OT Big increase in solar electricity anticipated

http://tinyurl.com/pk3yka7
Solar energy 'could provide 4% of UK electricity by 2020'
"The plummeting cost of solar panels has caused the government to revise upwards its forecast for solar energy use, Energy Secretary Ed Davey said. This had contributed to the government decision to end most subsidies for large-scale solar this month, he added."
Well, I suppose we should be grateful for that last comment. What amused and saddened me at the same time was the TV news item that piggybacked on that main story: a piece about 'the biggest battery in Europe', at Leighton Buzzard, a demonstration of the technology being developed to enable excess electricity to be stored when the sun don't shine and the wind don't blow.
See http://tinyurl.com/mfrdgoy for a BBC report on that battery, from the end of last year. It has a capacity of 6MW and can supply 10MWh of electricity. I checked the stats for Dinorwig: 1800MW providing 10800MWh of electricity http://tinyurl.com/6a3gqjs . So Dinorwig is equivalent to about 1000 of these Leighton Buzzard batteries, and Dinorwig only holds a small amount of what we would need for storage to become a practicality for ironing out the peaks and troughs of renewables. And how long will the battery last before it has to be replaced, bearing in mind the lifetime of most rechargeable batteries these days?
Makes you want to weep!
--

Chris

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All other electricity sources are subsidised. I don't hear you whinging about that.
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On Tue, 24 Mar 2015 07:18:35 -0000, "harryagain"

Because those subsidies that you say exist, are not pouring money down the drain, unlike subsidies for renewables. And anyway, you whinge about the subsidies that you claim are paid to the nuclear industry, so why shouldn't I whinge about subsidies for renewables. At least nuclear provides a steady supply of base-load electricity, which renewables never will. But don't worry; the subsidies are only being withdrawn from solar systems of greater than 5MW. You'll still get your thirty pieces of silver for your solar panels.
--

Chris

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On 24/03/15 12:12, Chris Hogg wrote:

Amen to that.
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rare story of which you happen to have first-hand knowledge. – Erwin Knoll
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On 24/03/2015 12:12, Chris Hogg wrote:

Having read that article I'm still not clear of the predictions it says =============He said he expected up to 14GW of solar by 2020 - up from 5GW at the end of 2014. That equates roughly to 1.5% of total UK annual electricity to just under 4%. He said he expected it to grow further in the next decade. ======= Are there some "h"s missing from there? ie 14GWh represents 4% of the UK annual electricity consumption, or does he mean 14GW installed capability, so for a few sunny days solar might produce 4% of instantaneous requirements, in the same way that wind currently produces something like (is it 15% ?) in the right conditions.
--
CB

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On 24/03/15 13:10, CB wrote:

I suspect it's more like 14GW installed capacity might produce 4% of annual requirements,
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On 24/03/2015 13:35, The Natural Philosopher wrote:

Ah thank you. A quick look at gridwatch shows an eyeball average annual requirement of a constant 30GW. 4% of that is 1.2GW, so an annual average of 1.2GW from an installed 14GW might make sense.
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On 24/03/15 13:44, CB wrote:

Yes. Solar is about 10% capacity factor, compared with wind at 21% or so. (and nuclear at 80% or so).

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You have your answer, but I was going to ask why you thought either Ed Davey or the journalist would understand the question, let alone have an answer.
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Chris

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And how much CO2 produced in manufacturing them. And how will they be disposed of at EOL? Etc. Etc.
--
bert

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"Costing the Earth" on Radio 4 today was interesting, but I didn't catch it all. Renewables have been damaged by the drop in oil (and gas) price over the last year. The government's calcuations were based on oil doubling in price, but it's halved since then. The economists think it's at about the right price now, and will likely stay there for some time. There could be another drop in the middle of the year - currently we're extracting 2M barrels more than is being used, and that's going in to storage (old oil tankers permanently parked, or active ones moving very slowly). The spare storage space runs out around middle of the year, which will put the extra 2M barrels on the market for immediate use. Many US and most middle east oil fields are still economic down to $20/barrel, and some down to $10/barrel, given the infrastructure is all in place.

There are a few companies which turn up at ecobuild events, which sell batteries for home owners to store cheap rate electricity and either use it at peak time, or sell it back to the grid. I don't think there's any FIT for these in the UK.
--
Andrew Gabriel
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On Tue, 24 Mar 2015 19:07:29 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.me.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

It occurred to me a while back, that the only way to make batteries a relevant storage system for grid-scale fluctuations in renewable power supply, would be for every new house to have a garage-sized battery built as part of the planning permission or building regs, and to retro-fit a great deal more to older houses. So rather than try and build a few hundred enormous super-shed-sized batteries, there would be tens of thousands of smaller ones. Not attempted to do any numbers on feasibility though.
--

Chris

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On Tue, 24 Mar 2015 19:25:39 +0000, Chris Hogg wrote:

Hum, considering the rabbit hutches that many modern houses are you end up with a choice between off street parking or a battery. There are other things to consider as well: Who owns the battery? Who maintains it? Who pays for its replacement? Not to mention the safety aspects of having a lot of stored energy that can be released very quickly, ever dropped a spanner across a tiddly little (by comparison) car battery?

Think it would be better to have the shed sized batteries at each wind mill, solar PV, etc to buffer their erratic generation from the grid. ie make them dispatchable. This also solves the ownership, maintenance, replacement etc etc.
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On Tue, 24 Mar 2015 19:44:50 +0000 (GMT), "Dave Liquorice"

At least with your last suggestion, the true cost of renewables would be born by those proposing their installation, not by the rest of us having to pay the cost of coping with their variable output.
Should bring the renewables industry to a grinding halt, I would think. Gets my vote!
--

Chris

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wrote:

Only because you're not clever.
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I blew one half of a pair of pliers off with a bank of 30 car batteries. I was tightening a nut which connected them to an invertor and touched both terminals.

Batteries are shit (at the moment until we develop better chemistry). Aren't we better with things like Cruachan, storing gravitational energy?
--
Why are they called apartments, when they're all stuck together?

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wrote:

No question about it. Pumped storage is the only viable method of safely storing the amounts of energy necessary to smooth out renewables variability. The trouble is, in the UK we don't have much of the appropriate topography. A survey of possible sites was carried out a few decades ago (can't find the reference ATM) and they only came up with about half a dozen, several of which are now in use.
Of course, there doesn't necessarily have to be 'an upper reservoir and a lower reservoir' in the Dinorwig model. The 'lower reservoir' can be the sea, but this means the upper reservoir has to be on the coast and capable of accepting salt water, which in most UK cases would probably not be environmentally acceptable.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumped-storage_hydroelectricity
This is also interesting http://tinyurl.com/md7u5k5
--

Chris

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On 26/03/15 08:30, Chris Hogg wrote:

In the limit its not the only possibility, but it is certainly the best.
The problem is the immense amount of power the nation consumes.
Storing that amount of energy for even a few hours represents an energy store that under fault conditions can be extremely dangerous.
I leave it to the reader to decide which they would rather live next to. A 1000 ft high dam containing a few million tons of water., a tank the size of a small village full of hydrogen, a flywheel the size of a football pitch spinning at enormous RPM, a reservoir of white hot salt the size of a city block, a pile of coal 300 ft high, or a kilogram of uranium stored in a water tank.
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Everything you read in newspapers is absolutely true, except for the
rare story of which you happen to have first-hand knowledge. – Erwin Knoll
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On Thu, 26 Mar 2015 09:40:29 +0000, The Natural Philosopher

When browsing for the reference to potential PS sites in the UK, I came across mention of the use of massive weights pulled up an incline and then being allowed to descend slowly, a sort of pumped storage without water. Bearing in mind Dinorwig stores around 6 million tonnes of water with a head of some 550 ft, I can't really envisage a lump of steel of that weight being hauled up a 500 ft incline. I certainly wouldn't want to be at the bottom if the string broke!
Elastic band storage; has to be the way forward!
--

Chris

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On 26/03/15 10:43, Chris Hogg wrote:

The point is that uranium is like an enormous battery that comes fully charged, courtesy of God/The Big Bang, and is the most energy dense form of storage there is with the exception of a hydrogen helium transition, which we cant do yet in any useful way.
Not only is it massively energy dense, its unbelievably safe. Piles of uranium have to be treated in unique and special ways involving a lot of expensive kit before they will release their energy, and as even the worst disaster of Chernobyl shows, they may get hot and burn, but they don't go bang.
Water up a hill has the absolutely worst safety record in a disaster.
It has taken te combined propaganda pf several large nations to make the public sufficuiently scared of nuclear energy to stop it wiping out all other forms of electricity generation.
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