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Mr Bill
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Colorado River Water

Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:59 pm

This thread was spun off by the moderator because this solar power storage post was not on topic. Back in the original thread It morphed into a sub thread about using dams for energy storage and thus the subject topic picked by the moderator. -- Mr Bill

drfish wrote:
It's crazy. No spoilers, but I've been picking away at this year's April Fool's story for months (shhh) and even with a page of notes, photos, videos, and benchmarks already mostly completed, I'm staring at the 10 days I have remaining to write and polish and wishing I had more time. Right after that, I need to start turning my home solar project into something readable. I'm super excited about it, but damn, it feels like I won't have that done any earlier than probably late May or early June. And BTW, if I wasn't volunteering, the kind of story I have planned would NEVER happen. There's no ROI for something like it, even though I expect it to be something that people will be very excited to read. How tragic is that?

In Florida news... Florida Power and Light is planning on retiring two natural gas powered generation plants and replacing them with a solar powered 409 megawatt (MW) / 900 MWhr battery installation https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/03/florida-utility-to-close-natural-gas-plants-build-massive-solar-powered-battery/
Last edited by Mr Bill on Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Fri Mar 29, 2019 7:01 pm

Mr Bill wrote:
drfish wrote:
It's crazy. No spoilers, but I've been picking away at this year's April Fool's story for months (shhh) and even with a page of notes, photos, videos, and benchmarks already mostly completed, I'm staring at the 10 days I have remaining to write and polish and wishing I had more time. Right after that, I need to start turning my home solar project into something readable. I'm super excited about it, but damn, it feels like I won't have that done any earlier than probably late May or early June. And BTW, if I wasn't volunteering, the kind of story I have planned would NEVER happen. There's no ROI for something like it, even though I expect it to be something that people will be very excited to read. How tragic is that?

In Florida news... Florida Power and Light is planning on retiring two natural gas powered generation plants and replacing them with a solar powered 409 megawatt (MW) / 900 MWhr battery installation https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/03/florida-utility-to-close-natural-gas-plants-build-massive-solar-powered-battery/


wow 409MW solar farm, what a waste of prime florida land that is. There was a new 44MW solar farm built here recently with 192,431 solar panels and span 260 acres.

They should put them over parking lots to shade the cars :)
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:17 pm

anotherengineer wrote:
Mr Bill wrote:
drfish wrote:
It's crazy. No spoilers, but I've been picking away at this year's April Fool's story for months (shhh) and even with a page of notes, photos, videos, and benchmarks already mostly completed, I'm staring at the 10 days I have remaining to write and polish and wishing I had more time. Right after that, I need to start turning my home solar project into something readable. I'm super excited about it, but damn, it feels like I won't have that done any earlier than probably late May or early June. And BTW, if I wasn't volunteering, the kind of story I have planned would NEVER happen. There's no ROI for something like it, even though I expect it to be something that people will be very excited to read. How tragic is that?

In Florida news... Florida Power and Light is planning on retiring two natural gas powered generation plants and replacing them with a solar powered 409 megawatt (MW) / 900 MWhr battery installation https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/03/florida-utility-to-close-natural-gas-plants-build-massive-solar-powered-battery/


wow 409MW solar farm, what a waste of prime florida land that is. There was a new 44MW solar farm built here recently with 192,431 solar panels and span 260 acres.

They should put them over parking lots to shade the cars :)


Solar will be great until the next major volcanic eruption brings clounds of sunshine-blocking ash and lower temperatures around the world. It's really a crap shoot at this point; one that I will probably undertake in the next few years anyway.

In more pleasant news (than the potential demise of TR, that is), Mt. Vesuvius is about due for another big one, as is pretty much all of Yellowstone and a big slice of the middle of the US. See, aren't you happy now that you know things can ALWAYS get even worse? :o :P

Oh, and come on you guys...is Leor really the only one willing to put even a dollar more in than I have? :wink: :lol: I challenge you! With my gauntlet thrown down! You'll still be able to afford beer for the BBQ party!
 
Mr Bill
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Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:23 pm

anotherengineer wrote:
Mr Bill wrote:
drfish wrote:
It's crazy. No spoilers, but I've been picking away at this year's April Fool's story for months (shhh) and even with a page of notes, photos, videos, and benchmarks already mostly completed, I'm staring at the 10 days I have remaining to write and polish and wishing I had more time. Right after that, I need to start turning my home solar project into something readable. I'm super excited about it, but damn, it feels like I won't have that done any earlier than probably late May or early June. And BTW, if I wasn't volunteering, the kind of story I have planned would NEVER happen. There's no ROI for something like it, even though I expect it to be something that people will be very excited to read. How tragic is that?

In Florida news... Florida Power and Light is planning on retiring two natural gas powered generation plants and replacing them with a solar powered 409 megawatt (MW) / 900 MWhr battery installation https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/03/florida-utility-to-close-natural-gas-plants-build-massive-solar-powered-battery/


wow 409MW solar farm, what a waste of prime florida land that is. There was a new 44MW solar farm built here recently with 192,431 solar panels and span 260 acres.

They should put them over parking lots to shade the cars :)


Its actually a battery: {Edit for clarity}
The plan calls for the construction of a 409 megawatt (MW) / 900 megawatt-hour battery installation at what will be called the FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center.
. [End edit] The solar farm is already present. They need a way to store the energy for off peak generation use.

This a very interesting Ted Talk A reality check on renewables - David MacKay
is about how much land resource is tied up by solar, wind, or bio fuel. Its quite stunning.
Last edited by Mr Bill on Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:52 pm

Mr Bill wrote:
Its actually a 409MW battery.


Your units are off. Energy storage is measured in Joules or Watt-hours. The 900MW-hr measurement in the article is the more important figure.

As far as "large energy storage projects", the conversion of the Hoover Dam to pumped-hydro will probably constitute the largest "battery" in the USA. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hoover-dam ... ge-system/

How does it work? Just pump the water to the top of the dam in times of excess power. Use the dam as normal (water flows downhill) when you need power. Bam, easy energy storage. Probably will be 20GW-hrs or 30GW-hrs or something, the Hoover Dam is downright massive. Yeah, its totally possible that this one neat trick will be 20x to 30x larger than that Florida battery project.
 
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:32 pm

dragontamer5788 wrote:
Mr Bill wrote:
Its actually a 409MW battery.


Your units are off. Energy storage is measured in Joules or Watt-hours. The 900MW-hr measurement in the article is the more important figure.

As far as "large energy storage projects", the conversion of the Hoover Dam to pumped-hydro will probably constitute the largest "battery" in the USA. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hoover-dam ... ge-system/

How does it work? Just pump the water to the top of the dam in times of excess power. Use the dam as normal (water flows downhill) when you need power. Bam, easy energy storage. Probably will be 20GW-hrs or 30GW-hrs or something, the Hoover Dam is downright massive. Yeah, its totally possible that this one neat trick will be 20x to 30x larger than that Florida battery project.
I'm not sure why the utility is quoting both a MW and MWh figure but here is the link...http://newsroom.fpl.com/2019-03-28-FPL-announces-plan-to-build-the-worlds-largest-solar-powered-battery-and-drive-accelerated-retirement-of-fossil-fuel-generation.

While I suppose you can call any dam like Hoover a "battery". The size of that particular battery will be limited to the allowed usage: that of the "charger" e.g. the solar/wind farm downstream that is pumping some of the water back upstream. The rest of the capacity is already assigned to existing power and water flow agreements.
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:24 pm

Mr Bill wrote:


MW (Power) is the amount of energy it can absorb or release per unit time. 400 MW means it can absorb 400MW at a time. 900MW-hrs means it can do this for 2.5 hours, or release the energy over 2.5 hours. For the most part, no one really cares too much about power with Lithium Ion... everyone's racing to get more capacity (or energy storage), and that's MW-hrs.

In effect, 400MW is the "size" of the charger / discharger. MW is "horsepower". MW-hrs is "gasoline".

While I suppose you can call any dam like Hoover a "battery". The size of that particular battery will be limited to the allowed usage: that of the "charger" e.g. the solar/wind farm downstream that is pumping some of the water back upstream. The rest of the capacity is already assigned to existing power and water flow agreements.


Bath County's Pumped-hydro solution is powered by nuclear power (no one uses much electricity at night. Store it all up). During night, "charge up" the dam. During the day, "release" the water so that nuclear + hydro can power people's air conditioners. Pumped-hydro can take electricity and pump it up hill just fine. Its called a water-pump, very standard, very typical stuff here. :-)

In any case, Bath County's Pumped Hydro solution is 3GW of power (charging / discharging), and can hold 8-hours worth of water (that's 24 GW-hrs). Pumped-hydro is frankly the simplest solution to large-scale energy storage, we're talking 20x bigger than the "battery" in your article... on a dam that was built in the 1970s.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_Coun ... ge_Station

The Hoover Dam has plans to become like the Bath County station, so that it can both generate power, and act as a battery when necessary. All of that "Net Metering" will make the noon solar panels create an excess amount of electricity (see the "Duck Curve": https://www.energy.gov/eere/articles/co ... lar-energy)

Image

This chart above is California alone. Between 3pm and 8pm, the California Electric grid needs +12GW power (solar panels run out of electricity as the sun sets, but the hot-air forces everyone to keep their air conditioners on). There is an excess amount of electricity at noon (maximum solar power). The energy will be needed between 6pm to 10 pm, so maybe about 25GW-hrs of energy or so to "flatten the duck"

We need to build many GW-hrs of storage. And the ONLY solution we have that actually reaches into the dozens of GW size is pumped-hydro. It turns out that pumping water up a hill can store a HUGE amount of power, relatively cheaply at that. The dinky 900MW-hrs (0.9GW-hr) that Florida is building is barely a blip on the radar! The US's energy usage is absolutely huge, we need solutions that are 20x to 30x bigger than Florida's project... and that's only to handle California.
 
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:42 am

dragontamer5788 wrote:
As far as "large energy storage projects", the conversion of the Hoover Dam to pumped-hydro will probably constitute the largest "battery" in the USA.


Where will the vast amount of water that's supposed to be pumped up come *from*? Looking at the map, Lake Mojave seems big enough but it's some 60 km away.
 
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:55 am

Remember that one of the main purposes of constructing Hoover Dam was for flood control. Lake Mead is therefore HUGE (32,220,000,000,000 liters). Presumably, one could install a small dam 20 miles downstream to create a much smaller lower lake if one wanted to hold just one day's worth of water to pump back up into Lake Mead.

Because of drought in the southwest and growing water demand, there isn't enough water flowing from Lake Mead to the Colorado river below the dam to use more than a small fraction of the generating capacity at Hoover Dam. The level in the lake has also dropped too low to run all but the newest low-head turbines. Being in the middle of the desert, there's a lot of evaporation from Lake Mead. The bureau of reclamation has therefore been holding up more water upstream in Lake Powell (behind Glen Canyon Dam), to conserve what little water there is in the Colorado river in the past couple of decades.
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:04 am

Would Colorado River water politics even allow for the recapture and upstream pumping of Hoover Dam flow?
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 7:54 am

Wirko wrote:
dragontamer5788 wrote:
As far as "large energy storage projects", the conversion of the Hoover Dam to pumped-hydro will probably constitute the largest "battery" in the USA.


Where will the vast amount of water that's supposed to be pumped up come *from*? Looking at the map, Lake Mojave seems big enough but it's some 60 km away.


From any of the water that was released by the Hoover Dam in the first place. If you release 1-billion gallons of water to generate electricity... you can pump maybe 0.9 billion gallons of water back to the top of Lake Mead (losing some of that water due to evaporation). As long as a lower-dam is built somewhere to store just a day's worth of flow.

I mean, how big is Lake Mead? All of that water can be drained and refilled daily. There's a lot of water just standing there.

EDIT: A big question is where to store the water for the lower-reservoir. Lake Mohave looks to be far away. Ideally, the storage of water would be closer.

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Remember that one of the main purposes of constructing Hoover Dam was for flood control. Lake Mead is therefore HUGE (32,220,000,000,000 liters). Presumably, one could install a small dam 20 miles downstream to create a much smaller lower lake if one wanted to hold just one day's worth of water to pump back up into Lake Mead.

Because of drought in the southwest and growing water demand, there isn't enough water flowing from Lake Mead to the Colorado river below the dam to use more than a small fraction of the generating capacity at Hoover Dam. The level in the lake has also dropped too low to run all but the newest low-head turbines. Being in the middle of the desert, there's a lot of evaporation from Lake Mead. The bureau of reclamation has therefore been holding up more water upstream in Lake Powell (behind Glen Canyon Dam), to conserve what little water there is in the Colorado river in the past couple of decades.


Hmm, evaporation is definitely a big issue. From my understanding, that's the biggest "inefficiency" with these pumped-hydro projects. But you bring up good points about why pumped-hydro would be a good idea.

Captain Ned wrote:
Would Colorado River water politics even allow for the recapture and upstream pumping of Hoover Dam flow?


I don't foresee any major issues. Recapturing and upstreaming water is simply reducing the water flow. Just "excessively" use a 1 billion-gallons of water (or whatever is needed), but then pump the trillion-gallons back up hill before a day is over. Hoover Dam can release the same amount of water (on the average) that it always has, you just now have the ability to use the whole infrastructure as if it were a giant battery.

I'm pulling these numbers out of my arse by the way, I don't relaly know how many gallons of water is needed. But if you need to serve 1-billion gallons of water, but you need +1 billion gallons for "energy storage", then all you gotta do is release 2-billion gallons of water... but pump up hill / evaporate the excess 1-billion. This way, you get your 1-billion gallons needed to serve the community, but you now also have an "extra" billion-gallons being used as energy storage (moving between Lake Mead and a hypothetical lower-reservoir)

Evaporation and friction are the enemy. Other pumped-hydro projects have efficiencies of 80%, but maybe Hoover dam will be 75% or less because of evaporation. Still, because of how much energy-storage is available (and how much that region needs more storage), its probably the cheapest "battery" that can be built.
Last edited by dragontamer5788 on Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:07 am

There are some cool systems out there that use water evaporation to generate electricity.
These systems actually lower the amount of evaporation while taking advantage of it!

You can also put out floating solar cells...
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:17 am

Captain Ned wrote:
Would Colorado River water politics even allow for the recapture and upstream pumping of Hoover Dam flow?


They've been trying to do this at the Grand Coulee Dam for years, and the answer is "maybe?" and that's with the Columbia river! (i.e. an order of magnitude more water).

So... I'm guessing, probably not? :P

https://www.hydroworld.com/articles/201 ... orage.html

dragontamer5788 wrote:
The US's energy usage is absolutely huge, we need solutions that are 20x to 30x bigger than Florida's project... and that's only to handle California.


Right.

It also bears remembering that we only have 80 or so gigawatts of hydro power generation in the USA, and half of that is on the west coast states.

California has about 10.

And most of it is ancient. Remember SimCity 2000? Where hydro power plants would last forever? Well, that's kind of true! Their average age in reality is indeed well over half a century. :wink:

So our taste for massive dams and generators and pumps has lessened considerably in "recent" history (i.e. basically since I've been born we've only added 1-2 gigawatts per decade) but also the scope of possible solutions is almost non-existent.
 
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:34 am

dragontamer5788 wrote:
I don't foresee any major issues.


Hoover doesn't even run at capacity because of lack of water. In recent years (the last 3-4) Lake Mead has only ever been lower when they were filling it. (EDIT: To be clear, I mean in the 30s when it was created!) The Colorado river basin has been in a drought for half of my life basically.

That's going to be an issue, regulatory, state, etc... It's going to be a huge issue.


EDIT2: Ah, JAE went over most of this before. Hat tip, sorry I didn't fully read the thread.
 
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:51 am

Glorious wrote:
dragontamer5788 wrote:
I don't foresee any major issues.


Hoover doesn't even run at capacity because of lack of water. In recent years (the last 3-4) Lake Mead has only ever been lower when they were filling it. (EDIT: To be clear, I mean in the 30s when it was created!) The Colorado river basin has been in a drought for half of my life basically.

That's going to be an issue, regulatory, state, etc... It's going to be a huge issue.


If anything, that's a good reason to build a pump to refill Lake Mead. If there's a ton of unused capacity, then pump water backwards and use that capacity.

Remember the "Duck curve" that California is trying to solve:

Image

Between 12:00 noon and 3:00pm, there is a risk of overgeneration of power. That overgeneration of power can be used to pump water up-hill. Let all the residents using "Net Metering" solar panels contribute. Pipe the energy to the "backwards pump" and then use the Hoover Dam's over-capacity to double-up on power generation.
Last edited by dragontamer5788 on Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:53 am

dragontamer5788 wrote:
If anything, that's a good reason to build a pump to refill Lake Mead.


Refill it with what?

dragontamer5788 wrote:
If there's a ton of unused capacity, then pump water backwards and use that capacity.


What water?
 
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:54 am

Glorious wrote:
dragontamer5788 wrote:
If anything, that's a good reason to build a pump to refill Lake Mead.


Refill it with what?

dragontamer5788 wrote:
If there's a ton of unused capacity, then pump water backwards and use that capacity.


What water?


The billions of gallons that are in Lake Mead. You release the water, and then pump it back before the end of the day. As long as a lower-reservoir is built somewhere to hold the water for ~24 hours, any water that flows down can be reclaimed by pumps.

EDIT: Think of it this way: If Hoover Dam releases 100-gallons of water per day, build a pump to reclaim 100-gallons of water per day to Lake Mead. Any water that is used by Hoover Dam can be pumped back to Lake Mead. If you're so worried about "losing water", then pump the water backwards whenever you use it. That way, your 100-gallons of water can be used over-and-over again for energy-storage purposes.

Pumped Hydro doesn't use any water. It just flows back and forth between the two lakes.
Last edited by dragontamer5788 on Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:57 am

dragontamer5788 wrote:
Remember the "Duck curve" that California is trying to solve:


Yes.

California.

Lake Meade is in Nevada (and Arizona, but on the other side).

Nevada has been getting the short end of CA's VERY long stick not just in regards to water, but also in regards to electricity. *Especially* in the areas of the state that California wants to be building its schemes in.

State politics, local politics, are -very- much involved in this.
 
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:03 am

dragontamer5788 wrote:
The billions of gallons that are in Lake Mead.


That's a perpetual water machine, is it not?

I said the level in Lake Mead was very low, to the point where it is a significant problem in multiple respects.

You then say "all the more reason to refill it".

Refill it with what? The same stuff that is already in it? :-?

dragontamer5788 wrote:
Think of it this way: If Hoover Dam releases 100-gallons of water per day, build a pump to reclaim 100-gallons of water per day to Lake Mead.


People literally own that water. A lot of people. You know, entire States. The Feds. There isn't enough now, and I mean in the last three months: The Feds have been hashing out a shortage plan for what to do because in the next year or so there is a high chance people are going to be stiffed on their already down-to-essentials allotments.
 
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:06 am

Glorious wrote:
dragontamer5788 wrote:
Remember the "Duck curve" that California is trying to solve:


Yes.

California.

Lake Meade is in Nevada (and Arizona, but on the other side).

Nevada has been getting the short end of CA's VERY long stick not just in regards to water, but also in regards to electricity. *Especially* in the areas of the state that California wants to be building its schemes in.

State politics, local politics, are -very- much involved in this.


Politics doesn't change morality or what is right. The question I have right now is mostly technical. If it can be done, then a political campaign needs to be built to allow this sort of thing. Part of that political campaign would be to properly split the benefits between the states involved.

But otherwise, we're looking at ~10GW-hrs to 30GW-hrs of energy storage. Easy. Enough for California, Arizona, and Nevada to benefit, WITHOUT using excess amounts of water. Water will just flow between Lake Mead and Lake Mohave with the Hoover Dam, and from Lake Mohave to Lake Mead with the hypothetical backwards pumps.

The main issue is if Lake Mohave is "close enough" to Lake Mead that such a project would be feasible. If not, then another location for a lower-reservoir needs to be found. But its basically all benefits to the people in that region: you have an "excess" outlet to absorb all of those 12noon - 3pm Net-metering excess solar energy, and the Hoover Dam is operating below capacity because it doesn't have enough water. So you can generate "free power" from the Hoover Dam as long as you have an ability to pump water up stream.

That's a perpetual water machine, is it not?


No. You will lose 20% of the energy each time you cycle the water back up hill.

But people expect the overgeneration problem from 12pm to 3pm to be such a burden, that energy will likely be wasted as more and more people use net-metering + solar panels in the noon-day high-energy sun. And the 5pm to 9pm setting sun has 50% less power. So "wasting" 20% of the energy on such a pumping system... so that you can run air-conditioners at 7pm as the sun sets is worthwhile.

Refill it with what? The same stuff that is already in it? :-?


I mean... yes. You let the water drop in Lake Mead, and then you pump it back up later. Is that such a hard problem? You're literally recycling the same water. Net change zero gallons.

People literally own that water. A lot of people. You know, entire States. The Feds. There isn't enough now, and I mean in the last three months: The Feds have been hashing out a shortage plan for what to do because in the next year or so there is a high chance people are going to be stiffed on their already down-to-essentials allotments.


Pumped Hydro doesn't change the amount of water that flows downhill, nor the amount of water that flows into the dam. You're simply storing water at a smart location and "recycling" it up and down the hill for energy storage.

How many rocks does Sisyphus use? He's gone up and down that hill for the rest of eternity with the same rock.

Image
Last edited by dragontamer5788 on Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:09 am

Glorious wrote:
People literally own that water. A lot of people. You know, entire States. The Feds. There isn't enough now, and I mean in the last three months: The Feds have been hashing out a shortage plan for what to do because in the next year or so there is a high chance people are going to be stiffed on their already down-to-essentials allotments.

The Colorado hasn't reached the ocean since 2014. The last time before that was 1998.
dragontamer5788 wrote:
Pumped Hydro doesn't change the amount of water that flows downhill, nor the amount of water that flows into the dam. You're simply storing water at a smart location and "recycling" it up and down the hill for energy storage.

Every acre-foot that passes through Hoover Dam legally belongs to someone. Every drop. "Recycling" that water means that someone downstream gets stiffed on their legal allocations. The politics of Colorado River water distribution are messy and are considered by the States involved as sacrosanct.
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:18 am

I am going to take a step back for a moment in the interest of civility, but when I mentioned that the Hoover dam wasn't running at capacity it was specifically said that we should then refill it to use that capacity.

Here:

If anything, that's a good reason to build a pump to refill Lake Mead. If there's a ton of unused capacity, then pump water backwards and use that capacity


That isn't possible. If Lake Mead isnt full enough to run all the generators at the Hoover dam, it just isnt full enough. Where would the water come from?
 
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:31 am

Captain Ned wrote:
dragontamer5788 wrote:
Pumped Hydro doesn't change the amount of water that flows downhill, nor the amount of water that flows into the dam. You're simply storing water at a smart location and "recycling" it up and down the hill for energy storage.

Every acre-foot that passes through Hoover Dam legally belongs to someone. Every drop. "Recycling" that water means that someone downstream gets stiffed on their legal allocations. The politics of Colorado River water distribution are messy and are considered by the States involved as sacrosanct.


Lets say 100-billion gallons of water are allocated. Why can't the Hoover Dam release 150-billion gallons, and then pump 50-billion gallons back up the hill?

Everyone gets the 100-billion gallons they were promised, and 50-billion gallons are being "recycled" for energy storage. And don't you dare tell me that the water doesn't exist, I can literally see it. Lake Mead is huge. As long as the water is pumped back in a reasonable timeframe (within a day or maybe within a week), nobody should care.

I mean, I understand that politics may be stupid and may kill the project. But from a technical standpoint, there's no "use" of water in this proposal. All that will happen is that Lake Mead will probably start to drop (and grow) by roughly 20-feet every day (or some number). All the water that the Hoover Dam uses for energy storage will be pumped back into Lake Mead. The only loss is evaporation, which would have happened anyway.

Lake Mead is ~1000 feet deep. Use 20-feet worth of water each day for energy storage, and as long as you return the water each day, people shouldn't get too pissed about it. (I mean, someone will probably get mad because politics is stupid. But the plan is pretty reasonable IMO).

Glorious wrote:
That isn't possible. If Lake Mead isnt full enough to run all the generators at the Hoover dam, it just isnt full enough. Where would the water come from?


Who ever said running all the generators was necessary? We're trying to store energy, not create power. The energy to pump water up hill comes from net-metering / solar energy / excess power, which exists virtually every day between 12:00 noon and 3pm.

I recognize that energy vs power is very confusing to a lot of people, but I assume you're all engineers here, yes? You're talking about a power problem. I'm talking about energy storage.

If its not clear: the proposal is to waste energy at noon to 3pm, by pumping water from the bottom of the hill to the top of the hill. Then, use the Hoover Dam between 5pm and 8pm. You'll need roughly 120MW of power to power the noon-to-3pm timeframe (roughly 360MW-hrs), and you will only generate 100MW of power between 5pm and 8pm (only 300MW-hrs). It turns out however, that this is very useful, because energy at 5pm to 8pm is worth more than energy at noon-to-3pm.

As I said before: Sisyphus is using the same rock to go up and down that hill in his punishment. Sisyphus doesn't need a new rock each time he cycles.
Last edited by dragontamer5788 on Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:46 am

dragontamer5788 wrote:
As I said before: Sisyphus is using the same rock to go up and down that hill in his punishment. Sisyphus doesn't need a new rock each time he cycles.

The real problem is that Sisyphus' original rock doesn't even exist.

https://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzi ... story.html
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:54 am

Captain Ned wrote:
dragontamer5788 wrote:
As I said before: Sisyphus is using the same rock to go up and down that hill in his punishment. Sisyphus doesn't need a new rock each time he cycles.

The real problem is that Sisyphus' original rock doesn't even exist.

https://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzi ... story.html


Hmmm... that's certainly an issue. But that means that the entire region will run out of water over the next couple of decades. That's a pretty dire situation to be in. I didn't realize that the Colorado River's flow was so badly managed.

Still, if the river's water allocation problem can be solved, then pumped hydro would be a reasonable solution. But given those political dangers, perhaps other locations should be converted first. The only thing needed for pumped-hydro to be feasible is for water levels to remain somewhat consistent. Again, the scheme doesn't "use" water, it just requires water to be there so that the water can be pumped in and out. So if (and its a big if), water usage in that region becomes sustainable, then Pumped Hydro would be a great solution.
 
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:57 am

I've received numerous (and justified) complaints that I belligerently derail threads in pursuit of the #%@! white whale, so I'm going to politely disengage in this thread and open another.

I'll do it in the Back Porch, and provided that Captain Ned gives his blessing, we can continue this conversation there.
 
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:14 am

Glorious wrote:
I've received numerous (and justified) complaints that I belligerently derail threads in pursuit of the #%@! white whale, so I'm going to politely disengage in this thread and open another.

I'll do it in the Back Porch, and provided that Captain Ned gives his blessing, we can continue this conversation there.

Let me split this off into the Porch. Hopefully it can stay there for a while before the eventual move to R&P.
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:47 am

dragontamer5788 wrote:
I didn't realize that the Colorado River's flow was so badly managed.

The real problem is that the original allocations were set at a time which was likely a multi-century peak in watershed rainfall/snowpack levels and corresponding river flows.
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Re: Colorado River Water

Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:32 am

I know I've said it in other places, but here is a good use for Nuclear desalinization that could be used to refill Lake Mead. There's quite a few in use around the world, one example produces in the neighborhood of 170,000 m^3/day. It would take ~80 years to refill half the lake at 5x10^9 m^3. The trouble is going to be pumping it 300miles from the ocean to the lake. Either that or it could offset the usage instead of drawing from the rivers. In coastal towns it just makes sense.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/informatio ... ation.aspx
 
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Re: No... not him! Don't tell me they got him too!

Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:43 am

dragontamer5788 wrote:
But that means that the entire region will run out of water over the next couple of decades. That's a pretty dire situation to be in. I didn't realize that the Colorado River's flow was so badly managed.

NOW you're starting to get it :-) The other half that you don't get yet, but may stumble upon if you continue down this path, is exactly how contentious water rights have been in the western US. People have fought pitched battles, both inside the water courts and outside with guns and dynamite, over the right to open pipelines and ditch gates on time.

The flows of the Colorado River were allocated from a baseline that happened to be an unusually wet year, producing the highest flow levels ever recorded. Every drop legally belongs to somebody, including drops that only ever flowed that one year, and the entire river can be turned on or off at will via dams, pumps, and irrigation infrastructure. If you want to get a proper grasp of the subject, watch Part 2 of the old PBS documentary "Cadillac Desert" (1997, or read Mark Reisner's 1986 book):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mis-CU9 ... 13513D0F1E

You can actually find all four parts of Cadillac Desert on YouTube, unfortunately I don't think PBS ever remastered it to DVD (and they really should).
Last edited by ludi on Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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