An open letter to power companies

An open letter to NZ power companies

Just curious. A rhetorical question, if you like. Why is it that none of the power companies and none of the wind farms have installed mega batteries. The 100mWh Tesla battery at Hornsdale in Southern Australia has paid off it's total capital costs in 3 short years. I've never heard of such a profitable investment. Now virtually all the income is pure profit. In addition it has greatly stabilized the voltage and frequency of the grid it is part of and has reduced power prices. They are now installing more batteries.

For new wind farms, I wonder why they don't put in a mega-battery first before they even have the first wind turbine up and running. With our crazy spot price system, it would seem likely that they would make a profit right off, buying low and selling high. Then when the turbines are working, they can, of course, store any excess power they generate instead of having to feather the the turbines. Mega batteries basically constitute a peaker plant.

From the customer's point of view, if power companies had mega batteries, they could stop being so twitchy about their customers installing solar panels. They could give the customer a decent price for the power that he sends to the grid. Say, 75% of the price that they charge the customer for power he takes from the grid. This would eliminate the need and the motivation for the customer to go off grid and/or install his own batteries. The customer foots the capital cost for the generation infrastructure (panels) and the power company gains all this lovely, free extra generation capacity. It is a win win all around.

Li is not the only game in town. For instance, there are the ZnBr plating batteries and the liquid metal batteries using Ca and Sb. Both have the distinct advantage of not degrading over time and both can be fully charged and discharged without damage. They also don't lose their charge if left fully charged. They don't have quite the cycle efficiency of Li batteries but are a tad better than pumped storage. If you go to youtube and type in 'Just Have A Think Iron Batteries' you will see another innovation that, if it is all it is cracked up to be, will revolutionize renewable energy. Then there are a range of redox batteries using the different oxidation states of Fe or V.

Why are you power companies so slow off the mark. You could be creaming the profits while at the same time serving your customers, something that is somewhat lacking at present.

 - William Hughes-Games, Waipara, N. Canterbury.

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