Jay McKinsey

Battery storage 30% cheaper than new gas peaker plants, Australian study finds

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Grids around the world rely on open cycle gas turbine (OCGT) technology at times when demand for electricity is at its highest. OCGTs often only run for a few hours at a time and a few times per year but are among the most polluting assets in the grid operator’s toolkit for balancing energy supply with demand.

While OCGTs were state-of-the-art decades ago, offering the ability to start generating power within 15 minutes of starting up, lithium-ion battery energy storage can respond to grid signals in fractions of a second and can be charged with renewable energy sources like solar and wind.

The authors of CEC’s new paper, ‘Battery storage: the new, clean peaker,’ found that a 250MW, four-hour (1,000MWh) battery system in New South Wales would be a cheaper option for meeting peak demand than a 250MW new-build OCGT from both levelised cost of energy (LCOE) and levelised cost of capacity (LCOC) perspectives.

The National Electricity Market (NEM), which covers six Australian states including New South Wales, generally sees peaker plants called into use for about three or four hours each night from 6pm as solar production tails off and evening demand goes up.

Batteries can cover this period, CEC said, and even before factoring in the falling cost of charging the batteries with solar and wind energy resources that continue to get cheaper as well as the falling costs and rising efficiencies of the batteries themselves, neither the economic rationale or necessity to build new gas plants exists anymore in Australia.

In addition to being faster and more accurate in providing peaking services and frequency response, battery storage can also provide a wide range of other services to the network: including inertia and voltage support, which are not only needed for integrating rising shares of renewable energy but also give asset operators the options to earn other revenues which can help recover the cost of investment....

https://www.energy-storage.news/news/battery-storage-30-cheaper-than-new-gas-peaker-plants-australian-study-find

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1 hour ago, Jay McKinsey said:

Grids around the world rely on open cycle gas turbine (OCGT) technology at times when demand for electricity is at its highest. OCGTs often only run for a few hours at a time and a few times per year but are among the most polluting assets in the grid operator’s toolkit for balancing energy supply with demand.

Jay - come now. Strapped for a case for building batteries you cite a dodgy Australian study by the Clean Energy Council. If I had quoted a study by the Gas Council or a fossil fuel lobby group saying that batteries are a costly waste of resources would you have accepted it? Of course not. You would have rejected it without looking at it. As it is I'll do the CEC the courtesy of examining the study. The place to look is never the study itself but the assumptions. Note these assumptions.

operating capacity 10% • Australian gas assets have operated at a relatively wide (and declining) range of load factors over the past five-six years, with OCGTs typically operating at 5-15% load factors (independent advice). Battery capital cost • AUD$470 for two-hour • AUD$370 for four-hour • Note: prices based on AEMO 2022 ISP Draft Input Assumptions – taking average of Sustainable Growth scenario pricing across 2021/22 and 2022/23.

They are taking an average but they've had to bring mothballed gas plants back on line in Australia in the past few years, as well as install diesel generators thanks to grid failures. So I strongly doubt the operating capacity assumption. In any case there is no reason why the turbines cannot be run at 20 or 30 per cent (dunno if you'd go beyond that for a turbine - someone who knows them better may be able to say). Also they can be powered up and down with ease and keep going long after a battery has run flat. In other words forget the battery. The price difference for a four hour battery is, in any case, fairly small even with these favourable assumptions, including what would seem to be favourable price assumptions.

Of course these gas turbines are polluting but more of them are needed because activists insist on loading grids with next to useless renewables. Of course, if there was an advantage to these batteries then we would be seeing a lot more of them and the government would not be intervening (as happens in Australia). Anyway, I hope all that helps.         

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4 hours ago, markslawson said:

Of course, if there was an advantage to these batteries then we would be seeing a lot more of them and the government would not be intervening (as happens in Australia). Anyway, I hope all that helps.         

Well it seems Australia has as many batteries in the pipeline as California: https://www.energy-storage.news/news/worlds-biggest-battery-storage-project-announced-by-australian-renewables-f

But since you are here I wish you could clear something up for me. You have repeatedly claimed that batteries can't replace gas plants. 

Can you explain why if a grid has 40GWh of demand and they have 40GWh of batteries they would still need to run the gas plants to meet that demand?

 

 

Edited by Jay McKinsey

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2 hours ago, Jay McKinsey said:

Can you explain why if a grid has 40GWh of peaker demand and they have 40GWh of batteries they would still need to turn on the gas peaker plants to meet that demand?

Demand = Instantaneous Generation = GW

Energy =GHh

Batteries must be recharged.  That implies you require more generation than actual average demand to generate and store those 40 GWh.  Don't get me wrong, batteries have their place.  They respond great!

What constrains peakers from producing much more than 40 GWh as long as they have fuel?

A 40 GWh battery is REALLY BIG, BTW.  Possible, just a LOT.

I think I'll keep a few peakers "in my back pocket", just in case it gets cloudy one day, thank you. I might have to charge batteries with them...

Edited by turbguy
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1 minute ago, turbguy said:

Demand = Instantaneous Generation = GW

Energy =GHh

Batteries must be recharged.  That implies you require more renewable power than actual average demand to generate and store those 40 GWh.

What constrains peakers from producing much more than 40 GWh as long as they have fuel?

A 40 GWh battery is REALLY BIG, BTW.  Possible, just a LOT.

I think I'll keep a few peakers "in my back pocket", just in case it gets cloudy one day, thank you. 

The peaker demand in Califonria is very predictable. It is primarily created because of our solar duck curve. We generate excess cheap electricty during the middle of the day that we are going to use to charge the batteries and then discharge in the evening at peak demand when solar falls off. 

The Duck Curve: A Review of California's Daily Load Predictions - Aurora  Solar

We will have well over 40 GWh of batteries on the grid by the end of the decade, probably more like 100GWh. Ultimately we will have far more than that on the grid.

Peakers with fuel are constrained by economics, they are only run until the more efficient CCGT get up to full output.

Nothing wrong with keeping a few peakers on the grid, but you don't need to run them every day like we do now. Just in the occasional emergency. Ultimately though they will run on green hydorgen. 

Thanks for the reply.

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26 minutes ago, Jay McKinsey said:

The peaker demand in Califonria is very predictable. It is primarily created because of our solar duck curve. We generate excess cheap electricty during the middle of the day that we are going to use to charge the batteries and then discharge in the evening at peak demand when solar falls off. 

The Duck Curve: A Review of California's Daily Load Predictions - Aurora  Solar

We will have well over 40 GWh of batteries on the grid by the end of the decade, probably more like 100GWh. Ultimately we will have far more than that on the grid.

Peakers with fuel are constrained by economics, they are only run until the more efficient CCGT get up to full output.

Nothing wrong with keeping a few peakers on the grid, but you don't need to run them every day like we do now. Just in the occasional emergency. Ultimately though they will run on green hydorgen. 

 

If you generate "over generation" on the grid, frequency will rise.  Not good.  What I think you mean to say is "other than renewable" generation is curtailed during mid-day (at the belly of the duck).  You are using local renewables to depress total grid demand.

However, that will work.  Realize that you will be burning fuel mid-day (or at least during "off peak") to charge them (unless you have "excess" renewable to do the job).  Until you reach excess renewable, that power will be as expensive as the fossil market allows.

At least you won't be burning as much fuel with peakers, as their need will be reduced.

BTW, if you operate peakers daiiy, that's near an emergency.

Edited by turbguy

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3 hours ago, turbguy said:

If you generate "over generation" on the grid, frequency will rise.  Not good.  What I think you mean to say is "other than renewable" generation is curtailed during mid-day (at the belly of the duck).  You are using local renewables to depress total grid demand.

However, that will work.  Realize that you will be burning fuel mid-day (or at least during "off peak") to charge them (unless you have "excess" renewable to do the job).  Until you reach excess renewable, that power will be as expensive as the fossil market allows.

At least you won't be burning as much fuel with peakers, as their need will be reduced.

BTW, if you operate peakers daiiy, that's near an emergency.

The graphic is from a CAISO report.   The plan is to have excess renewables. 

We frequently run the peakers when the ramp is steepest and we also use fast start CCGT.

 

 

 

Edited by Jay McKinsey

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It appears we are mixing two different timeframes here. A four-hour battery can time-shift the daily peak pretty much every day in some places and in some seasons, leaving the OCGTs nothing to do on  a daily basis. But the batteries cannot be depended on of for the worst-case peaks in extreme conditions, so maybe twice a year you need to fire up those OCGTs.  There is a continuum of possible solutions, from no batteries at all at one end to no OCGTs at all at the other end. The most cost-effective solution is somewhere in between. The problem with today's lithium batteries is that they are expensive on an energy basis: they store and then deliver energy at a high rate, very efficiently, but, only for four hours. But during extreme events we may need to store a week's worth of energy, and lithium batteries are just too expensive tor that.   Today's solution for long-term energy storage is primarily Natural Gas. California stores more than a month's worth of natural gas. We donlt use NG to store renewable energy,but the existence of the peakers means we can use renewables+batteries to limit the NG==>electricity consumption, ultimately only using it for extreme events, ans we can to this today. In the future, we can use alternative storage approaches to actually store energy produced by renewables, but we are not there yet because that stuff is capital-intensive. The main contenders are pumped hydro and H2.

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8 hours ago, Jay McKinsey said:

The peaker demand in Califonria is very predictable. It is primarily created because of our solar duck curve. We generate excess cheap electricty during the middle of the day that we are going to use to charge the batteries and then discharge in the evening at peak demand when solar falls off. 

The Duck Curve: A Review of California's Daily Load Predictions - Aurora  Solar

We will have well over 40 GWh of batteries on the grid by the end of the decade, probably more like 100GWh. Ultimately we will have far more than that on the grid.

Peakers with fuel are constrained by economics, they are only run until the more efficient CCGT get up to full output.

Nothing wrong with keeping a few peakers on the grid, but you don't need to run them every day like we do now. Just in the occasional emergency. Ultimately though they will run on green hydorgen. 

Thanks for the reply.

So let’s say enough batteries are installed to take care of the spike from 6-9 pm. But in the case of the Texas storm won’t Peakers still be needed even if only once every 10 years? That would be a lot of infrastructure doing nothing. 
If you got rid of peaker plants you would need enough battery capacity to last for days or potentially weeks. 
I don’t see any answer for a cheap solution. While renewables are the answer 99% of the time seems like it would take a nation wide grid to spread out major losses of electricity in a region over say a week or longer.

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2 minutes ago, Boat said:

So let’s say enough batteries are installed to take care of the spike from 6-9 pm. But in the case of the Texas storm won’t Peakers still be needed even if only once every 10 years? That would be a lot of infrastructure doing nothing. 
If you got rid of peaker plants you would need enough battery capacity to last for days or potentially weeks. 
I don’t see any answer for a cheap solution. While renewables are the answer 99% of the time seems like it would take a nation wide grid to spread out major losses of electricity in a region over say a week or longer.

In states without a duck curve peakers only run a few hours a year. They mostly just sit. Green hydrogen is the replacement for natural gas.

For the nation wide renewable grid we just need to run HVDC through abandoned fossil fuel pipelines and connect regional hubs.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Boat said:

So let’s say enough batteries are installed to take care of the spike from 6-9 pm. But in the case of the Texas storm won’t Peakers still be needed even if only once every 10 years? That would be a lot of infrastructure doing nothing. 
If you got rid of peaker plants you would need enough battery capacity to last for days or potentially weeks. 
I don’t see any answer for a cheap solution. While renewables are the answer 99% of the time seems like it would take a nation wide grid to spread out major losses of electricity in a region over say a week or longer.

Yep. This is the fundamental problem and I think it it why we keep arguing on this forum. We need to invest whole lot of capital to meet a rare situation. As the energy system and its fiscal structures have evolved over the last century, consumers pay for electricity and utilities invest capital and sell the electricity, so the fundamental mindset has been that a peaker must pay for itself based on the electricity it produces. But this is not the way to look at it, so we need to change the financial model and its mindset.  Our society pays for lots of stuff we hope we never need, for example the military and the fire department.

I am personally more in favor of local storage than I am of  long-distance transfer to meet peaks, but both probably have their place. We need energy storage in two timeframes. Batteries handle the short inter-day timeframe. They are preferred because the round-trip power==>storage==>power efficiency is very high. For longer-term storage (days, weeks, months)  storage efficiency ($/kWh) predominates, even when the round-trip efficiency is much lower. Basically, the lost energy is part of the cost of the long-term storage, and it is economical when you are using "free" excess renewable energy. In practice, the renewables are used every day with the electricity first going to instantaneous demand, then to battery until the battery is full, and finally to long-term, so renewables are not curtailed until long-term storage is completely full.  In California, if we stored as much hydrogen (or equivalent) as we currently store natural gas, we would have several months worth.

The two major contenders for long-term storage are Hydrogen and pumped hydro. The advantage of hydrogen is that it is also an efficient way to transport energy from areas with an annual surplus to areas without an annual surplus. Unfortunately, we are not there yet. A likely candidate for hydrogen transport and storage is ammonia.

Edited by Dan Clemmensen
clarify: efficiency = $/kWh
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7 hours ago, Dan Clemmensen said:

Yep. This is the fundamental problem and I think it it why we keep arguing on this forum. We need to invest whole lot of capital to meet a rare situation. As the energy system and its fiscal structures have evolved over the last century, consumers pay for electricity and utilities invest capital and sell the electricity, so the fundamental mindset has been that a peaker must pay for itself based on the electricity it produces. But this is not the way to look at it, so we need to change the financial model and its mindset.  Our society pays for lots of stuff we hope we never need, for example the military and the fire department.

I am personally more in favor of local storage than I am of  long-distance transfer to meet peaks, but both probably have their place. We need energy storage in two timeframes. Batteries handle the short inter-day timeframe. They are preferred because the round-trip power==>storage==>power efficiency is very high. For longer-term storage (days, weeks, months)  storage efficiency ($/kWh) predominates, even when the round-trip efficiency is much lower. Basically, the lost energy is part of the cost of the long-term storage, and it is economical when you are using "free" excess renewable energy. In practice, the renewables are used every day with the electricity first going to instantaneous demand, then to battery until the battery is full, and finally to long-term, so renewables are not curtailed until long-term storage is completely full.  In California, if we stored as much hydrogen (or equivalent) as we currently store natural gas, we would have several months worth.

The two major contenders for long-term storage are Hydrogen and pumped hydro. The advantage of hydrogen is that it is also an efficient way to transport energy from areas with an annual surplus to areas without an annual surplus. Unfortunately, we are not there yet. A likely candidate for hydrogen transport and storage is ammonia.

If you control evaporation and leakage, pumped storage ain't bad (about 75% +/- round trip).  Batteries somewhat better, about 80% (+/-).

Most storage battery inverters are grid-following.  I don't believe many are "grid forming" (act like rotating equipment) yet.

Edited by turbguy
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23 hours ago, Jay McKinsey said:

But since you are here I wish you could clear something up for me. You have repeatedly claimed that batteries can't replace gas plants. 

Can you explain why if a grid has 40GWh of demand and they have 40GWh of batteries they would still need to run the gas plants to meet that demand?

Jay - first off the Australian batteries count as token to date. There are more of them than there were but like the Californian batteries their main purpose is simply to keep the grid together while the gas plans ramp up, which goes to the second point. I didn't say you'd run them together. That would overload the grid. The point about gas plants is that they don't go flat. Batteries run out of charge, you know. The problem with renewables is that when they go down they may go down collectively for days at a time. This problem is particularly acute in Europe as wind may die over a large area for weeks in winter when days are overcast. Its less so in Australia and I don't know about the US, but recent events suggest that to rely on batteries and renewables alone is straight madness. You gotta have the gas plants, and hopefully enough to cover peak demand on the grid, even if the operators don't fire them up from one week to the next. If you can reliably import from other states/countries that helps, but this stand-by problem is the reason why capacity markets have grown up over no where in the past few years. Jay it would be nice if you'd absorb this point so the debate can move on. Repeating the same point constantly is wearing.. anyway, that's as far as the debate can go for now. Leave it with you.    

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8 hours ago, Dan Clemmensen said:

Yep. This is the fundamental problem and I think it it why we keep arguing on this forum. We need to invest whole lot of capital to meet a rare situation. As the energy system and its fiscal structures have evolved over the last century, consumers pay for electricity and utilities invest capital and sell the electricity, so the fundamental mindset has been that a peaker must pay for itself based on the electricity it produces. But this is not the way to look at it, so we need to change the financial model and its mindset.  Our society pays for lots of stuff we hope we never need, for example the military and the fire department.

I am personally more in favor of local storage than I am of  long-distance transfer to meet peaks, but both probably have their place. We need energy storage in two timeframes. Batteries handle the short inter-day timeframe. They are preferred because the round-trip power==>storage==>power efficiency is very high. For longer-term storage (days, weeks, months)  storage efficiency ($/kWh) predominates, even when the round-trip efficiency is much lower. Basically, the lost energy is part of the cost of the long-term storage, and it is economical when you are using "free" excess renewable energy. In practice, the renewables are used every day with the electricity first going to instantaneous demand, then to battery until the battery is full, and finally to long-term, so renewables are not curtailed until long-term storage is completely full.  In California, if we stored as much hydrogen (or equivalent) as we currently store natural gas, we would have several months worth.

The two major contenders for long-term storage are Hydrogen and pumped hydro. The advantage of hydrogen is that it is also an efficient way to transport energy from areas with an annual surplus to areas without an annual surplus. Unfortunately, we are not there yet. A likely candidate for hydrogen transport and storage is ammonia.

I think you're misrepresenting legacy systems a bit. The original model was that engineers, working for utilities, sought the lowest total cost for a reliable system. This did not mean that individual plants were required to earn their keep; it meant the total system cost was minimized. You can accomplish this by having the utility own all the assets, or you can accomplish it by having the utility purchase capabilities on a free market. The end result is effectively the same: reasonably minimal total system cost.

The problem today is the same: what is the lowest total system cost to meet our needs? If renewables on a national grid or renewables with local battery backup are comparable in cost to local fossil fuels, then we should consider them. If they're prohibitively expensive, then we shouldn't consider them. The financial model is fine. If anything, we need to adjust the system requirements.

That said, we should be absolutely clear about one thing: utilities are NOT like the military. If we fool ourselves into thinking of them that way, they'll turn into a money pit rivaling the military-industrial-congressional complex - and for the same reasons.

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46 minutes ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

I think you're misrepresenting legacy systems a bit. The original model was that engineers, working for utilities, sought the lowest total cost for a reliable system. This did not mean that individual plants were required to earn their keep; it meant the total system cost was minimized. You can accomplish this by having the utility own all the assets, or you can accomplish it by having the utility purchase capabilities on a free market. The end result is effectively the same: reasonably minimal total system cost.

The problem today is the same: what is the lowest total system cost to meet our needs? If renewables on a national grid or renewables with local battery backup are comparable in cost to local fossil fuels, then we should consider them. If they're prohibitively expensive, then we shouldn't consider them. The financial model is fine. If anything, we need to adjust the system requirements.

That said, we should be absolutely clear about one thing: utilities are NOT like the military. If we fool ourselves into thinking of them that way, they'll turn into a money pit rivaling the military-industrial-congressional complex - and for the same reasons.

Not many here fully realize the history of how we got from Edison's Pearl Street Station in NYC to the current grid.  There were a lot of twists and turns, losers and winners, local utilities, growing larger, then interconnecting more and more.

Our entire grid is a "legacy system".

Electricity is REALLY addicting stuff, no?

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1 hour ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

I think you're misrepresenting legacy systems a bit. The original model was that engineers, working for utilities, sought the lowest total cost for a reliable system. This did not mean that individual plants were required to earn their keep; it meant the total system cost was minimized. You can accomplish this by having the utility own all the assets, or you can accomplish it by having the utility purchase capabilities on a free market. The end result is effectively the same: reasonably minimal total system cost.

The problem today is the same: what is the lowest total system cost to meet our needs? If renewables on a national grid or renewables with local battery backup are comparable in cost to local fossil fuels, then we should consider them. If they're prohibitively expensive, then we shouldn't consider them. The financial model is fine. If anything, we need to adjust the system requirements.

That said, we should be absolutely clear about one thing: utilities are NOT like the military. If we fool ourselves into thinking of them that way, they'll turn into a money pit rivaling the military-industrial-congressional complex - and for the same reasons.

I did not mean to imply that the system as a whole is like the military. I meant to imply that plants that plants that are never used are still a useful part of the entire system. The analogy is not 100% congruent.

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13 hours ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

I think you're misrepresenting legacy systems a bit. The original model was that engineers, working for utilities, sought the lowest total cost for a reliable system. This did not mean that individual plants were required to earn their keep; it meant the total system cost was minimized. You can accomplish this by having the utility own all the assets, or you can accomplish it by having the utility purchase capabilities on a free market. The end result is effectively the same: reasonably minimal total system cost.

The problem today is the same: what is the lowest total system cost to meet our needs? If renewables on a national grid or renewables with local battery backup are comparable in cost to local fossil fuels, then we should consider them. If they're prohibitively expensive, then we shouldn't consider them. The financial model is fine. If anything, we need to adjust the system requirements.

That said, we should be absolutely clear about one thing: utilities are NOT like the military. If we fool ourselves into thinking of them that way, they'll turn into a money pit rivaling the military-industrial-congressional complex - and for the same reasons.

Your model works if the utility is a  monopoly (i.e., is the only seller of electricity to the consumers), and the utility is not also a producer of electricity. The utility is then responsible for reliability during extreme events and can charge the customers for this. If the utility is allowed to produce electricity and buy from itself, other producers are at a disadvantage. If the consumer is allowed to bypass the utility, then it is difficult to create a structure to pay for reliability during extreme events. Another way to say this: the overly simplistic competitive markets that have been implemented do not distinguish between unreliable electricity and reliable electricity.

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On 4/25/2021 at 5:30 PM, Jay McKinsey said:

Grids around the world rely on open cycle gas turbine (OCGT) technology at times when demand for electricity is at its highest. OCGTs often only run for a few hours at a time and a few times per year but are among the most polluting assets in the grid operator’s toolkit for balancing energy supply with demand.

While OCGTs were state-of-the-art decades ago, offering the ability to start generating power within 15 minutes of starting up, lithium-ion battery energy storage can respond to grid signals in fractions of a second and can be charged with renewable energy sources like solar and wind.

The authors of CEC’s new paper, ‘Battery storage: the new, clean peaker,’ found that a 250MW, four-hour (1,000MWh) battery system in New South Wales would be a cheaper option for meeting peak demand than a 250MW new-build OCGT from both levelised cost of energy (LCOE) and levelised cost of capacity (LCOC) perspectives.

The National Electricity Market (NEM), which covers six Australian states including New South Wales, generally sees peaker plants called into use for about three or four hours each night from 6pm as solar production tails off and evening demand goes up.

Batteries can cover this period, CEC said, and even before factoring in the falling cost of charging the batteries with solar and wind energy resources that continue to get cheaper as well as the falling costs and rising efficiencies of the batteries themselves, neither the economic rationale or necessity to build new gas plants exists anymore in Australia.

In addition to being faster and more accurate in providing peaking services and frequency response, battery storage can also provide a wide range of other services to the network: including inertia and voltage support, which are not only needed for integrating rising shares of renewable energy but also give asset operators the options to earn other revenues which can help recover the cost of investment....

https://www.energy-storage.news/news/battery-storage-30-cheaper-than-new-gas-peaker-plants-australian-study-find

It is easy to make claims from studies but the proof is only in actual use over time considering all the factors and cost benefit analysis. 

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11 hours ago, Dan Clemmensen said:

Your model works if the utility is a  monopoly (i.e., is the only seller of electricity to the consumers), and the utility is not also a producer of electricity. The utility is then responsible for reliability during extreme events and can charge the customers for this. If the utility is allowed to produce electricity and buy from itself, other producers are at a disadvantage. If the consumer is allowed to bypass the utility, then it is difficult to create a structure to pay for reliability during extreme events. Another way to say this: the overly simplistic competitive markets that have been implemented do not distinguish between unreliable electricity and reliable electricity.

I've yet to live in an area that allows customers to bypass utilities except by generating their own electricity. I.e. where I've lived, the customer would have to assume full responsibility for all of their needs to bypass a utility. Clearly, it's possible to create a sensible system; I'm not sure why you're citing this as an issue.

If the utility can produce more cheaply than it can buy, then it will produce. If it can buy more cheaply than it can produce, then it will buy. It would also be possible to create a system where utility-owned producers are required to bid into the same system under the same rules as private-owned producers. I'm not sure why you're citing this as an issue.

You're cherry-picking failures in an attempt to prove that there's a fundamental problem with what I've said. I know you can do better than that; at least make this conversation interesting.

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On 4/26/2021 at 9:43 PM, Dan Clemmensen said:

I did not mean to imply that the system as a whole is like the military. I meant to imply that plants that plants that are never used are still a useful part of the entire system. The analogy is not 100% congruent.

You have to be careful with your analogies.

Better yet: don't use analogies at all. Instead, tell us how you think the system should be designed so we can analyze your ideas on their merits. To wit: everything you've mentioned could be accomplished by setting requirements for producers. Examples of such requirements include:
- Must be able to store fuel on-site
- Must demonstrate reliability over time
- Must harden their equipment against specific weather conditions

IIRC, there was an attempt at some level of government to reward producers of dispatchable electricity who kept 6+ weeks of fuel on-site. Leftists lambasted this idea because it did not support their pet industries, but it is an objectively sound idea that addresses some of the questions you've raised. Notably, it solves these problems without choosing winners or massive government spending. It merely sets an engineering requirement.

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27 minutes ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

 

IIRC, there was an attempt at some level of government to reward producers of dispatchable electricity who kept 6+ weeks of fuel on-site. Leftists lambasted this idea because it did not support their pet industries, but it is an objectively sound idea that addresses some of the questions you've raised. Notably, it solves these problems without choosing winners or massive government spending. It merely sets an engineering requirement.

It was Trumps last big attempt to bailout coal and nuclear. It faced bipartisian backlash for raising costs and distorting the market. In particular the natural gas industry was going to be a big loser.

Edited by Jay McKinsey

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1 hour ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

You have to be careful with your analogies.

Better yet: don't use analogies at all. Instead, tell us how you think the system should be designed so we can analyze your ideas on their merits. To wit: everything you've mentioned could be accomplished by setting requirements for producers. Examples of such requirements include:
- Must be able to store fuel on-site
- Must demonstrate reliability over time
- Must harden their equipment against specific weather conditions

IIRC, there was an attempt at some level of government to reward producers of dispatchable electricity who kept 6+ weeks of fuel on-site. Leftists lambasted this idea because it did not support their pet industries, but it is an objectively sound idea that addresses some of the questions you've raised. Notably, it solves these problems without choosing winners or massive government spending. It merely sets an engineering requirement.

While 6 weeks of fuel storage is possible for a coal fired plant, that's insane for any other fossil fuel. 

And the coal plants only do that much of a "fuel buffer" after suffering either coal miner or railroad extended strikes.

Burning 100% stuff "off the pile" is undesirable.  It's not the same as fresh from the car dumper.

Been there, done that.

Edited by turbguy
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On 4/26/2021 at 6:35 AM, Boat said:

So let’s say enough batteries are installed to take care of the spike from 6-9 pm. But in the case of the Texas storm won’t Peakers still be needed even if only once every 10 years? That would be a lot of infrastructure doing nothing. 
If you got rid of peaker plants you would need enough battery capacity to last for days or potentially weeks. 
I don’t see any answer for a cheap solution. While renewables are the answer 99% of the time seems like it would take a nation wide grid to spread out major losses of electricity in a region over say a week or longer.

What you gonna do without generation to match load "once every ten years"?

Shed load to match generation. 

Actually, that can be done with intelligent meters, or other embedded loads.   And most customers won't even notice it.

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1 hour ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

You have to be careful with your analogies.

Better yet: don't use analogies at all. Instead, tell us how you think the system should be designed so we can analyze your ideas on their merits. To wit: everything you've mentioned could be accomplished by setting requirements for producers. Examples of such requirements include:
- Must be able to store fuel on-site
- Must demonstrate reliability over time
- Must harden their equipment against specific weather conditions

IIRC, there was an attempt at some level of government to reward producers of dispatchable electricity who kept 6+ weeks of fuel on-site. Leftists lambasted this idea because it did not support their pet industries, but it is an objectively sound idea that addresses some of the questions you've raised. Notably, it solves these problems without choosing winners or massive government spending. It merely sets an engineering requirement.

Now you are imposing a specific implementation (store fuel on site) instead of stating a specific requirement. Coal piles freeze up, as they did in Texas. A specific requirement might be "implement peak reliable capacity that is 15% higher than the highest projected demand", where both the methodology for the projection and the definition of "reliable" are given. The system architects can spec a system that the engineers can design to meet the requirement. There is an entire engineering discipline for creating highly-reliable systems from elements that have lower reliability. For example, If you have diverse routing to multiple fuel reliable fuel storage, you do not need on-site storage. This would work for very large underground storage of natural gas on multiple depleted oil fields, as in done today in many, many systems.

Similarly, there is no need to harden any system that is not part of the "reliable capacity". The obvious example is a wind turbine. It generates free electricity, but only when the wind blows. Since you cannot count on it, why harden it? You can and should use it in preference to expensive generators when it is available, and you can and should use it to fill short-term and long-term storage when you have excess power.

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21 hours ago, turbguy said:

What you gonna do without generation to match load "once every ten years"?

Shed load to match generation. 

Actually, that can be done with intelligent meters, or other embedded loads.   And most customers won't even notice it.

Large industrial and users get special low rates and should agree to being first to shut down heavy machinery when needed. Exceptions for some industries like food storage and medical. 

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