Print 19 comment(s) - last by Paj.. on Jan 31 at 9:21 AM

Project at transmission plant will be completed this year

Japanese automaker Honda Motor Comp., Ltd. (TYO:7267) is outfitting its Russell's Point, Ohio transmissions plant with a fancy new pair of "utility-scale" wind turbines.

Exactly how big is "utility-scale"?  The new turbines will tower 260 feet in the air and come equipped with 160 feet (97 m) blades.  The installation, integrated by Juhl Energy Inc. (PINK:JUHL), will likely use Suzlon Energy, Ltd.'s (BOM:532667) largest turbine package, the S97.  Capable of producing 2.1 megawatts of power, the turbine is ideally suited for slower wind speeds.  The lower rotation speed also reduces risk to airborne wildlife.

The turbines are expected to pump out 10 percent of the total electricity the plant needs to operate.

Honda has pledged to cut its products' CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2020 and promised "significant" cuts at its plants, as well.  While Juhl has suffered some financial setbacks in recent years, it does have a lot of experience in the industry, having supervised over 237 megawatts of wind energy deployment.

Suzlon S97
The Suzlon S97

The plant in Russell's Point makes transmissions for most Honda vehicles manufactured at plants in the U.S. ranked the 2013 Honda Accord, produced at the company's nearby Marysville, Ohio plant, the third "Most American" car on the market (as ranked by number of domestically manufactured parts).

Ford Motor Comp. (F) and Volkswagen AG (ETR:VOWhave announced solar power installation projects at their U.S. manufacturing plants.

Source: Juhl Wind

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RE: Yawn...
By mjv.theory on 1/30/2013 4:55:02 AM , Rating: 3
The problem with both wind and solar is that they are intermittent, meaning that to provide continuous generation, YOU STILL NEED COAL/GAS/NUCLEAR that is sufficient to match user demand. So the economics of wind and solar are false from the outset. It is fair enough to say that wind and solar are "free fuel", but power stations need to be running and burning fuel, so as to take up the slack with no interruption to service.

Unless you have a complete and fully operational energy storage system (battery or thermal or ?), then you have not fully accounted for the true cost of the generation system. Existing power stations are presently part of the cost of "renewables" that is conveniently not included in the cost calculation. As regards, getting your "facts straight", one must do so, whilst also bearing in mind political and social influences that are not necessarily derived from "facts".

China is desperate for generating capacity, they cannot build enough coal or nuclear plants to satisfy demand. They need electricity from all and any sources NOW, so economics are a reduced factor for them. Also, by supporting this industry at home, they are fully aware that it strengthens their wind and solar industry's ability to compete internationally, further offsetting the domestic cost.

China's long term plans are almost certainly for Molten Salt Reactors using cheap abundant Thorium as fuel. LFTRs (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors) are the "greenest" of all possible solutions.

RE: Yawn...
By ShieTar on 1/30/2013 7:38:31 AM , Rating: 2
We have a fully operational energy storage system in Pumped-storage hydroelectricity stations. Its not only technologically feasible, it is even today economically meaningfull.

Of course the main economic purpose of those is currently not to store excess wind or solar power, but rather to store the unused power output of nuclear and fossile fuel plants operating at night and sell it relabeled as "regenerative energy" during the day.

RE: Yawn...
By FITCamaro on 1/30/2013 8:46:18 AM , Rating: 2
So in the case of solar, what happens when the sun doesn't shine bright for a week or two? You have enough energy storage for that? At a reasonable cost?

Wind and solar will never be able to be our complete energy picture. So why invest in them when you also have to invest in other generation methods as well? Nuclear is the far better way to go because it is cheaper over the longer term, produces FAR more energy in a much smaller area of land, and is a stable, reliable, and clean method of generation. You can try to give me the "what about the waste" argument, but reality is that it's not a problem if you don't want it to be.

RE: Yawn...
By mars2k on 1/30/2013 9:24:33 AM , Rating: 1
You don't need direct "bright" sunlight for anything but solar concentrating collectors. Flat panels work even in overcast.
Oh yes, nuclear is so clean, lets make sure we save the spent fuel in your garage. Fit you're a pill.

RE: Yawn...
By bah12 on 1/30/2013 11:48:07 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah waste is such a HUGE problem. /sarcasm LMAO if that is true then why is most of it still stored on site at the plant!! We have reactors 20+ years old that don't even require off site storage, and we haven't really produced enough to justify the cost of reprocessing it and running it through again.

RE: Yawn...
By ShieTar on 1/30/2013 10:04:26 AM , Rating: 3
When in a specific discussion about wind energy, there is no "case of solar". Nobody ever proposed to put thousands of acres of solar power plants into the UK and hope it won't ever rain again up there.

If using a system of electricity that is spread over a complete continent as is the case for the US and the european systems, the amount of generated wind power is not "sometimes 100%, sometimes 0%". It does vary, but relative variations get significantly smaller the more different areas are introduced to the power network. About 33% of the mean production of a local group of wind farms is reliably available. With a strategical placement of wind farms over a continental electricity network, values well above 50% are possible, and that is before implementation of any storage system.

Nuclear power on the other hand is not clean. It generates significant amounts of toxic waste and CO2 in the mining and refinement of fuels and wastes. It is stable and reliable under the assumption that the economic and social situation in your nation will be stable over the next 50 to 100 years. Fukushima was not merely the result of a larger than expected natural disaster, it was mainly the result of a strained economy skipping safety-relevant maintenance in order to save money.

And I guess I could give you a decent "what about the waste" argument, given that I got my PhD researching long-term safety of nuclear waste repositories, but of course it is a solvable technological problem. But so is the energy turnabout, as long as you don't insist in flatout ignoring all the technical possibilities available to us now and in the near future.

Germany has already reduced its CO2-generation by close to 20% over the last 20 years, while increasing standards of life, starting to completely give up nuclear power, and yet remaining a net exporter of electric power and home of numerous branches of energy-intesive industrial branches. While creating a large number of new companies in energy related fields with well over 100k jobs in germany alone.
While achieving basically the same econominc growth per capita as the USA, despite having to integrate and develop former eastern germany.

RE: Yawn...
By mjv.theory on 1/30/2013 12:53:14 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly how many installed MW would be required to reach a guaranteed 50% of electricity requirements in the UK and Europe. Presumably, at 33%, you would require an installed capacity of three times your actual requirements target. What about the additional power-line infrastructure cost from this distributed generation system? Would you reasonably expect the energy storage systems to double or treble or quadruple or more, the cost?. How much land area would be required to facilitate a pumped water energy storage system? and by how much would that further reduce the overall efficiency of the already low efficiency of the system?. Yes, if you have the political and social will, then technical solutions can be found and wind and solar can make a contribution, but at what cost? How many schools and hospitals will society have to forego to pay for an inefficient electricity generating system whose only redeeming features are a lack of CO2 during generation and a boost to the concrete and steel industries.

I am no huge fan of LWR/PWR nuclear reactors, although they have proven to be safer than coal, gas, hydro, solar or wind, albeit at a price greater than coal or gas. A shift to molten salt reactor technology, with thorium and/or uranium, would eliminate all of the negatives inherent in today's solid fuel reactors. And this could be achieved at a fraction of the cost of low density generation systems as well as cheaper than coal or gas.

RE: Yawn...
By Paj on 1/31/2013 9:21:10 AM , Rating: 2
How is nuclear safer than solar or wind?

I agree that MSR reactors are worth exploring, particularly using thorium. Norway's all over it:

RE: Yawn...
By Mint on 1/30/2013 11:02:04 PM , Rating: 2
It does vary, but relative variations get significantly smaller the more different areas are introduced to the power network. About 33% of the mean production of a local group of wind farms is reliably available.
No, it really doesn't get much smaller. That's a myth perpetuated by environmentalists who have never looked at any data.

Wind patterns are highly correlated over geographically large areas. Take a look at this for example:

That's the total wind power for all of Europe. Big enough area for you? Nonetheless, the variation is still from 4% to 60%, mean 20.1%.

Your 33% figure is false, but even if it was true, that's not remotely good enough. Say you had 100GW of nominal wind power with a system-wide capacity factor varying from 10% to 60%, with 30% average. The min is therefore 33% of the average, as you claim. If you wanted to minimize wastage of wind power, you'd need 40GW of natural gas backup to fill in the blanks and create 50GW of baseload, and it would run 50% of the time.

To summarize, for 50GW of continuous power, you need to build 100GW of wind and 40GW of natural gas, the latter running idle 50% of the time (and therefore charging more per kWh).

Alternatively, you could build 50GW of CCGT running efficiently at steady state. Modern CCGT runs at 60% efficiency.

On top of that, ramping natural gas up and down to fill in the blanks left by wind runs less efficient and usually in OCGT mode. So each kWh of wind energy doesn't stop 1 kWh of CCGT emissions. All you save with wind is the fuel cost, because capacity has to be almost the same. With natural gas as cheap as it is, wind will have to reach $0.03/kWh to reduce systemwide cost of generation.

RE: Yawn...
By drrockf4d on 1/30/2013 1:21:24 PM , Rating: 2
And the government and green initiatives are blocking all attempts to build the pumped storage projects. I am working on one right now in Southern California that has been in the permitting phase for over 20 years. It is getting closer, but anticipated approval will still be another couple of years and that is before any legal challenges that could delay it another 10 years.

RE: Yawn...
By trvlr124 on 1/30/2013 7:20:06 PM , Rating: 2
We have one of those in my state.
Its not all that and a bag of chips.
I would expect a little more from CA though.
Having said that, I am curious how the politics of the
'Cadillac Desert' play into yours.
Good Luck

RE: Yawn...
By Mint on 1/30/2013 10:16:28 PM , Rating: 2
We don't have nearly enough pumped hydro capacity, because it's only economical if there's a natural geological formation to reduce costs.

For example, New Zealand is a country with high altitude dammed lakes capable of storing months of energy for all 4.5M people, and it gets enough rainfall into them for over half of electricity needs to come from hydro.

The US has >300M people, and only enough hydro power for 8% of electricity needs. Its storage is nowhere near adequate.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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