QUICK NEWS, June 16: GETTING NEW ENERGY ON THE WIRES; WIND AND STORAGE AGREE; WATER AND BIG SUN; HOW TO BUILD WIND FAST
GETTING NEW ENERGY ON THE WIRES
Regrid: Re-wiring the thinking on grid-tied renewables; The challenges of integrating renewables into existing grid infrastructure, and how Regrid is addressing this
Albrecht Tiedmann, 10 June 2011 (CSP Today)
"Renewables like CSP, PV, and wind are evolving rapidly…In Germany, at certain wind or sunshine and load conditions, the share of renewable energy generation can exceed 50% of total energy demand…[P] rices for the technologies continue to decline…[so] the percentage of renewables will - and must - rise [further]…
"…[This] raises important issues and questions, such as whether the energy supply system can safely sustain high amounts of [variable] wind and solar energy…Transmission grid operators face the challenge of balancing the energy system…[which means they] must grapple with how best to forecast wind and solar power for dispatch centres and how to reduce forecast errors."
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"…[G]overnments, utilities, OEMs and other stakeholders must find ways to balance rising energy demand with weather dependant renewables, and to balance the cost of grid integration…
"Most capacity building programs tend to focus on know-how on project development, operation of projects or their maintenance and repair, on the technology development or on financing aspects. But it is also important to have a look at the whole energy system from the grid operators’ and dispatch centres’ point of view…[M]easures to control the frequency and the voltage have to change…[T]his means new methodologies to calculate balancing power, to set up a power station schedule for the next day, to forecast power more precisely, to cover peak load and to plan investments in power stations or to ensure a flexible combination of renewable and conventional power generation."
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"More renewables also affect the upgrade and the extent of distribution and transmission grids, the requirements for grid codes, grid connection studies and grid simulations...To enable experts of the solar belt around the Mediterranean to develop and implement solutions, the Renewables Academy AG (RENAC) was commissioned by the German Federal Environment Ministry to provide a Capacity Building Program on Grid Integration of Large Amounts of Renewable Energy in the Electricity Grids (ReGrid)…
"…[I]t offers seminars for professionals in ministries, grid operators, energy service companies, financing institutions, law firms and NGOs in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia…Teaching new tricks to experienced and highly qualified engineers and managers is a key focus of ReGrid…ReGrid seminars are planned for 2012 and 2013 in Berlin…"
WIND AND STORAGE AGREE
Removing Barriers for Clean Technologies
Joanna Schroeder, June 9, 2011 (Domestic Fuel)
"A new ‘joint principles’ document has been created by the Electricity Storage Association (ESA) and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) to help…remove barriers and increase market access for emerging clean energy technologies such as wind…Energy storage [is another challenge]…"
[Brad Roberts, Executive Director, ESA:] “Our policymakers need to understand the potential for these resources to improve our electric grid reliability, while creating jobs and stimulating American innovation and manufacturing. While wind energy makes our grid cleaner, energy storage makes our grid more flexible and reliable.”
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"The agreed principles include the value of energy storage across the utility industry…The organizations want more focus on energy storage and potential solutions to strategically store energy on wind farms [including 3 specific policies]…
"… Wholesale energy markets and ancillary services markets should be created and expanded, and barriers to entry into those markets eliminated… Market and operating rules should be based around the type of service needed…any technology that is able to reliably provide a needed service should be able to provide it…[and] bundled services should be disaggregated…"
Curtailment is getting too expensive to NOT do storage. (click to enlarge)
"…[And, 3] Low cost grid operating reforms that will create more competition and make the grid operate more efficiently, such as greater balancing coordination and faster generator dispatch intervals, should be implemented as soon as possible."
[Denise Bode, CEO, AWEA:] “Large amounts of wind energy are being reliably and cost-effectively integrated onto the power system today…Energy storage can be a valuable resource for the power system in maximizing the efficient use of this resource, and add flexibility for electric utilities…”
WATER AND BIG SUN
Cooler, smarter options for hot CSP technologies; Increasing water scarcity is forcing CSP developers into a corner, given the sheer volume of water required by certain technologies for cooling and mirror washing, and communities’ growing concern over water use. Smart solutions are in demand.
Bob Moser, 10 June 2011 (CSP Today)
"…[W]et and dry cooling methods [for solar power plants are] the only feasible options today - both of which have drawbacks. But developers and researchers are exploring different configurations for hybrid cooling systems…[Wet cooling uses too much water]…Dry cooling has been around for the last 15 years, but…CSP plants [in] dry, sunny [U.S.] areas…during the summer months when CSP must perform…[suffer] with dry cooling because of intense solar radiation…
"…A recent study by NREL found that…[the] minimal use of water, primarily in an air-cooled condenser, may prove to be the best way to lower the amount of water used while still harnessing its benefits as a cooling agent, says Jordan Macknick, energy and environmental analyst with NREL…NREL's study found that dry cooling would generally achieve a 90-92% decline in water consumption, with an increase in cost for generating electricity of 3-8%, depending on the climate…"
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"Non-traditional water sources are the other option with the best potential for applicability at low cost…Shallow brackish water and recycled wash water collected from mirror washing are the two options furthest along…
"NREL has been working with researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder on ways to reduce the amount of water used to wash CSP mirrors. Current practice usually involves spraying the mirrors with a hose, but a high-pressure spraying system with a squeegee involved could reduce washwater by 90% if it's automated…[but that’s] a drop in the bucket compared to the daily water demand for wet cooling. About 20 to 30 gallons of washwater are used for every Mwh generated, compared to 700 to 900 gallons per Mwh used now for wet cooling…"
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"Non-water liquids could become feasible as a cooling source but would add considerably to capital costs, requiring another stage to cool down that liquid, which couldn't simply be evaporated like water. Some researchers are reportedly testing high-pressured carbon dioxide gas or ionized air… CSP developers [may try] to choose sites more carefully…The ideal CSP locale would have clear, sunny skies but cold ambient temperature…
"When compared to water usage at coal-fired energy plants in the American southwest that includes water used during the coal mining, transport and cooling at the plant, CSP's wet-cooling system uses less water. And compared to biofuels based on corn or soybean, CSP wet cooling waters less per acre…[But] CSP uses more water per MW than a combined-cycle gas-fired plant…"
HOW TO BUILD WIND FAST
MidAmerican Energy's Iowa Projects Put Mortenson To The Test
Mark Del Franco, 7 June 2011 (North American Windpower)
"A trio of Iowa wind farms being developed by utility MidAmerican Energy Co. promises to put Mortenson Construction to the test…because the projects - the 443.9 MW Rolling Hills, 29.9 MW Pomeroy and 119.6 MW Laurel - are being built simultaneously.
"The build-out of the wind farms began on May 16 and requires the continuous delivery and assembly of 10 Siemens 2.3 MW turbines per week until mid to late November, says Tom Budler, MidAmerican Energy's general manager of wind development, adding that 593.4 MW will bring the company's Iowa total to 1,877 MW…"
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"…Taken together, this is the largest combined project ever undertaken by Mortenson…Mortenson is nearly complete with the design and has started the construction of foundations, access roads and underground collection…[It] plans to concentrate on turbine delivery, which underscores the importance of logistics and planning.
"Some of the turbines are coming from Denmark and are arriving through the Port of Duluth, while other components will arrive from Siemens' Hutchinson, Kan., facility…[and] from the Siemens facility in Fort Madison, Iowa, by truck…The turbines for the Rolling Hills project will require more than 2,000 semi loads of turbine components, more than 8,000 truckloads of concrete and 110 miles of crane walks…"
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"MidAmerican Energy says that all three projects need to be completed by the end of the year. To ensure that the projects stay on schedule, MidAmerican Energy, Siemens and Mortenson are using a staging area near the site to pre-load about two turbines' worth of component deliveries per day…The staging calls for turbines to be shipped to the local area the day before…
"With rolling hills and terraces, the terrain near the turbine sites is challenging…[T]here are areas where the 16,000 WA cranes cannot operate, which requires them to be completely dismantled, trucked to the site, and re-assembled across the 140 square miles of the project…[Construction will also] be tricky due to the area's wet soils resulting from heavy rains…"