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Energy Distribution in the Central Valley

mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
12,091
16,174
California
This is really superb and needs to spread elsewhere. A great goal for the rest of us.

According to your sig it looks like you live in Florida? How many Powerwalls?

Florida is one of the best places in the U.S. to see this takeoff with the most successful use of renewables + demand management with grid utilization minimization. SoCal and a few others in the southwest are probably close seconds.

FL and very south Texas are closest to the equator, so have the least variation in solar radiance throughout the year - a big advantage for home solar PV and heat pumps with the least need for home/grid batteries. Mild FL winters also are a big advantage. Further, the risks of edge cases like blizzards which require a robust grid has the least risk in such a location.

Looking to the future for the higher latitudes and elevations in my state - using our weather scenario from the last couple of weeks in mid/northern CA in the foothills and mountains and considering heat pumps as the future for home HVAC and water needs:
We are currently near the winter solstice and with the blizzards that just went through here, there was little solar irradiance and very high energy needs for many consecutive days (profoundly inverting their maximal season solar PV production:energy use ratio). This means these areas will remain deeply dependent on the grid for the foreseeable future - for these not-so-edge cases alone. But, fire risks from transmission to these areas aside and the lack of local internalization of these costs, this is ok as those residents can be served by the import of renewables from far away such as offshore wind, TX/midwest wind, southwest solar PV, and pacific northwest hydro.
Sierra solar can be easily supplemented by valley solar in winter. No need for long distance transmission.
 

iPlug

Active Member
Sep 14, 2019
1,120
3,571
Rocklin, CA
Good example of the benefits of distributed energy production and use.

Sierra solar can be easily supplemented by valley solar in winter. No need for long distance transmission.
Which valley? If you are referring to the Central Valley, that is not local and not “distributed energy production”. Local wouldn't come remotely close to working. With heat pumps, energy needed>>>local available solar PV as in the last couple of weeks.

Getting transmission from the Central Valley - that’s using the same high voltage regional transmission lines that continue to ignite forest fires. Doing it “right” with proper maintenance is expensive and would not get folks out of the hands of the likes of PG&E.

Even going that later route doesn’t work. There was not enough solar PV in CA last 2 weeks. The amount of additional solar PV and batteries to make that work, while technically feasible, would be absurdly expensive.
Distributed generation, also distributed energy, on-site generation (OSG),[1] or district/decentralized energy, is electrical generation and storage performed by a variety of small, grid-connected or distribution system-connected devices referred to as distributed energy resources (DER).[2]
Conventional power stations, such as coal-fired, gas, and nuclear powered plants, as well as hydroelectric dams and large-scale solar power stations, are centralized and often require electric energy to be transmitted over long distances. By contrast, DER systems are decentralized, modular, and more flexible technologies that are located close to the load they serve, albeit having capacities of only 10 megawatts (MW) or less.


Distributed generation - Wikipedia
 
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mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
12,091
16,174
California
Which valley? If you are referring to the Central Valley, that is not local and not “distributed energy production”. Local wouldn't come remotely close to working. With heat pumps, energy needed>>>local available solar PV as in the last couple of weeks.

Getting transmission from the Central Valley - that’s using the same high voltage regional transmission lines that continue to ignite forest fires. Doing it “right” with proper maintenance is expensive and would not get folks out of the hands of the likes of PG&E.

Even going that later route doesn’t work. There was not enough solar PV in CA last 2 weeks. The amount of additional solar PV and batteries to make that work, while technically feasible, would be absurdly expensive.
Distributed generation, also distributed energy, on-site generation (OSG),[1] or district/decentralized energy, is electrical generation and storage performed by a variety of small, grid-connected or distribution system-connected devices referred to as distributed energy resources (DER).[2]
Conventional power stations, such as coal-fired, gas, and nuclear powered plants, as well as hydroelectric dams and large-scale solar power stations, are centralized and often require electric energy to be transmitted over long distances. By contrast, DER systems are decentralized, modular, and more flexible technologies that are located close to the load they serve, albeit having capacities of only 10 megawatts (MW) or less.


Distributed generation - Wikipedia
Central valley is not long distance transmission. PG&E is corrupt and incompetent so is not an example of what is possible.
 

iPlug

Active Member
Sep 14, 2019
1,120
3,571
Rocklin, CA
Central valley is not long distance transmission.
Not sure what you are arguing here. Any connections between the central valley and the foothills and mountains are not "distributed energy production and use" (distributed energy resources [DER]) as they are neither flexible, located close to the load they serve, nor have capacities of <10MW. They are, however the ones starting many of the yearly fires we have there.

OTOH, much of Florida today could go DER relatively affordably.

If you consider only interstate lines to be "long distance transmission", those are not the ones starting fires and are much cheaper per capita served than the aforementioned. We will need much more of this in our renewable future.


PG&E is corrupt and incompetent so is not an example of what is possible.

Really hard to disagree there. Many things are possible and a large number of these need to be tried to green the grid and all energy use. But this still does not explain how to pull off DER for the foothills/mountains of California. I really want this to be possible, but physics and economics are unwilling.
 

mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
12,091
16,174
California
Not sure what you are arguing here. Any connections between the central valley and the foothills and mountains are not "distributed energy production and use" (distributed energy resources [DER]) as they are neither flexible, located close to the load they serve, nor have capacities of <10MW. They are, however the ones starting many of the yearly fires we have there.

OTOH, much of Florida today could go DER relatively affordably.

If you consider only interstate lines to be "long distance transmission", those are not the ones starting fires and are much cheaper per capita served than the aforementioned. We will need much more of this in our renewable future.




Really hard to disagree there. Many things are possible and a large number of these need to be tried to green the grid and all energy use. But this still does not explain how to pull off DER for the foothills/mountains of California. I really want this to be possible, but physics and economics are unwilling.
Conventional power stations, such as coal-fired, gas, and nuclear powered plants, as well as hydroelectric dams and large-scale solar power stations, are centralized and often require electric energy to be transmitted over long distances. By contrast, DER systems are decentralized, modular, and more flexible technologies that are located close to the load they serve, albeit having capacities of only 10 megawatts (MW) or less
Central valley distributed solar and wind meet the definition of DER and could meet winter and summer needs when combined with short term storage.
 

iPlug

Active Member
Sep 14, 2019
1,120
3,571
Rocklin, CA
Central valley distributed solar and wind meet the definition of DER and could meet winter and summer needs when combined with short term storage.
You’ve conveniently now left out the Sierra you just mentioned. Transmitting into the Sierra most categorically excludes DER per definition, please read it again.

Including “distributed“ in the name doesn’t make it so. It could be locally in the Central Valley, but still no for the Sierra.
 

mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
12,091
16,174
California
You’ve conveniently now left out the Sierra you just mentioned. Transmitting into the Sierra most categorically excludes DER per definition, please read it again.

Including “distributed“ in the name doesn’t make it so. It could be locally in the Central Valley, but still no for the Sierra.
FERC Order 2222
Order 2222 defines distributed energy resource as “any resource located on the distribution system, any subsystem thereof or behind a customer meter.” Distributed solar certainly fits this definition.
 

iPlug

Active Member
Sep 14, 2019
1,120
3,571
Rocklin, CA
FERC Order 2222
Order 2222 defines distributed energy resource as “any resource located on the distribution system, any subsystem thereof or behind a customer meter.” Distributed solar certainly fits this definition.
We are referring to the system, not just the generation assets (which are accessible over many states).

Any connection of Sierra to any central valley specific DER resources excludes the Sierra from the DER system. If you use that summary definition from the brief FERC order, anyone producing solar in the Western Interconnection (1/3 western half of U.S. and Canada) meets such criteria. However I previously understood your argument to be that fully isolated micro-grids could be built from DER systems in the foothills and mountains of the Sierra, but the criteria of a DER system enshrines that it can only exist locally.

DER systems may be either connected to the local electric power grid or isolated from the grid in stand-alone applications...DER systems can provide voltage support and enhance local reliability.


https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy02osti/31570.pdf

Sierra assets are simply not connected locally to Central Valley resource assets. In a very general sense, distributed renewable generation at any corner of the Western Interconnection could influence use at a distance a couple thousand miles away. But that is a part of the argument for building more long distance interconnects, not severing them.
 
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mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
12,091
16,174
California
We seem to be hung up on definitions
We are referring to the system, not just the generation assets (which are accessible over many states).

Any connection of Sierra to any central valley specific DER resources excludes the Sierra from the DER system. If you use that summary definition from the brief FERC order, anyone producing solar in the Western Interconnection (1/3 western half of U.S. and Canada) meets such criteria. However I previously understood your argument to be that fully isolated micro-grids could be built from DER systems in the foothills and mountains of the Sierra, but the criteria of a DER system enshrines that it can only exist locally.

DER systems may be either connected to the local electric power grid or isolated from the grid in stand-alone applications...DER systems can provide voltage support and enhance local reliability.


https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy02osti/31570.pdf

Sierra assets are simply not connected locally to Central Valley resource assets. In a very general sense, distributed renewable generation at any corner of the Western Interconnection could influence use at a distance a couple thousand miles away. But that is a part of the argument for building more long distance interconnects, not severing them.
Electric systems are divided into transmission and distribution.
Transmission brings power from large distant generators to the distribution grid.
Distribution grid connects everyone to the power. DERs are smaller generators connected to the distribution grid.
Power companies operate the distribution grid. PG&E distribution grid covers their service area. When they connect generators within their grid they are adding DERs. Hence solar and wind in the valley are DERs and contribute to the resilience of the grid.
 

iPlug

Active Member
Sep 14, 2019
1,120
3,571
Rocklin, CA
We seem to be hung up on definitions

Electric systems are divided into transmission and distribution.
Transmission brings power from large distant generators to the distribution grid.
Distribution grid connects everyone to the power. DERs are smaller generators connected to the distribution grid.
Power companies operate the distribution grid. PG&E distribution grid covers their service area. When they connect generators within their grid they are adding DERs. Hence solar and wind in the valley are DERs and contribute to the resilience of the grid.

DERs must be "close to load" which the Sierra is not from the perspective of the Central Valley. There is no requirement for a DER to be within or outside a very large utility like PG&E which has many localities not close to each other.

As we've noted prior to this latest thread, I'm not too concerned between what might be technically considered transmission and distribution as that doesn't change the discussion of whether the Sierra can handle the not-so-edge blizzard cases with renewable energy as we just had without deeply relying on non-local and in this case even non-State electricity.

For the sake of interest, here are some of PG&E's transmission lines (blue and purple) as they define them. Lots of deep penetration into the Sierra sending electricity there during the blizzard which did bring lots of power threre from large non-DER generators (including such generators within the Valley) as local solar and wind resource production was far too little to meet the needs of the Central Valley alone during that time (see CAISO data during those weeks).

Screen Shot 2022-01-02 at 7.51.22 AM.png




We seem to be drifting from the point of post #9270 that started this discussion. These definitions are interesting in their own right, but not particularly important to that topic. We seem to share most of the same renewable goals, but not sure we have agreement on this particular item. That's ok, just interested in thoughts on the matter.:)
 
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