California to add more storage

AmpsterAmpster Registered Users Posts: 123 ✭✭✭
I thought this was interesting. I wonder what effect this will have on Lithium battery prices long term:
https://www.utilitydive.com/news/storage-will-replace-3-california-gas-plants-as-pge-nabs-approval-for-worl/541870/

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,010 admin
    Lithium, at this time, is not a major factor in battery costs... It is not even worth recycling today.

    Cobalt is the expensive/rare element (and terrible conditions for miners in Africa). Here is a 2016 breakdown of battery costs:

    https://qnovo.com/82-the-cost-components-of-a-battery/

    Until there is a replacement for Cobalt (or using Liquid Sodium batteries as mentioned in your link--Or other alternatives), Li Ion batteries are going to be a mixed bag.

    And, these battery systems are replacing actual power producing (natural gas) generators. As loads and generators mix (seasons, outages, additional loads like electric cars), these generators actually generate "new electricity". Battery systems, just buffer already generated electricity for a 4 hour output (at maximum rated output).

    Once the batteries are depleted--Then what if there is not enough power (actual generators being replaced by storage systems).

    Batteries (and hydro) can be really nice for short term power imbalances... But it is a bit of statistics to weigh the cost/benefits vs risks of power outages between the technologies.

    Managing a 4 hour power deficit "window" on a regional and state/multi-state basis... It is why they pay the power engineers big bucks to make those guesses.

    If these are being pushed because of green politics, I fear that we will see fallout in the near future (blackouts, rationing, and $$$ being siphoned out of our pockets again--See ~2000 California/Enron/etc. for historical perspectives.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,179 ✭✭✭✭
    I watch quite a few youtube videos about alternate energy production and the monumental need for a major breakthrough in battery storage technology. One thing I have learned for sure is that just about anybody can make a video about alternate energy. Some of their mistakes are simply mind numbing.

    Lots of talk about new technologies right around the corner. One is being propelled by an ex-Canadian and we can all rest assured that his intentions are good - because he is Canadian.  :o :open_mouth:

    Used to subscribe to Popular Science and Popular Mechanics. Our flying cars are now 40 years overdue.

    It may all be a ploy to keep the dreamer funds rolling in. Time will tell. At any rate, until we realize a realistic breakthrough in massive battery technology and manufacturing, all the talk and $1.69 will buy you a cup of coffee at McDonalds.

    I might be inclined to bet that better nuclear technology is a more realistic bet. But people lose their friggin' minds when they here the word 'nuclear'. We even elected/re-elected a Potus who dared not pronounce it correctly. 

    Why the pessimism and sarcasm? There are videos promising a major breakthrough in battery technology right around the corner. Problem being that many of the videos were made when Obama was Potus.

    When insiders start shorting their stock in Exxon/Mobil then maybe we have something...maybe. Odds are they just got duped. Batteries are easy to dupe folks with.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,590 ✭✭✭✭✭
    If cobalt really turns out to be the main impediment to lithium battery production scale-up, there are likely to be solutions,  eg:

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/cobalt-mining-resurgence-1.4030303
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • jonrjonr Solar Expert Posts: 1,266 ✭✭✭✭
    I'm pretty confident about lithium batteries displacing lead acid for off-grid solar use.

    I am available for custom hardware/firmware development

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,179 ✭✭✭✭
    jonr said:
    I'm pretty confident about lithium batteries displacing lead acid for off-grid solar use.
    Seems that way. Lead acid is proven and could still prevail if price decreased while longevity decreased. Which, of course, is highly unlikely. 

    Panel prices have dropped precipitously. Wonder what the hold back is with batteries. Normally increased production and outsourcing lowers costs. Perhaps China doesn't have strong mining resources in the battery sector.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • AmpsterAmpster Registered Users Posts: 123 ✭✭✭
    BB. said:
    Lithium, at this time, is not a major factor in battery costs... It is not even worth recycling today.
    ...........
    If these are being pushed because of green politics, I fear that we will see fallout in the near future (blackouts, rationing, and $$$ being siphoned out of our pockets again--See ~2000 California/Enron/etc. for historical perspectives.

    -Bill
    I am hoping economies of scale bring down the prices. I agree Lithium has very little impact on the cost of Lithium batteries. 

    You lost me on the segway to the 2000/Enron debacle. I don't see any similarity between cost effective replacement of gas peaker plants by these 4 hour storage facilities and the market manipulation that Enron was doing. 
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,010 admin
    Battery (and other storage type peaker plants) only make sense when they are charging unseemly amounts of money for their energy.

    In Australia, it is AUS$140.00 per MWH of "battery stabilization" power... 

    https://forum.solar-electric.com/discussion/354125/critical-load-panel-cost

    And back in 2000-2001, We had (as I recall) a maximum allowed by PUC a wholesale rate of $999 per MWH, and later PUC dropped to $500 and eventually to $250 per MHW... $999 per MWH is $0.99 per kWH vs something like $0.025 to $0.05 per kWH for typical generation costs.

    https://www.eia.gov/electricity/policies/legislation/california/subsequentevents.html

    You read through the above link, and it spells out the crazy rules and regulations that Cal PUC created. And how they prevented utilities from increasing supply at the rate that demand was increasing. Eron then and now Tesla are now skimming the rate differentials that were caused by bad laws and bad planning. And we (the people) got stuck with bankrupt utilities and a $40 Billion dollar 40 year bond to pay for those two summers of crazy.

    Battery storage is not a generator--It is just a buffer. Just like a dam does not make water, it only stores water. In rainy years, sure, there is lots of water available (for farming, for hydro, etc.)... However, if the demand exceeds the supply (between farms, cities, and Delta Smelt), all of the empty dams in the state are not going to make 1 drop of water.

    If they take the wholesale rate for power, and double it for retail (that is pretty much what our bill shows), $0.99 / kWH wholesale could be as high as $2.00 / kWH. retail That means a relatively efficient average home with a 500-1,000 kWH per month usage, would be as high as $1,000 to $2,000 per month electric bill (instead of the ~$50 to $300 per month bill today).

    This stuff was all pretty obvious in the 1990's when this was put into law/regulations. I don't see anything that works towards electric grid "stability" (both from a stable 60 Hz power and a stable/predictable cost view) at this point.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • AmpsterAmpster Registered Users Posts: 123 ✭✭✭
    edited December 2018 #9
    Enron was clearly a fraud that never sold anything tangible. Tesla has 200,000 cars on the road and megaWatts of Powerwalls and PowerPacks in service. I have already heard your rant about the Australian battery. Apparently there is a value for short term frequency stabilization. To me that is cheaper than paying some one to keep a boiler heated up on standby. I honestly believe in free market economic principles. I agree the 2000 California energy crisis was a disaster but it would not have happened without Enron gaming the system.

    Your hypothetical  $2.00 per kWhr would create a huge boon to the solar plus battery industry because you would see massive load departure from the grid. People would install solar plus batteries in behind the meter systems.  That began happening in Hawaii when high prices and delayed approvals for grid tied solar installs created a market for grid users migrating to solar plus batteries. All that was needed was a building permit.  I am not talking about those people going off grid. I am talking about them paying minimum fees to be connected to the grid but being self sufficient for the majority of their needs. No utility permission was required. It is the same concept as installing a generator with a UL approved transfer switch except in the case of these systems the grid is used when batteries and solar can't serve all the load. No production was fed to the grid so the utility permission was not needed. 

    Battery storage is at parity with peaker plants. Call it green politics and call me a Tesla fanboy if you want but the trends are there. Batteries are replacing peaker plants in California because of the economics. Perhaps it takes some optimism about the free market to see that. I am not saying that this is a long term solution but it does relieve stress on the grid because these battery systems can be located more efficiently than peaker plans and constructed much faster. 
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,590 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The free market only works if it's truly free.  With a cap on retail pricing, partial deregulation of the wholesale segment, and a limited number of producers, an Enron was inevitable.  

    Enron may have been the worst, but was certainly not the only (Dynegy et al) to profit from the botched "deregulation".
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • jonrjonr Solar Expert Posts: 1,266 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018 #11
    Monopolies (and near monopolies) need to either be carefully regulated or eliminated.   Unfortunately, many in government are dumb/corrupt and think that there can be lightly regulated monopolies.   This leads to disasters.

    IMO, residential solar with subsidies and net metering is also a government mistake.  Could have had twice as much solar deployed at the same price if done at utility scale.

    I am available for custom hardware/firmware development

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,179 ✭✭✭✭
    Just watched Elon Musk explain that lithium is only about 2% of the battery, that they are really made of aluminum, graphite, and cobalt. Battery efficiency is increasing by about 5%/year - that isn't too bad. Of course we are used to what happened with computers and Moores Law.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,010 admin
    Batteries, besides the issues of different chemistries (Lead, zinc, Lithium, etc.), batteries just rely on size and weight for capacity and peak current supported.

    You take a battery and reduce each dimension by 1/2 (LxWxH), you get a volume that is 1/8 the size and, pretty much 1/8th the performance.

    With microprocessors, you reduce the LxW by each by 1/2, you have 1/4 the size of die and, greatly reduced power consumption, an increase in speed (lower capacitance per connection, shorter distances between transistors internally, can run at lower voltages, etc.).

    Reduce a car by 1/2 in each dimension, and you have a toy car...

    Moore's Law:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore's_law
    An Osborne Executive portable computer, from 1982, with a Zilog Z80 4 MHz CPU, and a 2007 Apple iPhone with a 412 MHz ARM11 CPU; the Executive weighs 100 times as much, has nearly 500 times the volume, costs approximately 10 times as much (adjusted for inflation), and has about 1/100th the clock frequency of the smartphone.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • bill von novakbill von novak Solar Expert Posts: 843 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018 #14
    BB. said:
    You take a battery and reduce each dimension by 1/2 (LxWxH), you get a volume that is 1/8 the size and, pretty much 1/8th the performance.
    Hmm.  I've designed mobile phones for a while, and from my experience we now have batteries that are less than 1/2 the dimensions that they were when portable phones first started - and the batteries have more, not less, performance.  Today's prismatic 4000mah lithium ions are nothing like the first batteries used in cellphones, which were sealed lead acids that lasted perhaps a year.

    People can get frustrated because battery technology does not improve as fast as IC technology.  But even so, it is getting better with time. I recall a battery pack I designed for a satellite phone around 1996 that used two lithium-ion 18650's; each one gave us 1200mah.  Today a single lithium ion 18650 gives us three times the energy.

    I fear that we will see fallout in the near future (blackouts, rationing, and $$$ being siphoned out of our pockets again--

    We're starting to see that now.  Here in San Diego, our rates went up bigtime, largely due to the cost of San Onofre that they now have to write off.  And they are starting to black out desert communities on peak demand days.  Not because of solar availability, but because they get sued for very big bucks when power lines cause fires - and those tend to happen during times of peak demand (hot days.)

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,010 admin
    I was trying to make the point that miniturization helps computers and micro chip. But simple miniturization of batteries does not.

    Doubling of battery capacity took lots of hard work by chemists and engineers.

    Roughly, microchips have increased in capacity by 2^22 {1996 to 2018) or ~4,194x...

    2000 IBM introduces 8MByte flash drive.
    2018 Costco cheap 256GByte drive

    ~32,000x more capacity for around $35.

    Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,179 ✭✭✭✭
    BB. said:
    I was trying to make the point that miniturization helps computers and micro chip. But simple miniturization of batteries does not.

    Doubling of battery capacity took lots of hard work by chemists and engineers.

    Roughly, microchips have increased in capacity by 2^22 {1996 to 2018) or ~4,194x...

    2000 IBM introduces 8MByte flash drive.
    2018 Costco cheap 256GByte drive

    ~32,000x more capacity for around $35.

    Bill
    Citing Costco for cutting edge technology and deals? They always seem several months behind a Micro Center type store. Things could be different in the Bay area of course...
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,010 admin
    A bit trailing edge perhaps--But still a mighty impressive increase in speed and capacity, and drop in costs...

    There are 2 to 5 TByte flash drives adversized--Either they are expensive ($300 to $1,200+) or (most likely) fakes ($19 on Amazon).

    Seeing 5+ TByte hard drives (5,000 GByte) drives for less than $150--Pretty impressive too.

    My first computer job involved disk drives (mid 1980's)... 5 1/4 inch hard drives where just coming out (10-35 MByte), and a Fujitsu Eagle 500 MByte drive cost ~$18,000 wholesale and took two people to pick up and move.

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

    Micro Center currently lists a 512 GB (largest I could find on their site with a quick search) for $250.

    https://www.microcenter.com/search/search_results.aspx?Ntk=all&sortby=match&N=4294966790+40&myStore=true

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,179 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018 #18
    You are on an unintended blaze here. My worst drives, by far, were made by PNY. $5 at WalMart Black Friday in 2017 - there were good reasons for the blow out prices. I'm not convinced that USB drives were made to last. I've lost many - active dogs being common culprits.

    Costco has a big problem with the lithium jumper batteries they have sold. I bought three. While one read 12.3 volts, the other two were much lower. One was just charged last week. One is so plagued by problems that the voltage steadily dropped to 10.4 while I was reading it. I had seen enough at that point.

    Going to return all three and buy a couple new lead acid starter batteries. Having six old cars, good jumper batteries made sense one fine day. Sorry for the unintended derailment - have another thread going about the lithium jump start batteries.

    Here is a 256 GB flash for $30: https://www.microcenter.com/product/486421/256gb-superspeed-usb-30-flash-drive

    MicroCenter is a solid company in my experience. Though I gave up on buying bleeding edge technology that became "worthless" so quickly.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,010 admin
    Flash drives/memories do have limited write cycle life (10,000 to 100,000 write cycles or so????).

    In the olden days, we had drivers that moved writes across the whole memory space, instead of writing a few fixed sectors and the rest of the drive was mostly read only or blank (unaddressed) memory.

    Today--I have no clue what is in a flash driver.

    The typical computer with multiple drives, set the scratch space/OS space to a "real" hard drive. And set data and fixed program space to the flash/silicon "disk" (avoid repetitive writes).

    The other issue with Silicon drives, when the fail, typically the whole thing seems to fail at once. With hard drives, they tend to throw errors and lose memory in a few specific physical locations (and do eventually have total failure)--And many times you can recover most of your data before they crash completely.

    Today's hard disks (small TByte size) have some much compression and such tiny "bits" on the disk, that there are always some errors being thrown and use error correction (ECC) to recover the "random" read failures (of a few dodgy bits). However, in most of the "retail" storage, these small failures are hidden from the user/OS, and you may not get any warning before they "go bad".

    In the older/low capacity disks, generally a "read error" was an indication that something was going wrong on the surface (or in the read channel/positioning error, etc.). And the controllers I worked on used this as part of both recovering data on the fly (and writing elsewhere) and indications of general health of the drive. 

    Now all of that is pretty much hidden in the drive firmware itself... My suggestion is to backup anything you cannot afford to lose (backup once a day/week/month/year--Whatever works for you).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • OldManOldMan Registered Users Posts: 128 ✭✭✭
    edited January 13 #20
    softdown said:
    jonr said:
    I'm pretty confident about lithium batteries displacing lead acid for off-grid solar use.
    Seems that way. Lead acid is proven and could still prevail if price decreased while longevity decreased. Which, of course, is highly unlikely. 

    Panel prices have dropped precipitously. Wonder what the hold back is with batteries. Normally increased production and outsourcing lowers costs. Perhaps China doesn't have strong mining resources in the battery sector.
    China also mines lithium. The prices of batteries directly from China have dropped a lot. But you know that already because I told you.
  • AmpsterAmpster Registered Users Posts: 123 ✭✭✭
  • jonrjonr Solar Expert Posts: 1,266 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 13 #22
    Converting  $357 per kilowatt-hour to get $30/MWhr means 11900 cycles (high but possible).    So it seems that much of the revolution in lithium pricing is the increased cycles (and presumably calendar life).

    I am available for custom hardware/firmware development

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