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Old 10-08-2016, 05:48 PM   #21
DBM
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Re: Boston:America's Windiest City-no windpower?!

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Originally Posted by odurandina View Post
#La Jolla; I attended Muir.
Pronounced, "La J'awl-ah". he he he.

<seriously, is there no better way to pretend you're an ignorant East Coaster then to deliberately mispronounce it as "La J'awl-ah" amongst a bunch of SoCal sophisticates? hours of endless fun...>
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Old 10-08-2016, 07:27 PM   #22
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Re: Boston:America's Windiest City-no windpower?!

Oh yes. i took endless crap on the UC campus and w/ the Bird Rock bandits for calling it 'La Hoyer.' just couldn't catch myself until about a year in. But, i was welcomed in by the tough locals at Windansea, Big Rock and Blacks, so that more than made up for it.
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Old 12-29-2016, 05:47 PM   #23
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Re: Boston:America's Windiest City-no windpower?!

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It's the deep reds offshore where electric utilities see $$$ in profits. Especially because peak windpower on open water happens during daytime when demand is highest, and peak windpower on land happens overnight.
Given the drops in solar panel pricing, and Tesla Powerwall / Powerpack production starting the very begining of its ramp up, I wonder if wind's greatest value is going to be during seasonal dips in solar production. I think 2016's peak ISO New England utilization hour was 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM one day in August, whereas in past years with less solar it probably was 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM, and it's likely to continue to move toward the evening in future years.

I think average ISO New England load is something on the order of 18 gigawatts (possibly plus or minus a few gigawatts), and Massachusetts is roughly half that, and so if we wanted to try to get 1/3 of our power from wind, that probably requires an average output of about 3 gigawatts to cover Massachusetts; the Block Island wind farm expects a 47% capacity factor, so Massachusetts would probably need roughly 6 gigawatts of nameplate capacity to end up getting a third of our electricity from wind.

If Brayton Point is going to get an 800 MW power cable out to the wind farms, I wonder if it would make sense to build about a gigawatt of nameplate capacity there, and put some Tesla Powerpacks out by the wind turbines, with the goal of being able to have that 800 MW cable be running at 800 MW for the two hours after sunset every day that it is in service.

You'd then want to replicate that in five other places; perhaps one could be somewhere on the Cape, one landing near Plymouth Station, one landing in Salem to try to make the brand new Footprint power station obsolete, and maybe one that runs up Reserved Channel and one that lands near JFK/Umass station. Having a cable land in the vicinity of the Revere Beach Blue Line station might also be worth exploring.

Since all of these cables are likely to be DC, it would be worthwhile to look at whether they could feed DC power to the MBTA subway system without going through an AC step, and whether avoiding conversion to AC would improve energy efficiency, as well as giving the MBTA better power reliability in the event of a failure of the 60 hz grid. Revere Beach, JFK/Umass, and Cabot Yard might all be viable places to feed wind power to the subway. Additionally, since Proterra claims their battery buses have a total cost of ownership no higher than diesel buses, it may make sense to look into having an all DC path to get power from wind turbines into the bus batteries at the Cabot / Albany / Southampton bus garages. And it might also be worthwhile to look at extending the Reserved Channel DC wind power cable to Ruggles Station and Boston Medical Center on the theory that if Boston Medical Center can either use their existing grid connection or a dedicated DC connection to a wind farm, maybe that provides reliable enough power that diesel generators become obsolete for them (if indeed they have diesel generators at all right now).

It's very important that the wind farms be engineered to keep working on cold / icy days, and to be unlikely to be damaged by severe storms, because someday we'll probably have enough renewables that many of the fossil fuel plants will be decommissioned. (Turning off the wind farms for several hours during something like Superstorm Sandy may be OK if we have enough batteries, as long as almost all of the wind turbines can be straightforwardly turned back on as soon as the storm passes.)
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Old 02-10-2017, 10:12 PM   #24
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Re: Connecticut Wind

In the long run, I suspect the most difficult state and season in New England to convert to renewables is going to turn out to be Connecticut in the winter.

Rooftop solar should work everywhere in New England (see Germany for an example of a place that probably has no more sunlight than New England and has had good success with solar), but of course the number of hours of sunlight is less in winter than in summer, the sun angle is worse in winter, and snow may sometimes cover solar panels in winter (although at the Tesla solar roof presentation, Elon said that electric heating elements to melt snow are possible).

Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont share borders with Canada, which helps those states to import hydroelectric power from Canada. The three northern states also have relatively low population densities, which may be helpful if they want to get significant power from wind.

Massachusetts and Rhode Island (and Maine) also have direct access to the Atlantic Ocean, which is helpful for offshore wind.

Connecticut has neither convenient access to Canadian hydroelectric power (Massachusetts and New York may be interested in using any of that power that reaches the two states rather than passing it along to Connecticut) nor great access to offshore wind (there seems to be a desire to keep wind turbines out of Long Island Sound, and New York will probably want whatever power is produced by wind turbines south of Long Island, New York). Connecticut also doesn't have great potential for on shore wind.

This leaves me wondering if Western Massachusetts should be trying to aggresively build on shore wind power, on the theory that if there does turn out to be any excess power production relative to the needs of Western Massachusetts, it can probably be exported to Connecticut.
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Old 02-11-2017, 06:25 AM   #25
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Re: Connecticut Wind

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Originally Posted by Joel N. Weber II View Post
(although at the Tesla solar roof presentation, Elon said that electric heating elements to melt snow are possible).
Boy, I would really like to see some vetted energy balance calculations on this assertion.

Electric heating is extremely inefficient. Using that to clear snow, to recover weak winter generation under a low incidence, cloudy sky sounds like a real energy loser.
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Old 02-11-2017, 11:44 AM   #26
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Re: Connecticut Wind

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Originally Posted by JeffDowntown View Post
Boy, I would really like to see some vetted energy balance calculations on this assertion.

Electric heating is extremely inefficient. Using that to clear snow, to recover weak winter generation under a low incidence, cloudy sky sounds like a real energy loser.
From what I have read on them, I believe they are a rather slick surface and "naturally" heat up a bit/give off heat which allows snow to kind of slide off them if the grading is decent enough.
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Old 02-11-2017, 01:56 PM   #27
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Re: Connecticut Wind

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Originally Posted by JeffDowntown View Post
Boy, I would really like to see some vetted energy balance calculations on this assertion.

Electric heating is extremely inefficient. Using that to clear snow, to recover weak winter generation under a low incidence, cloudy sky sounds like a real energy loser.
You might be thinking of home heating or stove tops, but in this context electric heating would be extremely efficient. Joule's Law tells us that 100% of the electrical energy you put into a heating element is converted to heat energy. The problem is getting the heat from the element to the thing you want heated. A heater build right into the panel (just like the heater on the rear window of your car) would be an excellent solution.
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Old 02-11-2017, 02:17 PM   #28
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Re: Connecticut Wind

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Originally Posted by fattony View Post
You might be thinking of home heating or stove tops, but in this context electric heating would be extremely efficient. Joule's Law tells us that 100% of the electrical energy you put into a heating element is converted to heat energy. The problem is getting the heat from the element to the thing you want heated. A heater build right into the panel (just like the heater on the rear window of your car) would be an excellent solution.
OK, I'll buy into that, particularly if you are not trying to melt a foot of snow, but rather trying to get it to slide off the sloped panel.

For our snowier winters, you will need to elevate the lowest edge of the panels pretty far off the roof, to give clearance for snow buildup below (thinking on flat roof installations, not on sloped roofs).
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Old 02-12-2017, 05:28 PM   #29
Joel N. Weber II
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Re: electric heating

Even if you ignore snow, mounting solar panels flat is probably suboptimal anywhere in the US because of sun angle, and https://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009...our-solar.html describes how Google found that manually cleaning flat solar panels was worthwhile for maintaining their output, whereas even a 10 degree angle away from flat seems to be enough in typical conditions for rain to rinse off the solar panels adequately to make the results of manual cleaning pretty much unobservable.

While electric resistance heating is indeed generally inefficient, ventilation issues can sometimes be somewhat a mitigating factor, and heat pumps also exist which are more efficient than resistance heating.

IIRC, the new Footprint Power station in Salem, MA is a combined cycle natural gas plant that is going to have 58% efficiency. If you could combine that with a heat pump with a Coefficient of Power (COP) of 2, that ought to mean 116% efficiency compared to burning the same natural gas directly (if we ignore transmission / distribution losses on the electric grid, and ignore the heat wasted from providing ventilation to whatever is burning the natural gas in the home). But on the coldest days, we're likely to have some less efficient natural gas (and oil) plants running for the next several years; it may be that burning natural gas directly in one's home on the coldest days and running an electric heat pump for heating on more mild days (when the warmer temperatures will improve COP and the grid will be running cleaner) would end up minimizing fossil fuel consumption.

And in the long run, it would be great if we had so much electric power in the winters from wind that we could convert to heating buildings with wind power, but I suspect if we make any real progress in that area we'll have a huge oversupply of power in all of the non-winter seasons, which would make the economics of building those wind turbines a lot more challenging.

In the context of a stove top, if you have a building insulated to some approximation of Passive House standards, the typical practice would be to use an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) for bringing fresh air into the building as a whole. Some sources say you can use a range hood that recirculates air to collect the cooking grease in its filter, and then from some point in the kitchen away from the stove top, pull air into the ERV to be exhausted to the outdoors; other sources suggest that if you have natural gas or propane burners, the ERV won't necessarily provide enough airflow to maintain good air quality in the kitchen. If it turns out that a natural gas burner means you need a bunch of airflow that can't pass through the ERV, and you wouldn't need that airflow with an electric burner, and you heat the makeup air coming into the building to 50F or 60F in the winter, it wouldn't surprise me if the electric burner would end up using less total energy when you include the energy wasted heating the make up air. But as far as I can tell, the science regarding how much airflow you need for a stove top in a tightly insulated home has not been investigated as far as it should be.

The Tesla Solar Shingle product is the roof surface itself, not a separate solar panel thing. If you just melt a thin bit of the snow that is directly touching the roof, much as that seems like the obvious right way to solve the problem with minimal energy consumption, I'm not sure how you get a reasonable result once the snow reaches the rain gutter.

(I'm also not entirely certain that Tesla's snow melting solution has the efficiency of a resistance heater and not a heat pump, but I have seen nothing that would lead me to believe it is going to deliver heat pump level efficiency.)
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Old 03-16-2017, 10:41 AM   #30
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Re: snow on solar panels

https://energy.gov/eere/articles/let...winter-weather and https://www.instagram.com/p/BReQxRgBv26/ seem to be pretty optimistic that the impact of snow on solar panels may not be as bad as one might expect.
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Old 03-16-2017, 12:42 PM   #31
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Re: snow on solar panels

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Originally Posted by Joel N. Weber II View Post
https://energy.gov/eere/articles/let...winter-weather and https://www.instagram.com/p/BReQxRgBv26/ seem to be pretty optimistic that the impact of snow on solar panels may not be as bad as one might expect.
Germany has a ton of rooftop solar -- at locations between 47 N and 56 N Latitude, significantly further north than most of the United States. They get snow (particularly in southern Germany).

They seem to get plenty of output from their rooftop solar: Capacity is above 35 GW; peak output recorded is something like 31 GW.

They do have a lot more wind power though. Solar PV runs a distant third in renewables to on-shore and off-shore wind power.
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Old 04-08-2017, 11:33 AM   #32
Joel N. Weber II
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Re: solar vs wind

One question with these comparisons is how they account for solar power generated at a home and then consumed in that same home, without flowing through any of the infrastructure owned by the local electric monopoly. Sometimes that self consumption is not included in those numbers.

http://thesolutionsproject.org/wp-co...sachusetts.pdf seems to be arguing that we should be getting more power from wind than solar, but it's not clear where their assumptions are coming from.

They also seem to think 1.4% hydroelectric is enough, but if we get a 1 gigawatt cable under Lake Champlain bringing Canadian hydro power to the US, doesn't that cable alone cover roughly 11% of Massachusetts' electricity consumption? Even if you think electric vehicles and building heating will leave us using substantially more than 9 gigawatts a decade or two from now, I don't think that accounts for the entirety of the 11% vs 1.4% difference. They might be pretending that transmission lines crossing state lines are not a thing. (And it might well be true that the hydro power that can reasonably be generated in Massachusetts might be something like 1.4% of our energy consumption.)

I also don't like that they think we should only put roughy 1/4 of our solar panels on rooftops. Rooftop solar seems to be the lowest impact form of electrical generation from a land use perspective, and therefore I think we should try to maximize rooftop solar.
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Old 04-08-2017, 11:40 AM   #33
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Re: DC to AC conversion stations for offshore wind

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-v...direct_current notes that, at least as of 2012, multiterminal DC systems are rare.

However, given that underground cables seem to work better as DC rather than AC, maybe the best long term solution to minimizing the footprint of the underground cables might be to have DC to AC conversion stations in the 100MW range, perhaps with several such converter stations fed by a single undersea cable, instead of having the offshore wind turbine cable feed a single 500MW-1GW converter station located near existing AC power infrastructure.
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Old 04-08-2017, 01:49 PM   #34
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Re: solar vs wind

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Originally Posted by Joel N. Weber II View Post
http://thesolutionsproject.org/wp-co...sachusetts.pdf seems to be arguing that we should be getting more power from wind than solar, but it's not clear where their assumptions are coming from.

They also seem to think 1.4% hydroelectric is enough, but if we get a 1 gigawatt cable under Lake Champlain bringing Canadian hydro power to the US, doesn't that cable alone cover roughly 11% of Massachusetts' electricity consumption? Even if you think electric vehicles and building heating will leave us using substantially more than 9 gigawatts a decade or two from now, I don't think that accounts for the entirety of the 11% vs 1.4% difference. They might be pretending that transmission lines crossing state lines are not a thing. (And it might well be true that the hydro power that can reasonably be generated in Massachusetts might be something like 1.4% of our energy consumption.)
They show Vermont at 64% hydroelectric. For some reason, you have the 1000MW cable from Lake Champlain solely providing electricity to Massachusetts. It is well-documented that it will first provide electricity to Vermont, then excess will be resold to ISO-NE. So, attributing the vast majority of that cable's output to Vermont is a good assumption.
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Old 04-08-2017, 02:16 PM   #35
Joel N. Weber II
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Re: hydro imports

http://www.necplink.com/about.php does document that the converter station will be in Ludlow, VT.

I may have been confusing that with http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2...port-bill.html talking about Massachusetts buying up to 1200 MW of hydro power (where it appears that http://www.masslive.com/politics/ind...ns_hydrop.html is saying that land based wind or solar would also be viable options for that 1200 MW).
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Old 11-28-2017, 04:19 PM   #36
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Community Choice Aggregation funding wind farms

Would it be pratical to get Community Choice Aggregation to fund construction of wind farms?

I'm thinking it would be desirable to have one cable landing in Revere, perhaps in the 800MW - 1000MW range, with Revere / Malden / Everett / Cambridge / Somerville / Chelsea / Winthrop / Charlestown / East Boston / Arlington / Belmont / Watertown / Waltham / Lexington / Winchester as its customers, and another similar size cable landing at Reserved Channel or near JFK/Umass serving the parts of Boston proper that are south of the Charles, possibly along with Brooklyn and Newton, etc.
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