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Thread: N.E. Clean Power Connect in Maine - Should we care ?

  1. #241
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    As long as we have a daily load curve https://www.iso-ne.com/isoexpress/ I think storage has a lot of use. Far better to generate less power using more efficient baseload power plants 24/7 and store for the daytime peaks. Thursday may be record power demand day this week and as the demand goes up, the less efficient generation will go online to meet the peak. Mass has a "clean peak" standard to deal with the peaks using batteries versus cranking up simple cycle peakers (AKA jets). Even with wire to wire efficiency loss power plants run better at night due to lower ambient temps so best run them to charge up the batteries for daytime use which are less affected by ambient temps.
    Question...

    In the fuel mix chart for Aug 1 2022 Renewables it shows 0% for solar.

    Are there no solar farms feeding the NE grid at present?
    Don't let your mind write a check your body canít cash

  2. #242
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    Thanks again, Peakbagger.

    So, let's get going building the pumped storage facilities. One was just shot down in the Catskills, by the same people that profess to want the grid to work this way.

  3. #243
    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    Question...

    In the fuel mix chart for Aug 1 2022 Renewables it shows 0% for solar.

    Are there no solar farms feeding the NE grid at present?

    I had to dig a little deeper into their website (https://www.iso-ne.com/about/key-stats/resource-mix) and found the following, which appears to have been written Jan 18, 2022, looking back at 2021.
    Gas: 46%
    Nuclear: 23%
    Wind 3%
    Refuse 3%
    Wood 2%
    Solar 2%
    Landfill gas: 0.4%
    Methane: 0.3%
    Hydro: 6%
    Coal: 0.5%
    Oil: 0.3%
    Other 7%

    So solar seems mostly to be consumed at the source, with little going into the grid. I suspect if we looked at total energy consumed by source, solar would be much higher.

  4. #244
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    Question...

    In the fuel mix chart for Aug 1 2022 Renewables it shows 0% for solar.

    Are there no solar farms feeding the NE grid at present?
    The link was a live link to the page so its changing all the time. As of 3:39 PM 8/2 the Renewable fuel mix is

    28% solar (just about equal to burning trash) Yes there are a lot of farms feeding the grid but even big farm has a low energy density.

  5. #245
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    Quote Originally Posted by TCD View Post
    Thanks again, Peakbagger.

    So, let's get going building the pumped storage facilities. One was just shot down in the Catskills, by the same people that profess to want the grid to work this way.
    I do not see a lot of new pumped storage being built in New England due to the environmental issues, Scotland and Norway have somewhat natural sites for it but nothing really close in New England unless we go mega scale and dam the bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia or at least Quoddy bay.https://www.mainememory.net/sitebuil...e/1248/display The Dickey Lincoln project died of environmental concerns and a rare plant.https://digitalcommons.library.umain...ickey_lincoln/ Like Northfield in Mass it was intended to store nuclear power generated in off hours to be sent back to the grid when during demand periods. Maine has several large ponded hydro facilities, like the former GNP lake system on the west branch of the Penobscot, Moosehead, Flagstaff and Gulf Island Pond all store water overnight naturally and increase flow during the day. Anyone who has been white water rafting n Maine has benefitted by the planned water releases and at least one hiker was drowned trying to ford the Kennebec rather than taking the ferry during a water release. Every one of the dammed lakes have adverse environmental effects on wildlife (ever seen a loon raft?) . The HQ hydro system has a lot of environmental effects including wiping out one salmon run and severely impacting another one, but this is out of sight out of mind.

    Gravity Storage seems to be far more effective solution with less impacts, they can be sited locally to avoid transmission loss and avoid the Nimby solution of siting energy infrastructure far away in poor rural areas. https://www.energyvault.com/evx

  6. #246
    Senior Member Hillwalker's Avatar
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    Here is some information relative to the solar sit located in the next town over from me here in Maine.

    https://farmingtonsolarproject.weebl...resources.html

    And a video drone shot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zc1_X5XDBNE
    Last edited by Hillwalker; 08-02-2022 at 03:33 PM.

  7. #247
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    I do not see a lot of new pumped storage being built in New England due to the environmental issues, Scotland and Norway have somewhat natural sites for it but nothing really close in New England unless we go mega scale and dam the bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia or at least Quoddy bay.https://www.mainememory.net/sitebuil...e/1248/display The Dickey Lincoln project died of environmental concerns and a rare plant.https://digitalcommons.library.umain...ickey_lincoln/ Like Northfield in Mass it was intended to store nuclear power generated in off hours to be sent back to the grid when during demand periods. Maine has several large ponded hydro facilities, like the former GNP lake system on the west branch of the Penobscot, Moosehead, Flagstaff and Gulf Island Pond all store water overnight naturally and increase flow during the day. Anyone who has been white water rafting n Maine has benefitted by the planned water releases and at least one hiker was drowned trying to ford the Kennebec rather than taking the ferry during a water release. Every one of the dammed lakes have adverse environmental effects on wildlife (ever seen a loon raft?) . The HQ hydro system has a lot of environmental effects including wiping out one salmon run and severely impacting another one, but this is out of sight out of mind.

    Gravity Storage seems to be far more effective solution with less impacts, they can be sited locally to avoid transmission loss and avoid the Nimby solution of siting energy infrastructure far away in poor rural areas. https://www.energyvault.com/evx
    Interesting. Had not seen "gravity storage" before. Cute idea. Basically building an artificial mountain, and then using artificial weights instead of readily available water. I'm sure it works, but it look's like a classic example of "doing it the hard way." I looked around the site; the actual storage capacity of any of these installations is not readily available on the site. Would be interested in a comparison of storage capacity cost (KwH/$) with existing pumped storage facilities. Far easier and more effective for the grid to have adequate baseload sources.

  8. #248
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    The problem with a baseload power plant in New England is that a baseload powerplant is worthless without a fuel supply. The Marcellus gas fields in PA are loaded with natural gas but a decade ago there was a concerted effort to "starve" New England from getting additional major supplies of natural gas by stopping pipeline development into the region. It was quite successful. There was an attempt of a coalition of states to encourage new pipelines but it ultimately entailed each state signing "take or pay" contracts to cover the cost of building the pipelines. It all fell apart. The last major pipeline into the region was the PNGTS that runs from the Canadian Border through Coos county and then over to Maine using the Portland Pipeline right of way. The PNGTS ties into the tail end of the Canadian gas network which is higher priced than PA gas. PNGTS has offered to expand the capacity of the existing pipeline at least once by the installation of gas compressor stations but there are no takers as they would need to pay for the expansion and upkeep even if they did not need the capacity. There was hope that Sable Island Nova Scotia would pump gas into the New England network but the gas field fizzled. There was discussion of added additional LNG to the network but LNG sells for a premium over regular natural gas as its quite expensive to liquify it. Unlike parts of the US, the geology of much of New England is unsuitable for underground gas storage so it needs to be stored elsewhere and shipped via currently limited pipeline capacity. The best way to use it is direct from the well fields after its been processed, but as mentioned New England is limited on pipeline capacity into the region. There are two types of natural gas, firm and non firm. A firm gas contract owns space in the pipeline to get it into the region. Effectively the firm gas holder is paying for a share of the cost to build and maintain the pipe. A residential gas utility would be a firm gas owner. Most gas is Non Firm, the owners of firm gas capacity will look at their projected gas use and rent out the space to other entities on a day ahead basis. Big power stations all run on non firm gas, they or their broker has to bid on enough gas a day in advance to run the plant. If they do not use it they have to pay for the capacity in the line and frequently for the gas. If supply is plentiful things are great but in New England especially in the winter, its not plentiful and natural gas stations may have to curtail production if they cannot buy gas, this happens on cold days. ISO New England has been warning that New England is close to a cold day in winter where the choice is heat the houses or keep the lights on. Current firm price contract for January 23 are reportedly 6 to 7 times the current gas cost.

    So natural gas generation is not the ideal baseload as the fuel supply makes it vulnerable to supply disruptions with no easy way to store it. Nuclear is darn good baseload as the fuel charge in the reactor last years (while the waste lasts 10s of thousands of years). The fuel cycle used by the current generation of nuclear plants was designed to be inefficient as a source of weapons grade fuel. There are other cycles that are more efficient that generate less waste. Many of these cycles were tested and developed by the US long ago but were abandoned. Given the current cost and timing to build a new nuclear plant, its likely the last large US nuclear power plant is going to be Vogtle in Georgia (if it ever opens). There are SMRs (Small Modular Reactors) proposed but they are 10 to 20 years out and suffer a lot of the issues of big plants.

    Fossil fuel plants are great baseload plants, put in a few big oil tanks and they can run for weeks. Not very efficient although light distillates like jet fuel can be burned in combined cycle power plants very efficiently but emmissions are higher than natural gas and fuel cost is high. Cousins Island in Maine has one or two old school fossil boilers and steam turbines and they crank it up on occasion, that would be the oil fired generation that pops up on really hot or really cold days. So what is left?. Coal also can be stockpiled and is relatively cheap but unless its one of the few multibillion dollar IGCC (Intergrated combined cycle gasification) plants, its not very efficient and puts out a lot of CO2 per KW as well as lot of other air toxics plus a nasty solid waste stream. Biomass electric generating plants also can stockpile wood chips, the new Berlin plant can hold 30 days worth of fuel with room to spare. The fuel is relatively local but are not very efficient, no better than coal. They put out less toxics and the ash can be spread back in the woods. There were a lot of these plants built in NH and VT to supply Mass and CT but compared to natural gas combined cycle plants they cannot compete. The few left running are getting quite worn out and many are owned by the same bottom feeder firm.

    So we are left with the problem that there really are no baseload plants that make a lot of sense in New England. Even if someone were to want to build one, financial institutions have no interest in funding them as they are worried that they will become financial albatrosses in the long run. The Berlin Biomass plant is one of the most technologically advanced biomass plants in the US yet it has consistently lost money and only runs with a state subsidy that was extended only at the last minute recently. Even as advanced as it is, it is not that efficient. The only way to make it really efficient is to start from scratch and build a IGCC version of a biomass fired power plant. To date I am not aware if anyone has built a wood IGCC as the required scale of such a plant would overwhelm a regional waste wood supply. Wet wood chips are low btu content and take up lot of space, haul a truckload full of wood over about 100 miles and the fuel used to haul it will exceed the btu content of the wood. Therefore all the biomass boilers in New England were built small and spread out so they could run on local chips from nearby. One of Berlin's issues is that its 75 MW and its fuel is coming from longer distances than it should. The other biomass plants do not have that subsidy and can only afford cheap local wood so there is a glut in the region of low grade wood but the cost to haul it to Berlin is prohibitive. Whenever I see trucks of chips going up and over Pinkham notch from the south, I know that there was probably as much btu content in the diesel required to haul it up than in the wood btu content in the trailer. Far better to burn it in the Tamworth plant but Tamworth does not get a subsidy.

    So the choice is now that New England has shut down most (but not all) nukes what will the power system look like and where will the money go?. One option is to pay HQ to deal with the problem and pay dearly in the long run plus be very vulnerable to supply interruptions (a couple of locals took out the existing DC Canadian line through NH about ten years ago by target shooting insulators, it took a couple of days to correct the problem and put it back on line). If that had occurred now, the potential impact would be much greater as the regional power margin has dropped precipitously. The alternative is to build out local renewables including a big investment in offshore wind and storage.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 08-02-2022 at 07:18 PM.

  9. #249
    Senior Member Mac's Avatar
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    https://fundyforce.ca/

    Enormous energy potential if it can be harnessed efficiently. These are mostly in-stream turbines. One of the first ones had its blades torn off almost immediately. Some companies are testing prototypes here for use elsewhere where conditions are less severe (northern Scotland is an example).

  10. #250
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    Lots of attempts over the year to capture tidal currents but to date I do not think any commercially viable projects. Its a rough environment with rotating components that are very difficult to access. The tip velocities have to be low to prevent harming wildlife and that means very beefy blades turning incredibly slow transmitting large amounts of torque that either need to be sped up synchronous speed with large gearboxes or some sort of permanent magnet generators. Vey similar problems with wind turbines by magnified by much greater output power and a much more difficult environment to operate in.

    There was and may still be tidal project ont he bay of fundy that dammed off cove and used conventional hydro power turbines to generate power by running the water through the turbines. It had a problem that the turbine spun too fast and killed marine life. Reportedly various scavengers would hang out and collect the "chum" downstream of the turbine.

    I would bet the already commercially proven off shore wind turbines will hit the market first in the US.

  11. #251
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    Peakbagger, good analysis. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge; you have a lot more power grid knowledge than anyone else here.

    I agree with your analysis, but not with the conclusion. Two keys:

    "...a decade ago there was a concerted effort to "starve" New England from getting additional major supplies of natural gas by stopping pipeline development..."

    "The fuel cycle used by the current generation of nuclear plants was designed to be inefficient as a source of weapons grade fuel. There are other cycles that are more efficient that generate less waste. Many of these cycles were tested and developed by the US long ago but were abandoned."

    These were conscious decisions that need to be reversed. Reverse these decisions, and in a decade or so of hard work, reliable baseload power will be back. Continue down any of the current paths, and New England will be forever chasing its tail while the people pay 3X for inadequate power, with blackouts and "freeze emergencies." Unfortunately, just like a traffic light at a dangerous intersection, people are going to have to die before there's enough shock to the system to get it to change directions.

  12. #252
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    The grid is far more complicated, I just have to understand it enough to deal with it. I am finally set up at home so I can flip a switch and go off grid but with my current net metering plan for solar, it doesnt make sense to do so.

    The gas line strategy was reportedly driven by a couple of large national environmental organizations, same groups who fought the Keystone. The last big line was proposed for Northern Mass north of Mass RT 2, there was opposition, so it was moved to the NH side of the border but the local opposition to it doomed it, NIMBY is very much in play. One of the side deals in getting Machin in on the recent big bill in congress was expedited approval of the couple of gas pipelines down south that will ultimately boost the export capacity of LHG offshore. I would not be surprised if similar backroom deal on national level may let CPC get built. PNGTS got built in record time with little opposition probably a 5 year cycle, my guess would be closer to 10 years if starting from scratch unless its national defense project.

    A shift in nuclear fuel cycle may not happen in the US, India and China are trying to resurrect the thorium cycle https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thoriu..._nuclear_power. Lots of thorium all over including in much of the granite in New England (its source of the radon in drinking water and homes) China has a research reactor running on it.

  13. #253
    Senior Member Hillwalker's Avatar
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    La Rance tidal generators in France since 1966 Peak 240 MW, Average 57 MW.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rance_Tidal_Power_Station

  14. #254
    Senior Member maineguy's Avatar
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    Maine Supreme Court rules November 2021 referendum on CMP power line was unconstitutional:

    https://www.bangordailynews.com/2022...-court-ruling/

  15. #255
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    Not over, still plenty of hurdles

    https://www.bangordailynews.com/2022...th-n6hjn1me0n/

    The Biden administration has mentioned accelerating key renewable projects nationwide, wonder if this is one of them.

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