A seemingly obvious way to make the electricity market better may actually make it worse

July 23, 2015 by Lisa Zyga report
adaptive power markets
This sketch shows how a consumer may change the price they will pay for electricity (acceptable price) for certain flexible uses, such as washing clothes, that depends on the actual price and the consumer’s need to use the electricity. Credit: Krause, et al. ©2015 American Physical Society

Restaurants often have their best specials in the middle of the week as a way to increase business on their slowest days. By evening out the flow of customers, carefully timed sale prices can reduce fluctuations in demand. Logically, researchers have wondered if a similar "adaptive pricing strategy" could be used to reduce daily fluctuations in demand in the electricity market, which has become a growing problem with the increased use of fluctuating energy sources, such as wind and solar.

In support of the adaptive pricing strategy, models based on standard economic theory have shown that lowering the price of electricity at off-peak times and communicating the prices through encourages more consumption at these times in a predictable way. These models suggest that adaptive pricing provides a way to control demand and reduce fluctuations, with significant potential economic advantages.

Now, surprisingly, researchers in a new study have used an alternative model based on econophysics that shows that adaptive pricing has the exact opposite effect: rather than dampen the fluctuations, it amplifies them.

"Our work examines the, at first sight, great idea to use smart electricity meters to dampen fluctuations in the electricity power nets," Stefan Bornholdt at the University of Bremen told Phys.org. "However, we find that under some conditions, consumers with such meters start competing and create a new artificial market which exhibits properties of real markets, such as bubbles and crashes. Thus, instead of dampening out fluctuations, it may create new ones. In this way, interacting smart meters may generate chaos instead of stability."

The reason for amplifying the , as Bornholdt and coauthors Sebastian M. Krause and Stefan Börries explain in a paper to be published in Physical Review E, is that changing the price of electricity over time can lead to the emergence of coordinated behavior among consumers.

"The coordinated action of consumers in our model stems from our basic needs (of electricity), i.e., the fraction of needs which cannot be postponed indefinitely: washing machines, heaters, AC, etc. Those can wait for a while, however, eventually have to be operated when need has increased (laundry has piled up). We will then even accept a higher electricity price. Indeed, the first washing machines that connect to smart meters allow such a price threshold to be set.

"When laundry piles up, users (or algorithms in advanced machines) can adapt the threshold to a higher allowed price. When the fluctuating price then drops after a while from higher levels, those consumers who postponed their activity will then join the 'happy hour' of cheap electricity, leading to an avalanche of demand (reminding of some crowded bars at happy hour). This is a dynamic phenomenon which econophysics models, but not standard economic models, can represent."

The new econophysics model shows that this coordinated "happy hour" behavior may in turn lead to "catastrophic synchronization" in which the actual demand differs by several orders of magnitude from the average amount predicted by the standard economic model. As a result of this phenomenon, it's nearly impossible to predict the demand at any given price, as the demand varies so widely at one price. In sharp contrast with the standard economic model, an equilibrium price at which supply and demand are balanced can never be established. Instead of providing a way to control demand, adaptive pricing may instead send it fluctuating wildly.

So what's the big difference between the two models that leads to such vastly different outcomes? And which one is more accurate?

The main difference, the researchers explain, is that models based on standard economic theory average the behavior of many agents to predict the outcome of price changes. The econophysics model does not use averaging, but instead allows for independent agent behavior and interactions among a large number of agents, which allows collective behavior to emerge.

The question of which model is more accurate is more difficult to answer. It's well-known that real markets often behave differently than standard economic models, which often fail at predicting bubbles and crashes. Models based on similar principles also encounter problems when describing a wide variety of physical phenomena, such as earthquakes, solar flares, and mass extinctions. One thing these systems have in common, however, is the emergence of collective behavior, which suggests that the econophysics models may have an advantage.

Explore further: The too-smart-for-its-own-good grid

More information: Sebastian M. Krause, et al. "Econophysics of adaptive power markets: When a market does not dampen fluctuations but amplifies them." Physical Review E. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.92.012815

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Eikka
3.9 / 5 (11) Jul 23, 2015
rather than dampen the fluctuations, it amplifies them.


I have commented on this before.

The problem is that the customer response is a step function and not a continuous variable, so it leads to oscillation. When the price drops, the power demand doesn't change smoothly - millions of devices may turn on exactly when the price reaches some critical margin, which then instantly makes the price jump sky-high, which again turns all these devices off - rinse and repeat.

There are two ways to combat this: publish different prices to different meters, or force the customers to set random price points, so that different devices switch on and off at different points of the price curve, which leads to a continuous feedback response and dampens the oscillation.

But neither option is exactly fair to the customers, because they are unsure that their neighborhood is recieving its fair share of cheap power, or they are put of control of their own appliances.
tscati
1 / 5 (1) Jul 23, 2015
The other big problem is that there are people who can't get a mobile signal so can't have a smart meter...
docile
Jul 23, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
ResearcherGuy
3 / 5 (2) Jul 23, 2015
This is nothing more than poor tuning of the feedback loop. Factors like step changes (as noted previously), bad timing, incorporating human limits (very round numbers) and more, all combine to make these issue arise when they otherwise would not have. Also, price should not be 'set' by any algorithm other than the instantaneous supply/demand mismatch. This places the prediction at the end user where competition will constantly raise the standard. There are much better ways to make this happen and some are nearly free.

Here's a write-up of the best that I've found. Google "The Living Smart Grid"
MR166
3 / 5 (2) Jul 23, 2015
I suppose that they just need smarter meters. Auction off a certain amount of power each time period and have the meters bid for it.
charlimopps
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 23, 2015
The other big problem is that there are people who can't get a mobile signal so can't have a smart meter...

If you can't get a mobile signal, you're probably not in an area where high electrical demand is a problem.
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 23, 2015
An easy solution would be to fuzz the signal. I.e. to either
- give the electricity/demand a range and a probability curve (start washing machine when price goes below x is 0.1 ...probability when price is in the range of x to x+1 is 0.3...etc. )
- add noise to the price handed out to smart meters (i.e. give every smart meter information that is uncertain to within a small range)
- hand out prices to smart meters not all at once but at random intervals (i.e. only hand out price-changes to as many meters at once as the sytem could handle if all of them were to turn on their respectively connected appliances)

Or centralize the activation command so that the energy grid has control of how many of these volatile systems are turned on/off (though that would be even more of a prime target for hackers than smart meters are in any case)
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 23, 2015
start washing machine when price goes below x is 0.1

Dammit. That should read: "start washing machine when price goes below x is 1"
ForConsideration
1 / 5 (1) Jul 23, 2015
Forget "smart" meters... and go with "control" meters. People get 3 hours of electricity per day at randomly assigned times. Problem solved!

But seriously, is the curve truly being influenced by doing laundry? My understanding that the huge curves were caused more by industry?
nilbud
not rated yet Jul 23, 2015
More delusional ideological drivel from the bookkeepers showing why there's a need for accountants.
Eikka
3.5 / 5 (8) Jul 23, 2015
give the electricity/demand a range and a probability curve (start washing machine when price goes below x is 0.1 ...probability when price is in the range of x to x+1 is 0.3...etc. )


The problem is that by randomizing the turn-on point of the washing machine, with millions of washing machines, this means that some people will be so unlucky that they'll never get their washing done because there's a finite probability that their washing machine simply doesn't turn on.

As a consequence of getting power at random times, people will simply bypass the meter and turn their washing machines on regardless of the time. Maybe the power is cheap, maybe not, but in the long run they won't pay more than the average price so they don't necessarily even care.
Eikka
3.5 / 5 (8) Jul 23, 2015
But seriously, is the curve truly being influenced by doing laundry? My understanding that the huge curves were caused more by industry?


It's influenced by many things. 1 million homes turning on a 1.4 kW tea kettle is 1.4 GW of instantaneous power draw.

Washing machines etc. are a huge power drain because they heat water at several kilowatts.
Eikka
3.5 / 5 (8) Jul 23, 2015
Nevertheless, the fundamental problem with the idea of demand flexibility is that the demand isn't actually all that flexible.

For example. First, I need to accumulate a sufficient pile of laundry that warrants washing because washing two socks at a time is very wasteful.

Secondly, when I have accumulated that pile of laundry, I cannot wait arbitrarily long to wash it because I will run out of clean clothes.

Third, when I wash the clothes, I have to be present to take them out of the washer and into the dryer, and then fold them or hang them so they don't just sit in a lump for hours and become all wrinkled. That means I need to be able to plan when I do it down to the hour.

With conventional power generation, the price fluctuation is very predictable because nearly all of the power is dispatchable, so I could set a timer to wash my clothes at 4 am just before I wake up, but with renewable power this is not possible because the output is random.

So I can't.
RichManJoe
not rated yet Jul 23, 2015
I love this. Another great example that common sense is commonly wrong.
greenonions
4.3 / 5 (6) Jul 23, 2015
Eikka
demand isn't actually all that flexible.


It's called planning Eikka - and yes it is flexible. We are on smart hours with our utility. We wash clothes/vacuum on the weekends. Run the dishwasher at night. The A/C automatically kicks down 5 degrees around 2:00 p.m. - and because we have a heavy cap of a attic insulation - it generally does not kick on again until after 7:00 pm. Seems to work well in terms of knocking off the highest demand. On extremely high demand days - the thermostat alerts us that pricing is up to 40 cents a kwh, but we don't have much else to cut back on - just running the fridge, and the puter at that point.
Eikka
3.5 / 5 (8) Jul 24, 2015
It's called planning Eikka - and yes it is flexible.


Yes - planning - but planning does not help you against random fluctuations in power availability/price because you can't plan a random event. That's what I already said.

We wash clothes/vacuum on the weekends. Run the dishwasher at night.


That's because the power is consistently cheaper at night and on weekends (I presume).

Could you wash your clothes on, say, next Wednesday at 1:45 to 2:30 PM because the gods of thunder have decided that it's going to be extra windy right then? Well, you'd have to take the afternoon off of work - but only IF the prediction is reliable.

The whole point of the load flexibility is to provide a dispatchable load when your supply is not, but the supply happens to be random and the load isn't randomly dispatchable.
Eikka
3.5 / 5 (8) Jul 24, 2015
In order to have a randomly dispatchable load, you actually need to store energy.

For example, 90% of the energy a washing machine uses is hot water, about 3-5 kWh worth. To make the washer a randomly dispatchable load, you need to install a dedicated battery and a boiler for it, so you can catch the random cheap power during the week.

This is actually quite feasible, because a single car battery has enough energy to run a washing machine through it's cycle - you just need to over-provision about 2-3x to get enough power and headroom in the system.

However, a boiler will lose 10% of the energy and the battery about 15-30% because you need to run chargers and inverters etc. so the net effect is that your energy use per load of clothes washed will increase by about 12.5%

But then, if you are getting the hot water out of a boiler, then it's vastly cheaper to have a gas fired boiler instead of an electric one, so the whole point is moot. Just don't use electricity.
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 24, 2015
The problem is that by randomizing the turn-on point of the washing machine, with millions of washing machines, this means that some people will be so unlucky that they'll never get their washing done because there's a finite probability that their washing machine simply doesn't turn on.

Not really, because the current smartmeter system gives you an endpoint when your washing has to be done (i.e. an implicit starting time when your washingmachine will start - regardless of current rate). That wouldn't change.

As a consequence of getting power at random times, people will simply bypass the meter and turn their washing machines on regardless of the time.

It's only a minute variation to dampem spikes and give the grid time to adapt. in any case: smartmeters do exactly what you say: they turn on some machines at a - for you - unforeseeable time. Adding a tiny randomess of some minutes (at worst) on top of that doesn't change the concept.
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 24, 2015
But seriously, is the curve truly being influenced by doing laundry? My understanding that the huge curves were caused more by industry?

Look at the curves when big sports events are on. You will find that during half-time energy consumption spikes significantly (people cooking a quick snack or making coffee). Energy providers have to be aware of such events and plan ahead or we'd get a lot of blackouts.

Secondly, when I have accumulated that pile of laundry, I cannot wait arbitrarily long to wash it because I will run out of clean clothes.

We're not talking arbitrarily. We're talking shifting it by a couple hours. Example: when I left my appartment this morning to go to work I turned on the washer/dryer machine. The clothes will be done and dry when I get home. I don't care whether it finishes the moment I come in through the door or 4 hours earlier - as long as it's done when I get home it's OK by me.
greenonions
4.3 / 5 (6) Jul 24, 2015
Eikka
but the supply happens to be random and the load isn't randomly dispatchable.


The supply is not random - especially when you are talking about solar. However - as Antialias points out with the washing machine example - the smart meter can match some load - to what ever supply becomes available. A/C, refrigeration, washing, dish washing - are all activities that can be load shifted to some degree - to give control to the system. Example - our A/C is off for the peak hours - by dropping the temp at 2:00 p.m. - and then letting it drift up 10 degrees during the afternoon. But if supply became available - the system could switch it on.
Returners
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 24, 2015
For industrial and commercial purposes, many facilities run at or near full capacity 24/7, 365. Residential energy use is peanuts compared to manufacturing/production and logistics.

New building codes could be implemented where appropriate for residential and commercial housing requiring that it have enough solar panels to produce a certain number of KW worth of power on a typical day. This could be effective even when demand is low due to the ability to sell power to the grid (usually limited to the same amount you bought from the grid per pay period). With this system, the family with two working parents who aren't at home during the day is running their refrigerator and freezer on solar power, and selling their extra power to the stay-at-home mom, for example, with a minimum need for expensive batteries, and thereby still profit and save a lot via the panels.

It should be like mandatory or something, with some sort of phase-in or loan assistance..
adam_russell_9615
5 / 5 (1) Jul 25, 2015
Until you actually test the model its just a guess, and with something as complicated as this is not very likely to be true much less accurate.
MR166
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 25, 2015
"It should be like mandatory or something, with some sort of phase-in or loan assistance.."

I love the green Nazis. They always know better than the free market. But deeeep down in their hearts they know their "solutions" are not economically feasible and that is why they want the government to subsidize it and make it affordable. But in today's world that might actually work since the government prints money at will. Good morning Zimbabwe!
Eikka
3.5 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2015
The supply is not random - especially when you are talking about solar.


You forget clouds and weather. For example, on a partially cloudy day, the supply starts to fluctuate, and you generally can't know more than 3 days in advance whether you'll have sun or rain because weather is chaotic and very hard to predict.

It's only a minute variation to dampem spikes and give the grid time to adapt.


Then it's far less useful. We're not actually talking of minutes, but of hours and days when power production is low or high.

Not really, because the current smartmeter system gives you an endpoint when your washing has to be done (i.e. an implicit starting time when your washingmachine will start - regardless of current rate). That wouldn't change.


And that wouldn't really be any different from people just turning their machines on whenever they feel like, and they probably would just to save themselves the bother and cost of the system.
Eikka
3.5 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2015
A/C, refrigeration, washing, dish washing - are all activities that can be load shifted to some degree - to give control to the system.


The system has a responsibility of providing people the energy they want and need by the time it's needed, and shutting some devices down simply mounts the supply/demand issue into the future.

No matter how you randomize it, there will be thousands and millions of devices that eventually have to turn on, and you can't keep them from turning on because laundry would be left unwashed and people would run out of hot water, or their fridges would melt.

So that creates a kind of sandpile problem, where, if you can't shovel the pile shorter every now and then it will eventually collapse on you, and that's what this article is about. If the supply doesn't come online - if you have a second rainy day - then you've simply made the problem worse by trying to be "smart" about it.

greenonions
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2015
The system has a responsibility of providing people the energy they want and need by the time it's needed,


By being intelligent - we get to define the responsibility of the system. Real world shows that your theory is not correct. I am on smart hours. It works. What it does is allows the system to make adjustments - and fit demand to supply. It is no problem for me to do my washing overnight, or on the weekends. Storage will be another part of the solution. Stop making up reasons to be negative - when it is not necessary.
Eikka
3.5 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2015
The fundamental problem is again of storage, and who's going to pay for it.

In order to provide more load flexibility, we need bigger hot water tanks, icebox HVAC systems and fridges, and batteries for the rest.

If each household had a single energy stockpile, they could set a linear scale of cost that goes from 0 to whatever is the most expensive they're willing to pay for electricity depending on how empty it is, and such a system would be very easily controlled.

However, as the price of electricity goes up, people are more likely to just switch back to gas and oil instead of bothering with any of that. In places like Germany for example, the demand of wood, especially pellets for heating, has shot up at the same rate as the amount of renewable energy on the electric grid - because it's simply cheaper.

In the US and Canada, there's such an oversupply of corn at times that people will stockpile and burn it instead of fuel oil.
Eikka
3.5 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2015
By being intelligent - we get to define the responsibility of the system. Real world shows that your theory is not correct.


How? By not giving people their power? Instead of throttling your appliances, actual rolling blackouts? Having the police confiscate your 52" television because it's using too much energy at the wrong times?

The system has a responsibility to meet demand with supply. Otherwise it's broken.

I am on smart hours. It works.


It works only because there's so few of the smart hours in a year that you can work around them. That won't be the case in the future with increasing amounts of wind and solar in the system.

Storage will be another part of the solution. Stop making up reasons to be negative - when it is not necessary.


You simply don't appreciate how big of a problem storage really is. It's a thousand times a thousand worse than you probably think.

Eikka
3.2 / 5 (9) Jul 26, 2015
To make an example of scale, let's suppose that the US average daily electric power demand is 550 GW, or about 13.2 TWh/d

The Tesla Megafactory will turn out about 35 GWh worth of lithium-ion batteries per year, which is about 1/6th of the world's battery manufacturing output. That is to say, in the near future we'll have a capacity to make about 200 GWh of li-ion batteries per year.

Therefore, it would take 60 years to manufacture 13.2 TWh of batteries, but the batteries need replacement every 10 years, which means that we would need all the world's production six times over just to keep supplying the US with enough spare batteries to keep one full day of buffer between supply and demand.

Just one day.

Now remember that electricity is only part of the energy demand, and also that the US is only 1/23th of the world in terms of population, so the actual problem is 50-100 times bigger still.
greenonions
4.3 / 5 (6) Jul 26, 2015
You simply don't appreciate how big of a problem storage really is.


Yes I do - you just have a need to make up problems that don't exist. Storage is a part of the solution. Load shifting, power transmission, base load through geothermal, nukes, wave, tidal etc. will all be other parts of the solution. Lithium ion batteries are not the only storage solution being explored you know? If storage were such an insurmountable problem - Costa Rica would not be able to run on 100% renewables. I keep repeating - we are on the first rung of a very long ladder. Stop making up problems.

so the actual problem is 50-100 times bigger still.


And the solutions are 50-100 times bigger. Stop making stuff up.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (4) Jul 26, 2015
Storage is the only solution to this particular issue.
As usual, onions is being ignorant and disingenuous.
http://www.greent...hallenge
greenonions
4.3 / 5 (6) Jul 26, 2015
Storage is the only solution to this particular issue.


I never said that storage was not part of the solution - it is. Making stupid statements that are not true is just antigoracles m.o. Storage is not the "only' solution - as goracle falsely claims - it is part of the solution. Other parts are load shift, base load, transmission, etc. etc.
greenonions
4.3 / 5 (6) Jul 26, 2015
Hey Goracle - I am on smart hours with our utility. My averaged electricity bill this month - for a 2,300 square foot home - in Oklahoma (gets pretty hot here) was $61. That is probably one of the cheapest electricity costs you can find. I guess load shifting is an effective PART of the problem right? Who is ignorant?
antigoracle
1 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2015
If storage were such an insurmountable problem - Costa Rica would not be able to run on 100% renewables.

Onions, that link I provided refutes your blatantly ignorant statement above.
You are not only stupid but also a liar.
greenonions
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2015
Onions, that link I provided refutes your blatantly ignorant statement above.


No it does not. Your article says that Costa Rica MAY have to use storage. However - using storage as a part of a renewable energy mix - does not refute what I said. I did not say that renewables would not need any storage. I said that the storage issue was not an insurmountable problem. Big difference. Here let me quote you the sentence again.

If storage were such an insurmountable problem - Costa Rica would not be able to run on 100% renewables.


See? I am saying that storage is not an insurmountable problem. I am NOT saying that storage will not be used. You are the stupid one - for not being able to understand a pretty basic piece of logic.
gkam
1 / 5 (6) Jul 26, 2015
"The system has a responsibility to meet demand with supply. Otherwise it's broken."
----------------------------------------

Really? Is that your definition? And why would you think/hope the system will fail?

Gosh, Eikka, you are telling us how much smarter you are than the professionals who are actually DOING what you decry as impossible, balancing loads and supply? We cannot build a perfect system.

If you want a perfect system which can withstand all the insults to its integrity, you will have to pay for it.

Yup, that is exactly what you HATE - paying for something.
greenonions
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2015
Hey goracle - here is a quote from the exact same paragraph that my above sentence was taken from
Storage is a part of the solution.


Why don't you go learn to read?
greenonions
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2015
a
Eikka
3.5 / 5 (8) Jul 27, 2015
Other parts are load shift, base load, transmission, etc. etc.


I was just explaining that load shifting absolutely depends on energy storage, because you can only shift the load so long as there is stored energy in the system. When the stored energy runs out, the load has to come online. If you don't let it come online, your infrastructure is as good as broken and people will take to the streets.

Baseload is just your buzzword:

Under high-renewables scenario, because of the high peak-to-average power ratios of both solar and wind power, and others such as wave energy, as the portion of these energy forms increase on the grid, all other power production must change to load-following to accomodate. This happens when the integration rate is around 20-30%, and beyond that you will get over-supply, which requires supply-shifting, which requires energy storage.

Most of your proposed "solutions" actually hinge on energy storage.
Eikka
3.3 / 5 (7) Jul 27, 2015
Really? Is that your definition?


Yes. I think it's a reasonable definition, since you can't "shift" customer loads indefinitely.
And why would you think/hope the system will fail?


I do not hope for it. Greenonions was the one who wished to re-define what the responsibiliity of the system is.

If your electric utility simply won't let you use your washing machine, your fridge, your water boiler, your water pump, etc. when it doesn't suit them, you're basically in a situation of social collapse because the fundamental energy infrastructure has failed.

If you want a perfect system which can withstand all the insults to its integrity, you will have to pay for it.


How much should I have to pay? Should I sell the shirt off my back to keep the lights on?

There are people poorer than I, who are paying for your grand renewable future with their lives, that you simply don't care about.
Eikka
3.3 / 5 (7) Jul 27, 2015
Gosh, Eikka, you are telling us how much smarter you are than the professionals who are actually DOING what you decry as impossible, balancing loads and supply? We cannot build a perfect system.


NOBODY is yet doing what I and Greenonions are talking about.

There are no supergrids that can shift dozens of gigawatts of power from the west to the east coast or vice versa, or from North Africa to Sweden etc. The energy storage capacities in the entire world are currently measured in gigawatt-hours which is a thousand times less than the future storage needs of even a single small country. Nearly all of our energy still comes from fossil fuel sources and the little renewable power we have managed is actually mostly old hydroelectric dams that are simply retconned to the story.

We haven't really even began the transition. Practically nothing has been built, yet you pretend.

greenonions
5 / 5 (4) Jul 27, 2015
Eika -
I was just explaining that load shifting absolutely depends on energy storage,


No it does not. We load shift here in Oklahoma - and there is not storage. Look how basic a flaw you have in your logic. However - storage certainly will be a necessary part of the grid of the future - and storage is available today - and more is coming on line. Soon solar plus storage will be the cheapest energy source - and game over. I guess you did not read about the energy wall.

We haven't really even began the transition.


Yes we have - we are on the first rung of the ladder - but look at Costa Rica, Denmark, Germany, Portugal etc. etc. We certainly have begun the transition.
Eikka
2.7 / 5 (7) Jul 27, 2015
If storage were such an insurmountable problem - Costa Rica would not be able to run on 100% renewables.


Costa Rica gets nearly 100% of its renewables from hydroelectric power - which comes with integrated storage.

It's highly disingenuous, propaganda even, to make the categorical claim that "storage is not an insurmountable problem" based on this one case example, because you're making the logical fallacy of unwarranted extrapolation.

See:

http://www.thegua...e-change

You might as well claim that renewable energy storage is not a problem because Iceland has abundant geothermal power.
Eikka
3.3 / 5 (7) Jul 27, 2015
No it does not. We load shift here in Oklahoma - and there is not storage.


I refer back to my previous point: the number of "smart hours" you have in a year is currently so small that you can work around them, and your system is still mostly conventional power, so the price shifts are predictable in the long term. There is no problem with load shifting in this situation.

Look how basic a flaw you have in your logic.


There is no flaw - you are just employing false extrapolation.

You are fine now simply because there isn't much non-dispatchable renewable energy on the grid, so your case is not relevant to the point. It's apples to oranges. It doesn't prove anything.

and storage is available today - and more is coming on line. Soon solar plus storage will be the cheapest energy source - and game over. I guess you did not read about the energy wall.


You simply fail to, or refuse to understand the true scope of the issue.
Eikka
3.3 / 5 (7) Jul 27, 2015
I guess you did not read about the energy wall.


I re-iterate: you need 13.2 TWh worth of batteries to have one single day worth of battery backup on the US electric grid, and you need to replace them every 10 years. That's 1.32 TWh of batteries made every year.

One Tesla Gigafactory can crank out 35 GWh worth of Powerwalls a year, so you need 37 to meet US demand alone, and that will increase the worldwide demand for lithium by a factor of six. When the rest of the world follows suit, the demand for lithium will increase at least 100 fold relative to current production.

If you intend to deal with the storage issue by Tesla Powerwalls, or any lithium-ion battery for that matter, there will inevitably be supply shortages because the world simply cannot increase production of the necessary raw materials that much in just a couple short decades.
Eikka
3.3 / 5 (7) Jul 27, 2015
Yes we have - we are on the first rung of the ladder - but look at Costa Rica, Denmark, Germany, Portugal etc. etc. We certainly have begun the transition.


Costa Rica, as I already pointed out, gets nearly all its power from hydroelectric power and so doesn't count - because it's not new. It isn't part of the effort - it's simply been grandfathered in, along with a whole host of similiar tiny countries.

Denmark, Germany, Portugal etc. on the other hand rely on the fact that they exist in a large continental grid which dilutes their irregular power output over 500+ million consumers, and so removes the need for most integration measures - so long as the others don't build renewable power.

The examples we currently have are either not scalable (hydroelectric, geothermal, bioenergy, etc.), or are not actually sustainable in their current form (wind+solar without integration measures, forced by subsidies).

What we have is essentially just window dressing.
bluehigh
1 / 5 (2) Jul 27, 2015
These comments are among the strangest discussions I've encountered on Phys.org. Perhaps it's an American thing. What's all this about bidding for best electricity price and choosing a most economical time to allow meters to operate equipment. Very strange.

Lisa thanks, I never heard of Econophysics and am utterly stunned. It's bizarre.

At the moment I just push a button on my washing machine and it does the job. However from what I am reading I'll need a degree in project management to just to wash clothes. (fortunately I have).

Are you becoming so austerity (poverty) stricken that you are counting a few cents saved per wash? Maybe I am lucky that it makes little or no difference and I just don't care.

Eikka
3 / 5 (8) Jul 27, 2015
Are you becoming so austerity (poverty) stricken that you are counting a few cents saved per wash?


Rather, the politicians are forcing the construction of large amounts of intermittent and non-dispatchable (uncontrollable) power capacity, which is then shoved onto the grid so that the politician can pay subsidies to the rich bugger who owns the generators, so he can pay the politician.

As a result, the supply and demand on the electric grid no longer meet and the price starts to fluctuate. In response, the politicians are proposing the use of smart meters which turn appliances on and off depending on the system price, to damp the fluctuation, so they would not need to stop building renewables and giving themselves public money.

But since the loads have limited flexibility, the act of delaying the onset of the load simply causes more of them to come online later - whether or not you have the supply to deal with it - and that makes the fluctuations worse.

greenonions
5 / 5 (4) Jul 27, 2015
You simply fail to, or refuse to understand the true scope of the issue.


No I don't Eikka. Rome was not built in a day. Our current energy system took hundreds of years to build.

What we have is essentially just window dressing.


See what you do? Every example of an early adopter - and you can dig in your little bucket of negativity - to say why - that country does not count. What YOU fail to realize is that we are on the first rung of a very long ladder. Each country will have unique solutions. Geothermal in Iceland and Indonesia. Off shore wind in England and Scotland. Solar in equatorial regions. Etc. etc. The super grid is in the process of being built. Storage is being developed. Sure Eikka - it is early days - and the absolute numbers are still paltry. But we have the models now - and you obviously never heard of exponential growth. So why the need to be so negative? Why not sit back and learn?
gkam
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 27, 2015
"I re-iterate: you need 13.2 TWh worth of batteries to have one single day worth of battery backup on the US electric grid, and you need to replace them every 10 years. That's 1.32 TWh of batteries made every year."
------------------------------------

Please end simpletonian logic. We do not need to power the entire United States for a full day. And, as you mentioned before there is no complete "US electric grid", but a collection of ISOs and co-ops, and municipalities, districts, many of which interconnect through transmission lines.

All those are in turn segregated into self-contained "islands" of load and generation which can disconnect from the line and support themselves. The granularity of those islands is rapidly decreasing in size.

Why would you assume such a ridiculous need?

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