tbleakne
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Re: Grid scale projects in California and net grid demand

Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:53 pm

More on offshore wind power for California.

JeremyW wrote:Stanford has an excellent paper on some details of off shore site potential in CA: https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/Offshore/DvorakRenewEn2010.pdf

They suggest a site off the Humboldt Coast which, in summer, essentially looks like a base load power plant. Awesome! They do fail to mention the upstream upgrades necessary after connecting into the Humboldt Bay PG&E system, however. The load and lines in the area cannot support 1500 MW of new generation.

Still, I hope something gets built there in my lifetime. :)

Yes, too bad this Stanford proposal never went anywhere. The wind potential looks very good and the area is one of the few off the California coast shallow enough to avoid floating turbines. The lack of transmission lines into the area you note must be a significant problem. There is a retired nuclear reactor there, so at least there was the possibility of using its substation.

Sunday's LA Times has nice report of plans to build massive wind turbines offshore and possibly onshore, with segmented blades.
http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-cutting-edge-windmills-20160313-story.html
The article does not mention the Humbolt area, but near the end it mentions a new proposal from Fall 2015 from Trident Winds for a project off Morro Bay using floating turbines.

http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_29086397/californias-first-ocean-wind-farm-works

From several web sites I collected some features and parameters for this proposal. This proposal is still in a state of flux, so all numbers don't match.
1.0 GW wind farm
100 turbines, floating.
34 Km offshore
600 ft high
wind resource 8.5m/sec vs Humbolt Bay 10m/sec
4000 hours per year operation vs 1500 hours per year solar.

10MW per turbine would be very large. Elsewhere a size of 6.5MW was mentioned. Still very large compared to typical 1.5 to 2 MW onshore turbines.
They propose connecting to the grid using the existing substation still in place in Morro Bay for a large natural gas generator that was retired in 2014. This generator was rated at 650 MW.

The farm would not be visible from the beach, but it would be visible from an elevation such as Hearst Castle.
They claim there would be less impact on birds offshore compared to onshore. Not sure they have data to support that.
They expect a long approval period, even 10 years. During that time other large offshore floating wind farms should be built, including one off Scotland.
The same developer had earlier proposed a wind farm off the Oregon coast, but the project cost of $.24/kWh was rejected as too high.

Not quite sure why the array could not be placed farther from land to minimize visible impact of a pretty area. Perhaps 24 km is near the limit of how far AC can be transmitted through the ocean, given the high capacity of sea water. Converting to DC would cost more.
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GRA
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Re: Grid scale projects in California and net grid demand

Wed Mar 16, 2016 5:42 pm

Meanwhile, here's a report on the state's decreasing use of coal:
Actual and Expected Energy from Coal - Overview
(I'm having SQL trouble with the link even though it's the CEC website, so you'll need to google it yourself).

I saw some news talking heads claiming that Oregon was the first state to outlaw coal, but California did essentially the same thing a decade ago, by limiting CO2 emissions and prohibiting new coal power contracts or extensions of old ones. I wasn't aware that LADWP was selling their share of Navajo to SRP, but googling,
LADWP board approves sale of coal-fired plant stake to SRP
http://www.publicpower.org/media/daily/ ... mber=43928

I see that their arrangement with SRP says the supply will end when the sale closes as of July 1st this year, about 3.5 years before LADWP's contract expires. Yay! for us, although it's not as if the plant's going to be shut down.
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tbleakne
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Re: Grid scale projects in California and net grid demand

Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:11 pm

GRA, thanks for your post on a vote in 2015 by Los Angeles DWP to disconnect from coal-generated power imported from Arizona's Navajo plant by mid 2016.

I have also seen reports that a small amount of coal-generated power might still be coming into southern California from southern Nevada, into the Tahoe area from western Nevada, and into northern California from Oregon. The total was a few percent of total California consumption. However, my understanding is that these numbers are declining fairly quickly. Here is a link to a California summary that was updated Dec 2015, but appears to have been generated a year earlier. It says at that point 7% of total was still imported coal power. The Navajo plant shutdown is on this chart, suggesting they are keeping to the schedule.

http://www.energy.ca.gov/renewables/tracking_progress/documents/current_expected_energy_from_coal.pdf
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GRA
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Re: Grid scale projects in California and net grid demand

Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:49 pm

tbleakne wrote:GRA, thanks for your post on a vote in 2015 by Los Angeles DWP to disconnect from coal-generated power imported from Arizona's Navajo plant by mid 2016.

I have also seen reports that a small amount of coal-generated power might still be coming into southern California from southern Nevada, into the Tahoe area from western Nevada, and into northern California from Oregon. The total was a few percent of total California consumption. However, my understanding is that these numbers are declining fairly quickly. Here is a link to a California summary that was updated Dec 2015, but appears to have been generated a year earlier. It says at that point 7% of total was still imported coal power. The Navajo plant shutdown is on this chart, suggesting they are keeping to the schedule.

http://www.energy.ca.gov/renewables/tracking_progress/documents/current_expected_energy_from_coal.pdf

That's the same report I linked to ;)
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

tbleakne
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Re: Grid scale projects in California and net grid demand

Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:15 pm

Two recent reports from NYTimes, first one on lack of progress on building 5 HVDC transmissions to carry wind power from Midwest to population centers in both East, West:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/24/business/energy-environment/fight-to-keep-alternative-energy-local-stymies-an-industry.html

A 3-to-2 vote by the PUC in MO has stalled one project, Green Belt Express. This is poor; I did not realize the extent of public resistance to such transmission lines. Being DC, there is no radiation. There is no movement or sound like wind mills, only a faint buzz from HV discharge. I assume the lines would have a dedicated corridor so no one would live or work right under a transmission line.

The family whose objections are highlighted talks about the east getting its wind locally, but the wind resource in the midwest is much stronger and steadier than other regions of the country. The Southeast has especially low wind resource. On page 2 of this thread I posted a NREL color map showing these differences.

The second NYTimes report is about the very slow progress of advanced nuclear:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/22/science/nuclear-energy-power-plants-advanced-reactors.html?_r=0

Advanced nuclear reactors is a big subject with many options and tradeoffs. Different designs with different coolants and moderators offer different neutron energy spectra, from thermal spectrum, like conventional pressurized water reactors, to fast spectrum reactors. The faster spectra options can burn spent nuclear fuel from conventional reactors, or breed fissionable fuel from Thorium or U238. These designs generate much less nuclear waste and they should be much safer because they are unpressurized.

Unfortunately the Nuclear Regulatory Commission seems ill-equipped and underfunded to evaluate these designs, with mountains of paperwork. In the last decade, very little public money and only token amounts of private money have been spent on advanced nuclear. Bill Gates has said it is "insane" how little money is being invested in advanced nuclear.

One really big question is whether these advanced designs can be built and deliver power at much lower costs than conventional reactors with typical huge construction over-runs, high operating costs, and frequent down time. Really significant development and prototype operation is required.

The story reports that a team including Southern Company and Terrapower has received $40M of public money to work on their Molten Chloride salt Fast Reactor (MCFR). This is a big switch for Terrapower, which has been funded principally by Gates. Their previous traveling wave concept was liquid sodium cooled. They say they have not abandoned the traveling wave, but liquid sodium can become unstable, so I am glad to see them embracing liquid salt.

A good technical overview of the the MCFR:

http://energyfromthorium.com/2016/01/16/doe-terrapower/
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tbleakne
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Re: Grid scale projects in California and net grid demand

Fri Aug 12, 2016 2:27 pm

As described in earlier posts on this thread, the US has had ZERO offshore wind power. This is about to change.
Construction of a new offshore wind farm near Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island, is scheduled to be completed this Fall 2016.

The community living on this island has had no grid connection to the mainland, and therefore it has been dependent on expensive diesel power. This makes it a good candidate to be the first to get offshore wind, which is more expensive than onshore wind. A side benefit of the project is that it will pay for a undersea connection from the island to the mainland grid, to allow two-way exchange of power.

Image

Size: 5 turbines, each 6 MW, 30 MW total

These are very large, 1.5 to 2.5MW turbine size is much more common. Efficiency and production increases with turbine size. Large turbines are difficult to transport and install onshore, but offshore can go larger, with delivery and installation by barge and special ships.

Cost: $ 250M
This is high, $8 per peak watt, vs utility scale solar at near $1 per watt. However, wind measurements at this location predict a utilization factor of %49, which is very impressive. Compare solar, which typically delivers about 1500 kWh per kW per year, which is a utilization of 17%. As they gain more experience with the technology (see below), to cost should drop.

Advanced Technology

Conventional wind turbines use large mechanical gear boxes to convert the relative slow rotation up to speeds compatible with multi-pole 60 Hz generation. These gear boxes are expensive, heavy, inefficient, and they require considerable maintenance. Larger turbines turn slower, so they require even larger gear boxes.

This project is using Direct Drive, which is leading state of the art, eliminates the gear box and its problems. The rotors are permanent magnet, which use scarce Rare Earths elements and the high permanent magnetic fields make assembly quite tricky. Despite the higher initial cost, Direct Drive now has 27% of the offshore market because it offers lower maintenance costs.
Much of the technology, support, and installation labor on this project is coming from Europe. The turbines are being supplied by GE Alstom, which is a large wind power supplier, based in France, that GE purchased last year.

Image

Superconducting Direct Drive, which will solve these problems and offer even higher efficiency, is under advanced development. MgB2 is a promising superconductor compound for this application:

http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0953-2048/29/2/024005/meta;jsessionid=2B8FABE9D09185C74612BFD745A453EA.c4.iopscience.cld.iop.org
Last edited by tbleakne on Mon Aug 15, 2016 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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tbleakne
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Re: Grid scale projects in California and net grid demand

Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:44 am

Great piece in LA Times on how Wyoming wants to tax wind power coming to California:

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-sej-wyoming-wind-tax-snap-story.html

I posted about this long-planned project some months ago on pg 2 of this thread, beneath the NREL map of national wind potential,
http://www.transwestexpress.net/
but the new story has much more juicy political detail.

It is amazing that wind power can be sent 700+ miles from WY to CA for 1$/watt using HVDC. This makes it more than 2 times as expensive in $/watt than local grid-scale solar, but its capacity factor is much larger, several times as many hours per year. WY wind is more consistent than CA wind onshore wind, and even with the additional transmission charge, it is cheaper than offshore wind, especially floating offshore wind.

So both the engineering and economics of this project makes sense, but the politics are unfortunate. It would be best for WY folks to consume their own wind power locally, but they can burn coal cheaper than wind, so they only want to export the wind. They also don't like that wind power generates only a small fraction of as many jobs per kWh as coal. They are putting up none of the money; it is coming from:

"Anschutz Corp., which long has been involved in fossil fuels and owns Staples Center in Los Angeles. It is led by Philip Anschutz, a major donor to Republican candidates and conservative causes."

Right now the WY tax is 1$ per MWh, only .1 cent per kWh, so it does not bring in much revenue. The WY legislators would like more since their coal revenue is declining.
"“Just about every legislator we’ve met with asks us, ‘You tell us how much we can tax you before we put you out of business,’” said Bill Miller, chief executive of the Power Co. of Wyoming, which is planning the wind farm."
Unfortunately Miller made a public statement that they did not need the federal wind tax credit for this project to be competitive, so the WY legislators are saying they want to collect all of the federal credit for themselves.

On the pro side, the project would spend a total of 8 B$, not all in WY. The NREL map shows plenty of great wind power in nearby states, which offer incentives rather than taxes, so Miller is holding firm on rejecting the tax. No new wind farms have been built in WY since the tax was imposed in 2012.
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