View Single Post
Old 07-05-2013, 10:02 PM   #118 (permalink)
Master EcoModder
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: World
Posts: 385
Thanks: 82
Thanked 82 Times in 67 Posts
Originally Posted by NachtRitter View Post
Another interesting article: Swiss Warehouse Helps Buffer the Grid - IEEE Spectrum. The gist being that a warehouse-sized freezer which typically consumes ~500,000kWH/month can be used to balance the demands of a power grid which includes wind and solar power by automatically managing the warehouse refrigerators, using it kind of like a big battery. The warehouse saves money by consuming less electricity (article didn't mention how long it would take to recover the cost of the automation implementation though) and the power company has a way to handle peak demands (or reduced generation due to the renewables) without constructing another power plant.

All the misguided hullabaloo about Smart Meters notwithstanding, I think the Smart Grid is the direction we *must* go in order to more intelligently manage the power grid so that we can take maximum advantage of power generation, which we know will include more and more renewables. Great opportunities for young folks entering college, BTW...
These are exactly the kinds of things that are going to allow the replacement of fossil fuels. The problem with renewables like wind and PV is not that they cannot generate the power (capture the energy), it's that they can't always do so when we want to use it. Energy storage is the key.

Energy doesn't have to be stored so that it can be extracted as electricity. It can be stored in other ways such as in a thermal mass ^; freeze something when the power is available and melt it when it's not.

Another example I can think of is to store a larger volume or higher pressure of compressed air (for industrial use) when power is available, rather than periodically top up a smaller tank.

The downside is the extra cost of the larger storage and increased size of the equipment required to meet the higher peak work load.

Originally Posted by IamIan View Post
I disagree.

This very well could be true in some places ... but it will not be true in others ... because the cost per "equivalent energy" will vary ... for both sides ... the various types of fossil fuels and for the various types of RE... they aren't all fixed costs and outputs , etc..
It may be so that renewables are already less expensive than fossil fuels in terms of direct cost. My point is that it doesn't matter if they are or not. Through global warming and the associated climate change, using fossil fuels will be, if not already, destroying wealth faster than they can be used to create it.

At some point that will be acknowledged and fossil fuel use will stop. If we don't stop, and try to burn all the fossil fuels, we will be fighting an increasingly losing battle. We're not stupid, so we won't allow that to occur. Fossil fuels are dead energy sources walking.

Worse, the indirect costs associated with fossil fuels are ongoing. Once, say, agricultural land is no longer productive, or water desalination or a flood barrier is required due to climate change, it's forever lost or always required (unless people move and cities are abandoned). They become legacy costs that have to paid indefinitely, long after the economic benefit of burning the fuels has been received.

Because it has been left so late to act it's going to be hard to do, because it now has to be done fast. It will be done in no more than 30 or 40 years because it has to be. Yes, it will hurt to do it.
  Reply With Quote