Please support this Forum and Neven's Blog

Author Topic: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...  (Read 302923 times)

TerryM

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1211
    • View Profile
Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1600 on: April 18, 2017, 03:38:28 PM »
Nice to be reading Bob's comments again!


In Ontario I believe one of the problems being faced is the very high costs associated with spikes, or very short periods when supply far outpaces demand.
Batteries can't charge rapidly enough to make use of this power, but I've wondered if capacitors might be able to capture this energy, then trickle it off to batteries or back to the grid.


As I understand it the spikes are not something than can be accurately predicted, but a system that automatically reacted to a spike by plugging in large capacitor banks might allow working much closer to the line than operators are now willing to dare.


Terry

rboyd

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 115
    • View Profile
Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1601 on: April 18, 2017, 04:43:17 PM »
I had assumed that over the next few decades the rain will tend to move north, from the US to Canada; knock on effect from the Hadley Cell moving north. So Canadian Hydro will be getting a good supply, but possibly not the Hoover dam etc.

With the Arctic region gaining increasing heat w.r.t. the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, and that trend possibly accelerating after the first Blue Ocean event, I am not so sure though. Could play havoc with any assumptions for rainfall and wind. Also, with more extremes (and more rain instead of snow) the dams may have to let a lot of the water resource flow uselessly down river to stop overtopping - building more storage dams would help with this of course.

There was a lot of resistance to the building of the Site C dam in B.C., some of it from indigenous groups with respect to their treaty rights. There are also a lot of environmental groups that are very anti-dam. Also some resistance to "blighting the Canadian environment to supply those wasteful Americans!" I wonder how easy it would be to build a large number of new dams in the current environment.

http://ecosocialistsvancouver.org/article/resistance-british-columbia%E2%80%99s-site-c-dam-gaining-momentum

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-site-c-dam-protest-1.3672224

A great danger in linear thinking when dealing with such complex ecological and social systems and feedbacks.

« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 04:58:12 PM by rboyd »

Bob Wallace

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1198
    • View Profile
Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1602 on: April 18, 2017, 08:45:54 PM »
Good to see you post again, Bob. You always get my spirits up.  :)

Glad to be of service.

I'm very optimistic about our ability to solve our CO2 problems. 

I'm not as optimistic about our willingness to solve them as quickly as we should.  We should already be most of the way there.  We aren't. 

In terms of avoiding a lot of climate change hurt I'm, at best, hopeful.  I hope we're seeing the last significant rearguard action by the fossil fuel industry.  I see signs of big oil preparing to leave the field of battle and transform into renewable energy companies (mostly offshore wind).  I think coal is in the process of losing everywhere but still has enough power to slow renewables for a few more years.  I think natural gas has a significant role to play over the next decade or so but storage looks like it will wipe out gas well before 2030.

Then I'm prayerful.  As much as a non-believer can be.  We really need some atmospheric greenhouse gas removal technologies.  I don't see anything meaningful yet. 

But overall I'm optimistic.  Given how recently we began to address climate change I'm impressed at how rapidly our renewable energy and storage technologies have evolved.  And at how very rapidly costs have fallen.  I think it possible that we could be largely fossil fuel free in 20 to 25 years.

Do that.  Figure out how to pull back some of our greenhouse gas blanket.  That might take enough energy out of the climate system to lower temperatures, reduce storm intensity, and decrease rain bombs.

Higher sea levels.  Can't see any option but adapting.  At least when we rebuild our coastal buildings a bit inland we can build highly efficient buildings.

Bob Wallace

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1198
    • View Profile
Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1603 on: April 18, 2017, 08:55:11 PM »
From news article: Vertical wind turbines could produce 10x the power per acre as their horizontal counterparts

Unimportant.

First, for the most part there is no shortage of real estate for turbine installation.  There's more than enough room to spread out horizontal axis turbines.  Plus a lot of our wind harvesting is heading offshore where winds blow more hours and there is less public resistance.

Second, VAWTs put a lot of mass on top of their towers.  That would mean a much higher investment in footings and towers in order to get VAWTs up above 100 meters where onshore winds are cleaner.  And up above the height of storm waves for offshore installation.



Bob Wallace

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1198
    • View Profile
Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1604 on: April 18, 2017, 08:59:49 PM »
Nice to be reading Bob's comments again!


In Ontario I believe one of the problems being faced is the very high costs associated with spikes, or very short periods when supply far outpaces demand.
Batteries can't charge rapidly enough to make use of this power, but I've wondered if capacitors might be able to capture this energy, then trickle it off to batteries or back to the grid.


As I understand it the spikes are not something than can be accurately predicted, but a system that automatically reacted to a spike by plugging in large capacitor banks might allow working much closer to the line than operators are now willing to dare.


Terry

Probably what you're seeing is the early days when the number of batteries online is very small.  Once we reach the point at which we are storing a couple days worth of electricity there should be enough batteries to snatch up the spikes.

Supercapacitors could do the job but at this point I think they are too expensive.  Some companies want to use them in EVs to better capture energy from regenerative braking but cost (and size?) hasn't made that practical. 

jai mitchell

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1492
    • View Profile
Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1605 on: April 18, 2017, 09:02:58 PM »
Not sure if I posted this elsewhere but this video on disruptive technologies is a MUST to see.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxryv2XrnqM

Clean Disruption - Why Energy & Transportation will be Obsolete by 2030 - Oslo, March 2016
Haiku of Past Futures
My "burning embers"
are not tri-color bar graphs
+3C today

sidd

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1096
    • View Profile
Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1606 on: April 18, 2017, 09:04:58 PM »
Speaking of run of the river hydro, couple hundred MW of run of the river plants going in on the Ohio.

http://www.utilitydive.com/news/241-mw-of-new-hydroelectric-capacity-planned-for-ohio-river/423258/

sidd

Bob Wallace

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1198
    • View Profile
Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1607 on: April 18, 2017, 09:14:17 PM »
I had assumed that over the next few decades the rain will tend to move north, from the US to Canada; knock on effect from the Hadley Cell moving north. So Canadian Hydro will be getting a good supply, but possibly not the Hoover dam etc.

The thing that concerns me is the potential of more frequent multiple year droughts.  Texas had a bad one. Florida had some very dry years. Then it was California's turn.  Especially as we lose water storage in snowpacks we could encounter major periods where hydro largely disappears.

Would we be safe in assuming that the Northeast and Eastern Canada is free from drought risk?

At the same time we should see some areas experience periods of unusually high precipitation.  Look at the Upper Midwest a few years back.  The coastal South last (?) year.  California this year. 

While more rain falls we don't always have the ability to capture and store that extra potential energy.

rboyd

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 115
    • View Profile
Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1608 on: April 18, 2017, 09:51:47 PM »
Ontario had what was described as a severe drought last summer, now broken. Winters here are certainly a lot balmier (to a Canadian!) than they used to be. Lots of rain, felt more like London England than Toronto at times last winter. No multi-year droughts though.

Summers can get pretty hot though, 30-35 centigrade.

https://www.thestar.com/life/food_wine/2016/09/01/ontario-farmers-feeling-the-burn-of-a-summer-drought.html