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#1 User is offline   Gertie Keddle 

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 12:15 PM

Bitter cold shows reliable energy sources are critical
Coal, natural gas, nuclear power largely delivered. We should think twice about leaning too much on intermittent forms like wind, solar.
By Isaac Orr
January 31, 2019 — 5:56pm
Star Tribune
Excerpt:


This week’s bitter cold had the potential to be deadly. But thanks to reliable forms of energy like coal, natural gas and nuclear power, it wasn’t.

Lawmakers considering doubling Minnesota’s renewable energy mandate to 50 percent by 2030 should use this week’s weather as a moment to reconsider their plans to lean so heavily on wind and solar.

On Wednesday, when the morning temperature in the Twin Cities was negative 24 degrees, wind energy provided just 4 percent of the electricity and utilized just 24 percent of its installed capacity in a region monitored by the Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator (MISO), a not-for-profit organization that ensures reliable, least-cost delivery of electricity across all or parts of 15 U.S. states, including Minnesota.

Meanwhile, coal-fired power plants provided 45 percent of MISO’s power and nuclear provided 13 percent — most of this from Minnesota’s Prairie Island and Monticello nuclear plants (which we should keep open, by the way). Natural gas provided 26 percent of our electricity use at that time, and the remainder was imported from Canada and other U.S. states.

Natural gas also heated the homes of approximately 66 percent of Minnesotans this week, by far the most for any home heating fuel, but there wasn’t enough gas to combat the frigid temperatures.

Because of the extreme cold, Xcel Energy urged its natural gas customers in Becker, Big Lake, Chisago City, Lindstrom, Princeton and Isanti to reduce the settings on their thermostats, first down to 60 degrees, then to 63, through Thursday morning to conserve enough natural gas to prevent a widespread shortage as temperatures remained 14 below zero. Some Xcel customers in the Princeton area lost gas service, and Xcel reserved rooms for them in nearby hotels.

Enacting a 50 percent renewable energy mandate will not replace coal-fired power plants with wind and solar. It will replace coal-fired power plants with wind, solar and natural gas — enough natural gas power plants to potentially generate up to 100 percent of our electricity needs in the very possible eventuality that wind or solar are generating zero electricity at a given moment. Or, on a day like Wednesday, 96 percent of electricity might have to be generated by natural gas, with wind contributing 4 percent.

This week’s urgent notice from Xcel to conserve natural gas shows there is real danger in putting all of our eggs into the renewables-plus-natural gas basket. At minimum, pursuing a grid powered entirely by solar, wind and natural gas would require more natural gas pipeline capacity, which is likely to be opposed by the factions that are currently challenging the replacement of the Line 3 pipeline.

Lest I be accused of unfairness, it’s true that any number of unforeseen circumstances could prevent a coal, nuclear or natural gas plant from being able to run during a cold snap like this. But the key word is “unforeseen.” The intermittency of wind and solar is a feature, not a bug, which is why Minnesota lawmakers should reconsider the wisdom of enacting a mandate requiring 50 percent of our electricity to come from intermittent renewable sources.

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#2 User is offline   Dean Adam Smithee 

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 03:38 PM

View PostGertie Keddle, on 01 February 2019 - 12:15 PM, said:

Bitter cold shows reliable energy sources are critical
Coal, natural gas, nuclear power largely delivered. We should think twice about leaning too much on intermittent forms like wind, solar.
By Isaac Orr
January 31, 2019 — 5:56pm
Star Tribune
Excerpt:


This week’s bitter cold had the potential to be deadly. But thanks to reliable forms of energy like coal, natural gas and nuclear power, it wasn’t.

Lawmakers considering doubling Minnesota’s renewable energy mandate to 50 percent by 2030 should use this week’s weather as a moment to reconsider their plans to lean so heavily on wind and solar.

On Wednesday, when the morning temperature in the Twin Cities was negative 24 degrees, wind energy provided just 4 percent of the electricity and utilized just 24 percent of its installed capacity in a region monitored by the Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator (MISO), a not-for-profit organization that ensures reliable, least-cost delivery of electricity across all or parts of 15 U.S. states, including Minnesota.

Meanwhile, coal-fired power plants provided 45 percent of MISO’s power and nuclear provided 13 percent — most of this from Minnesota’s Prairie Island and Monticello nuclear plants (which we should keep open, by the way). Natural gas provided 26 percent of our electricity use at that time, and the remainder was imported from Canada and other U.S. states.

Natural gas also heated the homes of approximately 66 percent of Minnesotans this week, by far the most for any home heating fuel, but there wasn’t enough gas to combat the frigid temperatures.

Because of the extreme cold, Xcel Energy urged its natural gas customers in Becker, Big Lake, Chisago City, Lindstrom, Princeton and Isanti to reduce the settings on their thermostats, first down to 60 degrees, then to 63, through Thursday morning to conserve enough natural gas to prevent a widespread shortage as temperatures remained 14 below zero. Some Xcel customers in the Princeton area lost gas service, and Xcel reserved rooms for them in nearby hotels.

Enacting a 50 percent renewable energy mandate will not replace coal-fired power plants with wind and solar. It will replace coal-fired power plants with wind, solar and natural gas — enough natural gas power plants to potentially generate up to 100 percent of our electricity needs in the very possible eventuality that wind or solar are generating zero electricity at a given moment. Or, on a day like Wednesday, 96 percent of electricity might have to be generated by natural gas, with wind contributing 4 percent.

This week’s urgent notice from Xcel to conserve natural gas shows there is real danger in putting all of our eggs into the renewables-plus-natural gas basket. At minimum, pursuing a grid powered entirely by solar, wind and natural gas would require more natural gas pipeline capacity, which is likely to be opposed by the factions that are currently challenging the replacement of the Line 3 pipeline.

Lest I be accused of unfairness, it’s true that any number of unforeseen circumstances could prevent a coal, nuclear or natural gas plant from being able to run during a cold snap like this. But the key word is “unforeseen.” The intermittency of wind and solar is a feature, not a bug, which is why Minnesota lawmakers should reconsider the wisdom of enacting a mandate requiring 50 percent of our electricity to come from intermittent renewable sources.

Article


Indeed. Major client these days is E.On Energy out of Columbus Oh,, A behind the scenes "player" in the Midwest. Doin' my best, just as I did for LADWP in their "heat waves in summers past"

It's time for a Savoy Brown (later known as Foghat) song from the '70s.


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#3 User is offline   Rock N' Roll Right Winger 

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 05:05 PM

There was no natural gas shortage.

The problem was that the electric compressors that are used to pump the gas from the supplier to the customer had failed because the utility supplied electric power to those compressors had failed.

They need to install backup generators to power those compressors for the next time.
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#4 User is offline   Taggart Transcontinental 

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 10:44 PM

WHAT WHAT?!??!! You mean Solar Panels and wind turbines wouldn't support the demand to keep American's alive? Say it isn't so!
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#5 User is offline   Dean Adam Smithee 

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 11:32 AM

View PostTaggart Transcontinental, on 01 February 2019 - 10:44 PM, said:

WHAT WHAT?!??!! You mean Solar Panels and wind turbines wouldn't support the demand to keep American's alive? Say it isn't so!


Solar has it's place... but it will NEVER be the be-all-end-all. But it's a useful part of the mix.

The WORST thing about solar is price. At an unsubsidized cost of $138-$222/MWh (2016, Lazard), it is second only to using portable diesel generators ($212-$281/MWh, ibid) as THEE most expensive energy source.

On the other hand, The BEST thing about solar is that if you're in a remote location where you'd otherwise need a diesel generator, solar is an attractive alternative. Especially in extreme remote locations where you have to face not just the cost of diesel fuel but the cost of getting it there.

If I was to build a vacation house in the mountains or fishing cabin along a river or a beach house on a remote beach, I'd probably go solar... but I wouldn't do the 'typical' residential solar because I think it's inefficient to graft DC solar generation onto existing 120VAC infrastructure with all the conversion equipment that it requires. I'd design the house from the ground up to use low voltage DC, probably 24 VDC. It might seem attractive to use 12VDC because of all the fixtures and equipment available in the RV and small-boating world, most most who have tried to scale it to 'residential' have usually ended up worrying about I2R losses at that low of voltage. 48 VDC would be much more efficient, but I would choose 24 VDC because that's been the 'standard' DC voltage for industrial automation and control for decades and there tons of fixtures and equipment available at competitive price points. And if I ever wanted to hook back into the grid, 24VDC power supplies are readily available even up into the hundreds of amps.
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