Ontario Nuclear update - She's back!

OVERKILL

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At somewhere around 3AM this morning Darlington Unit 2 was grid-connected, synched up, and commenced ramp-up. Since Unit 3 refurb has been postponed until the fall, all 4 units (3,512MW) will officially be available for the summer peak period. I'm quite excited to see if output is higher than the official 878MW figure; if the new generator and turbine assembly increases it. [Linked Image]
 
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pffft.....nuclear. Newfangled nonsense. Coal is where it's at! Four units, 820MW, the way the power god's intended. 2-5 years and I retire. The plant is retiring in 2027. [Linked Image] [Linked Image]
 

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Originally Posted by Snagglefoot
Excellent to hear! Does this mean essentially that all of Ontario's reactors are running?
We'll have 17 of 18 on for the summer. Bruce 6 is down for refurbishment presently.
 

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Originally Posted by Donald
Anything to get rid of coal.
And we did! Ontario hasn't burned any coal since Bruce units 1 and 2 were returned to service in 2012. about 95% of the electricity needed to eliminate coal in Ontario came from reactivated and refurbished nuclear, 70% from the Bruce A units (~3,200MW) and ~25% from the two Pickering A units (1,030MW).
 
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Does this mean enough nuclear and renewable capacity to avoid burning gas as well?
 

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Originally Posted by mk378
Does this mean enough nuclear and renewable capacity to avoid burning gas as well?
While solar depresses some daytime peaking in the summer, wind is always AWOL when demand is highest; it produces out of phase with demand, so its installed capacity, which is significantly more than Darlington, is wholly irrelevant in a scenario where we are trying to meet that demand. The morning and evening ramps, when solar sods off are met with gas, as well as daytime peaking beyond the installed capacity of nuclear + hydro. So, to answer your question, no, we will still burn gas this summer to cover for peaking. We would have been far better served building Darlington B than building close to 5,000MW of wind, as that nuclear capacity would have allowed us to eliminate gas, rather than build more of it, which was necessary to accommodate the generation profile of wind.
 
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Originally Posted by mk378
Does this mean enough nuclear and renewable capacity to avoid burning gas as well?
I saw a news / interview today that someone in the NG industry said NG contract may go negative like oil, because they can't shut them down easily and they are even worse storage friendly than oil. So I doubt nuclear will gain on gas any time soon, if anything just keeping the existing reactors running but not building new reactors due to volatility.
Originally Posted by OVERKILL
So, to answer your question, no, we will still burn gas this summer to cover for peaking. We would have been far better served building Darlington B than building close to 5,000MW of wind, as that nuclear capacity would have allowed us to eliminate gas, rather than build more of it, which was necessary to accommodate the generation profile of wind.
Eventually as the duck curve gets worse the time of day pricing will happen, and people will change their usage behaviors to adapt. Electric laundry dryer will run off peak, data center will slow down during peak and postpone low cost low priority jobs to off peak hours (i.e. render farm, data mining, etc). Eventually air conditioning will be done with thermal storage (i.e. ice) to either shift the peak or flatten the curve for grid demand. If money can solve the problem it is not a problem.
 
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Originally Posted by PandaBear
Eventually as the duck curve gets worse the time of day pricing will happen, and people will change their usage behaviors to adapt. Electric laundry dryer will run off peak, data center will slow down during peak and postpone low cost low priority jobs to off peak hours (i.e. render farm, data mining, etc). Eventually air conditioning will be done with thermal storage (i.e. ice) to either shift the peak or flatten the curve for grid demand. If money can solve the problem it is not a problem.
The duck curve is a production of too much embedded solar capacity, it doesn't tie in with wind's absenteeism, which is a wholly separate issue. We already have TOU pricing up here BTW. Moving the peaking around doesn't solve the intermittency issue, or embedded solar driving baseload generators out of the market, though that's not much of an issue up here since we don't have a competitive bid process, almost all generation is on fixed-rate contracts.
 
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Originally Posted by OVERKILL
The duck curve is a production of too much embedded solar capacity, it doesn't tie in with wind's absenteeism, which is a wholly separate issue. We already have TOU pricing up here BTW. Moving the peaking around doesn't solve the intermittency issue, or embedded solar driving baseload generators out of the market, though that's not much of an issue up here since we don't have a competitive bid process, almost all generation is on fixed-rate contracts.
Money problem can be fixed in the long term, they always do. Technical problem can also be fixed in the long term on the consumption side, when there's enough money involved. I've started hearing hyperscale data center (I think that's Microsoft but I'm sure Amazon is doing it as well) starts experimenting power cost / renewable generation load following, basically throttling and idling capacity when the price is high and only run certain loads when the price is right (on less efficient machines and low priced workloads). Like I said before it will take time for solution to catch up, but to be honest having a TOU pricing based laundry dryer is pretty easy to design (they already have that for AC, and PG&E pay you to install it), just that the price spread isn't enough for most people to get onboard yet.
 
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OVERKILL

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Originally Posted by PandaBear
Originally Posted by OVERKILL
The duck curve is a production of too much embedded solar capacity, it doesn't tie in with wind's absenteeism, which is a wholly separate issue. We already have TOU pricing up here BTW. Moving the peaking around doesn't solve the intermittency issue, or embedded solar driving baseload generators out of the market, though that's not much of an issue up here since we don't have a competitive bid process, almost all generation is on fixed-rate contracts.
Money problem can be fixed in the long term, they always do. Technical problem can also be fixed in the long term on the consumption side, when there's enough money involved. I've started hearing hyperscale data center (I think that's Microsoft but I'm sure Amazon is doing it as well) starts experimenting power cost / renewable generation load following, basically throttling and idling capacity when the price is high and only run certain loads when the price is right (on less efficient machines and low priced workloads). Like I said before it will take time for solution to catch up, but to be honest having a TOU pricing based laundry dryer is pretty easy to design (they already have that for AC, and PG&E pay you to install it), just that the price spread isn't enough for most people to get onboard yet.
I think the point is, does all of this Mickey Mouse nonsense, chasing the lowest rate, which will shift depending on loads, weather...etc make sense when you have the ability to produce reliable electricity that doesn't require such contortions? Is the goal simply high penetration of renewables or actual low emissions? Because burning gas because you want to run wind turbines isn't achieving the latter, but it sure seems like one [censored] of a way to create all kinds of wild costs and technical problems that impact operating profiles while doing the former smirk Per your TOU posit, while that sounds quite novel in theory, nobody is going to pile wet laundry into their dryer at 7AM before they shove off to work expecting the dryer to kick on sometime during the day so that they can capitalize on some rate perversion wrought by overzealous installation of solar, that's pie in the sky fantasy that could only come out of California. When we run laundry, it is two or three loads, which means there is human intervention, that doesn't work when off-peak occurs when nobody is home. It isn't just the price spread that's the issue, it's the impact on the day-to-day things. Paying a premium to do laundry at the time we normally do now because the peak has shifted due to some moronic policy solely focused on its myopic agenda, is only going to get so much traction before people revolt, which is exactly what happened here in Ontario. You can only push people so far before they stop and toss you out on your ear. A solution peddled by charlatans is destined for failure, even if it is technically feasible. "Gas is the new green" is the current mantra, barring the oft cited "storage miracle" which is quite like fusion in that it is always just around the corner. Cold climates, like here, pose yet another problem, as most currently heat with gas and if we want to shift that to electric, you aren't doing that with solar and wind, the former doesn't align with the demand profile (morning and evening ramps) and the latter buggers off for days at a time, which means either perpetual reliance on methane or something else that can reliably fit the bill, unless of course emissions are non-issue, at which point then why aren't we just burning gas for everything?
 

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The electricity map data for California is currently broken, but I'll use another VRE plugger example, South Australia, and compare it at the present moment to Ontario: [Linked Image][Linked Image] It's not very wind in either location right now, or sunny, so can you spot the difference?
 
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This is fascinating to read and I'm 100% behind nuclear as a long-term energy source. With that said, I'm intrigued by the above quoted number of 95% of the electricity needed to eliminate coal in Ontario coming from nuclear. When I visited Niagra Falls in ~2005ish, I was under the impression from touring there that a pretty good chunk of the electricity powering Toronto at least came from the two Adam Beck hydro stations there at the falls(plus of course some for upstate NY coming from Robert Moses). How does hydro in general, and the Niagra Falls plants in particular, factor into the current Ontario energy picture?
 

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Originally Posted by bunnspecial
This is fascinating to read and I'm 100% behind nuclear as a long-term energy source. With that said, I'm intrigued by the above quoted number of 95% of the electricity needed to eliminate coal in Ontario coming from nuclear. When I visited Niagra Falls in ~2005ish, I was under the impression from touring there that a pretty good chunk of the electricity powering Toronto at least came from the two Adam Beck hydro stations there at the falls(plus of course some for upstate NY coming from Robert Moses). How does hydro in general, and the Niagra Falls plants in particular, factor into the current Ontario energy picture?
Hydro provides ~25% of Ontario's electricity, nuclear provides >60%. Beck 1 and 2 have a combined capacity of 1,997MW, but does not run at full capacity all of the time. Ontario uses hydro to load follow extensively, because spillage is very cheap. Right now for example, Beck 1 is at 95MW, Beck II is at 954MW; all hydro in Ontario is at 4,349MW. In comparison, Darlington is at 3,287MW. When we went to eliminate coal, we needed ~4,400MW of firm generation capacity, 3,115MW of that came from Bruce A, 1,030MW came from Pickering A, so 4,145MW. Bruce then later got some uprates, so the A site is now ~3,160MW; overall Bruce capacity increased from 6,200MW to 6,430MWe (the A units were originally 750MW).
 
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Originally Posted by OVERKILL
Originally Posted by bunnspecial
This is fascinating to read and I'm 100% behind nuclear as a long-term energy source. With that said, I'm intrigued by the above quoted number of 95% of the electricity needed to eliminate coal in Ontario coming from nuclear. When I visited Niagra Falls in ~2005ish, I was under the impression from touring there that a pretty good chunk of the electricity powering Toronto at least came from the two Adam Beck hydro stations there at the falls(plus of course some for upstate NY coming from Robert Moses). How does hydro in general, and the Niagra Falls plants in particular, factor into the current Ontario energy picture?
Hydro provides ~25% of Ontario's electricity, nuclear provides >60%. Beck 1 and 2 have a combined capacity of 1,997MW, but does not run at full capacity all of the time. Ontario uses hydro to load follow extensively, because spillage is very cheap. Right now for example, Beck 1 is at 95MW, Beck II is at 954MW; all hydro in Ontario is at 4,349MW. In comparison, Darlington is at 3,287MW. When we went to eliminate coal, we needed ~4,400MW of firm generation capacity, 3,115MW of that came from Bruce A, 1,030MW came from Pickering A, so 4,145MW. Bruce then later got some uprates, so the A site is now ~3,160MW; overall Bruce capacity increased from 6,200MW to 6,430MWe (the A units were originally 750MW).
Thank you for the information. If I'm not mistaken, by hydro standards the Beck 1/2 capacity numbers are impressive, but as you point out nowhere near the amount needed for the entire system. IIRC, don't the 3 Niagra plants combined have significantly higher capacities at night than during the day also? I seem to remember at least that the falls themselves get "turned back" a whole lot after dark, but don't remember if all of that gets diverted to power or not. Sorry for the sidetrack away from Nuclear-I just remembered in reading all of this that Ontario did have a fair bit of hydro capacity. I would love to see the US get behind nuclear in a big way rather than chasing the latest fads like solar. From my perspective, nuclear and hydro seem the most dependable and overall useful non-fossil options, but there again nuclear is a dirty word. I had to go and check as I was under the impression that-thanks to the TVA, we had a fair bit of hydro in Kentucky, but the quick number I pulled up was 2.6%(and around 95% coal overall).
 

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Originally Posted by bunnspecial
Thank you for the information. If I'm not mistaken, by hydro standards the Beck 1/2 capacity numbers are impressive, but as you point out nowhere near the amount needed for the entire system.
Yes, the Beck stations, primarily Beck II, are definitely impressive installs. The Moses station across the falls is about 700MW larger. Hydro stations are typically not run wide-open for a variety of reasons but one of the main ones is to have reserve capacity for load following.
Originally Posted by bunnspecial
IIRC, don't the 3 Niagra plants combined have significantly higher capacities at night than during the day also? I seem to remember at least that the falls themselves get "turned back" a whole lot after dark, but don't remember if all of that gets diverted to power or not.
Water rights for the falls stipulate that during the tourist season the falls must have a specific amount of water going over them during observation hours. So at night, and in the off season, the water over the falls is roughly cut in half. During the tourist season, both Beck and Moses use large reservoirs that are filled during the high flow hours so that they can augment flow, and thus generation output, during the daytime when their diversion capability is limited.
Originally Posted by bunnspecial
Sorry for the sidetrack away from Nuclear-I just remembered in reading all of this that Ontario did have a fair bit of hydro capacity.
No need to apologize, power generation is one of my favourite topics, I could talk about it for hours.
Originally Posted by bunnspecial
I would love to see the US get behind nuclear in a big way rather than chasing the latest fads like solar. From my perspective, nuclear and hydro seem the most dependable and overall useful non-fossil options, but there again nuclear is a dirty word. I had to go and check as I was under the impression that-thanks to the TVA, we had a fair bit of hydro in Kentucky, but the quick number I pulled up was 2.6%(and around 95% coal overall).
Yes, I've seen some stuff on twitter that points to there being some increased support, primarily stemming from concern that China and Russia are eating the US's nuclear lunch. If that's what it takes to jolt some life back into that sector, so be it! I know GE-HItachi has a design going through our Canadian SMR program, so there's a glimmer of hope.
 
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Originally Posted by OVERKILL
I think the point is, does all of this Mickey Mouse nonsense, chasing the lowest rate, which will shift depending on loads, weather...etc make sense when you have the ability to produce reliable electricity that doesn't require such contortions? Is the goal simply high penetration of renewables or actual low emissions? Because burning gas because you want to run wind turbines isn't achieving the latter, but it sure seems like one [censored] of a way to create all kinds of wild costs and technical problems that impact operating profiles while doing the former smirk Per your TOU posit, while that sounds quite novel in theory, nobody is going to pile wet laundry into their dryer at 7AM before they shove off to work expecting the dryer to kick on sometime during the day so that they can capitalize on some rate perversion wrought by overzealous installation of solar, that's pie in the sky fantasy that could only come out of California. When we run laundry, it is two or three loads, which means there is human intervention, that doesn't work when off-peak occurs when nobody is home. It isn't just the price spread that's the issue, it's the impact on the day-to-day things. Paying a premium to do laundry at the time we normally do now because the peak has shifted due to some moronic policy solely focused on its myopic agenda, is only going to get so much traction before people revolt, which is exactly what happened here in Ontario. You can only push people so far before they stop and toss you out on your ear. A solution peddled by charlatans is destined for failure, even if it is technically feasible. "Gas is the new green" is the current mantra, barring the oft cited "storage miracle" which is quite like fusion in that it is always just around the corner. Cold climates, like here, pose yet another problem, as most currently heat with gas and if we want to shift that to electric, you aren't doing that with solar and wind, the former doesn't align with the demand profile (morning and evening ramps) and the latter buggers off for days at a time, which means either perpetual reliance on methane or something else that can reliably fit the bill, unless of course emissions are non-issue, at which point then why aren't we just burning gas for everything?
You are paying for these wild cost one way or another already if you look at how they compare non TOU and TOU rate, they pad enough in the flat rate to guess how much you are running on average. As I said before, already happened for a few years, we were given a lower rate (around 2c/kwh year round) if we agree to 15 days of peak price at market rate (60c/kwh instead of 20c/kwh) a year so PG&E won't have to eat it. The market rate for those PG&E off the hook price? 60c/kwh instead of 20c/kwh, so you can decide to pay for 15 days peak at 60c/kwh so you avoid piling laundry at 7am or you pay 2c/kwh extra 247 365 the entire year and pile laundry as you please. Your 60c/kwh is there to pay for the shut down old dirty coal plant to stand by all year so you can do your laundry at 7am 3 load at a time during a heat storm with your AC on, when the outside temperature is 100F. The point I am trying to make is, a diverse generation, not just renewable vs non renewable, is good for stability and prevent gouging or incident. Just look at that 60c/kwh peak, you realize this is how generation make a huge percentage of the money from. If you can avoid this kind of gouging by shaving off the peak, you are already ahead of the game. Data center can shutdown their bargain basement load, household can wait till 10pm to start their load, offices can freeze some ice to help reduce the next day's peak AC load, etc, without involving batteries and electric car. I'm intentionally skipping solar here because they tends to follow the peak, my examples only involve our current usage profile, before we even add solar or wind. All it takes is another Enron scheme to mess up our grid without wind or solar even.
 
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