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 Post subject: Trouble at t'grid
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 12:55 am 
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The importance of yesterday's story on renewable energy in the The Guardian can hardly be over-estimated. For many month now, we have been banging on about the government’s obsession with wind farms and its neglect of conventional power generation but, if this story is to be taken at face value, Brown has now taken a major step in ditching his whole wind policy.

View full article here

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 Post subject: Re: Trouble at t'grid
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 2:46 am 
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I know where to harness enough "wind" to power western civilization.

Simply place wind turbines for miles on end directly outside the main entrance of the Berlaymont building and then open its front door...

Mind you, Fridays will be problematic as the MEP's all skedaddle by 7:00 AM-after claiming their Friday stipends of course.

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 Post subject: Re: Trouble at t'grid
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:32 am 
One of the major causes for the relative decline of this country - and the Western world as a whole - is the lack of engineers, scientists, doctors, military men etc - people who've done real work in the real world - in positions of real power in this country. This goes back generations, but has really intensified over the past 30 years. The're all political class now. Hence all the bad decisions.


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 Post subject: Re: Trouble at t'grid
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 10:14 am 
When I worked on an energy trading floor inputting to the Grid, one of the traders characterised the Grid quite well. Keeping a steady electricity supply was like blowing into a balloon which had myriads of small leaks, and trying to keep it half full.

For this to be successful what you need is RELIABLE power. Some is base power - large amounts of cheap power which keeps coming, for which nuclear or coal is ideal, and some is top-up rapidly switchable power to call on for peaks and troughs. Hydro or gas turbine is ideal for this. Raw wind power is effectively useless.

A small amount of wind power may be accepted into the Grid. Its variability will then present the Grid operators with the same problem as variable demand. So long as this is small; say, 5% or less of total load, it can be acceptable to degrade your Grid in this way. But you can't accept more!

From an engineering viewpoint, what you can do is use wind to pump water up a hill and then use the water as Hydro - that is 'pumped storage'. This sorts the problem, but is costly, and only possible where the geography permits. You can't actually transport electricity very far on a Grid - heating losses make it inefficient to move it more than 100 miles or so in the UK system, though the world record (with specialist cable/pylons) is about 1000 miles.


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 Post subject: Re: Trouble at t'grid
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:10 am 

Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2005 11:11 am
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Hmm converting electricity to hydrogen may be inefficient in itself, but gas transport is a known technology and must at some distance must take over from long-range pylons.

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 Post subject: Re: Trouble at t'grid
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:12 am 
About the only way to use wind power effectively would be to use the DC power it generates to electrolyse water to make hydrogen, then store this in a storage system sufficiently capacious that enough hydrogen can be stored to keep a fuel cell or gas turbine system running at steady load for, say, 24 hour straight.

This solves the unpredictability of wind power nicely, and also lets you include in tidal power, photo-electric and similar renewables in the system simply by including the all-important storage phase between unpredictable renewable and power station.

The same system could also be used as an admixture into natural gas supplies or as a way of feeding industrial operations; the point is, this trick mostly solves the unpredictability of wind turbines.

The downside is it makes the whole system a lot less efficient and adds to the cost of the enterprise.


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 Post subject: Re: Trouble at t'grid
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:37 am 
Dodgy Geezer is correct. It is much cheaper to haul coal 100 miles by rail to a power station local to its consumers than to generate and then distribute the electricity 100 miles over the national grid. The power loss is tremendous. (It would appear that my 3.5 years of night school, whilst working with the NCB, taught me some useful facts).

The Carbon Footprint scandal should not be quietly forgotten. CO2 is essential for life. The instigators of this Big Lie have to be tried and if (when) found guilty, punished where they sinned. They have obtained vast sums of our money under false pretenses. What should their punishments be?


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 Post subject: Re: Trouble at t'grid
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 12:34 pm 
Dan,

There is a remote possibility that technical developments in the USA could have a huge effect of the use of electricity. Boat owners have benefited from new products that enable them to have all the comforts of home whilst afloat and they could be used in a house.

http://www.proboat-digital.com/proboat/20080405/ page 74
http://www.proboat-digital.com/proboat/20080607/ page 56

There have been gradual improvements in battery technology, but many inherent disadvantages remain. This is where supercapacitors come in. There is very little information at present, but EEStor could be the way forward.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EEStor
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercapacitor

These are still very early days, but if it were possible to conveniently and non-chemically store electricity at night for use as power during the day and at acceptable cost, who wouldn't be interested? We shall have to wait for a few more months, but that gives time to examine all the claims and establish what pitfalls there may be. It's just one more thing to consider, when planning how to keep the homes fires burning.

Latest news 18th July 2008. http://bariumtitanate.blogspot.com/2008 ... ivity.html


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 Post subject: Re: Trouble at t'grid
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 12:48 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2006 9:17 pm
Posts: 1384
Perry wrote:
The instigators of this Big Lie have to be tried and if (when) found guilty, punished where they sinned. They have obtained vast sums of our money under false pretenses. What should their punishments be?


Set them to work giant treadmills turning generators which are connected to the grid. When demand peaks in the winter, don't spare the lash.


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 Post subject: Re: Trouble at t'grid
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 2:44 pm 
"About the only way to use wind power effectively would be to use the DC power it generates to electrolyse water to make hydrogen....The downside is it makes the whole system a lot less efficient and adds to the cost of the enterprise."

Yes, I left out the more esoteric ways of storing power which might be usable. The fun bit with them, as well as the efficiency and cost, is that they are all highly technical, which, as we know, is EVIL (tm).

Batteries use sophisticated CHEMICALS, while a hydrogen generation, storage and generation unit would be indistinguishable from a refinery, gasworks and power station combined. Lots of work for engineers, of course, but if wind power were to be a major input into the UK generation mix we would effectively need to industrialise vast swathes of the countryside for the storage process. I would be interested to see the environmentalist's attitude to this.......


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 Post subject: Re: Trouble at t'grid
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 3:27 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2005 8:47 pm
Posts: 4434
Shock horror, there just maybe some adults left around in our governmental system, who realise just how stupid this renewable madness is...let's hope they prevail.

How typical that the EU should be working on an energy Directive, created by an MEP from that global industrial powerhouse Luxembourg, a country that is famous for nothing, that has created nothing and if it dissapeared no-one would ever notice....least of all the inbreds who once lived there.


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 Post subject: Re: Trouble at t'grid
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:47 pm 
I wonder if Luxembourg actually has any power plants within its borders, or if it just imports all its electricity from its neighbours.


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 Post subject: Re: Trouble at t'grid
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:29 pm 
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Harry wrote:
I wonder if Luxembourg actually has any power plants within its borders, or if it just imports all its electricity from its neighbours.


http://ec.europa.eu/energy/energy_polic ... _lu_en.pdf

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 Post subject: Re: Trouble at t'grid
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 9:40 am 
Just a month or so ago, Denmark had a problem with its 20% of consumption wind gen. The wind was blowing a LOT and they were generating ~40% or more. They had to beg/borrow/steal load from the Germans/Danes/French to sop it up.

Storage of this excess energy is possible. High-temperature superconductor storage coils are out there, but it's strange esoteric technology (though not farfetched). More useful, considering that global surface temperatures flattened off in 1998 and have been trending down since (so much for Global Warming), might be to store excess wind energy as low-level heat.

Reykjavik Iceland is mostly heated by leftover heat energy from their geothermal powerplants. (Including the streets, BTW) Small wind plants in the US and elsewhere dump excess energy into thermal storage and use it later for space heating.

Can we get the engineers to start managing these issues instead of the bureaucrats? The smart thing is to use nukes (small simple modern nukes) to march along carrying base load (with the ability to idle when necessary) and harvest renewables as possible, wind, tide, (solar when the efficiency gets high enough, which it isn't now). All of it harvested as close to the load as possible? Preferably on your roof while you sleep.

Can we please just get the politicians out of this and just go build it?


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 Post subject: Re: Trouble at t'grid
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 10:28 am 
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Niccolo wrote:
Can we get the engineers to start managing these issues instead of the bureaucrats? The smart thing is to use nukes (small simple modern nukes) to march along carrying base load (with the ability to idle when necessary) and harvest renewables as possible, wind, tide, (solar when the efficiency gets high enough, which it isn't now). All of it harvested as close to the load as possible? Preferably on your roof while you sleep.

Can we please just get the politicians out of this and just go build it?


Read my lips ... wind power is an expensive irrelevance, sustainable only through the massive subsidies paid. And I can think of a better (one off) use for nukes ...

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