Sun Oct 30, 2016, 07:15 PM
Docbroke (7,332 posts)
Wind energy growing quickly
Up to 14% here in CO...
2 replies, 282 views
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Wind energy growing quickly (Original post)
Response to Docbroke (Original post)
Sun Oct 30, 2016, 07:25 PM
safestuffer (1,796 posts)
1. 14% seems to be about the limit of wind energy's ability to integrate into existing power grids.
Funny thing about wind power.
The more you rely on wind power,
The more nonrenewable power sources you have to use to accommodate it.
After years of declines, Germany’s carbon emissions rose slightly in 2015, largely because the country produces much more electricity than it needs. That’s happening because even if there are times when renewables can supply nearly all of the electricity on the grid, the variability of those sources forces Germany to keep other power plants running. And in Germany, which is phasing out its nuclear plants, those other plants primarily burn dirty coal...
Because fossil-fuel power plants cannot easily ramp down generation in response to excess supply on the grid, on sunny, windy days there is sometimes so much power in the system that the price goes negative—in other words, operators of large plants, most of which run on coal or natural gas, must pay commercial customers to consume electricity. That situation has also arisen recently in Texas and California (see “Texas and California Have Too Much Renewable Energy”) when the generation of solar power has maxed out.
Germany is also losing industry because its power grid is prone to unexpected failure as fluctuations in supply wreak havoc on power critical processes such as aluminum processing and smelting.
Wind power is promising but like solar, is far too variable in output to rely on. It's time to start putting some real effort into developing hydrogen fuel cells, or developing hydrogen fueled power plants and infrastructure.
Response to safestuffer (Reply #1)
Mon Oct 31, 2016, 12:36 PM
oflguy (3,945 posts)
2. The decision by Germany to shut down nuclear power plants is a curious one
It contradicts the stated desire by Germany to reduce carbon output. Using coal-fired plants in lieu of nuclear also contradicts Germany's stated goal.
A bit of clarification on the claim that "the country produces much more electricity than it needs."
To be more accurate, the sentence should have read "the country has more electricity production capacity than it needs at certain times."
Electricity is unique in that it has to be consumed the moment it is generated. You cannot "store" excess electricity. (other than in batteries, but then technically you are not generating too much if you are charging batteries with it).
Most, if not all, generating plants be they nuclear, coal, oil, or gas fired, employ three steam-fired generators per plant. Reducing the output at any plant is a matter of shutting down one, two, or all three generators. The hitch is the economics of shutting down the generators. The cost of operating those plants fluctuates little if it has to be ready to start back up.
Part of the problem is that German law says renewable power must be used first. This means that only coal-fired electricity can be manipulated to balance out the load.
The lack of a European grid that can transfer power to and from countries such as the United States employs adds to the renewable-non renewable dilemma in Germany. In the United States, excess power generated in Colorado with solar, wind and nuclear can be sold to Nevada or New York, or any utility that is using non-renewable power.
Renewables are gaining popularity in the energy marketplace and I think the government should continue to play a role in promoting them with subsidies but not with multi-billion dollar boondoggle backroom deals to corrupt entities like Solyndra who's executives stole the money and probably rewarded the politicians with lucrative kickbacks, but rather with tax credits to individual users who know where the applications can be applied wisely.
The amount of money we spend to protect Saudi Arabian oil tankers and fields could be better spent here at home.