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Forced Responses: Aug 2020

Filed under: — group @ 1 August 2020

This is the bimonthly thread on climate solutions. Climate Science discussions should go here.

336 Responses to “Forced Responses: Aug 2020”

  1. 301

    Another small but significant milestone in storage on the grid–this time in Britain:

    https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-megapack-autobidder-uk-energy-grid-debut/

    7.5 MW isn’t a lot, obviously, but megapacks are highly scalable. There’s a lot more coming, and soon.

  2. 302
    zebra says:

    patrick027 #294,

    Very good. You are thinking like a scientist and trying to figure out the question(s) before giving answers.

    Yes, steady state involves consumption, but if you want to try applying those kinds of economic concepts like PPC, you have to establish the components in my scenario.

    So, the supply of labor is a constant, correct?

    And, certain demands…wants and needs…would achieve an equilibrium state. That’s why I asked about houses. You said “people will still build houses”, but that doesn’t follow. Certainly, houses would not be “built” in the same economic framework as they are today.

    At some point, there will be an optimal pattern of locations dedicated to housing. With a stable population, it would not make economic sense to develop new locations. Houses might be rebuilt or upgraded if they get old and in disrepair, but there would be no point in building new infrastructure (roads, sewers, and so on) in new locations, unless the existing infrastructure itself cannot be repaired.

    Given that similar conditions apply in other areas as well, I don’t see how consumption might increase. But I’m open to suggestions.

  3. 303

    Interesting piece from NREL on the potential for *better* grid stability and resilience using inverter-based frequency control (IBR). Also, the current state of the art, including a real-world application in Chile:

    https://www.nrel.gov/news/features/2020/renewables-rescue-stability-as-the-grid-loses-spin.html

  4. 304
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @302 says

    “Given that similar conditions apply in other areas as well, I don’t see how consumption might increase (in his hypothetical small stable population nirvana)”

    Because people are inherently greedy. They always want more. Mostly anyway. And with a small population it is viable to have more, assuming the environment has more left to give, which it probably will have.

    Of course there are limits. Even multi millionaires don’t normally own 20 cars, and if the population is small enough it might not matter, environmentally speaking.

    But if we want a small stable population that doesn’t over consume, I don’t think we can take it for granted it will happen automatically or as a result of simply being small. It will require society adopting less materialistic values, which doesn’t look like an easy transformation, but it might be possible. I think this all pretty irrefutable.

  5. 305

    @303:  I was wondering how NREL proposed to make synthetic inertia work:  over-generation plus curtailment, or batteries.  You have to go more than halfway through the article before you get to this:

    “By co-locating wind and solar with batteries, we can achieve highly dispatchable and flexible generation with provision of many types of grid services at the plant level.”

    So it’s batteries.

    Batteries are actually a very good option for such synthetic stability.  What they are NOT good for is providing reliability of supply over days and longer.  We need that too.

  6. 306
    David B. Benson says:

    One way to provide reliability for times when other generators are off line or insufficient is to make and store hydrogen at times of ample and excess generation:
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/718/hydrogen-fuel
    provides numerous links indicating that especially in Europe engineers are serious about this idea.

  7. 307
    patrick027 says:

    Just checked http://climatemodels.uchicago.edu/modtran/ – tropical clear sky – the only visible differences in the graph for looking down, between 20 km and 70 km, are in the CO2 and O3 bands. Interestingly, the O3 still reduces the brightness going upward – I expect this is simply because the band is not particularly opaque, especially in the troposphere, so the upward radiation in that band is still dominated by emissions from the surface or lower tropospheric H2O, which are warmer than anywhere in the stratosphere.

  8. 308
    patrick027 says:

    I may have just posted something in the wrong thread – oops.

  9. 309

    E-P 305: Batteries are actually a very good option for such synthetic stability. What they are NOT good for is providing reliability of supply over days and longer. We need that too.

    BPL: Pumped hydro. Compressed air. Molten salt. Trains on hillsides. Weight and lever assemblies. Flywheels. Even long-term storage batteries:

    https://cleantechnica.com/2020/05/08/rural-electric-co-op-blows-up-energy-storage-race-with-secret-battery/

  10. 310
    nigelj says:

    DPB, hydrogen as a storage medium. Quite good, but electromethane is carbon neutral, cheap to produce, and compatible with existing generation plant and home gas heaters and infrastructure systems. Much better. If leakage can be minimised.

  11. 311
    nigelj says:

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/wind-and-solar-are-30-50-cheaper-than-thought-admits-uk-government

    “Electricity generated from wind and solar is 30-50% cheaper than previously thought, according to newly published UK government figures.”

    (One interesting little thing buried in this is that gas fired generation plus CCS is looking economically attractive, as an alternative to battery and similar storage systems for a stand alone renewables system, and another is the UK seem committed to a combination of renewables and nuclear.)

  12. 312

    BPL Gish-gallops @309:

    Pumped hydro. Compressed air. Molten salt. Trains on hillsides. Weight and lever assemblies. Flywheels.

    If you believe any of those things can remotely do the job, you are innumerate.  For instance, electric locomotives are a few megawatts apiece.  It would take HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of them to come up to the current capacity of the US grid.  The 4 coal-fired plants in Monroe, MI have more than twice the capacity of the upgraded Ludington PHS plant, not to mention the nuclear plants.  We have lots of places to put more nuclear plants; nobody’s going to build another Ludington, and it’s got less than a day of storage capacity.

    Compressed air.

    Way too expensive AND inefficient.  Highview Power says well over $0.10/kWh cost of STORAGE alone.

    Molten salt.

    Short-term only.  Best used as a buffer for something like a high-temperature nuclear reactor.

    Even long-term storage batteries

    Of all the technologies that I’m aware of, only Form Energy’s sulfur-based flow battery is REMOTELY capable of providing storage at the cost and scale required.

  13. 313
    David B. Benson says:

    nigelj @310 — DBB, if you please.

    Also, in the future kindly read the linked articles before proposing an alternative, presumed better…

  14. 314
    William B Jackson says:

    GE has announced they are getting out of the coals fired power business, not just short term but long term, they are moving to increase their solar and wind capacities. Sorry Donald!

  15. 315

    BPL: Compressed air.

    E-P 312: Way too expensive AND inefficient.

    BPL: Look again.

    https://cleantechnica.com/2020/06/19/air-powered-energy-storage-knocks-out-coal-gas-wait-what/

  16. 316
    David B. Benson says:

    BPL @315 — CAES:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compressed-air_energy_storage

    My impression is that CAES is but rarely the preferred solution.

  17. 317

    @315:  Cost of storage is around $144/MWh (14.4¢/kWh) at something like 60-65% efficiency (higher levels apparently require things like external sources of heat or cold).

    How much this adds to your net cost of power depends on what fraction of your total energy you have to put through it.  If you use e.g. a nuclear plant to meet base and mid-load with 20% of energy going through storage for peak load, you’ll add an average of 2.88¢/kWh for storage plus whatever the losses cost.  But if you have to put 60% of energy through storage, that goes up to 8.64¢/kWh plus cost of losses.  If you’re time-shifting PV, you have to put much of the afternoon load plus the entire evening peak and overnight load through storage.  That adds up fast.

  18. 318

    #303 (me) & #305 (E-P)–

    The linked story gives examples of both pure PV and pure wind farms participating in grid service markets. So, it’s not just batteries; it’s also “pre-curtailment” (which at sufficiently large market penetration implies overbuilding).

  19. 319
    nigelj says:

    New open access research showing the challenges ahead: “Downscaling consumption to universal basic income level falls short of sustainable carbon footprint in Finland”

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901119315333?dgcid=rss_sd_all

  20. 320

    Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh makes her case for climate mitigation–addressing some things we talked about here a while back:

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/commentisfree/2020/sep/22/climate-change-action-bangladesh-paris-agreemen

  21. 321

    @318:

    The linked story gives examples of both pure PV and pure wind farms participating in grid service markets.

    I am jaded enough about this stuff that I didn’t read further than to ascertain the specific fact I was looking for.  There is too much deceit around “renewables” and I am heartily sick of it.

    So, it’s not just batteries; it’s also “pre-curtailment” (which at sufficiently large market penetration implies overbuilding)

    It means overbuilding, period.  It means spillage.  It means that there is no possibility of services being provided when the actual physical source is off-line (like PV after dark).  It means the loss of energy that could be used for thermochemistry.  It means a whole lot of other stuff, most of it bad.

    If we are going to make scarce energy work, we have to use as much of it as possible.  Spillage is a crime.

    This is why I am for abundant (carbon-free) energy.

  22. 322

    E-P: @315: Cost of storage is around $144/MWh (14.4¢/kWh) at something like 60-65% efficiency (higher levels apparently require things like external sources of heat or cold).

    BPL: And of course that cost will never go down, right, E-P?

  23. 323

    @318:

    The linked story gives examples of both pure PV and pure wind farms participating in grid service markets.

    I admit, I don’t have time to read everything these days.  But that’s a serious handicap.  A battery can provide services whether or not the associated energy source is producing; if you have no wind or sun, your “renewables” are off the inertia and frequency control markets.

    So, it’s not just batteries; it’s also “pre-curtailment”

    Is that what they call it now?  I’m well aware of PV farms which have inverters sized well below the nameplate rating of the panels, which flattens the generating curve nicely, but reduces the net EROEI of the system.  A PV panel or wind turbine which is effectively not connected to anything has an EROEI of zero.

  24. 324
    Killian says:

    319 nigelj: New open access research showing the challenges ahead: “Downscaling consumption to universal basic income level falls short of sustainable carbon footprint in Finland”

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901119315333?dgcid=rss_sd_all

    Ask the wrong questions, apply the wrong assumptions, get a pile of crap in the end.

    Extremely unimaginative, very poorly constructed, and unwilling to consider actual change. UBI does not change the system, it only adjusts distribution. How could it possibly result in anything meaningful WRT to climate and ecosystem health?

    This is what happens when people don’t know what they don’t know.

  25. 325

    #323, E-P:

    A PV panel or wind turbine which is effectively not connected to anything has an EROEI of zero.

    Just as “spinning reserve” has an EROEI of zero–until, of course, it is actually brought online.

  26. 326
  27. 327

    KM misses the point @325:

    “spinning reserve” has an EROEI of zero–until, of course, it is actually brought online.

    Spinning reserve is on-line by definition.  It’s just not producing or consuming energy at its maximum rate.

    When the energy source is use-it-or-lose-it like wind or PV, it makes no sense to spill energy that could find other uses.  Dump loads are preferable to spillage.  Thermochemical processes may be good matches for unreliable or de-rated sources like PV.  Take the generation beyond the inverter ratings and use it to do something like make cement.

  28. 328
    nigelj says:

    In relation to my previous comment on californias wildfires: “(Reuters) – While more than half of California’s forests fall under federal management, the U.S. Forest Service consistently spends fewer dollars than the state in managing those lands to reduce wildfire risks, a Reuters data analysis reveals.”

    https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-wildfires-forests-insight/california-outpaced-trumps-forest-service-in-wildfire-prevention-work-data-idINKCN26E2UQ

  29. 329

    #327, E-P–

    Spinning reserve is on-line by definition. It’s just not producing or consuming energy at its maximum rate.

    Good point. Which means its EROEI is less than zero, because you’re burning energy merely to be ready.

    When the energy source is use-it-or-lose-it like wind or PV, it makes no sense to spill energy that could find other uses. Dump loads are preferable to spillage.

    Also a good point. Hence the quest for economically viable ‘dump loads’, including various forms of storage.

  30. 330
    Al Bundy says:

    Patrick027: I may have just posted something in the wrong thread – oops.

    AB: Ahhhh. No sweatski. Alcohol brings out the core personality. Yours is much better than my yesterday’s. Hopefully my next drunkenness will be as nice as your…
    Well, regular or tipsy, your interaction.

    Salud!

  31. 331
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: . If you’re time-shifting PV
    AB: and scrupulously denying that any other form of energy exists.

    Dude. Analyzing a dynamic system with myriad levers based on the axiom that only a single lever can be used…

    You get goop answers.

  32. 332
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: Batteries are actually a very good option for such synthetic stability. What they are NOT good for is providing reliability of supply over days and longer. We need that too

    AB: I don’t see the problem. 66.6+% efficient engines are child’s play (now that they’ve been designed). Why are you not factoring all facts in your analysis? To pretend that batteries are even remotely in the game plan for longer term storage seems to me to be the stance of someone who HATES the idea of a solution at all.

  33. 333
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigel: Because people are inherently greedy. They always want more. Mostly anyway

    AB: Greedy is relative to current conditions. Ensure that all young people, including spawn of the rich, start out poor.

    Now run your simulation.

  34. 334
    David B. Benson says:

    Al Bundy @332 — here are links which may aid your understanding:
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/386/utility-scale-batteries

    Even flow batteries are not efficient enough to scale to the large energy store required.

  35. 335

    #328, nigel–

    One reason that the Feds have been neglecting forest management is that a succession of big fire seasons (plus Congressional stinginess/priorities) has forced them to throw–er, sorry, “reallocate”–all sorts of funds into fire-fighting rather than their intended purposes, because the fire-fighting budget got blown out early in the fire season.

    Or so I understand, anyway. More informed comment welcome.

  36. 336
    nigelj says:

    Victor @216 (on the UV thread). I agree to the extent that capitalism is causing or contributing to some big problems, including environmentally, and an oligarchy of billionaires wields too much power, plus what AB said about the problems. And I think that in its present form capitalism will be doomed to collapse. And I think the fairly full on American version of capitalism is a prime example.

    The trouble is full on, full strength socialism has a long history of failure and regardless of the leadership, eg the problems and / or collapse of the USSR and East Germany, Venuzuela, China under Mao, etcetera. There are no long lasting success stories I know of, which suggests the full strength socialist model isn’t viable. And the failure is fairly wide including economically, socially, politically, human rights, and environmentally. And it doesnt seem to matter if the system is a military dictatorship like the old communist USSR or more democratic to the extent of having elected leaders.

    And such socialist systems get captured by wealthy corrupt leaders just like under Capitalism. Shared ownership just means nobody ends up caring about anything and things mostly deteriorate accordingly. The only durable successes of the model tend to be in these countries health and education systems, and social security systems, which suggests some specific parts of the socialist model have merit. It seems shared ownership works well enough with some elements of the economy like health systems, but not others like the industrial sector, just looking at history. This makes it complicated but this is the reality it seems.

    The only large scale model I’m aware of that has proven both successful, stable, long lasting and durable is the Scandinavian countries which combine socialism and capitalism in a flexible way. And it is wide ranging success socially, economically and environmentally. The combination takes the best of both socialist and capitalism models, and they also act as a break on each others worst tendencies. I doubt we will do much better.

    And obviously capitalism comes in various forms some better than others. There might be something in Al Bundys labour theory of value for example. But that is the sort of thing Scandinavia would experiment with. There are of course other models, but I’m just pointing out a few historical facts about capitalism, socialism and combined systems.