New England Electrical Grid

Joel N. Weber II

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CATL is not going to be able to produce enough batteries to reduce the demand for Panasonic's batteries; there's plenty of unmet demand for all the batteries both can manufacture.

And you don't need ``base load generation''. Wind + solar + natural gas peaking turbines work just fine, though of course batteries would be better than the natural gas peaking plants. Much of the demand in the pre-renewable grid varied throughout the day, too.
 

TallIsGood

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Natural gas isn’t renewable. Also we need more pipeline capacity for natural gas.
 

jklo

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My preference is getting people off the grid.

Natural gas isn’t renewable. Also we need more pipeline capacity for natural gas.
In theory at least if people used something else (eg: solar) it would reduce demand for natural gas and thus lessen the need for more pipelines. You're still going to need something for heat here though.
 

JeffDowntown

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In theory at least if people used something else (eg: solar) it would reduce demand for natural gas and thus lessen the need for more pipelines. You're still going to need something for heat here though.
You need something for base load generation -- solar and wind are both intermittent, so cannot cover base load effectively.

Reminder Pilgrim Nuclear is very likely to be retired in the near future. We are going to be in a world of hurt is we cannot replace that base load generating capacity -- most likely with natural gas (if we can get the pipelines). You simply cannot replace high up time nuclear base load generation with solar and wind.
 

Joel N. Weber II

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During one recent summer, one of the Millstone units was actually not running during the actual peak hour of the year because two of their four circulation pumps were out of commission, and then less than a week later, Pilgrim wasn't running at full power because Cape Cod bay where they draw their cooling water was getting too warm.

Renewable generation tends to not abruptly shed as much generation all at once as a nuclear plant when a nuclear plant trips offline.
 

JeffDowntown

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During one recent summer, one of the Millstone units was actually not running during the actual peak hour of the year because two of their four circulation pumps were out of commission, and then less than a week later, Pilgrim wasn't running at full power because Cape Cod bay where they draw their cooling water was getting too warm.

Renewable generation tends to not abruptly shed as much generation all at once as a nuclear plant when a nuclear plant trips offline.
Yes, and regional electricity prices went through the roof, businesses were asked to curtail usage and our economy suffered.

We either need reliable local base load generation (plus a lot of renewable on top of that) or we need to build the transmission lines to bring in hydropower from Quebec. Without that our regional economy will be in a world of hurt.

Current grid structure can only handle about 30-40% renewables, before it becomes impossible to load balance. Germany/Denmark discovered that limit, and hence are burning a lot of our dirty coal for base load (the ugly reality of their renewable success).
 

Joel N. Weber II

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I've read claims that the actual reason coal has been so slow to be phased out in Germany is that Angela Merkel has been more effective than Trump at preserving coal jobs for the sake of preserving jobs.
 

JeffDowntown

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I've read claims that the actual reason coal has been so slow to be phased out in Germany is that Angela Merkel has been more effective than Trump at preserving coal jobs for the sake of preserving jobs.
That and 1) they are phasing out all their nuclear reactors (1/2 offline already) and 2) they don't want to be blackmailed by Russian natural gas.
 

statler

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JumboBuc

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I didn't know where else to put this, but does anybody know exactly what is the deal with the Mystic Generating Station? I understand that Excelon had announced plans to shut down the plant in 2022, and regulators have responded with plans to keep at least some portion of it running until 2024. Is it Excelon's plan to shut down the entire plant? 2022 and 2024 will be here before we know it.

I also understand that a significant portion of the plant is already shut down and not running. I assume this is the older looking building with the skinnier smokestacks (closer to Alford St), while the newer looking building to the east is still running. If so, is the older building currently serving a purpose? Is there any possibility that it could be redeveloped in the next decade or so?
 

tangent

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Crossposted: The Globe just did a story on this. It doesn't look good.

Rolling blackouts in New England could hinge on power plant’s fate
This has more to do with the long running battle that the Democratic Party (State Legislature, Maura Healey) and environmentalist allies have been waging to restrain the growth of natural gas pipelines in New England.

We need to expand natural gas pipeline capacity and we need to do it 5 years ago. It is much cleaner to burn natural gas from the US and Canada and much more efficient and more economic to bring it in with pipelines than to ship it in from overseas.

Also, understanding that the energy industry might be full of crap and has a track record of creating rolling black-outs intentionally (as they did in California) to shake down consumers for more money so ISO New England and state regulators better damn well be making sure that companies aren't trying to game the market again with "maintenance windows" timed to peak demands in order to create artificial scarcity and artificial risk. Given the track records, any outages should be considered intentional unless proven otherwise.

And if they pull this rolling blackout shit like they did in California, then we need to re-institute public floggings for these CEOs.

Edit: No I am not kidding. If any company starts messing with the lives of tens of thousands and millions of people in order to squeeze out personal profits using fraudulent tactics like Enron did in California then public floggings should be just the start.
 
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shmessy

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This has more to do with the long running battle that the Democratic Party (State Legislature, Maura Healey) and environmentalist allies have been waging to restrain the growth of natural gas pipelines in New England.

We need to expand natural gas pipeline capacity and we need to do it 5 years ago. It is much cleaner to burn natural gas from the US and Canada and much more efficient and more economic to bring it in with pipelines than to ship it in from overseas.

Also, understanding that the energy industry might be full of crap and has a track record of creating rolling black-outs intentionally (as they did in California) to shake down consumers for more money so ISO New England and state regulators better damn well be making sure that companies aren't trying to game the market again with "maintenance windows" timed to peak demands in order to create artificial scarcity and artificial risk. Given the track records, any outages should be considered intentional unless proven otherwise.

And if they pull this rolling blackout shit like they did in California, then we need to re-institute public floggings for these CEOs.

Edit: No I am not kidding. If any company starts messing with the lives of tens of thousands and millions of people in order to squeeze out personal profits using fraudulent tactics like Enron did in California then public floggings should be just the start.
Ummmm....While you are talking about putting peoples' lives in danger and natural gas pipelines, have you seen Lawrence, Massachusetts lately????

We need to further develop alternatives/renewables. It's inevitable, the only question is how soon.
 

Arlington

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Ummmm....While you are talking about putting peoples' lives in danger and natural gas pipelines, have you seen Lawrence, Massachusetts lately????

We need to further develop alternatives/renewables. It's inevitable, the only question is how soon.
You need to differentiate between transmission pipelines (big interstate deliveries) and distribution piping (that goes to people's homes...and yes, can blow them up when the work is done by inexperienced contractors, management noobs, and strike-breakers).

So let's be clear: stuff like NGrid locking out its gasworkers or Columbia Gas using idiot contractors makes the *local* *distribution* system unsafe, and that's a very separate question from Environmentalists killing big diameter interstate transmission pipelines so as to reduce the electric and home heating use of fracked gas.

"Evironmentalists" have been strangling the transmission pipelines. I'd say this was a bad idea: it has kept prices both gas and electric prices high and the system inflexible, and slowed what should have been the rolling gasification of home furnaces (from oil). Also, if we want oil heat to be replaced by heat pumps (a great de-carbonization strategy) we still have to have electric generation that works on cold clear windless nights.

While technically true that the high gas and electric prices caused by restraining NG supply will eventually lead to more money in the pockets of alternative/renewables producers, that's all $ that was extracted from ratepayers and from a system made intentionally fragile.
 

JumboBuc

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This could be a big deal. If offshore wind starts happening at scale across the northeast it'll have wide (positive) implications on our electric grid.
 

LtKije

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JumboBuc is right, it’s a very big deal (though as you can see from my avi, I’m slightly biased ;)). This project, as big as it is, is just the first 800 MW of what eventually will be up to 5,600 MW for Massachusetts alone, plus up to 3,300 for Rhode Island and Connecticut, plus 9,000 for New York... the scale is immense. For now these projects will use radial transmission, a fancy way of saying you’re on your own for laying the undersea cables and delivering power to customers on shore. As more and more get built, NIMBYism about undersea cables will increase, interconnection points on shore will fill up, and the grid connecting southeastern Massachusetts to Boston will get congested. Eventually in the future the state may opt for fancy transmission “backbones” that connect multiple projects offshore, before using high voltage direct current lines to deliver power from multiple projects to shore, perhaps even circumventing Cape Cod all together and interconnecting directly near Boston. So far Massachusetts has been focused like a laser on keeping offshore prices low, which is good for electric customers, but makes it hard to do anything too fancy that might cost more upfront.
 

Arlington

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Is there a State/Federal map of the lease areas? Or something to give a sense of how “the roll out” will go?

I am thinking in particular that Fall River and New Bedford would be happy to land a lot of cheap wind power by fancy new tech?
 

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