More renewables mean less stable grids, researchers find

More renewables mean less stable grids, researchers find

Grid stability is likely to be increasingly challenged as power distribution moves from a centralized to a more decentralized model, new research has found.

According to a paper published this week in the journal Nature Energy by researchers from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and the UK’s Queen Mary University of London, integrating growing numbers of renewable power installations and microgrids onto the grid can result in larger-than-expected fluctuations in grid frequency.

The researchers collected data from grids of various sizes in Germany, France, the UK, Finland, Mallorca, Japan and the US. Based on this data, they developed mathematical models that “can establish the influence of making the grid smaller or of adding a bit more renewable energy” in order to aid in planning, said Professor Christian Beck of Queen Mary University, one of the paper’s co-authors.

The team found that small grids like Mallorca’s displayed larger frequency deviations than larger grids, such as continental Europe’s. And comparing different regions showed that a larger share of renewable generation resulted in larger frequency deviations.

“The grid operators want the frequency to be 50 Hz, but it fluctuates a little bit around this all the time,” said Beck. “We can now establish the probability that the deviation is more than 2 per cent or so, which is a big deviation, and we found that the probability of that is higher than expected from pure random fluctuation.”

Beck told PEi that the research team’s “first surprise was that energy trading had a significant impact on the grids studied” after Germany’s grid and others displayed particularly large fluctuations every 15 minutes, corresponding to spot market trading.

“The grid frequency had big jumps every 15-30 minutes,” he said, “and it wasn’t clear to us before that trading has such a big effect. Most people were worried about renewables because they are unpredictable and certainly produce fluctuations in frequency. Trading gives a similar order of, or stronger, fluctuation, which hadn’t been clear to us or, I think, to most people.”

Comparatively, the research showed that a larger share of renewable generation in a given region resulted in larger deviations from the standard 50 Hz. For example, the UK, with more renewables than the US, also had larger frequency deviations. To integrate more renewables onto the UK grid, the research team recommends increasing primary control and demand response.

“The UK is somewhat special,” Beck said, “in that it has a much higher component of wind power contributing, and it also has an overall smaller grid than the rest of Europe. Still, frequency fluctuations caused by trading seem to be at least as relevant as fluctuations caused by renewables.”

Asked about the effects on microgrids, he said that “the maths allows us to extrapolate the effects depending on the size of the grid. If we extrapolate our results to smaller grids, then indeed we would be implying that the effects are more pronounced there, and if people wish to have a microgrid then they need to relax a little bit the conditions they demand on constant frequency.”

“I don’t think we are saying anything against microgrids,” he added. “You just have to complement them with suitable control strategies to make sure the frequency is constant enough.”

Source

The idea that by some miraculous yet to be invented ‘smart’ grid this problem can be overcome belongs to the domain of futuristic solutions. Obviously the more failure prone advanced electronics you add to the problem, the solution becomes a problem. 

And all this still is based on the current situation without having provisions for the enormous extra load Electric Vehicles will put on that grid.

If ever the general transport currently based on hydrocarbons where to be replaced by electric the current grid and further infrastructure would buckle at the first time the  47 quadrillion Btu in 2012 to 94 quadrillion Btu in 2040 for the transport sector alone would be trying to get that of any electric grid, being it smart or super-intelligent.

Why current EV vehicles will not replace ICE vehicles

Why current EV vehicles will not replace ICE vehicles

Simple. There is no national grid that can nor will supply the energy needed to replace the energy currently supplied by hydrocarbons. Not daily, not hourly.

I’ll keep it extremely simple to be comprehensible. To transport the equivalent of hydrocarbon energy content to electricity you need very high capacity 24/7 power plants. You need to have high capacity transport lines in the 1000 kV range which need multiple transformers to  step down the energy to the level it won’t blow up your car.

You need the cables, either from aluminum or copper to take up the charge. No national grid has this. So you need to replace the whole infrastructure down to the connection of your domicile to the grid.

The grid needs to be able to compensate for the wildly varying supply now that so called green power plants come on line. Solar doesn’t work at night, wind farms don’t work when there is either to much or to little wind.

But even if they would work 24/7 (current levels are at best 20% of rated capacity in the northern hemisphere) still no city has the infrastructure to cope with a projected demand of 100% EV vehicles, ships, airplanes.

In fact even the very big conglomerates with the most modern infrastructure won’t be able to supply all energy needs including vehicles without melting the transport lines.

On purpose i refrained from introducing the calculations of how much energy is generated using hydrocarbons and how there is noway anyone will be able to replace it by green energy nor realistically transmit it to the end-user.

The problem here is that those who profess this replacement live in large cities, with relatively few EV vehicles and electricity supplied by fossil fuels without realizing that the the rest of the world doesn’t have an infrastructure even capable to keep a refrigerator running without fail let alone charge an EV vehicle.

And don’t get me started on long haul trucks. Only a very small part of the world has flat straight roads with high capacity power lines.

Or transatlantic freight-ships. Where are you going to charge your 200.000 tonnes capacity container-ship? The Panama canal?

 

 

 

France’s electricity to remain cheap


There are artificial self-imposed targets, plans and even laws – and then there’s reality, if ‘keeping the lights on’ is a priority. Scrapping nuclear capacity implies either having something convincing to replace it with, or risking the wrath of the voters if/when things start to go wrong. The French environment minister Nicolas Hulot says the […]

via France delays reduction of nuclear power — Tallbloke’s Talkshop

Ed Hoskins: Capital Cost and Production Effectiveness of Renewable Energy in Europe – the Data

Ed Hoskins:  Capital Cost and Production Effectiveness of Renewable Energy in Europe – the Data

Not that facts will prevent the EU continue to force its provinces (the former nationstates) to throw money down the ‘alternative’ energy drain

Tallbloke's Talkshop

Guest post from Ed Hoskins
A comparison of both the Capital Cost and Energy Production Effectiveness of the Renewable Energy in Europe.

The diagrams and table below collate the cost and capacity factors of Renewable Energy power sources, Onshore and Off-shore Wind Farms and Large scale Photovoltaic Solar generation, compared to the cost and output capacity of conventional Gas Fired Electricity generation.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 08.16.07

The associated base data is shown below:

View original post 2,794 more words

How windfarms burn money to generate energy

How windfarms burn money to generate energy

Dr Gordon Hughes

The Performance of Wind Farms in the United Kingdom and Denmark

Executive Summary

1. Onshore wind turbines represent a relatively mature technology, which ought to have achieved a satisfactory level of reliability in operation as plants age. Unfortunately, detailed analysis of the relationship between age and performance gives a rather different picture for both the United Kingdom and Denmark with a significant decline in the average load factor of onshore wind farms adjusted for wind availability as they get older. An even more dramatic decline is observed for offshore wind farms in Denmark, but this may be a reflection of the immaturity of the technology.

2. The study has used data on the monthly output of wind farms in the UK and Denmark reported under regulatory arrangements and schemes for subsidizing renewable energy. Normalized age-performance curves have been estimated using standard statistical techniques which allow for differences between sites and over time in wind resources and other factors.

3. The normalized load factor for UK onshore wind farms declines from a peak of about 24% at age 1 to 15% at age 10 and 11% at age 15. The decline in the normalized load factor for Danish onshore wind farms is slower but still significant with a fall from a peak of 22% to 18% at age 15. On the other hand for offshore wind farms in Denmark the normalized load factor falls from 39% at age 0 to 15% at age 10. The reasons for the observed declines in normalized load factors cannot be fully assessed using the data available but outages due to mechanical breakdowns appear to be a contributory factor.

4. Analysis of site-specific performance reveals that the average normalized load factor of new UK onshore wind farms at age 1 (the peak year of operation) declined significantly from 2000 to 2011. In addition, larger wind farms have systematically worse performance than smaller wind farms. Adjusted for age and wind availability the overall performance of wind farms in the UK has deteriorated markedly since the beginning of the century.

5. These findings have important implications for policy towards wind generation in the UK. First, they suggest that the subsidy regime is extremely generous if investment in new wind farms is profitable despite the decline in performance due to age and over time. Second, meeting the UK Government’s targets for wind generation will require a much higher level of wind capacity – and, thus, capital investment – than current projections imply. Third, the structure of contracts offered to wind generators under the proposed reform of the electricity market should be modified since few wind farms will operate for more than 12–15 years.

Windenergy really really isn’t cost effective by any standard (PDF)