biofuels.
You’re both right - there’s lots of room for practical improvement.
Avoid this phrase at all costs. It is a buzzword used by the likes of the clean coal lobby. Global warming isn't tied to emission intensity, but net emissions. The fact that CO2 emissions are down relative to economic growth, but are still climbing, is not useful. It is PR turd-shining.
This is a really good point, clean energy seems to be a luxury at the moment.
No one can blame poorer countries, they aren't all in a position to invest in renewables, for many of them it would be crippling, the argument that renewables is sometimes cheaper only works long term, and long term takes significan't up front investment, burning coal etc takes significantly less.
On a very small scale, that's why you see solar-powered flashlights being so popular in rural areas of the developing world. And my favorite charity (kickstart.org) is currently designing a solar-powered water pump, as a step up from their current human-powered water pumps.
By helping ourselves, we are lowering the barrier for less developed nations.
I assume just the fact that companies (and consumers to a smaller degree) can install solar power and then generate "free" electricity plays a non-insignificant role in getting them to use even more electricity.
However, I don't think that's what causes most of the rise. It's all the planned obsolescence electronics we use and throw into the garbage every 2-3 years and other stuff like that. We simply need more energy to build more stuff. At least if we go 100% renewable power and electric vehicles, that will minimize the impact on the planet, even if we double our energy use over the next 50 years.
There will also be new energy efficiency technologies that will at least slow down our increase in energy use.
Even if the clean energy becomes cheaper hydrocarbons can have comparative advantages and when their price goes down it's creating new uses and new demand.
Even if EROI (energy return of investment) of hydrocarbons turns negative, it may be cheaper to use clean energy to extract hydrocarbons from existing sources than transfer CO2 to back to hydrocarbons.
I make this post assuming you're not in on it.
E.g. in Germany, they frequently have days of negative energy prices, where producers need to pay to feed energy into the greed because of overproduction of energy on windy/sunny days (in German). Without storage and grid interconnection, there is only so much renewable energy from intermittent sources like wind and solar you can handle.
> Trimet says that implementing its technology across Germany’s four aluminum smelters, three of which it owns, could provide a demand response capacity equal to a third of Germany’s 40 gigawatt-hours of pumped hydro storage.
There was a lot of confusion about this one when it was published, but as the article points out, they're not using their molten aluminium pools as a liquid battery - they're merely dynamically adjusting the electricity usage of their hydrolysis cells, which also requires some other adjustments to keep the process going, but it's still a lot of power and more responsive than what they do today (which involves taking the smelters entirely offline for short periods).
It helps that their test plant is near Hamburg in the North, "close" to most of Germany's wind turbine capacity which helps alleviate transmission/interconnection problems to the South.
The UK is already up to about 15% of its electricity from wind right now, these developments will open that up significantly more. Obviously at high levels of penetration there are going to be issues, we'll just have to see how far we can go, but even 25-40% of electricity would be a huge contribution.
Combine that with the new and existing nuclear, another 15%, some biomass and tidal lagoons, with the rest from gas (which produces half as much CO2 as coal) and it will go a long way towards meeting the UK's 80% CO2 reduction target from 1990 to 2050.
There's also various news articles reporting on German mines beginning to be used as pumped storage sites, with a reservoir on the surface, and water dropping into the mines below when there's sudden demand.
This is a good problem to have, though.
(NB: I didn't check whether the power output of this battery is enough to actually meet demand, but wikipedia says it can run at full capacity for 22 hours, so no)
Unfortunately two weeks without much wind are common in general weather patterns. Thus my gut reaction is it isn't enough. However we are now talking weather where local patterns are the important thing which means each situation needs to be considered separately.
(I've been to Cruachan, well worth the visit even though you can't walk around the turbine hall any more)
But indeed, as the amount of renewal energy production increases, more storage is needed. Perhaps less so for wind which has a more smooth output over days, but for solar, which has a strong peak over noon and of course shuts down alltogether in the evening. Distributing the solar curve over more time of the day would be very useful.
There are also many nuclear plants perfectly capable of "load following", responding in the time frame of minutes to 10's of minutes to load changes.
In the UK, all of our nuclear power plants operate at their design capacity all the time. Their output only changes during scheduled periods when they are shut down for maintenance, refuelling, etc.
In contrast, all of the remaining coal-fired power plants in the UK effectively operate as load-following reserve. They ramp up only on cold winter days when demand is high and when wind generation is low. There are now many "coal free" days in the warmer months where there is no coal-fired power generation in the UK at all (it looks like today will be one of them!)
This is one reason why I'm skeptical for home production of solar and wind for the ability to "feed back" into the grid while getting a credit on your account.
If the power company is also doing this, at scale, I find it really hard to believe that there's no reason the power company won't discredit/discount my rates being returned to the grid.
In which case, I'd rather have a battery installation and not rely on the power company at all.
Most service reps for solar disagree with me. Maybe because battery storage isn't super common/in their inventory?
Are you OK with using the grid as a highly-reliable, ~infinite capacity power source to smooth over your uneven solar generation at a cost of selling your excess back at a discounted rate,
do you want to try and capture that discount yourself at the cost of having to buy, install and maintain your own integrated battery backup system?
Maybe the calculus works out in your favor for you, specifically. Maybe not. But it's good to have options.
Though I rarely experience power outages, knowing almost all instances would be non-existent is really nice (for a battery backup program), especially as more and more heating solutions are using electricity as the main component (heat pumps; winter power failures are most of the power failures for me).
I think they're an efficient use of market based tools to ensure that the group who can reduce the input to the grid does so, and to incentivize electricity production that can meet the flexible demands of the grid (e.g. slow ramping coal would be penalised over fast ramping gas without any regulation needing to specifically target the coal and the coal plant can do anything it wants to improve this, e.g. fit batteries, since no technology is mandated.
Negative prices are a helpful market signal, but must be combined with battery storage requirements.
They are the solution to that problem, not part of the problem.
As for batteries, there needs to be an economic incentive for people to invest in deploying batteries (or any other type of storage). Negative prices are that incentive. Negative prices don't need batteries, batteries need negative pricing.
Of course with a lower reservoir, you can go into negative territory instead of "just" taking the plant down to 0.
EDIT: with the one caveat of transmission capacity, which certainly can be an issue.
Prices go negative in the US at times and in Germany more often. That is exactly when something like this would be used: to store that capacity.
The original point was that you do not need to have a reservoir to pump from to take advantage of the fast start/stop capability of a hydro plant: Closing the sluice gates and/or bypassing the turbines is sufficient to reduce supply by the generating capacity of the plant.
Having a reservoir as the potential to significantly increase the reduction in excess supply you can handle, that is true, but the lack of that option does not change the benefit of shutting off generating capacity.
Hydro plants have been used to adjust grid supply for as long as they have existed in this way. Not least because with grid prices adjusting dynamically, as long as the reservoir is not full, most hydro plants yield better economic result if they respond to falling prices by letting the reservoir water levels build back up.
The point is to not turn off generation capacity that we don't control the start of, like wind. Why should we not generate if the wind is blowing at night?
That's the entire point: That hydro plants can act as storage even if there's no lower reservoir to pump from. Which means they're good fast response plants exactly so that types of plants where turning them off wastes potential energy, like wind farms, can keep running.
The original claim I took issue with, was that a hydro plant can't serve this purpose without a second reservoir, which is not true - a second reservoir can be used to increase total effective storage capacity, and to make the plant increase demand rather than just decrease supply, but a hydro plant on itself can improve grid responsiveness, given enough transmission capacity.
> You are taking power off the grid: The power otherwise produced by the hydro plant.
> Of course with a lower reservoir, you can go into negative territory instead of "just" taking the plant down to 0.
In other words, my point from the beginning was that there is - absent transmissions limitations - no conceptual difference in the outcome of stopping a damn and pumping into a reservoir, as I've gone into at great length in the subsequent comments.
At a hydro plant you have multiple options: You can bypass the turbines; you can close the dam, as long as it's not near capacity; if you have a lower reservoir you can close the dam and pump water up to the upper reservoir. All of these help reduce the excess supply, but pumping up does so by increasing demand and reducing supply, and the other two options reduce supply.
You can of course do pumped storage without normally producing electricity too - in places where the only convenient location for a reservoir is not "in line" with a water source with sufficient fall height, you can still pump up to a convenient location, in which case the plant is basically "only" storage.
Going from $0.20 per kWh $0.05 to per kWh only increases profits by 50%
and going from 0.05 to -0.05 only increases it by 20%
By the way, these mining calculators are very "optimistic" but for relative comparisons they are sufficient. In practice you will get significantly less because of increasing difficulty and hidden costs like motherboards, CPUs, etc.
(1) Cheap, large scale storage of electric energy might be a big game changer.
(2) Without such storage, basically a country has to notice what their peak load is and assume that they have installed capacity that is reliable, e.g., independent of the weather, and meets this peak load.
(3) So, net, intermittent sources such as wind and solar don't much lower the capital expense needed. That is, the country still needs the same capacity to meet peak loads without the intermittent sources. So for this capacity they can use nuclear fission, coal, oil, natural gas, hydro, geo-thermal, and that's about it.
So, net, when power from intermittent sources is available, then get to save on the fuel cost of fission, coal, oil, and natural gas and accumulate some water behind hydro. So, e.g., a big fission or coal plant is still there, still with its capital expense and operating expense but is running at reduced power and, thus, saving on direct fuel costs.
At that point, I'm wondering if, really, just for the money part, if the intermittent sources are wanted on the grid even for free.
There is an issue about the intermittent sources: They are not very predictable and, thus, can cause some grid stability problems. E.g., IIRC, can't just change the power level of a fission or coal plant minute by minute to match the minute by minute fluctuation in the intermittent sources; so, can get some grid instability, and that is bad stuff for the whole grid and country.
Also their control centre looks horrible. Wheres all the crap on their desks? I hope they only just had to tidy it away for the sake of a press photo.
5 megawatts is a pretty useless figure for most people to imagine, and I think imagining it in units of homes-powered isn't great either because we don't have a sense of the heat or kinetic energy equivalent because our homes are quiet machines. A 260 horsepower car (think new minivan) at full throttle is producing about .2 megawatts, so the worlds largest turbines are generating the same power as 10/.2=20 minivans at full power.
Another way to think of it is in terms of heat. A big stovetop burner will generate about 3000 watts of heat, so a minivan is like 65 burners at full blast, and a 10 megawatt turbine is like 3300 burners.
The Stockton Cogeneration Facility near San Fran had a nominal output of 60MW. Thus, around twelve of these mega-windmills would roughly equal the output of that coal plant.
As someone else said GE has a 12MW in development, and I swear I've heard announcements about 10MW and 11MW prototypes.
GE just announced a 12MW turbine, which will start appearing in real world projects in 2020.
How to Buy a Wind Farm
Based on their marketing (far quieter, 40% more energy) it seems like an interesting option. I know one of the biggest complaints that farmers have is the noise they cause, so they have to be placed far from houses.
I'm curious to see if it's mostly fluff or has any potential... but I'm not expert on the subject.
South America too. In just the last 12 months, installed capacity in Brazil went from 10.4 GW to 12.5 GW (source: Boletim Mensal de Geração Eólica - ONS).
Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that Iowa may have among the highest wind energy capacity per capita on earth, at 2.2 MW per thousand people. Denmark, which is perhaps the highest for a nation, is at half that rate (5,476 MW capacity for 5.7m people).
HVAC distribution wins hands-down for short to medium distances, or when there are many places where you need to step up/down the voltage. It will always be cheaper to step HVAC up/down in voltage at any single point relative to DC. But HVDC transmission wins over sufficiently long distances or when crossing major bodies of water.
So I don't think we'll ever see a complete overhaul of the US distribution grid using HVDC. But we might see long-distance HVDC distribution to do things like ship solar power from the desert southwest to the west coast, or ship wind power from the Atlantic to the east coast.
The cables have water barriers so the conductors + insulation remain quite dry.
EDIT: brandmeyer's comment explains it well: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16903431
In terms of km installed I think it will be HVAC just from the sheer number of offshore windfarms built over the last 10yrs in Europe. These things can be huge - 60km in length, 220kV ~1500A....
I wish they focus as much on micro grids as much on energy generation.
Those turbines appeared to have an upward inclination, curious why that is. Also interesting that the trailing edge near the hub isn't as sharp as the tips probably due to slowest rotation.
Good stuff, those things are seriously massive.
I also like that giant wall monitor with all the 'stats'?
These little boats can continuously monitor the foundations of offshore wind turbines for scour, and their larger brethren can quickly deliver supplies in a wide range of weather conditions -- without putting human engineers at risk.
By the way, you can walk right up to them. They are very impressive up close.
Additionally, they could be 'tur-bans' or 'tur-bines' as well.
Money-shot on p66. About 8 months for EROEI (Energy returned on energy invested). I worked on some of these Life Cycle Analyses and can attest that they were quite rigorous.
three words, last one's shima.
oh, look at the time, it's 2018 already..
First: ABC take funding from an oil company, Conoco-Philips. That's not an indictment of itself, but it does smell funny.
They're also touted by the Heritage Institute, a notorious right-wingnut / Libertarian disinformation mill.
Source: SourceWatch: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/American_Bird_Conservan...
ABC claims that as of 2012 there are 573,000 birds killed from U.S. wind power installations.
That compares against:
* 100-120 million birds killed by hunters.
* 174-175 million birds killed by transmission lines.
* 365-988 million birds killed by buildings and windows
* 0.2 - 3.7 billion (with a 'b') birds killed by domestic and feral cats.
This seems exceedingly agenda-driven.
There was foreknowledge on the company's side that it would be an issue, but not expedience in trying to resolve it (hence the notion of it being budgeted as a potential expense). It still took years for anything to happen over the issue. My dad wasn't directly involved in this case (they have many many lawyers), but it was something he was aware of enough to mention at the dinner table, especially after it started getting press coverage. Sort of an "Ugh, the company is in trouble again, why can't they just do the right thing" type of gripe.
Furthermore, windmilss don't really scale well, Nuclear on the other hand which is both safer and more scalable and greener would change that but right now only the Chinese seems to have realized that.
For reference the new nuclear in the UK (Hinkley 3.2gw) is receiving a £93/mwh subsidy, offshore wind uk project Hornsea two (1.8gw)is going to get £72mwh, and the Netherlands projects are receiving a zero subsidy for ~750mw projects.
It is not going to solve our energy crisis but there are virtually no negatives to building them now, if you have a coastline you can have zero subsidy clean energy in the next 5-10yrs.
In other words, wind and solar are linear solutions to exponential problems.
I have nothing against wind or solar but the idea that wind and solar will be able to solve our energy problems is based on a political mandate, not on science or any realistic evaluation of the energy needs of the world.
Wind can't run as long as nuclear can without maintenance and the cost is also going to be higher to maintain because of the large area it occupies.
The cost of Nuclear is suffering under the lack of political support compared to alternatives.
Furthermore, alternatives are not without problems:
"The first thing he discovered is that solar panels, in fact, contain significant quantities of toxic metals like lead, chromium, and cadmium — known carcinogens — and yet no nation outside of Europe has a plan to safely dispose of them. Many could end up in waste dumps in poor communities in Asia and Africa and poison drinking water supplies.
How much solar waste is there? About 300 times more per unit of energy than there is from nuclear power.
As a result, if solar and nuclear waste from producing the same amount of electricity were stacked on football fields, the nuclear waste would reach the height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa (52 meters), while the solar waste would reach the height of two Mt. Everest (16 km)."
And here is a study debunking the idea of alternatives as a realistic alternative (I am not saying you claim they are but that was my main point)
I think in the long run this will change to renewable sources + interconnected grids (it’s always sunny / windy / geothermal / waves) somewhere.
I’m generally pessimistic on fusion, but then it would cost me my job so I’m bound to be, but is always feels like it’s “50yrs away”
The current discusison is not based on what's optimal technologically but politically and thats in not small part due to some the unfortunate overreach of parts of the environmental organizations IMO.
I am all for tough legislation but what the current toxic political climate has made it almost impossible to discuss this in any proper matter.
Even me posting on this lead to multiple downvotes. Thats just absurd.
I think nuclear is quite bad, we've got to transport / process / store nuclear waste for thousands of years. We should probably do anything we can to avoid producing this stuff.
I grew up near where a lot of the worlds nuclear waste is processed and while it does make for lots of good jobs, that last many many lifetimes, I just can't get onboard with new nuclear when it is cheaper to build interconnected grids + renewables (in the UK at least).
I would urge you to spend a little more time looking into nuclear you would be quite surprised of how wrong your view of it is.
New reactors can use used uranium which makes the problem even smaller. On top of that, the actual footprint needed to store it is absurdly small if we even had to do that.
In other words Nuclear is the safest greenest form of energy we have (greener than wind or solar etc)
Here is a good primer on some of the myths you probably believe in.
But don't take my word or even the artcles word for it. Investigate and I am pretty sure you will soon see that your belief about nuclear is misguided.
Whenever this happens some people would prefer one benefit at the expense of the other, while others prefer the other benefit at the expense of the first.
At this point the choice the group will make becomes a political point of contention. No matter which benefit you prefer your preference is political.
A lot of people want to see a more decentralized world (this does not imply a world without law and order), and they prefer society moves in the direction of decentralization, cryptocurrencies are one such facet. [Off-topic, while most cryptocurrencies today are based on energy intensive PoW, this need not be the case at all, see for example the papers on Algorand, which has not yet been implemented/deployed]
On November 10, 1972 the passenger plane Southern Airlines Flight 49 was hijacked, and the hijackers at one point threatened to fly the plane in the Oak Ridge (experimental) nuclear reactor unless their demand for $10 million in cash was met. [luckily, they did not do this even after picking up the less-than-demanded amount (according to the authorities!)] They fled to Cuba, hoping Fidel Castro would allow entry, but he rejected their entry. They landed in the US again to refuel, then fled back to land in Havana, where they were arrested at gun point.
Please note that with cryptocurrencies the hijackers don't need to land at all. One can question if the hijackers really intend to crash the plane if they demand money, but that money could flow to a political organization if the hijackers are terrorists.
I assume neither of us would want to see:
1) crypto banned
2) passenger planes shot out of the sky
This presents a conflict between nuclear power and cryptocurrencies. Which would you pick? That is automatically political indeed.
There is no "the" discussion. There is a discussion consisting of commenter beliefs, and then responses challenging beliefs.
You classified some beliefs as political as opposed to technical.
Lets define 'technical' as relating to matters of fact.
Lets define 'political' as relating to selection of options.
i.e. technical statements are positive statements, and political statements are normative statements.
Every technical discussion contains tradeoffs. Tradeoffs are the source of political disagreement: when the family needs a new car, the tradeoff could be price, performance, appearance,... and the husband and wife will not in general agree. The technical tradeofff generates the political difference.
In the example I gave, some people prefer cryptocurrencies, other people prefer nuclear energy, there is no objective technologically superior future. There is only the choice among viable futures. In democracy politics should belong to us all.
Nobody is censoring you (nor me!)
If I were forced to define shaming, it would be something like: a behaviour where the perpetrator(s) make an appeal to a groups supposed definitions of virtues/sins, to change the groups perception of the victim(s).
In order to identify any such thing in this thread, I first need to identify the group: hacker news users. From reading your comments I think you (wrongly) believe the cliche "we come here for technology, we dislike politics" Then I read your posts where you identify anti-nuclear ideas as political vs pro-nuclear technologies as technological. So it seems you are the one who is shaming anti-nuclear ideas.
I am not appealing to any group virtues or sins here, and if I did I would not classify "politics" as the sin, since I regularly see people discuss tradeoffs and how they feel about it.
Btw, I am not against nuclear energy in any absolute way:
we may need nuclear power for space travel, why burn it up here and now? [no, its not in nature decaying at the same rate as we use it up, in a reactor we promote radioactive decays]
research reactors are extremely important to have for scientific progress, and cryptocurrencies are very promising for humanity too, perhaps governments should simply have a clear public policy promising to neutralize any plane [passengers or not] coming too close to a reactor or surface-storage of radioactive materials: this would decrease the probability of attempted hijackings.
I think we can both agree that nuclear reactors would ideally be aneutronic, from a waste perspective, can we not focus on that instead?
If we ignore the waste threat there is still the centralized dependency threat: irrespective if it is downtime, sabotage by employees, accidents, vulnerability during war, ...
With all this on top, I think it is not crystal clear to all of us that alternative energy sources are more expensive.
There is almost no middle ground.
Nuclear waste isn't the problem you make it out to be that's the point. It's the only waste in the US which is actually safely secured, solar on the other hand isn't and it's contains plenty of toxic materials.
Furhtermore new nuclear power plants can reuse already used uranium again making the waste problem even less.
I appreciate that nuclear waste is not what it once was, but I think it is still right not to pursue nuclear when renewables are cheaper, and an interconnected grid can provide the base supply requirement by shipping power long distances.
So not sure exactly what it is you think we are seeing differently. The facts are the facts no?
So not sure why you are so adement about those inferior technologies.
If I pay one single developer for 50 years to build me all technology Google has, I still won’t get anywhere.
If you want to actually develop nuclear, you need to increase investment. By a factor of ten or more.
(Not saying Forbes is a reliable source on this particular statistic, but maybe you can find a more authoritative one if you search?)
As for scalability, I guess the argument is that wind is somewhat limited by suitable sites, whereas nuclear produces a lot of power on a small area, with fuel lasting for millenia?
Nuclear power stations of old I thought were located by seas or other large bodies of water for the cooling in an emergency, as we saw with Fukushima. I'd guess newer designed, especially things like Fusion and Molten Salt wouldn't have this same requirement and be inherently 'safer'.
Edit to say - I'd like to see Nuclear given much more attention by governments. As we aren't using a byproduct for generation (as with those used to refine whatever for bombs) we can do it in a much easier and cleaner way without the previous constraints.
It's far greener than especially solar, there is almost no waste and most of it can be reused in new reactors. Problem is that it's toxic to be pro-nucleaer in this day and age. And new reactors saftemechanism are done via physics which makes the "china syndrome" impossible.
Agree we need more investment and focus on nuclear but not holding my hopes to hight in this current political environment.