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Author Topic: The Future of Renewable Energies  (Read 24887 times)
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« Reply #60 on: December 21, 2016, 09:04:38 AM »


Its the final cost of the CfD for things like wind that is going to decide the future. As consumers we can't expect to keep paying 12p per kWh if CfD prices are agreed at 7-8p and then additional storage costs of 2-4p per kWh have to be added on top. As prices rise it will also cause more people to move to PV (and maybe home storage) to reduce their need for electricity for much of the year, which in turn could result in even more overcapacity during the times that the PV can operate. While not required this excess energy will still be paid for via the CfD agreements.

Now, this is where I get really frustrated .... CfD's! As you can tell I love numbers, and whilst 'assuming' is a dangerous game, we can draw some conclusions, but all of my references are getting old now, as RE moves so quickly. Currently I have these figures in 2016 monies (original contract price):
HPC £102/MWh (£92.50)
Off-shore wind £120/MWh (£115)
On-shore wind £83/MWh (£80)
PV farms £83/MWh (£80)

But:-
I only have one type of nuclear, which may not be representative.
Off-shore costs seem to be falling fast, with UK estimates of sub £100 by 2020(ish) and simpler Dutch installs as low as €50, though these don't include all infrastructure costs.
On-shore wind is presumably cheaper now, unless the best sites have been cherry picked.
PV contracts in Germany were also about £80 early last year (when the UK CfD's were issued) but are now £60, suggesting costs have tumbled.
The NAO has revised future wholesale prices down, with a peak of £70 in 2027, falling to about £60 in 2035 (again 2016 prices).
The European MIP is distorting PV prices.

So what we really need now is a new round of CfD auctions so that we can re-assess the current position, as the 2-4 year old info is surprisingly unreliable already as a reference point. We may already be at a point where on-shore wind and PV are actually below future wholesale prices. So I've got loads of numbers, facts, figures, and assumptions spinning around in my head, but without a CfD reset, it's hard to know where we actually are today, though I assume it's much better than we realise.

I'm also watching storage carefully, and it looks really promising, but I don't know if it's safe yet to draw any conclusions (or even assumptions) till we see the industry grow a bit larger, but I suspect the normal economic processes of supply and demand will make great use of storage going forward, but I've no idea when the scale will become significant.
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« Reply #61 on: December 21, 2016, 09:44:46 AM »

Mart,
I understand and agree with what you are saying but you have fallen into the usual trap of comparing chalk and cheese again. Renewables,FF,solar and wind etc cannot be compared with each other as their characteristics are very different.
I know you know this but why do you continue to make this meaningless comparison?  The whole is greater than any individual parts. Even if one part cost zero, so what, as its completely useless at 100% utilisation.

Ken
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« Reply #62 on: December 21, 2016, 09:59:13 AM »

Mart,
I understand and agree with what you are saying but you have fallen into the usual trap of comparing chalk and cheese again. Renewables,FF,solar and wind etc cannot be compared with each other as their characteristics are very different.
I know you know this but why do you continue to make this meaningless comparison?  The whole is greater than any individual parts. Even if one part cost zero, so what, as its completely useless at 100% utilisation.

Ken

No idea where that came from? What do you mean by 'continue to make'?

I'm fascinated by the whole package of RE, I actually waffled on longer about the Swansea and Cardiff tidal lagoons and the possible Ice-Link, but deleted it all as I realised I was going on.

Why on earth do you think I'm selecting a single RE technology? I've often stated that individually they all fail, but collectively they seem to deal with most issues (with the addition of storage and gas generation back up (for now)).

I could point out that you've fallen into a trap by saying that a technology at zero cost is still not a solution. Your mistake being that you are looking at the wrong end of the price curve. For RE to prosper it doesn't need to be free, but it has to be less expensive than the alternative (not necessarily cheap, though the cheaper the better). My point is to show that RE is now cost competitive.
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« Reply #63 on: December 21, 2016, 10:05:04 AM »

I smile when people say EVs could be a problem. They are not the problem but the solution. Electricity production gets built on the ROI (return on investment) and two major factors are initial cost and capacity factors (CF).  For eg nobody is going to build anything, without subsidies, if it can only be relied upon to be used a few hours a day and then not at max capacity ie low CF.  By EVs filling in the trough the capacity factor will increase and more capacity of all kind will get built. This process will also allow more of our beloved renewables which are limited by the amount of reliable flexible (FF,hydro,storage,etc) production in the system.

Ken
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« Reply #64 on: December 21, 2016, 10:33:03 AM »

No point in telling me how the cost of apples compare with oranges if its apples i want and further no point in telling me the price of Braburns if i want Cox.  Horses for Courses is what this game is about and i am pleased to see that the UK seems to have taken this aspect on board and we do not have too many eggs in any one basket.

No point in saying this bad, that good, but i would like to see more pumped hydro and this may well happen due to the reprieve of the remaining Scottish aluminium smelter.
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« Reply #65 on: December 21, 2016, 01:36:33 PM »

It should be possible  to  use technical innovation to  greatly improve efficiency of storage.    Enerergiestro are claiming to have made  a low cost  flywheel system using concrete.  They claim that  their product suitable for PV  farms in developing countries.   They should also be suitable for covering peak period demand in developed countries.   

http://www.energiestro.net/
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« Reply #66 on: December 21, 2016, 03:47:03 PM »

It should be possible  to  use technical innovation to  greatly improve efficiency of storage.    Enerergiestro are claiming to have made  a low cost  flywheel system using concrete.  They claim that  their product suitable for PV  farms in developing countries.   They should also be suitable for covering peak period demand in developed countries.   

http://www.energiestro.net/

I think this will help on the sale of at most hours, the issue we have in the UK is weeks with little wind and little PV.    So it will help with the evening peak but not that much else.
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« Reply #67 on: December 21, 2016, 07:08:01 PM »

Mart,
I understand and agree with what you are saying but you have fallen into the usual trap of comparing chalk and cheese again. Renewables,FF,solar and wind etc cannot be compared with each other as their characteristics are very different.
I know you know this but why do you continue to make this meaningless comparison?  The whole is greater than any individual parts. Even if one part cost zero, so what, as its completely useless at 100% utilisation.

Ken

Further to that, why do renewables always have to be cost competetive or cheaper than FF's,  they're better so therefore why shouldn't they be more expensive?
Just the same as if I go out and buy a cheapo breaker it's pants, but I buy a Kango and it lasts forever.

Lets forget all this CFD and strike price BS and provide a quality service for what it costs.

Desp
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« Reply #68 on: December 22, 2016, 08:56:38 AM »

Mart,
I understand and agree with what you are saying but you have fallen into the usual trap of comparing chalk and cheese again. Renewables,FF,solar and wind etc cannot be compared with each other as their characteristics are very different.
I know you know this but why do you continue to make this meaningless comparison?  The whole is greater than any individual parts. Even if one part cost zero, so what, as its completely useless at 100% utilisation.

Ken

Further to that, why do renewables always have to be cost competetive or cheaper than FF's,  they're better so therefore why shouldn't they be more expensive?
Just the same as if I go out and buy a cheapo breaker it's pants, but I buy a Kango and it lasts forever.

Lets forget all this CFD and strike price BS and provide a quality service for what it costs.

Desp

Wow Desp. I was genuinely shocked at that attack by Ken, falsely claiming I was promoting a singular solution, but I'm even more surprised that you've had a go too?

IF the costs are BS, then how do we sell RE to the public? What if RE cost twice as much as nuclear, would the populace still support RE, or want bill reductions (prevent bill increases)?

My post, which I thought was a friendly waffle about energy generation costs, was to show that armed with the cost information we can sell RE to everyone, even the biggest doubters. My want/interest in newer auctions and CFD updates is simply to be able to drive the battle forward. The HPC CfD in particular supports on going subsidies for domestic PV as we can displace 1MWh of gas generation from the grid by paying households £66 (or £85 if we want the industry to flourish). But what use is that figure or argument in 'selling' a subsidy scheme to the public without being able to point out that it's comparable (even cheaper) than HPC at £102.

It may be a hard pill to swallow, but what we think on here is important to us, but almost meaningless on a national scale. The general populace need to won over and convinced, and I believe that we now have the tools to do that thanks to the cost comparisons of RE v's FF and nuclear.

What exactly did I say that appears to be so controversial, having read it through again, it seems entirely benign and optimistic? I may appear to be obsessed with the economics, but that's only because I see them as a weapon now to promote RE, whereas before the economics worked against RE, as folk couldn't see the bigger picture.
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« Reply #69 on: December 22, 2016, 09:48:29 AM »

Mart, Sorry but cannot always agree completely.

___

Every poll seems to suggest the majority in favour of RE and anti fracking.

People dont even understand their bill never mind about how the individual parts make our Nat Grid. As for CfD -no chance. All they understand is the size of the bill and some will only be happy if it was free !

What even cave man understands is that when the wind dont blow and ............  they dont work.  Of course we on here understand a lot more but i have to say the intellectual argument is not even won never mind the general public.  In the meantime individuals keep battling away with the visions they have and i think Dale Vince of Ecotricity is such a man for eg

RE great for reducing CO2 etc and lets have more of it but it will never run the Nat Grid.    We are paying a high price for nuclear because we need to, regardless of the price of apples.

The low RE CfD prices abroad are the product of no EU protectionist policies and increased Capacity Factors.

Ken
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« Reply #70 on: December 22, 2016, 11:27:52 AM »

Mart, Sorry but cannot always agree completely.

I'd neither expect that nor want it, but I still don't understand why my 'chat' was "continue to make this meaningless comparison"?

If you'd read it properly, you wouldn't have stated


The low RE CfD prices abroad are the product of no EU protectionist policies and increased Capacity Factors.

Nope. I gave comparisons to Germany and the Netherlands, to suggest PV and off-shore wind are advancing really fast, and I believe they have similar CF's to us, in fact off-shore wind in the UK is probably better. So your criticism seems entirely wrong and based on a false assumption, an assumption that was unnecessary as I gave the required information.


Every poll seems to suggest the majority in favour of RE and anti fracking.

Yes, something I harp on about way too much, with references to the 19 (so far) qtr DECC surveys. I'd also add that support for nuclear is also low. But I still don't see how celebrating lower costs for RE and promoting that fact can be anything but good news for RE.


People dont even understand their bill never mind about how the individual parts make our Nat Grid. As for CfD -no chance. All they understand is the size of the bill and some will only be happy if it was free !

What even cave man understands is that when the wind dont blow and ............  they dont work.  Of course we on here understand a lot more but i have to say the intellectual argument is not even won never mind the general public.  In the meantime individuals keep battling away with the visions they have and i think Dale Vince of Ecotricity is such a man for eg

Ken

Isn't that exactly what I was talking about? Having the financial argument to overcome any financial concerns of the public, and a personal desire for more RE CfD auctions so that I can update my knowledge on the various comparisons which today make RE look good, but the evidence I'm interpreting from Europe (yes Europe!) suggests that a round of auctions today would improve the argument no end.

Yet when I say it, it's a meaningless comparison, and suggests the promotion of a singular solution! Did you mis-read what I wrote, how on earth could anyone find it offensive, or argumentative? Boring waffle yes, but how did you manage to read it as a negative.

I'm still totally baffled by what has happened here.
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« Reply #71 on: December 22, 2016, 02:03:24 PM »

Gnadt missed your reply amongst all the other debate going on!

Quote
Am I getting you right that you don’t consider the creation of micro grids an economical opportunity?  It may look like cannibalization if the big energy companies build them, but wouldn’t you think there is still a lot of money to make as system supplier or in the service around the grid? Looking at just one small community, the impact may seem small, but considering how many people even in industrialized countries still live in small cities and rural areas, the effects could be impressive.

My question here would be how do we need to change our power grid to enable those multidirectional electricity distributions and who should finance it, now that the big energy companies are continuously losing power generation to the consumers?  And how do we guarantee a stable main grid when more and more people and even megacities try to get more or completely self sufficient?

@heatherhopper: You said you were completely off grid, perhaps you could tell about the difficulties to do so?    How do and will politics react to the autonomy efforts of single users or whole cities?
I am initially talking about taking small communities off the grid - very micro sized grids - which usually have the least efficient and extensive grid supply and are the biggest legacy users of FF. I am not talking about town or city sized grids - scenarios like that simply bring you back to square one since you would be again dealing with the problems of intermittent renewable supply much debated on this forum, problems that are less pronounced once you remove the largely none-contributing urban/commercial "sink" from the equation. Once you have such self-sustaining communities you can move on to take advantage of their export potential - I have no expertise here but I imagine the closer to the central grid the point of injection the easier it is.
I believe that Micro grids are indeed an economic opportunity or rather a series of opportunities. It is who should benefit and in what way that would concern me. I completely agree that system suppliers (those who develop and produce micro renewable system components) and local service suppliers (emphasis on local here and preferably embedded in the communities) would be associated beneficiaries but this would need to be a sustained relationship of ongoing supply and demand, not one that encourages engagement simply to gobble up set-up capital or incentives.
There is little difficulty in individually going off-grid - the issues increase with size. You require only the will to do so and the capital to set up - in the UK anyway. If primarily renewables based you also need a modicum of space and access to the resources and this is usually (but not exclusively) only available outside urban areas. There are a variety of regulatory problems certainly but usually they have not been created in association with off-grid scenarios but for larger scale or entirely unconnected considerations.
Sadly all this would need to start with political effort and finance - not popular in todays world but nevertheless the only conduit for exclusively social benefit. I think it could be best promoted under local government as some form of regional development that also has a national payback (albeit small) if there is an upsurge in micro generation. Goodness knows there are an awful lot of such efforts in diverse areas already that result in no tangible result other than moping-up public money. From small acorns.... as they say.
As a very simplistic example I ask you to consider the following:
I am off-grid as are my nearest neighbours. We are both potential net exporters. In my case to the extent of perhaps 5,000 kWh p/a, the neighbours maybe a tenth of that. Since we are in an upland area our production is predominantly from wind and as such is neither daylight nor season dependent as with PV. We both have storage capacity (FLA) for about 24 hrs in winter. We both have diesel generators for back-up. I use around 60-100 lts of diesel p/a and the neighbours about 2-3 times that. I have biomass heating and the neighbours have oil. With obvious restrictions imposed by inverter capacity and renewable generation my household operates very similarly to a comparable grid-tied property, the neighbours with a smaller set-up less so but still comfortably. There are two other neighbours within half a mile who are grid-tied at the end of the line. Neither has wind or PV although at least one could easily accommodate both at least to the same level as myself, one has FF heating, the other Biomass. All properties use propane for cooking. Importantly all properties are in close proximity to potential micro (<10kWh) hydro sources (mostly seasonal).
It would not be difficult or prohibitively expensive to combine the four properties into one self-sustaining micro-grid with export potential. The addition of some hybrid renewable generation, small storage and backup would be enough to raise the four properties to self sufficient level. This would take two households off the grid and provide net export potential. Widen the catchment area to around 0.75 of a mile and a further 26 properties could be included either as a series of linked micro grids or collectively as appropriate. All of these are grid connected at the next furthest extension of the grid supply. Two have PV, two Biomass heating and there are also a couple GS and AS heat pumps in there somewhere otherwise they are all served by some combination of oil, LPG and propane. All have the potential for PV, most wind and a fair proportion hydro. Included are a couple of "hamlets"  where several properties are closely grouped together making greater opportunity for shared resources (CHP).
For each similar widening of the catchment area and roughly following the grid "upstream" the number of properties increases exponentially. It is five miles before you reach the nearest gas grid and FF usage decreases. By that point you are halfway to the nearest large town and have encompassed thousands of people - numerous small areas, self sustaining in energy (a very high perentage of which would be renewable) and potentially exporters to the wider population. This pattern of habitation, access to hybrid resources and remoteness from the central grid is repeated (in very general terms) many times either side of the Pennines which form the spine of the country. It will also be mirrored to some extent in other areas where there is a similar disconnection between uplands (or just simply rural areas) and the conurbations.
There is, of course, no incentive for any of us living in these areas to join such a venture, and therein will always be the problem - the perennial "what's in it for me". Personally,  you can have my surplus for way below market prices, but I'm obviously just a dreamer anyway.
Although there are probably many examples of micro grids the Isle of Eigg is worth a look. Big difference is that this was created from an already off-grid community who had everything to gain. There will also, no doubt, be some negatives lurking somewhere under all the published positive reporting.
Miro grids for the developing world is probably a subject on it's own but their adoption in the developed world should have a positive impact on the possibilities.
Apologies for the long winded answer but keeps me out of the weather.
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« Reply #72 on: December 22, 2016, 06:39:38 PM »

Mart,
I understand and agree with what you are saying but you have fallen into the usual trap of comparing chalk and cheese again. Renewables,FF,solar and wind etc cannot be compared with each other as their characteristics are very different.
I know you know this but why do you continue to make this meaningless comparison?  The whole is greater than any individual parts. Even if one part cost zero, so what, as its completely useless at 100% utilisation.

Ken

Further to that, why do renewables always have to be cost competetive or cheaper than FF's,  they're better so therefore why shouldn't they be more expensive?
Just the same as if I go out and buy a cheapo breaker it's pants, but I buy a Kango and it lasts forever.

Lets forget all this CFD and strike price BS and provide a quality service for what it costs.

Desp

Wow Desp. I was genuinely shocked at that attack by Ken, falsely claiming I was promoting a singular solution, but I'm even more surprised that you've had a go too?

IF the costs are BS, then how do we sell RE to the public? What if RE cost twice as much as nuclear, would the populace still support RE, or want bill reductions (prevent bill increases)?

My post, which I thought was a friendly waffle about energy generation costs, was to show that armed with the cost information we can sell RE to everyone, even the biggest doubters. My want/interest in newer auctions and CFD updates is simply to be able to drive the battle forward. The HPC CfD in particular supports on going subsidies for domestic PV as we can displace 1MWh of gas generation from the grid by paying households £66 (or £85 if we want the industry to flourish). But what use is that figure or argument in 'selling' a subsidy scheme to the public without being able to point out that it's comparable (even cheaper) than HPC at £102.

It may be a hard pill to swallow, but what we think on here is important to us, but almost meaningless on a national scale. The general populace need to won over and convinced, and I believe that we now have the tools to do that thanks to the cost comparisons of RE v's FF and nuclear.

What exactly did I say that appears to be so controversial, having read it through again, it seems entirely benign and optimistic? I may appear to be obsessed with the economics, but that's only because I see them as a weapon now to promote RE, whereas before the economics worked against RE, as folk couldn't see the bigger picture.



Mart Mart Mart, please please do not think I am having a go at you, that's the last thing on my mind. For what it's worth I agree with your view as much as Kens, I do differ though in the obsession with the economics, not so much yours you understand but rather this crazy market led system we have all become slaves to. It is just a scheme to syphon off as much profit as possible while giving us the poorest service they can get away with, and that grinds my gears.

That's my beef, not with you or your well thought out posts, sorry to cause you any angst.

Desp
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« Reply #73 on: December 22, 2016, 08:26:58 PM »


Mart Mart Mart, please please do not think I am having a go at you, that's the last thing on my mind. For what it's worth I agree with your view as much as Kens, I do differ though in the obsession with the economics, not so much yours you understand but rather this crazy market led system we have all become slaves to. It is just a scheme to syphon off as much profit as possible while giving us the poorest service they can get away with, and that grinds my gears.

That's my beef, not with you or your well thought out posts, sorry to cause you any angst.

Desp

No probs, and sorry for getting upset. Clearly something in my 'CfD' post got lost in translation.

The funny thing is, I'm very much of the view (too) that money shouldn't be the deciding factor here, and I'd hope that peoples goodwill towards RE would 'win the day'. However, folk (on average, as on here we are of a different mind set) aren't necessarily driven by the environment, and worry about their bills. But even that is an important point as worry over bills isn't irrational.

Were I come in, with my excitement over the economics, is that that seems to have been won too. So whilst I may give the impression all I care about is the money/economics it's actually my way of saying let's use the positive news to win over the financially scared. As it seems to me that the economics shifted massively by 2015, as reflected in the wind and PV contracts.

My wish for more CfD contracts is simply impatience, as my gut suggests that the numbers are now far better (in just 2 years) than many may have realised, and I'd like those new numbers, especially an off-shore figure closer to £100/MWh in order shut up the last of the 'RE is too expensive' trolls.

They started with on-shore wind, then moved to PV, then moved to off-shore wind, and are already setting their eyes on tidal (as the Dutch off-shore deals have clearly gotten them scared).

Lastly, and I apologise if this upsets anyone, but despite my constant criticism of the HPC deal, I'm still not 100% against nuclear. I think HPC should be scraped as the cost is insane, however, if other forms of nuclear powerplant can generate at a more reasonable price, then it may be acceptable as a low CO2 source of leccy that has predictable generation. I'd rather we managed without nuclear, and I'm close to being completely against it, but I won't lie and say I'm completely there today.

Anyway back to the good news, RE is popular, it's relatively cheap, and I suspect it's even cheaper now (in the UK) than we realise. So the future of RE is good, very good.
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« Reply #74 on: January 02, 2017, 02:00:25 PM »

Thanks for asking heatherhopper. Seems as if most of you already thought a lot over the infrastructure. Talking about capacities and storage with EVs, I really like your numbers and the idea to cover current petrol demand and the balancing of energy usage which they might cause at night. Taking into account your source with about 35% new EVs of global production in 2040 and automotive suppliers like continental calculating with about 10% of newly produced Vehicles are EVs and 15% Hybrids in 2025 (http://www.wiwo.de/unternehmen/auto/continental-chef-degenhart-wer-zu-frueh-dran-ist-der-verbrennt-milliarden/14980836.html), we will need an additional long time storage, if those expectations are roughly correct. Especially the example of RIT, with only low demand in the summer months where we probably reach the PV-Peaks might be a challenge. To your knowledge, are there any promising storage technologies or ideas that could cover such capacities for about half a year?

As the posted price comparison caused such a discussion; Even though polls show that the environmental awareness grows, most people still seem to buy the cheapest electricity they get. Would you expect the latter to change or is the only way to reach the people through prices that beat the fossil fuels, as Mart stated? How will our society influence the RE development in the future?

Returning to heatherhoppers micro-grids. What you are describing is mainly developing micro grids at the “edges” of our grid, isn’t it? Looking at our dense population in (Western) Europe and the ongoing urbanization, to which degree would that change our current supply situation, also taking into account the failing efforts in local governments that you mentioned? Assuming the small communities become net exporters this way and we can develop the necessary storage capacity, how would the main grid have to change/improve to cope with the new situation (and the other prosumers all over the cities) to avoid RITs concerns of developing redundant infrastructure and therewith exploding cost by also maintaining the current grid?
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