So what's going to replace coal?

 

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Posted 2 months ago

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  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Another view. https://theconversation.com/a-high-price-for-policy-failure-the-ten-year-story-of-spiralling-electricity-bills-89450
allan
Beat me to it Allan, I was about to post a link to that story from the ABC website.

The article is really interesting one which lays most of the blame for the current electricity market crisis at the feet of Federal and State governments over the past 10 years.

Remember though that it is not pure Journalism, it is written by the Gratten Institute's Energy Fellow.

BG
  allan Chief Commissioner

Yes, it's a cutabove pure journalism! His case is well argued, and consistant with the evidence. Until we have coherant and rational government policy, preferably independant of politics, we'll all continue to pay. The handing over of the system to privateers has only benefited the privateers.

We have a position, now, where the states have to lead because the feds are unable to. The same applies, of course, in the US.
  RTT_Rules The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dubai UAE
Agree it's well written.

Historically the feds had little to do with power generation. The states built most of their generation needs as they needed with occasional private investment towards end on 20th century. Millmerrium being an example.

The feds invested in the snowy but that was I think about it. I'm not even sure they owned alot of transmission if any?

Then they got involved creating the eariler version on AEMO and encouraged states to sell generation assets, or rather bribed them too.

So with the states moving out of the generation game,  who filled the hole? Wasn't a problem wirh demand slowing, extra interstate transmission capacity to enable spare capacity to be used more readily and a few GTs here and there.

But it's when the coal stations started to closee due to age the real problem kicked in.

As the article says. The feds created a policy gap when the CO2 was removed and everyone has been waiting ever since for its replacement.  Turn ball again failing to step up.
  Groundrelay Deputy Commissioner

Location: Surrounded by Trolls!
But no, some idiots think they known better and sending aluminum production to China and India to make it from coal there is supposed to be better.
This is the part that I find truly perplexing - as if burning it in other countries doesn't count somehow. Doesn't count because they're already polluted?

I swore I wouldn't come back to this thread because it just gets up my goat!

Happy New Year anyways -
don_dunstan
RTT, people aren't idiots for disagreeing with your stance. Don, people can have a contrary opinion, perhaps try and leave emotion out of it.

The offshoring of manufacturing and later IT, back-office, call centres etc started decades ago, long before RE was a 'thing'. Yes Don blame Hawke/Keating because it’s their fault Australia wasn’t prepared for the new world economy. Then again was Australia the only country that used the low cost economies of China, India, Brazil, Mexico and Eastern Europe to its advantage?

In a genuine argument about the decline of manufacturing you might also acknowledge factors such as tariff reductions, subsidies available overseas and the sort of economies of scale impossible here with our small population base.

In exchange for lower costs for goods and services and greater profits, Australia effectively offshored many associated aspects that would otherwise have stayed here;

- Employment
- Education and Training
- Taxation Receipts
- Support Services (direct and indirect)
- Building, Equipment and Servicing
- Consumption of utilities etc

AND
- Carbon Pollution.

Idea Now if these countries didn't need to make stuff for the rest of the world perhaps they'd pollute a bit less Idea
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

From The Australia Institute admittedly, but (http://www.tai.org.au/content/australians-prefer-demand-response-over-new-power-stations-poll)


There’s a real eagerness from Australians to make money by generating, storing and trading electricity. What is needed are smart regulations that would unleash huge benefits to the stability, efficiency of the grid, and lower prices to boot.

Also, Energy Networks final_report_april_2017.pdf


This is what the grid operators are hoping for as a best case.  

But as things stand, IMHO we're likely to see more rooftop PV (with regulatory restrictions attempting to slow this down, but more likely just to kick more urban users off the grid), more solar farms - because it's currently the cheapest form of new generation but also because it complements rather than undercuts the existing coal fleet.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
There was an interesting article in The Financial Review about the extreme cost an inefficiency of the proposed pumped storage hydro in the Snowy Mountains. Basically the extreme expense of actually building the thing is a massive problem. Malcolm has given a very conservative estimate of $4 billion but apparently the real figure once land acquisition and supporting infrastructure is taken into account is around $8-12 billion. And we already have pumped hydro storage in this country but it isn't used because its too expensive:

Pumped hydro is an inefficient storage technology. Australia already has significant pumped hydro capacity – 900 megawatts (MW) at Tumut 3 in Snowy and 500 MW at Wivenhoe in Queensland. Both are rarely used because they are inefficient...

Not only that but it will be extremely energy intensive and they will have to put approximately double the amount of energy into running it as they'll get back:

The feasibility study says that at capacity, Snowy 2.0 will only produce about 1 kilowatt hour for each 1.5 kilowatt hours needed to pump water to the top reservoir. Add to that 10 per cent for losses in transmitting electricity from generators in the Hunter and Latrobe valleys to pump the water uphill. And then add another 10 per cent for losses in transmitting the stored electricity back to the main load centres in Sydney and Melbourne where most of it will be consumed. In other words, Snowy 2.0 will use about 1.8 kilowatt hours for each kilowatt hour that it actually delivers to consumers. By comparison, a battery installed on a customer's premises or on the local grid can be expected to use about 1.1 kilowatt hour for each kilowatt hour delivered.

They would be better off building smaller solar/battery plants but I guess Malcolm wants SOMETHING big that we can remember him by (other than the rapidly expanding Commonwealth debts - $360 billion and counting).
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

From The Australia Institute admittedly, but (http://www.tai.org.au/content/australians-prefer-demand-response-over-new-power-stations-poll)


There’s a real eagerness from Australians to make money by generating, storing and trading electricity. What is needed are smart regulations that would unleash huge benefits to the stability, efficiency of the grid, and lower prices to boot.

Also, Energy Networks final_report_april_2017.pdf


This is what the grid operators are hoping for as a best case.  

But as things stand, IMHO we're likely to see more rooftop PV (with regulatory restrictions attempting to slow this down, but more likely just to kick more urban users off the grid), more solar farms - because it's currently the cheapest form of new generation but also because it complements rather than undercuts the existing coal fleet.
djf01
Very interesting post - thank-you.  

That's a lot of windfarms after 2035!!!  Good luck with the Nimbys, local tourist associations, etc etc....
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

There was an interesting article in The Financial Review about the extreme cost an inefficiency of the proposed pumped storage hydro in the Snowy Mountains. Basically the extreme expense of actually building the thing is a massive problem. Malcolm has given a very conservative estimate of $4 billion but apparently the real figure once land acquisition and supporting infrastructure is taken into account is around $8-12 billion. And we already have pumped hydro storage in this country but it isn't used because its too expensive:

Pumped hydro is an inefficient storage technology. Australia already has significant pumped hydro capacity – 900 megawatts (MW) at Tumut 3 in Snowy and 500 MW at Wivenhoe in Queensland. Both are rarely used because they are inefficient...

Not only that but it will be extremely energy intensive and they will have to put approximately double the amount of energy into running it as they'll get back:
don_dunstan

I haven't read the AFR article (yet), but I have read enough of the summary of the feasibility study to know I don't support the project.

At $4bil or $2/Watt for 2000MW of pseudo generation it's pretty pricy.  

Qualitatively, I've read this is because it includes a large transmission network to connect SA, western Vic, Sydney and Melbourne with the scheme.  In particular it seems to incorporate a transmission network to Broken Hill and other areas where large scale wind and solar projects have been proposed or even approved but aren't viable for the lack of a transmission network.  Perhaps the transmission network upgrade to facilitate new RE generation is worthwhile on it's own, but I doubt it, and there si no way to tell from the published feasibility study.

But for me, there are three really big red fags:

Red Flag 1:


67% round trip efficiency is too low.  AFAIK pumped hydro should be 80-90%.  AFAIK it's the length of the tunnels that are the issue.

Red Flag 2 (&3):


Both the Business Case and Cost Estimate breakdown have been redacted.  Sure, there are CiC reasons not to publish this all in great detail.  But not at all?  This is one massive red flag.

Red Flag 3:

Malcolm Turnbull - the father of the Australian republic - the good shepard of the ETS - the saviour of the NBN - has his paws all over it.  His track record on any major nation building exercises, or picking winners, is appalling.  

There are a few other minor things too - like the 200MB Complete Feasibility Study is unreadable in either of my PDF viewers.  If they were proud of the study, and *wanted* people to read it, this little bug would have been tested for, found and fixed.  Rather it smells like there is a lot of smeg covering buried in squillions of words over multiple hard to search documents.

But prima face, while the concept is inspiring, there are issues with this project that if the feasibility study did answer, they were deemed not suitable for public consumption by people with a track record of being full of sh*t .
  RTT_Rules The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dubai UAE
From The Australia Institute admittedly, but (http://www.tai.org.au/content/australians-prefer-demand-response-over-new-power-stations-poll)


There’s a real eagerness from Australians to make money by generating, storing and trading electricity. What is needed are smart regulations that would unleash huge benefits to the stability, efficiency of the grid, and lower prices to boot.

Also, Energy Networks final_report_april_2017.pdf


This is what the grid operators are hoping for as a best case.  

But as things stand, IMHO we're likely to see more rooftop PV (with regulatory restrictions attempting to slow this down, but more likely just to kick more urban users off the grid), more solar farms - because it's currently the cheapest form of new generation but also because it complements rather than undercuts the existing coal fleet.
djf01
So by 2050, there will no continuous generation supply apart from "some" biomass, as hydro and assumed pump back hydro won't be expanded much beyond today, then two choices. No lights or large scale battery.

Consider SA has the now largest in the world that supply's 100MW for 1hr but the east coast grid needs 10,000 to 12,000MW per hour, for around 14 to 16 hours in winter. Its F'n huge or over 2000 x the one in Adelaide.

Which also basically means you are paying for power twice. Once to generate it and another to store it.

Now the Env impact of having something like 100 x the current wind generation and battery manufacture and disposal will be an interesting read.

However the further roll out of PV solar will continue and in 10 years you will be hard up finding a house or commerical premisis with its roof not partially covered in PV solar. Prices of PV solar are still dropping and will continue to do so as will batteries so I suspect by 2030 most houses will be self energised and this will only accelerate if energy prices remain where they are. Currently those doing this are doing it by choice, not by economics or at least realistic economics but its getting close and I don't blame them and this has been my dream to go off the grid without living like hermit.  

The restrictions for PV solar is the feed in capability of the local grid. Some customers are already finding that the local poles and wires provider is limiting choice of feed in size due to large amounts of feed in power already available. Anything more than  I think 5kW can cause problems if the whole street is doing it.
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: Your town.
The restrictions for PV solar is the feed in capability of the local grid. Some customers are already finding that the local poles and wires provider is limiting choice of feed in size due to large amounts of feed in power already available. Anything more than  I think 5kW can cause problems if the whole street is doing it.
RTT_Rules
That's something that I hadn't though of before. Very interesting. Is there no longer a 5kW limit for domestic installations like there was about 5 years ago? is it open slather now?

Meanwhile, Unit 1 at Loy Yang tripped out yet again on Wednesday (up and running hard now), and Unit 1 at Yallourn bit the dust last night and is still down. Liddell finally has a third unit up but is still only a shadow of its former self, with design output rates impossible to achieve.

Getting back to the original question, which is the title of the thread: I don't care what replaces coal, but it had better be something else when one considers how unreliable and sporadic the generation derived from it has become. At least wind strength and the setting sun is predictable. Coal fired electricity generation isn't.

Maybe this:
http://reneweconomy.com.au/solarreserve-granted-approval-150mw-solar-thermal-project-49358/
  RTT_Rules The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dubai UAE
Coal ( and gas and nuclear) turbines have been tripping for generations. The bufree was always a spinning reserve. Like any piece of industrial equipment things go wrong.and honestly  big bloody deal.  smeg happens. This is just a media beat up so don't fall for it.

Solar and wind are not excempt although their smaller unit size reduces the impact.

Weather prediction is I suspect less reliable than a coal fired turbine and to date and back OT what is there when there is no wind or sun? Currently it's called a black out.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Train Controller

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Tides and battery storage! I believe no one has mentioned tidal yet!
  apw5910 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
Tides and battery storage! I believe no one has mentioned tidal yet!
Dangersdan707
Because every "Last Word in Energy Generation," "You-Beaut," "Mankind's energy needs are Solved!" tidal generator has ended up as a pile of scrap on the beach.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Trapped in a meeting with Rhonda and Karsten
Meanwhile, Unit 1 at Loy Yang tripped out yet again on Wednesday (up and running hard now), and Unit 1 at Yallourn bit the dust last night and is still down. Liddell finally has a third unit up but is still only a shadow of its former self, with design output rates impossible to achieve.
DirtyBallast
Loy Yang A just had a major maintenance interval on some/all of its units, teething problems have been suspected.

Meanwhile, Loy Yang B - the slightly younger power station next door, with a different owner - has been going just fine and is slated for a turbine upgrade in 2019 + 2020.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Train Controller

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Also no one has mention geothermal
  apw5910 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
Also no one has mention geothermal
Dangersdan707
Nobody's mentioned fusion, Tesla's cosmic energy, Ley lines, fairy dust, unicorns and Unobtainium either...

A friend invested all his hard-earned in a geothermal startup. Last time I saw him he was extremely pissed off that he had lost the lot. Another great idea on paper that collided with reality and came off second best.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

The restrictions for PV solar is the feed in capability of the local grid. Some customers are already finding that the local poles and wires provider is limiting choice of feed in size due to large amounts of feed in power already available. Anything more than  I think 5kW can cause problems if the whole street is doing it.
That's something that I hadn't though of before. Very interesting. Is there no longer a 5kW limit for domestic installations like there was about 5 years ago? is it open slather now?
DirtyBallast

In March last year national standards were introduced that covered this.  IIRC they are a limit of 5kW for single phase (most homes), and 30kW for 3 phase (10kW per phase), but also a requirement that the difference in phases not exceed 5kW.

These are the limits for automatic approval.

Prior to this it was up to each network to decide on their limits.  Many had 5kW.  Some (notably SA) has 10kW.  Some had 3kW.

AFAIK, there are technical reasons (areas of high voltage and some long LV runs on some networks) why 10kW might be a problem in some cases.  But where this occurs, standards which apply to the inverter configurations mean it's largely self correcting: the solar inverters are required to back off, then shut down production.

There is one all too obvious reason why 5kW is the desired limit:  At 5kW most households will generate about as much power as they consume - they will export as much as they import from the grid.  But the price differential bertwen export and import (typically 3x), as well as the fixed connection fees, mean this will reduce their bills by between 1/3 & 1/4 (a generalisation obviously).  At 10kW, most households would export 3-4 times what they consume from the grid, and hence get a negative/negligable bill.

Obviously that is something untenable for a grid operator.

... battery storage!
Dangersdan707

Battery tech isn't quite there yet in terms of price, bit it's very close.  Have a look at this analysis (which quite literally has some fair weather assumptions in it): http://reneweconomy.com.au/teslas-price-shock-solar-battery-as-cheap-as-grid-power-22265/




Again, (AFAIK) a strict interpretation of the new standards means a PowerWall now counts as part of your 5kW limit, though I understand not all networks are enforcing this yet.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: On a freight train to crazy town
Also no one has mention geothermal
Nobody's mentioned fusion, Tesla's cosmic energy, Ley lines, fairy dust, unicorns and Unobtainium either...

A friend invested all his hard-earned in a geothermal startup. Last time I saw him he was extremely pissed off that he had lost the lot. Another great idea on paper that collided with reality and came off second best.
apw5910

I wonder if all those who invested their hard earned money in the Coober Pedy coalfields about 25 years ago have got their money back yet and are as extremely pissed off as your mate?
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Also no one has mention geothermal
Nobody's mentioned fusion, Tesla's cosmic energy, Ley lines, fairy dust, unicorns and Unobtainium either...

A friend invested all his hard-earned in a geothermal startup. Last time I saw him he was extremely pissed off that he had lost the lot. Another great idea on paper that collided with reality and came off second best.
apw5910
I read that NZ invested huge amounts of money in geothermal under Robert Muldoon in the seventies and early eighties but longer term the utility was marginal - aside from the fact that it's an ostensibly 'green' source. One of the biggest draw-backs is that you need to keep moving the pipes tapping the area of hot geothermal activity because the hot areas cool-off after they're tapped.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Train Controller

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Refer to types

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geothermal_power
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: Your town.
Coal ( and gas and nuclear) turbines have been tripping for generations. The bufree was always a spinning reserve. Like any piece of industrial equipment things go wrong.and honestly  big bloody deal.  smeg happens. This is just a media beat up so don't fall for it.

Solar and wind are not excempt although their smaller unit size reduces the impact.

Weather prediction is I suspect less reliable than a coal fired turbine and to date and back OT what is there when there is no wind or sun? Currently it's called a black out.
RTT_Rules
If the media factually reports that a unit has tripped out 5 times recently, whether it is unusual or not, how is that a beat up? There was no inference made about the bigger picture that we are discussing in this thread at all.

I hear what you're saying regarding the predictability of weather, but consider all possibilities:
Predictability of it being light during the day and dark at night is 100%.
Predictability of wind conditions conducive to wind powered generation is not 100%, but very high.
Predictability of a coal fired generating unit running reliably is not 100%, but very high.
Predictability of a coal fired generating unit NOT running reliably, and tripping out, is 0%.

These 0% events have been happening pretty often lately. If they are not unusual, it is even more reason to move on to something more reliable.
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: Your town.
Meanwhile, Unit 1 at Loy Yang tripped out yet again on Wednesday (up and running hard now), and Unit 1 at Yallourn bit the dust last night and is still down. Liddell finally has a third unit up but is still only a shadow of its former self, with design output rates impossible to achieve.
Loy Yang A just had a major maintenance interval on some/all of its units, teething problems have been suspected.

Meanwhile, Loy Yang B - the slightly younger power station next door, with a different owner - has been going just fine and is slated for a turbine upgrade in 2019 + 2020.
LancedDendrite
It's interesting to note the difference between the two stations.

Loy Yang A has a lot of DOUBLE redundancy built into its systems, e.g. you might have three separate conductivity transmitters monitoring the health of the de-min water system sending a signal to the DCS, or three separate flowtubes measuring the flow of a product from point A to point B. As long as one of them is within spec, everything is good. These redundancies were left to run down until recent years when there was a big push to get the plant back to as-built - but at the end of the day, it is getting old and they will forever be playing catch-up.

Loy Yang B has NO redundancy in its systems (this is one of the ways that the gov't of the day cut costs - the other way was to not complete the power station; it is only half built) and I suspect that it has always been maintained properly because they had to. The benefits of investing properly in maintenance since day dot is apparent now.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Trapped in a meeting with Rhonda and Karsten
Loy Yang B has also had a Digital Control System since commissioning and plant-wide incorporated a lot of lessons learned from the construction of Loy Yang A. Thus, while LYA & LYB are only less than a decade apart purely in terms of commissioning dates, they're decades apart in some aspects.

Loy Yang B has also had practically no industrial action occur on-site since its construction and has had no major changes to its (comparably lean) staffing levels either. Loy Yang A on the other hand...
  Groundrelay Deputy Commissioner

Location: Surrounded by Trolls!
You have billions to invest over a 25 year life and want a reasonable ROI.
The advance in technology is a given. Which energy sources will benefit the most from those advances?

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