Subject: three steps to build up base renewable supply
Date: 2010-12-18 (at 17:23:52)
[cross posted at BNC]
If you look at this comment, and the figure it contains, (or this one) you see where the classic concept of "baseload", "intermediate load" and "peaking load" comes from. I think these figures (including a similar one in the modelling work from mid year) contains a basic abstraction we can build on.
Disconnect the "names" of the demand profile sections from pre-conceived technologies, and rename them "base supply", "intermediate supply" and "peaking supply" (essentially we can, loosely, still think of the latter two in terms of CCGT and OCGT, although load shifting and other aspects will come into play). What happens is that Wind and Solar become a part of the "base supply" - they are just there, and they are what they are.
We use the "demand remainder" (demand left after subtraction of base supply) to define the shape of the remainder profile, and then seek to shape this profile as best we can with supply mix, storage dynamics and plausible load shifting. What's left is the combined "intermediate and peaking supply", and we will use CCGT and OCGT to get demand met. Eventually, a reasonable model of multi-node Gas Turbine dispatch will allow specification of gas and costs.
First, however, the context needs to be clear.
Consider the evolution / ecology / niche metaphors of the second story. To utilise these ideas quantitatively we might take this remainder profile and evolve it through three or four stages, starting with how things are now, and ending with our best scenario for 50% renewable electricity by 2030 (or 40% in 2040, or whatever). Once the whole model is standing, then it becomes open season to cost and compare with other electricity industry paths that are in the ring, including the transmission and distribution network issues and costs.
What we need now is clarity on what the steps might look like. We are currently sketching a three stage model for: 2011->2016, 2017->2023, and 2024-> 2030, and a modest degree of 'stretching' the plausible is ok. If you have significant ideas around this, please introduce them. We have some material developed, but for now interested to leave the slate clean for others.