About Storage and the Cost of Peaking Power

Here is an article that suggests that 20% of the cost of electricity comes from operating peakers 100 hours per year i.e. about 1% of the time.  In other words, peakers are at about 6X the price of regular power.  Those who oppose renewables often point to the high cost of storage and compare it to baseload power.  However the proper comparison is to peaking power plants.  This is true particularly for power markets such as Texas where the storage would be utilized to ride through intermittent cloudiness during the day and during the overlap times when the sun is going down but wind has not yet picked up.

It should be pointed out that Texas has sufficient renewable potential that it could power the country on an energy basis.  And as they build power lines out to their highest capacity factor regions they offer a wind resource that is remarkably predictable and reliable.  Texas could easily become a major exporter of electricity.

Solar City on Grid Backup efforts:

Study comparing peakers and storage.

This entry was posted in EV PEV, New Energy Paradigm, Path to a New Paradigm, Storage and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to About Storage and the Cost of Peaking Power

  1. Bas Gresnigt says:

    Clayton, At the link I read: “…utilities actively reward customers who agree to slightly turn down their air-conditioner or electric water heater for a handful of short intervals on hot days.”

    Utilities can reach even better results if they stimulate / reward rooftop PV-solar owners to install batteries that can supply during e.g. 6hrs. That would flatten the late afternoon peak almost completely. So households with PV in Germany get a 30% investment subsidy on such batteries.

    Why do US utilities not the same? Why is the South-California utility even obstructing the installation of such batteries?

    Btw. The link to your page isn’t working.

    Kind regards, Bas


    • Enoch1680 says:

      Thanks Bas,
      I had left the post in Private mode because I did not have time to go over it and word it more carefully. I still haven’t had time but have removed the privacy so that people can get the general idea and access the link.


  2. Bas Gresnigt says:

    Thanks for your reply!
    I checked the statement: “… 20% of the cost of electricity comes from operating peakers … about 1% of the time.”.
    Seems to me only unfunded hope by Deluney who has to sell his smart grid.
    – Just check at the Amsterdam exchange (https://www.apxgroup.com/). No such spikes for such long periods. Neither in NL nor in UK. While the UK market is tight (little generation capacity) as also shown by the ~20% higher whole sale prices there (our UK interconnection is fully utilized by export to UK).
    – Some years ago I read a Fraunhofer report. High peak prices did occur but only very short and rare (~30minutes; near always at intra-day trading, hence only low volumes).

    The report concluded that those high peak prices had only marginal influence on the average whole sale price. So even much less on consumer prices. Hence may be 2%.

    Assume they are now extremely rare in Germany due to their over-capacity (that overcapacity hardly affects our peak prices as the interconnection with Germany is near always 100% utiliised for import of German electricity). You can check their electricity prices at the Leipzig exchange.

    Don’t know reliable data for USA as I don’t know a well functioning whole sale market in USA?
    Most utilities in USA still seem to be monopoly’s that even run the grid. How bad can you organize things? Also shown by the ~10times lower reliability of electricity supply (while for USA only not counting outages due to extremely bad weather).


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