So what's going to replace coal?

 

Pinned post created by dthead

Posted 2 years ago

  Carnot Chief Commissioner

I've been following the debate on energy generation with interest of late.  One nagging question remains: What will replace coal-fired electricity generation in Australia?

The Vic Government's Energy report is a fascinating read.  It reckons natural gas will fill the gap in the medium term.  But will we have enough?  Will we need to import vast quantities from the Persian Gulf?
https://www.energy.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0021/83091/EY-modelling-report-VRET.pdf (Refer pages 26-29 especially!)

Meanwhile, some coal-freed stations have gone from worthless to multi-million dollar bonanzas for their new owners within 2 years:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-24/coal-power-station-sold-for-peanuts-becomes-730-million-asset/9077582

What a mess.

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  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

To answer the question, more coal. Should be anyway. We dig up our resources sell them OS yet won't use it ourselves. As a nation we would burn SFA, in comparison to what is exported.

Read article on sale of Vales Point, $1million, well above retention value, good work Gladys, 730% ROI.
Shame I couldn't get my snout in that trough.

A bit off topic, had a technician look at my inverter roof top PV system today, about 7kw system, and asked about battery storage, informed that new regulations will apply shortly in terms of how/where batteries can be installed. Placed in separate shed, isolated from main dwelling, simply cannot be placed in garage any longer. Bloke told me this is not without merit. Issues with ventilation, fire risk ect. No expert on this at all. Seems harder to disconnect from the grid.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

To answer the question, more coal. Should be anyway. We dig up our resources sell them OS yet won't use it ourselves. As a nation we would burn SFA, in comparison to what is exported.

Read article on sale of Vales Point, $1million, well above retention value, good work Gladys, 730% ROI.
Shame I couldn't get my snout in that trough.

michaelgm
The problem is that many of the coal-fired stations are approaching end-of-life.  It's cheaper to kill them than keep them going.
And no one is willing to build new coal-fired generation.

I think $730 million value today vs $1 million purchase price is a 73000% ROI.  Ker-ching!
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Even some of the newer coal fired power houses are approaching expiration. Mt Piper at Wang is 20 plus years old.
Leed time for construction of new would be 5 years or so, EIS and associated red and green tape.
Yet nothing is on the horizon. Nursing and band aiding old clunkers like Liddel is the apparent solution.
Stock up on candles.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

What will replace coal-fired electricity generation in Australia?
Carnot

I don't know about what will, but I know what should:  home solar, home storage and wind.  Combined with rational demand management.

AIUI, solar is now the cheapest form of new generation on a TCO basis (I read conflicting things on this).  In addition, it's scalable both up and down, and doesn't technically need a transmission network though a peer to peer transmission network improves it's utility.

As for demand management, there are oodles of things which could be done in this regard, starting with unwinding the demand management features of our system designed for coal generation like (what I have) "off peak" hot water.  My hot water should heat up when the spot price is low: during windy sunny days, not during the still dead of night.

If I had solar panels (my house doesn't have correctly a facing roof - which a new building code should mandate) I should be able to sell the excess power to the grid at the spot price, not my retailer's average wholesale price.  And I should be able to buy, store and resell excess power from the grid at the spot price if I choose.

Also, 240V is the highest in the developed world.  Most electronic gadgets these days - and their sheer number make them a significant part of the household and business draw - would work perfectly well at 110V - while not drawing a single extra watt of power.  Most gadgets power supply have an initial step down transformer, then a resistor based (ie heat generating) voltage regulator to get the same amps to the gadget regardless of the input voltage.  One of the two general circuits in my house could be entirely 110V and literally halve that circuit's power consumption.  

Regulatory capture - as much as anything, certainly more than climate wars - prevents this, and creates artificial demand for a legacy product (coal fired power).
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
The Vic Government's Energy report is a fascinating read.  It reckons natural gas will fill the gap in the medium term.  But will we have enough?  Will we need to import vast quantities from the Persian Gulf?
Carnot
This is the most ridiculous proposition ever but sadly we may have to do that.

It would help if the LNG exporters paid the Australian people for the gas they're exporting so we were at least being compensated. We don't get a single cent and we are unlikely to get any money for years thanks to clever accounting by the gas companies themselves. Pauline Hanson pointed out the ridiculousness of this situation in parliament last week and was ignored. We are actually paying the LNG exporters to dump our gas off-shore at below cost and Aussie taxpayers are unlikely to see any money for years. But somehow we have a gas shortage on the east coast?

And people wonder why we're screwed!
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
Stock up on candles.
michaelgm
Candles and the BBQ will do for a bit of light and a feed, but the internet won't run on it... Wink
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

What will replace coal-fired electricity generation in Australia?

I don't know about what will, but I know what should:  home solar, home storage and wind.  Combined with rational demand management.

AIUI, solar is now the cheapest form of new generation on a TCO basis (I read conflicting things on this).  In addition, it's scalable both up and down, and doesn't technically need a transmission network though a peer to peer transmission network improves it's utility.

As for demand management, there are oodles of things which could be done in this regard, starting with unwinding the demand management features of our system designed for coal generation like (what I have) "off peak" hot water.  My hot water should heat up when the spot price is low: during windy sunny days, not during the still dead of night.

If I had solar panels (my house doesn't have correctly a facing roof - which a new building code should mandate) I should be able to sell the excess power to the grid at the spot price, not my retailer's average wholesale price.  And I should be able to buy, store and resell excess power from the grid at the spot price if I choose.

Also, 240V is the highest in the developed world.  Most electronic gadgets these days - and their sheer number make them a significant part of the household and business draw - would work perfectly well at 110V - while not drawing a single extra watt of power.  Most gadgets power supply have an initial step down transformer, then a resistor based (ie heat generating) voltage regulator to get the same amps to the gadget regardless of the input voltage.  One of the two general circuits in my house could be entirely 110V and literally halve that circuit's power consumption.  

Regulatory capture - as much as anything, certainly more than climate wars - prevents this, and creates artificial demand for a legacy product (coal fired power).
djf01
A couple of points worth mentioning:
- What happens on days when it's cloudy and still (as is often the case in Autumn)?  That's where large scale pumped-storage hydro is probably best.  Industry just can't run otherwise.
- 240V has the advantage of being able to charge EV batteries much quicker than 110V.
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

Yet here we are beating ourselves up over reducing our carbon emissions, a laudable concept, but Japan is currently planning and constructing 40+ HELE coal fired power stations, makes our efforts seem puny does it not?

I wonder what lets say India and China are building?
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
1) 240V is inherently for efficient than 110V as it requires thinner cable and suffers from less losses.

2.4kW = 240 V x 10 Amps

2.4kW = 110 V x 20 amps

Please lets not look to Nth America for guidance for domestic electric reticulation where most houses now have 2 supplies.

2) Batteries are being pushed out of houses and garages because of fire risk and if there is a fire in the house for other reasons how do you shut of the power supply if you cannot get to the battery?
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
What distresses me most is that Victoria has good conventional onshore gas that can be cheaply, quickly and safely extracted, but it is illegal to do so.

Back in the 1990s an onshore gas field began to be exploited in the Port Campbell - Timboon area. Being on farmland, small, cheap gas rigs were erected in the corners of paddocks. These had a relatively short life, but when the nearby gas was extracted, they could be moved a few kilometres to a new site and resume work. This was normal, conventional gas, no fracking with dodgy chemicals or anything like that.

But then stupid, dumb politics intervened. Wildly exaggerated horror stories about fracking appeared in the media and the state government decided to get populist and announced that all onshore gas production would be banned in Victoria. They made no distinction between conventional gas and unconventional (fracked) gas, because the hysterical media didn't make the distinction. The opposition, was just as stupid and vulnerable to uninformed populist pressures as the government, so they jumped on board and announced that they supported the ban.

So we have a rich gas field that could supply gas quickly and cheaply with almost no environmental disruption, that is closed for the indefinite future because our stupid politicians are so hyper-partisan that they refuse to sit down and announce a joint policy to allow this gas to supply energy starved Victorians.

* Rant ends. *
  apw5910 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
Also, 240V is the highest in the developed world.  Most electronic gadgets these days - and their sheer number make them a significant part of the household and business draw - would work perfectly well at 110V - while not drawing a single extra watt of power.  Most gadgets power supply have an initial step down transformer, then a resistor based (ie heat generating) voltage regulator to get the same amps to the gadget regardless of the input voltage.  One of the two general circuits in my house could be entirely 110V and literally halve that circuit's power consumption.
djf01
If this were true (it isn't) then why stop at 110V instead of 240? Why not 55, 27.5, ...

In fact why not zero? That would be infinitely better.

You haven't thought this through, have you?
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

What distresses me most is that Victoria has good conventional onshore gas that can be cheaply, quickly and safely extracted, but it is illegal to do so.

Back in the 1990s an onshore gas field began to be exploited in the Port Campbell - Timboon area. Being on farmland, small, cheap gas rigs were erected in the corners of paddocks. These had a relatively short life, but when the nearby gas was extracted, they could be moved a few kilometres to a new site and resume work. This was normal, conventional gas, no fracking with dodgy chemicals or anything like that.

But then stupid, dumb politics intervened. Wildly exaggerated horror stories about fracking appeared in the media and the state government decided to get populist and announced that all onshore gas production would be banned in Victoria. They made no distinction between conventional gas and unconventional (fracked) gas, because the hysterical media didn't make the distinction. The opposition, was just as stupid and vulnerable to uninformed populist pressures as the government, so they jumped on board and announced that they supported the ban.

So we have a rich gas field that could supply gas quickly and cheaply with almost no environmental disruption, that is closed for the indefinite future because our stupid politicians are so hyper-partisan that they refuse to sit down and announce a joint policy to allow this gas to supply energy starved Victorians.

* Rant ends. *
Bogong
Sure.  But I doubt it would last long.  It's hard to find decent data on the actual onshore gas resource available....
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Carnot, I don't have the details to hand, but the mid-sized onshore gas field was happily operating for over a decade while the huge offshore Otway Basin gas fields were developed. It appears that the overall reserves were a long way from being depleted and the gas companies were still moving their rigs onto new paddocks when the ban was announced.

As far as I recall, there were no objections to the gas extraction and the only complaints were about a few gaseous burps that came from the Port Campbell gas processing plant after the huge offshore platforms came on line.

So I'm reasonably confident that the onshore part of the Otway Basin gas fields is far from exhausted, that the gas could be extracted quickly and cheaply and that there are no reasonable grounds for any environmental objections as it's conventional gas, not fracked gas. Smile
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
The small onshore fields of old was meant for small scale demand. These days and to deal with power supply the volumes are huge. For example my employer has 24/7/365 2500MW of combined cycle gas power electrical generation on our site, it needs a 3' diameter high pressure pipe line to feed it. To replace coal in on the eastern grid you need to scale this up around 6-8 times.

Gas is fine, but the amount required is huge and we have enough problems with gas supply without large scale coal replacement to add to the mix until the price and availability issue is resolved.

Solar PV is fine but limited as most useful during daylight hours and mostly midday, costs and efficiency are improving dramatically, but if you have to pay to store the power, you loose 7-10% of the energy and additional costs. Solar PV seems to economical as roof top solar on existing structures where infrastructure is cheap and you can cheaply tap into existing supply. It looses efficiency by not being able to follow the sun. For free standing PV power generation on large scale, they need to have sun trackers to make them cost effective. Issue is to make a decent amount of power, the land required is huge and frequently under estimated to replace a coal fire power station, start with the CBD of Melbourne as an example used recently to replace Liddle.

Wind, pretty much as above, however many farmers enjoy leasing their land and still using the same paddocks for cattle/sheep. The best wind farms in the world only produce 35% of their name plate capacity due to non windy days and low wind days.

For both, hydro is the best large scale battery, but again more cost to the actual generation cost for each.

Ultimately solar thermal, usually coupled to a Gas turbine is the closest we come to providing 24/7/365 supply for RE. Large scale costs are probably still 10-20 years away to be truly competitive and again land required is large and hence away from the east coast and exposed to transmission losses and support services.

So for now, for me, coal should replace coal and we should be building 10GW of generation between now and 2025. When we talk about population we are talking aging coal fired power stations with poor efficiencies, most lucky to be mid 30% range and emissions control not including SO2 removal. The time frames thrown around by the anti-coal voice is excessive, 5+ years for just one turbine to be up and running, no!!! Oh and the other excuse, you get not get finance, doesn't seem to prevent others doing the same!!!

In contract, Dubai is building a 2400MW coal fired power station, using borrowed funds in a PPP, 4 turbines, 45% efficiency, SO2 and NOX emissions very low due to sea water scrubbers. 3.5 years from project kick-off to first turbine pumping into the grid and prices lower than what the bulk energy users in Australia pay and using Australian coal.

Only reason we have this issue is because coal fire power station construction and replacement largely stopped in early 2000's as govt decided to sell their aging plants and private sector upgraded rather than either govt or private sector replace. This drove down the cost of power to below replacement cost for nearly 10 years. Also during this time the govts were funding rollout of PV solar which helped cap the peak.


The fact we are exporting coal and not using ourselves is insulting.

To throw one more into the mix, I have no issue with Nuclear, but we should be building an industry, not a power station. Full lifecycle mine to disposal.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

1) 240V is inherently for efficient than 110V as it requires thinner cable and suffers from less losses.

2.4kW = 240 V x 10 Amps

2.4kW = 110 V x 20 amps

Please lets not look to Nth America for guidance for domestic electric reticulation where most houses now have 2 supplies.

2) Batteries are being pushed out of houses and garages because of fire risk and if there is a fire in the house for other reasons how do you shut of the power supply if you cannot get to the battery?
RTT_Rules

I came to this view after hacking apart a few charging devices and computer power supplies sourcing parts for a solar USB charger.

In the 1990s computers had to be explicitly configured for the power jurisdiction they were in.  A common problem I dealt with at work as a brand new IMB PC would be plugged in, power supply set to 110V and would promptly blow - sometimes taking the rest of the PC with it.

Since then things have advanced.  Most consumer electronics are explicitly designed to handle all of the world's power supplies seamlessly.  The designs I've looked at take an AC current, step it down 4-10 times with a transformer, send it through a diode gate to make it DC, then use a voltage regulator chip to further step it down to the required voltage for the device.  

The voltage regulator chips (or at least the cheap ones) work by shunting excess power off to a resistor.  They can take 24-12 volts at 1amp and deliver 12V at 1amp, with any access burnt off as heat in the resistor.  So if your device needs say 2 amp at 12 volts, it will draw 0.2 amps (roughly) in a 110V juridiction, and (roughly) 0.4 amps in a 240V juridiction - just running hotter in the latter.

Such a device can work safely anywhere in the world.  The downside is in high voltage jurisdictions, it will draw more power and generate more heat.

Hence the suggestion: homes in Australia should have a 110V circuit for all the electronic gadget devices they have.  Pretty much every device will still work unaltered, and a substantial number (I wish I knew how many) will draw half the current as a result.
  apw5910 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
The voltage regulator chips (or at least the cheap ones) work by shunting excess power off to a resistor.  They can take 24-12 volts at 1amp and deliver 12V at 1amp, with any access burnt off as heat in the resistor.  So if your device needs say 2 amp at 12 volts, it will draw 0.2 amps (roughly) in a 110V juridiction, and (roughly) 0.4 amps in a 240V juridiction - just running hotter in the latter.
djf01
Correction: So if your device needs say 2 amp at 12 volts, it will draw 0.2 amps (roughly) in a 110V juridiction, and (roughly) 0.1 amps in a 240V juridiction

I haven't seen a voltage regulator of the 7805/7812/..., type (the type you seem to be talking about) in a computer power supply. Ever. Even the 1970's vintage Apple 2 had a switchmode power supply, which are far more efficient than dumping the excess load as heat. The type used universally in computers (and lots of other things) nowadays.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
What's going to replace coal? Gas, with a dollop of wind and solar on top to help it all go down. But that's a long time coming - some of the more modern coal-fired power stations could operate economically past the 2040s. New greenfields coal power stations are out of the question, but unit-by-unit rebuilds at existing power stations into supercritical and ultra-supercritical generating units (aka HELE) are likely. It's also easier for coal-loving governments to funnel taxpayer dollars into smaller projects like unit rebuild 'prototypes' (SC & USC have been around for decades and are essentially proven tech). Carbon Capture & Storage is still going to be a money pit.

What should replace coal? Nuclear, with large scale dispatchable solar (solar thermal, large scale PV + batteries) where economical. Renewables aren't going to be able to do it all, particularly if we want to wean ourselves off gas-fired electricity as well.

Start off the nuclear build out small instead of building a 1000MWe+ power station right from the get-go, focus on smaller prototypes that can both deliver radically cheaper energy prices and walk-away safety (fast breeders/burners, thorium etc) and then build the reactors that actually deliver on those promises. Build up an indigenous capacity to crank out these smaller units, then put them all over the place wherever you can. Existing coal-fired power station sites would be a good place for them.
  fzr560 Chief Train Controller

The voltage regulator chips (or at least the cheap ones) work by shunting excess power off to a resistor.  They can take 24-12 volts at 1amp and deliver 12V at 1amp, with any access burnt off as heat in the resistor.  So if your device needs say 2 amp at 12 volts, it will draw 0.2 amps (roughly) in a 110V juridiction, and (roughly) 0.4 amps in a 240V juridiction - just running hotter in the latter.
Correction: So if your device needs say 2 amp at 12 volts, it will draw 0.2 amps (roughly) in a 110V juridiction, and (roughly) 0.1 amps in a 240V juridiction

I haven't seen a voltage regulator of the 7805/7812/..., type (the type you seem to be talking about) in a computer power supply. Ever. Even the 1970's vintage Apple 2 had a switchmode power supply, which are far more efficient than dumping the excess load as heat. The type used universally in computers (and lots of other things) nowadays.
apw5910
We should be eternally grateful that we did not follow American practice and go with 110VAC. We've backed the wrong horse on numerous occasions(rail gauge!!!!) but 240VAC is the superior choice. Just for starters, when you half the voltage, you need to double the current to deliver the same power to the endpoint. Not only do you need to increase the size of your conductor, but your transmission losses, multiply. This is the reason that all long distance transmission lines are extremely high voltage.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

What will replace coal-fired electricity generation in Australia?

I don't know about what will, but I know what should:  home solar, home storage and wind.  Combined with rational demand management.

AIUI, solar is now the cheapest form of new generation on a TCO basis (I read conflicting things on this).  In addition, it's scalable both up and down, and doesn't technically need a transmission network though a peer to peer transmission network improves it's utility.

As for demand management, there are oodles of things which could be done in this regard, starting with unwinding the demand management features of our system designed for coal generation like (what I have) "off peak" hot water.  My hot water should heat up when the spot price is low: during windy sunny days, not during the still dead of night.

If I had solar panels (my house doesn't have correctly a facing roof - which a new building code should mandate) I should be able to sell the excess power to the grid at the spot price, not my retailer's average wholesale price.  And I should be able to buy, store and resell excess power from the grid at the spot price if I choose.

Also, 240V is the highest in the developed world.  Most electronic gadgets these days - and their sheer number make them a significant part of the household and business draw - would work perfectly well at 110V - while not drawing a single extra watt of power.  Most gadgets power supply have an initial step down transformer, then a resistor based (ie heat generating) voltage regulator to get the same amps to the gadget regardless of the input voltage.  One of the two general circuits in my house could be entirely 110V and literally halve that circuit's power consumption.  

Regulatory capture - as much as anything, certainly more than climate wars - prevents this, and creates artificial demand for a legacy product (coal fired power).
djf01
I read about some software invented by some Australian guys that sells your power to the grid when you receive the most return (I guess the spot price). It's something that looks like its worth thinking about. I think it was on the ABC's Catalyst program.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

The voltage regulator chips (or at least the cheap ones) work by shunting excess power off to a resistor.  They can take 24-12 volts at 1amp and deliver 12V at 1amp, with any access burnt off as heat in the resistor.  So if your device needs say 2 amp at 12 volts, it will draw 0.2 amps (roughly) in a 110V juridiction, and (roughly) 0.4 amps in a 240V juridiction - just running hotter in the latter.
Correction: So if your device needs say 2 amp at 12 volts, it will draw 0.2 amps (roughly) in a 110V juridiction, and (roughly) 0.1 amps in a 240V juridiction

I haven't seen a voltage regulator of the 7805/7812/..., type (the type you seem to be talking about) in a computer power supply. Ever. Even the 1970's vintage Apple 2 had a switchmode power supply, which are far more efficient than dumping the excess load as heat. The type used universally in computers (and lots of other things) nowadays.
We should be eternally grateful that we did not follow American practice and go with 110VAC. We've backed the wrong horse on numerous occasions(rail gauge!!!!) but 240VAC is the superior choice. Just for starters, when you half the voltage, you need to double the current to deliver the same power to the endpoint. Not only do you need to increase the size of your conductor, but your transmission losses, multiply. This is the reason that all long distance transmission lines are extremely high voltage.
fzr560
The USA used some form of 3 phase 110 to come to near enough 230 to power home furnaces etc, but recently there has been a move just to standardise on 110 for domestic use. The biggest advantage is that 110 rarely kills anybody. I accidentally touched a 110 active in the US and received a mild jolt, not the absolute hammer you get from 240.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
The biggest problem with 110AC is the that street transformers need to be 400-500m apart, not the usual up to 1.5km.

Extra cost in cabling due to the cables now expected to take twice the current, extra heat.....

Look along the streets in CAN and USA, the street power cabling looks crap compared to Australia.


its likely the move to 110VAC in USA and removal of the 230V outlet for the fridge and other higher loads is due to a change in domestic appliance technology, most things use less energy today and the fridge compressor cutting in doesn't make the lights dim.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

The voltage regulator chips (or at least the cheap ones) work by shunting excess power off to a resistor.  They can take 24-12 volts at 1amp and deliver 12V at 1amp, with any access burnt off as heat in the resistor.  So if your device needs say 2 amp at 12 volts, it will draw 0.2 amps (roughly) in a 110V juridiction, and (roughly) 0.4 amps in a 240V juridiction - just running hotter in the latter.
Correction: So if your device needs say 2 amp at 12 volts, it will draw 0.2 amps (roughly) in a 110V juridiction, and (roughly) 0.1 amps in a 240V juridiction

I haven't seen a voltage regulator of the 7805/7812/..., type (the type you seem to be talking about) in a computer power supply. Ever. Even the 1970's vintage Apple 2 had a switchmode power supply, which are far more efficient than dumping the excess load as heat. The type used universally in computers (and lots of other things) nowadays.
apw5910

OK, I think I need to stick to topics I have at least some real knowledge of!  

I should have written 0.2 amp at 110V for 22 watts vs 0.2 amp at 240V for 48 watts.

I look around my media room and see no less than 15 devices drawing power, and four others in reserve not (plus a collection of cameras & phones).  Not much power, but some.  One of these days I'll put this brain fart of mine to the test and find out for sure.

@RRT_RULES - IF my concept actually does save significant power, it would be implemented with a second 120VAC circuit from a stepdown transformer (or SS equivalent) at the circuit breaker in my house.  

It's obviously not practical - indeed not safe - to lower the voltage for high draw applications like washing machines and aircon over wiring designed for 240V.


A couple of points worth mentioning:
- What happens on days when it's cloudy and still (as is often the case in Autumn)?  

That's why we still need a transmission grid.  In Australia. the sun is always shining somewhere, and the wind is always blowing somewhere.  

But IMHO, we need a more peer to peer oriented grid, so we can take advantage of the emergence of efficient on-site generation.



That's where large scale pumped-storage hydro is probably best.

I remain highly sceptical of of pumped hydro as a storage solution vs distributed micro storage, but I'm not in a position to anything other than qualitative hypothesizing.  I do think there is an element of soviet era thinking here: that we *need* large scale centralised power generation available all the time, I just don't think it's true anymore.

As for the mobile app and demand management, I think there is a huge element of Enron about that.  I'd much rather have smart devices, like a hot water system with 2-3 days capacity (I've got that now) with a smart activation system linked to the spot price, rather than some obsolete assumption about when power is cheapest.

To me, there couldn't be a more theoretically perfect application for markets to allocate resources optimally than power.  Unfortunately, we have gatekeepers (grid owners) and their captured regulators preventing these sorts of reforms.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE




A couple of points worth mentioning:
- What happens on days when it's cloudy and still (as is often the case in Autumn)?  
That's why we still need a transmission grid.  In Australia. the sun is always shining somewhere, and the wind is always blowing somewhere.  

But IMHO, we need a more peer to peer oriented grid, so we can take advantage of the emergence of efficient on-site generation.



That's where large scale pumped-storage hydro is probably best.
I remain highly sceptical of of pumped hydro as a storage solution vs distributed micro storage, but I'm not in a position to anything other than qualitative hypothesizing.  I do think there is an element of soviet era thinking here: that we *need* large scale centralised power generation available all the time, I just don't think it's true anymore.

As for the mobile app and demand management, I think there is a huge element of Enron about that.  I'd much rather have smart devices, like a hot water system with 2-3 days capacity (I've got that now) with a smart activation system linked to the spot price, rather than some obsolete assumption about when power is cheapest.

To me, there couldn't be a more theoretically perfect application for markets to allocate resources optimally than power.  Unfortunately, we have gatekeepers (grid owners) and their captured regulators preventing these sorts of reforms.
djf01
Actually not quite true, the sun and the wind disappear usually at night. Other issue is transmission losses, I think up to about 300-500km its not too bad but beyond... Which the problem with SA's extension cord into Vic. They loose about 5%, maybe more.

So the East coast grid is really only effectual between Brisbane and Adelaide and moving large amounts of power  needs more  wires in the grid. All this adds to the cost of RE. You need the RE generation, then you need the back up generation, then usually need a much larger grid.

Meanwhile a dozen coal fired power stations around Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and even Adelaide, with some inter-tie connections between the states and the snowy-hydro and Tas Hydro plus others such as gas to provide peak demand....provided a low cost, low loss generation network as the generation capacity was only built once, not twice and the transmission losses were minimal as much of the power was used within 150km of the power station.

This is why RE has to work so much harder to lower its costs or we suffer large scale price rises like we have. We all see the cost of a wind turnbine or PV solar and think, its so cheap and clean, "close the coal power stations", but not once you add on your peaking GT etc, extra grid capacity.......

The old off-peak system measurement process was originally just a timer adjusted each meter reading. In my flat in Tas, Queenstown at the mine. We had an off-peak outlet in the bath room. So to use the dryer during the day you would turn off the mains to adjust the clock so that off-peak timer came on at say 9am, not 9pm. As did the storage heater and hotwater.

Then they progressed to sending a pulse through the network, this was effectual, but gave the user no choice.

Now we are moving to smart apps,  which better helps balance the grid, domestic users taking control of their power demands.

Pumped storage works well to help balance the grid, even Brisbane has a longterm 500MW pump storage attached to its main storage dam. There probably should  be more of them.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

There are currently 3 pumped storage stations in Australia.....

Tumut 3 (NSW) 1800Mw
Shoalhaven (NSW) 160Mw
Wivenhoe (QLD) 500Mw

Both China and the USA have or are building substantial numbers of these.

Long distance transmission of power is no longer a real issue, if such is required high voltage DC transmission systems are readily availible off the shelf and are quite efficient .


woodford

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