Storage with Baseload Power

Storage with Baseload Power

Howard Hayden, Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of Connecticut, recently published an article in The Energy Advocate analyzing the use of storage with various power generation alternatives, i.e., wind, solar, nuclear, coal and natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plants.

The primary conclusion from the article is that storage is best used with baseload power, i.e., nuclear, coal or NGCC, rather than with solar and wind.

Using California as the model, Professor Hayden developed three scenarios, where the intermediate load is supplied by hydro or gas turbines as shown in the accompanying graphs.

He assumed capacity factors of 90% for nuclear, 33% for wind, and 17% for PV solar. He used California’s 24-hour power demand as a reference where the summer baseload is about 22 GW, the 24-hour average is about 35 GW, and the peak is just over 40 GW. Thermal solar is excluded from the alternatives.

The first two graphs from professor Hayden’s paper are for solar and wind. The third, larger graph, is for baseload power.

Solar                                    Wind

(The yellow and light green areas are the periods during which solar and wind provide electricity for use and for storage. The dark green area is where intermediate power supplies electricity, and where electricity is released from storage.)

These two cases represent ideal conditions where the sun shines during the day without cloudy days, and the wind blows at maximum power output for 8 consecutive hours each day.

Note that conditions for solar and wind operating uninterrupted are unrealistic.

This diagram, case 3, is for baseload power.

The table from professor Hayden’s article summarizes the data.

As can be seen from the table, baseload requires the least amount of storage, i.e., 84 GWh, to maximize its effectiveness. While storage is mandatory for wind and solar.

A secondary conclusion from the Hayden article is that the least costly use of storage is in conjunction with baseload power.

Applying costs to the data reveals that the least costly use of storage is, in all cases, with baseload power, whether it be nuclear, NGCC or coal.

Using $300/kWh as the cost of storage, the cost of using storage in combination with the above power requirements of 210 GW, (Solar), 105 GW (Wind), and 35 GW (baseload), are:

  • $65 billion, for NGCC, where the cost of the additional NGCC power plants is $1,100/KW
  • $128 billion for nuclear, where the cost of the additional nuclear power plants is $6,000/KW
  • $362 billion for wind, when the cost of wind installations is $2,000/KW
  • $434 billion for PV solar, when the cost of PV utility-scale solar installations is $1,100/KW

A third conclusion is that, in California, and probably elsewhere, using nuclear power with storage would be the best solution for cutting CO2 emissions.

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3 Replies to “Storage with Baseload Power”

    • Thanks. I have seen it, and am glad you have provided a link to CAISO’s page that includes battery storage.
      I agree, the hydro storage that already exists should be included.

  1. Howard Hayden has been extremely generous to PV, Wind power and storage needed by considering only the initial cost of the plants. When lifetime of the different plants is included the cost will go up by a factor of at least 3 for the same amount of electricity produced over the lifetime of the nuclear plant.