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Power-User

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Trouble for Baseload Electric Power Generators?

02/20/2017 11:01 AM

It is not clear what combinations of marketplace factors in what hierarchy of importance are creating the situation nationwide, as described in the the following link:

http://www.energycentral.com/news/study-finds-states-scrambling-retain-baseload-power-natural-gas-generation-also-risk?utm_medium=eNL&utm_campaign=WEEKLY_NEWS&utm_content=294443&utm_source=2017_02_17

Are we seeing intermittent renewable generators muscling opportunistically into baseload generation for fire sale kwhr grid delivery prices when the renewables are in near peak generation mode? If so, as this trend amplifies, the reality of grid intermittent renewable/conventional peaking and baseload parity, at least during short, somewhat random periods, will be the new normal.

Over the years various mavens have opined that when intermittent renewables feeding a particular region of the grid hit a combined nameplate capacity of 20 per cent that of the baseload 24/7 generation in the region, something like the phenomenon discussed in the link would occur. From what is presented in the link, at least with respect to the Zero Emission Credit (EZC) schemes, it appears the electric power consumers (and renewable generators) will be subsidizing conventional power producers to resolve the financial stress felt by conventional power producers.

A concept worth considering may be to levelize the playing field a bit by mandating through a regulatory regime that some portion of the peak range of intermittent renewable generation be directed to electron storage for dispatch during comparatively off-peak intermittent renewable generation/higher grid power demand periods to the extent that those generators can arbitrage the value of their gross annual power sales and recover the expense sustained by them in creating and operating their electron storage systems. This regulatory approach may be more of a win-win for all parties by making grid parity more real than apparent for all forms of generation.

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#1

Re: Trouble for Baseload Electric Power Generators?

02/20/2017 11:36 AM

business buzzword bingo

Technical bingo

Double bingo!

Damn near blackout score on the second one.

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Trouble for Baseload Electric Power Generators?

02/20/2017 3:02 PM

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Power-User

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#7
In reply to #3

Re: Trouble for Baseload Electric Power Generators?

02/21/2017 8:42 AM

Yes, Bingo. Sometimes CR4 is much like herding rabid gnats in the dark with a baseball bat during a firestorm. At least the random incendiary flashes of opinion keep out attention for an instant.

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#2

Re: Trouble for Baseload Electric Power Generators?

02/20/2017 12:23 PM

What is clear is that if you want reliable power, you will need reliable baseload power. The consumers will pay for it one way or the other. They always do.

The sad part is that the consumer pays for renewables on the front end in the form of direct tax credit subsidies, and then they will have to pay again on the backend for baseload facilities to sit idle while the sun shines and the wind blows. So, if you like paying for capacity twice, keep current course and speed.

If you want win-win, get the government out of it.

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#4

Re: Trouble for Baseload Electric Power Generators?

02/20/2017 3:07 PM

Still cheaper than generating it yourself....so while it might not be the cheapest it could be in a perfect world, it's still a bargain...and we still see stuff like this...

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Trouble for Baseload Electric Power Generators?

02/20/2017 5:24 PM

Are you suggesting that this festive display of lights is NOT powered by the homeowners solar panels? hmm?

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Engineering Fields - Power Engineering - New Member

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#5

Re: Trouble for Baseload Electric Power Generators?

02/20/2017 3:32 PM

Old news, new regime. Back when utilities were vertically integrated and had total control from fuel supply to delivery, the cost structure was easy to understand and maintain; if there was excess economic generation then it was routed to pumped storage facilities somewhere on the grid or to large industrial users that could shift their usage to the middle of the night.

The big difference now is that instead of water, energy is being stored in batteries. The other big difference is that instead of a single controlling entity, there are multiple layers of operators each of whom charges for their services, which of course leads to higher charges to the ultimate consumer. Unfortunately it seems that there are fewer and fewer people who have any clue how all the parts play together, choosing instead to focus only on their piece of the pie, to the detriment of everyone else.

Best bet is to buy a standby generator and hope that natural gas doesn't get too expensive. You'll never recover its initial cost and ongoing maintenance, but your lights will be on even if your power (and the sun) is out for two weeks (like we experienced with Hurricane Sandy).

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