# Big battery fantasies

Wood Mackenzie has produced a top ten list of exciting insights into the green energy transition.   Quite amusing!

Have you heard the one about carbon capture?  Or Biden’s plans for electric vehicles? My favourite is the one about the impending battery bottleneck in Australia.

To replace ageing coal plants and ensure power security and reliability, Australian companies have announced ambitious plans to build 9.2 gigawatt-hour (GWh) of battery storage projects over the next two years. This is a 19-fold increase from the current 0.5 GWh in operation. To date, only 4% of projects have started construction.

As the clock ticks, the industry is facing some major challenges, particularly the risk of project delays and cancellations.

Good luck with the program and finding several billion dollars to pay for them.

Assuming that we end up with 9.2GWh of storage, say 9,000MWh in round figures, compare that with the amount of power required to keep things going (not just the lights) through a windless night. These things  happen occasionally, not that it matters while we have enough conventional power so RE is superfluous to requirements.

Take out the black coal and see what happens. This is the last 24 hours when black coal was providing around 10GW plus or minus according to the time of day. I have left brown in place to allow for a phased exit from the bad old days to the golden/green future.

For a start we need to generate a lot of extra power, beyond daily needs, to deliver 9GWh to charge the batteries. Good luck with that in the absence of a contribution from black coal.  And then when we can get through the daytime on brown coal, hydro and RE, how far into a windless night do we get before the batteries are flat?

As you can see in the picture the sun is gone before six o’clock and it is the best part of 14 hours before it starts to make any useful contribution after breakfast.  The storage capacity required is in the order of 10GW (the gap between the top of the green in the picture and the total demand indicated by the black line at the top) multiplied by 14. You can make the arithmetic easier so you don’t need to get your calculator by doing the sum for one hour, so the gap of 10GW creates a need for 10GW times 1h = 10GWh.  So your batteries are flat inside an hour.

Pity about that. Very expensive as well!

Can that be true, what am I missing, is there a decimal point out of place or something?

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### 91 Responses to Big battery fantasies

1. herodotus says:

Common sense will not get a look in while the media and pollies are concealing the truth.

2. Bruce of Newcastle says:

Tesla’s big battery built in South Australia cost \$90 million for 100 Mwh of capacity. So with inflation and the surge in commodity prices lately it’d be fair to round it to \$1 million per megawatt-hour.

So that 9.2 GWh of bigger big batteries should cost around \$9 billion.

For that same \$9 billion you probably could build two large coal fired plants, so let’s say 4 GW. That would mean the bigger big battery could store 2 hours 18 minutes of power produced by that amount of coal capacity. And the 9.2 GW has to come from elsewhere, the battery doesn’t make any (indeed it loses electricity via inefficiency losses).

The AEMO eastern state market is something like 27 GW (currently a bit over 22 GW in the low use part of Saturday). So if the wind stops or the sun goes down the bigger big battery will provide enough electricity to keep the grid going for a huuuge 20 minutes. Whereupon the battery is flat until the sun comes up or the wind starts blowing again.

Whereas the 4 GW of coal capacity could produce cheap always-on power 24 hrs a day 365 hrs a year, or nearly so depending on scheduled maintenance.

The bigger big battery is a boondoggle. Which we poor taxpayers and consumers are going to be paying for, painfully.

3. Professor Fred Lenin says:

Putting te cart before the horse ,typical globalists ,never get .anything right . All dogma no practical experience
How its leaders became billionaires has me beat ,seem like a bunch of tossers to me .
And the arrogance iof putting thatg corrupt serial child molester biden in the Shite House shows rgeir contempt for the working taxpayer ,assholes should be sent to a gulag in Northern Alaska to build pipelines .

4. Captain Katzenjammer says:

C’mon man, that’s just numbers. Be serious. It’s too important.

5. Mark M says:

Small battery fantasies … like watching a car crash in slow motion …

‘Like Cuba’: Australia May soon be awash with cheap luxury cars, but it will be costly

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/like-cuba-australia-may-soon-be-awash-with-cheap-luxury-cars-but-it-will-be-costly-20210521-p57ty4.html

At first they came for the internal combustion engines, then they came for the hybrids, then they came for the electric cars …

6. Paul says:

10GW times 1h = 10GWh.  So your batteries are flat inside an hour

Well that’s because you are using the old racist maths.

Under the new math 10 GWH will last 1 night

And anyone who says otherwise is a white supremacist racist and will lose their jobs

Its the vibe

7. John Bayley says:

As is becoming the case in Germany, the green push will continue until reality intrudes and in order to prevent a total grid collapse, some sanity will have returned and the reliable technologies, be they fossil or nuclear, will be at least partially resurrected.

But a lot of well-connected cronies will have made an awful lot of money in in the interim.

I do not believe any longer that the facts, as outlined above by Rafe, are somehow still unknown to the decision-makers and industry insiders.

By this stage, continuing down this path to that inevitable dead end is essentially a criminal racket.

8. duncanm says:

Tomago smelter, 12% of NSW electricity consumption.

NSW generated 265 TWh as of 2017. So Tomago consumes about 32 TWh pa.

That’s 88 GWh/day, or 3.6 GW average consumption.
The ‘ambitious 9 GWh’ will last less than three hours.

Not much good on a still night, eh?

9. H B Bear says:

The first power station was built around 1880. If there was an economic way to store grid level amounts of power it would have been found by now.

10. Bruce of Newcastle says:

If there was an economic way to store grid level amounts of power it would have been found by now.

11. TonyfromOz says:

Okay, rather than just show you, do this exercise yourself.
See that coloured power generation image Rafe has shown you.
Here’s the same image, only for the full day just finished, Friday 21 May 2021.
See under the image, all the boxes are ticked.
Well Untick every box except the one titled ‘grid’, and that’s the great big humungous battery in Sth Aus.
See that little blue colour at the bottom of the screen there at the morning peak, and then at the evening peak. Well, that’s the battery supply.
Okay, now you can see that, next is tick the box titled ‘Total’, and keep that grid box as ticked.
Gee, where did that blue coloured thingie go, just vanished.
That’s what the battery delivered.
0.06% of all the generated power.
All but zero.
Then it has to be charged up again.
Tony.

12. Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray says:

Hey, all we need are windmills on wheels! Move them to wherever the wind is highest! Same with solar power- move the cells to the areas without rain or clouds! And keep moving them when the weather changes. What could go wrong?

13. RobK says:

… is there a decimal point out of place or something?
No decimal point misplaced. But you are being too kind in suggesting that a battery is likely to be fully charged in anticipation of a demand spike when it relies on variable charging current over and above previous demand. Also some capacity has to be reserved for FCAS because RE can be wobbly anytime. Battery owners will be juggling complex algorithms in an effort to learn a pattern in chaos such is the futility of these endeavours.

14. Squirrel says:

Supposedly miraculous breakthroughs for storing solar and wind-generated electricity have been “just around the corner” for many years – we’ve had hot rocks, molten salt, something to do with sand, pumping water uphill etc.

Now it’s the battery fantasy – which is exactly what Bill Gates has explained it to be, with nuclear the only realistic alternative to the mirage of batteries (although his views probably no longer count now that he’s been revealed to have a libido).

Given the levels of bird-brained ignorance and scientific illiteracy among the green zealots, there probably are many who genuinely don’t understand that there is a world of difference between gigawatts of generation capacity and gigawatt hours of storage capacity.

They might begin to get it if they were asked how they’d feel about having the regular income which many of them enjoy (mainly on the public payroll) replaced by a gig economy income with a daily retainer equivalent to just one hour’s salary, and nothing more than that guaranteed.

15. RobK says:

Side issue:
Most of the traditional aluminium refiners have been in business a long time and invested in hydro power before climate change. They are generally doing quite well out of the mayhem that followed because of that.

16. Jock says:

The storage needs to match the time scale to hold enough power to cover 9 GW. For 10 hours would require a battery that can hold 90 GW hours. Thats a very big expensive battery. On top of that you need to fill it, After half of coal goes in 10 years, that will need to come from Sun, wind and hydro. Except hydro is already a battery. Using hydro to fill a battery is like filling one battery with another. Why do it?

They keep on building more wind capacity in the extraordinary hope that that it will somehow (pray to the great god Greta) overcome all the calm periods. So there would be trouble at mill if the 18mw we got down to on one morning in NSW (27th April) or the 10% we are at tonight. Nothing spare. Zip. nada.

So we have excess wind sometimes. but It already takes 3 to 4 turbines to “on average ” cover the plated capacity of one. Even then very low wind can still leave a big dent. Solar has its own issues but is generally more “forecastable” . The battery would need to be filled in high wind periods but at low cost. Same for excess solar.

Can anyone see the huge elephant in the room?? The AEMO and the ESB and the pollies pretend it isnt there. The multiple costs incurred for the same MW of energy. This is not cheap. Its the reason the “evil empire”, Macquarie are in it, and Photios and all the subsidy harvesters. But even they see the problem, because even with the subsidies, all the capital costs need to be paid for. Inexolorably electricity pool prices need to be over \$100 per MW all the time.

Sorry a long missive, but you get the drift?

17. Rafe Champion says:

Thanks for the comments that show the reality of the situation is fairly well known inside our bubble, the thing is to get the news into wider circles.

Show all your friends and relations how to check the NemWatch widget and breakfast and dinnertime so they can see at a glance how many more windmills will be required to replace any significant amount of coal before we even get to the point of having spare RE to store. Elephants and unicorns all the way down.

18. Lutz says:

The flaw in the argument is that they always say we will use ‘excess’ power to fill the dam or the battery. Electricity is generated at the same amount that is required by the system. If what is called ‘excess’ is generated it is still available for the grid and something else isn’t used. So the excess is actually worth the same as the electricity being sent to the grid and is not in any way an excess. If you pay for it you can fill the dam or battery anytime but it is never available for free which is what these crooks are trying to make us believe.

19. Rafe Champion says:

Bruce, updating Hornsdale to include the second phase, it became 194MWh at a total cost of 160 million. The second phase cost more per MWh than the first. Details in this paper https://www.riteon.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Firming-a-Renewable-Energy-Zone-OPEN-STUDY.pdf

20. Baa Humbug says:

I have experience with Lithium Ion batteries and I can tell you it’s much much worse than that.
Remember batteries are DC and they have to be converted to AC.
Our grid currently (no pun) is supplied with AC and CONSTANT VOLTAGE of 220 – 240 volts. Voltage is important.

My lithium ion batteries are 4.2 volts and 1600 mAh. Once I start using them, the voltage drops. When it gets down to about 3.5 volts, my regulated device no longer draws a current from it and I have to recharge it.
Even in my unregulated devices like a flashlight, once the voltage drops to about 3.3 volts, it’s all but useless.

So let’s build a battery bank from these batteries. You’d need to parallel connect about 57 batteries to get 240 volts and however many you need connected in serial to boost the wattage.
As soon as you start drawing power, the voltage will drop and you will need a regulator to increase the current draw to keep the voltage steady (put in simple terms).
What that means to me is that a host of batteries connected together in both serial and parallel to give you whatever you need, will not provide you with all of its labelled power and current all the time until discharge.
The voltage and charge drops dramatically after a few minutes. The current draw accelerates as the voltage drops.

If I was buying a bank of storage batteries, I’d want to see solid test results as to how quickly the current and charge drops and how much power I really get and for how long.
It certainly won’t be 4.2 volts down to 0 volts before needing a recharge.

21. Motelier says:

It would be great to see the C20 ratings for these batteries.

22. Crossie says:

Are these calculations made on the current population levels and usage? If so then any increase in population will increase demand and thus the costs of the project. Either we keep fossil fuel electricity generation and/or nuclear or we stop immigration altogether. Or we go bankrupt and live in the dark which is a more likely outcome but at least Turnbull and friends will be alright.

23. Rafe Champion says:

Some people in the industry, even in a green part like the Clean Energy Authority will say that the batteries are not installed to provide sustained input, they are there to cushion the crazy fluctuations in the wind and solar input (see Briefing note 21.6.) These people need to speak up and correct the impression that is being put about that so-called big and humungous batteries can be used to “firm” the supply for hours.

24. Herodotus says:

As I said at the top, we can tell all our friends and acquaintances, but the craziness won’t be wound back until both media and politicians tell everyone the truth about the craziness of energy and climate policies.
Faith in that happening any time soon?
Zero.

25. Herodotus says:

Jo Nova outlines the farce that was the G7 announcement on no funding for coal fired power. Quick as a flash ABC and SBS jump in and give glowing reports on this “green fantasy island” while completely ignoring the fact that China is still busy building and using coal itself, and funding coal power elsewhere in the belt and road colonial push.
joannenova.com.au

So there again is the problem. MSM and pollies keep the lie going.

26. yarpos says:

“Putting te cart before the horse ,typical globalists ,never get .anything right . All dogma no practical experience
How its leaders became billionaires has me beat ,seem like a bunch of tossers to me .”

Often how entrepreneurs make money pushing the big idea chaotically forward with their own money and those who wish to invest. Hire enough smart people and they can fix up all your stuff ups and keep it moving forward. Its more about risk taking, force of will and ego than anything. The problem comes when they think they can do other things just for the virtue signalling and usually with public money. They have the time and the money to “save the world” whether it needs it or we like it or not.

27. Crossie says:

while completely ignoring the fact that China is still busy building and using coal itself, and funding coal power elsewhere in the belt and road colonial push.

Japan is also building new coal fired power stations. I don’t think any other Asian country is going down the renewables road simply because they want reliables. It’s only the degenerate left who have got things back to front. Same goes for our elites’ obsession with identity politics, they want to create racism where there is none.

28. duncanm says:

Rafe Champion says:
May 22, 2021 at 8:01 pm
Thanks for the comments that show the reality of the situation is fairly well known inside our bubble, the thing is to get the news into wider circles.

Rafe,

I see a glimmer of hope – the brains trust (Tomago?) in NSW seems to have gotten the message through to gov for the 600MW gas plant in Kurri Kurri to go ahead.

They’re holding fast on that despite all the idiotic ‘dinosaur’ calls from the usual suspects (greens, power companies / grifters, etc)

29. duncanm says:

Baa Humbug says:
May 22, 2021 at 9:43 pm

whole lot of knowledge missing in your post there.

Start with “LiIon discharge curve”.. then realise that the DC to AC would be HVDC (lotsa batteries in series) to AC via a switching converter, and to an intermediate distribution voltage like 2..35kV, not 240V.

30. duncanm says:

I find it interesting that LiIon seems to be the tech of choice. The redox flow batteries seem (at my cursory glance) to have a much better potential for expandable storage.

31. duncanm says:

Ok.. a bit of googling tells me conversion may be low-ish voltage DC -> AC stepped up to HV AC..

“Low” is probably something 500V – 1kV.

32. m0nty says:

Mike Levine @mrlevine

Ford is working with @Sunrun – the nation’s largest residential solar power company to install the inverter you’ll need for Intelligent Backup Power at home if your power goes out. You’ll be able to charge #F150Lightning off solar and use it as a backup generator!

33. duncanm says:

who are you talking to, m0nty ?

34. m0nty says:

Rafe and all who agree with his rot, Duncan.

35. duncanm says:

m0nty – maybe you can explain to us how the millions of residential owners with their tesla/F150/leaf in the garage hooked up to the grid will save the Tomago pots at 3am when there’s no wind?

How do they then drive to work in the morning?

36. m0nty says:

Do you not understand the concept of batteries, Duncan? They store energy. The F-150 will be able to power a house for three days. And you can bet that newer generations will improve that number, we’re just getting started with this stuff.

Home/car batteries in conjunction with grid batteries will cover all but the most ridiculous use cases, just like grid renewables combined with home solar will eventually take over from fossil fuel sources.

A bunch of F150s would sure have been handy in Texas during the recent cold snap where the Republican-designed system froze over and 115 people died!

37. duncanm says:

FMD.. this is where the ‘fantasy’ part comes in.

Go back and look at my numbers for Tomago. 88GWh/day

The average household is 10-20kWh/day

Of course a fucking 115kWh battery in an F150 will power your house for a couple of days.

There are (at least) two fundamental issues people like you don’t understand:
* The orders of magnitude between household consumption and industry. An equivalent ratio (10:1) for Tomago would be a dedicated 880 GWh battery standing by, just for them. Not the ‘ambitious 9.2 GWh’ for the whole of Australia over the next two years. That’s 100x too small, for one production site, in one industry, in one state
* The grid is not designed for households to feed-in electricity. The network is already struggling with rooftop solar over-voltaging local areas.

38. Mango Man says:

You underestimate the challenge. Net zero targets require a massive shift to electric energy. (And replace Victoria’s heavy use of gas as Bass St runs out from 2026.) So the load is much more than current. ESB says the grid can’t manage with 75% renewables. So there’s going to have to be more gas plant and snowy and taslink and cola plants operating at flexible load. Power is going to get very, very expensive.

39. m0nty says:

That’s the thing though Duncan, there is no requirement for batteries to cover 100% of power demand in the next two years. It’s an incremental process, a gradual phase-out of fossil fuels that is not expected to be finished for decades. There’s not much point whining “are we there yet” when we’re still early in the journey.

40. Rex Anger says:

Do you not understand the concept of batteries, Duncan? They store energy. The F-150 will be able to power a house for three days. And you can bet that newer generations will improve that number, we’re just getting started with this stuff.

Wow… 3 days’ home power? Or get to the grocery store and actually have the resources to live for that 3 days or more?

Nice to see what our oligarchical overlords’ mouthpiece sees as acceptable living conditions (i.e. lethal knife-edge) for we lesser folk…

41. Rex Anger says:

, there is no requirement for batteries to cover 100% of power demand in the next two years. It’s an incremental process, a gradual phase-out of fossil fuels that is not expected to be finished for decades.

The Revolution will last for as long as the Party needs it to, tovarisch…

42. Boambee John says:

Home/car batteries in conjunction with grid batteries will cover all but the most ridiculous use cases, just like grid renewables combined with home solar will eventually take over from fossil fuel sources.

Note that the fat fascist fool munty focusses strictly on domestic usage. The concept of industry, hospitals, and the many other non-domestic users of electricity in a modern society don’t get a look in.

His studied ignorance of the world beyond the internet and fantasy football is amusing.

43. duncanm says:

m0nty – that’s the point. The ‘grid’ batteries just won’t do it.

the ‘big investment for Australia’ over the next two years is two orders of magnitude too small for just one industrial site in NSW for a couple of days.

I think you underestimate just how much power a typical power station generates, and just how small magical grid-storage batteries are in comparison.

44. Boambee John says:

duncanm

I think you underestimate just how much power a typical power station generates, and just how small magical grid-storage batteries are in comparison.

He also underestimates (ie, hasn’t got a clue on) the practical problems of re-charging “big batteries” once the sun rises, and the wind blows, and people simultaneously want to use the lights and electrical appliances in their homes, and keep the lights on and the machines rolling at work. And some might even wish to re-charge their EV at the same time.

Not gonna work with current technology, and at a reasonable cost.

45. m0nty says:

I think you underestimate just how much power a typical power station generates, and just how small magical grid-storage batteries are in comparison.

You sound like those naysayers who pooh-poohed computers and the Internet last century. The solution may not be big-arse batteries, just as it wasn’t big-arse mainframes for the computer revolution. Distributed capacity is the big sleeper here.

There is a lot of R&D money being poured into batteries right now. A heap of very large companies are betting a lot of dollars that you are wrong. It will be fun to see it play out.

46. RobK says:

There is a lot of R&D money being poured into batteries right now. A heap of very large companies are betting a lot of dollars that you are wrong. It will be fun to see it play out.
Those dollars they are betting are not their own. There’s profit a plenty in the pure speculation buttressed by the State supply of tax dollars and cross subsidies by regulation.

47. Snoopy says:

Distributed capacity is the big sleeper here.

They should try it with water first. You survive on what falls on your roof. No batteries required.

48. Rex Anger says:

. The solution may not be big-arse batteries, just as it wasn’t big-arse mainframes for the computer revolution. Distributed capacity is the big sleeper here.

On-off information transmitted in pulses between distributed computers with many, many nodes in between do not suffer transmission losses, m0nty.

Electrical power transmitted for the purposes of distribution and useful work in remote appliances, does.

If you put a D cell battery in every room of your house, linked by wires to each other and ran them out to your back shed, I can co.fortably wager you would struggle to get a single flicker on a multimeter. Let alone get the smallest and lowest current-drawing nano LED you can find, to make light.

The Internet of Things and computer networking does not in the slightest way equate to power transmission…

49. Kneel says:

“I think you underestimate just how much power a typical power station generates,…”

Yes, the scale is incomprehensible with words and numbers. Go look at just one 2.6GW power station, like Eraring, Bayswater or Mt Piper. Walk through it. Stand next to it. Then realise that this is well less than 10% of AEMO requirements when it’s running at full capacity, and that it can’t run forever without maintenance.

Here’s some clues to the sort of scale involved:

At Eraring, there are 6 x 8MW pumps to push cooling water up to the canal that then gravity feeds the heat exchangers. The pipe that feeds each one is big enough to drive an early model Commodore through. I have an old 35mm film photo of my old 1985 Commodore parked next to one (somewhere in an old box, no doubt).

At Baywater, the cooling towers that are a favourite of the TV stations to show “pollution” (actually just water, of course) have a little “wiggly” bit at the bottom, where the air comes in. This wiggly bit is 4-5m tall. I stood next to one when Bayswater was under construction.

At Eraring, the power house has 3 doors on one side – a standard door for people, a large industrial roller shutter, and a fuck-off big roller shutter that makes the “normal” roller shutter look like a normal door (I have a photo of this around somewhere as well).

If they trip off a 660MW turbine, interlocks will “dump” the live steam to atmosphere – you can hear this as a loud noise inside a brick building with closed doors and windows >500m away (this is a very expensive thing to happen – the water is near surgical grade purity). I personally heard this at Eraring – it scared the shit out of me when it started.

Before the multi-story tall boiler can burn coal dust blown in with high pressure air, they need to burn at least 30,000 L of diesel to get it hot enough so the coal dust actually burns. If they turn the coal on just a little bit early, there is a kind of “backfire” when it finally lights – big enough to lift >100m of 12mm steel checkerplate a cm or two off the exhaust “piping”. I personally saw this happen at Vales Point (not even 2.6GW)

This is all stuff I have personally witnessed and/or been told by the people who actually run and work in such power stations. As I said, the words and numbers don’t do it justice – you need to see it and stand next to it to begin to understand what a massive task it is to power a modern industrial economy.

50. Kneel says:

“On-off information transmitted in pulses between distributed computers with many, many nodes in between do not suffer transmission losses, m0nty.”

You might want to check on that Rexy – by comparison, comms is considerably more lossy in power terms. Fortunately, the data loss is insignificant though, thanks to some clever designs and, well, brute force.

51. Rayvic says:

Rafe, where are you going to get knowledgeable people to check you calculations?

Not in the ABC or other media, nor the political parties (with the exception of One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts ).

52. Kneel says:

“by comparison, comms is considerably more lossy in power terms”

Just to pin some numbers on it, a 15km microwave link (or 30km fibre) would see 100dB of loss (+30dBm TX, -70dBm RX for the microwave). I strongly suggest power distribution is much more efficient than that! 🙂

53. RobK says:

Distributed capacity is the big sleeper here.
It’s a transmission nightmare.
Consider a network of sources and sinks compared to a trunk line feeder and arterials.
The lines must be sized and overload protected to the maximum possible demand.
Each distributed network component has to be sized and protected to carry the bulk of the entire network that might be directed through each leg of the network . This is hideously expensive and fault-current discrimination becomes even more problematic.
A trunk line feeder with arterials steps down in size ( and cost) as it distributes to consumers. Each step down is isolatable and protected against overload. It is very difficult to do that when there’s a lot of interconnectors and sources and sinks all over the place. It requires many more expensive components and controls, many potential points of failure and a great deal of difficulty in making it safe.

54. Rex Anger says:

by comparison, comms is considerably more lossy in power terms. Fortunately, the data loss is insignificant though, thanks to some clever designs and, well, brute force.

Maybe so, but we are (for the most part) not relying on said comms to power the device at the end…

Radio wave propagation is a bastard in that regard as well.

55. rickw says:

My workshop pulls 50kwh with all the CNC’s running.

How many F150’s do I need?

56. Rex Anger says:

My workshop pulls 50kwh with all the CNC’s running.

How many F150’s do I need?

Proper ones or m0nty-Biden gimmicks?

Pretty sure your correct answer would be 1 real one- a PTO would not be impossible to devise, and if things get too hard, you have a robust bug-out machine. 🙂

57. rickw says:

I got a tour of this power station, pumps out a measly 58MW. Basically just enough to run Erarings cooling water pumps.

https://www.niupower.com.pg/

Munters, having never done anything practical or real, has no comprehension of the scale of energy consumption. Our politicians, for exactly the same reason, are also clueless.

58. m0nty says:

It’s a transmission nightmare.

I don’t doubt that, rooftop PVs aren’t going to power an aluminium smelter, but they are already taking a lot of pressure off the grid and that effect will only increase with the rise of home batteries.

59. Rex Anger says:

rooftop PVs aren’t going to power an aluminium smelter, but they are already taking a lot of pressure off the grid and that effect will only increase with the rise of home batteries.

You stooge. You and your co-ideologists are demanding everything be powered by rooftop PVs (whether concentrated in their own areas or on every building) and overgrown whirlygigs. And there are plenty of opportunists making a fast buck without a care for the future on the strength of your collective stupidity amd arrogance.

Self-sufficiency in unreliable energy is a logistical nightmare. And very likely a Panacea Too Far…

60. m0nty says:

My workshop pulls 50kwh with all the CNC’s running.

How many F150’s do I need?

Such a dumb talking point. It’s like asking why your PC can’t run ERP applications. That’s not what it’s for, stop being stupid.

61. Rex Anger says:

That’s not what it’s for, stop being stupid.

Projection much, m0ntard?

Such a dumb talking point

You presented it, stooge. Of course we’re gonna laugh at it…

#C’monMan

62. RobK says:

Part 1)….but they are already taking a lot of pressure off the grid and (Part 2)that effect will only increase with the rise of home batteries.
Domestic PV is putting a lot of pressure on the grid presently. In an effort to reduce CO2 emissions RE produces when it feels like it. This means the grid sees no load under those conditions. When the RE whimps-out for no particular reason, the grid has to suddenly carry a massive load. Before RE, loads were quite predictable. They are increasingly more variable as RE penetration increases; to the point where, (part 2) this situation is intolerable without at lest some buffering at the source of intermittency. The extent of that buffering will determine the amount of RE the grid can cope with provided it can control the rates of input and output of each point and the hardware is robust enough to cope. As penetration increases, costs will escalate and utility will decrease.

63. rickw says:

Such a dumb talking point. It’s like asking why your PC can’t run ERP applications. That’s not what it’s for, stop being stupid.

Well what is going to run industries and business you imbecile?

64. rickw says:

rooftop PVs aren’t going to power an aluminium smelter, but they are already taking a lot of pressure off the grid and that effect will only increase with the rise of home batteries.

The “grid pressure” arose because you wankers insisted on demolishing perfectly serviceable power stations.

65. RobK says:

Note that the battery buffering doesn’t address any significant load shifting to cover for weather variability. The prospect of high capacity H2 plants being setup, sized for occasional gluts to fill in occasional droughts is another area where capex and infrastructure are utilised in diminishing returns, typical of the RE sector that really only was born of the baseload capacity to absorb a certain amount of variability in its robust design.

66. m0nty says:

Before RE, loads were quite predictable. They are increasingly more variable as RE penetration increases

They were predictable but they were also variable; they were predictably variable, according to normal human behaviour. Variability on its own is not a terrible thing.

This will not be a showstopper, assuming of course that batteries can handle the buffering.

67. RobK says:

They were predictable but they were also variable; they were predictably variable,
Now the grid has to deal with predictable load and erratic generation, which in effect is an anti load(for want of a term). The variability is very much increased, proportional to the installed RE .

68. rickw says:

They were predictable but they were also variable; they were predictably variable, according to normal human behaviour. Variability on its own is not a terrible thing.

This will not be a showstopper, assuming of course that batteries can handle the buffering.

Clearly not an engineer, as are the vast majority of muppets who are orgasmic over the RE boondoggle.

69. rickw says:

Now the grid has to deal with predictable load and erratic generation, which in effect is an anti load(for want of a term).

The other big issue is the lack of rotating inertia in munty’s phantasy grid.

70. RobK says:

assuming of course that batteries can handle the buffering.
The cost of doing this (aside from the cost of the battery) is high. High powered control gear is expensive. None of this would be happening without heavy cross subsidies. As the ability of coal to carry the cross subsidies decreases(by virtue of its demonisation to desired extinction), the costs to establish the required infrastructure will have to come from elsewhere. Worst of all there will be stranded assets and resources before the required infrastructure is established. There are technology constraints which may, or may not be over come, but the rate at which the climate neurosis dictates this transition is going to cause tears and grief.

71. m0nty says:

Yes there are transition costs in the short term RobK, but PV in particular is so cheap that it makes the decision easy in the long term. Coal just isn’t competitive any more, even taking into account the expenses required to rejig the system to move away from it. That is the main reason why so many countries are moving away from coal. The emission targets are just a bonus.

72. Rex Anger says:

Coal just isn’t competitive any more, even taking into account the expenses required to rejig the system to move away from it. That is the main reason why so many countries are moving away from coal

Has someone told India or China this world-breaking fact?

Poland?

Russia, even?

73. Snoopy says:

How long have you been off-grid, Monts?

74. RobK says:

Yes there are transition costs in the short term RobK
Monty, I put to you (for the reasons above) that the transition costs have only just begun and will escalate until something yields and it is unlikely to be cheap compared to what we had.

75. RobK says:

Coal just isn’t competitive any more,
But it pays most of the costs of RE.
Go figure.

76. Rafe Champion says:

On the topic of sudden fluctuations in the grid caused by ups and downs of the wind.
A note from the Climate Realists
https://www.riteon.org.au/netzero-casualties/#216

And a note on the cost of 100% RE. Try \$400 per
MWhour. https://www.riteon.org.au/netzero-casualties/#218

77. Kneel says:

“The other big issue is the lack of rotating inertia in munty’s phantasy grid.”

In fairness, it’s possible to create this effect with inverters as well – and since the price of FCAS will be going up as thermal plants start going off-line that means the hoovers will start wanting to claim they should get subsidies for providing that too, and the pollies will capitulate.
It never ends until the plebs have had enough and lots say so really loudly and get media coverage. If that is suppressed too, it’ll keep going until pitchforks and torches come out. That never ends well – and least well for the loudest and “hooverest”, and the politicians, all of whom currently feel so clever.

78. m0nty says:

Monty, I put to you (for the reasons above) that the transition costs have only just begun and will escalate until something yields and it is unlikely to be cheap compared to what we had.

Maybe. We shall see.

79. rickw says:

Has someone told India or China this world-breaking fact?

Poland?

Russia, even?

Japan? They just announced plans to build another 22.

80. rickw says:

In fairness, it’s possible to create this effect with inverters as well

How did SA’s grid frequency get dragged down then? (Genuine technical question)

81. RobK says:

Maybe. We shall see
And the climate will do what it will, irrespective of this folly.

82. Boambee John says:

As I said, the words and numbers don’t do it justice – you need to see it and stand next to it to begin to understand what a massive task it is to power a modern industrial economy.

munty only cares about powering his house and his fantasy football. The concept of industrial society is well beyond his understanding.

83. RobK says:

How did SA’s grid frequency get dragged down then? (Genuine technical question)
Set points (on turbines)have been revised to allow more excursions and batteries have been added to buffer the rates of droop.

84. Boambee John says:

rooftop PVs aren’t going to power an aluminium smelter, but they are already taking a lot of pressure off the grid and that effect will only increase with the rise of home batteries.

Actually munty, they are putting a lot of pressure on the grid, to keep voltages and frequencies within tolerance.

PS, can someone with real knowledge (not you munty) confirm whether solar systems are automatically shut down when mains power goes off? Something to do with ensuring safety for workers on the main grid (not wanting random current from the solar cells activating the wires while workers are handling them).

85. Boambee John says:

assuming of course that batteries can handle the buffering.

86. RobK says:

BJ,
Domestic PV inverters follow grid frequency. No signal, no output. That’s true for non islanding inverters. They can’t generate their own frequency signal. Islanding inverters can isolate from the grid and carry the domestic load from battery and other inputs. They are designed to be more or less fail safe(regarding input to a failed grid ).

87. Boambee John says:

RobK

Thanks.

So, if a householder with solar wishes to have power during a blackout, they need to be somehow able to isolate from the grid (and have a charged battery)?

88. Tel says:

So, if a householder with solar wishes to have power during a blackout, they need to be somehow able to isolate from the grid (and have a charged battery)?

Yes, it’s illegal to have a solar power system both grid connected and running during a blackout. They have compulsory anti-islanding features built in.

However, isolation from the grid is not difficult, since this is a well known problem there’s a thing called an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) which gets used with both generators and solar systems. There’s plenty of them out there, and some solar inverters have it built in. In a nutshell it’s just a huge relay that cuts you off from the main grid when the power goes down.

You can imagine there’s a coordination problem between the ATS switch position and the solar inverter’s anti-islanding protection circuits … but not an insurmountable problem, that’s why the solar inverter with built in ATS is better.

If all you want to do is recharge your phone, and keep the freezer cold to avoid throwing away all your food … then big solar batteries are not required for that.

89. Boambee John says:

Thanks Tel.

Not quite as easy as munty implies, then? Seems he is not as technically expert as he might like to think. Perhaps he should go off-grid for a year, and tell us how it goes?

90. Crossie says:

RobK says:
May 23, 2021 at 8:29 pm
Coal just isn’t competitive any more,
But it pays most of the costs of RE.
Go figure.

They will deny this with their dying breath.

91. Kneel says:

“How did SA’s grid frequency get dragged down then? (Genuine technical question)”

I said it is possible, but it does cost extra money to do it. So most don’t have it. In fact, IIRC AEMO “buy” FCAS from thermal plants, which can at least help them stay afloat, and they also limit non-FCAS sources such that grid stability is not compromised.

In short, if you do not have enough generation to match demand, and you do not load shed quickly enough to re-balance the grid, it WILL go down – that is as unavoidable as not having sufficient power to drive the car up the hill; a run-up may help, but at some point, no matter what you try, you just need more available power and without it, you will never get to the top.

Texas is a case in point – they had to black-out large areas, but they kept the grid itself up, so once they had sufficient generation to match load, they got back up very quickly. Fortunately, they had people who knew what “going black” would mean – it is the difference between several hours or days with no power to several months. Why? Because once the substation batteries go flat, you no longer have any remote control systems, so there can be huge loads instantly when you power up a large substation, and that would likely put you back into “full black” territory and the need to start again. That means you need to send people to be “on the ground” and they need comms to make it all work. So they will just drop everything going out until they see incoming power, that will float the batteries up to usable amount, the dedicated comms will come back on-line and they can start supplying the users.

In NSW, we used to have Warragamba as a source for a black start, but that has changed and there are now several places with multiple 40 odd MW gas turbines (basically a jet engine with a generator attached, and despite the name they typically run on some sort of liquid hydro-carbon like diesel or kerosene) that provide sufficient power to get a “real” generator on-line. Once you can get one of these things “spun up”, it can bootstrap itself to higher power levels and you can then start other units, other power stations etc. But you have to start somewhere…

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