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Energy infrastructure



  • #2

    Seeing the fires in the Western USA, and the floods in Western parts of Germany and Belgium, there is obvious signs that climate change is not in the future but in the now.

    We have indications that there is current technology that can be deployed to reduce the CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Can it be delivered in time, and are some of the technologies blind alleys?

  • #2

    Carbon capture will play a part, however the economics of it make little to no sense so its unlikely to ever gain large scale traction

  • #2

    I am really talking about CO2 duction than carbon capture.

  • #2

    Extremely interesting video. It basically confirms that the economics of renewables has been outstanding, but now even storage including batteries is starting to look extremely attractive. Also of course hydro and interconnectors.

    Interesting that they mention that it is the energy regulators who are holding batteries back, that they set regulations and pricing that protect the existing fossil fuel and Nuclear operators.

  • #2

    Carbon capture tech is currently a total red hearing and very often have fossil fuel power plants right next to them to provide the power for them to run. On top of that oil and gas companies take the captured CO2 and pump it down oil and gas wells to get more oil and gas out.

  • #2

    A few bits and pieces over past while.

    Bantry Bay green energy facility to be one of largest of type in world

    Zenith Energy and EI-H2 have announced plans for a joint venture to develop a 3.2-gigawatt (GW) energy facility at Bantry Bay to produce green hydrogen and green ammonia. A year-long feasibility study will explore the project’s potential prior to planning permission being sought for the facility – it is expected to come on stream in 2028.

    The first phase of the project will see construction of a scalable green hydrogen production facility, up to 2.7 GW in capacity. The second phase involves a 500-megawatt green ammonia facility, using the green hydrogen from the first phase.

    EI-H2 have already announced a 50MW electrolysis plant in Aghada (mentioned already somewhere on this thread, but I can't find it because the search function is sh*te).

    Eirgrid going ahead with planning application for Celtic Interconnector

    National grid operator Eirgrid has sought planning permission for a €1 billion power line linking the Republic with France.

    State-owned Eirgrid and its French equivalent, Réseau de Transport d’Électricité (RTE), are joining forces to build an electricity line, dubbed the Celtic Interconnector, from Cork to Brittany, that will carry 700 mega watts of power.

    The national grid operator has formally applied to An Bord Pleanála for permission for the Irish elements of the interconnector, which will cost about €1 billion in total.

    And drone video of 4MW solar farm - Eli Lilly in Dunderrow

  • #2

    I think it's high time that journalists reporting on energy matters learned the difference between GW and GWh

    I take it this plant will have a storage gapacity of 3.2 GWh? It presumably can neither deliver 3.2GW to the grid nor consume 3.2GW in the production of Hydrogen?

  • #2

    Here's the original press release from Zenith. I read it as the plant will eventually be capable of 'consuming' 2.7GW of (renewable) electricity for the production of hydrogen and 500MW for the production of ammonia

  • #2

    That can't be right. Moneypoint is Ireland's largest power station and going at full tilt barely reaches 1GW. If it runs for a full day like that it produces 24GWh of electricity.

    This production plant requires the equivalent of 3 Moneypoint stations to operate at full power? No way!

    GW is basically flow rate of electricity. GWh is the amount.

    If I'm reading this wrong I'm sure someone will point it out.

  • #2


    Good video on a potential, very underused, source of energy load balancing, which will become much more possible for Ireland as we move to heat pumps as temperature controls.

  • #2

    Surprised he posted that so quick, almost not worth me supporting him on Patreon. 🤣

    I wonder how that would work with the culture in Ireland. A lot of people still have their heating on or off. A lot of people want a blast of heat and telling them and proving to them the current temperature doesn't change their perception. I've found with multiple friends that if I can keep a room or area lit then I'm more likely to be able to sit in a comfortable room for the evening, they seem to feel colder when it's darker.

    I don't have stats or anything else but I think it's important to bear in mind that people who will set up controls etc. are more likely to be thoughtful about averaging out usage, "over" heating for 20 minutes in the morning to save an hour in evening etc. Much like people who are into cars tend to drive more so maybe aren't representative of the needs of the majority as electric cars become more common.

  • #2

    Scotland auctioning off up to 10GW of offshore wind farm rights. Rather than being subsidised it could raise up to £860m and ongoing leasing fees.

  • #2

    Yeah, there's something off there. The biggest hydrogen electrolysis plant in the world is only (or was until recently) 50MW. I doubt that every hydrogen electrolysis plant in the world together could handle 3GW.

  • #2

    The establishment at Rjukan allowed for the exploitation of hydroelectricity from the lake Møsvatn through five power stations along the river Måna, Svelgfoss I (1907), Lienfoss (1909), Vemork (1916), Såheim (1916) and Frøistul (1926).

    Energy to fertilizer has a long history. Before making ammonia using hydrogen they used electric arcs in air to make oxides of nitrogen, inefficient but it worked. BTW Vemork was 60MW. It's a mature technology.

    Hydrogen to liquid fuel getting more efficient all the time. https://phys.org/news/2021-07-scientists-methane-methanol-room-temperature.html methanol was used in IndyCar from 1964 until they went to ethanol in 2007 - carbon capture at a power plant makes sense. Pulling it out of the air ? pumping the carbon dioxide around a MAGNOX nuclear reactor uses up to 10% of the generated power.

    And using sunlight to provide some of the energy to split water is also getting more efficient, though this is only for half the cell https://phys.org/news/2021-07-hydrogen-hard-major-hurdle.html

  • #2

    It's kinda a puff piece, it implies scaling the production up to nominal input power usage of 2.7GW but doesn't state what they'll start out at. 500MW usage to create Green Ammonia.

    Interesting slide regarding currently electrolysis tech here at 52:24 showing nominal input power usage of various units. The largest on slide using up to 20MW.


  • #2

    Well I think the point would be that as we make the switch to modern heat pumps with connected controls, the grid itself should be doing these things,. rather than leaving it up to the individual, the 'smart heating' system would actually pre-empt predicted conditions to lower the cost and usage.

  • #2

    isolated instances of woodland fires and flooding are not necessarily evidence of climate change. Forest fires are natural and are part of Nature's cycle of rejuvenation. Flooding sweeping away houses in valleys which are prone to flooding is a natural outcome too of heavy rainfall. Every valley you see is the outcome of water wearing away bedrock and depositing mud. You can postulate based on observation but then investigate further to confirm whether your observation is actually a natural occurence or not.

    Trying to counteract naturally occuring events means that there won't be enough effort spent identifying events which may actually be caused by climate change and responding appropriately to them.

    Carbon capture in Europe will not counteract clearing natural carbon sinks in places like the Amazon or Indonesia but it is being proferred as a "solution" to a poorly defined problem.

  • #2

    Heat pumps are stupidly expensive for most use cases and with microclimates and shade and heatpumps' slowness and dependence on air-tightness I wouldn't really like to see that control going to an algorithm or someone working from a box room a hundred miles away.

  • #2

    With these sort of systems it is unlikely that you give up full control of your system. It is more of a case that you set your system to be something like, only operate when price of electricity is below X. And you’d also usually have an option to over-ride it if you need, you just pay more for electricity.

    it is more of a case of pre-heating or pre-cooling your home when the cost of electricity is cheap, like overnight. A well insulated home should be able to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the day anyway.

    haphaphap, forest fires and flooding are definitely signs of global warming. Of course they will happen to places prone to fires/flooding, but it is more the magnitude and frequency of the events that happen, rather then them just happening

    For instance I was reading that one of the German villages had a pretty devastating once in a thousand years flood just 2 or 3 years ago and now they were hit by this flood that was 3 to 4 times higher then the last one!

    Basically global warming will lead to extreme weather events becoming a lot more frequent and a lot more devastating.

  • #2

    The vast majority of the housing stock is not built to passive standards. The cost of trying to retrofit passive standards to existing housing stock and then to retrofit heat pumps is a huge cost. The government doesn't have enough money to provide meanigful subsidies to househlders to finance such financial nonsense. The personal tax burden on Irish people is already very high and I think there will be a water charges like backlash if they keep trying to force people to cough up what they don't have and can't afford. To retrofit an Irish house to just B2 standards costs an average €56,000. Imagine the cost of getting to A1. Who on a mortgage is going to be able to afford that?

  • #2

    Has this passed under the radar? I had missed it.

    Vistra's Moss Landing massive li-ion storage facility in California was connected to the gird last January - it has 1.2GWh of storage and is capable of dispatching and storing 300MW. It's competing directly with gas peakers. It is already in the process of being upgraded to 400MW/1.6GWh. The owners plan to ultimately expand it to 1.5GW/6GWh - subject to market conditions, they say.

    For comparison Turlough hill is 292MW/1.8GWh (the size is an estimate - the claim is it can operated for 6 hours at full capacity per cycle).

    So this single battery installation will have roughly equal capacity in size and power as Turlough hill but will have better round trip efficiency and also more responsive dispatch/store switching.

    It's one thing to see graphs showing huge falls in the prices for utility scale batteries but seeing the first battery competing directly with NG peakers going into operation is very exciting. The previous biggest I had heard of was the Australian one at 100MW/180MWh but I got the impression its main way of making money was by offering grid-stabalization services to the grid.

    This development vindicates the strategy of over-provisioning wind/solar while preserving NG for demand following and later - when we hit the wall at 70% renewables, the NG can be replaced with batteries which at that stage - about 10 years I guess - should be super cheap given the price trajectory - a tenth of the price they were a decade ago. If even a fraction of this trajectory is continued, batteries will blow NG out of the water and the full decarbonization of electricity generation will happen very quickly.

    It also makes me more convinced that hydrogen isn't necessary for the transition. Utility hydrogen is still about physically storing/transporting a flammable gas, burning it in oxygen to generate heat, converting the heat to mechanical energy and converting the mechanical energy to electricity in order to make it useable. It's promotion feels like something dreamt up by an industry that currently caters to burning fossil fuels as it will require continuing to build pipelines, power plants, gas turbines, liquifying facilities, pressurisation facilities, transport by shipping, etc. - the big heavy industry approach. It just feels unnecessarily complex when you can just use electrical wires and batteries to transport and store energy in its most useful form - electricity.

  • #2

    Batteries don't generate electricity, they also have an effective life span of only about 7-10 years, being Li-ion. A gas turbine lasts 20 years, so you need to at least double the initial capital cost of a battery plant, and add the cost of the amount of wind capacity you need in order to keep it filled, if you are being honest about comparing costs with a constantly available and producing gas peaking plant.

    As far as I can determine, the 2017 cost of installing a wind turbine in Ireland is €2.5 M per MW. A turbine only produces it's rated output for 30% of a year, according to Teagasc.https://www.teagasc.ie/rural-economy/rural-development/diversification/wind-energy/

    You therefore need to spend 3.33 x 2.5, or €8.33 M per MW of demand in order to meet demand and have enough excess to fill the battery. Then you need to add the cost of the batteries, which will possibly be around €4.92 M per MWh, but given the lifespan thing, you need to double that to match your gas plant, so it's €9.83 M. https://atb.nrel.gov/electricity/2021/utility-scale_battery_storage

    So the cost of wind plus battery is €18.16 M per MW. The cost for a gas turbine and associated pipelines and infrastructure might be around €1.6 M per MW. https://www.agl.com.au/-/media/aglmedia/documents/about-agl/how-we-source-energy/newcastle-power-station/agl-newcastle-power-station-executive-summary.pdf?la=en&hash=03E09D3964E2C06D1DBC44F5F148CBBD.

    With gas costing about €18.7 per MWh (allowing for conversion efficiency) The €16.56 M difference in capital cost buys enough gas for a hundred and one years.

  • #2

    Try that again using LCOE, not your makey upy price per MW

  • #2

    I don't see why you'd attempt that calculation yourself, cnocbui - that's exactly what LCOE is for. The LCOE calculation treats the cost of electricity to charge batteries like it does the cost of gas to run a gas plant. It also factors in cost of capital, maintenance costs, depreciation, capacity factors, running costs, expected lifespan, etc.

    Other than that I can pick lots of holes in your assumptions.

    For example wind turbines cost about $1M per MW in mid 2021 nearly third of the 2017 prices you use.

    And while you mention a 30% capacity factor for wind turbines, you seem to assume that gas plants can operated at 100% capacity economically. The US figures are most easily sourced: CCGT had an average capacity factor of 56% in 2020 and gas turbine plants had a capacity factor of under 12% (https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.php?t=table_6_07_a). This is what you'd expect - you don't want to be burning expensive fuel when wholesale prices are less than your cost of fuel - but it means your calculations are completely off.

    And your battery prices - €4.92 M per MWh? Current - mid 2021 - battery pack prices are less than 1/25th of that.

    But even your focus on capital costs is misplaced - it's only one component of the cost and ignores the fuel costs of running a gas plant. Use LCOE if you want to argue costs of generation options. LCOE isn't the only concern of course but at least it provides a reasonable foundation before making arguments about the value of the electricity generated.

    Bloombergs latest reports say utility-scale li-ion storage has has touched as low as $137/MWh LCOE in mid 2021 (from nearly an average of $200 just over a year ago) which has meant the end of new gas peaker plant construction since taking everything into account they just cost more ($150 to $198 per MWh LCOE) on a whole-of-life basis than batteries. And batteries are far more dispatchable and flexible - they can be located optimally on the grid without any other constraints than having some space. For example, they can be placed close to centres of wind and solar generation meaning less transmission costs.

  • #2

    Is there a general belief out there that we can consume our way out of a consumption crisis ? , Replace ice vehicles with battery ,even as the number of cars increases , build huge numbers of wind turbines and batteries, or nuclear (and batteries ) , swap to heat pumps and smart meters, while building bigger houses ,

    Efficiency is great , especially when replacing older inefficient stuff ..but how do you build all new stuff and avoid consuming more energy and resources (as well as the associated emissions) in an effort to "save ourselves "

  • #2

    Generally speaking the new stuff, is vastly less polluting then the old stuff, even when you take into account the construction costs (in terms of carbon) versus the old stuff.

    really is shows how clueless people are in just how polluting petrol and diesel cars are or how polluting fossil fuel plants are, that they think construction makes any difference!

    like I’ve heard people say that EV’s require more carbon to build then an ICE car because of the batteries. And it is true, they are. However as we have seen from a major new report this week, even on the dirtiest grid, an EV will break even after just one year with an ICE car and will produce vastly less carbon throughout it’s life versus an ICE car.

    same with a wind turbine, sure it takes carbon to build it, but then it produces zero carbon for the rest of it’s life, saving vast quantities of carbon versus a coal/gas plant. And yes, that is taking into account all construction, fuel and decommissioning costs.

  • #2

    Got a link? Last time I looked I thought it took ~90k km for an EV to "break even".

    At the same time I think of my new car that puts out 115g CO2/km. If it wasn't 3x more expensive I may have considered an ID.3 to put out half as much. :pac:

    I'd be interested in the sources and methodologies for the studies, without pre-judging them either way. It seems electric cars are getting needlessly big compared to what might be considered their "equivalent" ICE cars so I would wonder about the carbon "hidden" in the extra few hundred kg of metal used in the bodies etc., nevermind the batteries.

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