GRA
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North America's largest coal power plant to become 44-MW solar farm

Wed Mar 16, 2016 4:56 pm

Via GCR: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/110 ... solar-farm
. . . Located on the shores of Lake Erie, the Ontario Power Generation Nanticoke Generating Station was once North America's largest coal-fired power plant. It was once capable of producing almost 4,000 megawatts at full capacity, but the aging plant has been shuttered since 2013. Now the site is to be re-purposed for a 44-MW solar farm, as part of a larger effort to replace coal with renewable sources, according to Cleantech Canada. . . .
Elsewhere in the article it's mentioned that this array is one of 16 Ontario PV projects which will have a combined capacity of 454.9 MW. What I'd like to know is, if they're replacing almost 4 GW of baseload capacity with (eventually) less than 500 MW of variable, intermittent capacity, what's taking up the slack? They shut down the coal plant in 2013, so they must be getting power from somewhere in the interim.
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Re: North America's largest coal power plant to become 44-MW solar farm

Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:43 pm

I'm surprised Canada is doing solar. I would think the panels would produce much better further south. Thus, allocating solar panel production that far north would be rather inefficient in terms of increasing worldwide renewable energy. I would think Canada should allocate its renewable energy funding to hydro or wind.

I guess feel good politics wins over rational resource allocation.
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Re: North America's largest coal power plant to become 44-MW solar farm

Wed Mar 16, 2016 10:30 pm

You must be kidding and/or naive. I believe that Germany leads the world in both installed capacity and installed capacity per capita, and it is at essentially the same latitude, or even more borreal* than Canada. If you angle panels appropriately, they can still receive full normal/near-perpendicular insolation. Yes, they'll cast a bigger shadow, which handicaps large horizontal layouts, but that's not a problem in Canada, where there is plenty of land. And if you don't have the land, vertical layouts might become attractive. Solar makes sense anywhere that there is cheap land or "space", and even better if region is relatively near population centers.

"Go Canada..."


* :) Germans, on some sort of weighted average, probably live well north of most of Canadians

DarthPuppy wrote:I'm surprised Canada is doing solar. I would think the panels would produce much better further south. Thus, allocating solar panel production that far north would be rather inefficient in terms of increasing worldwide renewable energy. I would think Canada should allocate its renewable energy funding to hydro or wind.

I guess feel good politics wins over rational resource allocation.
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Re: North America's largest coal power plant to become 44-MW solar farm

Thu Mar 17, 2016 9:58 am

I was going to say that location is about as far south as you can get in Canada, further south than we are in Green Bay, WI and we have solar :) They about the same latitude as Detroit. Yes the further south you go the faster the payback and more daily production, but solar works everywhere the sun shines. I remember a Youtube vid of a solar PV tracker setup in northern Alaska tracking the never setting sun in summer generating power 24x7, pretty neat.
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Re: North America's largest coal power plant to become 44-MW solar farm

Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:50 am

GRA wrote:What I'd like to know is, if they're replacing almost 4 GW of baseload capacity with (eventually) less than 500 MW of variable, intermittent capacity, what's taking up the slack?
It's a good question. the most likely answer is that there was spare capacity in the system that was lost. But I don't get the impression that North America is on the edge yet with spare electricity capacity. OTOH, it appears the UK will have serious problems if they don't manage to curtail some upcoming plant shutdowns:

Image

I also wonder how much PV has been installed on people's roofs in Canada in the recent past. They have had decent subsidies in place. Of course home PV does not provide electricity for the grid at night (not yet, at least).
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Re: North America's largest coal power plant to become 44-MW solar farm

Thu Mar 17, 2016 3:07 pm

GRA wrote:Via GCR: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/110 ... solar-farm
. . . Located on the shores of Lake Erie, the Ontario Power Generation Nanticoke Generating Station was once North America's largest coal-fired power plant. It was once capable of producing almost 4,000 megawatts at full capacity, but the aging plant has been shuttered since 2013. Now the site is to be re-purposed for a 44-MW solar farm, as part of a larger effort to replace coal with renewable sources, according to Cleantech Canada. . . .
Elsewhere in the article it's mentioned that this array is one of 16 Ontario PV projects which will have a combined capacity of 454.9 MW. What I'd like to know is, if they're replacing almost 4 GW of baseload capacity with (eventually) less than 500 MW of variable, intermittent capacity, what's taking up the slack? They shut down the coal plant in 2013, so they must be getting power from somewhere in the interim.
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GRA
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Re: North America's largest coal power plant to become 44-MW solar farm

Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:52 pm

mbender wrote:You must be kidding and/or naive. I believe that Germany leads the world in both installed capacity and installed capacity per capita, and it is at essentially the same latitude, or even more borreal* than Canada. If you angle panels appropriately, they can still receive full normal/near-perpendicular insolation. Yes, they'll cast a bigger shadow, which handicaps large horizontal layouts, but that's not a problem in Canada, where there is plenty of land. And if you don't have the land, vertical layouts might become attractive. Solar makes sense anywhere that there is cheap land or "space", and even better if region is relatively near population centers.

"Go Canada..."


* :) Germans, on some sort of weighted average, probably live well north of most of Canadians
I couldn't disagree more. That Germany may lead the world on a per capita basis just shows that the German government isn't using their money very effectively. They've got excellent wind potential, poor solar potential except in the south, and that's nothing to write home about. Unfortunately, I've been unable to find a map online that uses the same figures as the two maps below, but converting some of the numbers they're poor to marginal. For Germany, subsidizing solar instead of wind makes zero sense, especially when they're closing nukes and boosting coal-fired electricity to compensate. If anyone's interested, here's an interactive map of Canada's solar potential: http://tinyurl.com/jaf3zln

Except out on the southern part of the western plains (Alberta/Saskatchewan/Manitoba), I very much doubt it's viable without major subsidies, even with current PV prices. For comparison here's a U.S. map: http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/old_data/ns ... ook/atlas/

Set both up to show annual kWh/m^2/day averages, south facing fixed panels with latitude tilt. [Edit] Well, they both did - now the Canadian one refuses to show average annual kWh/m^2/day, and only annual kWh.

[Edit] Sorry about the duplicated links. I've fixed it. Urk! I see this was post #5000, after about 4.5 years. I'm clearly still spending way too much online time on my hobbies!
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Re: North America's largest coal power plant to become 44-MW solar farm

Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:55 pm

GRA wrote:For Germany, subsidizing solar instead of wind makes zero sense, especially when they're closing nukes and boosting coal-fired electricity to compensate.
Germany subsidizes both. While solar may be expensive in Germany, I'm not convinced that wind is cheaper. Certainly their off-shore wind is WAY more expensive than PV solar given that the maintenance costs are about 100X the installation costs. Maintenance costs for PV are nowhere near that level. That leaves terrestrial wind. Even ignoring the environmental impacts, I have to wonder if they really come out cheaper in the long run. I've read the claims that they are, but the maintenance costs are quite significant.

On top of all of that, putting a wind generator on every square kilometer in Germany will NEVER happen, so if Germany wants to be 80%+ renewable, they will need to develop their solar resources as well.
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Re: North America's largest coal power plant to become 44-MW solar farm

Fri Mar 18, 2016 4:43 pm

RegGuheert wrote:
GRA wrote:For Germany, subsidizing solar instead of wind makes zero sense, especially when they're closing nukes and boosting coal-fired electricity to compensate.
Germany subsidizes both. While solar may be expensive in Germany, I'm not convinced that wind is cheaper. Certainly their off-shore wind is WAY more expensive than PV solar given that the maintenance costs are about 100X the installation costs. Maintenance costs for PV are nowhere near that level. That leaves terrestrial wind. Even ignoring the environmental impacts, I have to wonder if they really come out cheaper in the long run. I've read the claims that they are, but the maintenance costs are quite significant.

On top of all of that, putting a wind generator on every square kilometer in Germany will NEVER happen, so if Germany wants to be 80%+ renewable, they will need to develop their solar resources as well.
They used to subsidize both, but fortunately PV subsidies have been cut back, at least for home owners (and should be for companies too, IMO). I agree that the installation and maintenance costs of offshore wind are higher than onshore, but the wind resource is better too. How it works out altogether, I don't have good current data for. AOTBE onshore is currently preferable, but as is the case here, suffers from Nimbyism to a much greater extent than offshore (provided the latter is out of sight from land).
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Re: North America's largest coal power plant to become 44-MW solar farm

Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:31 pm

mbender wrote:You must be kidding and/or naive.
No, rather you seem to be ill-informed about efficiency or poor on reading skills.

At no point did I say it couldn't be done or wouldn't be economically viable there. My point was clearly stated as one regarding global deployment efficiency. If we have the capacity to produce and deploy x number of solar panels in a year, it would be more efficient for global renewable energy deployment to put those where they will produce more power, subject to that production being close enough to power needs such as population centers. Thus, global efficiency would suggest solar be allocated elsewhere. That is not a difficult concept, nor a joke.

The impact of geographic location on solar panel output is well studied and documented.

And studies showing that during the summer with day-round sunlight they can produce well ignores the flip side of the year where they produce very little. Also stating that other northern locations make the same mistake does not mean that is a good plan.

I concur that Canada does many things well. And I fully support their desire to be good world citizens and be green in their power production. And I 'Go Canada' as I particularly like visiting there for a number of good reasons. I am in no way being anti-Canada.

My comment was about efficiency in their allocation, which consumes solar resources which could have gone to better locations.

Now, if I somehow misunderstood what I've read and solar panels work better farther north than they do south, then I stand corrected. If I am correct on that point, then I'm correct regarding the resource allocation efficiency aspect, at least until such time as we are no longer resource constrained regarding solar panels and we can cheaply deploy them everywhere we desire power. I hope we get there sooner than later. Production is growing and costs are dropping, but we have a long ways to go yet.

Another possible argument in favor of Canada doing solar vs. the other green options would be to provide information indicating that even that far north, solar is so much more efficient than other options and there is some political hostility or other barrier to installing those resources further south. That would be an appropriate response if that is the case.
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