Renewable energy: Would a worldwide grid be the solution?

  • This is a good article but largely based on the traditional Eskom-centric model of power generation and delivery. The new approach encourages a consumer who is empowered and proactive. The bulk of ancillary services traditionally supplied by the utility are avoidable if managed well at the consumer end. It’s also much more cost effective since the network is relieved from transporting useless reactive, unbalance and harmonic currents. The author appears to wrongly assume that inverters are totally incapable of providing any ancillary services. Quite the contrary. They probably don’t bother since Eskom seems to still wants to play it all.
    Lastly, the utility bill does actually contain a charge for ancillary service by charging for demand kVA and energy as kVAh as opposed to kWh for industry consumers. What they (Eskom) need to figure out is how to charge for unbalance and harmonic currents.

  • Alan M

    The sad fact is that all expenditure of money and effort on connecting wind and solar driven generators to any major grid is a total waste of money and resources. To produce mains power of the quality needed in all major economies requires turbogenerators or hydrogenerators of the maximum possible ratings for the primary energy sources available to the countries concerned.
    Primary energy for grid electricity must be available via reliable “just-in-time” logistic supply sources, as far as possible not susceptible to disruption by adverse weather, politicians, trade unionists, thieves, anarchists, terrorists, activists (especially green energy activists) or anything else, for that matter. It also needs to be storable economically in adequate quantity to cater for the longest credible supply interruption.
    The best primary energy option available so far is nuclear fission, and for future use perhaps the faith-based communities could be helpful for a change and pray that nuclear fusion development wins the race against the next major ice age, which is said by some to be overdue already.
    Needless to say, national grids and local microgrids work pretty poorly when snow, ice, and clouds are around in abundance.
    We will have to stop burning coal to produce electricity, but this has nothing to do with limiting man-made carbon dioxide, as insisted on by global warmist alarmists. A 1000MW nuclear powered generator uses about 1% of the energy in its reactor fuel load, producing about 25 tons of spent fuel per annum. This needs storage for future use, by reprocessing, to extract more energy. Perfectly functional methods of storage are available, but not approved by politicians in case they lose a few votes from their misinformed electorates. (Mass media, please note.)
    A 600MW coal powered generator burns more than 200 tons of coal an hour. So it will produce more than 320’000 tons of spent fuel per annum. This is called ash, which contains all sorts of chemical and radioactive impurities, and which causes huge disposal problems.
    I could go on and on, but have already been too verbose. The saddest fact is that it is government policy to sign up more and more renewable power to the grid. Unfortunately, thanks to the wasteful and damaging expenditure (SCOPA please note), this helps cement our economy in its junk credit rating, while the IPPs concerned are guaranteed recovery of their costs in 20 year ‘fixed’ price contracts by our new (???) democratic (???) government.
    Is a forensic audit overdue? Could OUTA assist us to determine the sources, and more importantly, application of the revenues enjoyed by these IPPs? Nothing to do with the Gupta Dynasty (qv), one hopes.
    A whole new meaning for REIPPPP: Renewable Energy: Inferior Puny Parasitic Power Programme.

  • James Barbour

    Has the author a ballpark figure for a world-wide electricity grid? Who would be connected? Would all of Africa be included? South America? How would the poorer nations fund their connections? When connecting say Canada to Ireland (and then on to other places at both ends), how many connections would there be? One “thick pipe”, perhaps with a backup alternate? Many “thin pipes” to give security of transmission? What would just this one connection cost? Would both Americas (North and South) expect that there be times that all their supply travels through this connection? If not, why is a world-wide grid needed?

    It seems to me that I should set up a Kool Aid Store. A lot of this is being drunk at the moment. I need to make my fortune!

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