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Economics of Batteries for Stabilizing and Storage on Distribution Grids

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Economics of Batteries for Stabilizing and Storage on Distribution Grids

It appears the world has ample fossil fuels for at least the next 100 years, even with a growing gross world product and population. A worldwide, full-scale transition away from fossil fuels likely would take at least 100 years. It would not be wise to subsidize the build-out of technologies that have very little potential to provide the world with abundant, low-cost energy. Any rational planning and design of energy systems, and the systems of the users, should be based on the world’s fossil fuels being depleted in the distant future.

Economically viable technologies are evolving to enable more generation closer to the user. Generating capacity on a distribution grid could provide most of the energy consumed within a distribution grid. Thus, the distribution grid would be less dependent on the high voltage grid, which, as a side benefit, would reduce energy losses on the high voltage grid. The role of the high voltage grid would decrease, but not eliminated. There still would be significant energy generated and fed into the high voltage grid, such as from nuclear, hydro, wind, concentrated solar power, CSP, plants, and PV solar plants; fossil plants would gradually disappear.

This article has three parts. Part I mostly deals with the economics of battery systems. Part II mostly deals with a viable US energy source mix without fossil fuels. Part III deals with zeroing population, energy and gross world product growthrates, and then having negative growthrates, because those measures are even more important for a sustainable world than moving away from fossil fuels.

PART I

THE NEED FOR ENERGY STORAGE

Energy storage, “before and after the meter” would need to be built out, because it is likely:

– The expansion of transmission systems will not proceed as quickly as required to keep up with the growth of variable, intermittent wind and solar energy, often because of cost and NIMBY concerns.

– Demand-side management options are at best uncertain means to manage the grid and cannot be relied upon as a substitute for increased investment in energy storage.

– Whereas fossil fuel-fired power plants can have up to several months of reserves (gas storage) or direct access to fuel (coal), there is no such strategic reserve in case of often-occurring, protracted events with insufficient wind and solar energy.

– The US power market will not operate as one grid, leading to bottlenecks whenever inter-grid energy balancing is required. For example, the Texas grid has minor connections with the Eastern Interconnect and Western Interconnect.

BATTERIES FOR REDUCING GRID DISTURBANCES DUE TO PV SOLAR SYSTEMS

In the future, there will be many PV solar systems tied to a distribution grid. Increasing the capacity, MW, of those PV solar systems would decrease the distribution grid stability, especially during variable-cloudy weather. Battery systems tied to distribution grids with many PV solar systems are used in California and Germany to smooth excessive energy variations on distribution grids, and high voltage grids, in case of excess energy generation. They act as dampers, which work as follows:

– The varying DC energy of the PV systems is fed as AC into the distribution grid.

– The battery systems maintain distribution grid stability by absorbing energy from or providing energy to the grid, as needed.

– DC to AC inverters of the battery systems are about 85%, 50%, and 10% efficient at 20%, 10% and 2% outputs, respectively, i.e., 50% of the converted energy is lost as heat, if charged and discharged energy quantities occur at less than 10% of inverter capacity!

NOTE: Such charging and discharging has nothing to do with storing PV solar energy during the day for use at night, as is sometimes claimed.

Typically, in damping mode, the battery system would be charged to 60 to 70% of rated capacity, MWh, so it can be charged up to 90 to 95% and discharged down to 50 to 20%, depending on the battery type. The charge controller, to preserve battery life, prevents charging above and discharging below these set points.

Typically, in damping mode, the charging-discharging range is well within 60% to 70%, i.e., this charging and discharging generates significant heat (energy is wasted), as it occurs at less than 10% of inverter capacity!! As more PV systems are added to the distribution grid, additional battery capacity would be required.

REAL-WORLD CHARGING RANGES OF BATTERIES

Most articles on batteries, as applied to electric grids, often written by non-technical people, are not based on real world data. As a result, unfounded optimism is spread regarding the economics of battery systems and their near-term implementation.

This article is based on the real-world, operating limitations of the Chevy-Volt and TESLA lithium-ion batteries, and the TESLA powerwall specification sheet data, to determine battery losses, operating limits and energy storage costs, c/kWh, of the battery systems attached to distribution grids. Without the real world data as a basis, erroneous conclusions would have been the result.

Chevy-Volt: The 2014 Chevy-Volt has a 16.5 kWh battery, but it uses a maximum of about 10.8 kWh (about 65% of its capacity, a slightly greater % on subsequent models), because the battery controls are set to charge to about 90% and discharge to about 25% of rated capacity. The 10.8 kWh gives the Chevy-Volt an electric range of about 38 miles on a normal day, say about 70 F, less on colder and warmer days, less as the battery ages.

TESLA Model S: The TESLA Model S uses 75.9 kWh of its 85 kWh battery for rare, extremely long trips, so called “range driving”, 75.9/85 = 89% of rated capacity, and uses 67.4 kWh for maximum “normal driving” discharges, or 67.4/85 = 79% of rated capacity. Almost all people use much less than maximum “normal driving” range, because they take short trips and charge their vehicles on a daily basis, thereby preserving battery life.

https://forums.teslamotors.com/fr_CH/forum/forums/rated-range-85-kwh-battery

CHARGING RANGES AND WARRANTEES

Batteries are not fully charged, nor fully discharged, i.e., there is a range of charge. Using large ranges shortens battery life.

For example, a 30-mile commute consumes about 10 kWh. The minor 10/85 = 12% discharge of a TESLA Model S battery allows TESLA to offer an 8-y/unlimited miles warrantee, whereas the major 10/16.5 = 61% discharge of a Chevy-Volt battery requires GM to offer an 8-y/100,000 miles warrantee to minimize warrantee costs.

That warrantee is for manufacturing defects, does NOT cover performance. According to GM, the battery is expected to have a performance loss of about 15% over its 8-y warrantee life, and more beyond that 8-y life.

COST OF OWNING AND OPERATING A TESLA AND NISSAN LEAF VEHICLE

TESLA: Below is a quick way and a more accurate way to determine the cost per mile of owning and operating a TESLA car for 8 years. Assumptions: 85 kWh battery; battery warrantee 8 years, unlimited miles; $80,000, new, $15,000 at 8 years; driven 100,000 miles in 8 years; 0.30 kWh/mile at customer meter; 10% free, on-road charging, 90% at home charging at 0.20 $/kWh.

Annual charging cost is (100,000/8) x 0.3 x (0.1 x 0 + 0.9 x 0.20) = $675, or 5.4 c/mile.

Car cost/mile is (80,000 – 15,000)/100,000 = 65 c/mile.

Quick way cost is 70.4 c/mile, with ignored costs about 90 c/mile.

Annual payment for amortizing $80,000 at 3%, 8y, is $11,396, or (8 x 11396 – 15000)/100000 = 76.2 c/mile.

Annual charging cost is (100,000/8) x 0.3 x (0.1 x 0 + 0.9 x 0.2) = $675, or 5.4 c/mile.

More accurate way cost is 81.6 c/mile, with ignored costs about 90 c/mile.

Nissan Leaf: Below is a quick way and a more accurate way to determine the cost per mile of owning and operating a Nissan Leaf car for 8 years. Assumptions: 24 kWh battery; battery warrantee 8 years, 100,000 miles; $30,000, new, $5,500 at 8 years; driven 100,000 miles in 8 years; 0.30 kWh/mile at customer meter; no on-road charging, 100% at home charging at 0.20 $/kWh.

Annual charging cost is (100000/8) x 0.3 x 0.20 = $750, or 6 c/mile.

Car cost/mile is (30000 – 5500)/100000 = 24.5 c/mile.

Quick way cost is 30.5 c/mile, with ignored costs about 40 c/mile.

Annual payment for amortizing $30,000 at 3%, 8y, is $4,274, or (8 x 4274 – 5500)/100000 = 28.7 c/mile.

Annual charging cost is (100,000/8) x 0.3 x 0.2 = $750, or 6 c/mile.

More accurate way cost is 34.7 c/mile, with ignored costs about 40 c/mile.

Ignored costs: The cost of financing and amortizing (for the “quick way”), PLUS any costs for O&M of car and at-home charger, PLUS taxes, license, registration; PLUS any capacity degradation due to cycling, are ignored. Capacity degradation means it takes more energy to charge and discharge the battery, a shorter range for a given battery discharge, less livelier throttle response during acceleration and uphill driving.

NOTE: Assuming a new owner buys an 8-y-old TESLA for $15,000, he likely would install a new battery for about 85 kWh x $125/kWh = $10,625, plus labor and materials, and disposal of the old battery. The price of a new TESLA likely would be about $80,000 eight years from now, because increases in car costs likely would be offset by decreases in battery costs.

TESLA MODEL S EXPERIENCE

Travel, miles/y……………..20000…………..20000, assumed

Energy from battery………….0.29……………..0.29, kWh/mile DC

Energy charged……………….5800…………….5800, kWh/y DC

Vampire loss………………………847………………847, kWh/y AC @ 8 mile/d

Charging loss……………………..997………………997, kWh/y AC @ 15%

Total through meter…………..7644…………….7644, kWh/y AC

Elect. rate, $/kWh………………0.20……………..0.10, assumed

Elect. cost, $/y……………………1529………………764

Elect. cost, $/mile………….0.076…………0.038

Gasoline, $/gal……………………2.50……………..3.50, assumed

Mileage, miles/gal…………………..28………………..28, assumed

Gasoline, gal/y…………………………714……………..714

Gasoline cost, $/y…………………..1786……………2500

Gasoline cost, $/mile………0.089…………..0.125

If electric rates are high, and gasoline prices are low, EVs are not a good deal.

ELECTRIC VEHICLE PERFORMANCE IN HOT AND COLD CLIMATES

Batteries have a lesser RATE OF DISCHARGE to the DC motor of an EV on colder days, say 10F, than on normal days, say 70F. This causes the EV to act sluggish, especially with snow on the road, or going uphill, and causes it to have a lesser range. Also, in cold climates, cars need a cabin heater, heated seats and heated outside mirrors.

Thermal management of lithium-ion battery systems is critical for electric vehicle performance. For example: an active system may be required to heat or chill a liquid before pumping it through the battery system to regulate the temperature throughout the system. On hot days, the chilled liquid absorbs heat from the batteries, rejects it using a radiator, before going through the chiller again. On cold days, the heated liquid supplies heat to the batteries to ensure efficient charging, and to maintain a proper rate of discharge during driving.

TESLA POWERWALL AND POWERPACK BATTERY SYSTEMS

TESLA markets a wall-hung, 7 kWh Powerwall battery @ $3,000, and floor-mounted a 100 kWh Powerpack @ $25,000, or $250/kWh*, all of which are lithium-ion cells made by Panasonic. The 7 kWh unit is designed for daily charging/discharging. Up to nine units can be connected for a capacity of 63 kWh.

* TESLA utility-scale, turnkey, Powerpack battery systems would be about $400/kWh.

The INSTALLED cost of a 7 kWh unit is $3,000, factory FOB + S & H + Contractor markup of about 10 percent + $2,000 for an AC to DC inverter + Misc. hardware + Installation by 2 electricians, say 16 hours @ $60/h = $6,500, or 929/kWh.

TESLA offers a 10-y warrantee for manufacturing defects, does NOT cover performance. TESLA estimates 10% degradation in performance by year 10.

TESLA POWERWALL BATTERY CHARGING RATE

The battery-charging rate is usually defined as the battery capacity divided by a number. Rapid charging, such as C/1 or C/2, should be avoided, as it overheats the battery and reduces battery life. Normal charging, such as C/3 or C/4, preserves battery life.

– For a TESLA Model S, C/3 = 85/3 = 28.3 kWh per hour. About 8.8 kWh would be charged in one hour at 40 A and 220 V, or 28.3 kWh in 1.6 hour at 80 A and 220 V. The 28.3 kWh would enable a moderate-speed commute of about 28.3/0.3 = 94 miles. The energy from the user’s metered outlet would be about 1.1 x 28.3 = 31 kWh.

– If the energy were from a PV solar system, a 5 kW system would deliver about 3.75 kWh for an hour around noontime, on a sunny day, of which 7/3 = 2.33 kWh could be charged into a 7 kWh unit.

EXAMPLES OF TESLA 7 KWH POWERWALL BATTERY APLLICATIONS

The below four examples assume the TESLA 7 kWh Powerwall batteries actually store 10 kWh, of which 70%, or 7 kWh DC, is available once every day for 10 years, 3650 cycles.

If 7.756 kWh AC is fed via an AC to DC inverter into the battery, 7 kWh DC is charged (charging efficiency 0.914).

If 7 kWh DC is discharged via a DC to AC inverter, 6.400 kWh AC is the usable energy (discharge efficiency 0.914).

The AC-to-AC efficiency 0.914 x 0.914 = 0.836 is likely less in the real world, due to other system energy losses, and due to degradation of performance over time. An AC-to-AC efficiency of 0.80 or less would be more realistic. See URL.

https://www.originenergy.com.au/for-home/solar/battery-storage/tesla-powerwall.html

Example No. 1, Store Daytime Solar Energy for Use at Night:

The economics of this scheme is based on the unrealistic assumption PV solar energy would be available to charge the batteries, to the maximum extent possible, each and every day for 10 years, and that all of that energy would be used at night. This would yield the worst-case economics. The below calculations are based on that assumption.

NOTE: The output of a solar PV system could be split with DC, via a charge controller, to the batteries, and DC to an oversized hot water storage tank and other DC users in the house, with the remaining DC, via the solar PV system inverter, as AC to the house and the grid.

Assumptions: NO performance loss over its 10-yr warrantee life; one cycle per day, i.e., 3,650 cycles; daytime solar energy generated by the homeowner could have been sold to the utility at 30 c/kWh; homeowner avoids buying nighttime energy from the utility at 20 c/kWh; usable energy 6.400 kWh (discharge eff. = 6.4/7 = 0.914); charging energy 7.656 kWh (charging eff. = 0.914).

Energy-shifting loss over 10 y: 3,650 x (7.656 x 30 – 6.400 x 20) = $3,711.59.

A quick way to estimate the minimum cost of storage with a 7 kWh unit: $6500/3650 = $1.78/d, dividing by the retrieved energy 1.78/6.400 = 27.8 c/kWh; with ignored costs, the actual storage cost would be about 35 c/kWh.

Storage cost over 10 y: 0.35 x 3650 x 6.400 = $8,176.00

Net cost: 8176.00 + 3711.59 = $11,887.59

Ignored costs: The cost of financing and amortizing, PLUS any costs for O&M and disposal, PLUS any capacity degradation due to cycling, PLUS other system losses, PLUS efficiency reductions of part-load operation of AC/DC and DC/AC inverters, are ignored.

Conclusion: Storing a quantity of high-value, on-peak solar energy during the day, to retrieve a smaller quantity of low-value, off-peak energy during the night, is not smart, unless the rate differential and/or subsidies are extremely high.

NOTE: For people living “off-the-grid”, it is essential to store solar energy during the day for use at night.

Example No. 2, Store Nighttime Grid Energy for Use During Daytime:

The economics of this scheme is based on the unrealistic assumption the batteries would be charged from the grid at night, to the maximum extent possible, each and every day for 10 years, and that all of that energy would be used during the day. The below calculations are based on that assumption.

Assumptions: NO performance loss over Powerwall 10-yr warrantee life; one cycle per day, i.e., 3,650 cycles; off-peak cost of charging is 20 c/kWh; on-peak avoided cost is 30 c/kWh; usable energy 6.400 kWh (discharge eff. = 6.4/7 = 0.914); charging energy 7.656 kWh (charging eff. = 0.914).

Peak-shaving gain over 10 y: 3,650 x (6.400 x 30 – 7.656 x 20) = $1,418.94 for a 7 kWh unit.

A quick way to estimate the minimum cost of storage with a 7 kWh unit: $6500/3650 = $1.78/d, dividing by the retrieved energy 1.78/6.400 = 27.8 c/kWh; with ignored costs, the actual storage cost would be about 35 c/kWh.

Storage cost over 10 y: 0.35 x 3650 x 6.400 = $8,176.00

Net cost: 8176.00 – 1418.94 = $6,757.06

Ignored costs: The cost of financing and amortizing, PLUS any costs for O&M and disposal, PLUS any capacity degradation due to cycling, PLUS other system losses, PLUS efficiency reductions of part-load operation of AC/DC and DC/AC inverters, are ignored.

Conclusion: Storing a quantity of low-value, off-peak grid energy during the night, to retrieve a smaller quantity of high-value, on-peak energy during the day, is not smart, unless the rate differential and/or subsidies are extremely high.

Example No. 3, Vermont “Before-The-Meter” Battery Systems:

Some utilities plan to install multiples of 100 kWh battery systems (utility-owned or customer-owned), and plan to distribute hundreds of 7 kWh battery systems on their distribution grids to minimize grid disturbances due to PV systems and for peak shifting. These utilities may provide the wall-mounted battery systems to customers, whether they own a PV system or not. Battery systems on customer premises are called “before-the-meter” systems. For example, Green Mountain Power, a utility in Vermont, offers the following options:

– Customers can lease a 7 kWh, TESLA Powerwall unit for $37.50 a month with no upfront cost, but by choosing this option they must allow GMP to access to battery to offset energy demand during peak hours. See below Item 1.

– Customers can purchase a 7 kWh unit for $6,500 (and be responsible for any O&M and disposal costs). Customer can choose to a) share the access with GMP and receive $31.76 in monthly credit, or b) not share and use the system for backup and to offset his on-peak usage. See below Items 2 and 3.

The economics of this scheme is based on the unrealistic assumption the batteries would be charged from the grid at night, to the maximum extent possible, each and every day for 10 years, and that all of that energy would be used during the day. This yields the best-case economics. The below calculations are based on that assumption.

1) GMP Owns, GMP Peak Shaving: Assuming GMP had access every day, and the battery is charged off-peak, the 10-y customer cost would be 37.50 x 120 = $4,500 in lease payments, to enable GMP to retrieve from storage 6.400 kWh x 3650 = 23,360 kWh of on-peak energy over 10 years. The economics of this scheme is all within GMP. Presumably, the customer still would have access for about 2 hours of backup during an outage.

2) Customer Owns, GMP Peak Shaving: Assuming GMP had access every day, the 10-y customer cost would be $6500 – $31.76 x 120 = $2,689, to enable GMP to retrieve from storage 23,360 kWh of on-peak energy over 10 years. The economics of this scheme is all within GMP. Presumably, the customer still would have access for about 2 hours of backup during an outage.

3) Customer Owns, Customer Peak Shaving: At present, the GMP customer rate is the same on-peak and off-peak. However, this may change. Accordingly, for this case, rates were assumed for illustration purposes. See “Using Batteries to Store Nighttime Grid Energy for Use During the Day” regarding offsetting customer on-peak usage. The customer would have about 2 hours of backup during an outage.

It is assumed, the customer would not sell all of his solar energy at the current feed-in tariff of 19 cent/kWh, but store it for use it at night, thereby avoiding buying grid energy at the current 20 cent/kWh.

Energy-shifting loss: 3650 x (7.656 x 0.19 – 6.400 x 0.20) = $637.44

A quick way to estimate the minimum cost of storage of a 7 kWh unit: $6500/3650 = $1.78/d, dividing by the retrieved energy 1.78/6.400 = 27.8 c/kWh; with ignored costs, the actual storage cost would be about 35 c/kWh.

Storage cost over 10 y: 0.35 x 3650 x 6.400 = $8,176.00

Total customer cost: 637.44 + 8176.00 = $8,813.44

Ignored costs: In cases 2 and 3, the cost of customer financing and amortizing, PLUS any costs for O&M and disposal, PLUS any capacity degradation due to cycling, PLUS other system losses, PLUS efficiency reductions of part-load operation of AC/DC and DC/AC inverters, are ignored.

Conclusion: There is no way these three “before-the-meter” schemes would ever pay for a Vermont homeowner customer, unless the on-peak/off-peak rate differential and/or government subsidies were very high.

Example No. 4, German “Before-The-Meter” Battery Systems:

In Germany, at the start of the ENERGIEWENDE in 2000, household electric rates were about 20 eurocent/kWh and PV solar feed-in tariffs were about 55 eurocent/kWh. German households reacted to this great deal by loading up their roofs with solar systems. About 7400, 7500, 7600 MW of solar systems were installed in 2010, 2011, 2012, respectively.

Since then, household rates have increased to about 30 eurocent/kWh (the second highest in Europe, after Denmark), due to various increases in taxes, surcharges and fees, and PV solar feed-in tariffs have decreased to about 12 eurocent/kWh, and systems installation decreased to about 39698 – 38236 = 1462 MW in 2015, despite much lesser system costs/kW.

As it no longer pays to sell solar energy to the utility, some households have installed battery systems to use that energy themselves, which, as shown above, likely does not pay, but households install the battery systems anyway, because cash subsidies are at least 30% of turnkey system cost, and because they may be somewhat ignorant of the real economics.

The economics of this scheme is based on the unrealistic assumption PV solar energy would be available to charge the batteries, to the maximum extent possible, each and every day for 10 years, and that all of that energy would be used at night. The below calculations are based on that assumption.

NOTE: The output of a solar PV system could be split with DC, via a charge controller, to the batteries, and DC to an oversized hot water storage tank and other DC users in the house, with the remaining DC, via the solar PV system inverter, as AC to the house and the grid.

Assumptions: NO performance loss over its 10-yr warrantee life; one cycle per day, i.e., 3,650 cycles; daytime solar energy generated by the homeowner could have been sold to the utility at 12 eurocent/kWh; homeowner avoids buying nighttime energy from the utility at 30 eurocent/kWh; usable energy 6.400 kWh (discharge eff. = 6.4/7 = 0.914); charging energy 7.656 kWh (charging eff. = 0.914).

Energy-shifting gain over 10 y: 3,650 x (6.400 x 30 – 7.656 x 12) = 3654.56 euro

The German turnkey cost of the TESLA 7 kWh unit likely would be about 25% higher than in the US, due to shipping, import duties, labor rates, value added taxes, etc., which would be offset by the 30% cash subsidy, i.e., 6500 x 1.25 = 8,125 euro, less 30% = 5,688 euro, or 1.558 euro/d, or 1.558/6.400 = 0.243 euro/kWh; with ignored costs, the actual storage cost would be about 0.30 euro/kWh.

Storage cost over 10 y: 0.30 x 3650 x 6.400 = 7,008.00 euro

Net cost: 7008.00 – 3654.56 = 3,353.44 euro

Ignored costs: The cost of financing and amortizing, PLUS any costs for O&M and disposal, PLUS any capacity degradation due to cycling, PLUS other system losses, PLUS efficiency reductions of part-load operation of AC/DC and DC/AC inverters, are ignored.

Conclusion: The rate differential would need to be even higher to offset the remaining cost, and/or subsidies would need to be increased.

NOTE: For people living “off-the-grid”, it is essential to store solar energy during the day for use at night.

BATTERIES AS BACKUP DURING LONGER POWER OUTAGES

If a battery system is used for backup, it would need to have sufficient capacity to provide energy, kWh, during an outage, which may last from 1 to 36 hours. For a freestanding house using about 500 kWh per month, this may be up to 15 kWh, assuming some appliances remain turned off during the outage. That means several Powerwall units would be required. In that case, it would be much more cost-effective to have a 3 – 5 kW, propane-fired generator.

LCOE OF GAS-TURBINE GENERATORS FOR PEAK-SHAVING

Utilities aim to reduce purchases of on-peak energy from the grid during peak demands. One way is by starting up diesel-generators and open cycle gas turbine-generators, OCGTs, for a few hours each day.

The levelized cost of energy, LCOE, of 50 MW OCGT peaking plants is about 19 – 22 c/kWh over their 30-year lives. The LCOE varies with the cost of capital, operating hours/y, fixed and variable O&M, efficiency and gas prices/million Btu. As the average on-peak wholesale energy price over the next 30 years likely would be less than 19 – 22 c/kWh, the peaking plant would be operated at a loss, which is common for peaking plants.

http://www.nwcouncil.org/media/7148619/preliminary-assumptions-for-natural-gas-peaking-technologies_121814.pdf

Assumptions: The capital cost of a 50 MW OCGT peaking plant is about $50 million; 50% is private capital requiring a return at 10%/y; 50% is borrowed at 5%/y. Estimates of the major annual costs are as follows:

Amortizing, 50% private at 10% over 30 y………………………………2.651,957

Amortizing, 50% borrowed at 5% over 30 y…………………………….1,626,545

Fixed + variable O&M……………………………………………………………..885,197

Gas, at 0.35 efficiency and $5/million Btu………………………………1,768,246*

Miscellaneous, i.e., taxes, insurance, etc…………………………………..500,000

Total……………………………………………………………………………………6,406,533

LCOE…………………………………………………………………………………..20.49 c/kWh

* At the current price of gas of less than $2/million Btu, the LCOE would be 17.57 c/kWh.

EXISTING AND PLANNED UTILITY-SCALE BATTERY SYSTEMS

SoCal Edison is planning a 32-MWh (8 MW for 4 h), lithium-ion energy storage project in a region with a potential 4,500 MW of wind turbines. LG Chem, a South Korean company, is providing the batteries. ABB, a Swiss company, is providing the balance of plant. Project capital cost $53.5 million (includes $25 million as a cash subsidy from USDOE), or $1,672/kWh. For comparison, the below project capital cost of a TESLA-Powerpack-based system is about $400/kWh, about 4 times less.

http://www.energy.ca.gov/2011_energypolicy/documents/2010-11-16_workshop/presentations/04_Minnicucci_SCEs_Approach_to_Energy_Storage.pdf

This URL has extensive detail regarding 12 case studies of stabilizing the grid with battery systems.

Case Study No. 3 shows a 21 MW wind turbine system in Maui, Hawaii, needs an 11 MW lithium-ion battery system, capable of delivering 300 kWh for 4 hours, for balancing the wind energy. Capital cost is about $11 million. Estimated cycles is 8000, and life is 20 years.

Project funds are $91 million, government + $49 million, private = $140 million. The project’s infrastructure includes an energy storage system; a 9-mile, 34.5-kilovolt powerline; an interconnection substation; a microwave communication tower; and a construction access road. Each generator pad requires about 2.4 acres of cleared area. The entire project covers 1,466 acres.

http://www.irena.org/DocumentDownloads/Publications/IRENA_Battery_Storage_case_studies_2015.pdf

From the above, it is clear, the turnkey installed cost, $/kWh, of a battery system based on TESLA’s 100 kWh Powerpack energy storage units would be several times less than of any competitor.

LCOE OF UTILITY-SCALE TESLA BATTERY SYSTEMS FOR PEAK-SHAVING

Another way of reducing utility purchases of on-peak energy from the grid during peak demands is by means of battery systems. This approach is in its infancy, as battery prices per kWh have only recently decreased to make it more financially viable, compared with traditional peaking plants.

Batteries systems can meet peak demands with lower emissions than OCGTs, by charging during low-demand periods, and discharging during peak demand periods, which displaces the need to burn natural gas in a peaking plant.

Battery systems can perform regulating, and filling-in and balancing services, when not in peaking mode. These services are much less stressful, as they use a smaller range of the system capacity.

The LCOE of battery systems is dependent on difference of wholesale on- and off-peak rates, c/kWh, the useful service life, year, the degradation of the batteries, %/y, and the range of charge/discharge, %. As a minimum, the electric rate difference must be large enough to offset the “round-trip” losses of charging, discharging, and AC to DC and DC to AC conversion, which may be up to 18.6% of the off-peak energy fed into the battery system. The real-world loss likely would be at least 20%, due to other system losses.

Below is calculated the LCOE of a TESLA Powerpack-based, peak-shaving system using the following assumptions:

– The battery system is to provide 100 MWh in 2 hours.

– The real-world loss is 20%

– Range of charge is 79%

– Battery degradation in year 10 is 10%

– Replacement battery cost in year 11 and year 21 about 50% of $250/kWh = $125/kWh

– Removal, disposal, and install new in year 11 and year 21 about 15% of new battery cost, or $37.5/kWh

NOTE: About 100 MWh/0.80 = 125 MWh needs to be charged into the battery to recover 100 MWh, for a loss of 25 MWh/d. The annual cost of that loss is 365 x 25 x 75 = $684,375, at an assumed average wholesale price of $75/MWh over the next 30 years.

The battery capacity would need to be 100/(0.80 x 0.79 x 0.90)  = 176 MWh

The battery capital cost would be 176 x 1000 x 250 = $44.0 million

The capital cost of balance of plant, BOP, would be about $24.0 million

50% is private capital requiring a return at 10%/y; 50% is borrowed at 5%/y

The capital cost of the turnkey, battery SYSTEM would be about $68 million, or $387/kWh

Estimates of the major annual costs are as follows:

Year……………………………………………………………1 to 10……………11 to 30

Private amortizing batteries at 10%……………..3,731,718…………1,865,859

Borrowed amortizing batteries at 5%………….2,845,907…………1,422,953*

Private amortizing removal, disposal, and install new at 10%……279,879

Borrowed amortizing removal, disposal, and install new at 5%…..213,443

Private amortizing BOP at 10% over 30 y…………1,275,476……….1,275,476

Borrowed amortizing BOP at 5% over 30 y…………782,297………….782,297

Fixed + variable O&M……………………………………..750,000………….750,000

Battery system energy loss………………………………..684,375…………..684,375

Miscellaneous, i.e., taxes, insurance, etc…………….750,000…………..750,000

Total……………………………………………………………10,819,773………..8,024,282

LCOE, batteries……………………………………………..18.1 c/kWh……….9.1 c/kWh

LCOE, removal, disposal, and install new…………………………………..1.4 c/kWh

LCOE, battery system loss…………………………………1.9 c/kWh……….1.9 c/kWh

LCOE, balance of plant……………………………………..9.8 c/kWh………9.8 c/kWh

LCOE, battery system year…………………………….29.8 c/kWh………22.1 c/kWh

* This cost is only for batteries; not included are the cost of removing and disposing of the old batteries, installing the new ones, and any BOP upgrades.

Even though, battery systems can perform other services, when not in peak-shaving mode, the LCOE of the battery system, operating life of 10 to at most 15 years versus about 30 years for OCGT peaking plants, would need to become about 20 c/kWh or less to cause utilities to replace older OCGT peaking plants (which likely are already paid for) with new battery systems, unless it is mandated by law, and heavily subsidized.

EXAMPLE OF AN ENERGY INTENSIVE INDUSTRY USING ENERGY FROM CSPs

Over the past 60 years electric arc furnaces, EAFs, have increased their US production to about 55.2 million metric ton, 62.6% of total steel production in 2013. EAFs have capacities up to about 400 metric ton of steel per hour. The below calculation is for a 300-metric ton unit.

At 400 kWh/metric ton, a 300-metric ton, industrial, EAF requires about 120 MWh of energy to melt the steel, and a “power-on” time (the time steel is being melted with an arc) of about 37 minutes, and “power-off” time of about 20 minutes, for a total tap-to-tap time of about 57 minutes, to produce 300 metric ton of steel.

At a capacity factor of 0.55, the EAF steel production would be 300 x 8760 x 0.55 = 1,445,400 metric ton/y, and energy consumption would be 120 x 8760 x 0.55 = 578,160 MWh/y, for 24/7/365 operation. The entire EAF mill has other energy inputs, which are ignored.

Electric arc steelmaking is economical where there is plentiful electricity, with a well-developed electrical grid. In many locations, EAF mills operate during off-peak hours, when utilities have surplus power generating capacity and the price of electricity is less.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_arc_furnace

https://www.industry.siemens.com/datapool/industry/industrysolutions/metals/simetal/en/Competence-in-Minimills-en.pdf

If the EAF mill were located near the US southwest, and a CSP plant with at least 10 hours of storage were to provide energy for continuous operation (capacity factor 0.48, at grid feed-in point), the required minimum CSP plant capacity would be 120 MWh/(37/60) = 195 MW. Such a CSP plant would require about 10 acre/MW, and cost about $9 million/MW.

CSP energy production would be 185 x 8760 x 0.48 = 818,231 MWh/y, of which the EAF plant would use 578,160 MWh/y and 240,071 MWh/y would be fed to the grid.

CSP plant capital cost would be 195 x 9 million = $1.751 billion.

CSP plant area = 195 x 10/640 = 3.04 square miles.

NOTE: The above 55.2 million metric ton of steel would need the equivalent of 55.2 million/1.445 million = 38 such CSP plants.

PART II

Part II of this article deals with various aspects of electrifying the US economy and moving away from fossil fuels. Some aspects of wind and solar energy are described. The importance of rotational inertia for grid stability is mentioned.  Examples of energy production and capital cost of offshore wind energy in the UK and of CSP with storage in Morocco are provided. Examples of energy production and capital cost of large-scale wind energy in the Great Plains and CSP energy in the US southwest are provided. An example of a viable US energy mix, without fossil energy, is provided, including capacities and estimated capital costs.

WIND AND SOLAR ENERGY DEPEND ON OTHER GENERATORS AND ENERGY STORAGE

Wind and PV solar energy are weather-dependent, variable and intermittent, i.e., therefore are not steady, high-quality, dispatchable, 24/7/365 energy sources. In New England, Germany, etc.:

– Wind energy is near zero at least 25% of the hours of the year (it takes a wind speed of about 7 mph to start the rotors), minimal most early mornings and most late afternoons. About 70% of annual wind energy is generated during October – April, and about 30% during May – September.

– PV Solar energy is zero about 65% of the hours of the year, minimal early mornings and late afternoons, minimal much of the winter, and near-zero with snow and ice on the panels. CSP with 10 hours of storage provides steady, high-quality, dispatachable, 24/7/365 energy.

– New England has poor winter conditions for PV solar energy, due to snow, icing and clouds. Monthly min/max PV solar ratios are about 1/4. On a daily basis, the worst winter day is as low as 1/25 of the best summer day.

– Often both, wind and PV solar, are simultaneously at near-zero levels during many hours of the year. See URL, click on Renewables. In the Fuel Mix Chart you see the instantaneous wind and PV solar %.

http://www.iso-ne.com/isoexpress/

– Germany has very poor winter conditions for PV solar energy, due to fog, snow, icing and clouds. Monthly min/max PV solar ratios were 1/14.9, 1/12.4, and 1/8.8 for 2013, 2014, and 2015, respectively.

https://www.energy-charts.de/energy.htm

That means, in New England, Germany, etc., without adequate and viable energy storage systems, almost ALL other existing generators must be kept in good running order, staffed, fueled, and ready to provide steady, high-quality, dispatachable, 24/7/365 energy. At higher wind energy percentages, a greater capacity of flexible generators would be required to operate at part load, and ramp up and down, which is inefficient (more Btu/kWh, more CO2/kWh*) to provide energy for peaking, filling-in and balancing the variable PV solar and wind energy. See below Synchronous Rotational Inertia and Grid Stability section.

* The CO2 reduction effectiveness of wind energy in Ireland, with an island grid, is about 52.6% at 17% annual wind energy on the grid. Peaking, filling-in and balancing of the wind energy is mostly with gas-fired, combined-cycle, gas turbine generators, as it would be in New England, unless adequate capacity HVDC lines to Canada were built to enable Hydro-Quebec to perform this service with near-CO2-free hydro energy.

http://www.theenergycollective.com/willem-post/2264202/reducing-us-primary-energy-wind-and-solar-energy-and-energy-efficiency

Output Shortfall Due to System and Field Conditions in Germany:

Below are two days with record PV solar output. The table shows a significant reduction in net output compared with installed capacity.

Date…………………………………….6 June 2014………….15 April 2015

………………………………………………..MW……………………..MW

Installed capacity………………………35785…………………..38546

System losses, 0.175…………………..6262…………………….6746

Other losses……………………………….5323…………………….6771

Net output to grid……………………..24200…………………..25029

Net output, %………………………………68………………………..65

Total losses, %……………………………..32………………………..35

– System losses are built-in, and due to conversion from DC to AC, about 17.5%.

– Other losses are due to system conditions and field conditions, such as component and panel aging, panels not new, not clean, not un-shaded, not correctly angled, not south-facing, insolation (altitude, distance from equator, sun position), and weather conditions (fog, snow, ice, cloudiness, etc.)

REDUCING SHORT-TERM ENERGY VARIATIONS OF WIND TURBINE PLANTS

The real and reactive power, and frequency and voltage of the energy of wind turbine plants are variable. These very short-term variations are due to a blade passing the mast*, about once per second, and the various wind speed velocities and directions entering the plane swept by the rotor. A plant with multiple wind turbines would have a “fuzzy”, low-quality, unsteady output. These short-term variations are separate from those due to the weather, and usually need to be reduced, such as by reactive power compensation with synchronous-condenser systems, before feeding into a grid, especially “weak” grids, to avoid excessive grid disturbances. The Lowell Mountain wind turbine plant in Vermont is required to have a $10.5 million, 62-ton, synchronous-condenser system to minimize disruptions of the rural high voltage grid.

* The passing of a rotor blade past the mast creates a burst of audible and inaudible sound of various frequencies; the base frequency is about 1 Hz, similar to a person’s heart beat, and the harmonics, at 2, 4 and 8 Hz, are similar to the natural frequencies of other human organs. Infrasound interferes with the body’s natural biorhythms, and likely causes adverse health impacts on nearby people and animals, including DNA damage to nearby pregnant animals, and their fetuses and newborn offspring. Because infrasound travels long distances, a buffer zone of at least one mile would be required to reduce these adverse impacts on people. However, roaming animals would continue to be exposed. See wcfn.org URL.

http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy06osti/39183.pdf

http://wcfn.org/2014/03/31/windfarms-vertebrates-and-reproduction/

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/84293/wind-turbine-noise-and-air-pressure-pulses

EXAMPLE OF OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY IN THE UK

The UK is planning to build a 1,200 MW wind turbine plant, 75 miles offshore, in the North Sea. It will have 174 wind turbines, at 6.9 MW each, 623-ft tall. The capital cost will be $5.429 billion, or $4,524,000/MW, excluding subsidies and financing and amortization costs. The production would be about 1200 x 8760 x 0.45 = 4,730,400 MWh/y. The average output would be 0.45 x 1200 = 540 MW, but the minimum output could be near-zero MW, or up to about 1,100 MW.

Energy will be sold at 20.3 c/kWh, whereas UK wholesale prices are 5.1 c/kWh. The difference, totaling $6.1 billion over the 25-year life, will be charged to users as a surcharge on their electric bills.

Europe HAS to resort to such expensive wind energy production systems, because it has few onshore areas with adequate wind, and these areas are too densely populated. The LCOE of such systems would significantly increase as high-cost RE energy is used for owning, operating and maintaining them, i.e., as high-cost RE replaces low-cost fossil energy.

http://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/wp-content/ipc/uploads/projects/EN010033/2.%20Post-Submission/Representations/ExA%20Questions/Appendix%20CC%20-%20Socio-economic%20Assessment%20Methodology%20Note.pdf

It would be extremely unwise for the US to have such expensive build-outs of wind turbine plants off the Atlantic coast, which would produce heavily subsidized energy at 20 – 25 c/kWh, because the capital cost of Great Plains build-outs would be less than $2 million/MW, and would produce much greater quantities of energy at about 6 c/kWh, with minimal subsidies.

EXAMPLES OF CSP ENERGY IN MOROCCO AND US SOUTHWEST

Morocco: In November 2009 Morocco announced it will install 2000 MW of solar capacity by 2020; estimated capital cost $9 billion. The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), a public-private venture, has invited expressions of interest in the design, construction, operation and maintenance, and financing of the first of five solar power stations. After completion, the 2000 MW solar project will provide 18% of Morocco’s annual electricity generation. Morocco, the only African country to have a power cable link to Europe, aims to benefit from the 400 b euro ($440 b) expected to come from the ambitious pan-continental Desertec Industrial Initiative.

The capital cost of the first solar power station (510 MW of CSP plants, plus a 70 MW PV solar plant; total land area 6,178 acres, 10.7 acres/MW) is estimated at about $3.2 billion for the CSP plants (about $6.3 million/MW), plus about $250 million for the PV solar plant. Financing of about $1.2 billion at near-zero interest from the World Bank, et al., and about $2.0 billion from private sources, which with accelerated depreciation to reduce taxes of investors, reduces the effective cost of capital for the project to about 2 – 3%, which enables the energy to be sold at reduced costs/kWh under 25-y power purchase agreements, PPAs.

Noor 1, commissioned Feb, 2016; 500,000 single-axis, tracking parabolic mirrors; output 160 MW gross, 143 MW to grid; 3-h molten salt storage; fossil-fired boiler plant for CSP start-up and supplementary energy, as needed; wet cooling with water from a nearby reservoir; Dowtherm A at 293 C into solar field, 393 C out of solar field; capital cost $1.15 b; energy will be sold at 18.9 c/kWh.

http://www.nrel.gov/csp/solarpaces/project_detail.cfm/projectID=270

Noor 2; single-axis, tracking parabolic mirrors; output 200 MW, estimated 180 MW to grid; 7-h molten salt; dry cooling; energy will be sold at 14 c/kWh.

http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2015/04/07/000477144_20150407085855/Rendered/PDF/E44890V70P131200Box391417B00PUBLIC0.pdf

Noor 3; mirrors focused on a tower; output 150 MW, estimated 135 MW to grid; 7 – 8 h molten salt storage; dry cooling; energy will be sold at 15 c/kWh. This configuration was included for comparison purposes.

Noor 4; PV solar systems; output 70 MW. This configuration is included for comparison purposes, because the cost of utility-scale PV systems has declined to enable energy generation at an LCOE of less than 50% of CSP!!

US Southwest: The Crescent Dunes CSP plant, tower-type, is located in the US southwest. Capacity: 110 MW, 10-h storage is required for continuous operation. Estimated production: 500,000 MWh/y of steady (voltage, frequency, phase-angle), dispatchable energy. CF = 500,000/(8,760 x 110) = 52%; a more likely CF would be 45 to 50 percent. Capital cost: $1.6 billion, or 14,545/kW, a very high cost. A quick way to calculate MINIMUM LCOE over 30 years = $1,600,000,000/(500,000 MWh x 30 years) = 10.7 c/kWh.

If O&M, insurance, taxes, replacements, etc., and financing and paying interest on borrowed money, and owner’s return on investment, over 30 years are included, the likely LCOE would be about 16 – 18 c/kWh, less with subsidies, cash grants, tax benefits due to depreciation, etc. Remember, all of this is STANDARD, WELL-DEVELOPED technology, i.e., no cost-reducing break-throughs can be expected.

http://energyskeptic.com/2015/csp-energy-storage-seasonal-not-much-use-on-national-grid-either/

US ADVANTAGES REGARDING WIND AND SOLAR ENERGY

Wind Energy: In the future, the Great Plains, from the Canadian to Mexican borders, could become the Saudi Arabia of wind energy. There could be at least 350,000 wind turbines with tall masts (higher capacity factor), at 3 MW each, at a turnkey, installed capital cost of about 300,000 x 3 x $2 million/MW = $1,800 billion, producing about 300000 x 8760 x 0.35 = 2,759 TWh/y. The wind turbines would be connected with HVDC transmission lines to population centers in the eastern and western US. The annual average CF would be even greater, if 120-meter masts became commonplace in the future.

Solar Energy: Similarly, the US southwest, with thousands of square miles of flat, uninhabited, desert-like terrain, could become the Saudi Arabia of solar energy. There could be at least 10,000 square miles of CSP plants with at least 10 hours of high-temperature, thermal storage for 24-h operation, at a turnkey, installed capital cost of about 10000 x 640/10 x $9 million/MW = $5,760 billion, producing 10000 x 640/10 x 8760 x 0.48 = 2,691 TWh/y.

CSP with 10-h storage would provide steady (voltage, frequency, phase-angle) energy, and it is dispatchable, a major improvement over PV solar and wind. During most of the daytime hours, energy would be stored in excess of what is needed to run the plant at a high percent of rated output. After the sun goes down, the plant would be run at 60% of rated output, or less, to ensure there is enough thermal energy left over for the next early morning. Hopefully, the sun will shine and the cycle is repeated. If not, nuclear has to take up the slack, assuming fossil is on the way out.

The CSP plants would be connected with HVDC transmission lines to population centers in the eastern and western US. Those plants would provide a major part of the US electrical energy requirements, plus a major part of the peaking, filling-in and balancing of variable, intermittent wind and PV solar energy, thereby reducing the need for expensive, energy storage systems.

Because the capital costs of PV solar systems has significantly declined during the past 5 years, PV solar systems with 10-h thermal storage in the US southwest likely would have a lesser capital cost/MW, and likely would have a lesser LCOE than equivalent CSP systems with 10-h thermal storage. The DC energy of the PV solar systems would electrically heat the stored liquid.

Europe has much less such natural advantages, because the windiest area around the North Sea would not produce sufficient wind energy, and almost all CSP plants would need to be located in the Sahara Desert, which would require protection from terrorists.

ENERGY SUPPLY AND DEMAND MANAGEMENT DURING EXTREME WEATHER CONDITIONS

In the event of a simultaneous multi-day partial wind lull in the Great Plains and a multi-day partial overcast condition in the US southwest, significant wind and solar energy, TWh, would not be generated. The energy production shortfall is estimated at (7.373, CSP + 3.511, PV + 7.560, Wind)/2 = 9.222 TWh/d. This energy shortfall could be offset by a combination of a build-out of bio-synthetic fuel production and storage systems for fuelling 60% efficient combined cycle gas turbine plants, PLUS electrical demand management. With additional transmission capacity, MW, the US northeast could import additional energy from hydro plants in Canada via HVDC lines.

The capacity of the CCGTs would be 2000 TWh/(8760 x 0.80 capacity factor) = 285,388 MW, and the capital cost would be $314 billion, at $1.1 million/MW. The daily average production of the CCGTs would be 5,479 TWh/d of steady, high-quality, dispatachable, 24/7/365 energy. The bio-synthetic fuel production and storage systems capacity would need to be sufficient for at most one month of continuous operation, so storage could be drawn down during at least 2 closely spaced weather events, and be built up and maintained full during other times. The curtailment by means of demand management would be 9.222 – 5.479 = 3.742 TWh/d, about 3.742/33.686 = 11.1% of total daily generation.

During a significant snowstorm or hurricane, businesses, etc., usually are closed and millions of people stay home, blackouts occur, energy consumption is reduced. As part of demand management, this form of temporary curtailment could become “business as usual” during significant wind lulls and overcast conditions. Non-essential activities, such as operating casinos in Las Vegas, could be curtailed, which would enable much of the Hoover Dam energy to be diverted to the rest of the US. National airline travel and heavy-duty truck travel could be curtailed to preserve synthetic fuels. National electric rates could be temporarily increased to 3 or 4 times normal to curtail consumption.

NATIONWIDE HVDC OVERLAY GRID

Nationwide supply and demand management would not be possible without centralized management of the entire US grid. An essential element of such management would be a nationwide HVDC grid.

The outputs of wind and solar plants can be converted to a high voltage DC current (eliminating above-mentioned, power, frequency and voltage variation issues encountered with AC transmission lines), and instantly sent, at near the speed of light, via the nationwide HVDC overlay grid.

The HVDC overlay grid would be connected to existing, local HVAC grids, just as the US national highway system was connected to existing, local highway and road systems. As part of the energy transition, and due to widely used, economically viable, HVDC technology, local HVDC grids would be built out. Local HVAC grids would exist in parallel with local HVDC grids, as more users would be powered with DC energy, such as EVs, heat pumps, electronic devices, etc.

SYNCHRONOUS ROTATIONAL INERTIA AND GRID STABILITY

At all times, the US electrical system has thousands of fossil, nuclear and hydro generators in synchronous operation, at 3600-rpm, to provide 60 Hz AC energy to the grid. Their steady, synchronous, rotational inertia is critical for grid stability. CSP plants, with thermal storage, have steady, synchronous, rotational inertia. Wind turbine plants have rotational inertia, but it is unsteady and not synchronous, which detracts from grid stability. PV solar plants have zero rotational inertia.

As wind and PV solar energy increase on the grid, and fossil plants are decommissioned, sufficient synchronous rotational inertia needs to be in operation throughout the US for grid stability. As HVDC lines do not transmit the stabilizing function of rotational inertia, any future planning regarding the location of synchronous inertia needs to reflect that condition.

That means the HVDC overlay grid must connect at many points to the Eastern, Western and Texas Interconnections, and generators and synchronous-condenser systems, with steady, synchronous, rotational inertia, must be distributed throughout the US. With fossil plants and their synchronous rotational inertia disappearing, nuclear plants, which can be located anywhere in the US, would be needed to replace their energy and their synchronous rotational inertia. Energy generated anywhere, by any source, at any time, can be instantly distributed anywhere in the US, with such an arrangement.

Germany has been closing down its nuclear plants and older coal and gas plants, and has been building new, more efficient coal plants. The net effect likely would lead to less flexibility for balancing wind and solar energy and less synchronous rotational inertia. However, during higher levels of wind and solar generation (sunny and windy periods), often coinciding with low night-time demands, Germany has to export its excess generation, because its own generators cannot balance it; curtailments would be a solution, but would not be politically acceptable. Instead, Germany is borrowing the spare balancing capacity of nearby grids, plus their synchronous rotational inertia, to help stabilize its domestic grid. See Note No. 6 in this URL

http://www.theenergycollective.com/willem-post/2264202/reducing-us-primary-energy-wind-and-solar-energy-and-energy-efficiency

ENERGY-EFFICIENT AND ENERGY-SURPLUS BUILDINDS

States should have enforced building codes requiring “zero-energy” and preferably “energy-surplus” construction for ALL NEW buildings to ensure building energy requirements are minimal. Such “energy-sipping” buildings would be energy efficient, Passivhaus-standard or better. Such buildings, with the addition of PV solar, and ground- or air source heating and cooling systems, could easily become “energy-surplus” buildings.

New residential, industrial, commercial, institutional and governmental buildings would produce most of their own energy by having PV solar systems on their roofs or parking lots, and ground- or air source heat pump systems to offset building energy requirements, power electric heat pumps, and charge electric cars. The piping for the ground source heat pump systems could be under the parking lots. Intel’s Folsom, CA, campus has a 6.5 MW PV solar carport on about 100 acres, which provides 16 charging stations, and shade for about 3,000 vehicles.

The energy efficiency measures, plus the distributed generation by buildings would significantly reduce generation by large central plants connected to high voltage grids, and would reduce overall US energy requirements and fossil fuel CO2 emissions. See Part II at the end of the article.

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/2162036/comparison-grid-connected-and-grid-houses

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/46652/reducing-energy-use-houses

ENERGY FOR TRANSPORTATION

US primary energy for transportation was 27.1 quad in 2014, of which 21.4 quad was rejected as heat and 5.68 quad performed services to users. The energy categories are as shown in the below table. Air and Ships would require syn- and biofuels; most of Rail could be electric; some of Hv Truck could be electric battery; all of Lt Truck and LDVs could be battery. A quad = 10 ^15 Btu.

In this article, by 2050, 18.5 quad is assumed to be replaced by 5.68/27.1 x 18.5 x 1.2 (battery loss) = 4.65 quad of electricity, or 1363.7 TWh. About 27.1 – 18.5 = 8.6 quad would be syn- and biofuels, which would provide to services to users of 5.68/27.1 x 8.6 = 1.8 quad, or 528 TWh.

………………………………..quad

Air…………………………….2.5

Ships…………………………0.7

Rail…………………………..0.5

Hv Truck…………………..5.0

Lt Truck…………………….0.5

LDVs……………………….15.5

Misc………………………….2.4

Total………………………..27.1

http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2015/09/f26/Quadrennial-Technology-Review-2015_0.pdf

Energy per Mile: In 2013, 38.4044 quad was used to generate 4065.965 TWh; less self use of 164.78 netted 3901.185 TWh; plus imports of 46.73 yielded 3947.915 TWh to the grid; less T & D of 253.580 netted 3694.335 TWh to user meters, or 12.6056 quad, resulting in an energy in/out ratio of 0.328.

An EV requires about 0.30 kWh/mile, or 1024 Btu/mile, or 1024/0.328 = 3119 Btu/mile on a primary energy basis. Gasohol (10% ethanol/90% gasoline) contains about 120,900 Btu/gal. An ICE vehicle, @ 38.8 MPG, would use 120900/38.8 = 3116 Btu/mile.

EPA MPG-Equivalent: For the EPA to claim the EV mileage is about 38.8/0.328 = “118 MPG-equivalent” is misleading, to say the least. The EPA-invented mileages are used to help manufacturers meet the federal CAFE requirement of 54.5 MPG, EPA-Combined, by 2025.

Worldwide CAFE Standards: The three largest passenger car markets representing two-thirds of global sales have strong fuel economy standards in place: US, 54.5 mpg by 2025; EU, 56.9 mpg by 2021; China, 47.7 mpg by 2020.

EXAMPLE OF A VIABLE FUTURE US ENERGY MIX WITHOUT FOSSIL ENERGY

The energy providing services to users (energy coming out of radiators to heat buildings and going to wheels of vehicles, etc.) has been about 38 – 40 quad since 1998. That means, even though the US population and gross national product increased, the energy providing services to users remained about the same for 17 years, because users became more energy efficient, and shifted from energy-intensive goods to less energy-intensive services.

In this article 11,353 TWh/y, or 38.738 quad, is assumed to be the energy providing services to users. The energy flow chart in the below URL shows energy providing services to users was 38.43 and 38.90 quad in 2013 and 2014, respectively. See below Energy and Capital Cost Projections table.

https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/content/energy/energy_archive/energy_flow_2013/2013USEnergy.png

https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/energy.html

https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/content/assets/images/energy/us/Energy_US_2014.png

There is no reason for this energy to increase in the future, if increased energy efficiency measures, plus additional taxes on resource- and energy-intensive activities, are implemented. However, at some point energy efficiency, etc., would reach a limit, and zero population growth, zero GNP growth and zero energy growth would be required for a sustainable future. Implementing these zero-growth percentages would be a much greater political challenge than eliminating fossil fuels from the energy mix.

Eliminating Fossil Fuels: Fossil fuels, i.e., coal, petroleum, natural gas, were (18.0386 + 34.6132 +26.8185, quad)/97.2804, quad = 81.7% of US primary energy in 2013. Eliminating them from the US energy system, by government mandate or due to depletion, is a serious issue. Fossil fuels have provided steady, high-quality, dispatchable, 24/7/365 energy to the US economy since 1800. Any future US energy mix must be able to do the same. Nuclear energy is steady, high-quality, dispatchable, 24/7/365 energy; it would be an essential and viable replacement for a significant part of the fossil energy. See below table.

Energy and Capital Cost Projections: The 2050 projections in the below table are based on the above Jacobson Report energy projections, reduced by increased energy efficiency. The “overnight” capital costs are shown. “Overnight” assumes all is in place overnight, as if by magic wand. Various costs, such as financing and amortization, are ignored. Comparing projects on an overnight versus overnight basis is common practice

……………………2050…..2050……2050………..2050…………..2050……..2013…..2013

Source……………%………CF*……TWh………….MW………….$billion…..TWh…….%

Fossil………………………………………………………………………………………..2687……66.1

CSP solar#…….21.9……0.48……2691……….640000…………5760………..21…….0.5

PV solar*………10.4…….0.16……1281……….914286…………3200

Onshore wind*.22.4…..0.35……2759………900000…………2100………168……..4.1

Nuclear………….40.7…..0.88……5004……….596144…………3591………789……19.4

Other*…………….4.5……0.35………559……….182352………….456……….401……..9.9

HVDC grid; 40,000 miles @ $8 million/mile…………………..320

Total…………….100.0………………12296……3289539……….14807……..4066….100.0

Storage systems+…………………………………………………………1557

Bio-fired CCGTs……………………………………………………………314

Total……………………………………………………………………….16998*

Less Self-use loss……………………..493……………………………………………..165

Plus Imports…………………………………………………………………………………..47

Total to grid………………………….11804……………………………………………3948

Less T & D losses………………………767……………………………………………..254

Less Storage losses^………………….205

Synfuels for aviation, etc…………….522

Services to users…………………….11353………………………………………….3694

* The US energy system 2013 CF was 4113 TWh/(8760 x 1060000 MW) = 0.443; the 2050 CF would be 12296 TWh/ 8760 x 3289539 MW) = 0.427. PV solar for 2013 is included in CSP for 2013. Other is bio, wood, geothermal, tide, wave and hydro; its potential to increase is very limited. Bio, with a very low, less than 1.0 W/m2, energy density, and very low ratio of energy return over energy invested, ERoEI, would take up too much valuable farmland area.

^ In 2050, a large quantity of the about 4,000 TWh/y of PV solar and onshore wind energy, per above table, would end up in storage and would be subject to about 20% losses. That means, additional production capacity and energy production would be required to make up for energy losses in battery and other energy storage systems. The storage systems shown in the table are for normal operations, which does not cover extreme conditions, as described in the Demand Management section.

+ The estimate of the storage systems capital cost is based on average daily daytime and nighttime generation, with about 25% of the PV solar and wind energy entering the storage systems. For a delivered 100 units of energy, the battery capacity would need to be 100/(0.80, loss x 0.79, charging range x 0.90, aging) = 176 units. Storage systems turnkey unit cost is assumed at $400/kWh. For a more exact analysis, see Peaking, Filling-in and Balancing below.

# For illustration purposes, if 1,000 units of thermal energy were collected by the solar field, and during daytime, 300 units were used to produce electrical energy at a 25% plant efficiency, then 75 units of electrical energy would be sent to the grid over 8 hours. If during nighttime, operating off storage, 700 units were used at 22%, then 154 units would be sent to the grid over 16 hours, for a total of 229 units of electrical energy to the grid over 24 hours. That means 77% of the collected energy would be process loss!!

http://www.theenergycollective.com/willem-post/2264202/reducing-us-primary-energy-wind-and-solar-energy-and-energy-efficiency

US Energy Mix Without Fossil Energy: A future US energy mix of the “electrified” economy would require its electrical generation of 4,066 TWh in 2013 to increase to 12,296 TWh by 2050, i.e., 3.0 times. As a result, solar would need to multiply (2691 + 1281)/21 = 189.2 times, wind 2759/168 = 16.4 times, nuclear 5004/789 = 6.3 times, and Other 559/401 = 1.4 times, if fossil fuels were not used. See above table.

The mostly steady, high-quality, dispatachable, 24/7/365 energy of nuclear, plus CSP with storage, plus Other would be 40.7 + 21.8 + 4.5 = 67.1% in 2050, which would be about equal to the 66.1% of steady, high-quality, dispatachable, 24/7/365 fossil energy in 2013. The variable energy of wind, plus PV solar would be 22.4 + 10.4 = 32.9% in 2050, which is about where Germany will be in a few years. If Germany can manage 33% of variable, intermittent energy with its existing generators, connections to foreign grids, and minor additional energy storage systems, so can the US. See above table.

Peaking, Filling-in and Balancing: Hour by hour spreadsheet analyses of changing wind and solar energy generation, and of the controllable outputs of other generators, for meeting energy demand, modified by demand management, for one whole year, 8760 rows, based on weather data of prior years, would be required to determine the times and quantities of energy in and out of storage, and storage system capacities for peaking, filling-in and balancing*.

The analysis would determine the need for additional generating capacity for peaking, filling-in and balancing, for covering scheduled and unscheduled outages, and for covering extreme conditions, as described in the Demand Management section.

* The quantities in and out of storage systems would be subject to an energy loss of about 20%. The outputs of load following nuclear, CSP, and Other plants, etc., would be varied to share the burden of peaking, filling-in and balancing.

CAPITAL COSTS TO IMPLEMENT “ELECTRIFICATION” WITHOUT FOSSIL FUELS

Capital Costs for Energy Sector: A future “electrified” US economy, without fossil fuels, might have 11,353 TWh of energy to users by 2050, by making investments in NEW energy systems of at least 16998/35 = $486 BILLION PER YEAR, during the 2016 – 2050 period.

Not shown in the above table are about $100 billion per year for other costs, such as:

– Financing and amortization of above energy sector capital costs, plus ongoing investments for replacements and refurbishments of the existing energy systems, as they would be needed during the transition period.

– Refurbishments/decommissionings/replacements, BEFORE 2050, of the existing and newly built renewable energy systems, mostly wind and solar systems with short, say 20 – 25 year lives, i.e., replacements would be kicking in while the build-outs of new systems are proceeding.

– Writing off the A to Z fossil infrastructures, upstream and downstream, and power plants, as they would become “stranded”. Those costs likely would be added to consumer electric bills and to the national debt to “hold harmless” the owners of those systems.

Capital Costs for Other Economic Sectors: It would take about $200 billion per year to transform all other sectors of the US economy, for a total of about $487 + $100 + $200 = $786 BILLION PER YEAR.

Here is a partial list of the items included for Other Economic Sectors:

– All residential, commercial, institutional, governmental and industrial buildings would need to be upgraded for energy efficiency and modified for heating and cooling with heat pumps.

– All light- and medium duty vehicles would need to be plug-in electric (no hybrids) with charging stations everywhere. Most trains would be electrically powered, but heavy-duty trucks, ships and planes would use liquid fuels made with electricity.

– Build-outs would be required for the large increases in the mined quantities of natural resources, and for the enlargement of upstream and downstream facilities and infrastructures required for building, and operating and maintaining, the new energy generating systems, energy storage systems, and grid systems.

ENERGY TRANSITION IMPLEMENTATION PERIOD

It is obvious, such a helter-skelter approach, i.e., implement all this by 2050, often proposed by non-technical politicians, government bureaucrats, and owners of subsidized renewable energy businesses, would not be politically and economically feasible. It would be much better to stretch the energy transition over a period of at least 100 years, as that would be a more feasible time period, because it would reduce capital costs from about $786 b/y to about $262 b/y.

PART III

Part III of this article deals with energy transition capital costs, with world population, world energy consumption and gross world product, and with sustainable growthrates.

The capital cost to remove fossil fuels from the US energy mix and electrify the US economy would be at least $786 b/y for the 2016 – 2050 period, based on moderate growthrates of population, energy consumption and GNP; if higher growthrates, the capital costs would be higher. For comparison, the US defense budget is about $600 b/y.

Worldwide, the energy transition capital cost would be about $3.93 TRILLION PER YEAR for the 2016 – 2050 period, because the US economy is only 20% of the world economy. However, world capital costs would be higher, because world growthrates are higher than of the US. All capital costs are “overnight”. See below World Population, World Energy Consumption, Gross World Product section.

During COP-21, the 2015 UN Climate Conference in Paris, some proponents were urging to increase worldwide energy transition spending from $285.9 billion* in 2015 to $1.0 trillion/y, which shows a significant lack of understanding of the magnitude of the worldwide transition. It would be much better to stretch the worldwide energy transition over a period of at least 100 years, as that would be a more feasible time period, because it would reduce worldwide capital costs from about $3.93 trillion/y to about $1.31 trillion/y.

http://fs-unep-centre.org/sites/default/files/publications/globaltrendsinrenewableenergyinvestment2016lowres_0.pdf

* US $44.1 b, Europe $48.8 b, Japan $43.6 b, China $102.9 b. Diverting this capital from activities that likely would produce profitable goods and services, to the build-outs of renewable energy systems that produce more expensive energy than from fossils, would make China’s economy less competitive, which would contribute to its slower economic growth. There are side benefits, such as cleaner air, etc., but they would take some decades to realize, and their economic benefits, such as lesser health care expenses, could not be easily quantified.

WORLD POPULATION, WORLD ENERGY CONSUMPTION, GROSS WORLD PRODUCT

Below is a table of world population, world energy consumption, WEC, and gross world product, GWP, for various years. Any GW mitigation efforts would have to be sufficiently overarching to not only offset the GW effects of the growth factors in the table, but must simultaneously transform the entire world economy away from fossil fuels!!

Regions, such as Europe, US, Japan, etc., with lower growthrates for population, energy consumption, and gross national product, would find it easier to make the transition away from fossil fuels, than the regions with higher growthrates, such as China, India, etc.

What would the world look like with a population 35%, world energy consumption 49%, and gross world product 226% greater than in 2010? See below table.

The above $3.93 trillion per year is based on the moderate US growthrates for population and GNP, and zero increase in energy consumption by 2050. If world growthrates were 0.75%/y for population, 1%/y for WEC, and 3%/y for GWP, as shown in the below table, those capital costs would be much greater.

………………………………………..1…………..2……..3=2/1…………4………5=4/1……6=4/2

Year………………………………..1800…….2010…………………..2050

Population, billions……………1.2……….7.0……….5.8………….9.4……..7.9………1.35

WEC, billion GJ………………23.0…….540……….23.5………804.0……35.0……..1.49

WEC/capita, GJ……………….19.2……..77.5……….4.0………..85.2……..4.4………1.10

Biofuel/capita, GJ……………18.0……….6.5……….0.4………….6.5……..0.4………1.00

Other/capita, GJ………………..1.2……..71.0……..59.2………..78.7……65.6……….1.11

GWP, $billion in 1990$….175.24….41090……234.5…134036…….764.9……..3.26

GWP/capita, in 1990$……146.03……5870……..40.2…..14202………97.2……..2.42

Goods/capita, % of GWP……..90………50………………………30

Services/capita, $ of GWP……10………50………………………70

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_world_product

https://ourfiniteworld.com/2012/03/12/world-energy-consumption-since-1820-in-charts/

NOTE:

– Assumed world population growthrate is 0.75%/y for 2010 to 2050; growth factor 1.35

– Assumed WEC growthrate is 1%/y for 2010 to 2050; growth factor 1.49

– Assumed GWP growthrate is 3%/y for 2010 to 2050; growth factor 3.26

– Assumed world biofuel energy increases 9.4/7.0 = 35% for 2010 to 2050

– Assumed the goods/services ratios as shown in the table.

Unsustainable Growthrates: In 1800, before the advent of fossil fuels, world population, WEC and GWP were only small fractions of what they are today. The actual GWP multiplier is 234.5 in 1990$, but would be about 410 in 2015$. The environmental damage of each year is increasingly added to that of the prior years, as Nature has increasingly fallen behind with repairing the damage. The multipliers of actual and projected world population, WEC and GWP in the above table have been unsustainable for decades.

The world’s central banks provided multi-trillion-dollar quantitative easing and reduced interest rates to near zero. Prices of energy and other natural resources are greatly reduced. Yet, the world economy is growing at less than 2%/y, i.e., despite the stimuli, not enough wealth is internally generated to sustain higher economic growth at traditional interest rates. Europe and Japan are growing at near-zero %/y, the US at about 2%/y, and China, India, and a few other nations at greater than 2%/y. This indicates the world’s economy needs to find a new equilibrium that is sustainable without these stimuli.

In a business, that would mean shedding unproductive assets, getting out of low margin/money-losing businesses and cost cutting. That politically unpopular approach, in fact, IS the remedy for the world economy, because the current world economy has far outgrown the world’s physical capability to sustain it. More people would merely mean more poverty, more unrest/wars and more refugees. More energy consumption, with or without fossil fuels, and more GWP would merely mean more pollution and more environmental damage. The current paradigm of “growth forever” in a finite world has more than ran its course, and measures of quantitative easing and interest rate reducing to “jumpstart” the economy would make conditions worse rather than better, i.e., when in a hole…….

Sustainable Growthrates: Zeroing population, energy and GNP growthrates is even more important than moving away from fossil fuels, because the increasing presence of the combination of other global warming and earth-destroying factors, such as deforestation, industrial agriculture, urbanization, worldwide shipping of goods and services, and the altering of the atmosphere and oceans with pollutants, would present an ever-growing existential threat to the survival of most of the flora and fauna of the world.

Japan and Denmark have modern, high-level lifestyles and use about 50% less primary energy/$ of GDP than the US. Europe and Japan already have near-zero growrhrates for population, energy consumption, GNP. The whole world needs to follow their lead for a future sustainable world with a thriving flora and fauna.

A thriving fauna and flora separates OUR world from ALL OTHER known planets.

The worst is yet to come regarding the OTHER fauna and flora, which does not have modern, technological support systems. In 1800, before the advent of fossil fuels, there were about 1.2 billion people. Humans used those fuels to become dominant, and the collateral damage was the squashing of other species. By the time about 10 billion realize what they have done, it will be decades too late.

According to Dr. Paul Ehrlich, biochemist, these population, energy and GNP growthrates likely would need to be negative for many decades to enable the world’s flora and fauna (includes humans) to reestablish themselves on a sustainable path. He estimates the world can support at most one billion people in a sustainable manner in harmony with a thriving fauna and flora. According to Dr. Edward Wilson, biologist, at least 50% of the world should be kept in its undisturbed state to ensure the survival of the flora and fauna.

A future GWP would need to have a much greater proportion of locally produced goods, and its ratio of goods to services would need to be about 30 to 70, and it should have maximal recycling, and minimal use of newly mined resources. There would continue to be qualitative improvements within such a GWP.

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Discussions

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on January 1, 2016

Willem, bravo – if only engineers were running the show.

The devil is in the details – especially when those details are multiplied for 7.3 billion people. The notion of powering any modern grid with intermittent renewables is, like derivatives trading, a house of cards built on unsupportable assumptions, complexity, and inefficiency, and is ultimately doomed to failure.

Hops Gegangen's picture
Hops Gegangen on January 2, 2016

 

A lot of power is used for air conditioning. This product allows excess electricity to be essentially stored by damping later demand. 

http://ice-energy.com/

If electricity is cheap at certain times of the day, people will find creative ways to take advantage of it. 

If it got to the point we had so much solar that on a hot sunny day electriicty was cheap at mid day,I would over-cool the house so the AC didn’t have to run over night.

And I could imagine big industrial users timing things like arc furnaces to the time of low cost supplies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Hargraves's picture
Robert Hargraves on January 2, 2016

Let’s assume PV solar electricity gets so cheap it’s free. Use your example of storing 7 kWh of daytime solar energy using a10 kWh Tesla PowerWall that costs $7100 installed with a useful life of 10 years, or 3650 cycles. The cost for storage is $7100/3650 = $1.95 per day, or 27 cents/kWh. That’s just about the same number Vermont utility company CEO Halquist came up with. Vermont Yankee used to cost 5 cents/kWh. Natural gas today is even a bit less than that. 

Moral: Free PV solar electricity costs 27 cents/kWh.

Robert Hargraves's picture
Robert Hargraves on January 2, 2016

A mid size electric arc furnace consumes 100 MW. A solar PV farm delivers about 1 W/square-meter of land area. So a PV powered electric arc furnace requires a solar ranch of 100 mega square meters. That’s a square of land 10 kilometers on a side.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on January 2, 2016

Robert, what appears to be an intractable paradox has a simple solution: redefine “free”.  I have no doubt the linguists capable of redefining “renewable” and “clean energy” are up to the task.

Because household consumption is closer to twice that, however, we had better kick in 4¢/kWh for the gas needed to fill in the gaps. But that fails to consider the externalities thereof, and the environmental cost of constructing 60 million PowerWalls every 10 years (note to self: re-redefine “clean energy”).

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on January 2, 2016

Robert,

The cost of financing, PLUS any costs for O&M and disposal, PLUS any capacity degradation due to cycling, PLUS efficiency reductions of part-load operation of AC/DC or DC/AC inverters, PLUS the cost of depreciation are ignored.

It is even worse than that, because there is also the cost of peaking, filling-in and balancing.

Please see my article, which has Alternative No. 2 with a capital cost 5.5 times less than 50% wind and 45% solar.

http://www.theenergycollective.com/willem-post/2264202/reducing-us-primary-energy-wind-and-solar-energy-and-energy-efficiency

 

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on January 2, 2016

Robert,

Let us not forget the costly storage.

In New England, about 700 MW of panels on 4900 acres, plus many MW of storage, COULD deliver about 100 MW of continous solar energy, 24/7/365, to power a mid-size electric arc furnace.

640 acres/square mile

Hops Gegangen's picture
Hops Gegangen on January 2, 2016

 

Or to look at it another way, 100MW is 1/10th of what SolarCity’s new gigafactory in Buffalo alone will churn out each year, and that’s with a pessimistic value of 1W/m. How old is that number?

And since the furnaces take time to load and empty, you could actually run more than one from that area of solar.

And at ~36 square miles, that would be 36/25000th the area of the Mojave Desert.

Anyway, there are many industrial uses of electricity that are variable and could be timed to coincide with peak production, not just of solar, but also of wind. 

But what’s the real point here? That if it isn’t nuclear, it isn’t right?

 

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on January 5, 2016

Hop,

Furnace turn-around time is generally the largest dead time (i.e. power off) period in the tap-to-tap cycle. With advances in furnace practices this has been reduced from 20 minutes to less than 5 minutes, in some newer operations. 

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on January 2, 2016

Hops,

NREL uses 1 MW of panels per 7 acres.

That MW would deliver about 18 MW of steady, 24/7/365, energy in California, about 14 MW in New England, provided there is enough storage.

 

Robert Hargraves's picture
Robert Hargraves on January 2, 2016

Sorry about double posting mistake. I couldn’t delete.

Robert Hargraves's picture
Robert Hargraves on January 2, 2016

Engineers do run the show, in China. To reach the Politbureau an ambitious Chinese person studies engineering or science or medicine in college. After graduation and work he gains management responsibility in a business. Thereafter he competes for political positions such as mayor of a district or maybe eventually a province. These are the people from whom the Chinese leaderhip is selected. Sununu was the last engineer Senator in the US.

Robert Hargraves's picture
Robert Hargraves on January 2, 2016

Engineers do run the show, in China. To reach the Politbureau an ambitious Chinese person studies engineering or science or medicine in college. After graduation and work he gains management responsibility in a business. Thereafter he competes for political positions such as mayor of a district or maybe eventually a province. These are the people from whom the Chinese leaderhip is selected. Sununu was the last engineer Senator in the US.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on January 2, 2016

Willem 

Just curious – why do you continually use New England as an example?

New England electricty generation is 2.5-3% of US total and CO2 from this production is about 1-1.5% of  US total. The remaining large coal plant in MA will retire in 2017 – decreasing CO2 further. So why should we care? Why don’t you use the SouthEast of US or maybe Texas so that your commentary would be somewhat relevant. See below chart.

I also find the electric arc furnace example found in the comments to be kind of bizarre. Are you(and Robert) saying the demand for these furnaces is high in New England? I didn’t realize this was the case. Can you point out some recent large implementations?

 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on January 2, 2016

Joe, Robert was responding to Hops’ question:

And I could imagine big industrial users timing things like arc furnaces to the time of low cost supplies.

Unfortunately for renewables enthusiasts, the real world doesn’t work that way. Industrial users don’t have the luxury of timing their production to when the sun decides to shine or the wind decides to blow, because clients would simply hire the company which can deliver product when it’s needed – and uses fossil fuel to generate its electricity. And they would go out of business.

Any company making products out of cast iron uses at the very least a one-ton EAF requiring 750kW of power. To get that minimum amount of power from the sun would require a solar array (based on Robert’s numbers, below) 866 m^2, and the sun shining bright all day long. Almost one square kilometer of solar panels.

I find your use of total emissions as a reference kind of bizarre. You obviously want to cherry-pick states which have the most favorable environment for renewables generation and capacity factors which are triple the global average, but look who’s number two on your list – the state with the third lowest per capita carbon emissions.

The real world doesn’t work that way.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on January 2, 2016

Robert,

 “So a PV powered electric arc furnace requires a solar ranch of 100 mega square meters. That’s a square of land 10 kilometers on a side.”

Actually Robert – you can get 1MW per 6 acres – so 600 acres for 100MW. Plenty of examples out there if you actually do some research.  

600 acres = 2.428 sq kilometers = 1.58 Kilometers on a side. 

Looks like you are off by a factor of 40!

 

 

Bruce McFarling's picture
Bruce McFarling on January 2, 2016

Though to make a fair comparison, at the EIA estimated emissions per kWh, free NG costs from 2.7 to 5.5 c/kWh today, and will cost from 5.5 to 11.0 c/kWh in 2050 … and the current NG fuel costs will rise substantially well before 2050, as conventional production declines by more than tight NG production can offset …

… but still, this is why any serious cost-optimizing scenario for an all- or high- renewables energy or electricity supply for the US is not going to be based on all-solar+batteries, or all-solar/wind+batteries … as none of the serious efforts to date have been. Those are, rather, scenarios that are more designed to hype the batteries sold by Tesla to try to get some status display sales on top of sales that make commercial sense in trimming the rate in power + peak usage tarriffs.

At present, as the recent RMI study suggests, the economic case for battery storage is when it can be stacked with additional grid and other services … which implies that the amount which provides value for additional grid and other services is a constraint on the total amount of batteries that makes sense. That extends to the Tesla dream of extending the ecologically and economically unsustainable transportation technology of Auto Uber Alles but with battery-electric cars, which would make substantial amount of additional battery capacity available, but at the times and in the capacity required by the electric cars.

 

Bruce McFarling's picture
Bruce McFarling on January 2, 2016

And I could imagine big industrial users timing things like arc furnaces to the time of low cost supplies.”

This might work if arc furnaces typically ran six to twelve hours per day. But arc furnaces are capital intensive, and it wouldn’t normally make sense to build a new one if you only planned to be running it that often under normal operating conditions. If it’s running at that frequency, it would typically imply a recession or a depressed economy, and those are not the conditions that place the greatest stress on system capacity.

This is one reason industrial energy consumption does not have the pronounced peak that commercial and residential load has … big, energy intensive equipment tends to also be expensive to build and maintain, and you would tend to build it to operate at a rate closer to 24hr/day than 6hr-12hr/day.

OTOH, over a larger area, commercial load will be greater than industrial load, and H/AC will be a large part of that. District CHP can help with that in temperate areas that are humid in the summer, as hot water can drive dehumidification, and the CHP system will have excess capacity in the summer if it has capacity to provide winter heating … and that can reduce AC requirements. Add the ability to dispatch AC demand to low (or negative) net-load, and much of the Commercial peak might become available as dispatchable demand.

A major issue in getting that rolled out is how the benefit to the grid of the dispatchable demand is translated into incentive to invest in that additional up-front AC system cost.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on January 2, 2016

Joe, that’s “capacity”. Not “generation”. You really should learn to tell the difference, otherwise you’ll continue to embarrass yourself.

The real world doesn’t work that way.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on January 2, 2016

Bob,

Robert’s comment was capacity – 1W/square meter – not generation. He did not give any time element.

I suggest you read this.

I never suggested that any solar generation would be contibuted to the grid when the sun wasn’t shining. I would need to know what the capacity utilization was for the steel plant to compare solar generation over time to actual electricty by furnace over time.

However, when the sun was shining it would be providing enough energy to the grid to fully power the furnace.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on January 2, 2016

Bob,

Not such a great idea to use Robert’s numbers when calculating area needed.

Your numbers for EAF are not much better. Try 280kWh per ton.

You’ll also see the following in that article.

 “A 120 ton Quantum EAF requires a power supply of 36MW.”


So let’s see – 36MW * 6 acres per MW = 216 acres =  874K square meters  <  1 square kilometer.


You are off a factor of 120. If, like you imply in your other comment this plant is going to run 24 hours a day then I would need to take into account a 25%  capacity factor for solar and you are only off by a factor of 30.


However, I think if you do some more research you will find that in the real world steel plants do not have 100% capacity utilization rates (current rates are about 67%) and that rates for EAF plants are even lower.


 


Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on January 2, 2016

Joe,

Thank you for your question.

I live in Vermont, and sometimes us New England or Vermont to illustrate what is generic to solar systems in many areas of the world.

The US southwest is unique in the world regarding solar energy, just as Denmark is a unique regarding wind and nearby hydro plants for balancing. In the future, the US should maximize solar energy in that area.

Texas is also unique with few people living in an area with a lot of wind. By investing about $7 billion in transmission systems, the Panhandle energy arrives at population centers.

Those unique situations are rare, but are widely known.

Regarding the electric arc furnace:

As the world’s fossil fuel bank account is being depleted, any rational planning and design of energy systems, and the systems of the users, should be based on that fact.

A 100 MW, mid-size, electric arc furnace to make steel is common throughout the world. In the future, solar, wind and nuclear energy* would be required to provide it with energy. In the paragraph, I describe what would be required, if it were solar energy.

* Wave, tide, geothermal and hydro likely would toal about 5% of ALL energy.

Whereas, such an example is rarely used by others, it illustrates future challenges. If located near the US southwest, it likely would be provided with solar energy. If located near the Great Plains, it likely would be provided with wind energy.

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on January 2, 2016

Joe,

Thank you for your comment to Bob.

Utilization, %, and efficiency, kWh/ton of steel, vary all over the place. The later, more efficient units, likely compare better to others.

However, as I note in my comment to you, the issue is doing a job with solar, or wind, or nuclear energy. In the end, countries will do what is best for them, but all will face a future without fossiul fuels, sooner or later.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on January 2, 2016

Thanks Willem,

Agree that all regions are unique and therefore have their own strengths/weaknesses.  

My point is that New England is not really at the top of the “problem list” for US currently. In terms of electricty generation it is small and in terms of CO2 it is in much better shape versus almost every other region of US. (perhaps not Northwest) 

Also  when you say – “to illustrate what is generic to solar systems in many areas of the world”  are you saying that solar in New England is comparable to China, to India, to Brazil, to Mexico,to Africa, to Southern Europe and the Middle East?  It seems to me that New England is the outlier.

Also, I was not talking about wind in Texas. I was talking about solar.  

 

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on January 2, 2016

Joe,

In New England (capacity factor 0.14), about 700 MW of panels on 4900 acres, plus many MW of storage, COULD deliver about 100 MW of continous solar energy, 24/7/365, to power a mid-size electric arc furnace.

640 acres/square mile

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on January 2, 2016

“However, as I note in my comment to you, the issue is doing a job with solar, or wind, or nuclear energy. In the end, countries will do what is best for them, but all will face a future without fossiul fuels, sooner or later.”

Agreed. 

 

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on January 2, 2016

Joe,

New England (capacity factor 0.143, at grid feed-in point) is just as much an outlier as Germany (CF 0.115).

Peaking, filling-in and balancing is a fact of life or death for weather-dependent wind and solar.

All these are generic issues.

Aluminum plants are located in Iceland because of low-cost geothermal energy.

Companies will locate EAFs at their optimum locations.

Texas is good for wind and solar. It will be needing a lot of CSP with at least 10 hours of energy storage in the future.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on January 2, 2016

Agree that both Germany and New England are both outliers.

Like your point about Aluminum plants – by the way Iceland is 70% hydro and 30% geothermal – so low cost all around. Steel production will probably also move to low-cost countries if it hasn’t begun to do so already.

Not aware of any CSP plans in TX. Texas has a long way to go with solar before it will need much/any storage. Just getting started. Thats not to say that storage won’t be implemented there though. 

Wind and solar will keep eating into coal share in TX. Should take away at least 10% of share by 2025. I  see a lot of wind and solar plants being implemented near each other in Texas.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on January 2, 2016

Using your numbers .

4900/640  = 7.65 sq miles = 19.8 sq km

A factor of 5 less than Robert’s 100 sq km

Plus my contention is that utilization factor for the furnace would be about 50-60%… so in reality probably just over 10 sq Km needed – a factor of 10 less than the 100 stated.

Bruce McFarling's picture
Bruce McFarling on January 3, 2016

Though solar and wind are complements, so in many locales, it will not be “doing the job with solar, or wind, or …”, it will be, “doing the job with solar and wind, and/or …”

China is clearly not betting on being able to get where they need to get to with one or a few options … they are pursuing wind, and solar, and nuclear … both conventional LWR and R&D in other fuel cycles and reactor technologies … as well as expanding their reservoir hydro resource.

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on January 3, 2016

Joe,

I changed my electric arc furnace example. It is now located near the US southwest and powered with CSP.

Texas will be needing CSP with at least ten hours of storage, because coal and gas plants will no longer be doing the peaking, filliing-in and balancing in not too distant future.

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on January 3, 2016

Bruce,

China has a command economy, which is run by engineers, not lawyers. It will come up with better energy solutions in due course.

I think wind and solar will not be sufficient for ALL of the world’s energy. A significant percent of ALL energy (at least 60%) will have to be from nuclear. See alternative 2 in this article:

http://www.theenergycollective.com/willem-post/2264202/reducing-us-primary-energy-wind-and-solar-energy-and-energy-efficiency

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce McFarling's picture
Bruce McFarling on January 3, 2016

Fortunately for the sake of the Chinese, I believe that their level of analysis is stronger than that, since the Jacobson report is far from the most credible baseline for a high RE energy portfolio, so being “better than Jacobson” smacks of knocking down straw horses.

Unlike countries such as the US or Australia, China does not have the biocapacity to rely on biomass energy for a substantial amount of day+ in advance firming, and its not clear that it has the kind of solar CSP resource that Australia or North African nations could take advantage of, and while it has quite strong hydro resource in a per square kilometer sense, it seems likely its hydro share of generation will decline rather than increase over the coming couple of decades.

But it cannot ramp its nuclear build-out fast enough to catch it’s growth in energy demand unless it also rolls out wind and solar PV as fast a practicable, so it’s just going to have to build all the no/low carbon generating capacity that it can and sort out how to integrate it as it goes.

Indeed, just as in the US, integration is not the most serious challenge in the coming decade: the most serious challenge is how to overcome political opposition from the coal power industry that both countries are going to have to overcome in order to start shutting down coal production.

At least the Chinese nuclear industry does not seem to get caught up in fighting fantasy battles against imagined 2050 renewable energy portfolios when the real challenge is getting ready for the trench warfare to come against the coal industry.

 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on January 3, 2016

Joe, even incorporating all of the optimal “contentions” and arbitrary limits you’re placing on the owner of this foundry, your 10 km^2 of solar panels, transmission, and land in any remotely populated area (yes, this EAF will still require people to run it) in reality – not “should”, not “probably”, but would cost close to $1 billion.

Give it up, Joe. Reality doesn’t work that way. Supporting this nonsense is equivalent to handing free reign to the coal industry.

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on January 3, 2016

Bruce,

China generated 255 TWh of nuclear in 2014, will be generating 575 TWh from 58,000 MW in 2020

The US generated 797 TWh of nuclear from about 95,000 MW in 2014, will be generating ???? from ???? in 2020.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on January 3, 2016

Bob,

I made by comments to correct some of the obvious mis-calculations in area needed for solar and the falsehood that solar can’t provide necessary electricity to power industrial applications.  I have seen these same inaccuracies before from many Koch-funded “institutes”.I am not trying to say that New England is a great place for solar and/or steelmaking. I also hope they keep what nuclear they have left.  

As I commented – I was wondering why we were talking about steel mills in high cost electricity New England – when there really are no steel mills there and no plans for any in the future.  If we are going to talk about providing electricity for steel making then let’s talk about the SouthEast and/or South Central which is where steel is moving.

As for my “contentions” and arbitrary limits… it seems to me that steel making in US is becoming more flexible with the continued implementation of EAFs. For instance here is an interesting quote.

Electric arc furnaces, on the other hand, essentially recycle steel from junk cars and scrapped washers and dryers. They require fewer workers, can be turned on and off, and can be operated during off-peak hours to save money on electricity costs.

One of the few steel companies in US that is opening a new plant – a flexible micro mill is doing so on the Oklahoma/Texas border. Lot’s of cheap off-peak wind there and plenty more to come.

Alistair Newbould's picture
Alistair Newbould on January 3, 2016

Thanks for the interesting article Willem. I particularly like your assumption regarding the phase out of fossil fuels. I wondered where you estimated 5% in this statement:

Wave, tide, geothermal and hydro likely would toal about 5% of ALL energy

I see a great role for tidal (and to some extent wave) energy conversion. Tidal in particular has advantages of predictability and “self cancelling” intermittency ie slack tide at any one point is balanced by tidal flow nearby. The following three links give me some hope (although there may be a bit of “hype” in them. I would be interested in your (engineers) viewpoint

http://makoturbines.com/technology/  This company seems to be (rightly in my view) progressing down the mass production of small units path

http://www.marineturbines.com/

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-worlds-first-grid-connected-wave-energy-plant-in-western-australia-this-is-how-it-works-2015-2

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on January 3, 2016

Alistair,

The 5% is of ALL energy, not just electrical energy. That number looks reasonable to me. It came from a study by Marc Jacobson. Just Google.

The North Sea area has great tides and studies have been made regarding their potential. I suggest you subscribe to Energy Matters, which has a number of articles on North Sea tidal power.

It would total just a few percent of Europe’s energy needs.

Clayton Handleman's picture
Clayton Handleman on January 3, 2016

Wind is night peaking in TX, it will be some time before they need CSP with storage.  TOU metering will make it economic to lose a little energy in favor of southwest facing arrays.  That shifts the production so that it does not get clipped and supports peak load overlapping the wind ramp.

Clayton Handleman's picture
Clayton Handleman on January 3, 2016

“when the real challenge is getting ready for the trench warfare to come against the coal industry.”

You nailed it.

PS – Probably not just the coal industry – Have you seen this one?

 

Clayton Handleman's picture
Clayton Handleman on January 3, 2016

“Lot’s of cheap off-peak wind there”

Yup, and while I am an advocate of HVDC to get to the coastal load centers, this is also a great way to utilize this resource.  That section of SW KS, OK and TX has some of the best, high CF wind resource.  These are the areas where some of the amazing PPAs are coming in.  Where it is economical to move the load to the source you avoid the tranmission lines.  In this region with rail transport, excellent wind resource and very good, decorrelated solar resource this can be a great way to decarbonize.

Alistair Newbould's picture
Alistair Newbould on January 4, 2016

Thanks Willem. The old energy v electricity caught me out again. I have the Jacobson paper on my computer so re-read. Some more hyper here (Wave generators could (theoretically) supply 1/3 of Australia’s electicity):

http://carnegiewave.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/151201_Guardian-Susta...

 

but also some interesting numbers on the cost of wave energy. This company is doing practical work on microgrids and renewable integration. Things may finally be moving along.

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on January 4, 2016

Jim,

EAFs use 100% recycled steel. They can be located near any area with a large scrap supply and a good power supply.

In an EAF mill, the biggest consumer of energy is the furnace.

I am well aware there are many other energy users in an EAF mill.

Ore-based mills are a different issue.

Please reread my article.

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on January 4, 2016

Jarmo,

I have the monthly data of many Vermont field-mounted PV systems, and 4/1 is the number.

I have similar data for such systems in the Munich area, and 6/1 it the number. In north Germany the ratio is higher.

However, in Germany and Vermont, total DAILY production may be about 1 – 2 % of installed capacity on cloudy days during winter.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on January 4, 2016

No problem, Jim. Production will shut down on cloudy days and after the sun goes down, because improved venture capitalists of 2020 will be happy to sacrifice extra productivity and profit for the perceived good fo the environment.

What about when the wind slows, causing a voltage drop which permits molten steel to freeze en route to casting? REAFs (Renewable Electricity Arc Furnaces) which use RS (Renewable Steel) with a lower melting point will kick in on a parallel production track (financed by federal grants, and whatever).

If energy to the REAFs proves insufficient to melt RS, new research from Jacobson et al / Stanford University (2016) shows foundries of 2020 will be capable of doubling as Grilled Cheese Sandwich manufactories for up to 40% of their steelmaking downtime. With the current price of GCSs in trendy northern bistros:

$12-$15/sandwich*.01CF/@$.00147*70kWh*BS^n*moreBS^(n+1) = $50M/yr

The implications are obvious: foundries will be able to pay off a $1 billion solar array from the sale of Grilled Cheese Sandwiches over a 20-year service lifetime (the array, not the sandwiches).

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on January 4, 2016

Bob,

You missed your calling.

Priceless.

Hops Gegangen's picture
Hops Gegangen on January 5, 2016

 

Blast furnaces that make steel from iron ore tend to be in the mid-west near the resources. The scrap recycling tends to be in the south, away from unions. In particular, Nucor is the largest recycler. The name was derived from Nuclear Corporation, which had been in the business of servicing the nuclear power industry. When that took a big downturn, they refocussed on their scrap recycling business. I recall once reading that their original business model was that nuclear power was going to be so cheap that arc furnaces would be highly profitable.

Anyway, the arc furnace is about the most challenging case for renewables because of the huge spikes in demand and the desire to keep the furnances running as close to 24/7 as possible. At least that is true during good economic times, although not during recessions.

But as usual, people just looking to make a point in an argument are overlooking a lot of things. One is that the power is on a grid; you’re not running the furnace on a dedicated plot of panels. If it is cloudy in the south west, it is likely windy in the great plains. Nor is it the end of the world if some backup gas generation is brought on line on occasion. Those peaking plants already exist to deal with peak demand for air conditioning on hot sunny days. If anything, a mix of solar on the grid may reduce the need to build peaking plants. And over time, fossil methane will likely be replaced by renewable biomethane. One biofuel company is even making a drop-in replacement for coal from biomass.

Also, we have these things called weather forecasts which are pretty good on a day to day basis for predicting availability of wind and solar resources.

An opinion piece in today’s NY Times points out we already pay for power plants that are seldom used.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/05/opinion/the-conservative-case-for-sola...

Bruce McFarling's picture
Bruce McFarling on January 5, 2016

China generated 255 TWh of nuclear in 2014, will be generating 575 TWh from 58,000 MW in 2020″

And if they could ramp up faster, they likely would … will be generating substantially more TWh from nuclear by 2030.

The US generated 797 TWh of nuclear from about 95,000 MW in 2014, will be generating ???? from ???? in 2020″

When looking to the 2030-2050 time frame, it seems certain that China will pass the US as it ramps up the capacity to build new nuclear power plants, while the US dithers with a one-step-forward, one-step-back approach.

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on January 5, 2016

Joe,

When politicians take over the energy sector, it automatically is ranked at the top of the problem list.

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on January 5, 2016

Clayton,

True, as a general rule, but how big a % of PV in Texas is oriented southwest due to TOU rates? Numbers please!

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