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Renewable energy is feasible if you understand the pumped storage plant

Posted 06-25-2017 at 01:32 AM by pbmaise
Updated 06-25-2017 at 01:43 AM by pbmaise

Detractors from renewables power all want to scare you that it is too expensive to store electricity.

To fortify yourself against this attack you need to know about something called the pumped storage plant.

See: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludi...ge_Power_Plant

Pumped storage is like a hydroelectric power plant. It produces electricity when needed by allowing water to flow to a lower level. This water is pumped up to the higher level when electrify is plentiful.

Notice in the Wikipedia article that right here in the USA a pumped storage plant has been operating for over 40 years. The plant in Ludington Michigan pumps water up to a reservoir and then generates electricity when required using the same turbine.

The technology is actually over 100 years old.
See: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pump...droelectricity

The efficiency of this type of electric storage is far better than any battery. Further the cost to build it are low since a reservoir can be made on top of a natural hill side. The key requirements are a supply of water and a hill nearby. Finally, a transmission line is required to connect the plant to the power grid.

Let's look at the nation's current electric demand and an insane requirement.

Suppose the nation's electrical demands must be met if there was no sun and no wind for two full days.

Total US electric demand for two days is 22.7 million MW hrs based on 2015 demand.

Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ener..._United_States

The Ludington Pumped Storage Power Plant can deliver 2172 MW/hr * 48 hr = about 100,000 MW hr in two days.

Therefore, about 22.7 million divided by 100,000 equals 227.

Doesn't 227 pumped storage power plants sound more practical than the millions of batteries that some anti-renewable people claim?

Where would we put 227 storage plants? Again, all it takes is a hillside and an adjacent body of water. This means nearly every hill near a reservoir, large lake, or the ocean is a potential site to store electricity for sunny and windy days.

Cost? Based upon the refit cost for the Ludington plant, average cost including reservoir and land will likely be around $4 billion on average. Multiplied out the total investment before extra transmission lines is about $1 trillion.

As a comparison, the author of the following article claimed conventional batteries would cost $235 trillion.


About the author: Philip Maise is a University of Michigan Chemical Engineer and former employee of a major utility power company.
Posted in News, Weird
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