Tag Archives: energy storage

Blowout Week 162

We kick off with the exaggerated reporting of blackout risks in the UK and follow up with: Trump gets busy rolling back US oil & gas regulations; world oil and coal demand to peak by 2020; new UK guidelines on North Sea oil, the high cost of “new generation” nuclear plants; Toshiba to pull out of Moorside, Dong & Deutsche Bank to pull out of coal; Japan to build 45 new coal plants; China launches green certificates, Brexit’s impact on Irish gas prices, UK asked to cut biomass subsidies, Npower’s “shocking” price hikes, European solar demand falls; energy storage in California, Australia and Somerset; the world’s largest offshore wind turbine; a wind turbine that flaps like a hummingbird; Google’s 100% renewable energy claim a “gimmick” and a slight increase in global lower troposphere temperatures in January. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 147

This week we return to the South Australian blackout followed by plus Saudi Arabia’s $17.5 billion bond sale, Iran puts up 50 oil & gas projects for lease, the USA’s first nuclear plant in 20 years goes on line, nuclear woes in France, the EU/Canada trade deal falls apart, the world’s largest solar PV farm to be built in Turkey, Vattenfall sues Germany, environmentalists sue Norway, the EPA comes under fire in US courts, UK MPs want more battery storage, UK energy bills to increase, emissions from biofuels, scientists accidentally turn CO2 into ethanol and an apartment block which is a model of sustainable luxury. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 144

This week’s Blowout features a blackout, specifically the long-anticipated outage that plunged South Australia into darkness last week. But it was caused by strong winds that took down transmission lines, not by too much wind power on the grid. Or was it? Continue reading

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Blowout Week 140

This week’s Blowout focuses on the “formal commitment” of Presidents Xi of China and Obama of the U.S. to the Paris Climate Accord. Xi may be in a position to commit China but it’s questionable whether Obama has the ability to commit the U.S. without congressional approval. The last time the U.S. signed a major climate accord (Kyoto in 1997) it was promptly and unanimously repudiated by the U.S. Senate: Continue reading

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How smart is a smart grid?

A smart grid is a complex computerized management system designed to distribute the power available to the grid in an efficient manner relative to demand while maintaining grid stability. It does not generate any new power except in so far as it saves some energy that would be wasted with a less efficient system. Because of limited storage capacity a smart grid is also capable of maximizing energy use over only short periods; it will not solve the intermittency problem over longer periods. It is also likely to be costly. There are also questions as to whether current designs based on computer simulations will work in practice. Continue reading

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Is large-scale energy storage dead?

Many countries have committed to filling large percentages of their future electricity demand with intermittent renewable energy, and to do so they will need long-term energy storage in the terawatt-hours range. But the modules they are now installing store only megawatt-hours of energy. Why are they doing this? This post concludes that they are either conveniently ignoring the long-term energy storage problem or are unaware of its magnitude and the near-impossibility of solving it. Continue reading

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Is ARES the solution to the energy storage problem?

Every so often an item appears in Blowout Week that’s worthy of further discussion, and Blowout Week 118 features one. It’s the article on ARES – Advanced Rail Energy Storage – a simple combination of three proven technologies – railroads, potential energy release and regenerative braking – which reportedly has a number of advantages over its numerous competitors: Continue reading

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Blowout week 110

Blowout this week includes the trials and tribulations of Saudi Arabia and OPEC, US O&G company ratings cut, Obama proposes $10/bbl tax on US O&G companies, Spain presses EC to save its coal industry, UK and German emissions fall, Hinkley financing concerns spread to Wylfa, Fiddler’s Ferry closure, the world’s largest wind farm and energy storage finally poised for a breakthrough. Continue reading

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A Christmas Conundrum

Q2 Let us imagine that consumers could buy and store renewable electricity very cheaply when it is windy using a programable smart meter. But the way the market is rigged the producers get paid their guaranteed high price (FIT or ROC) regardless. If consumers are paying below the FIT or ROC price someone must make a loss. Who is that someone? How is this market supposed to work? Continue reading

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The Renewables Future – A Summary of Findings

Since February 2014 I find that I’ve published 24 posts on renewable energy here on Energy Matters (linked to in order of appearance at the end of the post) . In them I’ve written about wind, solar and tidal power, hydro, biogas, hydrogen and methane, CO2 emissions, interconnectors, exports and imports, energy storage, load management, backup capacity and ramp rates….. Continue reading

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How Much Wind And Solar Can Norway’s Reservoirs Balance?

The Skaggerak subsea power cable connects Norway with Denmark. The NorNed cable connects Norway with the Netherlands. By 2019 the Nordlink cable will connect Norway with Germany and by 2021 the NSN cable will connect Norway with the UK. And now Scotland wants to connect with Norway via the NorthConnect link: Continue reading

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Renewable Energy Storage and Power-To-Methane

In recent posts here, here and here Euan Mearns and I have published estimates of the amount of storage needed to integrate intermittent renewable energy with the UK grid in meaningful quantities. All of them point to the same conclusion:

The volume of storage needed to convert intermittent renewable energy into dispatchable energy is very large, with estimates running in the 1 to 5 terawatt-hour range even at modest levels of renewables penetration. Continue reading

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The Cost of Dispatchable Wind Power

In a recent conversation with a politician I was told we needed a lot more pumped storage hydro to store surplus wind power from when the wind blows for use when it is calm. Continue reading

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The Difficulties Of Powering The Modern World With Renewables

In the May 12, 2015 “G7 Hamburg Initiative for Sustainable Energy Security”, the energy ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, said this: Continue reading

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Blowout week 74

The usual mix below the fold, including shale oil, the coal crisis in Germany, Austria now to sue the Czech Republic over nuclear, the doomed city of Hull, Exxon’s CEO speaks out on renewables, a solution to the energy storage problem, biofuels and water use, vanishing glaciers on Everest, an ice cream that increases climate change awareness and immediately following, are the EIA’s oil production numbers reliable? Continue reading

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A Potential Solution to the Problem of Storing Solar Energy – Don’t Store It.

In How Much Battery Storage Does a Solar PV System Need? I assumed that the rooftop PV system would generate just enough power to fill annual domestic demand and that the surplus power generated in summer would be stored for re-use in the winter in Tesla batteries. The result was an across-the board generation cost of around $35/kWh. Clearly the Tesla battery storage option isn’t economically viable, or at least not under the scenario I chose.

As Phil Chapman and others pointed out in comments, however, this is not the only way a domestic solar PV system can generate enough year-round power to allow a household to go off-grid. Another is to overdesign the system so that it’s large enough to fill demand in winter when solar output is at a minimum and simply curtail the excess power generated in summer. How does this “no storage” option pan out? Continue reading

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Blowout Week 65

This week we feature predictions, which as the philosopher Yogi Berra once observed are tough to make, especially about the future.

More on OPEC and oil below the fold, plus the growing Middle East nuclear (arms?) race, natural gas in Mexico, blackouts in Holland, the world dragging its feet on emissions reduction pledges, the Longannet closure, Scotland misses its emissions target again, problems with renewables in California and how climate change may turn women into prostitutes. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 55

The verdict is in. 2014 was the warmest year on record: Or was it?

Stories on oil prices, OPEC, layoffs in the petroleum industry, Russia losing its natural gas clout in Europe, France wanting more nuclear plants, blades falling off wind turbines in Scotland, the US Senate voting on whether climate change is real, energy storage using methane and a hybrid wind/solar generator below the fold: Continue reading

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The Cost of Energy Storage

I taught my students that intermittent renewable electricity (wind and solar) was third class compared with dispatchable fossil fuels (first class) and baseload nuclear power (second class). But that renewables may be turned into a first class electricity source with the development of affordable grid-scale storage. Continue reading

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California public utilities vote no on energy storage

So here we have a near-unanimous vote of no confidence in energy storage from utility professionals whose job it is to supply reliable power to consumers and who understand the realities of the electricity market. The conclusions are:

1. California is not going to get any meaningful amount of energy storage capacity before 2020.
2. In all likelihood no one else is going to get any either. The economics just aren’t there (pumped hydro excluded).
3. Lack of energy storage capacity will continue to limit the grid penetration of non-dispatchable renewable generation for the foreseeable future. Continue reading

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