Craig Brooking & Michael Bowden guest post. Firming RE power with batteries

Firming the New England Renewable Energy Zone with Batteries

As intermittent generators continue to penetrate the electricity system, firming capacity is required to stabilize the system to compensate for sudden reductions in intermittent, weather dependent electrical energy.

The NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap (the Roadmap) is promoting the establishment of 3 Renewable Energy Zones (REZ) in regional NSW. The New England REZ is planned to have the largest capacity of 8GW. The REZ will need firming.

Conclusion of the analysis of the comparative cost of RE and coal power

The capital cost to build and firm wind generation in the New England REZ with batteries is nearly $132 billion.

Four High Efficiency Low Emission (HELE) coal stations will cost $11 billion.

With HELE coal power there is no requirement for FCAS and a correctly maintained plant can be expected to operate with a minimum of 95% operational availability.

The technical life of a HELE USC coal fired power station is 50 years, while the technical life of a wind farm is about 25 years.

The technical life of a large battery is about 15 years, based on the warranty period for the SA Hornsdale battery.

Hence the life cycle capital cost of wind farms firmed with batteries is significantly amplified by their constrained technical lives.

For the New England REZ to match the power and energy output of 4 1000 MW HELE USC coal-fired power stations with an operating life of 50 years, the capital cost would be in excess of $263 billion ($131.64*2) compared with $11 billion for coal.

THE CALCULATIONS

Firming the New England REZ With Batteries

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38 Responses to Craig Brooking & Michael Bowden guest post. Firming RE power with batteries

  1. Professor Fred Lenin says:

    Eveready gang at work ? Or Musk bought puppets ,

  2. Rockdoctor says:

    Better yet, put them in the Liverpool Valley near the Kamilori Hwy. The place is chock a block full of Lock the Gate types despite having under 2% of the total area at threat of mining. I have utmost respect for farmers but have palm on forehead moments when they think that the Greens won’t have them next on the list. Hello Koala Legislation…

  3. Chris M says:

    Great effort folks. Unfortunately you are dealing with people that don’t do numbers and costs, it’s about the feeelz. Besides no cost is too great to save the planet right.

  4. Rob says:

    Nuclear power = inevitable.
    The blackouts and high cost of electricity – with a minefield of collateral damage – will make nuclear power inevitable.
    If we have any cash left when the awakening occurs, it will be a miracle.

  5. Siltstone says:

    Yes Rockdoctor, big estate owners with minimal remnant native vegetation proclaiming their love for the environment. Go hard farming I say , but don’t be a hypocrite. They are next on the agenda and they don’t even know it.

  6. RobK says:

    WA case examples:
    https://www.linkedin.com/posts/julius-susanto_today-at-around-1pm-this-large-cloud-band-activity-6777516776726106112-yDxf

    Julius Susanto
    Principal Engineer at AEMO
    3d

    Today at around 1pm, this large cloud band rolled over a big chunk of the SWIS leading to a reduction of roughly 300 MW of rooftop PV output in less than 30 minutes. The speed and scale of the PV output reduction (which was ~15% of total SWIS demand at the time) caused system frequency to fall to 49.5 Hz, something we would normally only see when a large generator trips!

  7. Nob says:

    Where are the windfarms that have been operating properly for 25 years?

  8. wal1957 says:

    I’m gunna corner the market on the AA rechargables!

  9. incoherent rambler says:

    but but the expensive solution must be the best (like our subs).

  10. Lloyd says:

    The way things are going, we’ll have to find out how unreliable RE tech is the hard way – through lived experience.
    That’s bad enough but to do so in the face of the threat from China is just insanity.

  11. The way things are going, we’ll have to find out how unreliable RE tech is the hard way – through lived experience.

    Likewise the elites will have to find out that global warming is a myth the hard way also, by things like the recent freezing in Texas.

    It’s a political trojan horse without basis in real world data (except manipulated data sets like GISTEMP and the IPCC ensemble models).

  12. Herodotus says:

    We are governed by hollow men.
    And private enterprise isn’t sensible either. Tim Blair reports that it took just one tweet from a now non-functional identity to make Woolworths rename their “Boomerang Chicken Wings”.

  13. Herodotus says:

    China now stands as solid evidence that the west is completely foolish, and doomed.

  14. Bruce says:

    All the chatter is about “batteries”,

    Two challenges:

    1. WHO or WHAT charges up these “batteries”, Wind, solar, COAL, NUKES?

    2. NOBODY talks about the synchronous inverters required to turn the DC from the “batteries” into THREE-PHASE AC for transmission / integration into the “grid”. I suspect that this is because the talking heads actually know NOTHING about electricity, or physics in general. Their job is to be political influencers.

    The cretinization of the public discourse grows apace.

    Likewise, I just witnessed “Doctor Karl” on the idiot box, doing his bit for the politics by spruiking on Carbon Dioxide and “climate change”. To describe it as “pop-science” would be to hugely over-sell it.

    There seems to be an increasing “urgency” / “panic” in the calls for “something to be done”. Who set the timetable? Or is it just that the the “instant gratification” promised decades go in this political game has been constantly postponed and the rent-seekers are starting to see the Grim Reaper heave into sight before the “payoff”?

  15. duncanm says:

    Bruce – the AC issue can be fixed with various technologies using DC input, probably at a more granular level. They may not be there ‘quite yet’, but its an engineering problem. It doesn’t need technology discovery.

  16. Roger W says:

    Yes, but in 50 years, $263 billion will probably be the cost of a loaf of bread…

  17. Major Elvis Newton says:

    Can we please have an acronym dictionary for all these BS descriptors, QANGO’s and NGO’s that dominate this FUBAR RE industry.

    I can’t keep up anymore.

  18. For this we can thank Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison who all knew this was happening and did nothing.

    Slightly unfair of you.

    Build new power plant or we will: Morrison (15 Sep)

    Before you complain about the party of free-markets forcing the building of power plants by government edict first realise this whole stupid situation is because of governments meddling with free markets to force renewable energy on us. When Gillard’s carbon tax kicked in wholesale prices doubled overnight. I know because I was keeping an eye on the AEMO prices at the time.

    All that it would take is to require RE operators to supply on a contractual basis and suddenly people would be building HELEs. The Texas situation shows what happens when energy operators are forced to the spot market to supply contracted electricity: it really sucks to have to buy at $14,000/MWh and sell it to the consumer at 30c/kWh.

  19. RobK says:

    Thanks for the calculations. No surprises.
    The assumption that the recharge is the same as the maximum discharge, whilst convenient, is of course not likely to happen in a 100% RE scenario. It would also mean heavy gold plating of the transmission infrastructure is required at massive cost for intermittent utility (this is the signature of RE).
    The energy capacity of such storage needs derating because the batteries are also relied on for FCAS. This means some portion must remain floating, meaning; you can’t fully charge or discharge them. The extent is dependent on the level of safety required. This varies according to the conditions. Naturally the conditions for stability are worst when storage is either approaching full or empty. This is a major dilemma compounded by the chaotic nature of weather, amplified by increasing critical demand in adverse conditions . It’s a formula for disaster.
    Storage is required to buffer all time scales from seconds to years in a weather dependent energy system. There is an analogy to water storage, flooding and drought, along with the costs incurred.
    Worst of all, it doesn’t need to come to this but here we are.

  20. RobK says:

    To illustrate my point; a little while ago the network manager in SA took control of the big batteries when things tended to instability and ran the batteries at half charge so they could both absorb or emit energy as required. Effectively a 50% derating of storage capacity.

  21. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare says:

    Can someone please ask ScoMo and Gladys for their comment on these costs? Isn’t there a journalist somewhere who can do what one young man did to Bill Shorten?

  22. egg_ says:

    We are governed by hollow men.
    And private enterprise isn’t sensible either.

    Yup – the Kneel tard can bang on all day about “nuts and bolts” like FCAS and “gold plating” – the iron fist of the ruling class ARE ALREADY using demand management in industry (dusted off from the Greiner era in NSW) and will simply extend to consumers.

  23. egg_ says:

    Re RE and FCAS: IIRC wind farms are NOT synced to the Grid and run in “Island Mode” operation.

  24. RobK says:

    Egg,
    Wind turbines can be be setup in a number of different ways but they all synchronise with the grid at some point, usually through high power inverters.

  25. egg_ says:

    they all synchronise with the grid at some point

    Perhaps for “no break” load change-over hot syncing only?

    It was claimed by Their ABC that during the SA Blackout, that was the case.

  26. RobK says:

    The SA blackout was a major frequency “excursion “ where the wind plants”dropped off”at a predetermined set point after multiple excursions. This was later changed so there would be greater “ride-through “during (multiple) excursions. (It’s not just the frequency shift but also how quickly and how repeatedly it shifts).

  27. egg_ says:

    The preliminary report from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) identified that problems started 90 seconds before the eventual failure. The first line to trip was a 66 kV line near Adelaide, and it was automatically reset. The first major fault was 47 seconds later when two phases of the 275 kV line between Brinkworth and Templers grounded. The Davenport–Belalie line tripped with one phase to ground, was automatically reset, but tripped again nine seconds later, so was isolated for manual inspection, with the fault estimated to be 42 km (26 mi) from Davenport. One second later (7 seconds before the state went dark), the Hallett Wind Farm reduced output by 123 MW. Four seconds later, a third 275 kV transmission line showed a fault, the Davenport–Mount Lock is on the other side of the same towers as Davenport–Belalie, and the fault was estimated to be 1 km (0.6 mi) further on. The damaged power lines caused 5–6 voltage glitches which stressed the ride-through capability of most of the wind farm capacity, causing nine of them to shut down:[10] Finally, all within one second, the Hornsdale Wind Farm reduced output by 86 MW, Snowtown Wind Farm reduced output by 106 MW, the Heywood interconnector flow increased to over 850 MW and both of its circuits tripped out due to the overload. Supply was then lost to the entire South Australian region of the National Electricity Market, as the Torrens Island Power Station, Ladbroke Grove Power Station, Murraylink interconnector and all remaining wind farms tripped.[11]

    AEMO identified software settings in the wind farms that prevented repeated restarts once voltage or frequency events occurred too often. The group of wind turbines that could accept 9 ride-throughs in 120 seconds stayed on line through much of the event before the system went black. The rather larger group of turbines that could not accept this many repeated ride-throughs dropped out, instigating the overload and shutdown of the interconnector, and hence the electricity supply. AEMO has suggested better fault ride-through capability for the wind farms. The high wind speed caused 20 MW of wind power to disconnect to prevent overspeed.[10]

    In electrical power engineering, fault ride through (FRT), sometimes under-voltage ride through (UVRT), or low voltage ride through (LVRT),[1] is the capability of electric generators to stay connected in short periods of lower electric network voltage (cf. voltage dip). It is needed at distribution level (wind parks, PV systems, distributed cogeneration, etc.) to prevent a short circuit at HV or EHV level from causing a widespread loss of generation. Similar requirements for critical loads such as computer systems[2] and industrial processes are often handled through the use of an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) or capacitor bank to supply make-up power during these events.

  28. Rafe Champion says:

    At the bottom it comes down to the four icebergs – wind droughts, the need to meet all the demand all the time, no nuclear power and no neighbours with a rich diversity of power sources including nuclear.

    All of the rest is very expensive bandaging to control the bleeding from the self-inflicted wound until we lose a bit more coal power and the game is up.

    Get a home generator or move to Tasmania before it is too late.

  29. RobK says:

    Rafe,
    Get a home generator or move to Tasmania before it is too late.
    I understand your sentiment but as an energy policy it’s the worst possible outcome. It’s not far removed from no energy distribution at all. That’s some wild energy policy. It is the way things are headed presently.

  30. Roger says:

    Yes Rockdoctor, big estate owners with minimal remnant native vegetation proclaiming their love for the environment. Go hard farming I say , but don’t be a hypocrite. They are next on the agenda and they don’t even know it.

    Yep.

    Ideally, the Greens would like to see their farms “re-natured”.

    They might be allowed to stay on as caretakers.

  31. Jannie says:

    The capital cost to build and firm wind generation in the New England REZ with batteries is nearly $132 billion.

    Borrowing mountains of money never bothered the Labor or Greens, and it doesn’t seem to bother the Liberals either.

  32. Rafe Champion says:

    Kim if its not HELE or nuclear, what do you personally think is going to keep the lights on and the electric trains running when we close some more coal stations?

  33. Rex Anger says:

    Kim if its not HELE or nuclear, what do you personally think is going to keep the lights on and the electric trains running when we close some more coal stations?

    Unicorn farts and good wishes.

    And in EllenG-In-A-Mask’s case, bitten ankles.

  34. Bruce says:

    Duncann:

    I have been playing with solar based power systems for a while. Some enterprising yachties were getting them fitted to their boats where I worked in the mid-late 1970’s. All “DC” systems, though. Salt air played merry Hell with them once you took the boat seriously out onto the big blue wet thing. I suspect there has been some progress in the last four decades.

    i am also somewhat familiar with single and three-phase inverters, having worked on “camping-sized ones up to some serious rural rigs. When the poles and wires types want a hundred and sixty Grand to bring power to your property and then bill you for the juice, a seventy-five thousand dollar solar rig starts to make sense.

    Let’s face it, the basic single-phase inverter is more-or-less a power amplifier taking a 50Hz input signal and giving it voltage and current amplification. As a side note, a couple of the more interesting US manufacturers of serious audio power amplifiers were using a certain brand of Oz-built power amplifier to turn US 110V, 60 Hz mains power into 240V 50 Hz grunt to test-run equipment bound for export to Oz, NZ UK and similar.

    The advent of heavy-current switch-mode power supplies made a lot of that all go away a couple of decades ago.

    Your average house is wired with a single phase of AC from which the householders can usually pull over thirty Amps continuously in peaks. That is a few Kilowatts. Now multiply that by the number of domestic premises on the grid, add in the industrial / commercial users, and the numbers become a bit eye -watering. And that demand can rise and fall quite rapidly during each 24 hour day. REAL power stations have (or, at least, used to have) significant redundancy. They have to be able to take a “generator’ (actually a very fancy alternator) off-line for maintenance or repair at short notice and NOT have the whole system fall over.

    So, in the unfortunate eventuality we get lumbered with all this proposed “clean” technology, how much “redundancy’ is to be built into the system? From whence do they expect to draw the charging current for this toxic monstrosity?

    Feed into the grid from your toy domestic system? Unless you have a ripper of a rig, you ain’t going anywhere. Go and find out the relative impedances of a domestic inverter and the wires hanging from the poles outside. Also, the actual electricity folks do not take kindly to voltage and frequency shifts and less than perfect sine-waves on their cables, either.

    I am still fielding several cold calls per week from Indian call centres, about a government rebate on this caper. That would not be happening if these folks were not being paid to pester me and, no doubt, thousands of others daily. Who is rattling the chain.

    There is a LOT of “social engineering” driving this caper. Force people to “reduce their footprint” on a promise of a golden age? That old trick? Yep! Electric cars? Same old, same old. Driving Australia back to the age of kerosene lanterns and candles may seem romantic to the terminally deranged, but one of the several BIG things to come out of mass safe electrification was a HUGE reduction in house fires and deaths thereby. And let us not forget the enormous reduction in urban atmospheric particulate matter with the arrival of electric, as opposed to wood or coal-fired heating, globally. Is this another way to ramp up retrospective abortions by the eco-nazis and deranged eugenicists?

    And, when, in fifteen to twenty years, all these cheesy Chinese panels and bird-shredders are reaching their replacement threshold, another problem, that of “disposal” / recovery, arises.

  35. duncanm says:

    Bruce,

    I’m not arguing renewballs are a good idea for the grid. I’m just trying to point out there has been a lot of research into how a frequency stability can be maintained as large spinning generators are taken off-line and replaced by intermittent renewables and their associated storage systems (invariably DC). The technical solutions exist – and can be applied with sufficient dollaradinos.

  36. Leo G says:

    The technical life of a large battery is about 15 years, based on the warranty period for the SA Hornsdale battery.

    By the end of that 15 year technical lifetime for the whole assembly, the individual battery cells are likely to have been replaced at least once. The estimated cell lifetime according to degradation might be of the order of 20,000 cycles but random cell failure rates are the main determinant of overall cell changeout rates.

  37. Andre Lewis says:

    All the discussion about the costs of RE and whether a battery is worth building is bollocks. The real question is why do it at all when we have plenty of coal and gas and AGW is a scam.

  38. Leo G says:

    The real question is why do it at all when we have plenty of coal and gas and AGW is a scam.

    And to properly answer that question we need to examine the real costs of RE and lifecycle costs of battery systems.

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