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Vogtle and V.C. Summer Seek 2nd Chances to Finish Reactors

  • 2nd chanceA new service agreement at the Vogtle site will remove Westinghouse as the EPC and slot the firm as a vendor. The utility is paying Fluor, a separate EPC, for ongoing work.
  • At SCANA the utility extended the interim agreement with Westinghouse to June 26 and retained Fluor as its EPC. The utility still may cancel the twin reactor construction project if Westinghouse / Toshiba does not make good on its commitments to cover multi-billion dollar cost overruns.
  • New cost estimates will be needed for completion of both projects and the public utility commissions in both Georgia and South Carolina will have to review and approve them for the projects to go to completion.
  • The stakes are enormous with four Westinghouse 1150 MW AP1000 reactors under construction – two in Georgia and two in South Carolina. While interim arrangements take the projects at both sites to the end of June, long-term commitments still depend on complex financial arrangements that have yet to be negotiated between the utilities and Westinghouse and Toshiba.

Georgia Power and Westinghouse have, in principle, reached a new service agreement which allows for the transition of project management from Westinghouse to Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power once the current engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract is rejected in Westinghouse’s bankruptcy proceeding.

The interim assessment agreement will remain in place until June 3 while the new service agreement is final and all court-related approvals are obtained. During this time, work will continue at the site and a transition of project management will begin. As previously stated, the company will take all actions necessary to hold Westinghouse and Toshiba accountable for their financial obligations.

Georgia Power said in a statement it will continue work to complete its full-scale schedule and cost-to-complete analysis and work with the project Co-owners (Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities) and the Georgia Public Service Commission to determine the best path forward for customers.

Westinghouse Bankruptcy Throws Fate of Reactors into Question

(Bloomberg) What this means is that Southern Co. has agreed to take the lead on building two nuclear reactors at its Vogtle power plant in Georgia from bankrupt contractor Westinghouse Electric Co. as soon as next month.

According to news media reports Southern said in a statement that an interim contract and service agreement with Westinghouse will be in place on June 3.

This is good news because the looming bankruptcy of Toshiba, the parent firm of Westinghouse, scrambled the plans for completion of the two reactors at Southern’s Vogtle plant and another two being built at Scana Corp.’s V.C. Summer station in South Carolina.

Southern CEO Thomas Fanning told the media his company could take over the work at Vogtle if Toshiba provides $3.7 billion to finish it as promised. The deal is said to also depend in part on Scana agreeing to follow suit, so the two companies will be able to share resources.

The Westinghouse’s bankruptcy has moved slowly with Westinghouse recently asking for a two-week delay until May 26 to file a full schedule of its assets and debts.

The key reason is that Toshiba has not yet filed an audited financial statement. The problem for Westinghouse is that without an audited financial statement from the parent firm, it cannot value its assets and liabilities nor come to terms with creditors.

Reports of Expected Toshiba bankruptcy Raises New Doubts About SCANA

(The Post and Courier) The utilities building new reactors at the V C Summer site aren’t saying what impact a potential Toshiba Corp. bankruptcy filing could have on the troubled construction project, even as more questions are being raised about the Japanese conglomerate’s financial health.

“We haven’t been informed about a Toshiba bankruptcy filing, and we won’t speculate about one,” Rhonda O’Banion, spokeswoman for South Carolina Electric & Gas parent SCANA Corp., said this week.

Toshiba’s business partners told The Wall Street Journal that they are anxious about a bankruptcy filing that could wipe out many of the Japanese firm’s commitments, including a guarantee to pay up to $1.7 billion in cost overruns at the V.C. Summer project.

Toshiba pledged to make those payments after its Westinghouse Electric subsidiary, the South Carolina power plant’s main contractor, filed for bankruptcy reorganization in March. The guarantee plays a key role in whether V.C. Summer partners SCANA and Santee Cooper finish the $14 billion project, which is already over budget and behind schedule.

SCANA Corp., Santee Cooper Extend Agreement on Summer Nuclear Station

(Palmetto Business Daily) SCANA Corp. and Santee Cooper have amended the Interim Assessment Agreement with Westinghouse concerning the construction project at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. The main focus of the amendment was to extend the agreement through June 26.

This will allow for evaluations about the financial viability of the project, where South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. (SCE&G), principal subsidiary of SCANA, and V.C. Summer Nuclear Station project co-owner, Santee Cooper, can continue to make progress on the site. Additionally, Fluor will remain the project’s EPC.

The utilities must make a decision by June 26 whether to build one or both of the reactors or scrap the plan entirely. Santee Cooper’s board of directors met in a private session this week to get legal advice on the project but took no action.

If construction of the reactors is scrapped, SCANA officials have said the company would have to build a new facility powered by natural gas to meet its customers’ projected electricity demands.

Westinghouse To Complete Restructuring Plan By End Of June

(NucNet): Westinghouse plans to complete a restructuring plan by the end of June 2017 and a new business plan by the end of July 2017, the company’s interim president and CEO José Emeterio Gutiérrez said this week. He said the business plan, covering the next five years, will include implementation of the restructuring plan.

Mr Gutiérrez confirmed Westinghouse had received external financing of $800m (€730m) to protect the company’s core business during its reorganization.

“We are 100% sure that this will be sufficient to support the company throughout the bankruptcy proceedings”.

He said: “An important detail is that all the other company divisions are in good shape, continue to generate income and cash flow. That’s why we are convinced that the finances and the profit generated by the other companies, plus the $800m, will be enough while the bankruptcy claim is being reviewed.”

These funds are for operating divisions, like nuclear fuel, and cannot be used for the huge reactor projects in Georgia and South Carolina.

Westinghouse, the US-based nuclear unit of Japan’s Toshiba, filed for bankruptcy protection in the US in March 2017. Asked what had triggered the need to start bankruptcy proceedings Mr Gutiérrez said the problem was cost overruns for reactor construction in the US.

“By late 2016 we realized that the additional cost of completing the construction would be around $6.1bn. This means that the results of the fiscal year, which ended on 31 March, will show significant losses.”

South Africa to Sign New Nuclear Power Pacts After Court Ruling

(Reuters) South Africa plans to sign new, more transparent nuclear power agreements with five foreign countries after a high court blocked a deal with Russia due to a lack of oversight, the energy ministry said.

South Africa signed intergovernmental agreements with Russia, France, China, South Korea and the United States in 2014 as part of plans to build a fleet of nuclear power plants at a cost of between $30 billion and $70 billion.

Many investors view the scale of the nuclear plan as unaffordable and a major risk to South Africa’s financial stability, while opponents of President Jacob Zuma say the deal will be used as a conduit for corruption. Zuma denies allegations of wrongdoing.

The Western Cape High Court found last month that the agreement with Russia lacked transparency and offered Moscow favorable tax rules while placing heavy financial obligations on South Africa.

The energy ministry said it had “major concerns” about the court judgment but would not appeal the ruling. It will continue with nuclear energy plans adhering to stricter procedural guidelines, including consulting parliament.

“There is no intention to table the current agreements but (we) will embark to sign new agreements with all five countries and table them within reasonable time to parliament,” the ministry said in a statement.

Eskom on Friday reinstated its former chief executive Brian Molefe, a Zuma ally who has supported the nuclear power plan.

Molefe stepped down five months ago after being implicated in a report by the country’s anti-graft watchdog into alleged influence-peddling. He denied any wrongdoing.

His reappointment set off a new round of protests that he could not be trusted to run a transparent and fair procurement process.

Some analysts say former finance minister Pravin Gordhan was fired partly because he resisted pressures from a political faction allied to Zuma to back nuclear expansion.

New Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has said nuclear expansion will only be pursued if it is affordable.

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Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on May 20, 2017

Consider the:
– further increasing costs overruns.
As it’s clear that those 4 reactors will stay the only ones in US, suppliers have to debit all costs and take a good margin as there is little perspective for repeats.
So costs overruns and delays will increase further (remember first Vogtle reactors)

– further increasing maintenance & operational costs as similar applies for replacement parts, trainings, etc.

So cost price of produced electricity will be ~15cnts/KWh when the reactors start in, more realistic, 2023-2025.

At the same time it’s widely predicted that the costs of wind, solar and storage will continue their price decrease paths of 5-10%/a during next decade.
So those will be around 3-5cnt/KWh in 2025.*)

Then we don’t talk about 2030-2040 when more than 4cnt/KWh will be exceptional high.

So those reactors will become a bottomless money drain.
_________
*) Most expensive wind, offshore wind. was auctioned and went for ~€30/MWh without subsidies this spring (German part of North Sea). The 900MW wind farm has to be operational in 2025 (estimated CF with the high 12-15MW wind turbines ~55%).

It was contracted by Germany to EnBW for whole sale prices only. Last year av. German day ahead whole sale price was €28.50/MWh.
Futures (until 2023) don’t show real price increases.
So for 2025 €30/MWh seems to be a good estimate.

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on May 20, 2017

Yes, nuclear. like everything else, becomes expensive when built in small quantities, and the US’s anti-nuclear regulations prop up costs even more. Meanwhile, China and tiny South Korean find that nuclear is quite competitive.

Wind and solar are most economical when used at low penetration in a grid which is dominated by fossil fuel. They force other generators to operate less economically (including other wind and solar), so that not only is their total penetration self-limited to a minority of grid supply, they increase the cost of energy from any capital intensive supply (nuclear, wind, solar), which is a hidden cost they impose on society.

Effectively, use of wind and solar guarantee that fossil gas (which has the lowest capital cost of any dispatchable technology) will always have a large market share; even coal can thrive in this environment, as long as spending on pollution control is restricted. This is fine in the US, since we have plenty of cheap shale gas, and we are too wealthy to be hurt by climate change. This is a tragedy for places like China and India, which have little fossil gas, strong/influential coal industries, and a lot of poor people.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on May 20, 2017

Your ideas that: wind+solar penetration is self-limited to a minority and guarantee the use of fossil gas are contradicted by developments in the EU.

Now Germany has the least ambitious target with 80% renewable for electricity generation.*)
Still, that implies that the share of all fossil will be reduced to 20%.

Despite the fast reduction of nuclear, the share of fossil in electricity generation also reduced gradually:
2000: nuclear 29%; all fossil 66%; renewable 6%
2010: nuclear 22%; all fossil 61%; renewable 17%
2016: nuclear 13%; all fossil 58%; renewable 29%, being for 2/3 wind+solar.**)

You may assume that renewable target will be increased to 90%-95% which implies a further reduction of fossil to 10% – 5%.

Note also the fast developments of (renewable) Power-to-Gas in Germany and similar in Scotland and Denmark.
___________
*) Compared to other advanced countries such as:
Scotland 100% renewable in ~2020, being mostly wind.
– Denmark 100% renewable in 2040. Now ~55% being >70% wind.

**) Share of production. In 2016 net export was 9% of consumption.

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on May 20, 2017

Lot’s of grandiose renewable promises, still majority fossil fuel in all PV/Wind-rich grids.

Of course renewable advocacy groups keep telling us that 80% renewable is viable. That requires a tolerance for high cost that has not yet been demonstrated in the real world. Instead fossil fuel jobs and market share are protected by anti-nuclear actions.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on May 21, 2017

Renewable increase was >25% of consumption in 16years. That is more than nuclear increase in nuclear countries such as USA, UK!

Renewable high costs are gradually vanishing towards the pasts.
First wind farms (1x900MW, 2x 240MW) are contracted for whole sale price only…. More will follow.

Nuclear shows opposite price movement as new nuclear has to be more safe. It’s a pity that it took major disasters (whose costs are socialized) before regulators forced nuclear engineers to construct less unsafe & dangerous NPP’s.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on May 22, 2017

Deceptive graph.  Plot it as fraction of consumption, not in-state generation, and break out hydro separately.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on May 22, 2017

This is CAISO data. It includes imports. Hence, this is share of consumption.

CAISO recently set a new record for Solar generation in a single day.
– 103,199 MWh

http://content.caiso.com/green/renewrpt/20170519_DailyRenewablesWatch.pdf

Previous Yearly single day records –

2015 = 81,263
2014 = 62,397
2013 = 47,137
2012 = 23,628
2011 = 9,958

The record for previous year becomes the new normal in next year.

Note: as per usual does not include small scale solar. Add in another 20-30K MWh.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on May 22, 2017

And on page 2 of your link, we see that peak load of about 30,000 MW runs from about 1800 to 2100 hours, while peak renewables of ~12,000 MW peaks at about 1200 hrs and has fallen to ~2000 MW by 2000 hours.

Minimum load was just over 20,000 MW.  California’s electric power could be mostly decarbonized using 20,000 MW of nuclear baseload generation (better yet, use 24,000 and ramp it from 80% to 100% daily) with some curtailed ruinables to ramp up in the morning and gas-turbine peakers to catch that last 6,000 MW of difference in the afternoon and evening.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on May 22, 2017

Ok, based on your comment I guess we’ll have to assume that you agree with EIA and Rex that Renewables are indeed replacing gas power on CAISO grid.

You wanted to see hydro broken out. Here are a couple of slides showing data from CAISO for April over the last three years by fuel share.

2015 was a drought year, 2016 close to normal and 2017 is a wet year – therefore the differences in Hydro production.

Steady increases in solar generation are replacing Natural gas based production and contributing to the decarbonization of the CAISO grid.

Good luck with your nuclear scenario – not gonna happen.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on May 22, 2017

Renewable increase was >25% of consumption in 16years. That is more than nuclear increase in nuclear countries such as USA, UK!

The US went to some 99% renewable power in 1895, when the first large generators were installed at Niagara Falls hydro-electric plant, 7.5 MW, rendering the smattering of kW sized coal plants insignificant in that time.

That trivia is of course not relevant to today’s clean energy issue as hydro power doesn’t scale past the geographic resources. Nor is the heavily subsidized German ‘renewable’ generation relevant, which consists of 35% combined tree combustion and hydro which also doesn’t scale, and the balance is intermittent power which doesn’t scale economically.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on May 22, 2017

The EIA source for that claim indicates about 1.4 GW of utility solar was added over the year which pushes down thermal for a few hours in the middle of the day in the summer. [https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=27812]

When Diablo is closed, 2.2 GW of clean power will have to be replaced, 24 hrs a day, year round.

More solar generation in midday is always an option if cost is not a factor. The question is, what then does the thermal fleet charge for its kWh’s for the balance of the day or in the winter, when the thermal fleet, all of it, is still required in place. California is graced with plentiful hydro electric power and some geothermal, the least expensive sources, and thus would expect to realize low electricity rates relative to the US average, as do the other heavy hydro states.

Electricity rates, February 2017 (cents/kWh):
Residential
CA 18.7
US 12.8
WA 9.3

Industrial
CA 10.9
US 6.6
WA 4.6

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on May 22, 2017

You are not doing very well at understanding the FUNDAMENTAL question, “how much fossil fuel is eliminated?”  You are stuck on “renewables displacing gas”, ignoring that the ceiling that “renewables” can achieve is rather low, and ALMOST ALL THE GAS MUST BE DISPLACED. 

I guess we’ll have to assume that you agree with EIA and Rex that Renewables are indeed replacing gas power on CAISO grid.

They are replacing fossil AND NUCLEAR.  It’s the nuclear we should be concerned about, as it sets a floor on the non-emitting generation in CAISO.

2017 is a wet year

So there’s all of about 2000 MW of hydro generation in this wet year.

San Onofre alone made 2150 MW(e) when at full power.  Rancho Seco (a plant bullied out of service despite being grossly less dangerous than Oroville dam, which endangered almost 200,000 people) produced 913 MW(e).  Diablo Canyon makes 2240 MW(e) at full power, which is also more than all the hydro generation in this wet year in Commiefornia.

If all of these plants were still operating, they’d make 5303 MW at full power.  This dwarfs the wet-year overnight production in your springtime graph, and make the overnight generation vs. demand at least 1/3 carbon-free at the minimum demand point.  Due to your efforts, it’s less than 10%.

Steady increases in solar generation are replacing Natural gas based production and contributing to the decarbonization of the CAISO grid.

The forced shutdown of nuclear resources has contributed majorly to the re-carbonization of the CAISO grid, and sets a very low ceiling on how much it can EVER be decarbonized.

With a minimum load of almost 21000 MW, and a peak of 30,000 MW, a fully-nuclear baseload for California would be a minimum of 70% carbon-free.

Good luck with your nuclear scenario – not gonna happen.

Quite right.  It’s not going to happen because you put ideology ahead of the earth.  I’m sure there are places on the planet with conditions like what you’d inflict on the bulk of humanity via your policies. 

I’m partway through a graphical analysis of the total California daily demand vs. what could be filled by carbon-free nuclear at 20,000 and 24,000 MW.  Unfortunately, I’m out of time for the day and need to go to bed.  I’ll have to finish my analysis and post it tomorrow. 

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on May 23, 2017

And why should someone pay gazillions for nuclear when the power can be produced CO2 free for much lower prices? Doen’t make much sense to go for nuclear.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on May 23, 2017

Well first source during night would not be gas power but wind power, locally produced.
Which leaves the nights with lulls. In which importing wind from middle west, texas, canada, Mexico would be the next option.
Which leaves the night with giant lulls.
In which the first option would be to throw in the biomass and hydro capacity, with the TWh produced today per year, but with more GW in less hours.
Next option would be to import solar power from the east, if the time is towards moring in the night, this way shortening the night.
Which leaves the nights with giant lulls which extend super, super long.
Does this happen often? Most likely not. When it happens, gas would compete against batery storages and other backup generators. Gas consumption on such cases: irrelevant small.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on May 23, 2017

“…carbon-free nuclear….”?? That is a lie.

Nowadays 2 – 5 times more expensive nuclear emits 2 – 5 times more carbon than wind+solar+storage!

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on May 23, 2017

Its bizarre to go on and on about remote cross continent solar power schemes, the like of which do not exist in this world much less CA, without once referencing cost. One might as well plan for space based solar, beamed in from the moon, built from asteroid stock.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on May 23, 2017

You forget that e.g. chna actually builds a east-west power line with 12 GW per system and 3284km length. Which would already do most of the distance. Tha’s nothing special today. Russia can transfer substantial power along it’s east-west backbone, stretching from Wladiwostok to the polnish border. That’s a significant longer distance than Florida-California. That the US has no continental transportation grid does not mean thatit’s impossible to build one. Others hav such a grid.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on May 23, 2017

why should someone pay gazillions for nuclear when the power can be produced CO2 free for much lower prices?

If it “can be”, why is the overnight RE generation a paltry 2000 MW when more than 20000 MW is required?  (Of course you’re wrong.  It CANNOT be produced CO2-free using “renewables”.  2000 MW of hydro is about the limit.)

Doen’t make much sense to go for nuclear.

Nuclear is the only technology which can get the fossil fuels out, and you (living in a country increasing its reliance on filthy lignite) know it.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on May 23, 2017

Isn’t it funny, Bas, that you don’t attribute CO2 emissions to the high (and unwarranted) costs of “renewable” generators.

Of course, we could get rid of the excess nuclear costs by repealing the regulations that imposed them.  By your reckoning, that would slash the CO2 emissions.  Amazing how much the environment could benefit from the stroke of a pen, isn’t it?

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on May 23, 2017

Why is overnight production of nuclear not at 100 GW?

And why is 2000MW hydro the limit? No turbines available on the market any more?

And I know that nuclear is no reasonable way to reduce CO2, and no germany uses less and less lignite, and you know it a long time.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on May 23, 2017

The EIA source for that claim indicates about 1.4 GW of utility solar was added over the year which pushes down thermal for a few hours in the middle of the day in the summer.

Always talking about capacity – talk about generation. As the data shows about 20,000MWh of new utility-scale solar per day Don’t forget about the small scale solar – throw in another 5,000MWh per day. Overall CAISO demand is dropping because of rooftop.

As for utility bills –

Average residential utility bill
CA = $94.59.
US = $114.03

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/sales_revenue_price/pdf/table5_a.pdf

By the way, we really should be talking about the Western region. Here’s an interesting recent development in Arizona.
http://www.utilitydive.com/news/tucson-electric-signs-solar-storage-ppa-...

Solar and storage.

Huh, who woulda thunk?

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on May 23, 2017

Helmut Coal, there are drugs to help with attention-deficit disorder.  Perhaps you should get a prescription for some.

Why is overnight production of nuclear not at 100 GW?

Because there is only 2.24 GW of nuclear left in CAISO’s territory.  (And they’re trying to make it 0.)

And why is 2000MW hydro the limit?

Because California is normally an arid state, and its few remaining wild rivers cannot be dammed for ecological reasons.

Hydro was recently much less than 2000 MW.  This is what Lake Oroville looked like shortly before the recent rains.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on May 23, 2017

I’m partway through a graphical analysis of the total California daily demand vs. what could be filled by carbon-free nuclear at 20,000 and 24,000 MW.

What a total waste of time. Sit around and keep spinning your fantasy scenarios. Not gonna happen.

By the way. I have no problems with DC staying open. Count it as part of any zero carbon goals. As Bob M. mentioned in a different trail, nuclear is counted in the new 100% ZC bill that is currently in CA legislature.

You are not doing very well at understanding the FUNDAMENTAL question, “how much fossil fuel is eliminated?”

Actually, I provided the data – at least for one month. For that one month(April) – CA had about 70-75% ZC electricity. Not bad – let’s see how May does.

ignoring that the ceiling that “renewables” can achieve is rather low

I don’t think we have any idea yet what the ceiling – if there is one – is gonna be.

What I do know is that NG usage in CA – as the EIA said in their article – is dropping. No end in sight.

Big drop in CO2 emission on CAISO in 2016. Looks like another big drop in 2017.
http://www.caiso.com/Documents/GreenhouseGasEmissions-TrackingReport-Apr...

Rex Berglund's picture
Rex Berglund on May 23, 2017

Wow thanks Joe – 4.5¢/kWh for solar and storage is the best news I’ve heard all day.

More good news, the article states CA was inspired by Arizona’s proposed Clean Peak Standard and has now introduced two similar bills of their own:

“The classic difficulty in reaching high levels of renewable power has typically been balancing them with fossil fuel generation. But as battery storage, demand management and efficiency become more entrenched, lawmakers in California see a way around new gas-fired plants.”

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on May 23, 2017

Always talking about capacity – talk about generation

Capacity has a non zero cost even when it does not run, and I decline your commands.

Average combined monthly bill for electricity, water, heat, and garbage in Cuba: $13.5 (2014) [Numbeo cost of living surveys.] That is, the cost per unit of consumption matters, and is independent of the many factors like temperate climate and house size that have nothing to do the local electric generation efficiency. Raise it high enough and many will have near zero monthly bills while their industrial jobs leave or never begin.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on May 23, 2017

One more time: show the cost, don’t tell yet another grandiose story. Otherwise, the story is no better than a story of another space based solar and asteroids fantasy.

In the case you posit for CA, the transmission required is for supplying all of non-domestic-hydro demand with intermittent solar power (not dispatchable hydro across the deserts of China, a far more economic transmission case) when the wind lulls, about 25 GW at 7PM.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on May 23, 2017

Mark,
Your unit costs do not seem to be affecting the economy in CA.

By the way – I wonder where EIA gets those stats for Industry electricity sales. My guess is that most large businesses/government/agriculture in CA get their power from non-utility suppliers. If this is not be the case yet, it will be in the future.

Here is another 55K MWh coming from behind the meter annually.
https://www.pv-tech.org/news/sunpower-breaks-ground-on-us-air-forces-lar...

Where does EIA count this PPA in their stats?

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on May 23, 2017

Rex,
Yeah, pretty decent prices considering that storage supply-chain is really just beginning to scale.

Thanks for the link on those bills.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on May 23, 2017

And I know that nuclear is no reasonable way to reduce CO2, and no germany uses less and less lignite, and you know it a long time.

Helmet Coal: France, Sweden, Ontario, Switzerland. All had less than 15% fossil fuel generation as of decades ago. Germany has greater than 50% fossil in 2017,most of which is coal, and almost 60% sourced from combustion, with far higher residential electricty rates than any of those heavily nuclear countries.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on May 23, 2017

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on May 24, 2017

Well, maybe you should take care of your drug doses first.
I asked for nuclear since that question makes as little sense as yours.
And hydropower – the amount of water limits the TWh delivered per year, not the MW of capacity. As it seems you have problems to keep energy and capacity seperated? Hydropower can be of much higher use with moe capacity, even it provided energy remains the same.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on May 24, 2017

The HVDC-Lines in China is not transporting hydropower, but mainly wind and some solar. The starting point in in Xinjang, in the middle of a desert. / half desert. No big rivers around.
Ans so what is the poblem with providing 25 GW? building two power lines of chinese size which can bring then 25 GW to / from the beginning and the end of the line, and to any place in between where you decide to build a converter station? 25 GW is about germanys North South transport capacity without any extensions.
Wind lulls in california would not mean wind lulls anywhere else, as ong as you don’t want to create a weather scenario which exists once in a century or less often. So a likely source of the power would be from the plains, or from the north, where demand is lower in summer due to less heating. As far as distance is concerned power could come from a thousand km north of edmonton.
But maybe first someone would decide to use the 14 GW installed hydropower turbine capacity – and to switch them of in times of high supply from other sources. Hydropower is much more valuable at 7pm than at 10 am.
But when I look here: http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2015/ph240/burnett2/images/f2big.png I find a lot of things declared as non dispatchable which are dispatchable in a reasonable poerated grid.
Non dispatchable imports? Well sell the power on the US power market to some other state during noon, as long as those unfavourable contracts run.
Undispatchable customer cogeneration? Sure??? Who is responsible for the creation of this nonsense, and who is still accepting this nonsense to go on? Small hydro undispatchable? Sure? German run of the river can ramp down for some hours usually, and then up to higher levels for some hours, and small hydro is not always run of the rivver. Problems to transmit some bits to the small hydro power station, or problems in the head to think about it?
Seems there is a lot to do in california, but nuclear does not provide a solution for it, it’s a part of the problem. Problem with midset seems to be biggest part of the problem, but that’s maybe my personal opinion from outside view.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on May 24, 2017

Beating a strawman… jumping to customer rates tagain, from which germany, unlike the countries you mention draws a lot of tax income. Jumping to absoulte consumption of fossil fuels when the change rate was in question. The countries you mention decided for nuclear because of having no low cost fossil fuels inside the country. Poland with similar coal ressources than germany has which share of coal power in the grid? Or greece, or other countries with similar structure? The US has 65% of fossil fuels in the grid, while having a lot of ressources to produce power CO2 free. But decided to not use them.
Swizerland just decided again to phase out nuclear, and swiss nuclear power stations were offered for 1€ offically recently, but noone wanted to buy. Lets see how long the owners are willing to absorb the losses and keep them open. By the way if you thinc nuclear is despatchable: swiss nuclear power stations have times where the whole fleet of nuclear plants produces 0kW, or even worse draw many MW from the grid: https://www.aargauerzeitung.ch/solothurn/niederamt/akw-goesgen-wird-in-d...
Californias nuclear would-be nuclear fleet would be of similar size, so everything would have to be prepared for no nuclear putput for some weeks or months, too.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on May 25, 2017

I finished my analysis and put it in a blog post because it is much too long for a comment here.

I even named it after you:  Schooling an idiot

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on May 25, 2017

EP,
Your post is not really that long… Let’s go ahead and add it here so that EC readers can better understand you.

two comments
1) Unlike you – I don’t call myself “Joe Deely” – that is my name. I don’t hide behind my computer or the Internet when having a discussion and anything I say here I would say in person.

2) Do you really think what you did is analysis? Have you actually presented crap like that in a work environment? All I can say is that I hope no decisions have ever made based on you analyzing something.

Keep counting those green pixels.

Below is post from following location – http://ergosphere.blogspot.com/2017/05/schooling-idiot.html

Schooling an idiot

Some wag once wrote to the effect of “Never argue with an idiot; people may not be able to tell which is which.” On the other hand, if nobody bothers to school idiots publicly the public may begin to take their nonsense seriously. And on that note….

Over at The Energy Collective a clown calling himself Joe Deely says that the exercise of analyzing California’s daily load and generation curves to determine what can actually decarbonize its grid is a fantasy scenario. This has some very strong suggestions that “political reality” is immutable, and physical reality is the fantasy.

With that in mind, let us take the example handed us: the CAISO RE generation and net demand curves for May 19, 2017. Solar, wind and hydro are not broken out separately but the latter two are a fairly small part of the peak and total generation for the day, and are obviously 10-15% of the minimum load at most. Solar is the big kahuna in Commiefornia.

With that in mind, I first did a graphical analysis of the daily load curve. I erased the grid lines below the load curve and filled the white space with green:

Per The Gimp’s histogram function, 316923 pixels were green. Given the delta of 48 to 915 on the X axis (hour 0-24) and 10 to 464 on the Y axis (32,000 MW to 0), a total consumption of 768,000 MWh would correspond to 393,618 pixels. Given vagaries of the width of lines vs. their centers, this suggests that the consumption for the day was roughly 768000 * (316923 / 393618) = 618358 MWh.

Given the X width of 863 pixels and the variance from 172 (~20,000 MW) to 464 (0 MW) on the Y axis (Δ=292 px), the area of base load is 251,966 px or 491,677 MWh. If the total minimum 24-hr demand was served by 24/7 carbon-free power such as nuclear, the total electric generation would be 79.5% carbon-free.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL! Nuclear is supposedly hard to ramp down, but that’s the characteristic of light-water reactors, not electric output! Nuclear-heated steam, being carbon-free, can be dumped to secondary uses or or waste heat without adding any pollutant emissions whatsoever. So, let us suppose that 20% of peak nuclear power can be dumped and peak nuclear power is 25000 MW (with no carbon-emitting capacity being started until demand rises beyond that). This yields a graph where 291,990 px of area are colored green out of a total of 316923 px of demand, or 92.1%.

California is supposedly striving for 50% or 60% “renewable” power by some year, but with nuclear base load it could already have reached 79.5% emission-free; with a bit of dumping it could have achieved 92.1% emission-free on the specified day. Yes, “renewables” could have eaten into the remaining 7.9%, but would they actually have been important enough to tout? Not really; the existing solar contribution of perhaps 12,000 MW is already twice what appears to be actually required.

If you “blew up” that day’s RE contributions so the peak was roughly equal to the demand peak, how much demand would you have left? After some fiddling with images, I was able to paste the expanded RE curve over the demand curve and color in the un-met demand areas in blue:

If I’m doing my pixel-counting correctly, 112148 pixels have zero green component (the green, gray and white will not); this comes to 28.5% of demand un-meetable by unreliable RE even on the record day. Even assuming that the overnight RE generation is also scaled up by a substantial factor, this falls well short of the all-nuclear baseload scenario at just 20.5% of demand un-met by carbon-free sources.

Failing to plan to meet the evening and overnight demand with carbon-free generation is planning to fail. It cannot be done with “renewables”, period; physical reality says no. It is physically possible to achieve this with nuclear power, whether the political reality allows it or not.

“Renewables” in California, as elsewhere, are greenwashing. If the so-called “environmental” organizations (and eveyone else) actually cared about CO2 emissions, they would be pushing nuclear energy as hard as they could. Anyone who is anti-nuclear is anti-environment.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on May 25, 2017

Text does not a *graphical* analysis make.

.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on May 25, 2017

http://discovermagazine.com/sitefiles/resources/image.aspx?item={A9C45B9C-A472-4FFA-A390-3CEDCAC1B715}&mw=900&mh=600

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on May 25, 2017

A link to the visuals is in my comment.

Not that it is needed in this case. Garbage in, garbage out.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on May 25, 2017

If you think my conclusion is backwards or majorly flawed in any way, you are free to find better data, perform your own analysis and show where I’ve gone wrong.

Somehow I don’t think you’re going to quit handwaving in order to do actual work.  It’s just not your style.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on May 26, 2017

Conclusion – was there a conclusion in there somewhere?

As far as data – are you saying that might not be the best data?

I did like this –

Failing to plan to meet the evening and overnight demand with carbon-free generation is planning to fail.

Using your data – what was the evening and overnight demand that was not met with carbon-free generation? Let’s say for 12:00 – 8:00am and 6pm-23:59. How many MWh in those time slots?

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on May 26, 2017

HVDC-Lines in China is not transporting hydropower, but mainly wind and some solar.

Nonsense, not the long distance lines. The vast majority of Chinese wind capacity is in eastern China. The NW Changji termination of this forthcoming Changji- Guquan HVDC line has only a smattering of wind in the area. What does lie in the North and north-west is the largest concentration of coal plants in the world. The existing long HVDC lines connect the east and south-west, which is where the majority of hydro lies.

Three-quarters of China’s coal is in the far north and north-west of the country. Four-fifths of its hydroelectric power is in the south-west.

[http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21714325-transmitti...

Chinese wind installation:

https://goo.gl/images/tDq465

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on May 26, 2017

Why don’t YOU answer YOUR OWN QUESTION?  If you want me to do your homework it’ll cost you $150/hr, $5000 retainer up front.

Since I doubt you’re willing to put up that kind of coin, here’s the CAISO site on which you can find lots of production and demand graphs (but not one single link to data in XLS or CSV—it’s like they don’t want anyone actually doing their own analysis, isn’t it?):

http://www.caiso.com/Pages/default.aspx

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on May 26, 2017

Gotcha – you don’t know the answer.

Have to wonder if you are actually employed. Let’s say that you had presented that garbage you call analysis in a meeting.

How could you pretend to say:

Failing to plan to meet the evening and overnight demand with carbon-free generation is planning to fail.

and not even know how much carbon-based generation needs to be replaced.

Sounds like somebody who didn’t “do the actual work”.

Hint: the number is not that high. Keep looking – the data is right in from of your face. Any intern that I have ever hired would have found it by now.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on May 26, 2017

Here a map with the coal power plants ant their polution: https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/whole-country.png?w=640
No significant coal power station in the north west. Plenty in the north east.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on May 26, 2017
Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on May 26, 2017

And the region is already having coal overcapacity – and no water to cool the coal power plants: http://www.climatechangenews.com/files/2017/01/China-coal-overcapacity.png

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on May 26, 2017
Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on May 26, 2017

You have obviously mistaken me for someone who gives a damn what your question is.

If you’re so wonderful and skilled, DO feel free to (a) extract data from a better source than the admittedly-rough job I did with that graph (the width of the lines alone adds substantial error—but does not change the conclusion) and (b) show why the answer to your question matters.

So far you’ve been all hand-waving and zero analysis, exactly as I predicted.

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