Solar+Storage Race is On

Florida Power and Light is building a '500 acre' solar farm in Brevard County (home of Cape Canaveral, etc.). When I crunch my numbers this comes out to around 500 Megawatts. This would provide about 1/3rd of daytime peak power for the county if the sky is clear.

There's plenty of room for storage on top of that, or perhaps underneath it.

The first issue is price, the second issue is technical expertise to deploy. Once both of those are routinely available, everything else dies.

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20 hours ago, Marina Schwarz said:

From the article

And the latest to join the competition is renewable energy giant NextEra Energy Inc., which said Thursday that it’ll build a project in Florida that will claim the title of the largest solar-powered battery in the world. The 409-megawatt battery will be added to an existing 74.5-megawatt solar plant on the west coast of the state near Tampa, a company statement shows.

The project would be four times larger than any other battery system in operation. It’s all a testament to how powerful of a combination solar and storage has become.

 

These numbers are trivial. I take it that 409 MW is the actual output of the battery. You'll note it doesn't say how long the battery lasts at that output. The article also says that these guys are spending $100 million to build that 74.5 MW solar plant. I checked online.. an 8MW diesel generator (work site sized, I guess) costs about $1500 or so. Ten of those would be $15,000 and the remaining $99 million plus would buy a lot of fuel. Now I am being a bit silly there as the small plants won't scale up like that, but an outfit called Brown Energy Group wants to sell a 100MW diesel plant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztv9ZMKFg1Y

There's no price but I bet you can bargain them down to well under $10 million.. someone with more knowledge of the industry might be able to comment further, but as the diesel plant would produce power on request there is also no need for the expensive battery. And you can install the diesel plant in maybe a month or so if you push it.. a win-win I would have thought..  

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6 hours ago, markslawson said:

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These numbers are trivial. I take it that 409 MW is the actual output of the battery. You'll note it doesn't say how long the battery lasts at that output. The article also says that these guys are spending $100 million to build that 74.5 MW solar plant. I checked online.. an 8MW diesel generator (work site sized, I guess) costs about $1500 or so. Ten of those would be $15,000 and the remaining $99 million plus would buy a lot of fuel. Now I am being a bit silly there as the small plants won't scale up like that, but an outfit called Brown Energy Group wants to sell a 100MW diesel plant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztv9ZMKFg1Y

There's no price but I bet you can bargain them down to well under $10 million.. someone with more knowledge of the industry might be able to comment further, but as the diesel plant would produce power on request there is also no need for the expensive battery. And you can install the diesel plant in maybe a month or so if you push it.. a win-win I would have thought..  

Mark, you numbers are a few decimal places off.  There is no way an 8MW diesel generator is going to trade for $1500.  For that, you would get a little one-cylinder 6 KW unit from China; just enough power to run your home electric clothes dryer if set to the "low" setting.  8 MW is going to set you back at least  $800,000, probably closer to one million, likely a lot more. 

That 100MW plant is not really for sale.  Brown will Build the plant and run it if you, as the end user, sign a contract to purchase the electricity.  They run it with their own personnel, on your land.  In effect they are a turn-key provider, with the difference that they continue to own and run the facility. 

Yes, there are lots of used diesel gensets out there to pick up, including some decent-sized stuff that was used as stand-by power for installations such as hospitals.  Those are regularly replaced every twenty years or so; the removed units are quite low-time.It is an active market.  You will also find older gensets from decommissioned ocean oil rigs, and of course from scrapped ships.  Toss in a new set of rings and bearings into that tired diesel and you are good to go for another twenty years!  Cheers.

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It is my view that what will happen in this area is the development of quite large rotational-mass storage wheels.  Anyone who doubts that technology is invited to go visit Holland, where five hundred years ago the Dutch built their windmills to become the industrial and manufacturing powerhouse of Europe  (they eventually had about 5,000 working units, manufacturing everything from paint to lumber).  How those flywheels will ultimately evolve is unknown, although I predict compact units spinning at 100,000 rpm.  As that technology develops, you will see these flywheels in the basements of office buildings, factories, apartment complexes, and in local grids, all sitting there spinning silently, all ready to come back on-line and send out their stored power whenever there is an interruption. If the price finally gets low enough  (and the history of technology suggests that it ultimately would) there will be a home-size unit with storage better than the "Wall-pack" of lithium batteries now offered.  The advantage of flywheel power is that it can output large amounts if you have a high KW load, there is no lag. And,there is no noise or fuel storage issues as you would have with diesels. Such flywheels would have an indefinite lifespan, needing only bearings maintenance (and vacuum attention, if the flywheel is spinning in a vacuum, which would be likely). 

A typical windmill in Holland from the 1500's would develop 275 hp and turn a large stone flywheel at the base, with bearings in the two shafts made of hand-carved oak blocks and greased by cow fat.  The large cap gear, some fifteen feet in diameter, consisted of gear teeth again carved from oak and greased by animal fats.  Worked just fine.  They are still around and running 500 years later. Now, that's impressive!

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7 hours ago, markslawson said:

From the article

And the latest to join the competition is renewable energy giant NextEra Energy Inc., which said Thursday that it’ll build a project in Florida that will claim the title of the largest solar-powered battery in the world. The 409-megawatt battery will be added to an existing 74.5-megawatt solar plant on the west coast of the state near Tampa, a company statement shows.

The project would be four times larger than any other battery system in operation. It’s all a testament to how powerful of a combination solar and storage has become.

 

These numbers are trivial. I take it that 409 MW is the actual output of the battery. You'll note it doesn't say how long the battery lasts at that output. The article also says that these guys are spending $100 million to build that 74.5 MW solar plant. I checked online.. an 8MW diesel generator (work site sized, I guess) costs about $1500 or so. Ten of those would be $15,000 and the remaining $99 million plus would buy a lot of fuel. Now I am being a bit silly there as the small plants won't scale up like that, but an outfit called Brown Energy Group wants to sell a 100MW diesel plant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztv9ZMKFg1Y

There's no price but I bet you can bargain them down to well under $10 million.. someone with more knowledge of the industry might be able to comment further, but as the diesel plant would produce power on request there is also no need for the expensive battery. And you can install the diesel plant in maybe a month or so if you push it.. a win-win I would have thought..  

April fools day is on Monday Mark🤦‍♀️😄🤣

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1 hour ago, Jan van Eck said:

Mark, you numbers are a few decimal places off.  There is no way an 8MW diesel generator is going to trade for $1500.  For that, you would get a little one-cylinder 6 KW unit from China; just enough power to run your home electric clothes dryer if set to the "low" setting.  8 MW is going to set you back at least  $800,000, probably closer to one million, likely a lot more. 

That 100MW plant is not really for sale.  Brown will Build the plant and run it if you, as the end user, sign a contract to purchase the electricity.  They run it with their own personnel, on your land.  In effect they are a turn-key provider, with the difference that they continue to own and run the facility. 

Yes, there are lots of used diesel gensets out there to pick up, including some decent-sized stuff that was used as stand-by power for installations such as hospitals.  Those are regularly replaced every twenty years or so; the removed units are quite low-time.It is an active market.  You will also find older gensets from decommissioned ocean oil rigs, and of course from scrapped ships.  Toss in a new set of rings and bearings into that tired diesel and you are good to go for another twenty years!  Cheers.

Whether it lasts as long as it takes to run down a full tank of fuel is the other question with el cheapo chinese gensets!

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7 hours ago, markslawson said:

From the article

And the latest to join the competition is renewable energy giant NextEra Energy Inc., which said Thursday that it’ll build a project in Florida that will claim the title of the largest solar-powered battery in the world. The 409-megawatt battery will be added to an existing 74.5-megawatt solar plant on the west coast of the state near Tampa, a company statement shows.

The project would be four times larger than any other battery system in operation. It’s all a testament to how powerful of a combination solar and storage has become.

 

These numbers are trivial. I take it that 409 MW is the actual output of the battery. You'll note it doesn't say how long the battery lasts at that output. The article also says that these guys are spending $100 million to build that 74.5 MW solar plant. I checked online.. an 8MW diesel generator (work site sized, I guess) costs about $1500 or so. Ten of those would be $15,000 and the remaining $99 million plus would buy a lot of fuel. Now I am being a bit silly there as the small plants won't scale up like that, but an outfit called Brown Energy Group wants to sell a 100MW diesel plant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztv9ZMKFg1Y

There's no price but I bet you can bargain them down to well under $10 million.. someone with more knowledge of the industry might be able to comment further, but as the diesel plant would produce power on request there is also no need for the expensive battery. And you can install the diesel plant in maybe a month or so if you push it.. a win-win I would have thought..  

The battery primarily supplies short term operating response to the grid. Batteries are excellent for this as they can respond in milliseconds. 

The nearest FF comparison are open cycle gas turbines. The Capex cost of these are around $400 / KW so the equivalent capex for OCGT for 409MW is going to be around $160 million. 

 OCGT has an efficiency of 30-40% so they are very expensive to run. 

Up side is that they will continue to operate as long as supply of gas or fuel distillate is there. 

The diesel plant you describe will have an efficiency of 35-40%. The emissions from 400MW of diesel plant are going to be significant so there will be various environmental permitting issues concerning pollution, noise and supply of fuel. 

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On 3/29/2019 at 7:06 AM, Meredith Poor said:

Florida Power and Light is building a '500 acre' solar farm in Brevard County (home of Cape Canaveral, etc.). When I crunch my numbers this comes out to around 500 Megawatts. This would provide about 1/3rd of daytime peak power for the county if the sky is clear.

There's plenty of room for storage on top of that, or perhaps underneath it.

The first issue is price, the second issue is technical expertise to deploy. Once both of those are routinely available, everything else dies.

" or perhaps underneath it. "

Not in Florida, unless ya'll want to live in sinkhole heaven 😎

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(edited)

9 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

Mark, you numbers are a few decimal places off.  There is no way an 8MW diesel generator is going to trade for $1500.  For that, you would get a little one-cylinder 6 KW unit from China; just enough power to run your home electric clothes dryer if set to the "low" setting.  8 MW is going to set you back at least  $800,000, probably closer to one million, likely a lot more. 

Okay - fair enough. Its always dangerous reading prices off ads for such items. As you'll see from the original post I hedged my bets.. tnks for that.. 

Edited by markslawson
Brown ad does say the plant is for sale, if you want to just buy it.

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7 hours ago, NickW said:

The nearest FF comparison are open cycle gas turbines. The Capex cost of these are around $400 / KW so the equivalent capex for OCGT for 409MW is going to be around $160 million. 

On those numbers the OCGT beats the solar plant hands down.. the 74.5 MW value for the solar plant is just the installed capacity.. I'm not sure what the capacity factor is on those plants - depends on the design - but it would be low.. you're probably looking at an effective output of 30MW or less.. barely worth the trouble.. and of course its intermittent so you'll still need the gas plant, and gas is becoming cheaper in the US (not in Aus). However, the point you make about the battery is worthwhile. That may solve the spinning reserve requirement where grid manager have to keep generators turning over offline for when the renewable stuff cuts out suddenly. But I think you'd need quite a few batteries and that may not be cost effective.. anyway, leave it with you.

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(edited)

16 hours ago, markslawson said:

From the article

And the latest to join the competition is renewable energy giant NextEra Energy Inc., which said Thursday that it’ll build a project in Florida that will claim the title of the largest solar-powered battery in the world. The 409-megawatt battery will be added to an existing 74.5-megawatt solar plant on the west coast of the state near Tampa, a company statement shows.

The project would be four times larger than any other battery system in operation. It’s all a testament to how powerful of a combination solar and storage has become.

 

These numbers are trivial. I take it that 409 MW is the actual output of the battery. You'll note it doesn't say how long the battery lasts at that output. The article also says that these guys are spending $100 million to build that 74.5 MW solar plant. I checked online.. an 8MW diesel generator (work site sized, I guess) costs about $1500 or so. Ten of those would be $15,000 and the remaining $99 million plus would buy a lot of fuel. Now I am being a bit silly there as the small plants won't scale up like that, but an outfit called Brown Energy Group wants to sell a 100MW diesel plant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztv9ZMKFg1Y

There's no price but I bet you can bargain them down to well under $10 million.. someone with more knowledge of the industry might be able to comment further, but as the diesel plant would produce power on request there is also no need for the expensive battery. And you can install the diesel plant in maybe a month or so if you push it.. a win-win I would have thought..  

Mark This battery could easily support about 600 MW of solar plants which at peak output might be supplying 400 MW to the battery and 200 MW to the grid. After sundown the battery could supply a peak of 400 MW but an average of 120 MW till the next day. Overall the system will average about 4,300 MWh per day. Based on the price of the Hornsdale battery in Australia and subsequent price drops this facility is in the region of $160-200 m From the article 600 MW of wind farms would be about $900 m so lets say $1,100 m total

A new 220 MW dual fuel plant is being built in Australia for about US$200 m so say $380 m for a 410 MW plant. To produce 4,300 MWh per day it will have to run at 40% CF. Over a year it will probably make 42% thermal efficiency so it would use 800+ tonnes of diesel per day. At pre tax price of around $1,000/tonne the plant would use a bit over $300 m of diesel per year. Both plants need operators, refurbishment and maintenance which be roughly $25/MWh including a replacement set of batteries after 10 years. Leaving that aside the 20 year cost of the solar/battery system is $1,100 m and the twenty year cost of the diesel system is $(380 + 20 x 300) = $6,300 m

Edited by pfarley@bigpond.net.au
clarification
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8 hours ago, Happy Go Lucky said:

" or perhaps underneath it. "

Not in Florida, unless ya'll want to live in sinkhole heaven 😎

Brevard County doesn't have much problem with sinkholes. Most of that is more to the west and the north.

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10 hours ago, markslawson said:

On those numbers the OCGT beats the solar plant hands down.. the 74.5 MW value for the solar plant is just the installed capacity.. I'm not sure what the capacity factor is on those plants - depends on the design - but it would be low.. you're probably looking at an effective output of 30MW or less.. barely worth the trouble.. and of course its intermittent so you'll still need the gas plant, and gas is becoming cheaper in the US (not in Aus). However, the point you make about the battery is worthwhile. That may solve the spinning reserve requirement where grid manager have to keep generators turning over offline for when the renewable stuff cuts out suddenly. But I think you'd need quite a few batteries and that may not be cost effective.. anyway, leave it with you.

For STOR  a btattery beats OCGT or diesel hands down. 

A battery can bring on its full output in Milliseconds. An OC Turbine or Engine is going to be 1-5 minutes. 

https://www.wartsila.com/energy/learning-center/technical-comparisons/combustion-engine-vs-gas-turbine-ramp-rate

Increasingly batteries will allow grid operators to completely bypass OCGT / Diesel - fuel distillate and use batteries to balance the grid using much more efficient CCGT / surplus renewables / off peak nuclear to recharge the battery. 

As P Farley points out - Diesel ain't free (or cheap) 

 

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10 hours ago, markslawson said:

On those numbers the OCGT beats the solar plant hands down.. the 74.5 MW value for the solar plant is just the installed capacity.. I'm not sure what the capacity factor is on those plants - depends on the design - but it would be low.. you're probably looking at an effective output of 30MW or less.. barely worth the trouble.. and of course its intermittent so you'll still need the gas plant, and gas is becoming cheaper in the US (not in Aus). However, the point you make about the battery is worthwhile. That may solve the spinning reserve requirement where grid manager have to keep generators turning over offline for when the renewable stuff cuts out suddenly. But I think you'd need quite a few batteries and that may not be cost effective.. anyway, leave it with you.

for the solar plant

75MW in Florida will generate approx 135 million kwh (based on 1800 kwh / kw of capacity).

Averaged out over 24 hours - 365 days a year thats approx 15.4MW.

If that battery is going to be 400MW it will make its money from providing STOR backup. That primarily supports the grid if large generation plant suddenly go off line when they trip. Renewables don't do this - even solar over a region gradual declines throughout the afternoon. 

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On 3/31/2019 at 10:12 AM, pfarley@bigpond.net.au said:

Mark This battery could easily support about 600 MW of solar plants which at peak output might be supplying 400 MW to the battery and 200 MW to the grid. After sundown the battery could supply a peak of 400 MW but an average of 120 MW till the next day. Overall the system will average about 4,300 MWh per day.

PF - my suggestion would be to go back and look at the other posts. Batteries are useful for grid maintenance and other issues (see posts) but as an energy storage they are basically next to useless. You'll see in your post you've made the huge assumption that the battery would be able to supply 120 MW average overnight - 12 hours or so! Pull the other one. The article itself does not say how long the battery lasts, but a few minutes at peak out put - maybe half an hour at half that.. would be typical.. There are some solar plants that store energy through molten salts and they can operate overnight in some circumstances.. You also did not take into account capacity factor of the solar plant which would be small.. sorry but your assumptions are way, way, way out.. I haven't checked your assumptions on running the diesel but I suspect they are also highly exaggerated.. the diesel would be expensive I admit but not that expensive.. leave it with you.. 

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43 minutes ago, markslawson said:

PF - my suggestion would be to go back and look at the other posts. Batteries are useful for grid maintenance and other issues (see posts) but as an energy storage they are basically next to useless. You'll see in your post you've made the huge assumption that the battery would be able to supply 120 MW average overnight - 12 hours or so! Pull the other one. The article itself does not say how long the battery lasts, but a few minutes at peak out put - maybe half an hour at half that.. would be typical.. There are some solar plants that store energy through molten salts and they can operate overnight in some circumstances.. You also did not take into account capacity factor of the solar plant which would be small.. sorry but your assumptions are way, way, way out.. I haven't checked your assumptions on running the diesel but I suspect they are also highly exaggerated.. the diesel would be expensive I admit but not that expensive.. leave it with you.. 

I don't know about the US but in the UK STOR is required to be available for 2 hours. 

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46 minutes ago, markslawson said:

PF - my suggestion would be to go back and look at the other posts. Batteries are useful for grid maintenance and other issues (see posts) but as an energy storage they are basically next to useless. You'll see in your post you've made the huge assumption that the battery would be able to supply 120 MW average overnight - 12 hours or so! Pull the other one. The article itself does not say how long the battery lasts, but a few minutes at peak out put - maybe half an hour at half that.. would be typical.. There are some solar plants that store energy through molten salts and they can operate overnight in some circumstances.. You also did not take into account capacity factor of the solar plant which would be small.. sorry but your assumptions are way, way, way out.. I haven't checked your assumptions on running the diesel but I suspect they are also highly exaggerated.. the diesel would be expensive I admit but not that expensive.. leave it with you.. 

Ball park

$3 a US Gallon so about 85 C a litre.

36 MJ a litre

38% efficiency for large diesel genset

Thats 22 cents per kwh just for the fuel. 

 

 

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"...an 8MW diesel generator (work site sized, I guess) costs about $1500 or so."

As others have pointed out, $1500 might buy you an 8 kilowatt (kW) diesel generator...but not an 8 megawatt (MW) diesel generator.

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2 hours ago, NickW said:

Ball park

$3 a US Gallon so about 85 C a litre.

36 MJ a litre

38% efficiency for large diesel genset

Thats 22 cents per kwh just for the fuel. 

 

 

Not quite, Nick.  That $3/gal number your have is for road diesel, and that includes road taxes, which is the federal excise tax, and then also State fuel taxes.  For a stationary power plant you would have to pull the taxes back out.  So (ballpark guess) if bought at retail that fuel would be around 18 cents / kwh.   But the power station is not buying its fuel at retail; it is an industrial buyer, and typically buying fuel either by the barge-load, 440,000 gallons, or by the rail tanker trainload, figure 33,000 gal/car.  Either way, my guess is that the wholesale at those volumes drops way down, possibly $1.40/gal.  That would cut your cost down to around 12 cents/kwh for the fuel. 

But all this assumes a diesel engine that runs on light #2 diesel  (42 cetane or better) and spins at 2,200 rpm.  Those are not the only diesels.  If you were to take a low-rpm ship diesel that ran at say 108 rpm, it could fuel on 380 centistoke heavy fuel oil (HFO), which is seriously cheap stuff.  Or, if  you used a 450 rpm diesel running on 180 IFO  (Intermediate fuel oil) then it would be more than the HFO, but still a long way from #2 diesel. All of this presumes a huge capital cost for the big engine, in the millions for the motor itself and more millions for the transport and installation, and more millions if you were ever to try to remove them to some other site, but these are trade-offs. 

Remember that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) had decreed that big marine diesels can no longer run on higher-sulfur fuels,commonly HFO at 3.5% sulfur, after January 01, 2020. That has made bunker fuels unsalable, as nobody is spending the coin for on-ship bunker treatment plants.  For those of you who are wondering why not, the reasons include the return on capital  (ships do not last forever), and the lack of real estate on existing ships to go fit all that extra machinery. The marine industry is expecting the fuels industry to supply them with the proper certified fuel, but the fuels industry is not stepping up to the plate to provide low-sulfur bunker.  It is a bit of a stand-off.  So the obvious result, aside from cheating, will be a switch to expensive diesel, largely doubling the price of diesel after 2020. 

This big crunch on #2 diesel is going to have wide ramifications.  Machines such as RR locomotives, that now run exclusively on #2, are going to get hit hard.  Unless canny builders go out and build big steam locomotives on speculation and try to sell them to the railroads, there is not going to be an alternative.  Would anyone, could anyone, go back to building steam?  This is highly unlikely, delving down into the fanciful.  But if someone were to go there, that entity would clean up in the cash department, as the fuel savings would be irresistible. You can fuel a steam engine with #6 fuel oil, which I remember at one time sold for six cents a gallon. 

But for our purposes, that being power generation,  obtaining a used ship's diesel designed to run on HFO and removing it at the dismantling yard and bringing that machine to our power site, and coupling it to a big generator, allows for the production of stationary power from the HFO that will no longer have a home at sea.  And that, I suggest, would be a very attractive proposition.  Especially since that big ship's diesel is otherwise unsalable, so it will be seriously cheap.  Cheap engine plus cheap oil equals cheap power. 

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4 hours ago, NickW said:

Ball park

$3 a US Gallon so about 85 C a litre.

36 MJ a litre

38% efficiency for large diesel genset

Thats 22 cents per kwh just for the fuel. 

 

On 3/31/2019 at 10:12 AM, pfarley@bigpond.net.au said:

At pre tax price of around $1,000/tonne the plant would use a bit over $300 m of diesel per year.

PFarley - I was sufficiently intrigued to look a little further into your numbers.. I strongly suspect you got your price per tonne by multiplying the number of litres in a tonne by the retail price in the US. Sorry it doesn't work like that.. if you use retail price per gallon and scale up from operating figures for smaller generators then the figure for a 100 MW generator run 24/7 is about  $US50,000 a day.. that's something like $US18 M a year - and that's using the retail price not the wholesale price .. so sorry I think you put too many zeros somewhere in your calculations.. $300 million is just ridiculous.. the figure I have is still expensive I grant you but remember that the solar plant cannot be relied on to run 24/7 and the battery doesn't help much so you still need some form of conventional plant. I think you can see now that solar is totally uneconomic.. Now I will leave that with you. 

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2 hours ago, Mark Bahner said:

"...an 8MW diesel generator (work site sized, I guess) costs about $1500 or so."

As others have pointed out, $1500 might buy you an 8 kilowatt (kW) diesel generator...but not an 8 megawatt (MW) diesel generator.

Quite so - my bad.. but I did say someone with industry experience, such as yourself, can comment further.. and it did start a nice discussion.. thanks for that.. 

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8 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

Not quite, Nick.  That $3/gal number your have is for road diesel, and that includes road taxes, which is the federal excise tax, and then also State fuel taxes.  For a stationary power plant you would have to pull the taxes back out.  So (ballpark guess) if bought at retail that fuel would be around 18 cents / kwh.   But the power station is not buying its fuel at retail; it is an industrial buyer, and typically buying fuel either by the barge-load, 440,000 gallons, or by the rail tanker trainload, figure 33,000 gal/car.  Either way, my guess is that the wholesale at those volumes drops way down, possibly $1.40/gal.  That would cut your cost down to around 12 cents/kwh for the fuel. 

But all this assumes a diesel engine that runs on light #2 diesel  (42 cetane or better) and spins at 2,200 rpm.  Those are not the only diesels.  If you were to take a low-rpm ship diesel that ran at say 108 rpm, it could fuel on 380 centistoke heavy fuel oil (HFO), which is seriously cheap stuff.  Or, if  you used a 450 rpm diesel running on 180 IFO  (Intermediate fuel oil) then it would be more than the HFO, but still a long way from #2 diesel. All of this presumes a huge capital cost for the big engine, in the millions for the motor itself and more millions for the transport and installation, and more millions if you were ever to try to remove them to some other site, but these are trade-offs. 

Remember that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) had decreed that big marine diesels can no longer run on higher-sulfur fuels,commonly HFO at 3.5% sulfur, after January 01, 2020. That has made bunker fuels unsalable, as nobody is spending the coin for on-ship bunker treatment plants.  For those of you who are wondering why not, the reasons include the return on capital  (ships do not last forever), and the lack of real estate on existing ships to go fit all that extra machinery. The marine industry is expecting the fuels industry to supply them with the proper certified fuel, but the fuels industry is not stepping up to the plate to provide low-sulfur bunker.  It is a bit of a stand-off.  So the obvious result, aside from cheating, will be a switch to expensive diesel, largely doubling the price of diesel after 2020. 

This big crunch on #2 diesel is going to have wide ramifications.  Machines such as RR locomotives, that now run exclusively on #2, are going to get hit hard.  Unless canny builders go out and build big steam locomotives on speculation and try to sell them to the railroads, there is not going to be an alternative.  Would anyone, could anyone, go back to building steam?  This is highly unlikely, delving down into the fanciful.  But if someone were to go there, that entity would clean up in the cash department, as the fuel savings would be irresistible. You can fuel a steam engine with #6 fuel oil, which I remember at one time sold for six cents a gallon. 

But for our purposes, that being power generation,  obtaining a used ship's diesel designed to run on HFO and removing it at the dismantling yard and bringing that machine to our power site, and coupling it to a big generator, allows for the production of stationary power from the HFO that will no longer have a home at sea.  And that, I suggest, would be a very attractive proposition.  Especially since that big ship's diesel is otherwise unsalable, so it will be seriously cheap.  Cheap engine plus cheap oil equals cheap power. 

No its not - its the wholesale price for Virginia No.2 (end of 2018)  which is Fuel Oil so basically diesel. It has very little tax on it because its primary use is for boilers rather than road transport so it is a good comparator for fuel oil used in power plant.

Furthermore that's the refinery gate price - you still have to get it to site.

High sulphur HFO - that would be just fine & dandy in your local neighbourhood. They don't even want ships burning this at sea but you propose using in a STOR plant which is going to be close to urban environments.

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8 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

Not quite, Nick.  That $3/gal number your have is for road diesel, and that includes road taxes, which is the federal excise tax, and then also State fuel taxes.  For a stationary power plant you would have to pull the taxes back out.  So (ballpark guess) if bought at retail that fuel would be around 18 cents / kwh.   But the power station is not buying its fuel at retail; it is an industrial buyer, and typically buying fuel either by the barge-load, 440,000 gallons, or by the rail tanker trainload, figure 33,000 gal/car.  Either way, my guess is that the wholesale at those volumes drops way down, possibly $1.40/gal.  That would cut your cost down to around 12 cents/kwh for the fuel. 

But all this assumes a diesel engine that runs on light #2 diesel  (42 cetane or better) and spins at 2,200 rpm.  Those are not the only diesels.  If you were to take a low-rpm ship diesel that ran at say 108 rpm, it could fuel on 380 centistoke heavy fuel oil (HFO), which is seriously cheap stuff.  Or, if  you used a 450 rpm diesel running on 180 IFO  (Intermediate fuel oil) then it would be more than the HFO, but still a long way from #2 diesel. All of this presumes a huge capital cost for the big engine, in the millions for the motor itself and more millions for the transport and installation, and more millions if you were ever to try to remove them to some other site, but these are trade-offs. 

Remember that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) had decreed that big marine diesels can no longer run on higher-sulfur fuels,commonly HFO at 3.5% sulfur, after January 01, 2020. That has made bunker fuels unsalable, as nobody is spending the coin for on-ship bunker treatment plants.  For those of you who are wondering why not, the reasons include the return on capital  (ships do not last forever), and the lack of real estate on existing ships to go fit all that extra machinery. The marine industry is expecting the fuels industry to supply them with the proper certified fuel, but the fuels industry is not stepping up to the plate to provide low-sulfur bunker.  It is a bit of a stand-off.  So the obvious result, aside from cheating, will be a switch to expensive diesel, largely doubling the price of diesel after 2020. 

This big crunch on #2 diesel is going to have wide ramifications.  Machines such as RR locomotives, that now run exclusively on #2, are going to get hit hard.  Unless canny builders go out and build big steam locomotives on speculation and try to sell them to the railroads, there is not going to be an alternative.  Would anyone, could anyone, go back to building steam?  This is highly unlikely, delving down into the fanciful.  But if someone were to go there, that entity would clean up in the cash department, as the fuel savings would be irresistible. You can fuel a steam engine with #6 fuel oil, which I remember at one time sold for six cents a gallon. 

But for our purposes, that being power generation,  obtaining a used ship's diesel designed to run on HFO and removing it at the dismantling yard and bringing that machine to our power site, and coupling it to a big generator, allows for the production of stationary power from the HFO that will no longer have a home at sea.  And that, I suggest, would be a very attractive proposition.  Especially since that big ship's diesel is otherwise unsalable, so it will be seriously cheap.  Cheap engine plus cheap oil equals cheap power. 

A far cleaner and less expensive option here is to build  a CCGT plant and build a battery peaker. The CCGT efficiently charges the battery offpeak with part of its output and this increases the CCGTs cycle efficiency. The battery can then provide peaking demand as required.

At least that way you are burning gas at 60% efficiency rather than 30% in an OCGT or 35-40% in a diesel Genset.

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On 4/1/2019 at 6:22 PM, markslawson said:

 

PFarley - I was sufficiently intrigued to look a little further into your numbers.. I strongly suspect you got your price per tonne by multiplying the number of litres in a tonne by the retail price in the US. Sorry it doesn't work like that.. if you use retail price per gallon and scale up from operating figures for smaller generators then the figure for a 100 MW generator run 24/7 is about  $US50,000 a day.. that's something like $US18 M a year - and that's using the retail price not the wholesale price .. so sorry I think you put too many zeros somewhere in your calculations.. $300 million is just ridiculous.. the figure I have is still expensive I grant you but remember that the solar plant cannot be relied on to run 24/7 and the battery doesn't help much so you still need some form of conventional plant. I think you can see now that solar is totally uneconomic.. Now I will leave that with you. 

In another source it said the battery was 900 MWh so you are partly right it will be about 75 MW overnight, However the annual supply will be the same. so then the question is did I miscalculate the diesel cost. $3/gal is very close to $1,000/tonne.

Tracking solar as opposed to fixed tilt runs at up to 31% in the Southwest lets say 27% in Florida. 600 MW x .27 x 8760 = 1,400,000 MWh/y. Given the heat in Florida 42% is probably high so 38% for the diesel so the fuel into the diesel is equivalent to 3,700,000 MWh or 13,400,000 GJ. Diesel is 42 GJ/tonne so that means 320,000 tonnes or $320 m or 22.8 c/kWh

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