[clug] OT: Solar power recommendations and advice

David Cottrill cottrill.david at gmail.com
Tue Apr 20 18:29:00 MDT 2010

We had a guest lecturer, an electrical engineer from ACTEW a 3 years  
According to him there are only two sources of power for Canberra.  
Coal and Snowy hydro, the rest is drops in the ocean, but things are  
shifting slightly with grid solar and that wind farm over the back  
He emphasised (endlessly) 24 hours to switch on/off an extra coal  
tubine or two minutes for hydro.

On 21/04/2010, at 9:57 AM, steve jenkin <sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au>  

> Felix Karpfen wrote on 21/04/10 7:21 AM:
>> As pointed out in the previous (not quoted) posting, power stations  
>> will
>> fire up enough generators to supply the anticipated demand (based,
>> presumably on previous usage patterns) and it takes some hours for  
>> the
>> generators to come up to speed and produce electricity at the most
>> economic cost.
> I understand it takes around a week to start a 660MW 'unit' from cold.
> Can't just turn them off, either.
> Couldn't quickly find a reference.
> There's a different problem of increasing output - raising boiler
> temp/pressure by increasing coal-feed rate. That could be achieved  
> in hours.
> Steam Generating units can be taken off-line, but have to be kept  
> idling.
> An aside in a piece on Gas Turbines (stationary jet engines) fired  
> with
> Natural Gas hints at some of the problems.
> These are the Great White Hope for peak demand in 'traditional'  
> power gen.
> <http://files.asme.org/ASMEORG/Communities/History/Landmarks/5501.pdf>
> "An outstanding feature of the gas turbine is its short start-up time.
> Where a steam turbine would require several hours to reach its  
> operating
> temperature in order to prevent warping of the heavy parts forming the
> casing and rotor, the gas turbine can produce full power within  
> about 15
> minutes."
>> If the producers get it wrong, you either get brown-outs (when  
>> there is
>> not enough to meet the demand) or waste (when some of the available
>> electricity does not find a buyer).
> Exactly this was covered in detail in the first of the 3-part BBC
> series, "Britain from Above". The UK has a unique synchronised event
> every work day: at the end of popular TV shows, people 'put the kettle
> on'. It's quite a balancing act for the controllers.
> <http://www.bbc.co.uk/britainfromabove/>
> On the relative costs of power sources, from 2006:
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relative_cost_of_electricity_generated_by_different_sources#Analysis_from_different_sources 
> >
> <snip>
>> Felix Karpfen
> -- 
> Steve Jenkin, Info Tech, Systems and Design Specialist.
> 0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
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> sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://members.tip.net.au/~sjenkin
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