Results 1 to 22 of 22

Thread: How much land will be required for solar, wind, hydro, etc?

  1. #1

    Default How much land will be required for solar, wind, hydro, etc?

    How many hectares /acres of land will be required to replace the 6,000+ MW of coal generation and later the current 7,000+ MW natural gas generation capacity (assuming carbon capture technology doesn't save the day)?

    I imagine there's several ways to slice and dice the problem but trying to get a sense of the scale of the transition.

  2. #2

    Default

    I'd be interested in this answer as well. I also would like to know where solar farms, wind farms and new dams in the province would be located, and where new transmission lines and service roads would need to be constructed.

  3. #3

    Default

    Where will the projects be built?

    * The AESO anticipates most projects will develop where renewable resources are the most abundant—southern and eastern Alberta. However, it is possible for developers to choose other feasible locations.
    * Existing transmission and distribution infrastructure must be utilized for the first competition in order to minimize cost impacts and meet the 2019 in-service date.

    https://www.aeso.ca/assets/Uploads/REP-QA.pdf
    Giving less of a damn than ever… Can't laugh at the ignorant if you ignore them!

  4. #4

    Default

    Its basically a shift in wealth from Northern Alberta (where much of the coal is), to Southern Alberta (sun and wind).

  5. #5
    C2E Hard Core Contributor
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    3,661

    Default

    The South East corner of the province has the best solar insolation and hours of sunshine in Alberta, and together with the bottom 1/4 of saskatchewan, the best in Canada. It's better than about 50% of the US land mass. About the same as Memphis.

    Of the major cities in Canada, Edmonton and Calgary are the most attractive for solar in terms of hours of sunshine and solar insolation.

    We're not blessed with vast hydro potential, but solar and wind we can do.

  6. #6
    C2E Hard Core Contributor
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    2,441

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    How many hectares /acres of land will be required to replace the 6,000+ MW of coal generation and later the current 7,000+ MW natural gas generation capacity (assuming carbon capture technology doesn't save the day)?

    I imagine there's several ways to slice and dice the problem but trying to get a sense of the scale of the transition.
    Your thread is based on a false premise.

    There is no planned phase-out of natural gas electricity generation. In fact, some of the coal generation is likely to be replaced by natural gas generation.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by East McCauley View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    How many hectares /acres of land will be required to replace the 6,000+ MW of coal generation and later the current 7,000+ MW natural gas generation capacity (assuming carbon capture technology doesn't save the day)?

    I imagine there's several ways to slice and dice the problem but trying to get a sense of the scale of the transition.
    Your thread is based on a false premise.

    There is no planned phase-out of natural gas electricity generation. In fact, some of the coal generation is likely to be replaced by natural gas generation.
    Correct, I don't believe there is a planned phase out of natural gas electric generation and yes I've heard about repowering of some of the coal gen plants with gas turbines. That doesn't change the question.

  8. #8

    Default

    OK, found this:

    "A large field of 25 acres, filled with solar panels, generates approximately 5MW. To put this into perspective, the football pitch at Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground is 1.75 acres and would only generate 0.35MW. So, for a solar farm to generate a gigawatt of power, it will need an area of 5,000 acres, which is nearly eight square miles. There is, fortunately, a lot of available land in the Exclusion Zone."

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/2017...lear-wasteland


    This Is What a 20 Megawatt Solar Farm Looks Like

    "One of the key features of Apple's upcoming North Carolina data center is its mammoth field of solar panels, which aim to provide the center with the majority of its power. Though the solar farm in progress is a whopping 100 acres, and aims to put out 20 megawatts, that's only 60 percent of the center's expected draw.

    Even unfinished, the field of panels is staggering in its magnitude. ..."
    http://gizmodo.com/5943708/this-is-w...arm-looks-like
    Last edited by KC; 01-02-2017 at 10:33 AM.

  9. #9
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Westmount, Edmonton
    Posts
    5,361

    Default

    I think a good chunk of solar is not going to be dedicated solar farms but variations of rooftop solar powering buildings and feeding the grid when they can. We also can't completely replace coal or gas with solar or wind as they are too variable and you have to have reliable base power to maintain the grid.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    I think a good chunk of solar is not going to be dedicated solar farms but variations of rooftop solar powering buildings and feeding the grid when they can. We also can't completely replace coal or gas with solar or wind as they are too variable and you have to have reliable base power to maintain the grid.
    No, hopefully it isn't all farm based. Still, no matter how efficient solar becomes, it will still take up space (rooftop, farm land, forest or otherwise.)

    According to one article on the US, it needs to cut electric emissions by 90%. That would mean gas would have to be cut dramatically.

    Gas or something cleaner, or cleaned gas will need to backfill or load level but again, unless carbon capture saves the day, most of the natural gas had to go too. M(I think carbon capture will save the day.). Natural gas particulate emissions, like coal, are another issue but reduce natural gas burning and much of that problem goes away too.

    Even 1% leakage is highly problematic.

    The Natural Gas Gamble: A Risky Bet on America's Clean Energy Future | Union of Concerned Scientists

    Dramatically expanding the use of natural gas to generate electricity creates numerous and complex risks for our economy, our health, and our climate.

    Excerpt:

    Climate risks
    Like all fossil fuels, burning natural gas for electricity generation results in the release of CO2 and thus contributes to global warming. While smokestack emissions from natural gas combustion are significantly cleaner than coal, the global warming emissions from natural gas extend beyond power plant smokestacks.

    The extraction, distribution, and storage of natural gas result in the leakage of methane—a powerful global warming gas 34 times stronger than CO2 at trapping heat over a 100-year period—which diminishes the climate advantages of natural gas over coal.

    Furthermore, increasing our reliance on natural gas could delay the deployment of much cleaner renewable energy, putting us at greater risk of failing to meet the level of emissions reductions needed to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.


    http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/c...e#.WJIQKutfOK0

    Last edited by KC; 01-02-2017 at 10:47 AM.

  11. #11
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Westmount, Edmonton
    Posts
    5,361

    Default

    I'm not as hopeful on carbon capture. More nuclear plus pumped storage hydro to store excess capacity from the more irregular renewables.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

  12. #12
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Edmonton (Norwood)
    Posts
    4,393

    Default

    To completely power Alberta (assuming a demand of 10 GW) with solar, you would need about 50-100 GW of solar panels and a whole lot of storage. At an output of 200 W/m^2, that's 250-500 km^2 of solar panels, or about half the size of Edmonton or Calgary. Usable rooftops in the province would be substantially less than that, so that would be a lot of solar farms in the southeastern semidesert. Storage using batteries could be located underneath the panel installations, while pumped hydro would require some large reservoirs in the mountains.

    Rooftops alone might achieve a 20% share for solar, with peak output supplying nearly all demand and natural gas filling in at night and during cloudy periods.

  13. #13

    Default

    How much of that solar would be realized from November through February?
    I feel in no way entitled to your opinion...

  14. #14
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Edmonton (Norwood)
    Posts
    4,393

    Default

    ^ All of it for a few hours on a sunny day, none during the 16 hour nights. Hence the need for a whole lot of storage (as in terawatt-hours) for a fully solar powered grid.

  15. #15

    Default

    Alberta's peak load is less than 12GW. A 1 TWh storage system could manage to supply the entirety of that peak load for about 83 hours, 20 minutes. Or just short of 3 1/2 days of Alberta going full-tilt, continuously.
    Giving less of a damn than ever… Can't laugh at the ignorant if you ignore them!

  16. #16

    Default

    But what's the output for low-angle sun in the winter months?
    I feel in no way entitled to your opinion...

  17. #17

    Default

    NOVA: Search for the Super-Battery, Feb. 1, 9pm MST

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/super-battery.html
    I feel in no way entitled to your opinion...

  18. #18
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Edmonton (Norwood)
    Posts
    4,393

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    Alberta's peak load is less than 12GW. A 1 TWh storage system could manage to supply the entirety of that peak load for about 83 hours, 20 minutes. Or just short of 3 1/2 days of Alberta going full-tilt, continuously.
    Or about a third of what would be needed to ensure no outages during an extended cloudy period with a fully solar powered grid. A small fraction of what would be needed to provide a meaningful amount of seasonal storage.

    The other solution for 100% renewable electricity would be a worldwide HVDC grid to distribute solar electricity from wherever the sun happens to be shining to wherever there is demand. That doesn't sound any easier than TWh of batteries.

    Of course, the picture changes dramatically if you allow fossil fuels and/or nuclear back in to the mix.
    Last edited by Titanium48; 01-02-2017 at 03:13 PM.

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
    ^ All of it for a few hours on a sunny day, none during the 16 hour nights. Hence the need for a whole lot of storage (as in terawatt-hours) for a fully solar powered grid.
    And then there's snow storms. How do they deal with snowfall? Does most or all of it just slide right off or what?

  20. #20

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
    To completely power Alberta (assuming a demand of 10 GW) with solar, you would need about 50-100 GW of solar panels and a whole lot of storage. At an output of 200 W/m^2, that's 250-500 km^2 of solar panels, or about half the size of Edmonton or Calgary. Usable rooftops in the province would be substantially less than that, so that would be a lot of solar farms in the southeastern semidesert. Storage using batteries could be located underneath the panel installations, while pumped hydro would require some large reservoirs in the mountains.

    Rooftops alone might achieve a 20% share for solar, with peak output supplying nearly all demand and natural gas filling in at night and during cloudy periods.
    Something under 250-500 square km doesn't sound too bad as that's the largest case for solar. Reduce that as you add some wind but I understand that the lack of reliability means each source has to be built for peak requirements when the other isn't available - unless it's natural gas filling in all the gaps - but that hurts any high targets.

  21. #21

    Default

    Interesting read:


    How solar-energy dreams became a nightmare for the small Ontario town of Blind River | Edmonton Journal

    http://ottawacitizen.com/feature/how...of-blind-river




    .
    Last edited by KC; 06-12-2017 at 11:25 AM.

  22. #22

    Default

    Some recent activity:

    Alberta Utilities Commission approves solar farms near Hays and Jenner › Medicine Hat News
    June 9, 2017

    http://medicinehatnews.com/news/loca...es-and-jenner/


    Epcor pitches new solar farm near Edmonton’s Cameron Heights | Edmonton Journal
    June 10, 2017
    http://edmontonjournal.com/news/loca...ameron-heights


    Government cash makes it a sunny day for solar power - Alberta Farmer Express
    Nov 20, 2017
    https://www.albertafarmexpress.ca/20...r-solar-power/



    How Alberta’s Clean Energy Transition May Actually Benefit Big Coal and Oil Players Over Small Renewables | DeSmog Canada
    Dec 4, 2017


    “Wind is by far the cheapest renewable in Canada, only natural gas is cheaper right now but we don’t know what will happen with the price of natural gas in the future. It could go up,” she added. “Proponents of solar projects may get a share but wind will dominate.”

    And there’s plenty of wind in southern Alberta which is already home to a few wind farms.

    One of the key factors Jeyakumar says Pembina will be watching is how winning bidders plan to engage communities that will be affected by wind farms.

    “They will be in rural areas, and it’s important that not just the owners of the land where the wind farm is located, but other people close to the project share in the benefits,” said Jeyakumar. ...”


    https://www.desmog.ca/2017/12/04/how...all-renewables
    Last edited by KC; 06-12-2017 at 11:25 AM.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •