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View Diary: For electric power generation, the end of fossil fuel is in sight (215 comments)

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  •  850 GWh of fast storage. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nowhere Man, squarewheel

    Yeah, that's not a realistic assumption at all.  The three storage technologies they modeled were GIV (grid-integrated vehicles, i.e. a vast fleet of electric cars), hydrogen (massive facilities and water consumption) and central batteries (huge amounts of lithium)

    Basically, they managed to make it work by more or less ignoring the real issues of energy storage.

    •  Storage costs (6+ / 0-)

      The cheapest form of electricity storage that is actually in use is pumped hydro. It requires the right kind of geography for high and low reservoirs close to each other in an area with lots of rainfall and abundant water supplies to fuel the storage system.

       It's mostly civil engineering, digging large holes and pouring concrete and it costs about a billion bucks US in 2010 money for a 10GWh storage facility that can produce 1 or 2 GW output on demand for a few hours. 850GWh of storage would cost about $85 billion, maybe a little less for production-line manufacture of turbines etc. That's enough to supply the entire US demand for electricity... for about 40 minutes at peak consumption. It's also wasteful with a round-trip efficiency of about 65-70% i.e. putting a GWh of electricity in to pump water uphill will return 650MWh of electricity and waste 350MWh in friction, generating losses etc.

       Batteries cost about a million bucks per MWh (promising candidates include sodium-sulphur assuming NGK can solve the "bursting into flames" problems their first-generation designs have been prone to), that is ten times the cost of pumped storage although losses are smaller. Flywheels are in the same ballpark, capacitors are a lot more expensive.

       Considering those numbers nuclear grid generating stations ($10 billion build cost, 60 year lifespan, 3c/kWh operating costs covering fuel, waste disposal and decommissioning to generate 1.5GW for 90% uptime and no CO2 emissions) start to look like bargains.

    •  Lithium will not be involved (0+ / 0-)

      I believe Air-Iron batteries are being used in modern grid-backing applications.

      •  They specifically used lithium titanate (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sandino

        ...for their estimate in the report.

        Like some of the other posters, I don't think the energy storage mechanisms they mentioned are all that likely to be what are actually used.

    •  The whole point of the study was that (0+ / 0-)

      wind electricity is so cheap that it makes sense to nearly eliminate storage by having a large oversupply of wind turbine generators.  

      Renewable energy brings national global security.     

      by Calamity Jean on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 12:50:06 AM PST

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      •  They still had 850 GwH of storage (0+ / 0-)

        ...unless I'm reading the projections wrong.  Presumably they'd need a lot more without the wind?

        •  That doesn't seem like an excessive amount (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW, Roger Fox

          of storage, considering it's covering part or all of 13 states, but I don't see where you got that figure.  Here:  http://www.sciencedirect.com/... in table 3, it says that to cover 99.9% of the historic load with renewables would require 16.2 GW of solar photovoltaic, 89.7 GW of offshore wind, 124 GW of onshore wind, and 51.9 GW of storage.  Some of the storage would presumably be batteries and some would be hydrogen or other chemical storage.  

          As you can see, wind generation capacity far exceeds storage capacity.  That's the point.  

          Renewable energy brings national global security.     

          by Calamity Jean on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 08:08:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  cheapest form of newly built generation (0+ / 0-)

        3.5 to 6.5 cents per kwh.

        I read somewhere a new turbine goes carbon neutral in less than 1 year. I cant wait until they start building the Atlantic Wind Connection, 350 miles of offshore HVDC to support 1700 4 mw turbines, NJ to Virginia.

        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:21:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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