Energy : Production, Storage, Efficiency, Solutions

orbital

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As per nbp suggestion ~


A general thread on energy production in your area, individual & regional solutions & advancements.
 
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Hooked on Fenix

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Energy solutions are a mess to be honest. For solar, you usually have to choose between an off grid system which is costly and limits your day to day use to battery power remaining or get a grid tie system which is cheaper but cuts off your power during blackouts. If you have a contract with a company for grid tied panel power, you usually have to go through that company should you decide to have battery backup storage. Both systems suck. You need a hybrid system that stays plugged into the grid and switches to battery backup with an automatic transfer switch during a power outage to have a reliable system. Currently, I like the Generac Pwrcell system running off something like Duelsun Spring hybrid solar/ hot water heating panels. This way, you get the hybrid system, hot water heating, and prioritization of circuits to stay on or shut off automatically during a blackout. When California requires all cars on the road to be electric, it will destroy the grid. Electric cars charge at night when there is no solar and wind often dies down. They are currently destroying base load power and what they are trying to do is guaranteed to fail miserably. PG&E has a backlog of over 100 years of maintenance repairs and the state wants all cars to be electric by 2035. You're going to want a system with battery backup for those inevitable blackouts. Unfortunately, the government is in bed with companies that want to force or incentivise you to buy their power solutions that don't solve the problems (example:GE). Our only real chance to save the grid is to start building nuclear power plants now so we have the power available when all those electric cars get plugged into the grid. Alternatively, we can get rid of the people (fire them) mandating these impossible things and run our grid on natural gas and coal until we have the resources in place to run a cheap, greener electric grid. After what happened in Texas, I don't think there are many people who will tolerate long term blackouts before finding who's to blame and ending their career. Ask a California governor what happens to them after rolling blackouts during record heat. I'll tell you. It's career suicide. If you want a lesson in green energy, I suggest watching the documentary called "Planet of the People" directed by Michael Moore. You'll learn that you can't make solar panels without high quality mined quartz (silicon) and coal and oil byproducts to make plastic and rubber for the covers, frames, and wire insulation. How do you have a green energy grid that bans oil when all the electrical wires are covered with oil byproducts for insulation?
 

orbital

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Just read this evening that Milwaukee has a 7000 solar panel array up and running.
It'll produce 2.25 Megawatts, enough electricity for nearly 700 homes.

Wisconsin has adapted large wind turbines in a major way in the last 25 years, but this solar array setup is a new stone..




___________________________________________________________*________________________________________
 

markr6

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Starting to get more wind and solar here in sunny Indiana. Recently a big one over some farm land has caused a stir. But we also burn food to power our cars, so we're not exactly the bastions for rational thinking.
 

orbital

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Yesterday I was a county over, in an area that's super beautiful area, lot's of forests, lakes, glaciated terrain, camping.
On a road I use often, is a house that always cracks me up, for firewood they have Paypal & some other fintech ways to pay.
(unlike just having a jar to put $5 like people do for pumpkins & stuff)
This house is not really a farm house if you will, but I'v noticed on the garage/barn a few solar panels a while back.

Now yesterday on my way back something caught my eye, like when you see something & it doesn't really register right away
just barely being able to see it,, was a massive solar array! Thought it was a UFO at first.....{{{{
now, I had to think about it for a second & I turned around to try and see it.

Even though it was maybe 100' off the road, the trees & foliage made it hard to see,, but it was huge// huge huge.
Tried to count the number of panels (these were the largest 500W panels) and I could count two rows of 13, and it may have been three rows of 13.
.. just hard to get a good view.


[xxxx] Think of a tennis court, well off the ground, on a 30 degree angle facing due south of just solar panels.

They must be selling juice back to the electric company.
I could think of worse side businesses,,,,,,,, very intriguing indeed.
 
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bykfixer

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The big generator operator company in my state is doing some off shore stuff. I believe it's wind mills.

Now one neat idea I read about a few years back was kinetic energy units on shore edges of the ocean had held promise. Not to power neighborhoods or anything large scale like that but to power small, localized areas nearby.

Not sure how it worked out but apparently at one point there was some kind of kinetic energy blocks on sidewalks in London that were supposed to supply electricity for the street lights.

I often wonder if it were possible/practical to have kinetic energy devices on roadways to power street lights, traffic signals and/or traffic cameras.
 

idleprocess

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Per the EIA data for May 2021, Texas breaks down as follows:

Sourcex1000 MWhPercentage
Petroleum00.00%
Natural Gas1800545.77%
Coal674017.13%
Nuclear37499.53%
Hydroelectric1510.38%
Non-Hydroelectric Renewables1069227.18%

  • Petroleum plants haven't been a thing in the state for as long as I can remember. Oil is presumably more valuable as an export commodity to the state.
  • Natural Gas has long been the primary source of electricity in the state. The fracking boom and combined-cycle plants generally cemented this.
  • Coal has been on a steady decline. The greater efficiency and versatility of the combined-cycle gas plant is the primary culprit. During my many trips to the folks' house I personally watched the slow winding down of the coal field in Titus County as the adjacent Monicello plant idled two of three units, sourced coal from Wyoming's Powder River Basin starting in 2014, with the plant's third unit shutting down in 2018.
  • Nuclear has long been two power stations - Comanche Peak and the South Texas Project
  • Hydroelectric is a small contributor to the Texas grid
  • Non-Hydroelectric Renewables is for the most part wind power, which has been steadily growing. I gather that much of the interest in growing the state's incredibly modest interties to the rest of the nation's electrical grid is so that wind power can be exported.
Of note is that there are considerable projects planned in the state revolving around solar, wind, and storage. Given that five years ago bids went out in CO that were $21/MWh with storage, I expect that the costs of buffering wind (and solar) against its own intermittency and demand curtailment have only gotten cheaper. With the high costs of running peaking plants and battery banks already well-established in the valuable frequency regulation role, I expect their prospects to do nothing but improve. Thus I'm not too concerned about the increase of 'intermittent' sources - and for all the hand-wringing over the specter of frozen wind turbines in February, that's a fix that can be retrofit into place without too much difficulty (and assuming that the PUC and ERCOT care to address their own failings).



Personally, I've been weighing PV solar for about 10 years and despite a four-fold reduction in the cost of panels since I started tracking the technology the financials just don't crunch. Electricity is cheap enough and the various 'net metering' schemes in the region suspect enough that the ROI for a barebones grid-tie system comes in at about 20 years. An offgrid-capable system with batteries would probably never pay for itself.

For the handful of hours a year that I might need backup power I've opted for an interlock breaker, generator inlet, and a pair of small 120V generators that I will run in parallel to run minimum work from home loads. The setup cost a small fraction of what a battery bank would run and should be able to run all day on the inbuild tanks - longer if I want to fashion up an outboard tank.
 
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orbital

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Solar setups for homes are usually just for renewable, non co2, supplements to their electricity use, not for emergency backup purposes.
To have it just for 'emergency use' is really missing the memo.
& you would need an absolute shedload of batteries to say heat, if you live in the south.
If someone is fully off grid, they already know what they're in for, expect.

Having several options is a better plan for individual households, some solar, gas generators ect..

{ I bet there are families in TX right now still fighing insuarance companies over frozen pipe disasters}
 

idleprocess

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Solar setups for homes are usually just for renewable, non co2, supplements to their electricity use, not for emergency backup purposes.
To have it just for 'emergency use' is really missing the memo.
& you would need an absolute shedload of batteries to say heat, if you live in the south.
If someone is fully off grid, they already know what they're in for, expect.
Yeah, the finances of offgrid-capable setups don't make sense in a region like TX with relatively cheap, reliable power. But boy howdy 'solar + backup' is being marketed furiously in the region in the wake of February's events alongside whole-house generators. While the former is at least a producing asset whose solar component has (distant) positive ROI, the latter is simply a cost.

Heat in the region is variable - a mix of gas, electric, and some rural structures opting for bulk propane. You're not going to run electric resistance heating with any practical amount of battery bank nor generator, but running a heat pump would be comparable to HVAC, thus possible to run conservatively offgrid.

One thing I'd like to have is a sort of whole-house UPS that could manage, say, 15 minutes of normal operations so I could ride out the usual short power outage and have time to spool up the generators.

{ I bet there are families in TX right now still fighing insuarance companies over frozen pipe disasters}
Oh yes. I gather plumbers are still running tight schedules more than 6 months later.
 

orbital

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Natural Gas in Europe set an all time record high on 3/7 {the equivalent of $600 a barrel of oil in the US}
literally hundreds of times greater than that in the US, for natural gas.

I feel for them, but must say, instead of having fun with negative interest rates for a long time,
they should have been securing energy independence.
 

jtr1962

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Natural Gas in Europe set an all time record high on 3/7 {the equivalent of $600 a barrel of oil in the US}
literally hundreds of times greater than that in the US, for natural gas.

I feel for them, but must say, instead of having fun with negative interest rates for a long time,
they should have been securing energy independence.
Their biggest blunder in my opinion was shutting down their nuclear plants. You don't do that until you have a replacement carbon-free energy source.
 

Hooked on Fenix

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Their biggest blunder in my opinion was shutting down their nuclear plants. You don't do that until you have a replacement carbon-free energy source.
We’re making the same mistake in the U.S.. In California, we’re down to our last nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, set to shut down completely by 2025. We have no affordable zero emission energy that comes close to competing with nuclear. With our dependence on natural gas and the situation right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if we started having rolling blackouts very soon.
 

bykfixer

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When the price of gasoline hit just under $5/gal in my area I removed some ballast from my work truck, filled it to 3/4 full to also aid in weight reduction and filled the tires to 1 psi over max reccomended to lessen rolling resistance. To add I drive a few mph slower on the interstate each day now. I still drive around the speed limit.

This weekend I want to wax the truck to remove a bit of air friction. In one truck a few years back waxing it added as much as 4mpg when travelling state to state for work.

I wonder if everybody drove the speed limit on the interstate, had optimal air pressure in their tires and good wax on the outside of the car how many millions of gallons of gasoline would be saved each day.
 

idleprocess

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To add I drive a few mph slower on the interstate each day now. I still drive around the speed limit.
My daily driver is demonstrably sensitive to this on highway trips. 65-70MPH depending on wind, road conditions, grade is about peak efficiency. Go over 70 - especially if I find myself passing a line of trucks - and that efficiency starts to dive on the realtime gauge.

Cruise control is also essential for efficient highway driving - it is capable of far more precise and subtle throttle modulation than my right foot and can nudge my nominally ≤30MPG vehicle to >35MPG.
 

scout24

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Idleprocess- I find cruise control great for mostly level highway use, but it downshifts way too early and too far for my liking on hills. If I see a hill coming, I can pick up five more mph before I get there and drop down a few mph by the top while not downshifting, where the cruise is "blind" and just downshifts as it sees grade and wants far more rpm's to make it to the top. Similar going downhill- I'll turn off the cruise a half mile ahead, pick up 5mph before the crest and coast as far as possible down the other sude with my foot completely off the throttle as much as possible. Modern fuel injection cuts off fuel flow with zero throttle imput as opposed to the cruise control maintaining 5 or 10 percent throttle down hills, using fuel in the process. (Long enough hill, the computer will allow fuel flow intermittently to keep the catalytic converters hot, but uses less fuel than keeping a light foot on the gas while going downhill) It's an interesting game... 🙂

Byk- Try 5psi extra in the work truck tires.
 

Poppy

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My last set of tires, I bought Michelin all season touring 80,000 mile tread warranty.
I think that the high tread warranty probably is a result in part due to low rolling friction.
 

bykfixer

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Cruise control is great on level to fairly level surfaces at making sure the engine rpm's stay fairly constant along with keeping the speed of the vehicle steady. Great for daily commutes where the vehicle stays in motion for a period.

However it can also wreak havoc on mpg as well due to not knowing how to predict changes like Scout was saying. Not only on hills but during merge points where the driver slows a bit to allow another motorist to merge. Push the resume button and the cruise control goes 'zoom' as it raises rpms to quickly get back up to speed.

I use mine often because it does help with mpg but there are times my foot is a better judge at smoothing out changes than the cruise control.

My 60k mile rated work truck tires have 45k miles on them and outter edges have worn more than the center so I'll raise pressure a bit more Scout and perhaps get more life from them and better mpg. I run them below max rated pressure in winter for traction aid.

Yes, 80k mile tires have a harder compound poppy so they last longer. Michelin in the past had some long lasting tires that were fairly quiet and smooth too. Can't speak for recently because I've always like Uniroyal Tiger Paw for that, mainly because they cost less than Michelin while providing pretty similar performance. Mrs Fixer has worn out a few sets of tires since we met. (and a few automobiles). She recently took a job a lot closer to home and enjoys not buying gasoline near as often now. She took a small pay cut that is no longer a pay cut since the cost to get to and from is a lot less than before.
 

idleprocess

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Idleprocess- I find cruise control great for mostly level highway use, but it downshifts way too early and too far for my liking on hills.
My present vehicles feature a 3-pedal arrangement so that's not an issue for me. That, and I live in a plains state so hills are more like risers.

Push the resume button and the cruise control goes 'zoom' as it raises rpms to quickly get back up to speed.
Cruise control in both of my vehicles feathers the throttle on resume.
 

KITROBASKIN

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2019 Tacoma cruise control will slow down if a car is in front going slower (nice), but our many hills show how it does not yield better gas mileage. Better, smarter software to read the terrain, and calibrate acceleration to be a lot slower would help a lot, seems like.

I'm guessing if idleP had significant hills/mountains, his machines would be goosing the throttle like others.

Very interesting thread
 
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