Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Renewable energy will mess up the power grid

Great in-depth article that shows that an amp from solar is not at all the same as an amp from coal generation.  And that an amp from coal isn't the same as an amp from gas.
It can be very misleading to compare the energy costs for wind and solar to the energy costs for more conventional generation technology and assume the difference is the cost of providing for “clean” energy.

The power grid requires so much more support than the injection of energy. Unfortunately wind and solar do not provide support “services” as well as many other generation resources do. Accounting and providing for these extra “services” should be part of any comparison of resource types and inform any directives or plans impacting the provision of electric power.     To the degree that wind and solar resources make up a larger portion of the supply mix, significant costs will be incurred to maintain system functionality and reliability. This posting is focuses solely on how various resources impact just one of these “services”, the balancing of system loads and resources.
There are a bunch of comments that are really good, too.

1 comment:

Goober said...

I think the largest problem with these "renewable" sources is that you need a source of reliable backup power to support them, since the sun doesn't always shine, and the ind doesn't always blow.

Which means that there is a power plant, heated up and ready to rock at all times, even when the renewable sources are in full swing.

It's highly debatable if they are even saving anything, at all, for this reason.

Power plants can't just ramp up and ramp down in a few hours, so when the wind is blowing, your local natural gas, oil, coal, or nuke plant is still cranking out energy.

Here in Washington, we've got a hell of a deal going where we make so much goddamned energy we don't know what to do with it all (we have dams, you see, and big-ass rivers to run them). So it makes sense, to an extent, for us - we make more power than we need and sell it to California at a steep markup. When the wind doesn't blow, the dams run full-out. When the wind is blowing, the dams run full-out, anyway, because we just send the excess south at a profit. And we've got some wind farms that would blow your mind. Remember, the entire east half of the state is a big, windy desert...

There are a couple of counties whose PUDs own some of the dams, and those people in those counties hardly ever have an electric bill. SInce it's their tax moneys that run the dam and paid for it, they get a share of the profits selling the juice, and as a result, they pay stupidly low electricity rates.

I think mine here in Spokane is like 6.5 cents a KwH. In Grant County, it's like half that...