Mar. 29th, 2009

webfarmer: (Default)
That would be my guess as the response from the long-time "Do you want to freeze in the dark?" opponents of renewables. As Chomsky has said, "It can't be happening, therefore, it isn't."

Cave 'Batteries" Will Store Wind Power - Times (UK) - 29 Mar 09

"The compressed-air technique may sound far-fetched, but it is already in operation. At Huntdorf in Germany, a 290MW plant — powerful enough to run 290,000 homes — has been running for 25 years. A 110MW facility at McIntosh, Alabama, opened in 1991."

"Walter Doyle, boss of Dakota Salts, said the technology had the potential to transform the economics of wind farms. 'In the midwest, the local grid will buy off-peak power at 6-8 cents per kilowatt-hour. Peak prices are more like 26 cents an hour. With the storage option, you can guarantee your availability for the peak.'"

"The resulting caverns will be about 16m in diameter and 160m tall, and capable of generating some 100MW of electricity. Sirius and Dakota plan up to eight caverns in the project’s first phase, with the units coming on line in about five years. Doyle said that he was looking at similar projects in China and Australia."

"Gaelectric has begun investigating a storage facility near Larne in County Antrim. Subject to further geological investigation and planning permission, Gaelectric plans to spend £200m on a cavern with a minimum 136MW capacity — and possibly 300MW."

"It will store air at up to 68 times atmospheric pressure. A modern compression plant should be able to have an overall efficiency of about 75%. A crucial part of the process is capturing the heat generated when air is compressed. If that heat is not harnessed, the efficiency can fall to 65% or less."
webfarmer: (Default)
That would be my guess as the response from the long-time "Do you want to freeze in the dark?" opponents of renewables. As Chomsky has said, "It can't be happening, therefore, it isn't."

Cave 'Batteries" Will Store Wind Power - Times (UK) - 29 Mar 09

"The compressed-air technique may sound far-fetched, but it is already in operation. At Huntdorf in Germany, a 290MW plant — powerful enough to run 290,000 homes — has been running for 25 years. A 110MW facility at McIntosh, Alabama, opened in 1991."

"Walter Doyle, boss of Dakota Salts, said the technology had the potential to transform the economics of wind farms. 'In the midwest, the local grid will buy off-peak power at 6-8 cents per kilowatt-hour. Peak prices are more like 26 cents an hour. With the storage option, you can guarantee your availability for the peak.'"

"The resulting caverns will be about 16m in diameter and 160m tall, and capable of generating some 100MW of electricity. Sirius and Dakota plan up to eight caverns in the project’s first phase, with the units coming on line in about five years. Doyle said that he was looking at similar projects in China and Australia."

"Gaelectric has begun investigating a storage facility near Larne in County Antrim. Subject to further geological investigation and planning permission, Gaelectric plans to spend £200m on a cavern with a minimum 136MW capacity — and possibly 300MW."

"It will store air at up to 68 times atmospheric pressure. A modern compression plant should be able to have an overall efficiency of about 75%. A crucial part of the process is capturing the heat generated when air is compressed. If that heat is not harnessed, the efficiency can fall to 65% or less."
webfarmer: (Default)
I just sent off a note to Mr. Wald noting one critical factor apparently left out of this analysis. When a wind farm deal is done, the price per kWH is fixed over a 20 year period. So while the wind may be more expensive in the near term, it's also a hedge against increases in conventional fuel prices. Good luck trying to find a coal, nuclear or gas supplier who would guarantee the price per kWH for 20 years.

BTW, I profess to be neutral too. Just like EPRI and Black & Veatch. :)

Cost Works Against Alternative Energy in Time of Recession - NY Times - 28 Mar 09

"Some experts not aligned with either camp estimate that wind power is currently more than 50 percent more expensive than power generated by a traditional coal plant. Built into the calculation is the need for utilities that rely heavily on wind power to build backup plants fired by natural gas to meet electricity demand when winds are calm."

"Organizations that profess to be neutral about what new technology gets built suggest that renewable energy probably has a steep hill to climb.

For example, the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit consortium financed by investor- and publicly-owned utilities, predicted in November that even for plants coming on line in 2015, wind energy would cost nearly one-third more than coal and about 14 percent more than natural gas. The cost of solar thermal electricity, made by using the sun’s heat to boil water and spin a turbine, would be nearly three times that of coal and more than twice that of natural gas. (It would be almost double the cost of wind energy, too.)"

"At Black & Veatch, a company based in Overland Park, Kan., that has been involved in the construction of coal, gas and wind plants, analysts recently compared the costs per kilowatt-hour of different energy sources for the big energy competitors. A kilowatt-hour is the unit of energy that the utilities use to bill homeowners, with the current retail cost averaging around 11 cents.

A modern coal plant of conventional design, without technology to capture carbon dioxide before it reaches the air, produces at about 7.8 cents a kilowatt-hour; a high-efficiency natural gas plant, 10.6 cents; and a new nuclear reactor, 10.8 cents. A wind plant in a favorable location would cost 9.9 cents per kilowatt hour. But if a utility relied on a great many wind machines, it would need to back them up with conventional generators in places where demand tends to peak on hot summer days with no breeze. That pushes the price up to just over 12 cents, making it more than 50 percent more expensive than a kilowatt-hour for coal."
webfarmer: (Default)
I just sent off a note to Mr. Wald noting one critical factor apparently left out of this analysis. When a wind farm deal is done, the price per kWH is fixed over a 20 year period. So while the wind may be more expensive in the near term, it's also a hedge against increases in conventional fuel prices. Good luck trying to find a coal, nuclear or gas supplier who would guarantee the price per kWH for 20 years.

BTW, I profess to be neutral too. Just like EPRI and Black & Veatch. :)

Cost Works Against Alternative Energy in Time of Recession - NY Times - 28 Mar 09

"Some experts not aligned with either camp estimate that wind power is currently more than 50 percent more expensive than power generated by a traditional coal plant. Built into the calculation is the need for utilities that rely heavily on wind power to build backup plants fired by natural gas to meet electricity demand when winds are calm."

"Organizations that profess to be neutral about what new technology gets built suggest that renewable energy probably has a steep hill to climb.

For example, the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit consortium financed by investor- and publicly-owned utilities, predicted in November that even for plants coming on line in 2015, wind energy would cost nearly one-third more than coal and about 14 percent more than natural gas. The cost of solar thermal electricity, made by using the sun’s heat to boil water and spin a turbine, would be nearly three times that of coal and more than twice that of natural gas. (It would be almost double the cost of wind energy, too.)"

"At Black & Veatch, a company based in Overland Park, Kan., that has been involved in the construction of coal, gas and wind plants, analysts recently compared the costs per kilowatt-hour of different energy sources for the big energy competitors. A kilowatt-hour is the unit of energy that the utilities use to bill homeowners, with the current retail cost averaging around 11 cents.

A modern coal plant of conventional design, without technology to capture carbon dioxide before it reaches the air, produces at about 7.8 cents a kilowatt-hour; a high-efficiency natural gas plant, 10.6 cents; and a new nuclear reactor, 10.8 cents. A wind plant in a favorable location would cost 9.9 cents per kilowatt hour. But if a utility relied on a great many wind machines, it would need to back them up with conventional generators in places where demand tends to peak on hot summer days with no breeze. That pushes the price up to just over 12 cents, making it more than 50 percent more expensive than a kilowatt-hour for coal."

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