Germany’s Power Quality Now in Trouble?

Yes, Merkle has attempted to Warn German Citizens that they need slow down, and make measured adjustments to their power grid, but we’ve seen her branded as the Devil for doing so. Is it time for industry to flee Germany? I think so.. Is it the 1930s all over again? Some think so. Maybe go to France? Nope, I bet they’re already talking about shutting off their source of income too, as they voted for magic and fairy dust as well.

If you have any back ground in power quality, you know that all of industry is built around the fact that the commercial AC sine wave is reliable.. this has been fact in countries like UK, Germany, Canada and the USA, and machines and processes have been developed assuming this WILL remain the standard. This is not so in under developed countries, they operate on Diesel power at regular intervals WHEN the grid quality suffers, they’ve learned they have to do this to survive.

If you are on the far left.. you might say good! This is progress, we’ll learn how to manage on these unpredictable resources like wind and solar. 

If you are not so far left, if you were actually awake in eight grade science class, you will understand that these companies are spending their valuable reserves retrofitting their production facilities with diesel back up power, and planning to burn diesel in order to prevent damage and lost productivity that could threaten their very existence. BUT.. they also might need a crystal ball in order to anticipate a glitch and have that power on line to cover it.  And just how much carbon is saved when we move electrical power production to the factory? 

Yes, we do know that the Far left will be blogging at places like the Huffington post any minute now to explain that all we need is a little fairy dust, and a few trillion more of investment, (money we don’t have) and we’ll all be living with free energy forever more..    The far left (for the most part) has the ability to make all things complex simple in their minds. There are those who vote that think you can run an entire factory off a single solar panel, most all of them vote for a single party, and that party will likely make a deal with the devil to assure they keep voting with that party.

Here in America, there’s a new reason to fleece the public, and a new way to funnel money to friends of the party in power in order to stay in power… They will call it Co-Generation, the left will assume it’s a new idea, and magic, the Engineer will see it as a return to the 1880s when every factory operated with cogeneration power plants.

As with my Example of Amonix, we watched an obtuse public in Las Vegas look on at a company making Solar CPV, millions of dollars worth manufactured right under their noses…. and once it was all built, who among them asked.. “now that this stuff is all in the field, does it work, and how well?” Do they all suffer from Sun stroke?

Meanwhile, there’s workers at Hatch New Mexico attempting to sort out the mess, the owners of the plant would be crowing like a cock if it were good news, but all we hear is silence.. same goes for the other Amonix 7700 power plant at Alamosa..  if it works, it news,, if it doesn’t lay low. Is it possible that there’s enough money for labor hours and repairs so that Next Era can share the power production figures for at least one month? To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a good month yet. 

Did I hear that Harry Reid’s son is pushing for another big solar investment in Nevada? Why not.. Nevada is one of the easiest states in the union to snooker, it’s not that they can’t ask a good question, it’s that they don’t ask any questions at all, that’s the public I’m talking about. the PUC has been far wiser, but will they be demonized like Merkle?

It’s all what I think, and up to now, it’s still legal here to have your own thoughts.. but for how long? The far left’s so-called cure will likely kill us .. but don’t we know. A good famine will correct the problem as they see it 🙂 Maybe that’s the real plan? 

And that passage in a book about the meek inheriting the earth? maybe those folks so far out.. the nomads, those who grow their own food, those who don’t pay property taxes, or invest in currency that will turn to dust.. maybe they’ll be the ony ones that survive….

Well, there will be others, and no doubt Washington DC and 500 or more have a plan to take care of themselves and their families.. 

What’s your plan? One thing you have over the far left, is you actually know the difference between a BTU and an IOU.. they’ll need you to fix their stuff.. if they don’t starve you out before they discover that fact.



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15 Responses to Germany’s Power Quality Now in Trouble?

  1. Bill Knighton says:

    It’s hard to say what is the correct balance between decentralization and centralization in power production. The people you mention at the end of your post, after governement has reduced us to mad max living, those people and factories will have done well if they have adapted to sporadic power availability and quality. For a lot of questions I have two different answers. one is for the world that ought to be and one is for the one that is probable.

    • George B. says:

      Bill, do either of us doubt that government will screw up the CoGen effort? Don’t we know what part of it they want? Want it done right, let industry sort out what works for them..

      we are doing grave damage to ourselves, but hey.. starving out about half the world’s population might be the fix some are looking for. We know that the key is to be the ones who don’t starve 🙂 Sure there’s time to get a few laughs in now.. it’s like the 30s all over again .. Yes. and I do know you’re not laughing.. it’s the ones who assume bad times can’t touch them.

      • bob g says:

        the old saying “those that don’t know history are doomed to repeat it” has never seemed so true!

        it amazes me also how self centered and self absorbed some folks are these days, dare i say perhaps even “most” folks? they would have you believe that they are smarter than those of 1929, certainly smarter than those of 1893, let alone those ancients before that (with sarcastic emphasis)

        never do they consider that men and women from 5k years ago were genetically equal to us today, and likely even 50k years ago. this should lead one to conclude that those ancients were no more stupid than we are, on average. likely they were smarter in that they lived much closer to reality because they would quickly starve if hey didn’t do so and they had no government to pay for their every want.

        i digress, and darn i am getting really good at it.

        getting back to the cogeneration thing, it is a classic case of those that see this as a leading edge technology, having no understanding of history. they have no real idea just how mature the technology was a hundred years ago, and the fact that it was probably well understood on some level a thousand years prior to that.

        the problem i see with the technology has nothing to do with the technology, but rather with the ignorance of those that get all tingly up the leg about it. it opens the door for more government investment in huge projects that will in all likelihood be poorly conceived, even worse engineered, with all the requisite cost overruns, turn out to be dismal failures…. and here we go again! another technology that will be damaged by both the ignorant and the crooks.

        and guess who gets to pay for it?

        the best use of the technology in my opinion is point of use, residential! in other words it is best done by a well rounded group of diy’ers who in all likelihood will get it right, get it done for a faction of the cost and have a more efficient unit in the end.

        the successful cogen unit will not only be very efficient (better than 80% overall), do the job it was intended to do, do it reliably, but also do it for less than a buck a watt electrical invested.

        government is never going to get their in the residential market, even big business is going to have a hard time getting there, when currently residential sized systems cost anywhere from 15 to over 30 grand. (3 to 6 dollars per watt electrical)

        mr. obama recently signed an executive order dictating a renewed emphasis on cogen and has tasked the epa and doe to get ‘er done… so now we get to see another solindra? chevy volt? or?

        oh boy, where do we sign up!

        bob g

  2. Bill Knighton says:

    I think industry is doing a fine job of it right now. Look at catapillar. They makes gensets for industry that are 45% efficient . I hope one day that economy is scaled down to our size. I don’t need a megawatt diesel. I guess this is the scale the government is after so their dot com friends can put up something outside the office for publicity.

    • bob g says:

      i would like to see where cat gets their numbers!

      those huge ocean going ships, burning #6 oil, can achieve engine efficiencies of ~52%

      in order for the cat gensets to make that kind of efficiencies they would need to have an engine that is about 47% efficient
      which in my opinion might be possible, but bloody expensive and at some specific load range which is likely near full rated power. Anything under that and i would expect much lower efficiency numbers.

      and no the efficiency does not scale well.

      the best engine’s in sizes appropriate for our uses, rarely get over 35% and are very dear in price, coupling to a generator that is much over 85% is also going to be a tough prospect, netting us with an overall electrical efficiency of under 30%

      big difference between the cat genset and the best that we have to work with, the cat being 50% more efficient.

      the upside is we really don’t need the added efficiency, if we harvest and use the heat, it all works out in the end. we can attain efficiencies very close to what the big cat could do in a cogen application with a well designed unit appropriately sized for our uses without having to wait for a more efficient engine.

      bob g

  3. Bill Knighton says:

    Interesting. Just looking at their spark engine numbers the best sets are low to mid 40% in electrical efficiency.
    The 1.2 mw model CG170-12 natural gas spark ignition set is 43.7% electrically efficient. Scroll down to the natural gas chart, not the biogas chart. There is a diesel chart for their engines just like this spark ignition chart with numbers 1% better. I’ve linked it before on utterpower. I don’t see that chart on catpillars website. But it’s just 1 percent.

  4. Bill Knighton says:

    It’s also interesting that administrations get all excited by bloom boxes and start throwing around money when you can have a just as efficient natural gas gensets that produce electricity now.
    Catapillar is promoting these for chp too with a total efficiency of 87% on the model I linked. It’s hard to see the need for exotic future technologies at the scales government are subsidizing.

  5. Bill Knighton says:

    This is for a 2.8 MW diesel genset. It uses 7962 Kj/kwhr. = 45.2%. A page down they say the generator used is 96%.
    It would like to see a wide range of diesel genset sizes plotted for output vs efficiency and see how these scale. But comparing this to the giant man diesels used in shipping it seems the curve gets flat on the upper end fast. But aren’t the giant man diesels 2 stroke? Could engines that size have an even higher efficiency if they were 4 strokes? What I’m saying is that maybe there would be less doubt to catapillars 45% numbers if we were comparing 4 strokes.

    • bob g says:


      if you haven’t read this report, you might find it interesting
      it is a test of 3 typical classes of gensets that are appropriately sized for most residential use in my opinion.

      the efficiencies are typical of what we are likely to see in these classes of diesel engines, all of which likely are no better than 35% mechanical

      some of these gensets are very dearly priced as well.

      what is useful or rather what we can learn from this test is about what we can expect in genset efficiency, and what our realistic target goals ought to be.

      to date i have not seen a similar test with published results, thus far the victron test is the most frequently cited test report of its kind.

      i wish there were others, and if anyone knows of another such test having been done and reported on, i for one would really like to see it.

      bob g

  6. Bill Knighton says:

    It looks like I was wrong in that the crank arrangement it not exactly the same as used in an atkinson engine.

  7. George B. says:

    Regardless of the right or wrong, this will be the new direction for a while.. It does remind a lot of us of computing, to centralize or not. The answer in energy will likely be the same.. a mix of both.

    CoGen is a magic word.. politicians love it most! Imagine being able to claim all that waste heat as part of your overall efficiency!

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