Thermal energy storage such as ice storage could really help building owners …

July 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

July 17, 2013

Willem Post says:


As you know, utilities buy almost all of their energy under long-term contracts. A small percentage is usually bought on the SPOT market.

As your graph shows, the higher SPOT prices are in effect during only a few hours of a day, i.e., the financial impact on a utility is very small. Note the following:

Click on fuel mix.


You will see renewable energy at 4% on 16 July 2013, at 5:09 PM, of which wind energy is 8%, wood 53%, refuse 39%; PV solar is less than 1%. NE wind energy varies up and down with the wind. Typically, it is minimal on hot summer days.


Wind energy’s contribution at that time = 8% of 4% = 0.32%, not much help on a hot summer day.


Whereas, NE wind energy’s annual contribution is about 1%, at an annual capacity factor of about 0.25, at the above wind energy contribution of 0.32%, the capacity factor is about 0.08, i.e., this shows there is little wind during hot summer afternoons in NE. 


If we placed wind turbines everywhere on 2000-ft or higher ridge lines in New England, say 10 times more than at present (as some aficionados advocate), to achieve a total of about 8,000 MW to produce 8,000 x 8,760 x 0.25 = 17,520,000 MWh/yr, about 14% of NE’s 125,000,000 MWh annual consumption, then: 


- the capital cost would be about 8,000 MW x $2,500,000/MW = $20 billion for the turbine plants, PLUS billions for grid connections and enhancements, PLUS billions for additional quick-ramping balancing plants and gas piping. Note: As variable wind energy cannot stand on its own, it needs quick-ramping plants to balance it to avoid chaos on the grid, 


- the energy cost would be about 15 c/kWh, about 3 times annual average NE grid prices, because of high construction costs, high OM costs, low 0.25 capacity factors, service lives of 20 years, plus balancing costs.


- there would be extensive damage to about 350 miles of ridge line environment, currently mostly unspoiled, 


- there would be significant social discord, especially among adversely impacted people, 


- 8,000 MW of wind turbines would likely have contributed about………. 10 x 0.32% = 3.2% during the above hot summer afternoon, i.e., wind energy is typically minimal on such summer days. Germany has the same “problem” on such summer days; plenty of PV solar energy for a few hours around noontime, and almost no wind energy on most of such days.


Conclusion: Wind energy in New England is expensive, fickle, not available when needed. The capacity of almost all conventional generators needs to be kept in good working order, staffed and fueled to provide energy when wind and solar energy are minimal. 


Irrational policies running amok on steroids, a.k.a., subsidies, from the minds of irrational people.


- NE grid prices have averaged about 5-6 c/kWh for 4 years. 

- Hydro Quebec and Vermont Yankee prices are about 5.5-6 c/kWh

- GMP bought 60 MW of steady, near-CO2-free nuclear energy at 4.66 cents/kWh.


A much better alternative: Hydro-Quebec could provide up to 50% of NE’s energy at about 6 c/kWh under long-term contracts. The capital cost would be at most $5-10 billion for HVDC transmissions facilities from Quebec to NE. Such low-cost energy, added to NE’s hydro energy, would lead to a major reduction of NE’s CO2 emissions, AND a boost to NE’s economy.


Another good alternative, if it were not for the emotialism: 8,000 MW of new nuclear plants (to replace existing plants and augment existing plants) would almost CONTINUOUSLY produce about 8,000 x 8,760 x 0.90 = 63,072,000 MWh/yr, about 50% of NE’s 125,000,000 MWh annual consumption, at a capital cost of about $32 billion, plus minimal grid modifications, plus NO additional quick-ramping balancing plants and gas piping, and minimal noise impact, and minimal environmental impact, i.e., bird kill, bat kill.

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