Electricity cost more than gasoline these days.

Discussion in 'Prime Main Forum (2017-Current)' started by CaliforniaPrius, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    yep, i hear ya. hopefully, it's going to a good cause.:cool:
     
  2. Redpoint5

    Redpoint5 Senior Member

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    My rate is about $0.08 per kWh. I'm in a liberal state, too. Gas would have to be $1 per gallon to equal electrons in my neck of the woods. That's just $0.02 per electric mile.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    but you guys have hydro or something, no? we couldn't even get windmills in buzzards bay.
     
  4. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

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    My rate from 8pm to 8am is 5.7 cents/kWh.
    We have a mix of Nuclear, coal, natural gas, a bit of wind and a tiny bit of solar.

    Prices depend more on the utility and regulations, or lack there of, that source of power.
     
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  5. mmmodem

    mmmodem Taste Tester

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    What's interesting is that while you have a flat rate for electricity, you have a tiered rate for water. I live in California just emerging from a 5 yet drought and I get such a huge allowance for water, it can be considered a flat rate to me and I have tiered rates for electricity. You still pay less than me for both. My tier 1 rate is $0.11/kWh last I checked. Probably more now.
     
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  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i think we import all of our energy. the nuke plants were all expensive busts.
     
  7. Redpoint5

    Redpoint5 Senior Member

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    I'd be happy to pay even less for off-peak electricity use. My guess is that peaking power isn't much more expensive than baseline use due to the amount of hydro power. Perhaps it's easy to crank up hydro when demand goes up, compared to other less efficient fossil fuel peaking generators.

    If there is an expert on the subject it would be neat to learn about methods of supplying peak demand, and the associated costs.
     
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  8. Kevin_Denver

    Kevin_Denver Active Member

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    I used to work in the power industry. The power industry is a bit like the stock market and weather forecasting combined. The basics of the power markets is that at any given moment there are buyers of power (distribution companies - e.g. whoever's name is at the top of your electric bill) and sellers (power plants, etc.). The distributors are required by regulations to keep the power going to their customers at all times if reasonably possible. So they buy the cheapest power on the grid they can at any given moment. This is an oversimplification, but explains the concept.

    However it's a challenge as the power generated always equals the power used in the grid instantaneously, so if there's unexpected demand, they have to buy whatever they can get at the moment. It's a tough technical challenge because it takes around half an hour to fire up a gas generator to full capacity or to get a hydro generator up (or days in the case of coal or nuclear), but the power demand changes instantaneously. So to handle this, there are operations centers connected to transmission lines and power plants that coordinate and initiate the firing up of power plants. They have a daily power forecast based on the previous day, the day of the week, weather, the amount of power that was used on that day in the previous year, etc. Using this, they fire up power plants in anticipation of when they expect to need the power. However if the demand doesn't come as expected, the natural gas plants have to be operated at a lower power output and below their peak efficiency.

    Baseline power (coal, nuclear) is usually sold for 2-3 cents per kilowatt hour on contracts that require distribution companies to always take and buy the power. The prices increase significantly for intermittent power. It's not rare for the very peak bits of power to be bought for significantly more than it's sold; 50 cents+ per kilowatt hour is not unheard of. The power demand at 4am is around half of what it is between 2-6pm in most places.

    This is the challenge with solar and especially wind that may or may not give power when it's actually needed. In Texas there have been instances where operators have had to open breakers and not allow wind power into the grid because there was too much power coming onto the grid at 3am when power use is at its lowest. Also a classic example of an unexpected event that almost killed the grid in a lot of places is the OJ Simpson Trial. Millions of people turned on their televisions, creating a huge power demand outside of the expected forecast. For this reason power operators watch the news constantly.

    At the moment it's not easy for power companies to bill small customers different rates depending on the time of day, which is why most of us have a flat rate for power use. However large factories get contracts with significantly cheaper power during off-peak hours. If electric vehicle use becomes mainstream, off-peak rates need to be passed on to individual residences. Doing so would be a win-win both for electric car users for the lower rates and the companies that operate the power grid by reducing peak demands and 'smoothing' out the daily power swings. We'll just have to invest in some fancier power meters, but this is not technically difficult to do.
     
    #28 Kevin_Denver, Jul 24, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2016
  9. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    When I was in college and getting EE-student tours of PNW hydro facilities, several tour guides made a big deal of being able to spin up, excite, synchronize, and lock in their hydro generators within 60 seconds.

    Since then, they have been handed numerous external constraints: minimum and maximum stream flow requirements that vary by season and migratory fish run and spawning conditions, discharge temperature limits, flow change rate restrictions for recreational and navigation safety and erosion control, and others I don't remember. Those constraints may limit how well hydro plants can respond to peak power needs.
     
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  10. Kevin_Denver

    Kevin_Denver Active Member

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    Admittedly, power generation was not my specialty. I worked in telecommunications for a transmission company. In any case, those are some great control systems! Not all plants have such good systems. Also keep in mind that it takes time for the water to build up "momentum" for the generator to reach maximum power even once it's locked in and generating. Probably at least a few minutes to get good power output.

    I think the biggest constraint really for hydro to be used for peak power is there's just not enough water that's usable for generating hydroelectric power. Doing a quick google says that hydro power generates 13% of the power in the US. Considering there's a generally a doubling of power use between 3am and 3pm, even if you were able to use hydro just for peak power leveling, you'd still fall vastly short of making up for that difference. Hydro also has the challenge that the water comes seasonally, so some times of the year capacity may be severely reduced. Certainly hydroelectric should be the first choice for load-leveling if it's available!

    This is what's often missed in conversations about renewable energy - a megawatt delivered is not just a megawatt delivered, it has to go to the grid at the right time. That's part of why I'm excited for electric cars. If they charge at the right times, they can allow additional renewable power to be put into the grid without additional intermittent generators being needed (natural gas). There's also the potential for cars' batteries to be used for storage and then for power companies to draw power from them when needed and then pay us a fee for doing so.
     
  11. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    It actually doesn't take much of a control system to lock in and power up a basic synchronous hydroelectric machine. It could still be done manually on the 100 MW machines we were looking at, though automatic controls were greatly superior. Open the wicket gates to get the machine spinning, make sure the exciter is energized, lock in one phase, tune the wicket gates while watching the phasing lights for nulls, snap in the other two phases while those lights are out. Then just fully open up the gates to get full power. Adjust the excitation as desired for reactive current control, but it was likely left at a reasonable level when it was previously disconnected. The grid is treated as an infinite bus, no single machine will change its voltage or frequency.

    Several minutes to 'build up momentum' to get good power output? You must be thinking of a very long penstock from a reservoir up in the mountains to a powerhouse in a valley below. These 60-second claims were for full power, in generators right at the dam face, with very short water paths.
    Nationwide, that is true. But regionally, here in the Pacific Northwest, hydro is the primary energy source. My utility is 90% hydro (public utilities get first pick, pushing private entities to less desirable sources), so peaking comes from that too.
     
  12. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

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    This was fascinating! Last year I went to MISO headquarters in Minnesota. NASA has nothing on them:)
    What I found really interesting was that power generators bid to provide power every 5 minutes.
    Lowest bidder gets the contract.

    I also love how the newer wind turbines can angle their blades, so they can dial in partial power fairly easily.

    I definitely agree, using EVs as temporary storage will allow a lot more of the capacity to be used.
     
  13. Kevin_Denver

    Kevin_Denver Active Member

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    You learn something new every day. Wikipedia says the same thing. Go hydro power!

     
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  14. Redpoint5

    Redpoint5 Senior Member

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    It would be neat to have an internet connected EVSE that communicates with the power company. You would set a time that the car needed to begin charging by, and the power company could initiate charging when the supply and demand are optimal. Charging could be scheduled so that all vehicles don't draw from the grid at the same time. Start the level 1 charging vehicles first since they might take all night to complete, and stagger the others to level the grid. Feeding power back into the grid during peak would be a whole new level of awesome, although I imagine many people would need their vehicles to remain charged up around peak hours.
     
    #34 Redpoint5, Jul 25, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  15. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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  16. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    I'd like to see connected throttle-able chargers, so that everybody can draw at the same time, but the total load is adjusted for best fit. Battery longevity would benefit from the slower charging. Grid power quality and stability would benefit from fewer big loads switching on and off. And in case of power outages, everyone who had at least some connection uptime would have received at least some charge, no one would be completely skunked because their assigned charging slot was to start after the grid went down.

    This feature seems unlikely to be available on Smartgrid v1.0 or v2.0, it would arrive later.

    By v4.0, maybe throttle-able chargers (and heat pump storage water heaters) could even soak up much of the variable output of local renewable wind and solar production.
     
  17. Redpoint5

    Redpoint5 Senior Member

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    Electricity would have to drop to about $0.04 per kWh for me to even begin to consider a heat pump water heater. Natural gas is 1/2 to 1/4 the cost of electricity here. Not only that, but I don't want my garage to be any colder than it already is in the winter.
     
  18. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    These are more for those of us with all-electric homes, no gas service. And for southern climates where their cold air output can be used to offset AC use.
    This is partly what external venting is for. Coming R744-based mini-split systems (already in use in Japan and Australia) also won't chill the garage.
     
  19. KrPtNk

    KrPtNk Active Member

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    I live outside Salem and natural gas is unavailable. The heat pump water heater I installed in my basement in December to has been great. With incentives from the Feds and state, I made money on the project which I did myself. My utility bill has decreased by $15 to $20 per month and the basement air is no longer damp and musty. The space is about 5 degrees cooler than it was.
     
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  20. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    The dehumidifying is a plus with a basement install.
     
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