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PostPosted: Nov 15, 2011 6:46 am 
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http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/05/21/co2-avoid
http://nukepowertalk.blogspot.com/2011/ ... cost-wind/
http://theenergycollective.com/willem-p ... r_posts_by
http://theenergycollective.com/willem-p ... r_posts_by

The bottom line is that ramping the back up turbines up and down is grossly inefficient, and you may achieve greater reductions simply by building more efficient and more constantly utilised gas plants.

Panasonic and others hope to have home fuel cells available at reasonable cost by 2013, which would increase gas burn efficiency by around another 30%.

Ah well, what's a few hundred billion in subsidies for wind?


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PostPosted: Nov 15, 2011 7:46 pm 
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Just saw this editorial by Luc Oursel, chairman of AREVA. The facts about Denmark are stunning:

Quote:
Denmark is another interesting example. It is the European champion for wind power, which represents 30% of the country’s electricity. But because wind is an intermittent source, Denmark is also one of the largest users of coal in Europe. Result: Danish CO2 emissions are 65% higher than the European average, with an electricity cost 50% more!
From:
http://us.arevablog.com/2011/11/15/ener ... ver-dogma/

Is this the outcome that environmentalists seek? I'm certain it is not. But it's what we will get if ignorance and/or fossil-fuel pandering determines public policy.


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PostPosted: Nov 15, 2011 7:58 pm 
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If the US matches Denmark for wind, it too can look forward to paying around $0.45kwh for electricity!


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PostPosted: Nov 16, 2011 9:46 am 
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Denmark was an early adopter so has wind turbines from the 90s. Criticising wind power for that is like saying "Fukushima shows new nuclear reactors are unsafe".

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea ... gy-finance

Intermittency is a problem but then I hope gas combustion technologies won't be providing much electricity in the future. Ceramic Fuel Cells and others have domestic sized, 60% efficient, fuel cell generators. A few million of these can cover for wind nicely - especially with a 500+ litre hot water tank, it doesn't really matter when you heat it. And millions of houses will find them more cost effective than a condensing boiler.

Here's a grid with 38% of electricity on average from wind power, with no interconnection.
http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/feature ... smart-grid
It seems to me if they want to increase the output they can just heat water. Cold places will always have a use for hot water.


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PostPosted: Nov 16, 2011 9:52 am 
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Laurence Aurbach wrote:
Just saw this editorial by Luc Oursel, chairman of AREVA. The facts about Denmark are stunning:

Quote:
Denmark is another interesting example. It is the European champion for wind power, which represents 30% of the country’s electricity. But because wind is an intermittent source, Denmark is also one of the largest users of coal in Europe. Result: Danish CO2 emissions are 65% higher than the European average, with an electricity cost 50% more!
From:
http://us.arevablog.com/2011/11/15/ener ... ver-dogma/

Is this the outcome that environmentalists seek? I'm certain it is not. But it's what we will get if ignorance and/or fossil-fuel pandering determines public policy.


Though this data begs to disagree:
http://www.google.com/publicdata/explor ... l=en&dl=en

Denmark has a cold climate and a fair amount of industry. I assume like the USA, their legacy fossil plants are mostly coal. Yet they still emit half the CO2 of the USA. They are admitedly quite lucky in that they can export surplus wind to hydro powered Scandinavia.


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PostPosted: Nov 16, 2011 11:15 am 
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alexterrell wrote:
Though this data begs to disagree:

Mr. Oursel stated that Danish CO2 emissions are are 65% higher than the European average. According to the European Environmental Agency, Danish CO2 emissions are unquestionably higher than the European average. However, the EEA statistics show Denmark in the range of 20%-29% higher than the European average over the past decade.

Data viewer:
http://dataservice.eea.europa.eu/PivotA ... ivotid=475

Snapshot of per-capita CO2-equivalent emissions from EU15, EU27, and Denmark, 1990-2009:
http://i1080.photobucket.com/albums/j32 ... /chart.png


Last edited by Laurence Aurbach on Nov 16, 2011 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Nov 16, 2011 11:38 am 
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Laurence Aurbach wrote:
alexterrell wrote:
Though this data begs to disagree:

Mr. Oursel stated that Danish CO2 emissions are are 65% higher than the European average. According to the European Environmental Agency, Danish CO2 emissions are unquestionably higher than the European average. However, the EEA statistics show Denmark in the range of 20%-29% higher than the European average over the past decade.

Data viewer:
http://dataservice.eea.europa.eu/PivotA ... ivotid=475

Snapshot of per-capita CO2-equivalent emissions from EU15, EU27, and Denmark, 1990-2009:
http://dataservice.eea.europa.eu/PivotA ... 1b566dfdd2


That would make sense. The World Bank data does not have an EU aggregate. But you would expect Denmark to be much worse than France (nuclear), Italy (warm) and Spain (warm). It's on a par with Germany and The Netherlands, and a bit higher than the UK (natural gas).

According to the World Bank data it's output has also fallen quite a quite a bit since the early 90s - more so than in other European countries.

Whilst one can no doubt find a lot of fault with Danish wind power, perhaps Mr Oursel is not the most reliable critic.


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PostPosted: Nov 16, 2011 2:46 pm 
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My criticism of Danish wind power is it makes Danish electric power prices some of the highest in Europe and the Denmark grid entirely dependent on Swedish hydro. Best get on good with the Swedes because they need Denmark a hell of a lot less than Denmark needs them.

The fact that Denmark has terribly high CO2 emissions in spite of the ample hydro to backup wind is just a reminder that wind is useless for CO2 emission reduction. Building some nuclear infrastructure would remedy that, but...


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PostPosted: Nov 17, 2011 2:46 am 
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If you are installing home fuel cells considering that the wind sometimes provides effectively no power for a period of up to a week as it did for the last two winters across the EU then you would have to size them to power the whole house and provide its hot water.
I cannot imagine how the addition of intermittent and highly variable electricity is supposed to improve that, and even if it were done the cost/benefit ratio would be absurd.
Maybe you could use them to produce hydrogen, but again the economics are probably horrific as the electrolysis equipment would only be part used most of the time without massive and expensive storage.
Wind turbines using anything like present technology are about as much use as sailing ships and if they had not had many tens of billions bunged at them in subsidies would not have been built.
The ones we already have promise to be putting up electricity bills for decades and building in fossil fuel use to back them up.


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PostPosted: Nov 17, 2011 7:24 am 
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dezakin wrote:
My criticism of Danish wind power is it makes Danish electric power prices some of the highest in Europe and the Denmark grid entirely dependent on Swedish hydro. Best get on good with the Swedes because they need Denmark a hell of a lot less than Denmark needs them.

The fact that Denmark has terribly high CO2 emissions in spite of the ample hydro to backup wind is just a reminder that wind is useless for CO2 emission reduction. Building some nuclear infrastructure would remedy that, but...


I agree about cost and Swedes, but if Danish 1990s wind technology is to be used to damn wind as too expensive, then why not use Fukushima 1960s nuclear technology to damn nuclear as unsafe?

And you can't look at Danish CO2 output as and blame wind. It's much lower than the USA, and similar to Germany and Netherlands which are of similar climate and wealth. And it's been falling quite fast - so just from the charts, it would appear that wind is reducing CO2 output - though that may, or may not be the case (perhaps their bacon industry introduced efficiency measures and captured the methane produced - who knows?).


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PostPosted: Nov 17, 2011 7:33 am 
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DaveMart wrote:
If you are installing home fuel cells considering that the wind sometimes provides effectively no power for a period of up to a week as it did for the last two winters across the EU then you would have to size them to power the whole house and provide its hot water.
I cannot imagine how the addition of intermittent and highly variable electricity is supposed to improve that, and even if it were done the cost/benefit ratio would be absurd.
Maybe you could use them to produce hydrogen, but again the economics are probably horrific as the electrolysis equipment would only be part used most of the time without massive and expensive storage.
Wind turbines using anything like present technology are about as much use as sailing ships and if they had not had many tens of billions bunged at them in subsidies would not have been built.
The ones we already have promise to be putting up electricity bills for decades and building in fossil fuel use to back them up.


Well, we all agree a fleet of Thorium reactors is the optimum, but....

The Falkland Islands is already a demonstration of ~40% wind power, with no external power links. And this is done for economics, not for subsidies.

Across Europe, wind power is usually inversely correlated with solar - granted solar needs night / day demand management, and this mainly helps at night.

If I have a domestic fuel cell I want about 5-10KW to heat my house in winter, so I'm going to get 5-10KW of electricity which I can export or burn. So I have lots of capacity.

And in the example you give above, it's not too much of a calamity to ramp up all the old laid up gas plants for 2 weeks. After all, in the UK, we're going to have to build about 10GW of gas power in the next decade (because the former Government did nothing about energy for its first 10 years in office).


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PostPosted: Nov 17, 2011 8:09 am 
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The Falklands is a special case which illustrates why wind is a terrible idea in most other places.
They are located in one of the windiest places on earth, are at the end of a very long supply chain with the Argentinian embargo for other fuels, have a tiny population and great expanses of cheap land.
This is virtually the opposite of Europe and even many areas of the US.

I'm not sure how you manage to use 5-10kw in winter to heat your house, but upping the insulation etc would make a far better return than building wind turbines or fuel cells to power it.
I use an energy flow of about 1/2kw to provide all the power for my flat, including lighting, hot water, cooking and heating with an air source heat pump.
You might need 5-10kw at peak when you are running the shower etc, but plans are well advanced to use microgrids to cover such transient power demand.

Ramping up old gas plant may be possible at the moment, but in due course the gas plant would need replacing and if it is only used part of the time that is hugely expensive as it can't pay for itself.
There are also technical problems as the whole gas pipeline has to be kept supplied, and you can't simply empty it when the gas is not being used.
On top of that the underlying problem of being reliant on fossil fuels is in no way solved, and of course the issue I originally raised of the inefficiency of running gas turbines as back up for wind remains.

As for solar covering needs when the wind doesn't, here are the solar incidence charts for London:
http://www.gaisma.com/en/location/london.html

As can be seen, winter to summer there is a ten to one variation in solar incidence.
So solar in the UK provides power almost exactly when it is least needed, during the day in the summer, so displacing true baseload.
Most of the cost reduction in solar have already happened, as what was falling was panel prices, but assuming they are free you are still left with the cost of installation, maintenance and inverters etc which are all much more resistant to cost decreases.
So ignoring the panel cost, you have an installed cost of around $5,000kw nominal.
At the UK's average incidence of around 12% that costs a staggering $40,000kw.

To say that this is economic lunacy understates the case.

You then have the problem of back up for wind undiminished, as it is entirely useless in the depths of winter, so have the expense of building and maintaining a full natural gas network.

Exactly what problem is wind or solar supposed to solve?


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PostPosted: Nov 17, 2011 9:16 am 
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A typical UK 4 bed room house needs a 20KW boiler for heating - that's with double glazing and cavity insulation - though of course you can knock that down to 5KW with new build (not that there is any in the UK). At 0 degrees this is running most of the time. You can typically reckon on needing 20,000KWhrs/year, which is an average 6KW over the cold months, but needs the 20KW capacity.

The Falklands are an example because wind has the advantage of expensive competitors (ie imported diesel). But as wind prices fall, and fossil prices rise, that might change.

As for solar, your costs are off. I'm just looking at a quote for a solar system in Germany. It's ~€2,000/KWp for equipment and €232/KWp for installation. Total at €2,244/KWp. That comes in at €18,700/KW (average) [Note Euros]. Including finance costs and assuming 20 years life span, cost per KWhr is 22 cents, which is about the retail price of electricity in Germany.

The price of panels is falling fast - and I could halve the price immediately by moving to the Mediterranean. So it's quite likely that we'll see €5,000/KW (average) in southern Europe by 2016, which is comparable to EPWR costs.

Of course, that doesn't solve storage issues and peak supply - but solar will be the lowest cost source of electricity in sunny places where air conditioning drives demand. I agree it's problematic in colder climates. Germany has 21GW installed capacity (producing 2.6GW right now). They have problems in the summer getting rid of this (max about 13GW) - though it tends to be the time French reactors have to shut down because of high river temperatures. Solving the storage problem needs some cost and some imagination and some technology. It already drives behaviour in terms of when people run the dishwasher etc, in future charge the car etc.

Personally, I'd like to build a swimming pool to dump the excess power (via a heat pump).

As for the gas network - you don't have to build it for wind. It exists already, and the UK's going to need another 10GW of CCGT because neither nuclear nor renewables can be installed fast enough to avoid this. Unfortunately that means locking in 40% efficient technology just as 60-95% efficient fuel cells are coming along. But that's not too much of an issue since CCGT capacity is ridiculously cheap (c£300m/GW).


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PostPosted: Nov 17, 2011 11:24 am 
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And the cost of the subsidy on the solar? In the US the buyer pays about $3,000 kw nominal, the other $3,000 is paid by the state.
That does not alter the cost, just who pays for it.

As for the assertion which you make that solar is going to dramatically fall in price, that remains an assertion without backup, whereas I have listed strong reasons why the largest falls in price are over.

You also assume that wind power will decrease in price.
Since it is extremely materials intensive, including for things like rare earths and copper, and moreover especially in Europe the best sites are already taken so that less electricity is likely to be produced on average per MW nominal as penetration increases there are few reasons for assuming such a fall.

the use of 6kw average for a house in the UK is absurd, and anyone who is using anything like this is better off by far investing in decent insulation and so on, and certainly not messing around with wind.


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PostPosted: Nov 17, 2011 3:37 pm 
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DaveMart wrote:
And the cost of the subsidy on the solar? In the US the buyer pays about $3,000 kw nominal, the other $3,000 is paid by the state.
That does not alter the cost, just who pays for it.


The figures I give, showing €2244/KW, and over 20 years a cost of 22c/KWhr, which is similar to the retail price of electricity, is without the subsidy (excludes VAT, which is reclaimable on solar installations).

Accepting that, in Germany, it's the subsidy which makes it a no-brainer financial investment if you have the right roof in the right place. But then the whole point of the subsidy was a long term gamble to bring costs down. 18 months ago I was involved in an installation and the cost was GBP 3658/KW - about double the EUR 2,244 for my current quote - that's almost a halving of price in 18 months. OK - one's UK, one's Germany, but some variant of Moore's Law is at work.

Quote:
As for the assertion which you make that solar is going to dramatically fall in price, that remains an assertion without backup, whereas I have listed strong reasons why the largest falls in price are over.


Yes - you said because most of the cost is in installation and the inverter. I gave you the real cost figure which shows that installation is a small part of the cost. The cost is still mostly in the cells and these are falling fast, and that's even before we talk about thin film cells (which will also reduce the cost of installation). The "Moore's law equivalent" in solar is still on going.

Quote:
You also assume that wind power will decrease in price.
Since it is extremely materials intensive, including for things like rare earths and copper, and moreover especially in Europe the best sites are already taken so that less electricity is likely to be produced on average per MW nominal as penetration increases there are few reasons for assuming such a fall.

But currently the whole process for making wind turbines is based around a cottage industry mentality, and is only just getting round to the idea of production lines and economies of scale.

Quote:
the use of 6kw average for a house in the UK is absurd, and anyone who is using anything like this is better off by far investing in decent insulation and so on, and certainly not messing around with wind.


Better ask a plumber, but for our C rated (well above UK average - double glazing, cavity insulation, loft insulation) home, they all recommended a 20-26KW boiler.

Granted you can do with less if you run it 24/7. Looking back at my records the most use was 218KWhrs per day, though that was before insulation. I think a more reliable figure is 182KWhrs/day in January 09, =7.6KW average. But gas boilers rarely run 24/7, so you need to double that.

You're spoilt in a flat :) When I lived in a mansion block flat, the people above and below like it warm so I hardly ever needed heating.

And of course the calculation changes if you consider the ideal heat source for a house, which is (after a shielded chunk of spent nuclear fuel, but MI5 won't allow that) a 60% efficient fuel cell linked to a 400% efficient ground source heat pump, giving an all heat efficiency (gas to heat) of 280%.


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