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Old 07-07-2013, 12:41 AM   #133 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by oil pan 4 View Post
Grid power storage is a bad idea, you instantly lose up to 10% to 30% of the power you are trying to store by storing it up and releasing it.
It depends upon how the energy is stored. If it is being stored in the final form in which it is to be used, such as the aforementioned cold or hot thermal storage or compressed air, it is possible for there to be very little loss in comparison to using the electrical energy immediately it is generated.

If the smart grid uses batteries or some other means to store power its going to be even less efficient and cost more than what we have now.
It sounds like the smart grid has a huge potential to increase wastes of all different kinds.
Cost more, yes. If it didn't we'd probably already be using it. Lower efficiency? That matters less if the energy is free once you've built the equipment to capture it.

If we take one step back and look at the problem which is to be solved; that of providing the services that electric power is used for, when they are needed, there are many possible solutions.

Demand management is one but there will be a minimum power requirement below which it is not possible to manage past.

Another is to build overcapacity into the renewable power generation, most notably with wind but also with more direct forms of solar energy, such that there is a very high probability of power being available from somewhere.

Because excess capacity is then available for much of the time, and the excess capacity has to be there anyway, the loss in storing it for re-release as electrical power is less important. The energy and economic equation improves to favor the provision of storage.

If you can store the energy, there's less need for overcapacity and vice versa. There will be a sweet spot where overcapacity and storage solutions intersect.

The only grid storage that has good potential is the one we have been using for years already. Its safe, there are no toxic metals involved and makes up over 99% of grid storage capacity already. Its called pumped hydroelectric storage. Only problem is it doesn't work every where.
If excess electrical energy is available at low cost, cryogenic air/Nitrogen storage is another one that looks OK. It's clean and can be built anywhere.

It might be interesting to investigate building it near refrigerated warehouses or A/C'd buildings, and piping the air/N2 or rejected heat around, much like centralised steam heating. Maybe get two solutions for the price of one (and a half?).

There's no need for demand mandates. Price the energy appropriately and the market will find the most efficient solutions.
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