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Author Topic: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:  (Read 5730 times)

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Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
« Reply #60 on: October 14, 2017, 07:10:14 pm »
Elon Musk Is Only Somewhat Right That Tesla’s Solar & Storage Can Scale To Rebuild Puerto Rico’s Grid

October 14th, 2017 by Michael Barnard

Full interesting article (he left some rather important advantages of Puerto Rico out, but I added them in a comment 8)):


I am willing to bet if PR could somehow swing an entirely new power grid from renewable energy that Tesla would focus on batteries and limited rooftop solar. I could see Tesla using the funding to quickly bring a second battery factory online and then accelerate their EV program once the grid was done.
At to power generation PR would get a better return with wind power the trade winds are right there perfect source of power.

agelbert Dan
You are correct in your assessment of what can be done in Puerto Rico.

I understand the situation down there rather well, so let me add something to Michael Barnard's article:

There are other advantages of the latitude (i.e. tropics) where Puerto Rico is located besides day length and lack of winter that I wish Michael had mentioned.

Humans need clean air, clean water, food and shelter to have a viable society. I will list ways that Puerto Rico can provide these basic needs affordably AND Renewably.

The main disadvantage of an island economy is the cost of transporting needed supplies from outside the island. And after said supplies get to the few ports, another cost of transporting from the ports to the homes and businesses is added.

Also, centralized water and electrical power systems further add to the cost of getting potable water and power to the homes and businesses.

Yes, the island is only is only 35 miles by 100 miles. But, it is mountainous. So the claim that a network of water pipes and electrical power lines within the island provides the most efficient way to provide those services is simply not true.

The goal must be to have as much distributed infrastructure as possible in order to reduce any and all costs of moving absolutely anything from point A to point B.

WHY? Because you want to have the smallest islandwide energy demand footprint.

WHY? Because the smaller the footprint, the cheaper it is to power with Renewable Energy. And there is less backup power that you need to store as well.

The procedure to set up this efficient Renewable Energy based system should go something like this:

1) The relative humidity is never below about 60%. That means that a solar power water generator in every home can cost effectively replace the entire water distribution pipe and pump system, which is costly to maintain. The island's water system would then be dedicated to the matter of collecting the sewage and possibly using it to manufacture fertilizer, instead of having a network of costly septic treatment plants using chemicals.

Water generators can, due to the relative humidity there, easily provide all the potable water that is, unlike the present system, not questionable for drinking. All the massive cost of energy now routinely paid by the average Puerto Rican to buy bottled water, plus the waste from bottle plastic, would not exist. Any tank the size of an 80 gallon water heater could hold the water cleanly. Of course people might want to have a large cistern for more water, but the average family would certainly not need one. No hurricane or earthquake would ever interrupt access to clean water anyone who's home was not utterly destroyed. Clean water from solar powered water generators is old technology. This is a must for an island subject to calamities like hurricanes and earthquaqes.

2) With the average family never suffering clean water shortages, the population becomes extremely resilient after a calamity. Disease vectors are stopped in their tracks because the people can bathe with, cook with and drink clean water 24/7. The next need is electrical energy. Since the island is relatively small, the promotion of 100% EV vehicles would mean billions (with a B) of dollars not spent on annually on fossil fuels. So, the best approach here is to solarize all the buildings.

Here, I wish to point something out that everybody seems to have missed. Puerto Rico is at around 18 degrees north latitude. Any solar installer will immediately realize that, for a large portion of the year, solar panels can be nearly flat against a flat roof, and still get nearly 100% efficiency. Beyond the fact that insolation values down there are superior to anywhere in the continental U.S., a flat solar panel, properly secured, will withstand category 5 hurricane winds, unlike a panel in Vermont that sits at about 40 degrees. There are periods of the year in Puerto Rico that the sun is directly above! That's right, you stand and your shadow is directly beneath you at noon. Most of the roofs in Puerto Rico are flat concrete so solarizing them and strongly securing the panels to them is easily done. After the island is solarized, even if 20% are damaged from a hurricane, most homes will have enough power to help their neighbors. This is what a resilient economy is like.

3) The centralized electrical grid should still exist for large cities like San Juan and Ponce, but the high voltage transmisssion lines and the towers vulnerable to hurricanes would no longer be needed over most of the island. That is one less part of the infrastructure to maintain.

4) Unlike the mainland USA, where the grid to EV network should be used as backup and smoothing and storage eventually, I think Puerto Rico should work to subsidize an EV for gasoline polluting clunkers program where a person's EV is charged mostly from their home. Remember, NO ROUND  TRIP to work in Puerto Rico exceeds the range of a Leaf, so the EV can become, for all practical purposes, a zero fuel cost vehicle for Puerto Ricans.

5) The powerwall systems will have their place too. The government should also subsidize them simply to provide resilience and grid smoothing on a 24/7 basis, plus a massive program to train the average Puerto Rican homeowner on how to best care for the system.

6) There is another HUGE advantage that Puerto Rico has that I wish to mention. Puerto Rico has the trade winds. They blow 5 to 15 mph 24/7 continuously (ALL YEAR).

NASA put an experimental wind turbine up on Culebra Island way back in the 1970's. It worked fine. It never stopped generating electricity. Do you know why it was dismantled?

I'm glad you asked. NASA wanted to give it to the power authority of Puerto Rico FREE on the condition that they maintain it. The power authority refused because their "business model" relied on fossil fuels. I'll give you a link to that story if you wish. The stranglehold of the fossil fuel interests in Puerto Rico has fostered tremendous costs, inefficency and pollution on that benighted island. It's time to stop that criminal stupidity by kicking fossil fuels off the island permanently.

7) The island, once it is running on over 50% Renewable Energy, can concentrate on using the advantage of not having winter to grow organic vegetables all year round. The greenhouses can be made to withstand hurricanes. Producing more of its own food will reduce the shipping costs for food coming to the island, which will, in turn, help the citizens prosper sustainably.

Puerto Rico needs fossil fuel powered infrastructure and vehicles like a hole in the head.

Puerto Rico has the geographic position and Renewable Energy resources that can make it the envy of the world. Even the ocean currents are a potential massive source of energy at the level of Japan and Scotland.

But with the Trump misadminstration acting so destructively, I do not see much hope for common sense to prevail in Puerto Rico.
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23


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