26 May 2011 @ 9:31 AM 

When I completed my MS Thesis at Humboldt State University (HSU), I was quite busy. The weekend of May 16th, I played Trombone with the band I managed, the Humboldt Firkin Tappers, at the Legendary Boonville Beer Festival. Two weeks later, Sharyn and I got married at the 3-day wedding we had spent a year and half planning (it went very well). A week after the wedding, I defended my thesis while we worked on packing up the house. Two weeks later, we moved to Texas! Needless to say, I was mildly distracted. Updating my blog with an official post about my completed thesis was not really at the front of my thoughts.

Anyway…

A Distributed Renewable Energy System Meeting 100% of Electricity Demand in Humboldt County: A Feasibility Study.

ABSTRACT:
A model of electricity supply and demand in Humboldt County, California over the course of one year is presented. Wind, ocean–wave, solar, and biomass electricity generation are simulated using available hourly data and efficiencies of extraction for each. Hourly electricity demand is simulated using US Census 2000 data and county load data. A simulated two-dimensional geospatial map of Humboldt County power distribution is updated each hour of the simulation as demand and supplies fluctuate over one year. Given zero input from fossil fuel power generation sources, the model will show that without sufficient transmission to import power in times of deficit, the intermittent nature of each renewable power source cannot be compensated for even when all are harvested simultaneously. The model goes on to show that with reasonable renewable power plant sizes and as transmission capacity increases, Humboldt County could not only meet 100\% of electricity demand year round, but could become a net electricity exporter.
HSU Digital Library Page:
Direct Link to PDF at HSU Digital Library:
Extras:
I will be uploading some extra bits of information regarding the thesis including videos of parts of it down the road. When I do I will link to them from here.
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Last Edit: 26 May 2011 @ 09:38 AM

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 14 Apr 2009 @ 10:37 PM 

The second scenario in my analysis section looks at power supplied by 140MW of wind (purple), 50MW of solar (yellow), 50MW of ocean–wave (blue), and 64.3MW of biomass (green). This scenario leaves out the fossil fuel (brown) and the transmission (red). A one week run of the model in the summer from Sunday July 1, 2008 through Saturday July 7, 2008 is shown below.

July 1, 2008 through July 7, 2008 power supplied where purple is wind, solar is yellow, ocean-wave is blue, and biomass is green. The black curve at the top is power demand.

July 1, 2008 through July 7, 2008 power supplied where purple is wind, solar is yellow, ocean-wave is blue, and biomass is green. The black curve at the top is power demand.

December 14, 2008 through December 20, 2008 power supplied. The high winds really help in the winter.

December 14, 2008 through December 20, 2008 power supplied. The high winds really help in the winter.

As you can see, without more biomass or another way of compensating for the intermittency of wind, solar, and ocean-wave power, a purely renewable portfolio for Humboldt County would not be adequate.

Please ask me questions if you like. I’d be happy to answer them.

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Last Edit: 14 Apr 2009 @ 10:37 PM

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 12 Apr 2009 @ 12:33 AM 

I have split the analysis section of my thesis into three scenarios. The goal of the first scenario is to demonstrate how the current power system meets electricity demand in Humboldt County. 

Power supplied for Jan 1-7, 2008. Green is biomass, red is transmission, and brown is natural gas.
Power supplied for Jan 1-7, 2008. Green is biomass, red is transmission, and brown is natural gas.

I ran the model for 7 days (168 hours). The plot above shows power supplied where green was supplied by biomass plants, red by transmission lines (imported power), and brown by fossil fuel powered plants (Humboldt Bay Power Plant).

The maximum output of the biomass plants combined with maximum imported power over the transmission lines cannot meet peak demand. This depicts the way the Humboldt Bay Power Plant, which is natural gas fired, must ramp up and down to meet the peak demand.

The biomass plants were run at 75% capacity with a maximum output of approximately 38MW. The transmission lines were run at 75% capacity with a maximum import of 52.5MW. So biomass + transmission = 90.5MW. 

 

Percentage of time that each load occurs.

Percentage of time that each load occurs.

If we look up where 90.5MW falls on the above load duration curve, it looks like the Humboldt Bay Power Plant must be running close to 100% of the time which is good since turning the plant on and off is likely not feasible in a short period of time.

I am elated to see that my model accurately depicts the way I believe the current power system works in Humboldt County. I have left out power supplies that are less than 1MW of which there are several.

Rough draft of my write up of my thesis will be done very soon. Yipee!

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Last Edit: 13 Apr 2009 @ 12:16 PM

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