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February 22, 2008

Comments

bigTom

I had unfortunately noticed a line about a contingency for the renewables tax credit, which was apparently not part of the last energy bill. This could be a political casualty.

fuadws

I work in coal fired power plant. Your posts on power energy is very good!

Rod

Lots of solid progress occurring with CSP companies, Ausra are preparing to build 1000 and 6000 MW plants.

https://www.news.com/8301-11128_3-9875978-54.html?tag=more

Rod,

Also note The Energy Blog Post on Ausra here and here

Jim

steve

Rod those are not individual plants they are planning on building. They are the combined totals for several different ones. I agree there is lots of progress but I will be convinced it will happen when they actually start building some.

The PM

Don't forget hydro as a feasible storage system. In the Northwest we slow the release of water during off peak hours and release it during the peak time. This seems to work very well with all the wind farms being built. As these storage systems are developed, I would expect renewables to become even more effective and be deployed in greater numbers.

The PM,
I don't mean to nitpick, but hydro resources in the US are about maxed out and more can't be built to supplement solar. I would also like to see hydro primarily used for base load power as it is the least expensive of all power sources. Solar power is more suited for peak load and more expensive power sources are typically used for peak load, such as gas powered plants, which will become increasingly expensive to operate as prices of gas escalate.

Jim

steve

Jim I think the OP may have been talking about pumped hydro storage. Right now it would probably be too expensive to add, because of the efficiency losses, but sometime in the future it may be a possibility and there are many places we could develop it, especially here in the West.

I am curious how Abengoa’s system differs from Solel’s. They look pretty similar to me. I didn’t see who is going to make their heat collection tubes on their website either. I am going to assume they are going to use some that are already in service. They do mention building their own solar troughs out of galvanized steel, which in my opinion is better than the aluminum that the Euro Troughs use. I feel the limited storage will be a good fit. Really it is unrealistic to try and run 24/7 year around but with storage they can extend their day or choose when to produce more power on less than perfect days. I wish them the best and hope the Government gets their act straightened out soon or pretty much all of these new solar projects are just going to be pipe dreams.

David Walters

There is not basis for wind-to-pump storage. The assumption is based on a *surplus* of wind power akin to the unique Danish situation. Any wind power created is going to be used up in the grid pronto. There are no plans to really develop wind out to 20% of the grid (the maximum possible without building *new* fossil/nuclear as backup). Wind I suspect will remain a boutique energy source for some time in the US.

Additionally new pump storage is out of the question as there are few sites that allow this. Current damn/hydro units can be converted to pump-storage. On a cost basis/reliability issues any such schemes would also enhance a strong taste for expanded nuclear energy since any such storage could be used of nuclear in a few more reliable and predictable way.

The real issue is this. A 250 MWs solar plant employing 85 "highly skilled technicians". This is about 3 MWs per employee...which is a lot. I work at a conventional steam plant that produced the same mount of power but at 6 MWs per employee...this is expensive to go below this number.

Secondly, water usage. If the turbines are the same turbines used in geothermal or any steam plant (oil,gas,nuclear) then this becomes an issue for any hotsalt storage system as well.

Thirdly...what ARE the predicted commercial costs for such a plant? $4000/kw installed? Are there any numbers associated with this project?

David Walters

bigTom

We have one cheap but limited supply of energy storage. The current hydro production, which is currently used primarily to meet daytime peak needs. Moving this generation to night, and replacing the daytime peak power with solar should allow about twice the hydro capacity of solar to be buffered.

Kit P

In the US, there is no “surplus” wind, hydro, solar, geothermal, or nuclear to store in the US.

The surplus of fossil generated electricity is dwindling. Some of you may want to take a close look at current events in South Africa and China.

steve

David I would agree with you that pumped hydro is not practical right now. First you would have to have an excess of daytime energy (in the case of solar) and we are a very long ways away from that. I would question why we could not build more though. There are many places here in the West where rivers, lakes or aqueducts are right by mountains. It seems like a fairly simple process to build holding ponds on the mountains and return the water back to its source. There is already at least on station working outside of Palmdale in Southern California. I think the real problem would be cost to build and loss of efficiency. I agree with you that it seems like a perfect match for nuclear were you produce excess power at night.

One point I will strongly disagree with you on is the cost of manpower to run a power plant. Yes it is an expense but in the long run it is minor one. I know of several waste wood power plants that are operating profitably at less than a MW per man. Admittedly these plants run 24 hours and your personal only spend about ¼ of their time at the plant. In the power industry they like to make a big deal about wages but in the end they are usually less than 10% of the revenues. (way less) 4 billion for 30 years is about 130 million a year in revenues. If your expense for 85 men was $100,000 per man (probably high) your manpower costs are about 6% of your income. The real expense in running any power plant are things such as fuel and maintenance. In trying to figure the cost to build a solar plant you have to remember your fuel source is essentially free but maintenance costs can be quite high.

I can’t really see where the molten salt storage would cause any appreciable increase in water usage. It is a closed system and there would be minimal water losses. The real problem is the lack of water for the cooling system. This is a problem for building any power plant in the Desert. Now if the molten salt causes more production then there will be more cooling water used.

Clee

If your expense for 85 men was $100,000 per man (probably high)

I'm not convinced that $100,000 per employee is high once you include benefits (medical, etc) and the employer part of FICA/social security tax and other things. I remember being rented out from one department to another at some rate more than twice my salary. They were counting in some sort of general overhead cost which I believe included the estimated cost of my workspace including heating and cooling it.


Even though we don't have many places to put in large amounts of hydroelectric dams in the US, I was surprised that they do in Portugal.
https://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/working_lunch/7252571.stm
"Ten new hydro-electric dams are to be built to support the proliferation of wind turbines on hilltops across Portugal."

Dr. Hussain Alrobaei

Current drastically increasing fuel prices and power shortages for summer daytime peaking power in southern Europe suggest that Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) systems will find their prime market segment in summer season on peaks. Here, power generation cost differences, compared to typically used gas turbine operation, are smallest. Any renewable energy supply strategy aiming to take over the major part of electricity supply in the decades to come has to consider CSP as this technology option is capable of contributing with reliable, dispatchable power, specifically for daytime-demand peaks. Moreover, southern Europe is not capable of generating all of its required reliable peaking power alone through its own renewable resources. Consequently, energy cooperation with its neighboring countries is mandatory and has already become day-by-day practice. There are gas and power interconnections between Italy, Tunisia and Algeria, as well as between Morocco and Spain. As these southern neighbors also have a much greater solar resource, it is logical to intensify this co-operation for CSP.
In addition to that Integrated Solar Combined Cycle power Plants (ISCCP) with their capability of thermal energy storage and of solar/fossil hybrid operation can provide firm capacity and thus are a key element for grid stabilization and power security in such a well-balanced electricity mix. This has led to a rather rapid development of ISCCP to achieve good performance at all modes of operations and to increase the shear of solar power generation, and subsequently an increase in the thermal and environmental effectiveness of the plant. From this standpoint the recent study [1] was undertaken to include a proposed design for increasing the specific output at sunny periods, and off design performance at cloudy periods and at night, of the Integrated Gas turbine Solar Power Plant (IGSPP). The desired effect of integrating a Gas Turbine Unit (GTU) with a Solar parabolic trough Power Plant (SPP) is not just to add the power produced by the GTU to that produced by the SPP but indeed to augment the latter. The proposed design of IGSPP offers a number of potential advantages over conventional SPP and represents an innovative way to reduce cost and improve the overall solar-to-electric efficiency. Also, the IGSPP will allow for a flexible transition from the present Combined Cycle Power Plants based on fossil fuels to a future plants based to a large extend on solar energy . Being one of the most effective technologies in terms of technical, economic and environmental sustainability [1,2]. For the case study (IGSPP with annual share of solar thermal power generation 42.2 %) the economical effect amount 187.9 ton fuel / year for each MW design thermal energy of parabolic solar collector array [1]. The corresponding decrease in exhaust gases emission (nitrogen oxides (NOx) 294 kg/MW.year, carbon dioxides (CO2) 679.9 ton/MW.year). Moreover, the GTU output power during solar operation periods becomes a lower fraction of the IGSPP output (0.37 : 0.5) with parallel increase in the power output of steam turbine unit. Beside that, the increase in the output of PSCA and, subsequently, in solar power generation, will also useful to offset the normal reduction in performance experienced by GTU during the summer season.
It is also important to note that, according to the World Bank, the expected evolution of total electricity costs is that they will drop to 8 to 7 € cents/kW.h in the medium term (100 MWe Rankine-cycle plant or 100 Mwe ISCCP, both with storage) and to 5 € cents/kW.h in the long term (200 MWe Rankine-cycle plant with storage) for high insolation sites with an annual direct normal solar radiation of more than 2800 kW.h/m2.
[1] Hussain Alrobaei,2006, Integrated Gas Turbine Solar Power Plant/ The Energy Central Network/ energycentral.com/centers/knowledge/whitepapers.
[2] Hussain Alrobaei , 2007, Novel Integrated Gas Turbine Solar Cogeneration Power Plant/DEC, Halkidiki, Greece ,22–25 April 2007.


Kit P

Let me translate to American English what Dr. H said.

You need electricity. The only choice is nuclear or imported fossil fuels. If you put enough shiny things around your fossil fuel burning equipment that the loons do not notice.

This deception makes very good engineering sense assuming the natural gas comes from a stable government and not some banana republic run by crazies who deify themselves.

steve

Nice racist comment there Kit. Just how pathetic is your life when all you do is hang out on an internet board and call people names, while adding nothing to the discussion, other than insults? Does it make you feel like a “real” man? Kit I don’t have a problem with someone disagreeing on here, because in the end that is what discussion boards are all about, but at least have enough courage to actually have a discussion other than engaging in your childish attacks. Funny how you always want someone else to back up their claims while somehow we are supposed to accept what you say at face value. Why is this Kit? Is it because you are so smart or is it your extensive (I really doubt this one) experience in the industry. Kit I really doubt that more than three people (and this includes you) in here find your posts informative or interesting. Really Kit you have to be close to 60 and it is time to grow up my friend.

I apologize to the rest of the board but I just get tired of reading Kit’s insults and him not getting called on it. Ok end of my rant.

Kit P

Being an old guy, I can recall a time when racism was not taken lightly. It could be Steve does know what it is.

Michael

Kit,
Your comments are stain on this board...rarely anything of interest in them. Information in them is distorted or of little consequence. Why don't you create your own blog filled with your own bile rather than spread it around?

Jim,
Storage systems have been built with power tower designs as well. Solar Two had storage. Solar Reserve is commercializing this design.

JDT

Must agree with Kit P.

Steve is being an idiot branying that "racist" slogan. I mean you can't criticize a tinpot fascist regime like Tunisia or Algeria without somebody with utter ignorance about these regimes calling you a racist?

Get a life Steve.

JDT

Michael - why do you not reply to Kit P interesting point rather than engage in Argmentum ad Hominem?

JDT

Steve, Kit P raised 2 points. The fact that you did not take issue with them and instead opted to attack him in person makes you a practitioner of what you ostensibly despise, namely "engaging in childish attacks". Grow up, will ya?

Maybe I should call you an "agist" with your attack on a person's age.

I apologize to the rest of the board but I just get tired of reading Kit’s insults and him not getting called on it. Ok end of my rant.

You better apologize. What insult is that, may I ask? To call the regimes of Morocco, Algeria and Tunesia as crazies? Well this is rather factual.

And no on appointed you the "insult police" or PC police here. Get a life Steve, and either reason out or plug out.

steve

Dang JDT you made me go and feel all bad about myself. :( Well it looks like you have at least one friend on the board Kit. Three posts defending you. JDT your use of the words “idiot” and “tinpot” seem to remind me of another writer on the board, but somehow I just can’t think of him right now. Hmm. Who could it be? OH now I remember. If I were a betting man, and I am, I might guess that JDT and Kit would have the same IP address.

Oh and I love “You had better apologize.” Surprised you didn’t follow it up with telling me how tough you are. Weak my friend, really weak. Funny how someone can write post after post telling everyone how stupid they are but when they get a little criticism themselves they go all to pieces.

Kit/JDT you know I work in the CSP industry and to tell you the truth I don’t agree with much of what the good Doctor wrote but I enjoy reading all points of view. My criticism of you comes not from one or two posts but from most all of them. Pretty much any post of yours will tell someone how stupid they are and how smart you are without actually adding anything to the conversation. Just how many times have you used the words idiot or clueless? So keep posting my friend but expect to get called on it once in a while, if for nothing else than my amusement.

Kit P

Michael you do understand that we live in an adversarial society? Different points of view are presented and debated. If someone calls me a racist, I check to see if what I have said is racist or if is a baseless insult. Same if someone call me an idiot. I do not want to be an idiot or a racist and if I was being that, I would want someone to tell me. However if it is a baseless insult, the insult does not reflect on me.

Michael claimed my posts are “rarely anything of interest” but provides a very shallow comment on a topic we have discussed in detail a while back. IIRC I even proved a link to a satellite a picture.

Better ways to store energy than what is being prosed at solar thermal.

1.Huge ugly coal piles. A very cheap way to store energy.
2.The cheapest way to store energy is enriched uranium. The new fuel assemblies for a large city for two years could be stored on three flat bed trucks.
3.Another good way to store energy is wood (aka biomass). I have my emergency winter heating supply stored next to the tool shed.
4.Natural gas storage in salt caverns
5.Water behind a hydroelectric plant
6.Home heating oil

A LCA comparing thermal storage with a hybrid solar thermal/natural CCGT using gas storage in salt caverns may result in the latter having lower environmental impact, lower cost, and more reliability.

steve

I am not sure how many people who post on here work in the electrical energy field. I do but will readily admit I don’t have all the answers but I do have a good understanding of how the industry works. I have worked around several types of power plants so I think I understand some of their strengths and weaknesses. I currently work in the solar thermal field but the company I work for has wind, solar, coal, hydro, natural gas and nuclear. Some of my opinions are not only what I think we should do but what the industry and politicians will do.

I am the first to admit I don’t care much for coal. The plants are dirty. Fuel has to be shipped in and the fly ash out. Emissions are higher than most. Mining is not always the most environmentally friendly but getting better. The public does not like it in many areas of the country and is hard to get new plants permitted. Maintenance is higher than say a gas plant. It looks to me that some of the new ultra low emission plants are going to be very expensive. Coal has a couple of huge advantages that will keep it from going away. It is a domestic energy source that we have huge amounts of. It is also relatively cheap to build and reliable.

I have never worked nuclear but I am a fan of it. Really right now it is our only way of producing a huge amount of power and almost no green house gasses. The main problem with it right now is public perception. Another problem is cost and the industry is going to have a hard time committing the money that it will take without some government reassurances. Big banks and shareholders don’t like putting out billions of dollars if the public is not happy or there is a threat of lawsuits. If the government will remove some of the risk I think it will take off again. A smaller problem is most pants are so large that if they have to suddenly come offline it can do some nasty things to the grid.

I do admit I like natural gas mainly because it is clean and reliable. It is an industry favorite right now because it is easier to get permitted, efficient and fast to build. It is easy to use in both base load and peaking plants. You have a gas line coming in and no waste going out. The downside to gas is we just don’t have enough of it and it competes with residential users too. I was a little surprised when Kit mentioned storing it in salt caverns, after he blasted me, because my employer uses imported gas. Basically the more of these plants we build the more gas we are going to have to import.

Fuel oil is basically dead and I don’t believe biomass will ever be that important either. My first experience in the power industry was wood fired plants and I still like them but have no desire to ever work at one again.

Now for solar thermal. Kit is right (I know it kills me to say it too) that it is not good at storing energy. I believe that the new systems will help out dramatically but we are a very long ways from being able to run 24/7. I just don’t think it is necessary right now. I think the problem is many on here want an all or nothing approach. I can pretty much tell you we are not going to be running the country on just solar thermal in the next 30 years. I am sure we could but the costs would simply be too high. I do believe solar can become significant. The plants now are basically hand built and as such are very expensive. If we start to build more, in an assembly line fashion, prices are sure to come down. Another thing if coal and natural gas plants are required to dramatically curb their emissions their costs are going to go up. We also know the cost of the sun in the future but fuel sources like gas are a great unknown. Coming possible carbon taxes may also play a role in it.

Now here of some of solar thermal’s biggest disadvantages. First is initial cost per MW output. I do believe this will come down eventually and efficiency will increase. I have personally seen some of the new heat collection tubes in action and they are very impressive. Another problem is lack of water to run them in the desert. They may be able to use low water alternatives for cooling but this will cost efficiency. Lastly is the problem of them not being dispatchable. In reality most of the current ones are now but rely on natural gas to do so and this is one of my pet peeves. I believe that natural gas should be used in the most efficient plants. We are going to have to develop a relatively efficient form of storage if solar is ever going to be a major source of electricity. My favorite candidate right now pumped hydro storage and would be interested in opinions of people who have worked around it. I do realize it will be years before it is needed.

Some advantages of Solar Thermal are low emissions. The plants are very reliable and the sun is easier to predict than the wind. Other than water usage (common to all steam plants) the environmental impacts are relatively small. Yes they cover a large amount of land but in reality there is very little actually living there. In the Mojave, where I live, a 10 mile by 10 mile patch of land, enough for about 10 GW, is very tiny compared to how much land is actually there. Coal needs mining and transportation. Gas needs drilling and pipelines.

I am not advocating covering the desert with solar plants but I believe we would be foolish to not build some. It does hold out real promise for a future energy supply and maybe even a near future energy supply. I don’t think these systems are anyway close to their potential but if we don’t build a few we will never know. Yes it is going to cost a few dollars but not anywhere close to what we spend making the world safe for big oil.

Kit P

“A smaller problem is most pants are so large that if they have to suddenly come offline it can do some nasty things to the grid.”

Grid stability is a generic problem. A large part of the problem is that older plants were built at a time when the grid was very stable. These plants were not designed to ride through grid instability. New FERC regulation will require riding an upset to part of the design. Steam plants can be designed to have 100% steam dump to the condenser and have the generator suppling house loads. If the grid takes a dump, the power plant is still running at a about 5% power waiting for the grid to start demanding power again.

Two grid related events occurred this week. In Texas, wind generated electricity dropped rapidly at the same time demand was increasing. If power plants had started tripping, the problem would have gotten much worse. In Florida, a field engineer was testing a malfunction piece of equipment and bypassed two levels of protection. This caused several plants to trip off line.

N. I. Sarder

It gives us great pleasure to offer this proposal for establishing wind/solar/biomass power supply project for your kind review. Through this exciting facility you can avail a great opportunity for investment at a very reasonable environment.

Now in Bangladesh the shortage of power supply occurs a great harm .It going to be beyond the limit. The Government of Bangladesh can not able to supply power at potential level. So the Government encourages investing in mentioned sector. It’s very profitable business and it has much more demand. We have a lot of experience in project proposal, financial survey and portfolio analysis report and we have a good link with Bangladesh Government for developing a profitable project

Last year our country needed 4200mw.total unit of power.
The Government and Private sector supplied only 3800mw. ----2400mw.

At present our country needs 5200mw.power and the Government and private sector provide only 2700mw.----3100mw. Power. For this shortage of power supply we are in great loss. Our supply of export and import figure going to be declined day by day.

If you are interested to invest in this profitable sector you have to work with some link and we want to be your local guide. As we say we need the detail of your company, Business policy with other countries, Business structure and experience and most of all the whole investment process of your business.

If you are willingly interested then you can contact with us.
We sincerely believe that we will be able to provide a highly reliable and satisfactory level of service.

N. I. Sarder

It gives us great pleasure to offer this proposal for establishing wind/solar/biomass power supply project for your kind review. Through this exciting facility you can avail a great opportunity for investment at a very reasonable environment.

Now in Bangladesh the shortage of power supply occurs a great harm .It going to be beyond the limit. The Government of Bangladesh can not able to supply power at potential level. So the Government encourages investing in mentioned sector. It’s very profitable business and it has much more demand. We have a lot of experience in project proposal, financial survey and portfolio analysis report and we have a good link with Bangladesh Government for developing a profitable project

Last year our country needed 4200mw.total unit of power.
The Government and Private sector supplied only 3800mw. ----2400mw.

At present our country needs 5200mw.power and the Government and private sector provide only 2700mw.----3100mw. Power. For this shortage of power supply we are in great loss. Our supply of export and import figure going to be declined day by day.

If you are interested to invest in this profitable sector you have to work with some link and we want to be your local guide. As we say we need the detail of your company, Business policy with other countries, Business structure and experience and most of all the whole investment process of your business.

If you are willingly interested then you can contact with us.
We sincerely believe that we will be able to provide a highly reliable and satisfactory level of service.

N. I. Sarder

It gives us great pleasure to offer this proposal for establishing wind/solar/biomass power supply project for your kind review. Through this exciting facility you can avail a great opportunity for investment at a very reasonable environment.

Now in Bangladesh the shortage of power supply occurs a great harm .It going to be beyond the limit. The Government of Bangladesh can not able to supply power at potential level. So the Government encourages investing in mentioned sector. It’s very profitable business and it has much more demand. We have a lot of experience in project proposal, financial survey and portfolio analysis report and we have a good link with Bangladesh Government for developing a profitable project

Last year our country needed 4200mw.total unit of power.
The Government and Private sector supplied only 3800mw. ----2400mw.

At present our country needs 5200mw.power and the Government and private sector provide only 2700mw.----3100mw. Power. For this shortage of power supply we are in great loss. Our supply of export and import figure going to be declined day by day.

If you are interested to invest in this profitable sector you have to work with some link and we want to be your local guide. As we say we need the detail of your company, Business policy with other countries, Business structure and experience and most of all the whole investment process of your business.

If you are willingly interested then you can contact with us.
We sincerely believe that we will be able to provide a highly reliable and satisfactory level of service.

auto scanner

If you are willingly interested then you can contact with us.

Filipino Car Lease Broker Los Angeles

This process is so interesting, the use of mirrors and such.

Rug Cleaning Los Angeles

Awesome! Love your blog.

Furniture Stores in Los Angeles

You say this is the most proven technology for energy storage, is that still the case today?

seo services

I'm always surprised when I see people arguing on this blog, aren't we all working towards the same thing- new forms of energy? Stop bickering, there's enough of that in this world, this blog should be about positivity- we need to work together to fix these problems,

dentist west hollywood

Great that they can use the thermal energy even after sundown, this is the type of technology we need for consumer usage!

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