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View Diary: Smart Talk about the Smart Grid (36 comments)

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  •  Should'nt we also move away from the just in time (5+ / 0-)

    generation systems and store electricity for use in grids.

    •  Power Storage Conundrum (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, johanus, BYw, jamess

      Alas, you just poked into the physics and chemistry of the joys of managing the power grid.  Creating relatively efficient and economical power storage devices is still the grail of electric power research.  At this time, we don't have a good way of storing the electrical power that we can generate during periods of peak power generation, especially on a distributed basis.  Our battery technology is still relative primitive for these purposes.  

      Historically, excess electrical power has usually been converted into some other form of potential energy, like mechanical (pumped hydro systems) or chemical (convert water to H2 and then burn the H2 to generate heat and power).  These all entail extra losses because of the basic laws of thermodynamics and therefore much higher operating costs.  If utilities had economic and efficient ways of storing power, they would be doing it already.

      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

      by PrahaPartizan on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:35:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  US built about 20 gigs of pumped hydro decades (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jamess

        ago.

        Thermodynamics applies to batteries too, so what?

        Whats with this distributed stuff? Come on, we need to think in the multi hundred gig area.

        Theres nothing wrong with distributed solar. Except that the levelized cost of operation over 20 years for a PV panel on someones house isnt remotely competitive... yet.

        WE need 500 gigs of renewables.

        Its about what we can do NOW, whats off the shelf.

        Wind under 7 cents
        HVDC
        Pumped hydro
        Solar thermal

        But we wont need any storage until after we have 20% from renewables.

        SO build wind and HVDC, wait for solar to drop in price, and invest in R&D and develop more solar thermal pilot projects, and Pumped hydro.

        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 12:28:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Climb Down Off the High Horse (0+ / 0-)

          I wouldn't dispute most of which you've written, but some of it is just fanciful.  I never argued for or against any sort of distributed power arrangement, for example.

          Your claims about pumped hydro are just risible though.  We aren't going to see many more, if any, pumped hydro facilities being built because the good sites have all been taken and those left are tied up in NIMBY.  The only viable pumped hydro would likely be on major bodies of water like the coasts or the Great Lakes, where we can create artificial lagoons to create enormous low head hydro facilities.  We ain't gonna be building pumped hydro in places where the sun shines 95% of the time and the rain don't fall.

          I'm all for building out a Federally-supported HVDC backbone system a la the Federal Interstate Highway Program in order to create a national power grid.  Just as the highway program was funded a national fuel tax, we could use a national kW-hr tax on wheeled power to help fund the system.  It would use construction resources we have available in abundance right now and create a stabler, healthier economy over the long run.  It also offers the advantage that individual investors could then decide what form of renewable energy they wanted to invest in or if they wanted to invest in power storage systems.

          "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

          by PrahaPartizan on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 10:41:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  US has about 20 gigawatts (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jamess

      of pumped hydro storage that was built decades ago. The Hydro power association estimates they can increase that by 40% in 12-15 years.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      Solar thermal plants are just now being built in Arizona.

      What can we do now, gets answered by what is off the shelf and available now.

      >Wind is the cheapest new form of generation, under 7 cents per KW hr, in an LCO study over 20 years.

      >HVDC transmission is excellent for long distances over 40 milles, and the grid of choice for offshore wind farms.

      >Pumped hydro and solar thermal.

      Solar prices will catch up to and pass wind in 6-9 years. Then we'll really see some action.

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 12:52:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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