Archive for energy storage

The Cost of Transmission

Tom Konrad, Ph.D.

I’ve been reading a report out of the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office called The REDI Report: Connecting Colorado’s Renewable Resources to the Markets in a Carbon-Constrained Electricity Sector.  I summarized the REDI report’s main conclusions and drew some conclusions for stock market investors here.

I found the report’s discussion of transmission costs particularly interesting, because I’ve had trouble finding numbers for the cost of transmission in the past.  I once resorted to Wikipedia in order to find costs for transmission when comparing them to the costs of large scale electricity storage.  If you don’t think that the two are comparable, consider that long distance transmission can reduce the net variability of wind and solar, making it possible to integrate these renewable forms of generation without the cost of expensive storage.  That’s why even net-zero electricity homes are connected to the grid: it’s prohibitively expensive to buy enough batteries to keep the lights on 24/7.

Here are a couple cost charts from the report:

I took the data from the above table, and plugged it into my spreadsheet comparing the costs of electricity storage.  Below are the updated graphs (click for enlarged versions.)  The notation "2-500 kV AC" means a Double-circuit 500 kV AC line.  As in the storage comparison, I computed the costs and round-trip electricity losses for a 1000 mile line, since that was the example I used in my original Transmission/Storage comparison.

 

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Renewable Energy and Grid Integration Strategies Compared

Here is a comparison of the costs of various renewable electricity generation technologies, based on a California transmission study.

Similarly, I also recently wrote two articles comparing the costs of various grid integration strategies: Electricity Storage such as Batteries, Thermal Storage, Compressed Air, and Pumped Hydropower, as well as Demand Response, Smart Grid, and Transmission. Both have some charts allowing visual comparison of the technologies.

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Solar Stocks

In May, I went to Solar 2009.

One panel I attended led to a series of articles on Solar stocks:

  • The outlook for solar stocks
  • Why First Solar (FSLR) is a risky bet.
  • Why Solar Millenium may have what it takes.
  • I also particpated, with presentations on the best incentives for solar investments, and with an analysis of large scale electricity storage, as well as alternative renewable electricity integration strategies.

    Charles also attended, and took a look at the implications of the removal of the $2000 cap on the residential Investment Tax Credit.

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    Concentrating Solar Power: An In-Depth Look

    I recently interviewed several industry participants and research scientists about Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and associated thermal storage. 
    Several articles came out of these interviews:

    Why Concentrating Solar Power Should not Try to be Coal

    The Solar Projects that Won’t be Built

    What the Future of Concentrated Solar Power Might Look Like (This one made the folks at Ausra uncomfortable, and so they asked to respond.)

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    ARRA Symposium notes, March 10 2009

    I’ll be referencing these notes in an article to be published on AltEnergyStocks.com as What the ARRA Means for Clean Energy: One State’s Example on March 15th.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    A beaten-down battery company

    I’m bullish about the battery industry, because I fee that rising oil prices and consumer awareness will lead to accellerating adoption of hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles over the next decade. So I’ve been researching the battery industry, and trying to look for companies that can benefit without being tied to a single battery chemistry, since I doubt the conventional wisdom that some company will perfect the Lithium-Ion battery, and that will be the solution for all mobile energy storage.

    I just did a write up on one company that I think not only has technology that is applicable to a wide variety of chemistries, but it’s also selling for less than what I think its assets are worth.

    The company is Electro Energy Inc. (EEEI), and you can read more by clicking here.

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    What I told Bill Paul

    Mea Culpa, I’ve been falling behind keeping this blog updated… but most of you probably realize that the real stuff goes on at AltEnergyStocks these days. Over the last two weeks, I wrote a series of companion pieces to a series of articles that were published on energy Tech Stocks, based on a long interview Bill Paul, the writer did with me. Here’s an index to them (and they each contain links to the interview articles.)

    1. Large Scale Electricy Storage

    2. Plug-In Hybrids and Battery Stocks

    3. & 4. Improving Transmission and my Ambivalent stance on Biofuels

    5. Light Emitting Diode (LED) Stocks

    6.Cellulosic Ethanol and Sustainable Forestry.

    7. Alcoa and Blue Chip Stock Picks

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