Intermitancy is real but thinking is backwards.

In Angles on December 21, 2008 at 6:30 pm

One blog arguing for clean coal explains perfectly why renewables couldn’t possibly contribute significantly to our energy supply. It is all down to the grid code and the technical requirements of today’s national grid.  Eon have used this logic to a degree when presenting to parliament.

Now, when these surges (or other events happen) the national grid calls for more energy – yes, partly from stored water reservoirs, but in the first instance from fossil.

Coal power stations (along with gas) have to be able to increase their demand by 10% within 10s and hold it for half an hour:

…and that’s the rub – as more renewables come onto the grid this instability is going to increase. Renewables and nuclear can’t load balance in this way – they just run – it’s not possible to get the wind to blow a bit faster just because a football match is on.

The engineer who wrote this is certainly correct but cant we look at the system faults rather than the problems these faults cause?

3GW of power suddenly being needed adds significant costs to the power system.  A widely distributed and diverse renewable energy grid can certainly provide a relatively constant supply of energy. So perhaps it’s worth trying to remve those peaks?

Have you ever wondered why energy dosent change in price? Think about it, most scarce things cost a lot. Economics 101 teaches us about supply and demand, so surely if demand is rising rapidly prices should be high? Real time energy meeters allow for that. If we combine this information with a certain degree of automation–a fridge turning itself off for 10 minutes makes no difference to its internal temperature. Then we can have a renewables compatible grid.

It’s time to give up on the dumb grid and advocate for the smart grid!


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