Solar Realities and the Electric Company

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DrMatt
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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

Post by DrMatt »

Bearguin wrote:
DrMatt wrote: Come on, folks, these are just engineering problems, they're not political problems.
Bullshit. How far is your head up your ass to not get that power is a major political issue and the solutions are more about the politics than the engineering.

Really, sometimes it astounds me what fucking world you live in. It sure as hell isn't the real one.
Nice non-sequitur.
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Rob Lister
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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

Post by Rob Lister »

Bearguin wrote:
DrMatt wrote: Come on, folks, these are just engineering problems, they're not political problems.
Bullshit. How far is your head up your ass to not get that power is a major political issue and the solutions are more about the politics than the engineering.

Really, sometimes it astounds me what fucking world you live in. It sure as hell isn't the real one.
Indeed. But please see my award winning post above on Mesa Lane Solar and why the actual utility of it just.is.not.there. Can't be. Won't be. Nope.

But it is there politically.

Politically it is an extra 3mw on the grid.

Pragmatically, it is 0.

In terms of actual grid management, it is less than worthless.

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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

Post by Anaxagoras »

Rob Lister wrote:
Bearguin wrote:
DrMatt wrote: Come on, folks, these are just engineering problems, they're not political problems.
Bullshit. How far is your head up your ass to not get that power is a major political issue and the solutions are more about the politics than the engineering.

Really, sometimes it astounds me what fucking world you live in. It sure as hell isn't the real one.
Indeed. But please see my award winning post above on Mesa Lane Solar and why the actual utility of it just.is.not.there. Can't be. Won't be. Nope.

But it is there politically.

Politically it is an extra 3mw on the grid.

Pragmatically, it is 0.

In terms of actual grid management, it is less than worthless.
Thanks for the explanations in this thread. I think I understand now.

I often hear the hippies bragging about Germany, which supposedly has a not insignificant amount of renewables. Plus they decided to get rid of nukes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_ ... in_Germany
Germany's renewable energy sector is among the most innovative and successful worldwide. The share of electricity produced from renewable energy in Germany has increased from 6.3 percent of the national total in 2000 to about 25 percent in the first half of 2012.[1][2] In 2011 20.5% (123.5 TWh) of Germany's electricity supply (603 TWh) was produced from renewable energy sources, more than the 2010 contribution of gas-fired power plants.[3][4] In 2010, investments totaling 26 billion euros were made in Germany’s renewable energies sector. Germany has been called "the world's first major renewable energy economy".[5]
That all sounds really good. Here's the latest news though:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/ ... WJ20131127
Germany sets out plan to rein in surging energy costs

(Reuters) - German parties have agreed to limit the growth of renewables and reform controversial incentives for the sector by next summer in a move to slow the rise in electricity costs for households and give big utilities more time to adapt their business models.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) clinched a coalition deal early on Wednesday that puts Germany on track to have a new government in place by Christmas.

One of their top priorities will be a reform of the renewable energy law (EEG), which has sent costs for consumers soaring because of generous incentives for solar and wind power.

The subsidies are largely paid for by households, whose bills have almost doubled to an average of 300 euros ($410) per megawatt-hour (MWh) over the past decade and are now the second-highest in Europe behind bills in Denmark, according to Moody's Investors Service.

For utilities, the subsidy-fuelled renewable boom has eroded wholesale power prices, reduced revenues and forced the closure of several fossil-fuelled power stations.

"The coalition aims for a fast and fundamental reform of the Renewable Energy Law and plans to submit a draft by Easter 2014, with the goal of passing it by summer 2014 in order to a create a reliable energy policy framework," the coalition contract said.

The agreement stops short of promising a reduction in utility bills.
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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

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Part of the problem is that electrical energy is very difficult to store. (In some places water is pumped uphill when the grid is idle, and used to drive turbines when power is needed.)

Here a small info about high-tech applied to an old idea:
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ ... heel-buses
A fuel-saving flywheel first developed for use in Formula One racing cars, but abandoned before it could be used due to a regulation change by the sport's administrators, will soon be retrofitted to a handful of London buses.

Six prototype buses owned by Go-Ahead, one of the UK's largest buses operators, are currently being fitted with the flywheels for a trial beginning later this year in and around Putney, south-west London.

Williams F1, the Oxfordshire-based racing team behind the technology, predicts that its carbon-composite flywheel could help a city bus reduce its fuel use by as much as 30%.

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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

Post by Anaxagoras »

30%? I'm a wee bit skeptical.

I'd like to hear what our engineering folks think of that. The people selling the idea might have an incentive to overstate the case.
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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

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Centrica threatening to pull plug on £2bn offshore wind farm plan
British Gas owner Centrica prepares to abandon £2bn offshore wind farm plan because subsidies offered by the government are too low.
Source.

The background to the story is that UK energy prices have rocketed, partly because of a "green levy", which the government is proposing to drop as a result of public discontent.
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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

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Anaxagoras wrote:30%? I'm a wee bit skeptical.
I'm only a wee bit skeptical on that number. But calculating it in terms of fuel savings is only barely useful. Cost Savings is the appropriate metric.

Total Savings = system savings - system cost

At a minimum, we need:
System Savings
Cost of fuel saved per year: .3x <--assume it is true
---times
Lifecycle (MTBF) of the system (in years): not reported (engineers hate that metric)

...minus...

System Cost
Cost of the system installed (it's is more than just a flywheel): not reported
---plus
Cost of system maintenance: not reported
---plus
Cost of program management (administrative, training, insurance, etc.)

Now the skeptical muscle gets exercised.

Now! Back to the 30% (.3x)

Feel free to check my math. Mentat was my Honesty in Mathematics maven and he left 'cause y'all were mean.
Williams Hybrid Power, a subsidiary of Williams F1, believes it has overcome this hurdle by developing a flywheel that is much lighter – about 50kg – than previous flywheels built for buses, but which rotates at speeds as fast as 40,000 rpm.

Image

"The forces exerted by a 15-tonne city bus constantly stopping and starting ...
Yikes. Hairy formulas with split ends. Lots of bald spots, too. Start with the basics.

Kinetic Energy of the bus
Mass of the bus: 15000 kg
Speed of the bus: 14m/s (assume 50 km/h average cruising speed)
google knows all
Bus has 1.4E6 joules

Kinetic Energy of the Flywheel
Diameter of the flywheel: .3m (by the looks of it).
Maximum speed: 40,000 rpm.
Weight of the flywheel: 50kg.
google knows all
It can store 5E6 joules.

In a perfect world: yes. The flywheel can easily store the energy of the bus at top cruising speed.

But now the bald spots:

We have to multiply the stored flywheel energy by three efficiency factors
1) The efficiency of the flywheel Ef
2) The input efficiency: pressing on the breaks spins up the turbine at Eb
3) The output efficiency: Pressing on the gas draws energy from the turbine at Ea

And somewhere out of that falls the fuel savings.

30% doesn't feel too unreasonable.

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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

Post by hammegk »

Bearguin wrote:
DrMatt wrote: Come on, folks, these are just engineering problems, they're not political problems.
Bullshit. How far is your head up your ass to not get that power is a major political issue and the solutions are more about the politics than the engineering.

Really, sometimes it astounds me what fucking world you live in. It sure as hell isn't the real one.
Nothing a few more cowbells couldn't fix.

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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

Post by Abdul Alhazred »

DrMatt wrote:Nice non-sequitur.
It it's not a pure thought experiment or a niche market, engineering problems are political problems.

I remember back in the 1990s when the Chicago area was having trouble getting enough electricity and there were "rolling blackouts".

It was an engineering problem, but getting it fixed was definitely political.

Still plenty of complaints about the power industry, but no talk of shortages,
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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

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Plans to build one of Britain’s largest solar farms are at the centre of a legal battle after being blocked in an unprecedented intervention by ministers.

Eric Pickles, the Local Government Secretary, ruled that proposals for more than 90,000 “alien” solar panels on fields in Ellough in Suffolk would cause “unacceptable” harm to the surrounding area.

He is now to be taken to court by the developers in what could be a test case on locals’ rights to stop “renewable energy” developments.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy ... m-ban.html

Pickles doesn't think they'll be aesthetically pleasing.
Lark Energy, the developer for the scheme, said it would help meet renewable energy targets, producing enough power for 7,700 homes.
for 4-6 hours on those frequent English sunny days, all of which they can schedule several hours in advance.
The move has infuriated the solar industry, which is concerned that this could be the first of many schemes killed off by the intervention of ministers.
I imagine they would be infuriated at the loss of subsidy this refusal would entail. Look for more of this as politicians garner the clue that the subsidies are untenable; that all power is not equally useful.
“DCLG’s guidance says the need for renewable energy shouldn’t overrule the local environment.
And it is the environment that will be the justification for refusing all future projects to save the environment.

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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

Post by DrMatt »

Scheduled downtime of fuel-based generators.
Pretty funny.
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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

Post by Rob Lister »

DrMatt wrote:Scheduled downtime of fuel-based generators.
Pretty funny.
Yea, given the reliability of coal-fired boilers, you wouldn't think there's be much scheduled downtime. But there is a lot of preventive maintenance done during non-peak hours that keeps them so reliable. There's a lot of built in redundancy too.

But yea, it's pretty funny.

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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

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Rob Lister wrote: built in redundancy
Finally he gets it!
That's how the entire power grid works.
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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

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DrMatt wrote:
Rob Lister wrote: built in redundancy
Finally he gets it!
That's how the entire power grid works.
Who is the he to which you refer?

Is it you?

Let's test for that condition.

What is the stand-up time for a warm boiler?
How far in the future can they predict a cloud?

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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

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Witness wrote:Part of the problem is that electrical energy is very difficult to store. (In some places water is pumped uphill when the grid is idle, and used to drive turbines when power is needed.)
Actually they run the turbines at full power, but use the excess to pump some of the water back up to use later. It's better than trying to slow down the turbines in large dams. Been done since like forever.

Adding solar panels to run the pumps (which are already in place) is a no brainer for storing solar power. especially in desert areas where huge dams already exist, with pumps already in place.

There's a reason they won't do it. And it is money.
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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

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Abdul Alhazred wrote: I remember back in the 1990s when the Chicago area was having trouble getting enough electricity and there were "rolling blackouts".
One thing solar eliminates is brownouts or rolling blackouts due to hot sunny days. The problem is, peak hours are when electric companies make their money. If solar even put a dent into 10% of the peak load, it would bankrupt the power companies. Which is exactly why the power companies want to prevent such an event.

Remember?
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=33686&start=40#p668595
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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

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robinson wrote:There's a reason they won't do it. And it is money.
Yes, money is usually the metric by which all utility is measured: cost/benefit. Energy production assuredly notwithstanding. Not a perfect metric; 'tis not a rigid bar. But it is useful in that most everything can be converted to it and from it. Everything but unicorns and rainbows.

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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

Post by DrMatt »

Rob Lister wrote:
robinson wrote:There's a reason they won't do it. And it is money.
Yes, money is usually the metric by which all utility is measured: cost/benefit. Energy production assuredly notwithstanding. Not a perfect metric; 'tis not a rigid bar. But it is useful in that most everything can be converted to it and from it. Everything but unicorns and rainbows.
And money is only money when it accrues to a stockholder.
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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

Post by Rob Lister »

DrMatt wrote:
Rob Lister wrote:
robinson wrote:There's a reason they won't do it. And it is money.
Yes, money is usually the metric by which all utility is measured: cost/benefit. Energy production assuredly notwithstanding. Not a perfect metric; 'tis not a rigid bar. But it is useful in that most everything can be converted to it and from it. Everything but unicorns and rainbows.
And money is only money when it accrues to a stockholder.
Yet another non sequitur passive aggressive quip from the Mattmeister.

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Re: Solar Realities and the Electric Company

Post by Bearguin »

Rob Lister wrote:
DrMatt wrote:
Rob Lister wrote:
robinson wrote:There's a reason they won't do it. And it is money.
Yes, money is usually the metric by which all utility is measured: cost/benefit. Energy production assuredly notwithstanding. Not a perfect metric; 'tis not a rigid bar. But it is useful in that most everything can be converted to it and from it. Everything but unicorns and rainbows.
And money is only money when it accrues to a stockholder.
Yet another non sequitur passive aggressive quip from the Mattmeister.
Wow. So me doing a cost/benefit on adding solar water heating to my house and figuring out if it saves me money isn't about money because I'm not a stockholder in the energy company?

Jesus fucking christ on a stick. Are you really that fucking ignorant?