Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby Spoonist » 2012-11-06 02:51pm

aerius wrote:Really. I would like to see some proof of that. Starting with a chart that lists proposed and under construction renewable energy installations by size. How much total capacity is in the <10kW range, 10-100kW, 10MW and up, and so forth. And while you're at it, how do you explain the giant wind farms with their required grid connections along with the proposed European Supergrid? That is somehow not, and I quote, a "hugely complex mechanisms for wheeling gargantuan quantities of power over long distances"? You're in the power grid business, tell me what I'm missing here.

1) As I stated above, I'm in the automation business, specifically simulation softwares. The company I work for though is very much in the energy business.
2) Proof of what? I did strikethrough on about twenty-thirty sentences, how about you pick one and we go from there?
3) Which thing did you think would be disproven by the capacity numbers? Please explain your line of thinking otherwise its impossible to argue for or against it.
4) You are mixing issues that have nothing to do with eachother.
5) You can't falsify a whole business segment by pointing at a single project or installation. Just like you can't say car manufacturing will never work because some car models didn't.
6) What do you want me to explain about windfarms that you don't understand? Feasability studies? ROI calculations? Governement subsidies? The difference between euro and americas politics?
7) The so called european supergrid is not a requirement for larger windfarms or even for huge ones. Where did you get that silly idea?
8} The so called european supergrid is just a vision. It is not a project. So that is a huge strawman if you want to disprove the validity of specific energy sources. Especially since such a vision would work equally well with other power sources.
Most of that vision is pure speculation on extrapolation from existing market trends anyway.
9) You do realise that if country X, Y and Z do a grid investment with a good ROI etc. Then whether or not the polititians claim that it is part of the "future euro supergrid" then that has zero relevance as a pro-con to the project itself?
Like if the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Sea_Offshore_Grid is a viable project just for opening the energy markets of those involved, regardless of type of energy supplied into it. If the polititians want to get some extra EU grants or voter credibility by adding certain currently popular key words then that is their business, but it does not in any way reduce the viability of the project itself.
10) Burden of proof. You do realise that the burden of proof lies on the one making a claim, right? J made the claims, you made the claims, the article made the claims. I simply pointed out the ones which where unsubstantiated, unfounded or aimed at strawmen.
11) Whether or not the vision of the so called european supergrid is viable or not is not an argument in itself against renewable power sources. Please explain why you back this strawman.

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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby Spoonist » 2012-11-06 03:20pm

madd0ct0r wrote:I've been having a fun few days counting the number of houses with solar panels.

Are we failing an observational bias here? Only the big projects get the news articles, while smaller local projects are quietly spreading?

Its a little bit of both.
Over here in the parts of yuroland where the greens are a political bloc we do hear a lot about the small things happening. Especially focusing on what each individual citizen can do to add to the whole. Both in savings but also in production.
But that is almost non-existant in the north americas.

While the opposite is true for big projects. In the north americas and asia, big projects are relatively much more covered than in the EU.

Talking specifics, its starting to get hard to find farms in europe that does not in some form/scale supply their own power. Simply because it makes a lot of economic sense for the farmer. That society gains as well is just a fringe benefit to them.
However some countries subsidize on the cracy side, like solar in scandinavia...

But what you really should be looking at is not the well off countries but the poor countries. We see huge progress in small sized investments that benefits things the size of farms, or villages instead of big projects that cover a whole country side. And that is where the revolution lies.
You see the same progress in rural india, in africa, in central asia, etc. In most of these places the feasability of a huge powergrid installation is just NIL, but these "renewable" power sources are affordable and effective.
With the usual exception of China where they do things big as well. (Yes, my company was indeed involved in the three gorges dam).

What is also missing is how much govs subsidize the "traditional" :roll: power sources as well, lots of the costs of the industry is covered by the state instead. Whether you are pro-con its usual to mix numbers heavily to slant in favor of whatever fits your worldview. The truth is that govs usually subsidize all kinds of power generation. But they do it in different ways and through different budgets.

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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby mr friendly guy » 2012-11-06 09:09pm

How much energy from fossil fuels will we save if everyone in sunny climates just adopted solar power? According to my own power bills, since installing my 1.5kw panels in Dec 2010, I have produced 2944 units (its actually more, but I counted from the first billing period after installation, and did not include the bill period where my installation fell in on) while I have only consumed 2038 units (ie 1 Kilo watt hour) at home. Now I don't consume that much electricity, but you would think after 3 years when they become carbon negative, producing more than 1000 units per year would help.
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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby Flameblade » 2012-11-08 06:28am

People seem to be missing the point that power generation isn't an all-or-nothing affair for a given method.

Use distributed solar power generation to reduce on-site demand, since power-loss during transmission is nothing to sneeze at.

Use nuclear power, alongside geothermal and hydroelectric power in places where it's viable, to provide your baseline.

Use wind and tidal power in regions that benefit from it to reduce their demand on other sources.

Finally, use fossil fuels to make up the difference between baseline and peak demand. Because by reducing our reliance on them to a much lower level we make the current reserves last a hell of a lot longer while dramatically reducing humanity's carbon footprint.

The main problem with every solution to both the energy crisis and anthropogenic climate change is that the mass of people don't change their lifestyles and don't elect leaders who will tell them to change their lifestyles.
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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby D.Turtle » 2012-11-08 12:54pm

Flameblade wrote:The main problem with every solution to both the energy crisis and anthropogenic climate change is that the mass of people don't change their lifestyles and don't elect leaders who will tell them to change their lifestyles.

Maybe in the US. Europe is a different matter.

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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby Spoonist » 2012-11-08 02:47pm

@flameblade
This is the current market trend. Everything that you described including the info regarding the change of lifestyle. All of that is already happening at the global market.
What we are also seeing is that emergent markets like india or china is not necessarily making the same mistakes as europe and us did when their power requirements increased rapidly, so their power production do receive a much more distributed power generation.

J wrote:There's recurrent discussions on this board on why solar, wind, or other renewable sources of energy are the way of the future, and they always peter out after the claims are disproved and the proponents vanish, only to surface again some time later.

In retrospect, that is a very ironic statement.

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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby ryacko » 2012-11-10 10:14pm

Maybe people would realize that without subsidies, renewable energy just simply does offer a sufficient return to investment.

Even at current no-interest market rates.

The costs inflicted by our current energy strategy would easily be covered for less then what we would pay to go towards renewables.


Furthermore, residential and commercial use makes up a large but not total part of energy consumption.
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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby madd0ct0r » 2012-11-10 10:21pm

did you mean 'doesn't' ?

the costs for our current energy strategy are huge, and oil isn't getting cheaper.
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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby ryacko » 2012-11-10 10:39pm

Yes, yes I meant doesn't.

Even if you move to localized generation, and even if renewable energy was comparable in cost to non-renewables, you will still pay a premium for maintaining the capacity that must be brought online ever so often when everyone is watching the Superbowl or it's a cloudy day.

Nevermind that renewables cost at least two times as much as non-renewables per watt.
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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2012-11-11 01:11am

If the more optimistic fracking projections work out for oil, and they seem to now being worked like that for natural gas, oil could indeed get cheaper for a while at least in the United States. Though we'd be talking ~80 dollars USD a barrel, not a return to 20-30 dollars a barrel like it was not that long ago. As it is US production has been rising steadily for several years and a return to US as a net exporter isn't impossible. But all that would do is kick all the problems down the road a few decades at the very best. Anyway we use almost no oil for electrical power in the US outside of Alaska and various islands that use diesel generators for town sized power grids.
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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby J » 2012-11-13 12:33pm

http://www.pfbach.dk/firma_pfb/pfb_a_ne ... _09_06.pdf

Excerpt:
The main conclusions of the dena study:
- Conventional power plants will still be needed to a considerable extent in 2050. A new generation of efficient and flexible units must be able to interact efficiently with the un-controllable production.
- Germany cannot remain self-sufficient in electricity supply. Import of electricity will in-creasingly be necessary after 2030. Both production capacity abroad and transmission fa-cilities must be secured in due time. In Germany a well balanced mix of technologies in-cluding renewables, conventional power plants, storage facilities, grid extensions and de-mand side management will be needed in order to maintain security of supply.
- A complete integration of renewables in the power system is not possible. The production from renewables and CHP in one hour can exceed the electricity demand by 70 GW in 2050. A part of this production can be exported or stored. In case of delayed grid rein-forcements or limitations in other countries the challenges within Germany will be even harder.
- Grid extensions are urgently necessary in both transmission and distribution systems. The extensions are already now considerably behind schedule.
- Electricity supply will be clearly more expensive in 2050 than today. The present market arrangement will not be able to cover the cost. New market arrangements must therefore be developed.


With regards to power grid issues, see page 2 of the report.
Also, this. Large, multi-nation power grid links and control systems are required. It's also noted that renewable power has a destabilizing effect on power grids.


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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby madd0ct0r » 2012-11-13 02:56pm

opening lines:
It is the purpose of the study to analyse how the political targets will change the electricity
supply system by 2050 and to identify infrastructure challenges


Do you think J, it might be possible for political targets to be changed in the face of failure?
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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby D.Turtle » 2012-11-13 03:32pm

J wrote:snip

Ok. The dena study uses the BMU lead scenario as their basis with which to work. The BMU scenarios have the purpose of modeling different ways in which the self-made targets (80-95% reduction in CO2 by 2050, etc) could be achieved, in order to advise policy on needed actions for the whole thing to work.

Using them as some word-of-god prediction of what will happen is completely missing the point (in fact, it is clearly stated in the BMU report that exactly that is NOT the goal of the whole thing).

Hmm, J misusing reports in support of claims said reports do not claim - how new...

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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby J » 2012-11-13 03:51pm

Any plausible scenario for the widespread adoption of renewable energy will have to follow the general outlines of those plans. It doesn't matter if the end goal is CO2 reduction, energy self-sufficiency, politics, or the use of renewables in itself; either way results in renewables having to produce a bit over half of German energy needs by 2050. The obstacles in the way remain the same. That is what you need to understand, but clearly do not.
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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby D.Turtle » 2012-11-13 04:16pm

I understand the obstacles in the way. However, unlike you I do not think of them as insurmountable obstacles, but simply challenges that can and will be met.

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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby ryacko » 2012-11-14 02:03am

Germany already imports a good percentage of electricity from France, is closing down nuclear plants, starting up coal plants, and is raising prices for electricity.

....
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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby D.Turtle » 2012-11-14 01:20pm

ryacko wrote:Germany already imports a good percentage of electricity from France, is closing down nuclear plants, starting up coal plants, and is raising prices for electricity.

....

Yes, we import from France. We also export to France. In fact, in total, we export more than we import.

We are closing down nuclear plants. No new coal plants are being built because of the shutdown.

Yes, electricity prices are going up because of subsidies for renewables. They would go up less if so-called energy intensive companies weren't freed from the subsidy, as currently normal customers have to pick up the bill from those large energy users. In addition, those large energy users can actually buy electricity for lower prices at the spot market because of the rise in renewable energy.

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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby Singular Intellect » 2012-11-14 01:44pm

D.Turtle wrote:Yes, we import from France. We also export to France. In fact, in total, we export more than we import.

We are closing down nuclear plants. No new coal plants are being built because of the shutdown.

To confirm your point D. Turtle, here's a source: Germany Exports Energy Surplus...Despite Nuclear Phase-Out
Yes, electricity prices are going up because of subsidies for renewables. They would go up less if so-called energy intensive companies weren't freed from the subsidy, as currently normal customers have to pick up the bill from those large energy users. In addition, those large energy users can actually buy electricity for lower prices at the spot market because of the rise in renewable energy.

Another source validating your point, especially at the end of the article: German solar power boom continues despite tariff cuts
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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby D.Turtle » 2012-11-14 02:43pm

Thanks.

Here is another good article from The Spiegel about the situation with regards to some companies being freed from paying the subsidies, while profiting from the renewables boom.

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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby Singular Intellect » 2012-11-14 04:55pm

D.Turtle wrote:Thanks.

Here is another good article from The Spiegel about the situation with regards to some companies being freed from paying the subsidies, while profiting from the renewables boom.

Yeah, it's a complicated issue and it doesn't help that political forces can't keep pace with the speed at which renewable infrastructure is being setup and put into place, never mind innovations and tech development driving costs down, efficiency up and increasing the speed of installations. This is one of the reasons countries like Spain got kicked in the nuts financially with their solar FIT incentives. The government hugely underestimates how fast such infrastructure can be implemented and start generating power as companies rush in to take advantage of such financial incentives.

The good thing is we're rapidly approaching the point where solar is becoming viable without subsidies at all, and the German company Manz is one of the first to get there that I've come across. Once that reality settles in across the industry, the flood gates are going to be unleashed as economic incentive alone will create monstrous growth for solar, especially as costs continue to decline and it becomes cheaper than the alternatives. This is already happening across the world; individuals and organizations are implementing solar to save money. This is only going to get more pronounced.

People are vastly underestimating how much solar is growing to grow in the very near future. This isn't about idealistic hippie solar propaganda or anti nuclear positions. This is about money, public/political support, energy needs/availability and rapidly advancing technology development. We're going to see the explosive growth of solar following the same path smartphones have and continue to do so today. This is just a reality of how all the factors are enabling an exponential curve with solar power. You cannot stick nuclear power or other renewables like geothermal/wind onto your windows, walls, roofs, clothing, electronics, roads, sidewalks, etc, etc.

Unfortunately some people just refuse to see the writing on the wall and cling to the notion of large, centralized power generator concepts because it's all they apparently can understand since we've been doing it for so long.
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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby aerius » 2012-11-14 07:04pm

D.Turtle wrote:We are closing down nuclear plants. No new coal plants are being built because of the shutdown.


http://iea.org/stats/surveys/Electricity/MES201207.XLS (see Table 16)

But you're running your existing coal & other fossil fuel plants harder. About half the shortfall from powering down nuclear plants is being made up with fossil fuel plants.

Yes, electricity prices are going up because of subsidies for renewables. They would go up less if so-called energy intensive companies weren't freed from the subsidy, as currently normal customers have to pick up the bill from those large energy users. In addition, those large energy users can actually buy electricity for lower prices at the spot market because of the rise in renewable energy.


You guys are getting raped. Your wholesale price from what I've been able to find is 4.4 to 5.1 cents/kWh (link). Here in Ontario our wholesale price is only 2.37 cents/kWh. Also note that it's falling. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that over half our electricity comes from nuclear, and we just had 2 reactor units come back online this year after refurbishment. Nah...couldn't be...
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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby D.Turtle » 2012-11-15 01:01pm

We are cheaper than France, who rely almost completely on nuclear.

Your simplistic understanding of the prices is laughable.

Maybe you want to look at other simplistic measures, like the fact that the electricity reliability in Ontario (and the US and France) is absolutely horrible in comparison to Germany's, with more than ten times the downtime per customer in comparison to what we have.

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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby aerius » 2012-11-15 02:03pm

Your electricity is cheaper since you've ramped up generation in your coal plants, not because renewables is making the cost come down.

Section 6.3 on page 56 of the BMU study:
http://www.pfbach.dk/firma_pfb/bmu_leit ... 010_bf.pdf

6.3 Long-term generation costs for renewable electricity range between 5 and 9 ct/kWhel. The average power generation costs of all new renewable energy facilities in 2009 were 13.5 ct/kWhel (excluding photovoltaics, 10 ct/kWhel). Due to the current significant growth of the installed capacity of photovoltaics as well as the upcoming construction of offshore wind turbines, renewable power generation costs will rise to 14.2 ct/kWhel by 2011. The differ-ences from the average costs excluding photovoltaics are particularly large in this phase (4 ct/kWhel). By 2020, the average generation costs of the total mix drop substantially to 9.3 ct/kWhel (excluding photovoltaics: 8.1 ct/kWhel), by 2030 to 7.8 ct/kWhel (7.1 ct/kWhel) and by 2050 to 6.2 ct/kWhel (5.8 ct/kWhel).


So even when it's all done in 40 years, renewable energy will still cost more than French nuclear power.

D.Turtle wrote:Maybe you want to look at other simplistic measures, like the fact that the electricity reliability in Ontario (and the US and France) is absolutely horrible in comparison to Germany's, with more than ten times the downtime per customer in comparison to what we have.


I don't have the stats for Ontario or the US, but with regards to France, you are wrong. German grid downtime was claimed to be 15 minutes in 2011 and 11 minutes so far this year. France had 2 minutes in 2011.

See page 26 of the RTE report
http://www.rte-france.com/uploads/Media ... e_2011.pdf

L’année 2011 a été caractérisée par une baisse du
temps de coupure équivalent11 des clients de RTE,
qui atteint son plus bas niveau constaté historiquement,
avec une valeur de 2 min 04 s tous événements
confondus, et 1 min 44 s hors événements exceptionnels12.

Ce bon résultat s’accompagne du maintien des
fréquences de coupure longue et de coupure brève13 à
un niveau proche de celui constaté en 2010 hors événements
exceptionnels, qui était le meilleur niveau jamais
atteint historiquement.

L’amélioration du temps de coupure équivalent, liée à
un faible nombre d’incidents à fortes conséquences
(seulement 2 incidents ont occasionné plus de 100 MWh
d’énergie non distribuée en 2011, contre 13 en 2010), est
favorisée par les efforts de RTE en matière de développement,
de maintenance et d’exploitation du réseau.


To translate that for you, 2 minutes of downtime including all causes, less than 2 minutes when acts of god are subtracted out.
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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby D.Turtle » 2012-11-15 02:31pm

I was going from this chart for Europe:
Image
I'm guessing your numbers are for a certain provider only.

For Ontario I went with the numbers on page 20 of this report (numbers up to 2009 only).

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Re: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Postby aerius » 2012-11-15 02:52pm

RTE is the power grid operator for France, it handles their entire power grid and all connections to foreign grids.

As for Ontario, let's just say our government and Ontario Hydro made some incredibly stupid decisions in the past that we're still paying for it. A bunch of transmission lines got cancelled or delayed, upgrades were never made, and a bunch of money got embezzled and/or wasted.
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