The value of pumped hydro compared to RoR or conventional hydro is the aquatic nexus. The reason BPA is curtailing wind points back to environmental issues and total gas issues. Any project on a river is going to have negative effects if used for ramping. Closed loop pumped storage (removed from the aquatic nexus) is being licensed at this time in the west. Cost installed $1500 kW. Value of the operation is found in both load and generation. Other benefits are wind remains clean when coupled with storage; if firmed with gas it loses 40% percent of that cleanliness. There has been so much denial from wind concerning storage when actually it's the perfect marriage. For every 100mws of storage 300mws of peaking gas could be replaced.
I work for a company that is developing closed loop pumped storage. Two projects are preparing to file draft license applications with the FERC this spring. The feasibility process is in its third year with most studies completed. The economic viability is very good with two potential interconnects depending on which market looks best; we have the ability to connect to both balancing authorities. These two 1000mw pumped storage projects have been sited to avoid recreational, societal, and environmental nexus. They are removed from the aquatic resource and though the cost of building two reservoirs is expensive it's worthwhile.The only opposition we have is from the PU which is fossil fuel based and using natural gas for wind integration balancing. Both projects will remove the need for gas peakers. The systems will use variable pump/turbines that provide a variety of service benefits not just arbitrage;projected online 2016. Each has the potential to firm and time shift approx. 2500mws of variable generation. 9 other locations have PAD's filed for future PS projects.
AWEA figures show that the average wind PPAs are now being priced at about 6 cents per kilowatt-hour, the same price for energy procurements from a combined cycle natural gas plant. The group says wind is actually about 2 cents cheaper than coal-fired electricity, and more projects were financed through debt arrangements than tax equity structures last year, a possible sign that wind deals are winning more mainstream acceptance from Wall Street's banks…."
Wholesale coal is below 2 cents. Wind must not be counting it's PTC's
Here in Utah they're poking holes everywhere; I think most are older leases and some are being drilled and capped. The Ruby pipe line has passed thru on its way to Oregon and new substations are being added from other lines heading south toward L Vegas. PacifiCorp has proposed three new combined cycle gas generators to integrate wind; we'll see where that effort goes. There's building opposition to more gas fired generation due to our air quality issues along the Wasatch Front.
Bob, google PacifiCorp Wind Integration Plan.
They have a study showing the cost of wind integration using their gas plants including the cost of needed additional capacity for that effort. They then used this information in their 2011 IRP stating a need to build two more combined cycle gas plants to integrate wind thus justifying a rate increase.
Using one of our pumped storage projects (Parker Knoll CLPS) we showed that using gas was way out of line and the effort of integrating wind using storage was by far and away cheaper. They aren't listening. Our report was sent as public comment on their 2011IRP.
Its deeper than that, even the utilities avoid innovation IF its a threat to "business as usual"; some how some time the masses will wake up and hold the government and quasi-government administrations accountable but we can't wait for that to happen. We do what we can with what we have while making sure we're successful with that effort.
This sounds just like the wind people; the fact remains that its not only the drops we have to be concerned about when balancing the grid its the increases and demand response just wouldn't cut it. Just add storage to the system for soak as well as ramp and the problems' solved. So what if there is a charge for that service; it makes intermittent energy more valuable. For wind storage allows them to continue to generate AND receive their PTC and they make more money. If the storaged energy can be time shifted OR used to ramp up so much the better. Solar and wind needs to pull their heads out of the clouds and support solar development. However it does kill combustion peakers.
That's .... out of the clouds and support storage development.
The problem Bob is we do need storage now if only to integrate wind; here's why. PacifiCorp just finished a wind integration study and has determined that to avoid curtailment during congestion they need to build a few more gas peakers. Now that action would turn clean wind into 55 to 60% clean rather than 100% clean. If storage, in particular a 1000mw project in central Utah was used, that wind remains clean and we don't have as much air quality issues here on the Wasatch front.Its all about money not air quality, climate change, or energy independence. Storage will increase the value of wind - period.
Another fact that is not well known about pumped storage; variable speed pump turbines, which by the way are just now being retro fit in older pumped hydro facilities, have the ability to load follow, ramp up or down among other attributes better than the best gasser out there. 5mw/sec response, 10 minute black start, frequency control and the list goes on. For a balancing area that has wind and solar integration storage is the best game in town at all levels of the grid. Sure pumped hydro has a high initial cost but the advantages far outweigh the use of fossil fuel for the firming of variable renewable energy.
The UDDC is already moving Milford Flat wind to California; it's my understanding the MF next phase is underway; however the 1800Mws of Wyoming wind we have now is going to increase to 8000mws and the wind blows as you said. There is also the consideration of the unused energy from night time coal burning the could be cleaned up about 3% if stored rather than vented. Storage isn't about arbitrage any more rather the firming and ramping services it can provide. The new variable pump turbines can spin in air with load while generating consider four of the variable turbines working together; with their versatility ancillary services on a regional level reduces the need for gas and transmission upgrade in many cases. Now consider if that storage was connected to two balancing areas....Remember as it is now when power is produced it must be used- somewhere. If it is stored and time shifted what is the value then? The grid will remain third world until storage at all levels is added. The other side of the value is security, everything at a pumped storage facility except the reservoirs is hardened underground exempt from EMP attacks and pretty much terrorist activity. Sited properly there is little to no potential harm to population centers and if constructed as closed loop removed from the aquatic resource little or no potential harm to the environment.