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System Balancing & Flexibility

April 22, 2017

By Paul Homewood




There is one particular section of the Imperial College report on smart power that I wanted to highlight:







In other words, they are saying that they cannot get anywhere their decarbonisation targets, regardless of how much low carbon capacity they build, without adding “flexibility” to the system.

Their solution appears to rely on:

1) Importing energy

2) Battery storage

3) Reducing demand



Heaven help us all!

  1. Ron Hughes permalink
    April 22, 2017 9:21 am

    Hi Paul In other words, they are saying that they cannot get anywhere NEAR their decarbonisation targets,



    Sent from my iPad


  2. AlecM permalink
    April 22, 2017 10:07 am

    The solution is to reduce demand by fitting ~40% of homes and small businesses with CHP from metal/ceramic fuel cells in condensing gas boilers.

    These would reduce electricity demand by ~25% and gas consumption for that electrical power plus heating by ~40% whilst replacing diesel STOR with its ugly NOx and particulate emissions. It would also be a UK made and owned technology first.

    Then you could continue to destroy col-fired power stations and there would be no need for CCS except from growing more trees and phytoplankton: all in all a win – win for at least a Century so long as fraccing is allowed to succeed.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      April 22, 2017 3:28 pm

      Shame about those last eight words, Alec! But it does give us another stick to beat the ecomaniacs with. “Are you genuinely in favour of reducing emissions or is this just a con to bully people back into the Middle Ages?”

    • j martin permalink
      April 22, 2017 9:22 pm

      Dchp is a nice idea but I don’t think it’s available yet in the UK.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        April 23, 2017 3:56 pm

        And how much will all this cost to replace what perfectly functioning boilers with fuel cells given the UK is already deep in debt?

  3. April 22, 2017 10:21 am

    Hi Paul, I just thought I’d let you know I’ve started a short series on my blog on power system stability. I’ve noticed the conversation heading this way since the upsets in South Australia. Anyhow, power system engineering has been my thing for just over 40 working years and I thought it might be worth trying to describe the requirements for stability in way that most reasonably intelligent people could understand. Here’s a link introducing the idea, and here’s a link covering the first concept, I plan to do one article per week over the next month or two. Cheers and happy holidays.

  4. April 22, 2017 10:35 am

    The capacity of conventional power needed to backup renewables is equal to the installed capacity of renewables time its load factor. So if peak demand on a winter evening is D, installed nuclear is N and installed renewables is R

    On average D = 0.9*N + 0.25*R

    However energy security demands that D = 0.9*N + backup

    To be safe you need backup to be more like make 0.25R + 0.2*N

    Don’t forget that if heating and transport are also to be electrified then D will could be > 100GW

  5. Graeme No.3 permalink
    April 22, 2017 10:41 am

    Ireland went for CCGT as the lowest emission conventional generation and wind – zero???? emissions according to AGW dogma. The result? Higher costs, little reduction in emissions** and greater maintenance (and costs) for the GGGT.

    **Sorry, my page magnifier hasn’t arrived so am unable to say if any reduction occurred.

  6. dangeroosdave permalink
    April 22, 2017 12:29 pm

    Problematic. Just the word I was looking for. 🙂

  7. April 22, 2017 7:37 pm

    ‘Reducing demand’

    Forget about electric cars then.

  8. j martin permalink
    April 22, 2017 9:21 pm

    The solution is modern nuclear Gen IV sufficient to take the current and projected baseload. Not the old fashioned pwr they are planning to build at Hinkley. Electric vehicles can be charged overnight from an expanded nuclear electric power generation capacity.

  9. Gerry, England permalink
    April 23, 2017 4:00 pm

    As Booker so rightly points out today, the looming energy disaster won’t be discussed during the election campaign as all the parties don’t want it discussed. Oh for an organised Ukip but that seems highly unlikely. The ballooning national debt won’t be discussed either as Blue Labour want it ignored while Red Labour, Libdems etc still believe that there are austerity measures in place egged on by the BBC and Guardian.

  10. April 24, 2017 6:43 pm

    California recently had negative energy pricing for over 9 hours per day during sunlit hours because of the over supply of solar and hydro. The price then jumped to $60/MWH at around 7pm. This is not manageable without massive storage capabilities (GWH) such as compressed air energy storage or pumped hydro. Of course if you dont build dams because of the fish you cant do pumped storage either.

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