The Valhalla solar/pumped hydro project

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fraggle092
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The Valhalla solar/pumped hydro project

Post by fraggle092 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:21 pm

A new renewable energy initiative for northern Chile is discussed here in detail. It would employ a solar farm to pump seawater 600 metres up to a 370 Ha. reservoir for release at night time. The result (if its ever built) would be a plant capable of delivering around 150MW continuously:
It has been claimed that all of Chile can be powered by covering only 0.5% of the Atacama Desert with PV panels, and maybe it can – in terms of gross generation. But roughly 80 Valhalla-sized pumped hydro plants would be needed to smooth out intermittency before solar energy could be used to fill all of Chile’s baseload demand, and at $385 million each the total cost would be on the order of $30 billion, over 10% of Chile’s annual GDP.
That assumes that sufficient geologically and environmentally suitable areas can be found. Given the amount of environmental "activism" seen lately, often with questionable motivation, somehow I doubt this will ever happen.
But an interesting project nevertheless.

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Re: The Valhalla solar/pumped hydro project

Post by HybridAmbassador » Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:16 pm

Whatever happened to the Spanish consortium building the Solar power generation in the Atacama desert? They installed the photovoltaic panels upside-down a la Puente de valdivia ?
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Re: The Valhalla solar/pumped hydro project

Post by admin » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:58 pm

I seen a similar "pump and dump" system in irland or scotland i believe. Acts like a big battery. They pump on peek cheap power days water from one lake at the bottom to a lake up the mountain, then dump it in to a hydro plant and generate electricity on the high demand days.

There are solar / renewable projects all over chile now. Kind of getting to the point i am a little nervious about the economic viabily of all the renewable projects either online or coming online over the next 10 years or so.
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Re: The Valhalla solar/pumped hydro project

Post by nwdiver » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:17 pm

The smart money has moved from power generation to power transmission, own the power lines and charge whatever you want to both the generators and end users..........it's called business, eh....
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Re: The Valhalla solar/pumped hydro project

Post by Britkid » Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:06 pm

It looks like a good idea, at least in theory. The move to renewables requires a bit larger total capacity to allow for non windy days and cloudy days and so on. So this kind of project offsets that nicely.

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Re: The Valhalla solar/pumped hydro project

Post by FrankPintor » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:16 am

admin wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:58 pm
I seen a similar "pump and dump" system in irland or scotland i believe. Acts like a big battery. They pump on peek cheap power days water from one lake at the bottom to a lake up the mountain, then dump it in to a hydro plant and generate electricity on the high demand days.

There are solar / renewable projects all over chile now. Kind of getting to the point i am a little nervious about the economic viabily of all the renewable projects either online or coming online over the next 10 years or so.
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Re: The Valhalla solar/pumped hydro project

Post by admin » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:06 am

yea, that one.

One question I have however, in a dessert environment especially, is the evaporation a factor. How much is lost, say over a 24 hour period from evaporation?

It would seem ideal, if you could do a hydro plant, where at the top of the mountain you also have a glacier fed lake. Then you only need to top off the reservoir as needed.

If you ever get the chance to fly in a small plane among the mountains of Chile, you will see hundreds of glacier fed lakes at relatively high altitude. Most you would either have to land in a seaplane or hike in to on foot; but, there are more than a few candidates for such systems out there. It would minimize the amount of environmental damage / disturbance of such systems, as you are just redirecting a bit of what is already there. Basically every pass-through hydro project in Chile, in some sense, does that already (minus the pumping water back up the mountain artificially).
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Re: The Valhalla solar/pumped hydro project

Post by Britkid » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:28 pm

I wouldn't have thought that there would be much evaporation loss at a guess, although there must be some.

There is a plant at Dinorwig in north wales doing a similar thing to the one mentioned above, and they use it to cope with high demand and especially sudden surges. I say Wales, but it's connected to the grid of England as well as Wales. Say England are playing Germany in the football world cup semi final, or there is a hyped Christmas episode of a popular soap - anything that will attract high viewing figures (say 15 million for the Eastenders Christmas episode or 25 million for the football) and then suddenly end. And then what happens is after it ends perhaps about 2-5 million kettles are turned on within about a 5-minute period. During those minutes they open the gates and all the water blasts its way down and creates a large amount of energy in a short time.

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