Green, ethical, energy issues in the news

edited 12 July 2021 at 11:38AM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
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  • GreatApeGreatApe
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    In a parallel universe had Germany in 2010 kept its nukes and what was existing at that time and instead of going on a PV and Wind binge had instead built just 4 nuclear power stations (average 3.5 reactors each) she would have exceeded her current 2030 plan/target

    While nukes take a long time to build, so do renewables....

    If they had built 8 nuke stations by 2030 (starting 2010) she would have had roughly the same nuclear capacity as France (~65GW capacity) annual nuclear output would have been about 94% and their hydro another 4% taking them to 98% non fossil instead they plan to produce ~17 X more fossil in their grid come 2030
  • HexaneHexane Forumite
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    GreatApe wrote: »
    http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/CNNC-completes-design-of-district-heating-reactor This is fascinating and solves hearting in perhaps the cheapest way possible
    Personally, I was always sure that it would be GreatApe who would solve hearting, before anyone else did.
    7.25 kWp PV system (4.1kW WSW & 3.15kW ENE), Solis inverter, myenergi eddi & harvi for energy diversion to immersion heater. myenergi hub for Virtual Power Plant demand-side response trial.
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    michaels wrote: »
    1) I didn't realise that the CFD prices were mirrored - ie that if spot exceeds CFD then the generation is still only paid CFD price. I had always assumed it was a floor but that anything above that went to the supplier.

    2) One issue I guess is that the more wind capacity you have the more it is likely to supress spot when it is windy and thus actually increase the cost of the cfd (although obviously not the price of the leccy)

    1. Yes, it's effectively a guaranteed price. A suggested variant for on-shore wind and PV was to issue CfD's below the expected average price, let's say £40/MWh v's an anticipated £50 average. This would simply be to provide income certainty and thereby reduce financing costs (by reducing/eliminating risk).

    This system would pay out subsidies as a top up when below £40/MWh (per the example), but when prices exceed the £40 figure, the companies would get to pocket the extra ..... but only after repaying any subsidies first. So a subsidy free support mechanism.

    2. Yes, but (there's always a but), the price will get suppressed when there's too much supply, but we have still have gas to displace, and nuclear closing down, and perhaps a small but steady rollout of storage too, so hopefully these will all slot together nicely (not particularly nice for the gas generators!)
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    Sticking with off-shore wind, couple of news items today.

    1. The Netherlands has issued another subsidy free contract. But for clarity, these tend to be near shore and shallower water, reducing costs, and UK contracts tend to come in higher again as they include the cost of building out the leccy infrastructure to serve them, whereas most European countries pay those costs centrally.

    Vattenfall Wins 760 Megawatt Subsidy-Free Dutch Offshore Wind Tender


    2. More meat on the bones of the idea about installing off-shore wind hubs to serve multiple countries. This article is more about the theory, no idea if it'll ever happen, but interesting none the less.

    Plan To Build 10 Offshore Wind Power Hubs In North Sea Deemed Feasible
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • edited 12 July 2019 at 6:14PM
    PiddlesPiddles Forumite
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    edited 12 July 2019 at 6:14PM
    Piddles wrote: »

    That's not what I remember when I crossed it (twice), unless things have changed since.... Plus I can tell you that that place is very, very, very empty. You could put PVs in there to satisfy the world's entire energy demand and no one would notice!

    Sunshine hours in January: Sahara 290, London 60.

    You guys will probably tell me otherwise, but wouldn't that be cheap enough to displace the single most carbon intensive element of UK's emissions: natural gas for home heating?
    Did anyone answer this? (putting geo-politics aside, of course)
  • edited 12 July 2019 at 7:04PM
    Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    edited 12 July 2019 at 7:04PM
    Piddles wrote: »
    Did anyone answer this? (putting geo-politics aside, of course)

    It's very tricky to answer for real, but if as you say 'putting geo-politics aside' and just theorizing, then it would work fine, with a few issues*.

    First, let's see how much land would be needed, and here we can cheat, since the work was done years ago with this wonderful article that looks at producing all the world's energy (that's all energy) by just PV (or off-shore wind):

    TOTAL SURFACE AREA REQUIRED TO FUEL THE WORLD WITH SOLAR

    As can be seen from the map, the Saharan square would power all of Europe and Africa. And looking at the bottom LHS, that square represents the area of PV needed for the whole world (to scale), which itself would fit easily in the Sahara.

    Also note that at the time this article projected forward to 20% efficient PV, but we are already passed that, bi-facial even higher, and Silicon/Perovskite expected to get into the 30's, so the area would be even less.

    Cost wise, not a problem as prices for PV in sun rich areas with cheap land values have hit $20/MWh.

    *So issues (ignoring politics, wars etc).

    We'd need storage even if we went for overcapacity.
    Need to include the costs of HVDC build out.
    Balance of payments issue as all energy costs would leave the country - Or each nation pays towards the build out, solving this.
    Building our own PV (in reality a mix of RE) would probably work out competitive when all additional costs are taken into account.


    But the takeaway here, I think, is to note that the technology we have today, costs and land area, all show that the problem is 'easily' solveable, it's just about changing the way we do things.

    After all, a 100yrs ago, producing around 350TWh of leccy per year for the UK would have seemed almost impossible, but in reality it was, dare I say, easy, as supply simply ramped up alongside growing demand.


    Edit - BTW for a more comprehensive mix of energy sources for Europe, including N. African solar, then Google Desertec.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • ed110220ed110220 Forumite
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    GreatApe wrote: »
    Anywhere on the Northern hemisphere is more during our summer and less during our winter

    It's not at all likely because the cost to move the power will be too much but more importantly no nation would want to rely on another for its electricity imports

    The UK isn't going to invest a trillion dollars (or whatever) in an African country when all it takes is one 'democratic vote' to vote that investment as no longer yours. Or do it in one of hundreds of other ways. Introduce an electricity export tax. Same thing basically extortion. It's not like we will nuke them for them. We will just look back at the idiots today who made this crippling decision as we sit in our cold homes and try to figure out a way to heat homes domestically

    It's somewhat different with fossil fuels because there are many suppliers
    With the mass PV in country X you can't take your trillion dolla investment and put it in another country

    This is not strictly true. Most of the tropics and subtropics have a peak in rainfall (and cloud) around or after the summer solstice ie around July in the northern hemisphere and January in the southern hemisphere. This is often enough to cancel out or invert the pattern of sunnier summers and gloomier winters we are used to in North West Europe. Eg Mumbai gets its monthly minimum of about 90 kWh/kWp in July (its summer) and its maximum of 173 kWh/kWp in March.
  • PiddlesPiddles Forumite
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    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    It's very tricky to answer for real....
    Fabulous, educational post Mart, great links, thank you.

    But without the geo-politics and without the storage, might it be cheap enough to displace natural gas home heating?
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    Piddles wrote: »
    Fabulous, educational post Mart, great links, thank you.

    But without the geo-politics and without the storage, might it be cheap enough to displace natural gas home heating?

    I don't know, there are too many variables for me, so I can only guess.

    I know that Iceland can produce dirt cheap leccy, around £20/MWh, but the expected CfD for 'Icelink' which includes the cost of the huge interconnector was around £80/MWh, and didn't progress any further (yet), so we really have to take the cost of interconnectors very seriously.

    There again, a build out through Europe, shared by all countries, and 'Desertec' style designed to shift leccy in all directions, might help reduce costs.

    The difference here being Iceland to the UK is a long, one direction, single stop off cable, whereas an expanded Europe route with multiple countries, and multiple inputs, and multi-directional is obviously different, but my brain gives out at that point on any cost guesses.

    Ignoring interconnector costs, then $20/MWh leccy from Africa kills gas for space heating even on simple and cheap direct leccy heating, but add in 3-4x greater efficiency from heat pumps and there's no contest.

    But back to reality, let's look at wholesale prices v's retail, and we are really talking something around 5p/kWh v's 15-20p/kWh (when standing charges are included too), so we see the fuel cost is actually smaller than all the delivery and administration costs. So comparing fuel cost differences doesn't really answer the question.

    I appreciate this answers nothing, but just trying to convey how complicated things get when you start to include some of the variables.

    I love the idea of African sunshine, but a simpler solution might just be for Spain to build the PV and sell more leccy to Northern Europe, but that too hits the problem of who pays for the interconnectors, as that cost is the bigger issue (I think?)

    [Slight diversion, but this issue becomes very, very important in countries like Australia, where the cost of PV generation and storage on the demand side is heading for the cost of leccy distribution. When generation and storage gets cheaper than distribution, then even if the fuel cost of centralised generation was zero, it will still cost more to buy grid leccy than going off-grid. This problem is almost insurmountable, almost, as working with customers and sharing their storage for grid demand peaks (and paying them high rates) is a way of potentially preventing the loss of upto 1/3rd of the Aussie domestic customer base as self generation grows.]

    A variant on the idea, might be ammonia shipments. Australia and Japan are taking this very seriously and already trialing the transportation of Aussie 'sunlight' to Japan to test the idea.

    So Africa overbuilds PV for their own needs, then ships PV as ammonia (safer and more dense way to move hydrogen) to UK. Think of it like LNG.

    But then we have to compare African PV + all conversion and transport costs, against UK off-shore wind (since this will be a winter issue), and I'm once again completely out of my depth.

    Hope this is fun, even if actual conclusions are too hard to achieve.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • PiddlesPiddles Forumite
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    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    Hope this is fun, even if actual conclusions are too hard to achieve.
    Fun and fascinating. I wonder if you shouldn't be blogging with all this accumulated knowledge to a far wider audience.
    I know that Iceland can produce dirt cheap leccy, around £20/MWh, but the expected CfD for 'Icelink' which includes the cost of the huge interconnector was around £80/MWh, and didn't progress any further (yet), so we really have to take the cost of interconnectors very seriously.
    Wow. That would appear to kill the whole concept completely dead. Yet we're spending £2 billion on the apparently very similar looking one to Norway?
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