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Old 05-28-14, 09:24 AM   #31
ZachMatthews
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Generally speaking dam releases are tied to peak hydropower demand and thus happen when people turn on air conditioners and the like. They generate alternating current, which is not storable in batteries like direct current. Thus they need to be actively supplying power as they are running.

On top of that, hydropower is the only form of power which has zero effective fuel cost throughout most of the South. As a result it is the most profitable form of power when it is in use. It thus makes sense for the hydropower companies with contracts to operate the dams to wait for peak power demand, then generate their $0 fuel cost, 100% profit water. This typically happens in the middle of the day in summer rather than, say, at night (although evening power demand in the summer can also be high).

If there were an unlimited supply of water in the lakes and no regulations on hydropower companies, they'd just generate all the time. Thankfully there is only so much water and the lakes must be kept somewhat full for drinking reservoir purposes. Typically by summer, our dry season, the generators' ability to suck free profits out of the lake has literally about dried up. Lack of rain + heat = no generation.

All of this is equally true for Arkansas, which if anything has a less predictable and more dangerous generation process than Georgia/Tennessee (TVA v. Corps. of Engineers with contracts out to power companies like SWEPCO).

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Old 05-28-14, 09:55 AM   #32
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I wonder if Buford releases will increase to "make up" hydropower loss due to the recent fire in the Allatoona Powerhouse.

Last edited by natureman; 05-28-14 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 05-28-14, 10:46 AM   #33
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Thanks Zach for the explanation.....makes sense.

So I'm thinking there is only one way to resolve the dilemma of daytime generation.,,,,we fish at night. 😃
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Old 05-28-14, 11:22 AM   #34
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Recent releases have certainly been fishing friendly (at least @ Jones Bridge!). With the mid-afternoon releases the river is great from late morning through to late evening. I've been able to catch quite a few fish "looking up" on recent trips, so that's great.

The drive up to Settles was killing me when they were on the other schedule.
You hit Suwanee Dam Road and think you are nearly there...... then another 15 minutes in single file ...
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Old 06-02-14, 07:35 AM   #35
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who first fished for trout on the Chattahoochee thirty some years ago.

First, I discovered that you don't fish so far south for trout, except for a dam release of cold water from the bottom of Lake Lanier.

You can fish anytime you want, as long as you call the Lake Lanier water release and it fits your schedule. It was always their schedule. Not my schedule.

Got delayed, but hope to fish the river this month. Did my first task. Called the Lake Lanier water release. The training is ingrained.
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Old 06-02-14, 10:57 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitworth View Post
who first fished for trout on the Chattahoochee thirty some years ago.

First, I discovered that you don't fish so far south for trout, except for a dam release of cold water from the bottom of Lake Lanier.

You can fish anytime you want, as long as you call the Lake Lanier water release and it fits your schedule. It was always their schedule. Not my schedule.

Got delayed, but hope to fish the river this month. Did my first task. Called the Lake Lanier water release. The training is ingrained.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure the tailwater between Buford Dam and Peachtree Creek is closed to nighttime fishing. Not trying to be petty or anything, I just don't want anyone to get in trouble.
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Old 06-02-14, 09:53 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachMatthews View Post
Generally speaking dam releases are tied to peak hydropower demand and thus happen when people turn on air conditioners and the like.

On top of that, hydropower is the only form of power which has zero effective fuel cost throughout most of the South. As a result it is the most profitable form of power when it is in use. It thus makes sense for the hydropower companies with contracts to operate the dams to wait for peak power demand, then generate their $0 fuel cost, 100% profit water. This typically happens in the middle of the day in summer rather than, say, at night (although evening power demand in the summer can also be high).


Zach

Zach-

What is your source? Particularly wondering what is peak "Hydropower demand", who measures it and how? How does the timing of releases actually correlate to the theory that Buford and MF generation schedules are directly tied to hot summer days and air conditioners? Meaning, if I look at last year's releases from Buford and MF, are they generating between 2 and 6 pm with peak temperatures, or overnight?

I may be hung up on industry jargon but "peaking" plants seems to exclude all hydro power by definition. Our hydro plants in the South East small even by hydro standards (compared to Grand Coulee or some of the Chinese mega dams). I'm not sure they could generate enough KW to satisfy the anecdotal "hot summer day, lots of A/C" scenario that is often cited here.

FACTS FROM GPC--
http://www.georgiapower.com/about-us...figures.cshtml

Generation Sources in 2012
Coal 39%
Nuclear 27%
Oil and Gas 33%
Hydro 1%

PLANT CAPACITY IN KW
Bowen 3,160,000 Coal
Morgan Falls 16,800 Hydro


I have doubts that Hydro is the cheapest or most profitable source of generation. Here's some DOE estimates.

Estimated Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources, 2019[12] U.S. Average Levelized Cost for Plants Entering Service in 2019
(2012 USD/MWh)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of...ergy_estimates

Natural Gas Combined Cycle - $64/MW
Hyrdoelectric - $85/MW
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Last edited by mbible; 06-03-14 at 12:01 AM.
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Old 06-02-14, 10:40 PM   #38
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Interesting points, mbible. I'm gonna trust your info for the time being because I'm too tired to go look anything up for myself this evening. (Figured I'd be lazy about it.)

It was brought to my attention some time back that hydro-generation of electricity isn't a form of supply that can quickly be brought online. I figure that either the COE is generating or releasing for other reasons, or it may be that they are looking ahead to the following day's forecast on a daily basis to try to ensure that the turbines at Buford Dam are brought online and operational in order to be able to provide a supplement or boost if required. Having cooler weather the past few days could explain why the releases have been of particularly short duration.

Good points regarding the cost efficiency of hydro- versus coal. Fossil fuels are demonized more than they ought to be. Coal plants can be, and are being run cleanly utilizing scrubbers. Natural gas combusts to produce water and carbon dioxide. Nuclear power provides the most bang for the buck, but the waste material from spent rods requires special handling and special storage. Hydro-power is reliable and perpetually abundant, but costs a bit more and certainly impacts the environment in which it is produced (else there would be no trout fishing in the 'Hooch below Buford Dam like there is today).
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Old 06-02-14, 10:55 PM   #39
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Morgan Falls is irrelevant. They just release based on the ACOE schedule. The power is negligible to their operation. BD production is 10X larger. Still not close to coal or nuclear but more significant. I don't think Zach is considering the mitigation both Ga Power and the Feds are obligated to conduct in the disturbed ecosystems which can easily exceed the cost of clean air fines and nuclear waste disposal costs.

http://www1.gadnr.org/greenspace/c_p...Ch3Pied002.pdf
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Old 06-02-14, 11:26 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccorneli View Post
Morgan Falls is irrelevant. They just release based on the ACOE schedule. The power is negligible to their operation. BD production is 10X larger. Still not close to coal or nuclear but more significant. I don't think Zach is considering the mitigation both Ga Power and the Feds are obligated to conduct in the disturbed ecosystems which can easily exceed the cost of clean air fines and nuclear waste disposal costs.

http://www1.gadnr.org/greenspace/c_p...Ch3Pied002.pdf
Yeah- many different ways to measure "cost" of power- fossil is more expensive if you add in externalities.

But I am genuinely curious about the oft-cited notion that the dams generate during peak hours- I'm just not certain either way if that is true, but the numbers never backed the anecdote in my CPA's mind. This is an interesting forward looking article that explains a bit about today's peaking plants and makes some interesting points about the potential of alternative sourced peaking plants for the future:
http://www.cleanenergy.org/wp-conten...ort-8.7.13.pdf

Agree about MF vs BD. I'd go step further and say the all the hydro in the state of GA combined is irrelevant to peak load - meaning, it's not something we can "fire up" on a hot day and make any difference. At a peak of over 16,000MW per hour, those resources are just not big enough.

To clarify on the cost table I linked to - environmental remediation and tax credits were NOT included in those costs. Those were the costs to operate the plants- which do go beyond just fuel:

Levelized cost ... represents the per-kilowatthour cost (in real dollars) of building and operating a generating plant over an assumed financial life and duty cycle. Key inputs to calculating levelized costs include overnight capital costs, fuel costs, fixed and variable operations and maintenance (O&M) costs, financing costs, and an assumed utilization rate for each plant type/. ... The availability of various incentives, including state or federal tax credits, can also impact the calculation of levelized cost. The values shown in the tables in this discussion do not incorporate any such incentives."
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Last edited by mbible; 06-03-14 at 12:00 AM.
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