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ronwagn

Australian Hydroelectric Plant Cost Overruns

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23 hours ago, ronwagn said:

Snowy Hydro 2.0 a costly white elephant that won't deliver, says energy expert

The story underlines the huge problems involved in building the pumped hydro capacity needed to balance supply and demand in renewable networks in countries just not set up for that stuff. Countries like New Zealand and Norway, say, already have heaps of dams and the geography - mountains and high rivers - to build more. For Norway's grid to go 100 per cent renewable is no problem at all. As a flat dry place, most of Australia's likely dam spots have long been taken and new dams, in any case, face tough environmental rules and the high cost of building anything in Australia. Another consideration in Australia is that this project locks up a lot of fresh water that could be put to productive use in farming. Basically the whole project is a horribly expensive, resource wasting solution to a problem Australia has created for itself. 

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42 minutes ago, markslawson said:

 As a flat dry place, most of Australia's likely dam spots have long been taken and new dams, in any case, face tough environmental rules and the high cost of building anything in Australia. Another consideration in Australia is that this project locks up a lot of fresh water that could be put to productive use in farming. Basically the whole project is a horribly expensive, resource wasting solution to a problem Australia has created for itself. 

Pumped hydro can be scaled to local demands and just needs the right policies in place if it is to be a viable option, as distinct from a one giant battery that will cost a fortune.

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22 hours ago, remake it said:

Pumped hydro can be scaled to local demands and just needs the right policies in place if it is to be a viable option, as distinct from a one giant battery that will cost a fortune.

All that sounds good in green party meetings but like all the rest of it is so much wishful thinking. I was surprised to discover the other way that quite a number of private dams have been built in the Murray-Darling basin. No details were given but these were about beating droughts not hydropower and it is difficult to see just how fitting those dams with hydro power units would be economical. The costs would be enormous, with more expense involved in connecting them with the main grids. Instead of one giant battery that will cost a fortune, you will have a lot of little batteries that will cost even more. The ANU guys can identify all the hydropower sites they like. Will there every be the money to build them? Outside of massive subsidies by Labor governments - the right policies you speak of - I doubt it..  

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1 hour ago, markslawson said:

All that sounds good in green party meetings but like all the rest of it is so much wishful thinking. I was surprised to discover the other way that quite a number of private dams have been built in the Murray-Darling basin. No details were given but these were about beating droughts not hydropower and it is difficult to see just how fitting those dams with hydro power units would be economical. The costs would be enormous, with more expense involved in connecting them with the main grids. Instead of one giant battery that will cost a fortune, you will have a lot of little batteries that will cost even more. The ANU guys can identify all the hydropower sites they like. Will there every be the money to build them? Outside of massive subsidies by Labor governments - the right policies you speak of - I doubt it..  

There is no need for any subsidies as the only policy change necessary is for AEMO to accept renewables over FF in satisfying market demand.

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10 hours ago, markslawson said:

All that sounds good in green party meetings but like all the rest of it is so much wishful thinking.

Mark, generating electricity by attempts at pumped storage hydro, in a place such as Australia, is foolishness.  The logical solution for AUS would be the nuclear reactor.  Lots have been built, the technology is mature, the power output is predictable and stable; what's not to like?  

Pumped storage attached to a river is horrendous.  When the river is being pumped uphill, the pump turbines suck up vast quantities of fish, destroying that marine life.  When the water is released with a whoosh, you get riverbank erosion and destruction of spawning grounds.  Plus there is a huge energy loss in the exercise - apparently as much as 50%.  If you want to create an isolated system, with no connection to a river, then it needs perpetual additions of water to counter evaporation  (although some clever ideas are out there to mitigate that).  You would be better off to build an inclined railway connected to motor-generators by long wire cables; as the heavy railcar, say a gondola filled with rock, is pulled uphill, it stores potential energy, to be released by gravity pull when the railcar goes downhill.  That system needs no water, and seems to have considerable promise.  Personally, I favor the nuke plant; to me, that makes a lot of sense. 

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11 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

Mark, generating electricity by attempts at pumped storage hydro, in a place such as Australia, is foolishness.  The logical solution for AUS would be the nuclear reactor.  Lots have been built, the technology is mature, the power output is predictable and stable; what's not to like?  

Pumped storage attached to a river is horrendous.  When the river is being pumped uphill, the pump turbines suck up vast quantities of fish, destroying that marine life.  When the water is released with a whoosh, you get riverbank erosion and destruction of spawning grounds.  Plus there is a huge energy loss in the exercise - apparently as much as 50%.  If you want to create an isolated system, with no connection to a river, then it needs perpetual additions of water to counter evaporation  (although some clever ideas are out there to mitigate that).  You would be better off to build an inclined railway connected to motor-generators by long wire cables; as the heavy railcar, say a gondola filled with rock, is pulled uphill, it stores potential energy, to be released by gravity pull when the railcar goes downhill.  That system needs no water, and seems to have considerable promise.  Personally, I favor the nuke plant; to me, that makes a lot of sense. 

Nobody will finance a nuclear reactor so how would that be a "logical solution", while the Australian pumped hydro proposal does not involve a river.

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58 minutes ago, remake it said:

Nobody will finance a nuclear reactor so how would that be a "logical solution", while the Australian pumped hydro proposal does not involve a river.

Adding that Nuclear reactor is baseload - the opposite of the function a Pump Storage Unit performs. 

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14 minutes ago, NickW said:

Adding that Nuclear reactor is baseload - the opposite of the function a Pump Storage Unit performs. 

Nuclear is not going to be built for many good reasons, so you need to address those.

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22 hours ago, remake it said:

There is no need for any subsidies as the only policy change necessary is for AEMO to accept renewables over FF in satisfying market demand.

Gotta knock that one on the head too.. renewable output is accepted above FF power in various places, notably Germany, without anyone building this mass of pumped hydro you talk about. Instead Germany grid operators wish they had the right of Australia grid operators to reject output from wind farms and the like above a certain capacity if its going to overload the grid. Otherwise wind power tends to go first on the spot market as it always underbids power from conventional plants. More hydro plants would make it easier to stabilise the grid as they could accept overloads, but no one is building them. So you should ask yourself why. Private companies have to justify a business case. Anyway, leave it with you.. and be careful of snake oil in green party meetings.. 

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14 hours ago, remake it said:

Nobody will finance a nuclear reactor so how would that be a "logical solution", while the Australian pumped hydro proposal does not involve a river.

The 'fish tragedy' is often played out on here as a reason to not build pump storage.

The fact that most pump storage developments involve artificial lakes which are periodically electro-fished to remove any fish and then rehomed elsewhere is overlooked¬¬

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44 minutes ago, NickW said:

The fact that most pump storage developments involve artificial lakes which are periodically electro-fished to remove any fish and then rehomed elsewhere is overlooked¬¬

In North America the practice is to use an existing river.  Hey, if you want to go build an isolated two-pond system in Australia, go for it.  It is not as if you would be chopping up the salmon run, now would it?

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1 minute ago, Jan van Eck said:

In North America the practice is to use an existing river.  Hey, if you want to go build an isolated two-pond system in Australia, go for it.  It is not as if you would be chopping up the salmon run, now would it?

The thread is about a pump storage facility in Australia.

Your suggestion that what Oz needs is a Nuc as an alternative to a pump storage unit is strange.

A pump storage unit provides a very flexible way of bring on line power very quickly and soaking up power when its in surplus so is either used to balance renewables or allow fossil; fuel plant to run throughout the night while the PS station stores the surplus.

A Nuc does not have any of those benefits and would basically be run as a 24/7 baseload operator. Great if you need extra electricity but of little use for balancing. Indeed - in the UK we had to build Dinorwic specifically to soak up overnight nuclear power for reuse in the daytime.

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You are assuming that a nuke plant cannot  ramp up or down.  That is not the case.  The US Navy uses nuke plants for propulsion in all its subs and larger ships, and they all have the ability to ramp up or down.  Plus, at sea, there is no "grid connection" and no place to either draw from or dump into, any excess power.   But you already knew that.     

If you want to build water plants, then you do need a continuous source of make-up water.  Unless you cover the surfaces of those two lakes, that water is going to evaporate rapidly.  Plus you lose quite a bit of energy in pumping up and down, but you already knew that, also. 

That's the neat thing about design.  If you design it right, you can do all kinds of neat things.  Both hydro and nuke.  Cheers.  

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2 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

You are assuming that a nuke plant cannot  ramp up or down.  That is not the case.  The US Navy uses nuke plants for propulsion in all its subs and larger ships, and they all have the ability to ramp up or down.  Plus, at sea, there is no "grid connection" and no place to either draw from or dump into, any excess power.   But you already knew that.     

If you want to build water plants, then you do need a continuous source of make-up water.  Unless you cover the surfaces of those two lakes, that water is going to evaporate rapidly.  Plus you lose quite a bit of energy in pumping up and down, but you already knew that, also. 

That's the neat thing about design.  If you design it right, you can do all kinds of neat things.  Both hydro and nuke.  Cheers.  

No I'm not making that assumption however commercial designs are designed to run 24/7. You can of course insert / remove  moderators into the reactor to vary output or  release the energy as steam but you are still using up your nuclear fuel at the same rate so might as well run 24/7. Nucs are already white elephants - running on variable output would make that situation even worse.

As for Sub reactors - anyone built up a version that is commercially viable for power generation?

Secondly the fact this is a pump storage scheme  indicates that there is no need for extra generating capacity in the locaility but a need for capacity that can come online very quickly and pump storage fits that need better than virtually all other options, Batteries respond more quickly but scalability and cost the main barriers currently.

 

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1 hour ago, NickW said:

Secondly the fact this is a pump storage scheme 

Here is my favorite:

My own favorite — and one likely to appeal to many because of its safety and mechanical efficiency — is an electric train that stores energy by running up a track and then down to generate power. A Santa Barbara, Calif. company, Advanced Rail Energy Storage (ARES), is planning to run a special train 3,000 feet up a mountain track in Pahrump, Nev., and then have the train come down the mountain, making electricity as it does so. They plan to use hopper cars loaded with rock or other heavy objects. The Economist magazine has dubbed it the “Sisyphus Railroad.”

The train will go up or down the track depending on the needs of the California grid to which it will be linked. The developers claim an incredible 85-percent efficiency, according to Francesca Cava, an ARES spokeswoman. “That’s what you get with steel wheels on steel track,” she says.

The company has received Bureau of Land Management approval for its 5.5-mile track, and construction of the energy train starts next year. 

From Inside sources:      https://www.insidesources.com/the-future-of-energy-storage-sisyphus-railroad/

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32 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

Here is my favorite:

My own favorite — and one likely to appeal to many because of its safety and mechanical efficiency — is an electric train that stores energy by running up a track and then down to generate power. A Santa Barbara, Calif. company, Advanced Rail Energy Storage (ARES), is planning to run a special train 3,000 feet up a mountain track in Pahrump, Nev., and then have the train come down the mountain, making electricity as it does so. They plan to use hopper cars loaded with rock or other heavy objects. The Economist magazine has dubbed it the “Sisyphus Railroad.”

The train will go up or down the track depending on the needs of the California grid to which it will be linked. The developers claim an incredible 85-percent efficiency, according to Francesca Cava, an ARES spokeswoman. “That’s what you get with steel wheels on steel track,” she says.

The company has received Bureau of Land Management approval for its 5.5-mile track, and construction of the energy train starts next year. 

From Inside sources:      https://www.insidesources.com/the-future-of-energy-storage-sisyphus-railroad/

I like that too but you'll risk Mark Lawson having an embolism when he reads itxD

Ive posted link to that in various debates in the past - KSA's 200GW solar plan etc.

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