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Fake news #1052034
29th Jan 2018 10:27am
29th Jan 2018 10:27am
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,666
wirral
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Excoriator Offline OP
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Excoriator  Offline OP
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wirral
You don't have to tell lies to generate fake news. It can be done by telling the truth but not all of it. Here is a fine example of this sort of dishonesty from the Daily Torygraph.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/08/wind-farms-paid-100m-switch-power/

The article is a rant about 'constraint payments' and owes much to the 'Renewable Energy Foundations' - an organisation which sounds as if it is in favour of renewable energy but is, in fact, a pressure group dedicated to killing it off.

Last year, the article raves, wind farms were paid £100 million to NOT generate electricity. Worse, it quotes figures helpfully supplied by the REF of £367 million paid up over the past five years. They are paid more per kWh not produced than for what they DO produce.

This seems at first glance to be outrageous, but I have no reason to doubt these figures. Nor the claim that the payments have ballooned over the years. So, after all, has the industry so the payments have grown with it.

The dishonesty lies in the fact that nowhere does the article make clear that constraint payments are made to ALL generators, coal, gas, oil, whatever, and the payments made to fossil producers are much higher than those paid to the wind farms. Currently about twice as much. This is quite understandable as starting up or switching off a coal power station is for instance s a complicated and expensive business and takes a long time to complete. The National grid - faced with rising or falling demand, therefore turns to wind farms to produce or shed extra generating capacity as they can be switched on or off in seconds, and it costs less.

So the long and short of it is that if £100 million had not been paid out to wind farms over the past year, something in excess of £200 million would have been handed out to fossil power generators. In other words, wind power has SAVED us money! The exact opposite is implied by this dishonest article.

You might ask why are constraint payments paid to ANY power generator? The reason is that nobody is going to build power generating plant at vast expense without a commitment from the grid that it will be used.and this commitment takes the form of payment for switching them off.

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Re: Fake news [Re: Excoriator] #1052041
29th Jan 2018 1:09pm
29th Jan 2018 1:09pm
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Greenwood Offline
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Greasby
I didn't know about constraint payments; that makes interesting reading. There is more interesting reading online that gives a slightly more balanced view, for example an article from 2015 stating how much more gas suppliers are paid. It also mentions the fact that the Renewable Energy foundation is seen as an anti-wind lobbying group.

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publicatio...action-scotland-over-constraint-payments

Selective use of facts can give a very skewed version of reality and we all need to be on our guard against being unduly influenced by this rather clever take on 'fake news'. It's very hard to take anything at face value any more.

Last edited by Greenwood; 29th Jan 2018 1:13pm.
Re: Fake news [Re: Excoriator] #1052045
29th Jan 2018 4:56pm
29th Jan 2018 4:56pm
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 452
birkenhead
dustymclean Offline
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birkenhead

Re: Fake news [Re: Excoriator] #1052049
29th Jan 2018 5:07pm
29th Jan 2018 5:07pm
Joined: Mar 2010
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fish5133 Offline
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Heswallish
lies, damn lies and statistics

Re: Fake news [Re: Excoriator] #1052052
29th Jan 2018 5:23pm
29th Jan 2018 5:23pm
Joined: Sep 2013
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birkenhead
dustymclean Offline
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dustymclean  Offline
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birkenhead
Fish, We have to believe in something. Why not? something we have no control over. I,m a believer said the hare to the hatter and all was well in cuckoo land. sick

Re: Fake news [Re: Excoriator] #1052055
29th Jan 2018 5:56pm
29th Jan 2018 5:56pm
Joined: Jul 2008
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diggingdeeper Offline

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In the case of windfarms the big mistake is not building up a storage solution at the same time as building up the intermittent wind power production capability. This applies to other power sources as well, eg if the coal stations had storage (or fast standby) that lasted as long as it does to ramp up and down the power station this would alleviate a lot of problems.

Basing any costs of wind power production on the alternatives is clearly a fiddle not dissimilar to blackmail, it would be similar to pricing cars based on the local bus fare.

If the windfarms want any form of standby or set-aside payments then they should also accept penalties where demand is required but they can't provide it (eg no wind), contracts can't be one-sided.

A possbile compromise would be a cost plus contract consisting of of realistic parts eg

A standing fixed payment to provide the facility and allow for a profit margin.
A variable payment on a fixed price for electricity supplied which includes a profit margin.
An end of year variable correction which tops up the amount paid should it be less than the amount of electricity that was agreed to be bought but capped at the years production capability.

Its ludicrous that the current situation places all the risk on the customer and none worth talking about on the supplier, it gives no incentive to the supplier to reduce the risks (eg by providing their own integrated storage).

Storage is the key to electricity supply and always has been but the Governments have largely ignored it and the suppliers have found more profit by not providing it. There have been some approaches to it in recent years but placing lithium bombs in every household without adequate protection and shielding doesn't gel with me.


In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

We should judge our economy by the absence of poverty, not the number of billionaires - Jeremy Corbyn
Re: Fake news [Re: diggingdeeper] #1052068
30th Jan 2018 9:30am
30th Jan 2018 9:30am
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,666
wirral
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Excoriator Offline OP
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There are alternatives. Demand management is one. Many companies will happily accept limited outages in supply in return for a reduction in the cost of the power.

I would be very happy to do the same for a well-stocked freezer which will continue to protect the food for up to an hour with no power. A 'smart grid' and the 'internet of things' makes things like this perfectly feasible.

People worry about the intermittency of wind farms but usually confuse intermittency with unreliability. They are, of course, intermittent. But they are actually very predictable and when there is wind they are much more reliable than conventional generating plant which can stop working with no warning at all. The same is true of a wind turbine, but it is most unlikely to strike ALL of them in a wind farm at the same time!

So far, there has been little need for storage. the grid has handled things well using gas as back-up for wind.

As regards storage, I am not a believer in batteries. The best method I've seen was developed by Isentropic Ltd which developed a method of using heat to store power. Round-trip efficiency is around 70 to 80% and the heat is stored in tanks of gravel using argon as a working fluid. It appears to be cheap, scalable and can be located anywhere. (You'll find info on the internet) The company went bust, sadly, but the idea seems a good one and the grid level pilot plant they constructed has been taken over by the University of Newcastle which is currently, I believe, running tests on it.

I quite like the idea of providing a LOT more renewable power, sufficient to supply more than 100% of our needs. The excess could be used to electrolyse water into hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles. I suspect less fossil fuel would be used than storing it for making electricity when needed. Again natural gas could be used for back up

Finally, its worth noting that our use of electricity from the grid is actually reducing year on year. More efficient lighting and a general awareness that the efficiency of electrical equipment is worth looking at to save money is probably responsible for this as well as the increasing use of solar panels on peoples roofs.

Re: Fake news [Re: Excoriator] #1052078
30th Jan 2018 1:30pm
30th Jan 2018 1:30pm
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 12,813
Birkenhead
diggingdeeper Offline

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Birkenhead
Loss of heavy industry is possibly our biggest saving on power, followed by industrial units/factories being insulated these days.

As the amount of renewable energy sources continue to rise the storage problem will escalate, we are still heavily dependent upon non-renewable fossil fuels.

I'm surprised nobody seems to have an efficient way to make stored hydrogen less explosive which is always a concern with leaks. We could end up making LPG I suppose.


In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

We should judge our economy by the absence of poverty, not the number of billionaires - Jeremy Corbyn
Re: Fake news [Re: Excoriator] #1052146
1st Feb 2018 8:05am
1st Feb 2018 8:05am
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,666
wirral
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Excoriator Offline OP
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wirral
The point is that the grid has managed just fine with very little storage up to now, despite renewables supplying up to 30% of our power, well beyond the level where it was said to have caused 'grid instability'.

Some years back, our 'fridge died on Christmas eve. It was full of food and over the holiday there was no chance of getting a new one before the food would have gone off. Recalling the days of the 'ice box' I filled tupperware boxes with water and froze them solid in the freezer, placing them on the top shelf of the fridge. To my surprise it worked really well. I stuck a thermocouple inside it to monitor the temperature and the ice - less than a gallon - managed to keep the temperature at about 3C for up to a day. The replacement fridge kept the temperature at about 5C. Ice requires a LOT of heat to melt it! (33 J/gm)

A fridge with a reasonable thermal mass of water built in which would be maintained as ice would easily last 24 hours without power. So would a freezer. So if the power company offered me a deal involving - say - half price electricity in exchange for power cuts of no more than an hour once a week, given 5 minutes warning via a text, I would bite their hand off, and probably consider a battery system capable of maintaining light loads such as lighting and TV for periods of up to an hour. LED lighting takes so little power that this would not require much in the way of a large battery.

We don't HAVE to expect an 'always on' supply!


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