Reddy
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Confirmed: Too much electricity in Pacific NW

Fri May 27, 2011 11:41 am

You've probably already heard that the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) wanted to shut down the wind turbines this spring because of the excess water in the Columbia River. They also requested that the nuclear plant start it's planned outage earlier than anticipated. Here are some links:

http://www.sustainablebusinessoregon.co ... tdown.html
http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/may/ ... -bpa-plan/
http://ecotrope.opb.org/2011/05/bpa-shu ... for-hydro/
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/l ... er13m.html
http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2011/05/2 ... utage.html
http://energymanagement-systems.us/ener ... er-outage/

Well, yesterday, while bicycling in a pretty stiff (20 mph) wind, I confirmed that the wind turbines outside of town (Kennewick) were all shut down. I don't know about the ones in the Columbia Gorge (Wallula, The Dalles and Hood River, etc.), but I would expect that they are shut down as well. Perhaps others can confirm.

I thought it was rather ironic that all of this extra electricity coincides with the period that we usually have some of the highest gasoline prices in preparation for the Memorial Day holiday and the start of the summer driving season. Won't it be great when we have more electric vehicles to soak up all this extra juice? Maybe that will even lower the price of gasoline. Hah, that will be the day!

Reddy...... and waiting for my Leaf before the snow flies.......

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evnow
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Re: Confirmed: Too much electricity in Pacific NW

Fri May 27, 2011 11:45 am

Not just too much electricity - but too much clean electricity. Infact EVs charging at night would be perfect since that is when the wind energy is used the least.

We also need to build electricity storage using pumped water (basically pump the water up when we generate excess electricity).
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DaveL
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Re: Confirmed: Too much electricity in Pacific NW

Fri May 27, 2011 11:48 am

Reddy wrote: I don't know about the ones in the Columbia Gorge (Wallula, The Dalles and Hood River, etc.), but I would expect that they are shut down as well. Perhaps others can confirm.

Drove through Ellensburg on Wednesday, and even though there was the usual spring wind, all of the wind turbines were shut down.

Looks like we need another tie line to southern California to power all those Leafs down there! :lol:
Last edited by DaveL on Fri May 27, 2011 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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TonyWilliams
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Re: Confirmed: Too much electricity in Pacific NW

Fri May 27, 2011 11:49 am

evnow wrote:Not just too much electricity - but too much clean electricity. Infact EVs charging at night would be perfect since that is when the wind is most intense.
Wind is NOT most intense at night. The suns heating effect on the earth tends to make things move more.

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evnow
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Re: Confirmed: Too much electricity in Pacific NW

Fri May 27, 2011 12:01 pm

TonyWilliams wrote:Wind is NOT most intense at night. The suns heating effect on the earth tends to make things move more.
True. I should reword it - the wastage of wind energy at night is higher.
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Reddy
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Re: Confirmed: Too much electricity in Pacific NW

Fri May 27, 2011 12:12 pm

As a bicyclist, I can say emphatically that the surface winds tends to blow stronger about an hour after sunrise and decrease about an hour before sunset. Typically, we have more in the afternoon (except those very hot summer days when you just can't seem to get a break). That said, there are always weather fronts that blow through increasing or decreasing the wind. Also, there is a definite seasonality to wind, blowing strongest in the spring and fall. However, in the northern portion of the country, the cold north winds in winter definitely correspond to high energy useage.

I believe the "misconception" that wind blows stonger at night comes from some actual data on high altitude radio towers (say 1000 ft) in the midwest. However, lower level and surface winds definitely decrease at night. Typical wind turbines are typically at a couple hundred feet.

All these generalizations are great, but each site is different and then there is the inherent random nature of weather. I have read that in certain areas (e.g., California) where coastal mountains interact with the ocean, there are daily fluctuations as the air heats up and rises during the day, cools and sinks at night.

The point of my post was to point out that during this NW spring there is lots of hydro and wind (several GW of new wind capacity added in the last 5 yrs). To deal with this current excess we have four options: 1) consume more, 2) export, 3) shut down, or 4) storage. Adding electric cars during this "driving season" is only one option. Shutting down excess capacity is fairly normal in the industry, it's just a matter of choosing which ones. Personally, I say shutting down the pollution-producing generation makes the most sense. If this is planned, then these plants can do their maintenance, then restart in July when the wind and water tend to decrease.

Reddy
Reddy
2011 SL; 9 bar, 45.80 AHr; 45,000 mi; rcv'd Aug 18, 2011
Long: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.p ... al#p226115"
Cold: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.p ... 60#p243033"

Reddy
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Re: Confirmed: Too much electricity in Pacific NW

Fri May 27, 2011 12:32 pm

Hmmm, I just found this 7 day power history on the BPA website:
http://transmission.bpa.gov/Business/Op ... altwg.aspx
A couple of interesting points: 1) current hydro generation is more than 2x demand. I guess that means they are exporting a lot of power to California. 2) wind power production seems to goes up and down roughly correlating with the daily demand. Hmmm, this seems to support my observation that wind increases during the day. 3) thermal generation is essentially zerol. BPA has said that shutting down the wind turbines will be after decreasing coal and natural gas generation. They've only shut down the wind turbines for a couple of days so far. So everyone is having to work together. I guess that's a good sign. All of this and the 1.1 GW nuclear plant is off-line for a couple of months. It looks like the NW currently has nearly 100% carbon free power. I wonder if this will be a seasonal occurence.

Reddy
Reddy
2011 SL; 9 bar, 45.80 AHr; 45,000 mi; rcv'd Aug 18, 2011
Long: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.p ... al#p226115"
Cold: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.p ... 60#p243033"

blorg
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Re: Confirmed: Too much electricity in Pacific NW

Fri May 27, 2011 12:48 pm

My brother (who works for PSE) said that if the wind is blowing TOO hard, the wind turbines will shut themselves down and lock into place to avoid damage. They're designed to operate in a very narrow range of RPMs, and the blades will actually rotate with different wind conditions to keep them within that RPM range. If the wind becomes too strong, or fluctuates too much, they stop and lock into fixed position.

Not saying that's the reason right now, but it could be a potential reason why some areas would be turning and others wouldn't.

I bet CA is jealous of our extra energy. Why can't we somehow keep all our production up as high as possible and transfer that power to other areas where they could turn DOWN their coal plants? I'm obviously no expert. Probably technological reasons as well as political why that's not easily doable.
~ Blorg
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Lopton
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Re: Confirmed: Too much electricity in Pacific NW

Fri May 27, 2011 12:55 pm

Reddy wrote: wind power production seems to goes up and down roughly correlating with the daily demand. Hmmm, this seems to support my observation that wind increases during the day
I work in the industry as a dispatcher, and I will personally testify that trying to classify or guess the wind is impossible. If you take a yearly average of the wind it looks like an ok source of power, but ever single day is different. The easiest thing to remeber is this: When do we need the most power? When it is really, really hot. When it is really really hot is the wind blowing? Nope that is why it's really really hot.

Here is a chart from Alberta energy, (they post these weekly online: http://www.aeso.ca/gridoperations/14246.html )

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_ynOO15XuGnc/S ... 9Apr12.jpg

The only thing you can glean from this graph is that the wind is volatile, because the next week would be completely different from this. Some days it blows all day, some days to match the load, and some days exact opposite of the load.

-Matt
Original 2011 Leaf SV #857 - Total Loss on 11/27/2015
New 2016 Leaf SL #300864

Reddy
Posts: 1544
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:09 pm
Delivery Date: 18 Aug 2011
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Location: Pasco, WA

Re: Confirmed: Too much electricity in Pacific NW

Fri May 27, 2011 12:59 pm

Yes, the turbines do shutdown in very high winds (varies with model, but typically above 60 mph). Yes, they also feather the blades to keep RPMs and power as constant as they can. However, yesterday we had a "nice" breeze (probably about 25 -35 mph at the turbines) that would have produced maximum power (again varies with model, but they are typically rated at about 30 mph).

Yes, we are exporting power right now. Probably at least 6 GW based on the BPA website. Medium-term storage (weeks to months) is the biggest problem. In the NW, our peak demand is in the winter and peak production is spring. Other areas will be different (e.g., areas with lower heat demand or heat produced by gas/oil/coal). Many in NW heat with electricity. If only we could store for a few months through the summer and fall, then we could use it in the winter.

-Reddy
Reddy
2011 SL; 9 bar, 45.80 AHr; 45,000 mi; rcv'd Aug 18, 2011
Long: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.p ... al#p226115"
Cold: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.p ... 60#p243033"

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