epsilonGreedy

Power generation hole ahead.

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With today's news that Hitachi has pulled out of a Welsh nuke plant construction deal this and other failing nuclear power station projects leaves a 15% hole in planned capacity 10 years ahead.

 

Is it time for self builders to design in power source diversity?

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46900918

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And once we had the ability to design and build our own Nuclear generation plants.......

 

 

I am installing my PV as we speak (in between the snow showers) and hope batteries will be added later.

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13 minutes ago, ProDave said:

And once we had the ability to design and build our own Nuclear generation plants.......

 

 

But think of the legions of Business Studies graduates we got instead.

 

13 minutes ago, ProDave said:

And once we had the ability to design and build our own Nuclear generation plants.......

 

 

I am installing my PV as we speak (in between the snow showers) and hope batteries will be added later.

 

I have already decided that the power cable to my static caravan will become a spur to a portable generator housing in the garden because there is no point in having 6 months of LPG under the back garden with no 240v to drive the boiler control electrics.

 

I have not worked out the specifics of the distribution board switching though I imagine a chunky switch is required to ensure the generator is never fighting the phase of the mains grid when that springs back into life after a power cut.

Edited by epsilonGreedy

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Amendment to building regs to require each new house to have a minimum of 2 solar panels in roof. Maybe not JOB DONE, but its a start at least. How many of us have been given a DVD or VHS for Christmas and ended up buying the series. Same habit would apply i reckon.

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Time has moved on, renewables continue to become cheaper.

 

Originally I though that nuclear was the only solution to low carbon, but increasingly I think that renewables plus batteries will surpass this due to the ever escalating costs of nuclear.

 

A considerable amount of energy capacity exists to deal with peak demand. The use of smart devices and batteries to balance demand across the day would massively decrease the required generating capacity that we have.

 

By distributing wind geographically and offshore, it can pretty much be used for baseload capacity.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jul/10/nuclear-renewables-are-better-bet-ministers-told

 

https://www.skepticalscience.com/print.php?r=374

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I've been working through the sums on the viability of home battery storage for a fair time now, watching the price of batteries and their associated equipment reduce and looking very closely at the combination of peak to off-peak rate grid supplied electricity and our self-generation capability.  Right now batteries are just at the point where they start to make sense.  I'm not expecting to recover my whole investment over the lifetime of the battery system (although I think I may well, if the price ratio between peak rate and off-peak rate electricity increases, as I think it will) but am happy to pay a premium both to have an essential services back up supply from the battery pack and also to have the convenience of not having to bother to time the use of appliances to coincide with either a sunny day or the off-peak rate.  Already our usage figures since switching to E7 show that nearly 2/3rds of our electricity use is at the off-peak rate.  With a battery storage system I'm pretty sure I can get to the point where we have barely any peak rate usage at all, even in the middle of winter.

 

I'll post more on my plans once I've firmed up the details, but I expect to be investing in battery storage soon (and no, it most definitely won't be a Tesla Powerwall, for a host of reasons).  My installation will also be DIY, as I already have the signed off circuits in place, two terminated and protected runs of SWA that were put in with the house installation, in anticipation of putting a battery storage shed (a metal one, for safety) in the space between the house and the big retaining wall.  These are currently terminated in an IP65  box on the retaining wall that has nothing connected to it, and I'll just move this box so that it's inside the metal shed, something I can do without needing to disconnect the cables, as they already come up through what will be the shed base.

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2 hours ago, Big Neil said:

Amendment to building regs to require each new house to have a minimum of 2 solar panels in roof.

 

I'd start with making it mandatory to put PV on new distribution warehouses. We've had many of these spring up along the A14 and they have vast roofs typically around 1 million square foot.  

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17 minutes ago, Temp said:

I'd start with making it mandatory to put PV on new distribution warehouses. We've had many of these spring up along the A14 and they have vast roofs typically around 1 million square foot.  

 

In space terms i suppose it would be a better bet quantity wise, but just in terms of overall reduction on central production i'd still go with the house option

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Grid scale storage is an essential element to the mix.  Whilst the Li-based approaches mentioned by @jack above are an important stepping stone, I just don't think that the 1850-class cells are a sensible storage atom for grid-scale storage.  Hopefully the liquid metal technologies evangelised by Professor Sadoway et al will come on stream in the next 5 years because these will both drop the unit price by perhaps 5× and have a usable working life in the 20+ years range.

 

 

As Sadoway points out, the energy grid is currently a zero inventory system -- by far the largest zero inventory system in the world.  We also need to have adaptive demand strategies down to the consumer level, IMO.  I am pretty flexible where in the day I buy my power -- or at least over 70% of it -- but I would like to buy it at the cheepest price.

Edited by TerryE

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9 minutes ago, TerryE said:

Hopefully the liquid metal technologies evangelised by Professor Sadoway et al will come on stream in the next 5 years because these will both drop the unit price by perhaps 5× and have a usable working life in the 20+ years range

 

 

Is this the battery technology that Bill Gates invested in? I watched a YouTube video about that and concluded community scale battery storage is on the cusp of viability. It was a shame that the inventors expended time knocking lithium to justify their technology.

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The problem with the investment in battery technology (if it is a problem) is that all the money has gone into producing very light, energy-dense, battery technologies, mostly using the  lithium ion exchange mechanism.  This is what electric vehicles need, both a high energy density and a high power density.  Electric vehicles don't really care too much about cycle life, as with a range of >200 miles per charge only a small number of electric cars will need more than around 1000 cycles before the rest of the car falls to bits from old age (200 miles per cycle and 1000 cycles gives a life of around 200,000 miles, more than most cars will ever need).

 

Either home energy storage (which makes sense in terms of grid efficiency for homes that have renewable generation to spare at peak times) or centralised grid energy storage needs a much longer cycle life to be viable.  Batteries will be cycled at least once per day, possibly several times per day for a peak-lopping grid storage system.  The types of lithium cell technology that have been getting massive amounts of development funding isn't really the ideal technology for this, as weight and size aren't major issues for fixed storage, neither is peak discharge rate (home storage probably doesn't even need a 1C discharge capacity, unlike electric cars that may well need a peak capability of 10 to 20C). 

 

There are a few technologies that make a lot more sense for grid storage, and one of my favourites is the redox flow battery.  Cycle life for this type of cell is pretty much infinite, but they do take up a fair volume for a given capacity.  Some research is being done, but there just doesn't seem to be the high level of development investment that, say, Tesla have put in with their battery partners, Panasonic/Sanyo.  Similarly, the one type of lithium chemistry cell that does have a cycle life of around 10,000 to 20,000 cycles if managed carefully, LiFePO4, has had very little development over the past ten years or so, because it has a relatively poor energy density, and this makes it less well suited to electric vehicles.

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Now that we have an electric car, I reckon that will use around 1/3 of our electricity usage.

 

The house also has an enormous number of pumps, fans etc that run 24 hours a day.

 

Plus I have put quite a few dawn/dusk lights outside.

 

Then we have 5kw of solar panels.

 

This means that we may approach the point where over 50% of our electricity usage could be during the night, but the one third that is for the car can be timed for any time when electricity is cheap and available,

 

This changing pattern of usage creates many possibilities for the grid.

 

Within a few years almost all new generation built will be renewable, we are already there in the western world. Efficiency means that electricity demand ha basically stopped growing, or it now grows well below GDP.

 

Electric cars are not an issue as they can be charged at night when there is ample spare capacity. Their batteries could be used to smooth demand, however, this would considerably increase the number of times that they cycle and the effects on their lifespan would have to be considered.

 

Net I am not worried at all about energy supply. Indeed I was thinking the other day that in the long run, energy may collapse in real terms costs due to the falling cost of renewables.

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Guesstimate question. How much a 1MW grid tied battery installed and ready to go? based on the Tesla one in Australia a simple division puts it somewhere around £450 grand. What think we?

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30 minutes ago, AliG said:

Within a few years almost all new generation built will be renewable, we are already there in the western world.

 

What do you do if you have a calm few days in winter?  Demand-side shaping is essential.  Solving the base-load problem is essential.  This isn't like developing nuclear fusion, as there are no fundamental physics issues to solve; more just the sort of WW2 technology problem -- lots of smaller incremental advances and scaling of engineering and production.  This is eminently solvable, but its just a matter of political will and priority, and these are sadly lacking in the western world.

 

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Isn't the main problem peak demand?  We have plenty of generation capacity for large parts of the day, but work on fairly slim margins at peak times.  Smoothing out those peaks would go a long way to helping I think.  Reducing demand (which is what they want to do with 'smart' pricing) is one way, but I can't see massive reductions being achievable.  Home storage capacity may well be (part of) the answer - instead of spending billions building a plant to meet peak demand, use the money to fit local storage that can be charged up from excess generation capacity outwith peak.

 

I would also suggest the world needs to consider whether crypto currency mining, and powering the server centres that allow on demand streaming really are sensible uses of energy.

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It would be rare to get no renewable generation. If it is still and windless in winter, it is probably sunny and good for PV. But it won't be still and windless everywhere.

 

Perhaps more large scale storage is needed. More pumped water storage or indeed battery storage?

 

 

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1 hour ago, Stones said:

Isn't the main problem peak demand?  We have plenty of generation capacity for large parts of the day, but work on fairly slim margins at peak times.  Smoothing out those peaks would go a long way to helping I think.

 

Yes it will help, but demand shaping and demand levelling through storage will only enable us to drop our peak capacity by maybe 30% .  This will in turn allow us to retire a lot of old, polluting generation capacity.  However, even if we do this, then we still need to meet the base load in the "sun doesn't shine; the wind doesn't blow" cases. 

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48 minutes ago, TerryE said:

  However, even if we do this, then we still need to meet the base load in the "sun doesn't shine; the wind doesn't blow" cases. 

Can that be met by importing from another country?  On the basis it is unlikely the wind is not blowing and the sun not shining everywhere.

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On 17/01/2019 at 17:49, ProDave said:

Can that be met by importing from another country?  On the basis it is unlikely the wind is not blowing and the sun not shining everywhere.

 

Import electricity from Morocco instead of NGas from Russia.  :)

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how about little generators under the dinging table with pedals - hooked to home supply. PEdal away while having dinner. The Tesco approach and all that...

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only sensible option long term  in scotland  is a lot more hydro .either

as pumped storage

or simple hydro, or tidal races by building barrages on small bays where rivers enter sea. 2 tides a day --every day -which means 4  opportunities to turn turbines every day 

NOT nodding ducks or anything  continually in sea water--

sea water eats everything 

global warming means MORE  rain

and as we are  a maritime climate  we just going to get warmer +wetter

If they want to give us more FIT ,then that would work as well --but as it is now -only the few will engage with PV

I just don,t see lithium batteries as any real solution ,not until they can recycle it cheaply ,

at this time very little or any of it is recycled ,cos its cheaper to use new

and it is a finite resource 

we have dams that are nearly 100 years old  which are still viable 

 

Edited by scottishjohn

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They should have built the Severn barrage many years ago. The latest feasibility study cost what it would have cost originally to build!

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