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  • #16
    Originally posted by jflorey2 View Post
    Real estate - agreed.

    Transmission lines - keep in mind that it is a characteristic of EV's that they can be charged when convenient. (At least most of them.) Thus their recharge times can be coordinated for times that transmission lines (and generation facilities) have the margin to service them. Even today EV drivers use simple methods, like timers, to charge when power is cheap.

    Don't know about that. On the drive from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, for example, there are hundreds of miles of open desert that are ideal for solar generation (and are very close to the loads they would service.) Move the arrays a few miles from the road and no one (other than airline passengers) will see them.

    However, I agree that there are places where it will be a lot harder (as in your example.)

    Also agreed - but they are happening. The Sunrise Powerlink got a lot of protesters riled up, but it happened anyway.

    Right. But people are perfectly fine keeping a peaker plant sitting there as RE displaces conventional generation. (We know this because they do this right now to deal with peak loads.) As more load is displaced, more of them will sit idle - which is a lot better than having to build new ones.
    Most POCO's won't keep enough "peaker" plants just sitting around. It costs too much due to high maintenance and fluctuating fuel prices. Sure there will be some but will there be enough to cover all power needs for those days when RE is not available. More than likely you will have rolling black outs for some people.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

      Or maybe : Turn it around and say in the best of all possible worlds, what we need is some way to supply reliable and workable 24 hour power that will work without fossil fuel or nuclear fired power plants.

      Not likely to happen any time soon, if ever, but given a commitment, generation from R.E. sources and lots of energy storage, load management and other tolls will get us a long way there - I'd bet more than the naysayers would have us believe.

      Saying R.E. will never supply 100 % is a blast of the obvious but won't help improve things or make progress and won't matter anyway as it never was a true statement to begin with.
      RE can provide 100% of the need in certain areas and for certain periods of time. Storage will play a big part in making that happen.

      But realistically the US just eats too much electricity to power itself from RE and storage alone. It will take a lot of energy load management as well as personal sacrifices not to use electricity so that we don't over burden the grid to the point of black outs. Hopefully people will do their part in turning off appliances when power is not available.

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      • #18
        This is really funny and make believe science. To start with Lithium reserves are very limited, and the countries that have reserves are not friendly to the USA and would like nothing more than to hold the USA hostage. To get at the the very limited quantities needed to power USA light vehicle fleet would require war and the USA cannot defeat China or Afghanistan. But lets pretend you could have this imaginary supply of lithium. Where the heck is the energy going to come from? It will not be from renewable energy sources and if you believe otherwise have completely lost touch with reality or never passed a math or science class and have been brain washed.

        Reality is we already have the fuel and technology, we just refuse to use it. A fuel source right here in the USA with proven reserves exceeding 1 million years, completely emission free, dirt cheap, and would generate 10's of thousands of high paying jobs. Like it or not, we will turn to nuclear fuel. Its cheap, safe, more of it than we know what to do with, and made in the USA.
        MSEE, PE

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Sunking View Post
          This is really funny and make believe science. To start with Lithium reserves are very limited, and the countries that have reserves are not friendly to the USA and would like nothing more than to hold the USA hostage. To get at the the very limited quantities needed to power USA light vehicle fleet would require war and the USA cannot defeat China or Afghanistan. But lets pretend you could have this imaginary supply of lithium. Where the heck is the energy going to come from? It will not be from renewable energy sources and if you believe otherwise have completely lost touch with reality or never passed a math or science class and have been brain washed.

          Reality is we already have the fuel and technology, we just refuse to use it. A fuel source right here in the USA with proven reserves exceeding 1 million years, completely emission free, dirt cheap, and would generate 10's of thousands of high paying jobs. Like it or not, we will turn to nuclear fuel. Its cheap, safe, more of it than we know what to do with, and made in the USA.
          I don't want to sound like a "you could just do this and 'POOF' a miracle happens" tree hugger type - I rail against that crap almost as a mantra - but there is something to be said for imagination and some long term thinking, like 20 - 30 years perhaps, and beyond lithium. I sort of go by the past for some guidance about the future. In the '70's my biggest solar endeavors were resource assessment and passive solar. I had no notion that PV would be were it is today, or that by 2020 or so, I'd probably have an EV powered by stuff on my roof with some storage help from the grid. Such things were not on anyone's mind or radar back then. I was clueless (and as SWMBO might argue, remain so to this day).

          Think beyond lithium. Then begin the real work of making progress a reality instead of someone's wet dream.

          I'd also suggest that if the words "nuclear fuel" in your second paragraph were replaced with "renewable energy", the statement would be just as valid (or just as invalid depending on which side of the opinion one is on). That would seem, to me anyway, to make the whole pro anything to the exclusion or derogation of other energy sources argument sort of specious.

          Guess we're on different sides of this one.

          Lots of ways to produce energy. If we stopped wasting so much of it, it might cost less to fuel the U.S, or to a lesser degree most of the rest of the world. I long ago gave up pointing out that the U.S. uses about 25 % or so of the world's produced energy for about 4 or 5 % of the world's population, with the per capita U.S. consumption of energy being what some would view as an embarrassment compared to a lot of other at least as well developed nations, and with some of those nations, some would argue, having higher standards of living than the U.S.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by SunEagle View Post
            Look how long it has taken to get the US first off shore wind farm. Most other off shore farms are being slowed down by bureaucracy and push back by people that do not want to see the turbines from shore.
            Actually, US offshore wind is much more an engineering challenge than bureaucracy. In the US, we don't have the same shallow shelves that they do in Europe. Our waters are much deeper, so you need floating turbines. More expensive, and more difficult to install, so it has taken longer to develop them.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by SunEagle View Post

              RE can provide 100% of the need in certain areas and for certain periods of time. Storage will play a big part in making that happen.

              But realistically the US just eats too much electricity to power itself from RE and storage alone. It will take a lot of energy load management as well as personal sacrifices not to use electricity so that we don't over burden the grid to the point of black outs. Hopefully people will do their part in turning off appliances when power is not available.
              I'd not put much faith or hope in personal sacrifice or people voluntarily turning stuff off even though it's the most immediate, cost effective, and single most effective thing folks can do.

              My guess is people will do their part only when they make the connection that not doing so will negatively impact what's perceived as important to them, starting with their financial well being. That's just the way the world works.

              I'd also don't put much faith or hope in altruistic type behaviors such as proactive and voluntary use reductions becoming any less rare than they are now.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by SunEagle View Post
                Most POCO's won't keep enough "peaker" plants just sitting around. It costs too much due to high maintenance and fluctuating fuel prices. Sure there will be some but will there be enough to cover all power needs for those days when RE is not available. More than likely you will have rolling black outs for some people.
                Right now natural gas combustion turbines make up between 2 and 13% of our generation; they run less than 10% of the time. Most are owned by utilities, some are owned by private concerns. (Our company uses one for generation and A/C during peak power times.) So POCO's keep peaker plants just sitting around today, for the very purpose you describe above (to generate power when existing generation does not cover load.)

                As renewables increase as a percentage of generation, the remaining generation will be idled more and more often. In other words, spare capacity will go up, not down. Indeed, the problem will not be that we will lack peakers - the problem will be that older slow-startup combined cycle plants will be tasked with running less often and cycling more often, which will be a plus in terms of fuel costs but a minus in terms of needed retrofits and increased maintenance.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by jflorey2 View Post
                  Right now natural gas combustion turbines make up between 2 and 13% of our generation; they run less than 10% of the time. Most are owned by utilities, some are owned by private concerns. (Our company uses one for generation and A/C during peak power times.) So POCO's keep peaker plants just sitting around today, for the very purpose you describe above (to generate power when existing generation does not cover load.)

                  As renewables increase as a percentage of generation, the remaining generation will be idled more and more often. In other words, spare capacity will go up, not down. Indeed, the problem will not be that we will lack peakers - the problem will be that older slow-startup combined cycle plants will be tasked with running less often and cycling more often, which will be a plus in terms of fuel costs but a minus in terms of needed retrofits and increased maintenance.
                  Please get out of the CA thinking and try to understand that the rest of the US power generation is a different mix then what is on the West coast. Natural Gas and Coal still make up close to 70% of the power generation in most of the US. CA consumers are closer to wind and solar farms along with having geothermal. But unless you live in the South West or in the middle of the US solar and wind power does not comes close to providing any significant % of what is consumed by the populace.

                  And even if they installed 10 times the amount of RE generation you still have the logistics of getting it transported to where it is consumed.

                  Yes RE can work and I expect to see more in CA and Hawaii along with spot locations in the US. But to think most of the country can survive on RE and "peakers" is dreaming.

                  Storage will have to make a leap into the next generation of technology so it becomes cheap and easy to install. Along with a major effort in conservation will be our only hope that most of the US can run on RE. IMO I will be long gone before that happens.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post
                    Guess we're on different sides of this one..
                    That is fine JPM, perhaps I did not make myself clear. With respect to the US Light Vehicle Fleet would be impossible to replace with EV's. Far as that goes replace our day to day normal electric use with RE. We already have the technology and fuel source to power ourselves for the next 1 million years with no imports or foreign labor. All home grown with high paying jobs. Can RE be part of the mix. Yes as a supplement to the base generation as long as you do not mind paying for power twice. Sooner or later, nuclear will have to be used. Take the Politics/Red Tape out, and kill all the Obstructionist/Lawyers off, then nuclear is dirt cheap and safe. That is what the Smart Grid and Distributive Generation is all about. Think of cell towers one in every neighborhood interconnected. A plant shutdown goes unnoticed.
                    Last edited by Sunking; 01-16-2018, 05:02 PM.
                    MSEE, PE

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by emartin00 View Post

                      Actually, US offshore wind is much more an engineering challenge than bureaucracy. In the US, we don't have the same shallow shelves that they do in Europe. Our waters are much deeper, so you need floating turbines. More expensive, and more difficult to install, so it has taken longer to develop them.
                      Actually the turbines being designed for off shore on the East Cost are anchored to the bottom because there are some really shallow areas with good wind. Unfortunately the turbines are about 12 miles out and can be seen from the shore which have people up in arms.

                      Based on just about all of the articles concerning off shore wind farms that I have read show that the delays have not been due to engineering but either politics or property owners push-back.

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                      • #26
                        Lithium (while being a bit hard to mine easily) is not a "rare earth". Rare earth elements are #51 through #71 - (the Lanthenides), plus #21 Scandium , #39 Yittrium. Lithium is atomic #3 and is one of the most common elements in the earth's crust - just usually locked up as metallic compounds and not real easy to refine.
                        I predict EV's will become the preferred transportation for light vehicles over the next few years and all you gas guzzlers can be in denial all you want as you eat my dust.
                        I'm all for nuclear by the way. Especially ff we could finish the research on Thorium Molten Salt reactors before the Chinese do.
                        How come the anti RE argument tends to be "RE will never handle the total load". No one ever says that is the goal. It does produce pretty much most of my power though...
                        BSEE, R11, NABCEP, >1200kW installed

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by SunEagle View Post
                          Please get out of the CA thinking
                          To be clear, that 2 to 13% is US-wide.
                          and try to understand that the rest of the US power generation is a different mix then what is on the West coast. Natural Gas and Coal still make up close to 70% of the power generation in most of the US.
                          Right. Natural gas combustion turbines run on natural gas. They aren't run very often, because while they are big (i.e. high specific power output) and cheap to build, they are not that efficient. Which means that utilities will generally use all their other, cheaper sources of generation first before resorting to the turbines. In Washington, that means hydro. In Kentucky, that means coal. In South Carolina, that means nuclear. But all three states also still have natural gas peakers that they leave idle most of the time.
                          CA consumers are closer to wind and solar farms along with having geothermal. But unless you live in the South West or in the middle of the US solar and wind power does not comes close to providing any significant % of what is consumed by the populace.
                          Not yet. As pointed out previously, those sources are growing rapidly even if you're not in the Southwest or the plains states.
                          And even if they installed 10 times the amount of RE generation you still have the logistics of getting it transported to where it is consumed.
                          Of course. Just as we built a lot of very expensive infrastructure to get coal and natural gas to where it is consumed. We are lagging in power transmission lines, but they are coming as well.
                          Yes RE can work and I expect to see more in CA and Hawaii along with spot locations in the US. But to think most of the country can survive on RE and "peakers" is dreaming.
                          Who thinks that those will be the only two sources of energy in the near future?
                          Storage will have to make a leap into the next generation of technology so it becomes cheap and easy to install. Along with a major effort in conservation will be our only hope that most of the US can run on RE. IMO I will be long gone before that happens.
                          Perhaps - but at least things are headed in the right direction.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by SunEagle View Post
                            Natural Gas and Coal still make up close to 70% of the power generation in most of the US.
                            Yep.
                            Renewables really are a small percentage of electricity generation in the US.
                            Texas only got 11% of its electricity from wind and < 1% from solar in 2015.

                            News like vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/1/16/16895594/colorado-renewable-energy-future suggests that new utility-scale renewables with storage are starting to win on cost, but it'll be a while before any US state's primary source of electricity is wind + solar + storage. Even California only reduced greenhouse gas emission from electricity generation by 5% last year ( caiso.com/Documents/GHGTrackingReport-Summary-December2017.pdf ).

                            Scotland's in pretty good shape, though ( scottishrenewables.com/sectors/renewables-in-numbers ). Lots of wind there.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by jflorey2 View Post
                              To be clear, that 2 to 13% is US-wide.

                              Right. Natural gas combustion turbines run on natural gas. They aren't run very often, because while they are big (i.e. high specific power output) and cheap to build, they are not that efficient. Which means that utilities will generally use all their other, cheaper sources of generation first before resorting to the turbines. In Washington, that means hydro. In Kentucky, that means coal. In South Carolina, that means nuclear. But all three states also still have natural gas peakers that they leave idle most of the time.

                              Not yet. As pointed out previously, those sources are growing rapidly even if you're not in the Southwest or the plains states.

                              Of course. Just as we built a lot of very expensive infrastructure to get coal and natural gas to where it is consumed. We are lagging in power transmission lines, but they are coming as well.

                              Who thinks that those will be the only two sources of energy in the near future?

                              Perhaps - but at least things are headed in the right direction.
                              Look it is not worth arguing the point. We can continue to disagree on where energy will come from.

                              I have been in the power industry for over 40 years and I feel unless something new comes along RE will only be a small part of the power generation for the US. Either that or us consumers will need to find a way to cut their usage when RE is not available.

                              I really want more solar and wind and plan on getting an EV in the future. But I still believe that my EV will more than likely be recharged from a fossil fuel burning MW generating plant and not from thousands of peakers.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by DanKegel View Post

                                Yep.
                                Renewables really are a small percentage of electricity generation in the US.
                                Texas only got 11% of its electricity from wind and < 1% from solar in 2015.

                                News like vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/1/16/16895594/colorado-renewable-energy-future suggests that new utility-scale renewables with storage are starting to win on cost, but it'll be a while before any US state's primary source of electricity is wind + solar + storage. Even California only reduced greenhouse gas emission from electricity generation by 5% last year ( caiso.com/Documents/GHGTrackingReport-Summary-December2017.pdf ).

                                Scotland's in pretty good shape, though ( scottishrenewables.com/sectors/renewables-in-numbers ). Lots of wind there.
                                Geez I thought you got banned permanently.

                                MSEE, PE

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