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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Value for investment dollars - Snowy Hydro vs Plasma Gasifiers

The Snowy Hydro 2.0 project is one possible way to store renewable energy.
For each 100 megawatt-hours of electricity stored about 70 megawatt-hours is likely to be generated and delivered to consumers - after allowing for pumping, generation and distribution losses.

If the wholesale price of electricity is $70 per megawatt-hour, each 100 megawatt-hours to storage will cost $7,000. The amount available for delivery - 70 megawatt-hours - will thus cost $100 per megawatt-hour. (That is $7,000 for the 100 megawatt-hours of electricity stored divided by the 70 megawatt-hours delivered to consumers.)

The result is a 40 percent increase in the wholesale price of electricity.
If the purpose is to lower the price of electricity, Snowy Hydro 2.0 project isn't looking too good on this part of the assessment.

The next step is to consider the cost of constructing the scheme, and the need to pay interest to the investors on the amount. This is another problem for the goal of reducing the price of electricity. It is aggravated by the fact that the project lead time means that interest costs accumulate for many years before there is any opportunity to begin recovering those costs from electricity consumers.

Another possible of way of storing renewable energy is to run plasma gasification units with electricity to be stored, converting waste that would otherwise go to landfill into synthesis gas.
Westinghouse Plasma Gasification
Converting Waste Into Clean Energy for a Healthier Planet

These plants are able to deliver over double the amount of energy that is used to operate them.
For each 100 megawatt-hours of electricity costing $7,000 stored in synthesis gas, at least 200 megawatt-hours is available for delivery to consumers - reducing the wholesale price of electricity to $35 per megawatt-hour - a reduction of 50 percent in this stage of the analysis.

Unlike Snowy Hydro 2.0, the assessment of value for investment dollars gets better, not worse, in the next phase. The elimination of waste heading to landfill represents a further cost-saving for investors.

That plasma gasification units can be built quickly means the return on investment begins far sooner than is possible for Snowy Hydro 2.0.

Related post - Efficient renewable energy storage, waste recycling and zero fossil fuels