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Integrating Renewable Electricity on the Grid report urges for solutions regarding energy storage, long-distance transmission and forecasting

The American Physical Society's Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) has released a report which offers suggestions on what is needed to both establish a national renewable electricity standard as well as merge the divided U.S. grid system. 

The report, Integrating Renewable Electricity on the Grid, provides several recommendations for setting a national renewable electricity standard and linking the fragmented U.S. grid system in an effort to move forward with a broader use of solar and wind power. 

In the report, the POPA suggested that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) should focus on energy storage, since the wind may not always blow and the sun may not always shine. If there is a shortage of electricity to a household, this could hinder their way of life for an uncertain period of time. The development of a strategy for energy storage in grid-level applications would show regulators the benefits that storing energy brings to generation and transmission services on the grid. The POPA also recommends increasing research and development in basic electrochemistry as a way of choosing materials that could be used in the storage devices. In addition, a review of the technological potential of battery chemistries should be conducted to see if they could be applied to grid storage and energy.

"We need to move faster to have storage ready to accommodate, for example, 20 percent of renewable electricity on the grid by 2020," said George Crabtree, co-chairman of the POPA study panel and a senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory. "And, by devoting the necessary resources to the problem, I am confident that we can solve it."

Long-distance transmission is another problem facing the grid. The long-distance transmission of electricity from areas that have plenty of wind and sun to areas that do not is a challenge the DOE must overcome. To do so, the POPA suggests accelerating research and development on wide band gap power electronics as a way of controlling power flow on the grid. Creating semiconductor-based circuit breakers at 200 kilovolts and 50 kilo amperes as well as alternating to direct current conversion options could aid in controlling this power flow. Also, the POPA noted that extending the Office of Electricity program on High Temperature Superconductivity for 10 years while concentrating on the direct current superconducting cables for transmission would assist in insuring long-distance transmission.

What makes this report different from many other grid studies is that its recommendations provide scientific and business perspectives. On the business side of things, the POPA urges the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation to first develop an "integrated business case" that covers the value of electricity storage and renewable generation as far as transmission and distribution goes. Then, adopt a "uniform integrated business case" that serves as the final evaluation and regulatory structure along with the state Public Utility Commissions. 

Forecasting is the final category of recommendation the POPA addresses, suggesting that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the National Weather Service and private vendors change time scales from hours to days in order to improve the accuracy of wind and weather forecasts. Also, wind plant operators, regulatory agencies and forecast providers should create uniform standards for both preparing and delivering power and wind generation forecasts. Regulatory agencies and Wind plant operators were also urged to create operating procedures to reply to power generation forecasts, develop criteria for contingencies and response to weather disturbances, and design response other than using conventional reserve, such as electricity storage and distant transmission. 

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RE: Argh
By rvd2008 on 11/17/2010 1:05:17 PM , Rating: 2
You compare building solar farm from scratch with adding a nuke reactor to existing facility. It's not a fair comparison. Do you have apple to apple example? When was the last nuclear plant build from scratch in this country? Including complete fuel cycle: mining, enriching, storage, reprocessing and disposal? How many decades are needed to build one nuclear plant?

In your example, Watts Bar, one of two reactor units whose construction commenced in 1973. Unit 1 was completed in 1996, whooping 23 years later. The second unit, you mentioned, was about 80% complete when its construction was stopped in 1988. So $2.5 bln is just a tiny bit to complete the work started decades (!) ago.

RE: Argh
By Anoxanmore on 11/17/2010 1:30:21 PM , Rating: 3
You forget about all the red tape that is needed which is why it costs so much to build a nuclear plant from the beginning. If the government would not allow the frivolous lawsuits to be filed to begin with you'd have the start up costs be a lot less, and the time it takes to build one drop by at least a decade if not more.

In addition, I can think of at least twenty different government sectors to cut money from to build an entirely new infrastructure for electricity. Bringing in a total of nearly 2T (Trillion) for money. Which would not all of that be needed.

Try it out for yourself:

It isn't that hard to come up with the funds for it. Not to mention it'd be pretty easy to use the funds to have the government build the nuclear plants themselves, not to mention allow them to actually employ(given to private companies to manage/run) 1000 or more people in a permanent fashion in addition to creating a lot of construction jobs for a temporary time.

After many of the nuclear plants are completed (in say 10 yrs) we can use that extra power (assuming 2GW + plants) to help research fusion, which will be the new energy source and that is literally unlimited. Not to mention this could also effect the inception rate for EV automobiles since our power grid would be up to date, and able to support the plugging in that many would do regardless of time of day. Granted, EV cars & etc are more for urban folk(of temperate climates atm), but the point still stands.

This is also the longest post I've ever posted on here. Well, that was serious anyway.


RE: Argh
By rvd2008 on 11/17/10, Rating: 0
RE: Argh
By Anoxanmore on 11/17/2010 3:21:18 PM , Rating: 2
No it isn't a reality. If you allow people to bring lawsuits that have no merit based on false environmental concerns that only lenghens the time it takes to build said nuclear plants. It is a waste of tax payer money amongst other things.

Nuclear(both fission and fusion) is the answer, and we have the 4th largest deposits of Uranium in the world.
{5} Warren I Finch (2003) Uranium-fuel for nuclear energy 2002, US Geological Survey, Bulletin 2179-A

890Million tons. We'd be fine on our own.

As for your "smaller government!!!!!111oneoneone", sometimes it takes over-riding things to get stuff done. This is one of those times.

RE: Argh
By rvd2008 on 11/17/2010 6:31:51 PM , Rating: 2
890Million tons. We'd be fine on our own.

jeez, can't you read? your own link says
890 million pounds , not tons. In tons it will be about 400,000.

RE: Argh
By Anoxanmore on 11/17/2010 6:35:24 PM , Rating: 2
Typo, it happens.

It still does not change that we have 400,000 Tons of Uranium which is the 4th largest concentration in the world.

Again, we'd last hundreds of years with that fuel and we'd have fusion mastered before we'd ever run out.

RE: Argh
By Master Kenobi on 11/17/2010 6:45:48 PM , Rating: 2
Plutonium, Uranium, and Thorium are all fissile materials that we can use in our nuclear reactors, we aren't going to run out for a VERY long time.

RE: Argh
By rvd2008 on 11/17/2010 7:33:40 PM , Rating: 2
it's all good, but you need to breed. you need fast neutron reactors. totally different beast. more expensive, more challenging to design and build, more difficult to stabilize. not economical now, but could happen in future.

RE: Argh
By rvd2008 on 11/17/2010 2:00:37 PM , Rating: 2
Huh? Do you want more gov control or less? Throwing out "frivolous" suits will be the end of democracy. Who should decide which suit is "frivolous"?

RE: Argh
By Spuke on 11/17/2010 6:12:08 PM , Rating: 2
Who should decide which suit is "frivolous"?
The judge. Which, BTW, is the one that does it now.

RE: Argh
By rvd2008 on 11/17/2010 6:38:52 PM , Rating: 2
Good. No change then? I thought the guy suggested to throw out any lawsuit G-man says is "frivolous". And ride over ("over ride") poor bas-ards who do not understand the common good.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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