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All across the Great Western territory => Across the West => Topic started by: SandTEngineer on December 13, 2019, 04:02:32 pm



Title: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: SandTEngineer on December 13, 2019, 04:02:32 pm
Aberthaw, the last coal fired power station in Wales, ceased production at 1530 today (Friday 13/12/2019) with the likely loss of 170 jobs over the next few months.

End of another era........


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: broadgage on December 13, 2019, 05:46:43 pm
Poor timing IMHO, I can see the need to reduce carbon emissions by reducing and then eliminating coal burning.
But it might have made more sense to keep the power station operational until the end of this winter for "just in case".

By NEXT winter we should have more renewable capacity, and it is uneconomic to keep aging coal burning plant on standby for years, but a few weeks might have been prudent.

Especially as both reactors at Hunterston B wont be available for this winter.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: stuving on December 13, 2019, 07:25:42 pm
Especially as both reactors at Hunterston B wont be available for this winter.

Not to mention the risk of a large drop in French production. So far workers in the electricity and gas industries have been kept out of the brouhaha about pensions, though in the long term the plan is for them to lose their special pension schemes just like the railway workers. Apparently (and I've not found a source of data to check these figures) there is a loss of about 1.5 GW most days, but France is, surprisingly, not consistently a nett exporter these days in any case.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: broadgage on December 14, 2019, 09:59:17 am
Agree.
BTW, French electricity production data may be found here;
https://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/france/ (https://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/france/)


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: stuving on December 14, 2019, 10:56:53 am
Agree.
BTW, French electricity production data may be found here;
https://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/france/ (https://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/france/)

I've worked out why the data I had found from Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTE) were inconsistent (with themselves and that Gridwatch panel) - I was in the bit of the Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTE) site for energy traders. That deals in energy flow predictions (updated until they become actual and then they disappear), and without links to their real-time data.

There is a link on Gridwatch to RTE's pretty presentation graph (https://www.rte-france.com/en/eco2mix/eco2mix-mix-energetique-en)s, which show that when wind power is "on" RTE exports all day: from zero at their peak demand up to 6 GW. There is also about 6 GW of pumped storage, but with peak-trough of 15-20 GW more is needed.

So there are huge swings, notably when French generation is low for whatever reason. For some that's known (calm, shut-downs, strikes...) but Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTE) also talk about "the normal operation of the energy market"; I presume that means importing (mostly German windpower) when it's cheaper than what EDF can turn off.


Edit: VickiS - Clarifying Acronym


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: SandTEngineer on December 14, 2019, 12:04:33 pm
According to info elsewhere that now leaves the following UK coal fired power stations:

Drax (what hasn't been converted to biomass)
Fiddler's Ferry
Kilroot
Ratcliffe-on-Soar
West Burton

Fiddler's Ferry next to go in 3 months time.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: didcotdean on December 14, 2019, 12:11:33 pm
At this moment, despite UK wind being not far off the peak (~12GW/33%) and ~2.25 GW/6.25% from solar, imports are maxed out on 4 out of the 5 interconnectors (~5.5GW/13%). Still it is giving the gas plant a bit of a rest as it is at only around 50% of capacity.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: broadgage on December 14, 2019, 01:12:29 pm
I know someone whom works at a power station that receives extra payments from National Grid for being capable of a "black start"
Most power stations require an external source of electricity to run auxiliary plant before electricity can be produced. This is normally obtained from the transmission system.

A minority of power stations have black start capability whereby they can be started up without any external power.
The basic requirements are the ability to start at least one main generating unit/module within a specified time, and to do this at least three times, in case the grid fails before the plant is running, and once running to accept large step changes in load.
This is usually achieved by diesel engines that start from air bottles or batteries, in order to run essential equipment.

The most recent test of the black start capability was a failure.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: stuving on October 16, 2020, 12:12:35 am
At this moment, despite UK wind being not far off the peak (~12GW/33%) and ~2.25 GW/6.25% from solar, imports are maxed out on 4 out of the 5 interconnectors (~5.5GW/13%). Still it is giving the gas plant a bit of a rest as it is at only around 50% of capacity.

Apparently, the latest cross-channel interconnector "launched" today - i.e. it has just started its commissioning. This is IFA-2 (http://ifa2interconnector.com/latest-news/national-grid-s-new-undersea-power-cable-between-britain-and-france-energises-race-to-net-zero/); the oldest link is IFA (for Interconnexion France-Angleterre), and both were built by the two electricity network operators jointly (NG and RTE). This end of it is partly at Solent Airport (was Lee-on-the-Solent, or Daedelaus to its friends) and partly just along the coast at Chilling near Warsash.

It adds another 1 GW to the existing 2 GW of IFA, and 1 GW each for Nedlink (Netherlands) and NEMO (Belgium). But more capacity linking to France is being built, in the form of Eleclink (1 GW via the tunnel), and in planning are FAB Link (1.4 GW via Alderney to Exeter) and AQUIND (2 GW into Portsmouth). AQUIND is currently with the planning inspectors, and was recently in the news for wanting to dig a trench through part of the city for its cables - which, oddly, wasn't popular.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: broadgage on October 16, 2020, 05:54:38 am
Such interconnectors give most useful flexibility in case of breakdowns or other out of course events.
They also increase the opportunity to use renewable energy, it is always windy somewhere in Europe.
 Adding Norwegian hydroelectric power to the European energy market is particularly helpful. Norway can export hydropower to us during calm weather, and we can export UK wind power to Norway in windy conditions, thereby reducing the demand for hydropower and leaving more water in dams for future use.

My only reservation is that more interconnectors might become an excuse for not ensuring adequate UK generating capacity. We should in my view aim to export electricity on at least a similar scale to that which we import.
Interconnectors can break, and other nations might suffer shortages that limit exports to the UK.

Electricity demand in the UK has fallen in recent years due to energy saving regulations (most of which were bitterly opposed).

I expect demand to increase in the future for several reasons.
1) A growing population.
2) Increased use of electric transport.
3) A move towards electric heating, particularly in privately rented homes.
4) Mains operated smoke detectors in most new properties, only 1 watt each, but a not quite negligible extra demand of  perhaps 50 million watts in total (10 million homes, 5 smoke detectors in each, 50 million 1 watt loads) 50 Mw is about an extra 0.1% on the peak demand.
5) Future requirements to fit emergency lighting to homes, initially only for vulnerable groups, (1 million homes, 20 watts in each of these homes, another 20 Mw.
6) A warming climate increasing the demand for air conditioning, and also increasing the energy used by existing refrigeration equipment.

And whilst energy saving is commendable, it wont carry on reducing demand indefinitely. Much of the "low hanging fruit" has already been plucked.
Take lighting as an example. Replacing a 60 watt incandescent lamp with a 12 watt CFL saves 48 watts. Replacing the 12 watt CFL with a 6 watt LED saves a useful but rather less impressive 6 watts. Replacing the 6 watt LED with a 3 watt LED (not yet available in the UK) Saves a paltry 3 watts, better than not saving 3 watts but hardly dramatic.
And NO lamp with a light equal to a 60 watt incandescent can EVER use less than about 2 watts, and I suspect that 3 watts might be as good as it will get.



Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: Electric train on October 16, 2020, 09:01:20 pm
Such interconnectors give most useful flexibility in case of breakdowns or other out of course events.
They also increase the opportunity to use renewable energy, it is always windy somewhere in Europe.

The downside to the both the interconnectors and renewables (wind and solar) is the lack of inertia they provide to the Grid. The inertia in the system used to be the spinning mass of the large alternators and turbines, the interconnectors as DC with inverters, the wind turbines use static frequency converters and solar is also DC with inverters

The lack of inertia manifest itself in a number of ways, one is under fault conditions, like the August 2019 event, the 400kV system voltage looses stability for longer before it recovers; the major impact though caused by the lack of inertia is poor power factor, this causes me issues in my day job when we need to parallel two grid supply points and some harmonic issues.

I'm not knocking the interconnectors or renewables, its just our National Grid and all the local Distribution Networks was engineered for large bulk rotating machine generation


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: onthecushions on October 17, 2020, 11:02:24 am

Perhaps renewable sources need the same as UPS systems used to have; large motor/alternator sets running continuously.

There's a small energy (and cost) penalty but that's just part of the joy of sustainability.
It might even make re-newables more useful/marketable as a consistent energy supply.

OTC


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: ellendune on October 17, 2020, 12:38:48 pm

Perhaps renewable sources need the same as UPS systems used to have; large motor/alternator sets running continuously.

There's a small energy (and cost) penalty but that's just part of the joy of sustainability.
It might even make re-newables more useful/marketable as a consistent energy supply.

OTC


Other solutions are being found including flywheels in Scotland (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jul/06/giant-flywheel-project-in-scotland-could-prevent-uk-blackouts-energy)


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: broadgage on October 17, 2020, 02:05:30 pm

The downside to the both the interconnectors and renewables (wind and solar) is the lack of inertia they provide to the Grid. The inertia in the system used to be the spinning mass of the large alternators and turbines, the interconnectors as DC with inverters, the wind turbines use static frequency converters and solar is also DC with inverters

The lack of inertia manifest itself in a number of ways, one is under fault conditions, like the August 2019 event, the 400kV system voltage looses stability for longer before it recovers; the major impact though caused by the lack of inertia is poor power factor, this causes me issues in my day job when we need to parallel two grid supply points and some harmonic issues.

I'm not knocking the interconnectors or renewables, its just our National Grid and all the local Distribution Networks was engineered for large bulk rotating machine generation

Yes, could not have put it better myself.
But in fact the position is worse than suggested above, generation connected via static inverters, and imports also connected via static inverters do suffer from lack of inertia as described above.

Also, an increasing percentage of the electrical load these days consists of switched mode power supplies*. These often work correctly down to 85 or 90 volts.
Suppose that some transient fault or failure briefly reduces the nominal 230 volt supply to 115 volts. Back in the old days, most loads would use less current at this temporarily reduced voltage, this helped the system to recover from the fault.
These days, the load current will roughly double at the reduced voltage, this increased current will tend to further reduce the voltage, and in extreme cases might lead to a total failure.
During the 1970s power shortages, as well as rota power cuts, voltage reductions were imposed to reduce the load. This works less well today as all those switched mode* power supplies will draw constant watts at the reduced voltage.

*electronic lighting ballasts, electric vehicle chargers, most consumer electronics, variable speed motor drives, and modern electric trains/trams, are all examples of switched mode power supplies.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: broadgage on October 17, 2020, 02:33:49 pm

Perhaps renewable sources need the same as UPS systems used to have; large motor/alternator sets running continuously.

There's a small energy (and cost) penalty but that's just part of the joy of sustainability.
It might even make re-newables more useful/marketable as a consistent energy supply.

OTC


Other solutions are being found including flywheels in Scotland (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jul/06/giant-flywheel-project-in-scotland-could-prevent-uk-blackouts-energy)

Flywheels cant store enough energy to compensate for calm weather and limited power availability.
They are however very helpful by adding inertia and thereby promoting stability, I expect more schemes similar to the one in the above link.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: mjones on October 17, 2020, 02:43:30 pm
Some of the more unusual  methods  being proposed to store surplus renewable  energy should help in that respect,  for example as liquified air that would drive a turbine and heavy weights pulled up and down mine shafts  by motor/generators.  However other methods like hydrogen electrolysis and large  flow batteries will have the problem you describe.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: stuving on October 17, 2020, 04:01:51 pm

Perhaps renewable sources need the same as UPS systems used to have; large motor/alternator sets running continuously.

There's a small energy (and cost) penalty but that's just part of the joy of sustainability.
It might even make re-newables more useful/marketable as a consistent energy supply.

OTC


Other solutions are being found including flywheels in Scotland (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jul/06/giant-flywheel-project-in-scotland-could-prevent-uk-blackouts-energy)

Flywheels cant store enough energy to compensate for calm weather and limited power availability.
They are however very helpful by adding inertia and thereby promoting stability, I expect more schemes similar to the one in the above link.

You don't need to - this contract was one of five signed by NG-ESO in January. They are paying for a service (presently called synchronous compensation), ?328M over six years. It is up to the contractors to find the capital cost. Together they provide 12.5 GWs of inertia - the grid had 300 not long ago, now has 100-200 depending on the connected plant mix (which is seasonal) and will soon be below 100 some of the time. So this is only a part of the solution.

In addition to that Statkraft one, there is another new one in Wales and three using existing things as flywheels. On is a turbine at Cruachan, operated by Drax. Uniper are using two old power station turbines at Killingholme, and building two new SCs at Grain. Triton are providing this service at Indian Queens (near St Dennis)  - of which they say this:
Quote
Indian Queens Power Station is an OCGT (Open Cycle Gas Turbine) power station located in Cornwall. The station has an output capacity of 140 MW providing voltage support to the UK electricity market as part of an ancillary services contract with National Grid.

The turbine drives an air cooled generator through an SSS (Synchro Self Shifting) clutch which allows the plant to operate as a synchronous compensator when required. The power plant operates at peak times when power demand is high.   

Synchronous compensators (a big flywheeel and a synchronous motor) are not at all new, but big ones have become rare. Most of the work has gone into "static" systems, based on BESS*. The trick is similar to regeneration in a train - make the DC/AC converter work in both directions, and add software. I found a research project (SP's Phoenix) description from 2017 in which a plan to repurpose a closed power station was rejected as "of extremely high risk", in favour of building a new one. That is now an experimental hybrid (70M flywheel + 70 MW static), to look at the different effects of the two and how to link them.

Virtual inertia was included in the "Enhanced Frequency Control Capability" project for NG-ESO, which is reporting this year. But it's a slippery term - real inertia feeds power in or out immediately and proportionally as the phase angle (or RoCoF - rate of change of frequency) departs from its stable point. That reduces the RoCoF, but the methods EFCC ended up with don't - they intervene after a second or so (and non-linearly) to yank the system frequency back into line. I suspect that for those with power systems attached to the grid that can be an important difference.

*BESS - battery energy storage systems, or what were called batteries


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: stuving on November 05, 2020, 07:10:38 pm
On Tuesday night National Grid issued an "electricity margin notice" (https://www.current-news.co.uk/news/national-grid-eso-assures-security-of-supply-as-margin-shortfall-reaches-477mw) for yesterday evening - an urgent request for extra generation to be made ready, if need be using (big) firelighters. That's down to the lack of wind, as we are currently under an anticyclone. And, as is quite common, this stretches across France and Germany, so we can't import much. In the event, the supply situation improved and the EMN was withdrawn during yesterday.

But it might be back, as this thing is forecast to hang about all week - again they often do - so if anyone says "bring on the batteries" they'll need to get some very big ones indeed. For this case the planning shortfall was 750 MW so that might not be unfeasible; say 50 GWhr. But I think the reduced use of offices has reducing demand, just temporarily. Once we start reducing thermal power further this large-area shortage of wind would call for much bigger reserves.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: stuving on November 05, 2020, 10:19:01 pm
It now appears that another EMN was issued for today (https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/electric-power/110520-uks-national-grid-issues-fresh-electricity-margin-notice-warning-for-nov-5), though for a smaller shortfall (466 MW). In part this is down of loss of several  thermal stations:
Quote
Tight generation margins in the UK reflected a drop in temperatures, low forecast wind generation and a relative lack of flexible supply, Glenn Rickson of S&P Global Platts Analytics said Nov. 4.

Outages at Langage and Drax 4 compounded the long-term unavailability of three gas-fired power stations owned by Calon Energy, after the company was put into administration in August.

Currently there is some wind in western Britain and southern France, but that's likely to edge away and by Sunday there's a serious shortage of isobars anywhere in Germany.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: onthecushions on November 05, 2020, 11:14:05 pm
So the stability of the grid depends on generating companies of marginal solvency and is further put at risk by premature decarbonisation.

OTC


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: stuving on November 05, 2020, 11:31:07 pm
So the stability of the grid depends on generating companies of marginal solvency and is further put at risk by premature decarbonisation.

OTC

Ah, but there was a plan to cope with that, wasn't there? A new generation of nuclear plants, starting with Hinkley Point C. Of course by the time that got approved it wouldn't be on stream until 2023, and by the time building started it had slipped to ... well, I'm not going to guess a real date.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: TonyK on November 05, 2020, 11:34:00 pm
So the stability of the grid depends on generating companies of marginal solvency and is further put at risk by premature decarbonisation.

OTC

That looks about the long and short of it, OTC. Power generation used to be a publicly owned utility with an unenviable record of inefficiency and pollution. Then it moved to private generators who produced electricity and made a profit. Now the companies make a profit with electricity as a by-product. This isn't confined to the big six or the dirty industries - the poster boy for wind power lives in a castle and owns a football team. Each looks after their own bit, leaving National Grid to try to make it all work, sometimes using nearly everything in the country that will create a volt or two, and hoping it doesn't get too much colder.

Meanwhile, the government is considering bringing forward the date when fossil fuelled cars can't be built, and stopping the installation of gas boilers in new-build homes. What could possibly go wrong?

I see we're burning coal again, for 2.5% of our leccy as I write.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: broadgage on November 06, 2020, 04:04:22 am
Our significant wind and solar generating capacity have reduced the amount of coal and natural gas used for power generation, thereby reducing carbon emmisions and reducing the need for natural gas imports.
This later point is important becuase the UK is now very reliant on natural gas imports, AND we now have less gas storage capacity than a few years ago.
Any event that significantly reduced gas imports for more than a week or two would have most serious consequences.

However as recent events have shown, we dont have adequate plans for cold but calm weather.
Battery storage helps, but is not yet sufficient.
Pumped storage helps but is not sufficient and oportunities for expansion are limited.
Natural gas burning is the main alternative at present. Burning natural gas intermittantly in calm weather is better than for base load generation. (reduced carbon emmisions, reduced foreign exchange used, our limited storage will last longer)
The existing nuclear power station at Hinkly point is unlikely to be available for this winter.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: broadgage on November 06, 2020, 04:16:05 am
At present, wind power is meeting about 4% of our electricity demand, better than not having that 4% but a small contribution.
CCGT (combined cycle gas turbine) plant is meeting about 40% of demand.
Yesterday, some power was from OCGT (open cycle gas turbine) an expensive way of generating electricity. The main merits of OCGT plant are low capital cost, quick to build, and quick starting.
Some OCGT plant starts automatically in case of a sudden drop in grid frequency. Some can burn light distilate oil in an emergency, but natural gas is the usuall fuel.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: TonyK on November 06, 2020, 10:34:59 am
Wind was providing over 40% of our electricity, or 10% of our energy needs depending on how you look at it, some days last week. Now, it's under 4% of electricity. The output line on the graph for nuclear is flat, at about a quarter of our electricity at the moment, the proportion being dependant on need. Solar is wonderful in summer, cutting my own bill to pennies per day, but doesn't work too well when the daylight period is under 8 hours long and frequently dull, with demand at its peak.

Are batteries the answer, as some proclaim loudly? All the batteries in the known universe wouldn't power this country for a day, but they could possibly help manage the load. As any builder will tell you, it's usually the battery that dies before the power tool, so they may not be the end of the matter. In any case, a lot of batteries are going to be needed for the millions of new electric vehicles. Also, if you are looking to batteries to store excess renewable power, there isn't any.

The problem is the same as it has always been - politics. The last example I can remember of a government riding completely roughshod over public opinion with unseemly haste was the construction of the South Wales gas pipeline in 2007. In the Cotswolds, the digging started while the protest meetings were still being organised, and the grass had grown again before the point where we would normally have started the first public inquiry. Generally, though, a major issue that will involve something unpopular is normally booted down the road for someone else to sort out. I think we are at the end of that now, with closure of coal power stations being popular, we just don't have a proper replacement in place as yet. Fusion will be with us in 10 years, as it has been since I was a kid. Hinkley C will be on stream just in time for some other nuclear plants to close, and the protest industry has moved on to HS2 for the time being. I am hoping that the so-called biomass plants will be the next target. Rotting down food waste, sewage and farmyard slurry for fuel is fine by me, solving two problems in one. Importing millions of tonnes of wood pellets from forests in the Americas and growing vast acres of maize just to generate subsidies energy is not.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: ellendune on November 06, 2020, 10:45:15 am
I think we are at the end of that now, with closure of coal power stations being popular, we just don't have a proper replacement in place as yet. Fusion will be with us in 10 years, as it has been since I was a kid. Hinkley C will be on stream just in time for some other nuclear plants to close, and the protest industry has moved on to HS2 for the time being.

I was always told 40 years so if it is 10 that is progress. 

Rotting down food waste, sewage and farmyard slurry for fuel is fine by me, solving two problems in one. Importing millions of tonnes of wood pellets from forests in the Americas and growing vast acres of maize just to generate subsidies energy is not.

Agreed


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: Red Squirrel on November 06, 2020, 11:25:03 am
So the stability of the grid depends on generating companies of marginal solvency and is further put at risk by premature decarbonisation.

OTC

Decarbonisation can't really be described as 'premature', can it? The transition should have been better-planned, and it should have started earlier, but it is overdue rather than premature. If only some of the eye-watering subsidies given to fossil energy companies had been directed into grid storage ten years ago we would be in a much better place today.

...the poster boy for wind power lives in a castle and owns a football team.

Boy done good! We don't have a problem with that, do we?

Are batteries the answer, as some proclaim loudly? All the batteries in the known universe wouldn't power this country for a day, but they could possibly help manage the load. As any builder will tell you, it's usually the battery that dies before the power tool, so they may not be the end of the matter. In any case, a lot of batteries are going to be needed for the millions of new electric vehicles.

It does seem a bit eccentric to use lithium-ion batteries for this. These are good for highly energy-dense lightweight installations, such as light vehicles or phones. Using them for grid storage is like harnessing a racehorse to a brewer's dray. Heavier less energy-dense solutions ought to do the job and, land cost aside, should be cheaper and more reliable.

Also, if you are looking to batteries to store excess renewable power, there isn't any.

Apart from massive amounts overnight on windy nights?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: broadgage on November 06, 2020, 04:41:55 pm
There is not AT PRESENT any regular surplus of renewably generated electricity even in windy weather. Inspection of the gridwatch site will show that overnight and in windy weather, that natural gas is still being burnt for electricity generation.
However with increasing numbers of wind turbines, the day will come when there WILL BE a surplus at night in windy weather.
With more solar power being installed, a daytime surplus in mild weather and bright sun is a future possibility at weekends when demand is less.

It is therefore well to plan for FUTURE surpluses and how to either use the surplus in some productive way, or to store it.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: Red Squirrel on November 06, 2020, 05:37:17 pm
Beg pardon to broadgage and TonyK; you are of course quite right. There may be regular wind surpluses one day, but not yet awhile. Unless they are emitted by me.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: onthecushions on November 06, 2020, 05:55:44 pm
So the stability of the grid depends on generating companies of marginal solvency and is further put at risk by premature decarbonisation.

OTC

Decarbonisation can't really be described as 'premature', can it? The transition should have been better-planned, and it should have started earlier, but it is overdue rather than premature. If only some of the eye-watering subsidies given to fossil energy companies had been directed into grid storage ten years ago we would be in a much better place today.



It is premature without adequate, timely replacement. No one, Greens included, is prepared to sit in unheated darkness at this time of the year. The Carbon cycle is the basis of life and combustion is the basis of advanced human societies until better energy sources are acquired.

Your point about subsidies is well made; the post war "subsidy" to the coal and rail industries by opting for large generating stations, like Drax, away from settlements, fed by MGR coal trains, meant that smaller ex-municipal power stations (like Earley at Reading, etc) that could have supplied their rejected, waste heat for district heating and cooling, doubling their thermal efficiency and reducing gas demand, were closed. Equally, little has been done (IMHO) to address heating demand seriously until recently. I've seen a German house with 300mm/12" of insulation that had no need of extra space heating even in a continental winter of -20C. It was also not flammable!

OTC


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: TonyK on November 06, 2020, 07:40:51 pm

Decarbonisation can't really be described as 'premature', can it? The transition should have been better-planned, and it should have started earlier, but it is overdue rather than premature. If only some of the eye-watering subsidies given to fossil energy companies had been directed into grid storage ten years ago we would be in a much better place today.

...the poster boy for wind power lives in a castle and owns a football team.

Boy done good! We don't have a problem with that, do we?

I don't, I just wish I had thought of it myself. The people complaining about the fat profits made from energy production seem a little more selective.

Are batteries the answer, as some proclaim loudly? All the batteries in the known universe wouldn't power this country for a day, but they could possibly help manage the load. As any builder will tell you, it's usually the battery that dies before the power tool, so they may not be the end of the matter. In any case, a lot of batteries are going to be needed for the millions of new electric vehicles.

It does seem a bit eccentric to use lithium-ion batteries for this. These are good for highly energy-dense lightweight installations, such as light vehicles or phones. Using them for grid storage is like harnessing a racehorse to a brewer's dray. Heavier less energy-dense solutions ought to do the job and, land cost aside, should be cheaper and more reliable.

Also, if you are looking to batteries to store excess renewable power, there isn't any.

Quote
Apart from massive amounts overnight on windy nights?

Going through the graphs on the excellent  Gridwatch website (https://gridwatch.co.uk/) that you referred me to so time ago, I struggle to find evidence to support that. Don't get me wrong - I am certainly not against reducing our fossil fuel use to a nice round zero, just a little more wary of the means of achieving that than some. There is no strategic thinking around this, or if there is, either I haven't spotted it yet, or it is wrong. The approach is always to identify a quick fix and throw money at it, which inevitably drives perverse behaviours. The priorities are a bit wrong too - I remember John Prescott telling us, last century, that he was going to ban standby lights on TVs and even the latest VHS video recorders, which would save enough power to enable us to close a dozen power stations. Fast forward a couple of decades, and you can still buy 60W light bulbs in some shops and online. I practise what you preach here, as the only thing that is incandescent at home is my wife. New lamps for old would be a cheap fix,and take us another small step towards nirvana.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: Bmblbzzz on November 06, 2020, 07:52:15 pm
So the stability of the grid depends on generating companies of marginal solvency and is further put at risk by premature decarbonisation.

OTC

That looks about the long and short of it, OTC. Power generation used to be a publicly owned utility with an unenviable record of inefficiency and pollution. Then it moved to private generators who produced electricity and made a profit. Now the companies make a profit with electricity as a by-product. This isn't confined to the big six or the dirty industries - the poster boy for wind power lives in a castle and owns a football team. Each looks after their own bit, leaving National Grid to try to make it all work, sometimes using nearly everything in the country that will create a volt or two, and hoping it doesn't get too much colder.

Meanwhile, the government is considering bringing forward the date when fossil fuelled cars can't be built, and stopping the installation of gas boilers in new-build homes. What could possibly go wrong?

I see we're burning coal again, for 2.5% of our leccy as I write.
I don't think bringing this forward from 2040 to 2035 will make any difference. Both are far enough off that simple economics will have made most new cars electric by then anyway, especially if some other countries (France for instance) are planning on 2030. So the demand for electricity to charge vehicles is going to be much the same with or without legislation. Either way, and regardless of how much generating capacity we then have, we'll need to get busy installing charging infrastructure.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: TonyK on November 06, 2020, 08:12:37 pm
Beg pardon to broadgage and TonyK; you are of course quite right. There may be regular wind surpluses one day, but not yet awhile. Unless they are emitted by me.

I beg your pardon too - I wrote my post above without reading this first. On a night where only one man in the USA thinks that Donald Trump won the election, it is a small matter, but indicative of the general feeling. If a learned squirrel such as yourself can be bewitched, then what of the wider populace?

Like the cigarette companies before them, the oil barons had billions to spend on advertising. It is still around in sponsorship if it isn't in London, but you don't see those TV ads urging you to "Put a tiger in your tank" or telling you that "You can be sure of Shell". It is irrelevant now that most fuel sales are by supermarkets. Renewable energy has a powerful lobby based on a movement that isn't against demanding something impossible or exaggerating the benefits. Energy companies can sell "100% renewables" tariffs in the warped maze that is the retail energy market by buying Renewables Obligation Certificates from anywhere in the EU. The company make make no electricity at all, or derive it from rendering down endangered species, but can call it 100% by buying the certificates on the open market. For an average home, the yearly cost is about ?1.00 per year plus the price of printing a picture of a wind turbine on the bill. If nobody signed up, no wind turbine or solar panel would be harmed, but I don't mind others going for it, because I would probably have to pay more if everybody got the cheapest deal in town. What comes out of the socket is produced by exactly the same mix of nuclear, virgin forest, crops grown for energy not food, gas, wind and sunshine, unless you live off-grid somewhere.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: ellendune on November 06, 2020, 09:27:18 pm
It is premature without adequate, timely replacement. No one, Greens included, is prepared to sit in unheated darkness at this time of the year. The Carbon cycle is the basis of life and combustion is the basis of advanced human societies until better energy sources are acquired.

No it is the replacement that is late not the phasing out fossil fuels being premature.  It is the fossil fuels that is doing huge damage to our world. 


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: grahame on November 07, 2020, 08:21:47 am
I find myself thinking of energy storage systems ... not really new; I recall taking a tour of the pumped storage system at Loch Awe as it came on stream many years ago. The more thought, the more parameters get involved

How much can it store?
How long can it store it for?
What is the effect on the countryside?
How efficient is it?
How quickly can it be turned on / off / around?
What does it cost to build?
How much maintenace does it need?
How long will it last?
Does it need to be staffed to make it work?
How much profit is in it for the builders and operators?
How reliable is it?
How acceptable is it to Joe Public?
What are the risks?
Will it become an problem at end-of-life?

No doubt there is a table somewhere that makes all these comparisons and puts them alongside need.

When I think about it, I am minded to think of power generation as being - in macro terms - purely the output stage of this complete cycle.  Fossil fuel was a natural investment into storage many ages ago (or slightly more recently perhaps with things like peak).  Wind and wave power is universe-al investment ...


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: mjones on November 07, 2020, 01:01:05 pm
Talking of energy storage, the BBC has this article about using liquified air. Airbus liquified when there is surplus wind power, then used to drive a turbine when  demand peaks.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54841528

It claims an efficiency of 60 to 70%, which is better than using electrolysis to produce hydrogen and then a fuel cell to get electricity back.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: stuving on November 07, 2020, 02:07:49 pm
Talking of energy storage, the BBC has this article about using liquified air. Airbus liquified when there is surplus wind power, then used to drive a turbine when  demand peaks.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54841528

It claims an efficiency of 60 to 70%, which is better than using electrolysis to produce hydrogen and then a fuel cell to get electricity back.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? But there are complications, due to the large heat flows in and out while operating. If you don't have a customer for hot and cold at just the temperatures and times your system does, and one that sees that as valuable, this is just a waste by-product. For stand-alone use, you may need to store heat at two temperatures as well as liquid air, which all adds to the running (or rather not runni9ng, just keeping) costs.

Efficiency, however, doesn't matter for the specific use of backing up wind power. If your need is for a source of X GW for ten days once a year on average, your concern will be the cost per GW of building it and keeping it charged and ready. Refilling it with energy will cost peanuts by comparison, it happens so rarely. So you'd probably ditch anything that just adds efficiency and cost, and put up with around 40% if you're lucky.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: broadgage on November 07, 2020, 02:15:26 pm
The liquid air energy storage system shows considerable promise and may yet be adopted on a large scale.
A considerable amount of low grade heat is produced during liquefaction, and unless some paying demand exists for this heat it represents a loss.
Thermal sesalination of seawater, grain drying, and heated greenhouses have been suggested.

When air is liqueified, there will be a small fraction of gas that wont condense. Mainly argon with small amounts of helium, and other rare gases. It might be worth extracting the helium when other supplies become short.
Liquifying air to extract the minute proportion of helium would be hopelessly uneconomic, but when large volumes are being liquified in any case, the economics are different.
Liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen could be produced as an ancillary business to energy storage.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: stuving on November 11, 2020, 10:30:04 pm
Here's a few straws in the ... wind:

1. From the Solar Power Portal (https://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/gresham_house_to_finance_c.485mw_battery_storage_portfolio_with_new_share_i):
Quote
Gresham House to finance c.485MW battery storage portfolio with new share issuance programme
Published: 10 Nov 2020, 11:43  By:   Alice Grundy

(https://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/files/images/Staunch_Hazel_Capital.jpg)

Gresham House Energy Storage Fund has outlined plans to ?significantly increase? its portfolio as it launches a new share issuance programme.

The programme is to be conducted over the next 12 months through a number of tranches, with the first of these to include an initial placing and initial offer for subscription, both of which launched today (10 November).

This funding is to go towards a new pipeline of up to c.485MW split between ten energy storage projects with a total consideration of around ?200 million. The initial tranche will be used to finance up to five near-term acquisitions totalling c.195MW.

Now, I'm not sure what that means because I don't understand what sort of a thing this Gresham House Energy Storage is. It's an investment fund, but talks as if is manages the businesses it owns, and I think it does the energy trading used to control when to buy and sell. But none of the words I can find make much sense.

The point, however, is that investment is going into providing short-term buffer storage, if not the longer-term storage discussed upthread.

2. From BP:
Quote
bp and ?rsted team up on clean hydrogen project
Release date: 10 November 2020

Collaboration is the next step in bp?s aim to develop a new hydrogen business

How do you get one of bp?s oldest refineries to contribute to net zero? One answer is green hydrogen.

bp and ?rsted are joining forces with the aim of doing exactly that at the Lingen refinery in North West Germany.

Together the two companies intend to build wind-powered technology that can produce hydrogen from water.

When operational in 2024, the industrial-scale 50MW electrolyser ? which splits water into hydrogen and oxygen gases ? could generate one tonne of renewable hydrogen per hour.

Hydrogen is widely used in refinery processes and is typically produced by reforming natural gas, which results in CO2 emissions. This is also known as ?grey? hydrogen.

The energy produced by the green hydrogen project could be sufficient to replace more than 20% of Lingen?s current grey hydrogen consumption.

Now, I think I can hear a faint damns of praise - after all, this just replaces additional CO2 produced to make what is still fossil fuel go bang in a friendlier way for your car's engine. The real point is this being another step towards making this process work on a large scale..

3. The same article in today's Times also pointed out the O(e)rsted recently overtook BP in capital value, from a fifth as much only two years ago.



Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: TonyK on November 11, 2020, 10:59:53 pm
Quote
bp and ?rsted team up on clean hydrogen project
Release date: 10 November 2020

Collaboration is the next step in bp?s aim to develop a new hydrogen business

How do you get one of bp?s oldest refineries to contribute to net zero? One answer is green hydrogen.

bp and ?rsted are joining forces with the aim of doing exactly that at the Lingen refinery in North West Germany.

Together the two companies intend to build wind-powered technology that can produce hydrogen from water.

When operational in 2024, the industrial-scale 50MW electrolyser ? which splits water into hydrogen and oxygen gases ? could generate one tonne of renewable hydrogen per hour.

Hydrogen is widely used in refinery processes and is typically produced by reforming natural gas, which results in CO2 emissions. This is also known as ?grey? hydrogen.

The energy produced by the green hydrogen project could be sufficient to replace more than 20% of Lingen?s current grey hydrogen consumption.

A lot of question marks remain...

But seriously. 50MW of superfluous renewable energy can produce one tonne of hydrogen per hour, which will provide a maximum of 39 MWh of energy, less the energy needed to compress the 1 tonne in the first place. I read something from VW, who know all about measuring engine statistics (ahem) a couple of years ago that said the energy translated into actual motive power in a hydrogen car is about a third of the energy in the tank, so your 50MWh to produce a tonne of gas becomes 13MWh in the car. They didn't think it was worth it - whether that was to boost the image of their clean diesels by bad-mouthing the alternatives is not something I know.

Gresham House is an asset management company. They also invest in housing, infrastructure, forestry etc, and this is their energy storage arm. They are issuing shares to fund this program, with much of the cash raised being invested in containers full of batteries to generate income, which after deduction of Gresham's share will go to the investors. AIUI, GRID, as it is known, is a conduit for any private investor who wants a piece of the action. The battery units are modular, so I suppose it is relatively simple to add to the inventory.

I recently had a meeting with a financial advisor, the first man I have seen wear a suit to a Zoom meeting, to review certain investments. He told me that sustainable and responsible investments of this ilk are all the rage, and performing well. He suggested moving a certain proportion of the funds he manages that I have some control over (this is complicated) into such funds. Fifteen years ago, it was commercial property at the top of the heap. I agreed because I trust him based on his record to date, and it may be that the small portion went to GH via yet another middleman. This is not about ethics or science, purely return on investment. Battery banks like this have become more attractive to investors since planning rules were changed back in June 2020, making it easier to build.

There is no spare renewable energy to store, so I suppose it will be used for short-term grid balance, and get drained at the end of Eastenders to fuel kettles. That, or stand ready for a black start. Or it might just be to attract subsidies. I might buy some shares myself.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: mjones on November 12, 2020, 08:13:42 am
There is a very vocal hydrogen lobby, but as you point out, producing hydrogen from electrolysis (55 to 60%?)  to burn in internal combustion engines (30% to 40%) is a very wasteful use of renewable energy. Fuel cells aren't fantastic in efficiency terms (~60%?), however electrical traction is much more efficient than internal combustion (>90%) and has the benefit that regenerative braking can be used, recovering around 25% of the energy in congested traffic. Nonetheless,  turning electricity into hydrogen and back gives you maybe a third of what you started with,  compared with ~80% if you put it in a battery.

Producing hydrogen from electrolysis and then putting it into the gas mains to heat homes would also be wasteful. 100 units of renewable electricity give you say ~50 units of gas heating, compared with 100 as electrical heating,  or potentially 300 units of heat from a heat pump.

Nb - there is quite a range in quoted efficiency of fuel cells and electrolysis,  and the values vary according to whether net or gross calorific value is used, but the figures I've seen for current systems look more like 60% than 80% (net CV). I'd be interested if anyone has any reliable figures- manufacturers are rather coy about it.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: TonyK on November 12, 2020, 11:09:55 am

Nb - there is quite a range in quoted efficiency of fuel cells and electrolysis,  and the values vary according to whether net or gross calorific value is used, but the figures I've seen for current systems look more like 60% than 80% (net CV). I'd be interested if anyone has any reliable figures- manufacturers are rather coy about it.

You would think there would be a scientist with mad hair who could bang away at a blackboard and settle the argument. What works in a laboratory has to be translated to a factory, of course, so you would need an engineer too. In the end, the accountants decide the matter.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: Red Squirrel on November 12, 2020, 11:41:42 am
There is a very vocal hydrogen lobby...

There is, isn't there!

I've heard it suggested, perhaps rather cynically, that the biggest advantage of hydrogen is that it gives energy companies something to do with their distribution infrastructure. But it is worth bearing in mind that hydrogen is very energy-dense; 140 MJ/Kg, compared with around 40MJ/Kg for jet fuel and less than 3MJ/Kg for a lithium ion battery.

Moving on to grid storage: There have been some interesting developments in redox flow batteries irecently. Compared with lithium ion battery farms, these look to be much more scaleable. All explained here far better than I could: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyzQsVzKylE&t=574s



Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: broadgage on November 12, 2020, 03:51:17 pm
I remain very doubtful about hydrogen to power vehicles, it is inherently expensive, bulky, hard to store, hard to transport and explosive.

Hydrogen MIGHT be viable for static energy storage, but I suspect that utility scale batteries will take much of that market.
Liquid air shows considerable promise.
A merit of liquid air is that large rotating turbines are used to generate the power. These assist in maintaining a stable grid frequency.
Batteries or fuel cells connected via static inverters contribut to INSTABILITY.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: stuving on November 12, 2020, 04:42:00 pm
Remember that a large part of BP's interest is in hydrogen for process use, not as a fuel. Cracking oil for petrol isn't hugely green, and you may turn up your nose at hydrogenating margarine, but there are other uses too.

Looking further, once you take on board thorough decarbonisation, several current fixed ideas have to change. If any use of oil and putting carbon into the air are struck of the "allowed things to do" list, affordability will never look the same again, and for example all incineration of waste becomes far less desirable than burying it. We may even need to dig more holes - for example using the spoil to defend our and others' coastlines, once we realise how much land we will lose to rising sea levels. Likewise, efficiency in the use of electricity becomes a minor matter, leaving concerns about capacity as more important. Resilience will also become a real headache if we don't have fossil fuel alternatives.

Oil is useful in part because it comes with built-in energy to help turn it into other things. Without that, even if plant materials are used (especially for plastics replacements), chemical processing still calls for a range of chemicals now derived from oil. Hydrogen may be an important starting point for that, as it too comes with built-in energy. For example, in principle we can reverse the current process so as to make methane from carbon dioxide, though other less saturated hydrocarbons may be more helpful. Of course real-world chemical engineering may involve quite different pathways to do the same thing.

If that sound fanciful, here's a quote from one of those groups working on it:
Quote
Based in Canada, Carbon Engineering?s Direct Air Capture system directly removes CO2 from the atmosphere, purifies it, and produces a pipeline-ready compressed CO2 liquid using only energy and water. This CO2 can be combined with non-fossil fuel-generated hydrogen, to produce ultra-low carbon intensity hydrocarbon fuels such as gasoline, diesel, and Jet Fuel-A.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: Red Squirrel on November 12, 2020, 04:43:30 pm
Rolls-Royce and other key players think it might make sense in aeroplanes - see this Flight Global article (https://www.flightglobal.com/air-transport/forget-batteries-is-hydrogen-the-holy-grail-for-carbon-free-commercial-aviation/139150.article). With three times the energy density of jet fuel, coupled with the fact that adapting jet engines to burn it is not that much of a leap, it could well make sense in that appllcation. I have heard it argued that it may even be safer than jet fuel, because if it leaks out of the tanks it'll be blown away before if can catch fire, unlike jet fuel which sticks to things and then burns...

By the way, does anyone else share my suspicion that we've moved on a bit from talking about Aberthaw Power Station..? Shall I split this thread?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: broadgage on November 12, 2020, 05:04:08 pm
Yes it might be worth either splitting this thread, or perhaps editing the title to include "energy production and storage" or some similar wording.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: stuving on November 12, 2020, 05:08:22 pm
Yes it might be worth either splitting this thread, or perhaps editing the title to include "energy production and storage" or some similar wording.

I reckoned it was all about decarbonisation, one way or another.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Red Squirrel on November 12, 2020, 05:18:40 pm
OK, I've added ' and Decarbonisation' to the OP.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: Bmblbzzz on November 12, 2020, 05:48:14 pm
But seriously. 50MW of superfluous renewable energy can produce one tonne of hydrogen per hour, which will provide a maximum of 39 MWh of energy, less the energy needed to compress the 1 tonne in the first place. I read something from VW, who know all about measuring engine statistics (ahem) a couple of years ago that said the energy translated into actual motive power in a hydrogen car is about a third of the energy in the tank, so your 50MWh to produce a tonne of gas becomes 13MWh in the car. They didn't think it was worth it - whether that was to boost the image of their clean diesels by bad-mouthing the alternatives is not something I know.
TBF though that's about the same as in a diesel or petrol car. An electric car does much better, I understand. And a pedal cycle is surprisingly bad in this respect but that's presumably in part because the energy produced in respiration has to do trivial things like keep the rider's heart beating.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: TonyK on November 12, 2020, 09:00:23 pm
TBF though that's about the same as in a diesel or petrol car. An electric car does much better, I understand. And a pedal cycle is surprisingly bad in this respect but that's presumably in part because the energy produced in respiration has to do trivial things like keep the rider's heart beating.

I don't disagree. It's just that this is not put across in the original claim, of 50 MW producing 39 tonnes H2 in an hour in a way that doesn't make it look as though you can stick that 50 MWh in the tank, and head for Barnard Castle.

I'm not claiming scientific or mathematical accuracy, but I thought I would try to work out some sort of rough numbers. For a pure electric car full of batteries, so far as I can tell, 25KWh will get you about 100 miles without extra drain on the batteries like aircon, lots of things charging because of kids in the back seats etc. Cost wise, that is good news.at around 3.75p per mile, compared to about 13p per mile for a petrol car doing 40 mpg at ?1.13 per litre. The best figure I can get for a hydrogen car seems to be about 17.4p per mile, or at least was in 2017 when the  Evening Standard article (https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/motors/how-much-does-a-hydrogen-car-cost-to-run-a3595841.html) was published.

Another way to look at is that if that 50MWh is produced by either 25 onshore or 10 offshore wind turbines, an hour's production will produce enough hydrogen to send 1,000 cars on a journey of about 15,000 miles at 30% efficiency. But it will produce sufficient electricity to send 1,000 pure electric cars a distance of 20,000 miles, which seems a better use of the power without taking other factors into account.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on November 12, 2020, 09:44:09 pm
Why does everyone keep going on about hydrogen used as a transport fuel?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: onthecushions on November 12, 2020, 10:02:29 pm

Because although the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, we always seek a more direct route.

Just the prejudice of a superannuated thermodynamicist.

OTC


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: stuving on November 12, 2020, 10:46:47 pm
Batteries or fuel cells connected via static inverters contribut to INSTABILITY.

Why? If they replace physical inertia, its absence certainly does. But in principle a BESS (battery plus 4-quadrant converter) can provide virtual or synthetic inertia. All you need is to add the right ... software!

Work continues on this, though most of it is analysis or simulation. PG&E in California have at least reported some experiments (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwif05WCiP7sAhVtRBUIHeZjA2sQFjAGegQIBBAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pge.com%2Fpge_global%2Fcommon%2Fpdfs%2Fabout-pge%2Fenvironment%2Fwhat-we-are-doing%2Felectric-program-investment-charge%2FPGE-EPIC-Project-2.05.pdf&usg=AOvVaw0JcivDBB0_MmDCq5j72qMz) with a 1 MWhr unit and a real grid.
Quote
EPIC 2.05 - Inertia Response Emulation for DG Impact Improvement

This project explored the capabilities of inverter-based energy resources to provide a set of functions related to system inertia which support the electric system. The project demonstrated via transmission system modeling and Power-Hardware-In-Loop testing that advanced inverter control methods can provide active power support that improves the system?s frequency response in the face of reduced conventional inertia from synchronous machine generators. Inverter control methods were explored including inertia-like response (derivative control) and grid-forming (voltage source) modes for respective benefits in bulk system and isolated distribution system use cases.
Our TSO is working on it, though I can't find evidence of any real hardware.

It's not just a matter of doing the maths and trying to match the effects of real inertia. In some ways a different power flow profile from real inertia is an advantage, and of course there may be power limits a big generators doesn't have. There are other changes going on too, such as how the voltage response is affected by all these inverters doing their own thing. But we'll see - some time soon.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: ellendune on November 12, 2020, 10:47:33 pm
Because although the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, we always seek a more direct route.

But the shortest distance between any two places on the earth's surface is along a great circle! Unless you are going to dig a hole!


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: onthecushions on November 13, 2020, 08:58:23 am

But the shortest distance between any two places on the earth's surface is along a great circle! Unless you are going to dig a hole!


Very true.

It's better to go round in great circles than to get stuck on a r(h)um(b) line.

OTC


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on November 13, 2020, 09:03:53 am
Because although the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, we always seek a more direct route.

But the shortest distance between any two places on the earth's surface is along a great circle! Unless you are going to dig a hole!
Set the controls for the heart of the earth, Mr Chekhov.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Red Squirrel on November 13, 2020, 09:10:06 am
Roger, Mr Waters...


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on November 13, 2020, 06:43:04 pm
Roger, Mr Waters...

My copy has them set in the opposite direction.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on November 16, 2020, 03:51:00 am
As has already been said, there is not any overnight surplus of renewably generated electricity.
As more wind turbines are erected, less natural gas is being burnt, but SOME gas is still used.

The day when there WILL be a surplus of renewable electricity is however getting nearer. During the last few hours, electricity from natural gas has dropped to only 3 or 4 Gw, an unusually low figure. A 50% increase in wind turbine capacity could see gas drop to zero.
Not all the time of course but under favourable conditions.

For the least few days, electricity from wind has been the largest input to the grid, not continually, but nearly so.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Red Squirrel on November 16, 2020, 09:09:29 am
The image I've attached shows they breakdown by generation type for last month, which was fairly typical.

Wind power, shown in blue, varies between almost nothing and 10GW; nuclear (grey) quietly chugs out a steady 6GW and gas (brown) takes up most of the slack at between 6 and 20GW. The other significant component is the international interconnects, of which up to 2GW comes from France and is therefore presumably nuclear. Coal crops up from time to time; for example during a recent period when there was very little wind for several days; at the time of posting we've had 5 coal-free days of power generation.

Image taken from gridwatch.co.uk



Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on November 16, 2020, 02:01:35 pm
The image I've attached shows they breakdown by generation type for last month, which was fairly typical.

Wind power, shown in blue, varies between almost nothing and 10GW; nuclear (grey) quietly chugs out a steady 6GW and gas (brown) takes up most of the slack at between 6 and 20GW. The other significant component is the international interconnects, of which up to 2GW comes from France and is therefore presumably nuclear. Coal crops up from time to time; for example during a recent period when there was very little wind for several days; at the time of posting we've had 5 coal-free days of power generation.

Image taken from gridwatch.co.uk

That swing between "almost nothing and 10 GW" is the alarming bit really, especially as it often happens unpredictably. The more wind turbines go up, the more apparent it becomes that the old adage "It's always windy somewhere" isn't going to save us. The installed capacity of wind power in the UK, the one that gets used to calculate how many houses will be powered in the blurb, is almost 24 GW, which in theory would provide all of our power today, and a bit to spare. In practice, today's offering is a little under half of that, and it is pretty blowy out there. We have had a couple of spells of three days each of calm weather in the past two or three weeks. If we lose renewable energy, it has to be replaced, a task which falls primarily to gas, but there are farmers on Exmoor and plenty of other places who eke a bit of extra cash by having diesel generators on standby for when times get really tough.

The renewables lobby extols the virtues of storage of the excess renewable energy. There isn't any, but just suppose that there was. If we have 10 GW of wind power going for a full day, we will get 240 GWh of energy (II, ET and others - please correct me quickly if I am wrong). If we have to replace that energy for a full day, we will obviously need to find that 240 GWh from the storage plants that we will have built. The UK's biggest at present is 50 MWh, or enough to keep the lights on for about 18 seconds. The biggest in the world would see us right for just over a minute. (I know - we couldn't power the whole grid from one central point in reality). To keep the whole thing balanced, we would need to install 10  GW of permanently charging and discharging batteries which, if they are like my son-in-law's tools, will need replacing every year at least, but which would only be used a few times per year. I know the idea of using electric vehicle batteries for mass storage, but I think that is a good example of something that looks wonderful on a blackboard, yet less likely to translate into real life. When I buy an electric car, I don't fancy waking up of a morning to find that I've been running the local hospital, and won't get to Barnard Castle on what is left in the "tank". Motorists don't currently park for the night with a pipe in the tank borrowing and replacing the petrol, and will probably play safe by unplugging the electric car when it is full.

Battery storage has a part to play to even out momentary fluctuations and keep the frequency steady, and to be ready for a black start. If the real end result is that we import  power to fill them via the interconnectors, with Germany digging more lignite to provide it, then we will have done the usual trick of merely exporting the pollution. I shall feel a lot happier when the grey part takes up more of the graph, with our base load covered by nuclear. I am happy to have the processed waste attributable to my house buried in my back garden, and we can rely on wind to provide the rest with the odd spurt of gas now and then, and - yes - some of the surplus wind power stored.

I haven't mentioned solar. It tends to be best when our needs are least, in the middle of summer, and not much cop on cold, shorty cloudy winter days when we could do with it most. Stick panels on all public buildings by all means, or maybe build all new houses with a solar panel (like mine) or with roof tiles that look like clay but are photoelectric cells. But I think that if someone shuts the lobbyists out of the room and has a deep look into all this from a neutral scientific stance, the idea of paying foreign companies to cover thousands of hectares of land in solar panels in a country with our climate will look a little bizarre.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Red Squirrel on November 16, 2020, 02:46:11 pm
I'm not sure wind is as unpredictable as all that... didn't they put out an alert before the recent becalming? It is in any case distinctly unusual for all of Western Europe to have so little wind.

We don't actually have an interconnector with Germany, so you needn't worry about that. The French one has the highest capacity; French energy is over 70% nuclear and 20% renewable.

Rolls-Royce, I notice, are interested in building small modular nuclear power stations with an output of 440MW; these seem to be based on their tried-and-tested submarine PWRs. One of these would be enough to power a smallish city: https://www.rolls-royce.com/media/press-releases/2020/11-11-2020-nuclear-power-stations-will-create-6000-uk-levelling-up-jobs-by-2025.aspx . Seems like a good idea to me!

Battery grid storage, as you imply, very useful for a very limited set of purposes. The race is on to find viable ways of storing a massive amount of power. There are many runners and riders.



Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on November 16, 2020, 04:24:53 pm
Wind is not consistent, but it is very predictable in the short term. The wind does not suddenly drop without this being accurately forecast. The forecast of calm conditions gives ample time to ready other generating plant. The challenge will come when we no longer have fossil fueled generating capacity.

Battery storage is showing great promise and very considerable expansion is planned.
Liquid air energy storage is also showing considerable promise.
Pumped storage works fine, but has limited potential for expansion due to lack of suitable locations.

The relatively small nuclear reactors proposed by Rolls Royce sound a good idea if they can be delivered affordably and on time. One such reactor would meet about 1% of peak demand, a dozen would help significantly. I remain opposed to Hinkley C due to the ballooning cost.
I remain opposed to Chinese involvement in nuclear power for both national security reasons and due to concerns about build quality.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on November 16, 2020, 04:57:39 pm
I'm not sure wind is as unpredictable as all that... didn't they put out an alert before the recent becalming? It is in any case distinctly unusual for all of Western Europe to have so little wind.

We don't actually have an interconnector with Germany, so you needn't worry about that. The French one has the highest capacity; French energy is over 70% nuclear and 20% renewable.

German energy policy has elephant-sized contradictions in it, such as closing down nuclear, then coal, and relying on natural gas and wind but still getting CO2 emissions down by 55% in 2030 and 70% in 2040. They already can't shift all their wind-sourced electricity from the north to the industry further south, and in effect use their neighbours to do that for them - paying the Danes to not use their turbines while pulling big flows from France further south. The capacity of the links with France is enough for the within-day shifts of Germany between huge surplus and deficit to call for all France's balancing capacity. That all has implications for our ability to rely on our continental interconnectors. And the same German citizens who want no nuclear stations don't want the new grid lines they need either.

So a calm as big as Germany could be enough on its own to give at least some of its neighbours a reliability problem. How likely is one of those, or bigger? Rare, yes, but it all comes down to how worried you are and what you'll pay (i.e. give up) to mitigate it. There's a paper here from IOPscience  Environmental Research Letters (https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ab91e9#erlab91e9s2), which assess the frequency of such events from wind and power records, not by doing meteorology.
Quote
We synthesize three key results from the analysis. First, LWP events are generally most frequent in summer and least frequent in winter. Nonetheless, substantial events occur in all months of the year, and also in winter. The most persistent LWP event in the dataset occurred in March.

Second, while short events with a duration of up to around half a day are relatively frequent, very long events are much rarer5. Every year, the German energy system has to deal with a period of around five consecutive days during which average wind power generation is below 10% of the installed capacity. Every ten years, a respective period of nearly eight days is to be expected. Looking only at winter months, the durations of these expected events decrease to less than three days every winter and around five days every tenth winter. The most persistent low-wind event in the entire dataset has a duration of nearly ten consecutive days of average wind power generation below a 10% capacity factor.

Third, the spatial patterns of LWP events may be very different from the ones of average wind power resources. During the most persistent LWP event, we find average generation to be particularly low in several regions which have some of the best wind resources.

Apparently there is a German word - Dunkelflaute -specifically for windless days in winter. That'll be useful!

Most of the time we (collectively) don't think much at all about rare threats. It may be that a cold house for a few days is less of a worry than a flooded one, but most people won't even engage with that threat when it's in the future. And of course that risk is all about numbers and probabilities - so scary that people prefer not to think about the scary thing the numbers represent. I've found this when talking to residents on Lower Caversham, a lot of whom seem quite happy with a flood risk of 1 in 100 years - or 1% per year - or 10% per ten years - etc. I'll bet they'll be a lot less happy when it happens!


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on November 16, 2020, 08:10:08 pm
We need to take action before power cuts become common to limit or regulate use of diesel generators. In places with frequent cuts, like parts of Asia, every shop has one chained up on the street; very noisy, terrible air pollution.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on November 16, 2020, 08:13:43 pm
All very good points.

Wind is predictable to varying degrees. Over a whole year, the industry experts could give a reasonable estimate of what would be produced, although they did report a couple of years back that it hadn't been as windy as expected. Over a period of a week, you can make reasonable assumptions about how much wind will blow. But electricity is the ultimate in "just in time" products, and you can't say what will be happening in the next five minutes with certainty.

We don't import directly from Germany, but Germany imports from, and exports to, countries that we do import from. We also import from and export to Ireland, and you will see occasionally that we are importing from Europe and exporting to Ireland. This is why I mentioned Germany, still Europe's dirty secret, as well as our offshore nuclear capacity. Even if the windy north of Germany isn't very well connected to the industrial south, Europe is still reasonably well connected. Incidentally, Ireland is having its own expansion of wind capacity. Originally, this was envisioned as a means to export electricity to us, but has gained impetus with the arrival of a google data centre. Very recently, works to construct a new windfarm are alleged to have caused a "peatslide", with the surreal effect seen in  this video (https://twitter.com/i/status/1327581502763380736).

Rolls Royce's reactors are the, er, Rolls Royce standard. I remember seeing a Vanguard submarine captain on TV, saying the PWR2 models they used were perfectly safe, even if you seal one in a steel tube with 16 space rockets and up to four dozen nuclear bombs and sink it in the ocean. It's amazing what can count as "Normal" in some jobs. The modular Stable Salt Reactor  (https://www.moltexenergy.com/ssr-technology/) being developed by Moltex shows promise, too, even using existing waste in one variant and Thorium in another. Their blurb suggests using the heat to produce hydrogen as well as electricity.

Germany isn't the only place mit ein Elefant im Zimmer. Our own so-called biomass industry looks like a good example of the power of lobbying. The idea of burning waste wood instead of coal to make electricity sounded brilliant on paper. It becomes absurd when it involves shipping 8 million tonnes of specially cut wood from European, US and Canadian forests per year. That's over 3 times the domestic production of timber. The replanting efforts to justify it have been described as "planting Birmingham, but clearing London".


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Red Squirrel on November 16, 2020, 08:18:14 pm
Biomass is, as you say, plainly a Bad Idea.

Mind you, there's bad ideas and then there's Ponzi Schemes. Have you heard of 'fracking'?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on November 16, 2020, 09:01:16 pm
Rolls Royce's reactors are the, er, Rolls Royce standard. I remember seeing a Vanguard submarine captain on TV, saying...
I'm confused. It's a Rolls Royce engine in a Standard Vanguard?  ;D


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on December 03, 2020, 11:56:20 am
Here's another large-scale attempt to put - not sunbeams, but small gales - into your petrol tank. The promoters are Porsche and Siemens, but other are involved. From Porsche (https://newsroom.porsche.com/en/2020/company/porsche-siemens-energy-pilot-project-chile-research-development-synthetic-fuels-efuels-23021.html):
Quote
Porsche, Siemens Energy and a lineup of international companies are developing and implementing a pilot project in Chile that is expected to yield the world?s first integrated, commercial, industrial-scale plant for making synthetic climate-neutral fuels (eFuels).

Siemens has a more detailed description of this (https://www.siemens-energy.com/global/en/offerings/renewable-energy/hydrogen-solutions/haru-oni.html) - and pictures!
(https://assets.siemens-energy.com/siemens/assets/api/uuid:65c73db4-73d4-4a53-8fdf-15c71d477978/width:1125/quality:high/haruoni-floorplan.jpg)
Quote
Siemens Energy, alongside several international companies, is developing and implementing the world?s first integrated and commercial large-scale plant for the production of climate neutral e-fuel. Introducing the Haru Oni project (Highly Innovative fuels (HIF) pilot project), which is harnessing the strong and steady winds in the Magallanes, Chile?s southernmost region.

 How the Haru Oni project works:


Clean wind energy will be used in the project to initially produce green hydrogen.

First, Electrolyzers use wind power to split water into its components, oxygen and hydrogen. Siemens Energy's PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) electrolysis with its high efficiency and flexibility is ideally suited to harness the volatile wind and solar energy.

Next, CO₂ is captured from the air and combined with the green hydrogen to produce synthetic methanol: The basis for climate-neutral fuels like e-diesel, e-gasoline or e-kerosene, that can be used to power cars, trucks, ships or aircrafts.

In a third process step, approximately 40% of the methanol is then converted into synthetic gasoline.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on December 03, 2020, 01:00:31 pm
It's technologically impressive but it does sound a bit like an excuse to keep on running fossil fuels, albeit diluted with some expensively made methanol.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on December 03, 2020, 01:11:39 pm
It's technologically impressive but it does sound a bit like an excuse to keep on running fossil fuels, albeit diluted with some expensively made methanol.

Yes, that's one way of looking at it, though I think the aim is to convert methanol into a wider range of hydrocarbons. Alternatively, decarbonising the world is a Big Job, and we (the world) are not getting on with it very fast - even electricity generation, which we pretty much know how to do. So any parallel decarbonisation that allows the continued use of existing investment (e.g. in handling liquid fuels) is a help, whether it turns out to be for the short or long term.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on December 03, 2020, 08:16:20 pm
It's technologically impressive but it does sound a bit like an excuse to keep on running fossil fuels, albeit diluted with some expensively made methanol.

I think that's about the long and short of the matter. For aircraft, it will be a practical alternative until someone comes up with something the size of an A330 with enough battery power for 5,000 miles. But for road transport when most of the rest is electric? Nah. Time to say farewell to the reciprocating engine, by and large. There is also the matter of whether the said green power driving this process is being used in such a way as to have someone else burn coal for their electricity further down the road, or whether the process could stop with hydrogen, and find some other way to recycle the CO2. I like the picture though - it's like a very clean new refinery, with a windmill.

The Magallenes seems slightly odd for a first plant - it has wind to spare, but is hardly well connected to anywhere. Punta Arenas, the biggest city, has a population of about 100,000 and is 2,000 miles from Santiago. It's a very nice place, though, with good looking police officers and an impressive statue of Bernardo O'Higgins, and my wife still wears the hat she bought in the market there when the weather gets a bit nippy.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station
Post by: stuving on January 22, 2021, 10:23:34 am
Apparently, the latest cross-channel interconnector "launched" today - i.e. it has just started its commissioning. This is IFA-2 (http://ifa2interconnector.com/latest-news/national-grid-s-new-undersea-power-cable-between-britain-and-france-energises-race-to-net-zero/); the oldest link is IFA (for Interconnexion France-Angleterre), and both were built by the two electricity network operators jointly (NG and RTE). This end of it is partly at Solent Airport (was Lee-on-the-Solent, or Daedelaus to its friends) and partly just along the coast at Chilling near Warsash.

It adds another 1 GW to the existing 2 GW of IFA, and 1 GW each for Nedlink (Netherlands) and NEMO (Belgium). But more capacity linking to France is being built, in the form of Eleclink (1 GW via the tunnel), and in planning are FAB Link (1.4 GW via Alderney to Exeter) and AQUIND (2 GW into Portsmouth). AQUIND is currently with the planning inspectors, and was recently in the news for wanting to dig a trench through part of the city for its cables - which, oddly, wasn't popular.

For IFA2's friends following its progress, today it is due to go on line in service at 11:00. The BBC's story (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-55750411) has this internal picture of the converter building ("valve hall").
(https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/976/cpsprodpb/11B84/production/_114908527_pic2nationalgridsnewinterconnectorifa2willpoweronemillionbritishhomesandavoid1.png)

Funny-looking stuff, isn't it? Being for very high voltages does that to designs.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on January 22, 2021, 03:58:19 pm
These interconnectors are IMHO a good thing. They provide valuable flexibility to obtain the cheapest electricity under normal conditions, and to provide electricity at almost any price in an emergency such as a breakdown of generating plant.

My only concerns are that TPTB regard more interconnectors as being a subsititute for building enough UK generating capacity. I feel that we may be becoming too reliant on near continual imports, rather than also exporting power.

In my view, we should aim to export electricity on a significant basis, with exports being broadly similar to imports. At present we are largely importing power with only limited exports.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on January 22, 2021, 08:47:26 pm

My only concerns are that TPTB regard more interconnectors as being a substitute for building enough UK generating capacity. I feel that we may be becoming too reliant on near continual imports, rather than also exporting power.

A couple of HVDC connectors running below the Channel or the North Sea excites much less opprobrium than any other way of generating the power. So long as we can import from our continental friends, and do so to a substantial degree, the powers that be can kick the can down the road for the next Prime Minister to pick up. Or more likely kick again. Fracking caused outrage, onshore wind projects did the same to the point that they were effectively sidelined, and nobody wants a gas power station down the road. Surprisingly, nuclear is nothing like as unpopular in its own backyard, probably because of all the well-paid jobs, but they always raise a row amongst the better informed Twitterati.

It is time, IMHO, for government to stop focusing on the generation of electricity alone, and to start talking about the nation's overall energy consumption. After all, the last new petrol-powered car will roll off the assembly line in under a decade, and new houses will not have gas boilers before then. We are likely to use roughly the same amount of energy overall, just from different places.

We import a huge amount of energy. Our own North Sea production of gas and oil peaked more than 20 years ago, and we have been net importers for quite a few years. Britain's North Sea oil amounted to 923,315 m3 in 2019. In contrast, we imported nearly 50 million m3, of which around 40% came from Norway. The story with gas seems similar.

Electricity accounts for less than a quarter of energy use here, and I struggle to figure out what is going to replace all the rest.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Red Squirrel on January 23, 2021, 11:19:47 am
...Electricity accounts for less than a quarter of energy use here, and I struggle to figure out what is going to replace all the rest.

I followed you until I read this last line... maybe I've misunderstood it?

Electricity will increasingly power almost everything, from transport to home heating to industry. Hydrogen, produced by electricity, will increasingly provide energy storage where high energy density is needed.

Ultimately, almost all of our energy will be electric or electrically derived. Doesn't the question therefore become: What's the right split between wind, solar, nuclear and other means of generation?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on January 23, 2021, 12:38:35 pm
I followed you until I read this last line... maybe I've misunderstood it?

Electricity will increasingly power almost everything, from transport to home heating to industry. Hydrogen, produced by electricity, will increasingly provide energy storage where high energy density is needed.

Ultimately, almost all of our energy will be electric or electrically derived. Doesn't the question therefore become: What's the right split between wind, solar, nuclear and other means of generation?

As always, Red Squirrel, you have explained what I was thinking, and meant, far better than I could myself. I got carried away by the smell of cake coming out of the (electric) oven, and rushed the last bit of my response.

Yes, what is going to replace the oil, gas, coal and virgin forest currently being burned to provide electricity and the energy used for all those other things, that is the querstion.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on January 23, 2021, 12:52:58 pm
...Electricity accounts for less than a quarter of energy use here, and I struggle to figure out what is going to replace all the rest.

I followed you until I read this last line... maybe I've misunderstood it?

Electricity will increasingly power almost everything, from transport to home heating to industry. Hydrogen, produced by electricity, will increasingly provide energy storage where high energy density is needed.

Ultimately, almost all of our energy will be electric or electrically derived. Doesn't the question therefore become: What's the right split between wind, solar, nuclear and other means of generation?

Agree, there will be some alternatives but I expect that these will be a minute proprtion of the total.
Examples include direct use of wind power (sailing ships, traditional windmills to pump water)
Direct use of solar thermal energy, to heat swimming pools, dry crops, produce salt, and the like.
Burning of wood for domestic heating, fine for older properties with a significant heating demand. Trees are an important part of the landscape and do not live forever. Harvest and burn some of the old ones. Trees are required for construction timber, burn all the reject bits. Burn the scrap timber when a building is knocked down.

These non electric energy sources will be a very small proprtion of the total, and I mention them only in the interests of accuracy and completness.
The future  is electric for most energy needs, and this electricity should be produced renewably.

There will regretably be a need for some coal, not for heating or electric power production, but for iron and steel manufacture. Coke produced from coal, is unavoidable for iron production since it is not just a heat source but a source of carbon whereby iron oxide is reduced to iron.
For this reason I reluctantly support the proposed new coal mine.
Iron and steel are vital for a modern economy, or even a Victorian economy.

EDIT TO ADD LINK re new coal mine
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-55766306 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-55766306)


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on January 23, 2021, 02:38:01 pm

There will regretably be a need for some coal, not for heating or electric power production, but for iron and steel manufacture. Coke produced from coal, is unavoidable for iron production since it is not just a heat source but a source of carbon whereby iron oxide is reduced to iron.
For this reason I reluctantly support the proposed new coal mine.
Iron and steel are vital for a modern economy, or even a Victorian economy.

I agree, except for the reluctance. There are ways to make steel without coke, at least in the laboratory, with hydrogen being the most likely to be scaled up to blast furnace scale. Recycling of steel is already done with arc furnaces, meaning that half the technology is already available. Until then, coke it is. The alternatives to the new coal mine are, for the time being at least, either buy the coal from overseas, adding the transport emissions to all the rest, or buying the steel from overseas. That would be politically unacceptable, and a strategic mistake, so the government will put up with the noise from the anti-mine protests.

I don't buy into the idea of hydrogen for cars and home heating. It makes more sense to me to use electricity, as the distribution network is already in place. I see a lot of stuff on the web promoting it as the way forward, which I see as just getting the cheerleaders ready to warm the government up for a nice round of subsidies.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Red Squirrel on January 23, 2021, 03:02:57 pm
...Until then, coke it is.

Indeed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACzbCi3oN1M

You may note that this video was posted by 'Root Canal Pro'. And you may stop watching after the first one (or earlier).


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Oxonhutch on January 23, 2021, 03:10:48 pm
EDIT TO ADD LINK re new coal mine
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-55766306 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-55766306)

I read that article and saw references to fossil fuels but not one mention that this is not what the coking coal is for - as a chemical ingredient in the iron-carbon alloy we call steel. I found the content a bit disingenuous to be honest.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Hal on January 23, 2021, 03:55:05 pm

Many steel companies around the world are researching ways to replace coke with hydrogen. One of the most advanced projects is in Sweden where a consortium called ?Hybrit? began constructing a pilot plant in 2018. But they don?t expect to have a workable solution till 2035. And initial studies indicated the production cost would be 20-30% higher than using coke to make steel.

An alternative process already exists ? direct reduction of iron ore using reformed natural gas. This is less carbon-intensive than the coke-based process, but of course not fossil-free.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on January 23, 2021, 07:40:58 pm

Many steel companies around the world are researching ways to replace coke with hydrogen. One of the most advanced projects is in Sweden where a consortium called ?Hybrit? began constructing a pilot plant in 2018. But they don?t expect to have a workable solution till 2035. And initial studies indicated the production cost would be 20-30% higher than using coke to make steel.

An alternative process already exists ? direct reduction of iron ore using reformed natural gas. This is less carbon-intensive than the coke-based process, but of course not fossil-free.

It seems building a blast furnace that will work safely with hydrogen at 1300C in the presence of oxygen enriched air is not as easy as it sounds.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on January 23, 2021, 10:20:46 pm

Many steel companies around the world are researching ways to replace coke with hydrogen. One of the most advanced projects is in Sweden where a consortium called ?Hybrit? began constructing a pilot plant in 2018. But they don?t expect to have a workable solution till 2035. And initial studies indicated the production cost would be 20-30% higher than using coke to make steel.

An alternative process already exists ? direct reduction of iron ore using reformed natural gas. This is less carbon-intensive than the coke-based process, but of course not fossil-free.

It seems building a blast furnace that will work safely with hydrogen at 1300C in the presence of oxygen enriched air is not as easy as it sounds.

Indeed, It might well be achieved eventually but sounds dangerous. It expect that a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen, injected via separated pipes will be needed. Hydrogen in excess if compared to the mixture needed for perfect combustion. Most of the hydrogen and oxygen would burn fiercely and produce the great heat needed.
The excess hydrogen would react with iron ore and reduce it to metallic iron. Iron oxide + hydrogen=iron + water.

To produce steel, carbon from coke or an equivalent would still be needed, but in much smaller volumes than used at present.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on January 24, 2021, 01:00:52 am

The excess hydrogen would react with iron ore and reduce it to metallic iron. Iron oxide + hydrogen=iron + water.


Funnily enough, I did that one in school, in the very last days of town gas, when you were allowed to blow things up in the name of education. I had a small amount of basically rust in a charcoal crucible, and using a thing glass tube, I blew burning gas from the Bunsen burner over this, producing actual metal! Plus, I assume, water vapour that vanished before my eyes. The teacher explained that we were being switched to the new North Sea gas soon, which didn't have hydrogen in free form, so he would have to use a cylinder of hydrogen next year.

Then, bored with my mastery of alchemy, I amused myself by attaching a rubber hose to the gas tap, turning it on and blowing hard down the tube, debating with a co-conspirator which way the gas flowed, and whose Bunsen would go out next.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Oxonhutch on January 24, 2021, 08:56:21 am
The carbon monoxide content of town gas would have helped the reduction reaction as well to but I can understand Sir not wanting to use a cylinder of that the following year.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on January 24, 2021, 01:00:57 pm
The carbon monoxide content of town gas would have helped the reduction reaction as well to but I can understand Sir not wanting to use a cylinder of that the following year.

Me too! hydrogen is fun in small quantities - I can't be the only one to have soap bubbles filled with hydrogen explode in the palm of my hand. ("Implode - get it right, laddie!"). It gets a lot more serious at volumes above half a litre.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Oxonhutch on January 24, 2021, 07:59:39 pm
Mid 70's, now with natural gas - methane. We had all read about a poor soul that wanted to end it all with their head in the converted oven and predictably failed - methane being non-toxic. A reflective cigarette, however changed the order of things and the explosion was final.

We did a similar experiment post town gas in my class (age 14/15?). Baby powder tin with hole in bottom suitable for rubber gas pipe. Nail hole in lid, firmly pressed on to tin. Start gas supply and light lazy flame flame coming out of the top of tin. So benign... ...

Turn off gas and wait for methane air mix to reach critical proportion - and loud bang with kids - including me - trying to dodge ricocheting lid. Great lesson - great learning - would never now pass HSE.

Post Uni, I gave a talk to the kids at my old school, and the savage tear in the ceiling tile was still there.. Inspired the scientist in me it did - and gave me a healthy respect for nature ...

... until I thought a 44 gallon drum full of rubbish, 30 C African sun, a cup of petrol, and a match was a solution to a problem. That, taught me nature :o


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on January 25, 2021, 09:27:10 am

... until I thought a 44 gallon drum full of rubbish, 30 C African sun, a cup of petrol, and a match was a solution to a problem. That, taught me nature :o

A potentially very painful lesson!


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on January 26, 2021, 04:20:27 am

... until I thought a 44 gallon drum full of rubbish, 30 C African sun, a cup of petrol, and a match was a solution to a problem. That, taught me nature :o

A potentially very painful lesson!

Did you hear about poor old Fred ?
No, what happened to old Fred ?
He struck a match to inspect the level in his petrol tank.
You would think that would be the last thing he would do !
It was.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on January 28, 2021, 11:19:51 pm
Two reports just out say that last year, for the first time, renewables provided more energy that fossil fuels in the UK and the EU (now 27). The UK one is from Ember (https://ember-climate.org/commentary/2021/01/28/milestone-reached-as-renewables-overtake-fossil-fuels-in-the-uk/) (a think tank that was called Sandbag until last October), the EU one Ember with Agora Energiewende (https://ember-climate.org/project/eu-power-sector-2020/).

I'm not sure how Covid affected overall demand for the whole year, and even after looking at the data file they make available I'm still not sure. For one thing the data table does include the UK, though the report doesn't. Presumably if demand dropped, and wind (in particular) had enough priority to displace gas and coal, that alone would push the renewables percentage up. On the other hand, nuclear (which counts as neither) fell quite a bit (due mainly to closures in France, some temporary some not) which would have the opposite effect.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on January 29, 2021, 12:36:32 am
Two reports just out say that last year, for the first time, renewables provided more energy that fossil fuels in the UK and the EU (now 27). The UK one is from Ember (https://ember-climate.org/commentary/2021/01/28/milestone-reached-as-renewables-overtake-fossil-fuels-in-the-uk/) (a think tank that was called Sandbag until last October), the EU one Ember with Agora Energiewende (https://ember-climate.org/project/eu-power-sector-2020/).

I'm not sure how Covid affected overall demand for the whole year, and even after looking at the data file they make available I'm still not sure. For one thing the data table does include the UK, though the report doesn't. Presumably if demand dropped, and wind (in particular) had enough priority to displace gas and coal, that alone would push the renewables percentage up. On the other hand, nuclear (which counts as neither) fell quite a bit (due mainly to closures in France, some temporary some not) which would have the opposite effect.

Renewables provided more electricity than fossil fuels, but certainly not more energy. Don't forget all the heating, hot water, motive power etc provided by gas, oil and coal, accounting for some 75% of energy consumption in this country. The figures for renewable energy also include biomass, which in turn includes Drax power station's burning of 8 million tonnes of wood annually, much of it sourced by clearing forests in Europe and North America. That constitutes a scandal in my book, not renewable energy.

Nuclear is not renewable energy, because there is a finite supply of the fuel, and they ain't making no more*. That said, there is plenty around, and better ways of using it and disposing of the waste are coming along. The original purpose of atomic piles was to produce plutonium for bombs, with electricity a by-product to get rid of the vast heat generated. We have enough of that however you care to measure it, and could use it and the existing waste for fuel. Fusion power is only 10 years away, as it has been since I was a kid.

Stories like this come out regularly. While the reduction in fossil fuel use is to be welcomed, the spin is not particularly helpful. A better measure would be of how much of our total energy use is renewable, and that might concentrate minds a bit more than a few good news stories designed to urge governments to pay for more wind turbines, and promises of vast arrays of batteries and hydrogen plants to use up all the excess renewable energy that doesn't exist.

The pandemic certainly did suppress our electricity use, with so many places closed and travel reduced. The scorchio weather in summer helped too, although if temperatures like that become standard, we Brits will follow our cousins in warmer climes, and install aircon at home.  Electricity consumption was otherwise falling for other reasons - we are getting more efficient at using it. If I switched on every light in my house, they wouldn't use as much power as the two 4 x 50W GU10 reflector units in my kitchen at the previous house. The 43" smart TV uses a lot less power than did the family's first Baird 14" black and white telly. The induction hob, microwave oven and fan oven use an awful lot less than the electric hobs still found in many homes. The cuckoo in  the nest seems to be the ever-growing demand from data services, with the maintenance of Bitcoin alone using more electricity than many countries - about the same as Panama, or double that of Cyprus. (I'm not making this up - read Bitcoin's own news site (https://news.bitcoin.com/the-bitcoin-network-now-consumes-7-nuclear-plants-worth-of-power/#:~:text=The%20amount%20of%20power%20consumed%20by%20bitcoin%20miners,(horsepower)%20of%20energy%20or%2014,000%20Corvette%20Z06s%20engines.)). That will change abruptly when the bubble bursts.

You have spotted the truth about the effect of renewables on forms of generation - when the sun shines and the wind blows, we can turn the gas down a bit. Not a lot of people seem to grasp that particular point - there is never a moment in time when electricity in this country is not being generated by fossil fuels. Stories about spending a week without burning coal or renewables outstripping fossil fuels tend to obscure that very inconvenient truth. So we still have to replace about 60% of our electricity generating capacity, a lot more if we follow Germany down the "no more nukes" path, to get to carbon neutral without the use of accounting trickery. Then we have to provide for all the cars, buses, trains, central heating, industry, etc etc to run on electricity.

(* Alright, I know, physiciists are busy doing this as we speak, and nuclear power stations do it fleetingly all the time, but it's not on general sale.)


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on January 29, 2021, 01:08:10 am
Agree, the UK has made good progress WRT to renewably generated electricity, but transport and fuel burning heating has been rather neglected.

It would be rather optimistic to expect a journalist or a politician to know the difference between electricity and total energy.

The other "fly in the ointment" is the fact that generating half our electricity from renewables is relatively easy, but renewably generating ALL our electricity is a much greater challenge. Politicians tend to assume that we are "half way there" and that achieving the second half will be as easy.

Likewise with energy saving, some savings are easy, but we have largely already done the easy bits. Future savings will be more challenging.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on January 29, 2021, 10:12:23 am
The point about energy use, as opposed to generation, is well made.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on January 29, 2021, 10:40:16 am
It would be rather optimistic to expect a journalist or a politician to know the difference between electricity and total energy.

Maybe, but I should have spotted the sneakily-worded titles of those reports and not just copied them.

But I hope that was said with an edge of sarcasm - and it was a factor in the 2007 French presidential election. There was just one TV debate, between the two rounds of voting, between Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal. She'd surprised many people by her successful "glamour" makeover, and was also trying to show she could be forceful. Sarkozy had already shown a quick temper, but in the debate adopted the - rather bizarre - persona of a polite schoolboy. Maybe that was a technique to stay calm, in which case it worked; she didn't.

That was the one thing most reports mention now, but what struck me at the time was an exchange on the amount of French electricity coming from nuclear. He said it was half, she corrected him with 17%, and he insisted (politely) he was right while she dug in her heels ... four times! Then they moved on, but it was picked up in the next day's analyses. The true figure was 78% (17% was for all energy use), so by some reports Sarkozy was wrong too - but I understood "half" as much less exact than "50%", and implying "at least" too.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on January 29, 2021, 11:26:35 am
There are lies, damned lies, and statistics. The French version of Gridwatch  (https://gridwatch.org.uk/france/) is interesting when compared to the UK figures (https://gridwatch.co.uk/?old=). 70% of French electricity comes from nuclear as we speak, but they have a lot more wind energy today than we have, too. French demand for electricity is huge compared to ours, at 67GW vs our own 25.6GW, but with a slightly smaller population. I'm not sure what they do with it all, especially if 70% of electricity by nuclear equates to just 17% of energy. That suggests broadly the same proportion of energy consumed via generated electricity as in the UK. We are using 1.5GW of it via the interconnector, which is why I refer to our offshore nuclear facility, and the railway is a lot more electric than ours, but I struggle to understand fully.

Seems that Ségolène Royal had understood the difference between electricity and energy better than M Sarkozi, but didn't know that she understood it.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Red Squirrel on January 29, 2021, 11:41:34 am
French demand for electricity is huge compared to ours, at 67GW vs our own 25.6GW...

Right now, the UK is consuming 38GW and France is consuming 67GW - so not quite as different as your snapshot. And 2GW of our consumption is being generated in, er, France. Makes you wonder though: are they a bit more profligate they have so much nuclear power to play with?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on January 29, 2021, 11:56:42 am
There are lies, damned lies, and statistics. The French version of Gridwatch  (https://gridwatch.org.uk/france/) is interesting when compared to the UK figures (https://gridwatch.co.uk/?old=). 70% of French electricity comes from nuclear as we speak, but they have a lot more wind energy today than we have, too. French demand for electricity is huge compared to ours, at 67GW vs our own 25.6GW, but with a slightly smaller population. I'm not sure what they do with it all, especially if 70% of electricity by nuclear equates to just 17% of energy. That suggests broadly the same proportion of energy consumed via generated electricity as in the UK. We are using 1.5GW of it via the interconnector, which is why I refer to our offshore nuclear facility, and the railway is a lot more electric than ours, but I struggle to understand fully.

Seems that Ségolène Royal had understood the difference between electricity and energy better than M Sarkozi, but didn't know that she understood it.

That would depend on the context, and particularly what led up to that exchange, which I can't remember now. But with hindsight gained from her subsequent pronouncements, you wouldn't expect too much correctitude.

Having all that "cheap" electricity from the 70s did lead to a lot of French housing being ell-electric, with a government push behind it. It was gas that was squeezed out, seeing nothing like the big growth that happened here (replacing coal) once North Sea gas landed. As a result, gas didn't reach as far out of town as here, and oil heating is much bigger as a result. (As an aside, I remember in the 70s playing darts with a boiler fitter, who was so busy replacing oil boilers with gas ones in quite rural places he'd stopped doing anything else.) Recent plans to ban new oil boilers soon, and replacement ones maybe not long after, have led to much screaming and shouting from a non-metropolitan demographic similar to the gilets jaunes.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on January 29, 2021, 03:27:49 pm

Right now, the UK is consuming 38GW and France is consuming 67GW - so not quite as different as your snapshot. And 2GW of our consumption is being generated in, er, France. Makes you wonder though: are they a bit more profligate they have so much nuclear power to play with?

That's odd. I took my numbers from a version of Gridwatch recommended to me by a certain squirrel:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50887083318_3206107a9b_c.jpg)

rather than the one I was then accustomed to:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50887917147_1b3e9e97e2_c.jpg)

which I thought were merely different representations of the same source data. I thought our consumption figure seemed a little light, and shall revert.


Having all that "cheap" electricity from the 70s did lead to a lot of French housing being ell-electric, with a government push behind it. It was gas that was squeezed out, seeing nothing like the big growth that happened here (replacing coal) once North Sea gas landed. As a result, gas didn't reach as far out of town as here, and oil heating is much bigger as a result. (As an aside, I remember in the 70s playing darts with a boiler fitter, who was so busy replacing oil boilers with gas ones in quite rural places he'd stopped doing anything else.) Recent plans to ban new oil boilers soon, and replacement ones maybe not long after, have led to much screaming and shouting from a non-metropolitan demographic similar to the gilets jaunes.

Living in that non-metropolitan bit, I wonder how much of the shouting of spite comes from the consumers, and how much from the fuel merchants who see their cosy cartel at risk. There are often gripes about oil prices and availability, and quite a few people I know have given up oil for bottled gas. Our village is blessed with mains gas, but my other village, which is bigger, is not. For years, there was a quiet campaign to get the gas network extended from only a couple of miles away, but it was accepted glumly a few years back that it will never happen. We are all electric there, with an open fire. Wood, coal, and bottled gas are the most popular add-on fuel, with a few still stuck with oil. They are not as noisy as les gilets jaunes, writing stiff letters to the newspaper while the other chaps blockade motorways and burn effigies.

The French relationship with government is different to ours in my limited experience, something de Gaulle put down to the cheese. That could be part of the answer. Electricity had a bureaucracy all of its own at the time, and I am guessing that would have been the same for any mains gas supplies too. 

I worked in a few places out in the sticks in France long ago, and never saw mains gas. France does not have the great reserves of gas that we enjoyed until recently, and I have no idea how it worked in the cities. Hot water, even then, was often solar powered in the south, with logs providing the heat in the autumn on the farm where I first worked, as well as fuel to roast rabbits and fowl. Happy days.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Red Squirrel on January 29, 2021, 06:00:40 pm
...merely different representations of the same source data.

I rather think they are. At the moment,

https://gridwatch.co.uk/

...and

https://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

...both show total UK consumption as 42.726GW. I still think https://gridwatch.co.uk/ shows the data more clearly, but to each their own! :)


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: eightonedee on January 29, 2021, 08:27:18 pm
Quote
Having all that "cheap" electricity from the 70s did lead to a lot of French housing being ell-electric, with a government push behind it. It was gas that was squeezed out, seeing nothing like the big growth that happened here (replacing coal) once North Sea gas landed. As a result, gas didn't reach as far out of town as here, and oil heating is much bigger as a result.

For what it is worth, I think this is the key difference. If there is one key difference between out two nations, it is that France is a much larger and more thinly-populated country that was not well endowed with coal resources when it industrialised. Our gas network was largely established when the exploitation of coal and its distribution around the country by rail and canal established a widespread of local town gas networks. This was then the base from which the nationalised network fuelled by the natural gas that replaced "town gas" developed.

Another factor may be that in addition to a much wider use of electricity for space heating in homes, standards of insulation in French housing might not be that good. I am afraid that as someone who has worked for most of his career in a professional capacity working for the housing industry, when we go abroad I cannot resist browsing estate agents' windows. I have been struck by how often even quite new housing has poor energy performance ratings (E or F). Perhaps a side effect of abundant cheap electricity from EDF?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on February 01, 2021, 11:20:09 am

For what it is worth, I think this is the key difference. If there is one key difference between out two nations, it is that France is a much larger and more thinly-populated country that was not well endowed with coal resources when it industrialised. Our gas network was largely established when the exploitation of coal and its distribution around the country by rail and canal established a widespread of local town gas networks. This was then the base from which the nationalised network fuelled by the natural gas that replaced "town gas" developed.


I think you can take it back another step. Steel making in the industrial revolution required vast quantities of coke, as it does now. The gas produced in the process of making coke from coal was something of an awkward by-product until someone hit on the clever idea of lighting streets with it. The network quickly grew to cover homes too, with a wonderful relatively clean fuel, so much more flexible than coal or wood.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on February 07, 2021, 03:46:50 pm
Meanwhile, The Times (https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/green-energy-tariffs-how-brexit-puts-yours-at-risk-hjtkrr37z) reports that anybody buying their electricity from one of the bigger companies on a "Green Tariff" could have trouble renewing it because of Brexit. The REGOs (Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin) certificates that are the successor to the ROCs (Renewable Obligations Certificate) are about to be in short supply. Trade in the certificates wasn't covered in the  withdrawal agreement, and the EU has now stopped companies from buying them from British generators. Britain is likely to respond by banning trade in the opposite direction, meaning that British Gas, the biggest purchaser, will struggle to obtain the 20 million REGOs that it bought last year,  upon which its six "green" tariffs are based.

BG could be forced to either drop the tariffs and go back to the normal cheaper ones, as it will no longer be able to count on the dubious efforts of a Swedish wood-burning power station to provide the £1.09 worth of pieces of paper it needs to describe its electricity as "green". The alternative would be to start generating its own real renewable electricity at huge cost, or try to buy stiffcuts from British generators of real green energy. The trouble is, there isn't much to spare. People who want the real green deal seem happy to pay the extra couple of hundred quid annually to buy from the likes of Ecotricity as compared to a tariff based on buying REGOs from solar plants in the Greek islands or whatever. so using up what they produce.

The good news for worried consumers is that the TV is unlikely to go blank halfway through "Bargain Hunt" as a result*. What comes through the meter will continue to be the same mix of about 40% renewable, 40% fossil and the rest nuclear. But they might not have a picture of a wind turbine on the next bill to leave lying around for the neighbours to see.

You may, like me, sit back and read the full article a couple of times, wondering how we ever got to a situation where the green revolution became so distant from the idea of actually producing renewable energy, and so utterly reliant on accountancy and trading in certificates. Something similar happened in silver long ago, with markets trading in certificates of ownership. One enterprising chap realised that the emperor's new clothes were wearing a bit thin, and noted that silver also had uses in photography and, more recently, computers. He started to buy silver, but instead of taking the certificates, asked for the metal itself to be delivered to his secure storage place. After a while, panic set in, as the markets realised that there was a lot less actual silver than was being traded. The value of silver rose, but the value of the certificates plummeted. Our man did very well. We shall see how it goes with the green electricity market, whilst wondering why one company alone should have six different prices for something it doesn't actually produce.

(* This isn't really good news. It's arguably the worst programme ever shown on TV.)

Edit: 08/02 Typo


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on February 07, 2021, 06:43:33 pm
I have always been rather doubtful about renewable energy certificates, carbon offsetting and related schemes that claim to reduce carbon emissions by moving around money and pieces of paper.

Such procedures remind me of the former Church practice of selling indulgences, whereby sins could be forgiven for a suitable payment.

Far preferable would be to physically reduce carbon emissions by greatly reducing combustion of fossil fuels. More wind turbines, more PV modules, and less gas, oil, and coal use.

There seems to be a view that we can trade or offset our way out of doing much on the ground.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on February 07, 2021, 08:31:47 pm
I'm in agreement with you there.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on February 08, 2021, 10:30:07 am
I have always been rather doubtful about renewable energy certificates, carbon offsetting and related schemes that claim to reduce carbon emissions by moving around money and pieces of paper.

Such procedures remind me of the former Church practice of selling indulgences, whereby sins could be forgiven for a suitable payment.

Far preferable would be to physically reduce carbon emissions by greatly reducing combustion of fossil fuels. More wind turbines, more PV modules, and less gas, oil, and coal use.

There seems to be a view that we can trade or offset our way out of doing much on the ground.

The perfect analogy! As a nation, we are very good at exporting the muckier side of our economy, and less so at seeing the big picture. Why would we want to spoil our lovely countryside in the pursuit of fuel when we can buy it from henchmen, hangmen and headsmen overseas?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on February 15, 2021, 09:36:06 pm
In other news, I see from the business pages of today's paper that there is to be an increase in the amount of spare generating capacity coming up for tender by auction, to fill in for renewables on those cold, dark windless days. This is readily available energy, needed infrequently and at a moment's notice. National Grid has been concerned that a number of the companies who made undertakings could not actually deliver when needed, or had gone to the wall, leading to some very delicate juggling by the control room. Companies relying on coal were given particular mention. I suppose that isn't surprising, given that coal-fired power stations take time to fire up, unless they are left running on "spinning reserve". Batteries got a mention, but the article didn't say what was actually available from them.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 02, 2021, 06:11:52 am
Here is a good example of indulgences being sold.
Customers believe that that they are buying green electricity, when in fact much of it is produced by burning fossil fuels.
But with the purchase of indulgences carbon offsets or credits.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56602674 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56602674)


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 02, 2021, 04:39:48 pm
Here is a good example of indulgences being sold.
Customers believe that that they are buying green electricity, when in fact much of it is produced by burning fossil fuels.
But with the purchase of indulgences carbon offsets or credits.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56602674 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56602674)

Somebody at the BBC has been reading my posts here and elsewhere over the past few years.  ;D

Some interesting reading between the lines here. The few companies who actually generate the renewable energy they sell are allowed to charge their customers more for the privilege of being holy. It follows therefore that renewable energy is more expensive to generate than other forms, which goes against what the green lobby keep telling us, unless the idea is to enrich the owner of the company to a greater degree than the hated fat cats at the big multinationals as a reward. I don't think that can be the case, as the most famous such owner only owns one football team, and his castle isn't particularly huge. Being able to sell the product twice must help, although I still don't know where the energy comes from on our many windless days and nights.

What would happen if everyone in the country signed up to a green tariff? Would the energy companies say sorry, no, we've run out of stiffcuts? My guess is that they would scour the earth for more REGOs, so pushing the price up to a point where it might cost as much as £2 per year per household to greenwash the tariff and put a picture of a wind turbine on the bill, all the while making electricity from rendered dolphin carcasses.

What would happen if nobody bought into the lie? Would the windmills and solar panels all disappear? Of course not. Energy companies would just have to find new ways to fleece their customers, and employ more PR people to spread the myth of how green are their hillsides. You can see that the spin doctors are hard at work already:

Quote
Its chief executive, Emma Pinchbeck, says: "All renewable tariffs, including those with REGOs, are supporting renewables in some way. Over a third of our power now comes from renewables.

A third of our electricity might come from renewables, if you include the scandalous output of Drax's alleged biomass, but that still equates to well under 10% of our energy use. That hasn't stopped talk of using excess renewable energy (there isn't any) to make hydrogen and charge batteries to see us through the doldrums and the nights. Buying pieces of paper isn't going to square this circle.

I love the idea of "indulgences", broadgage! I shall steal it immediately.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 02, 2021, 09:20:57 pm
And right on cue, a pop-up in Facebook:

Quote
Profit from The Global £200 Billion Green Energy Industry. Earn up to 11% from the Green Energy Fund. Request a Free Investor Brochure:
✅  Earn 9% per Annum
✅  Receive Bi-Annually Payments
✅  Low Risk
✅  Ethical Investment
✅  Green Energy Technology
✅  Dividend Tax Only
✅  Diverse Sectors
✅  Asset-Backed
✅  UK Headquarters
✅  FCA Custodian

Disgusting. Although given that I can't find 11% return on investment anywhere else, have some cash to put away somewhere, and am completely devoid of principle, I will do a bit more research, and could take a punt.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 02, 2021, 10:25:51 pm
I would very strongly advise against putting any money into any investment scheme that is advertised on line.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: GBM on April 03, 2021, 09:03:16 am
I would very strongly advise against putting any money into any investment scheme that is advertised on line.
Agreed, and 11% sounds too good to be true, with interest rates generally well below 3%.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 03, 2021, 11:18:35 am
I would very strongly advise against putting any money into any investment scheme that is advertised on line.

Me too. My further research hasn't persuaded me to part with my hard-earned / ill-gotten.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 03, 2021, 12:38:06 pm
I would very strongly advise against putting any money into any investment scheme that is advertised on line.

Me too. My further research hasn't persuaded me to part with my hard-earned / ill-gotten.

If you have any money to invest, it might be worth considering spending some on your home to reduce energy costs.
Better thermal insulation to reduce heating energy used.
Better and more efficient heating system.
Double glazing.
Grid tied solar panels.
Electric car ?
Electrically assisted bicycle ?

Put aside some money for future replacement of domestic appliances with the most efficient available. The economics of replacing a large appliance that still works correctly are very doubtful. If however you need a new fridge, freezer, washing machine, TV, computer, or other appliance in any case then buy the most energy efficient available.

Whilst I can not speak for your personal circumstances, I have observed many cases in which people regard spending on energy efficiency as an "expense" that might not be afforadable. Putting money into stocks, shares, ISAs and the like is regarded as an investment and is a good thing.
In many cases spending on energy saving gives a much better rate of return than the more usual investments.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: IndustryInsider on April 03, 2021, 12:53:32 pm
Or invest in Bitcoin.  Not so good for the environment though!


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 03, 2021, 02:36:44 pm
Or invest in Bitcoin.  Not so good for the environment though!

And a bubble likely to burst soon. It is the ultimate in speculation for speculation's sake, and could form a new discussion on its own. The energy expended is considerable, said to be around 0.6% of the electricity used in the whole world, or slightly more than Argentina.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: IndustryInsider on April 03, 2021, 02:58:51 pm
Yes, a terrible thing for many reasons, though predictions of bubbles bursting have been around for years but it keeps sky rocketing!  There’s some incredibly rich early investors out there...and a few more people with hard drive wallets they can’t access coz they’ve forgotten their password!


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TaplowGreen on April 03, 2021, 03:39:04 pm
Or invest in Bitcoin.  Not so good for the environment though!

.............this may be worth considering as an investment too, I believe we have an authority on the subject amongst us!  ;)

https://www.taylor.pt/us/buy-port-wine/buying-advice/buying-port-as-an-investment#:~:text=Investment%20in%20Vintage%20Port%20becomes%20particularly%20attractive%20when,in%20stocks%20and%20bonds%20look%20risky%20or%20volatile.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: IndustryInsider on April 03, 2021, 03:48:40 pm
A new form of liquid asset?  :)


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TaplowGreen on April 03, 2021, 03:58:13 pm
A new form of liquid asset?  :)

Apparently a good bet in a storm.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 03, 2021, 04:34:48 pm
I would very strongly advise against putting any money into any investment scheme that is advertised on line.

Me too. My further research hasn't persuaded me to part with my hard-earned / ill-gotten.

If you have any money to invest, it might be worth considering spending some on your home to reduce energy costs.
Better thermal insulation to reduce heating energy used.
Better and more efficient heating system.
Double glazing.
Grid tied solar panels.
Electric car ?
Electrically assisted bicycle ?

Put aside some money for future replacement of domestic appliances with the most efficient available. The economics of replacing a large appliance that still works correctly are very doubtful. If however you need a new fridge, freezer, washing machine, TV, computer, or other appliance in any case then buy the most energy efficient available.

Whilst I can not speak for your personal circumstances, I have observed many cases in which people regard spending on energy efficiency as an "expense" that might not be afforadable. Putting money into stocks, shares, ISAs and the like is regarded as an investment and is a good thing.
In many cases spending on energy saving gives a much better rate of return than the more usual investments.

As you ask, all of these are in my mind. I bought a new "main" TV last year, which provided us with a "smart" set using a third of the power of the previous model. That has been relegated to another room for occasional use, with the one in place there at the time sold. My 10-year-old desktop PC (upgraded a few times) finally gave up the ghost. It was possibly fixable, but power consumption decided the issue, and I bought a new one. We bought new washing machine and fridge freezer when we moved here 3 years ago. Surprisingly, the best models in terms of energy efficiency weren't the most expensive, and fitted my rudimentary cost-benefit analysis.

The house was planned with the current energy efficiency standards in mind. You can see a lot of glass:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51091878507_3fbfdac7e1_c.jpg)

intended to take advantage of sunshine. The bifold window is on the south side, and I have had to open it on a sunny day with snow on the ground. Out of sight on the roof above the balcony is a solar panel, currently powering the entire house, including my PC.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51092768605_e630afc57a.jpg)

The electric would have been lower, but I put the electric underfloor heating on in two of the bathrooms for a couple of hours in the morning. Lighting is by LED throughout (except for the neon in the garage), the hob is magnetic induction, and I would struggle to fit more insulation in the loft. I fall down on heating and hot water, which come from a beast of a gas boiler in the garage. Downstairs, the heating is underfloor, with each of the four separate areas controlled by its own programmable thermostat. I think you could say that I put my money where my mouth is, unlike in our previous home. We bought that at auction, putting my mouth where my money was.

My bike is purely organically powered. I have a petrol car, which I shall probably keep until either I stop driving or the government offers me cash to change it for electric in a desperate attempt to hit a target, whichever comes first. This past year particularly, my mileage has been pretty negligible, so a change to electric doesn't make financial sense.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 03, 2021, 04:56:57 pm
Or invest in Bitcoin.  Not so good for the environment though!

And a bubble likely to burst soon. It is the ultimate in speculation for speculation's sake, and could form a new discussion on its own. The energy expended is considerable, said to be around 0.6% of the electricity used in the whole world, or slightly more than Argentina.

Agree, bitcoin might well be a bubble that is about to burst.
The energy used in bitcoin mining is also grounds for concern.
Any holding of bitcoin should be considered a possible preparation for an uncertain future, It MIGHT retain value if sterling became worthless. The main merit of bitcoin is that governments cant print more of it, as they are apt to do with paper money.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 03, 2021, 05:05:04 pm
Or invest in Bitcoin.  Not so good for the environment though!

.............this may be worth considering as an investment too, I believe we have an authority on the subject amongst us!  ;)

https://www.taylor.pt/us/buy-port-wine/buying-advice/buying-port-as-an-investment#:~:text=Investment%20in%20Vintage%20Port%20becomes%20particularly%20attractive%20when,in%20stocks%20and%20bonds%20look%20risky%20or%20volatile.

If you were thinking of me, I certainly enjoy the odd glass of port, but would NOT recommend it as an investment.
Vintage port tends to increase in value, but the market is limited, and declines entirely possible.
Enough port to be a worthwhile investment is also very bulky and vulnerable to theft, fire, flood and other perils. If you pay a port shipper, a wine merchant, or other third party to store and insure it, this costs money.

There is also some risk of fraud.



Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 03, 2021, 07:22:37 pm

If you were thinking of me, I certainly enjoy the odd glass of port, but would NOT recommend it as an investment.
Vintage port tends to increase in value, but the market is limited, and declines entirely possible.
Enough port to be a worthwhile investment is also very bulky and vulnerable to theft, fire, flood and other perils. If you pay a port shipper, a wine merchant, or other third party to store and insure it, this costs money.

There is also some risk of fraud.

I find it doesn't keep. Not in my house, anyway.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 03, 2021, 07:42:12 pm
And becomes more perishable in lockdown, I found.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 03, 2021, 08:52:34 pm
And BTW, Tonyk, I admire your house.
I dislike most new homes, considering cheap ones to be ugly little rabbit hutches, and expensive new homes to be fake "ye olde" or giant rabbit hutches.

Yours looks to me like a good modern design, not an ugly block, and not pretending to be old.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 03, 2021, 09:47:41 pm
And becomes more perishable in lockdown, I found.

The angels seem to take a bigger share.  ;D To be honest, I didn't replace the last bottle to mysteriously drain. Lockdown has been very sober. I have probably drunk less alcohol since 17 March 2020 than I drank on 17 March 2020.

And BTW, Tonyk, I admire your house.
I dislike most new homes, considering cheap ones to be ugly little rabbit hutches, and expensive new homes to be fake "ye olde" or giant rabbit hutches.

Yours looks to me like a good modern design, not an ugly block, and not pretending to be old.


Thank you, we rather like it. This happened after we had sworn never to buy a new house, but the view from the bedroom seduced us. We are still not regretting it. This may come as a surprise to anyone who assumed I was typing rubbish in a bedsit.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 03, 2021, 11:34:51 pm
I think that we have previously seen your house, the picture looked very familiar, but I had forfotton about it until this thread.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 04, 2021, 12:56:26 pm
Sometimes, I have myself at a disadvantage. The point is, though, that all of the things you listed for homes are somewhere in the current building regs, and all new houses have to have energy efficiency designed into them, just as cars do. The next major step comes in 2025, when gas boilers will no longer be an option for new houses. Air source was considered for mine, but discounted partly on cost, partly because the technology isn't grown up yet. The solar panel (with feed-in tariff) will pay for itself in about 10 years, but air source heating would not. Either would have achieved the necessary efficiency rating to pass the building regs test, and the architect opted for the cheapest. I have a family member looking to build a home in the next few years, so I will find out more about air or ground pumps soon.

Houses last longer than cars, meaning that natural wastage alone won't achieve transformation of the nation's housing stock. I read in yesterday's paper that new policies will make mortgages harder to come by for older houses that do not come up to scratch, beginning with buy-to-let. Landlords will not be able to rent to tenants any property without a rating of C or above, which will make for a significant uplift in standards. As a landlord, I think this is wonderful news, having met this standard already for many years, but some will have serious money to lay out.

As you said earlier, you can invest to save money, even if you don't care about the environmental impacts. Retrofitting underfloor heating is never going to be easy, although if you have other floor problems to solve, it's worth a look. Similarly, swapping a modern gas boiler in good working order for air source heating makes no sense on the economic front, but is worthy of consideration if a change needs to be made. Solar power isn't for everyone, and much was done in the early rush that has come back to bite homeowners. It takes quite a few years to recoup the investment, especially with the reduced incentives from the public purse. The quick cheap fixes in your helpful list should be pushed harder, though. LED lighting has improved immensely in quality and in price, and bulbs of all shapes are available from the likes of Dunelm at prices that can be recouped in a low number of years. I don't know the current situation, but a few years ago, rood insulation was being practically given away at the shops. There are subtler things - an acquaintance found out only after having a smart electric meter fitted that a fridge-freezer that he didn't know was malfunctioning was responsible for a lot of his electricity bill. The replacement paid for itself quickly - and that's the ultimate incentive. If you can work out the cost of something over its probable lifetime, the benefits become suddenly clear.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 04, 2021, 03:15:21 pm
In the specific case of heat pumps, I would say that this technology shows much promise but is not yet mature.

Grid connected PV is already worthwhile in many cases.
Domestic sized wind turbines are only worthwhile in particularly windy locations, or when utilty power is not available.

LED lamps are now the norm, I keep thinking that my home is all LED, until I find another incandescent in some seldom used light.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 07, 2021, 03:46:21 am
UK electricity supply over Easter was "the greenest yet" due to reduced load and plenty of wind and sun.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-56657299 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-56657299)

Splendid news, but before any undue optimism breaks out, do remember that this refers only to ELECTRICITY and does not include petrol and diesel fuel for transport, nor does it include natural gas, oil, and coal for domestic heating.
Ptogress in these sectors is tather less impressive.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 07, 2021, 02:35:40 pm
Domestic sized wind turbines are only worthwhile in particularly windy locations, or when utilty power is not available.


Some years ago, a pub on Blackpool's seafront to advantage of the famous "breeze" and then generous incentives to fit four domestic wind turbines on poles on the four corners of his outside smoking and boozing area (beer garden would not be appropriate). It was as well that he was paid for his electricity, because on windy days, he had few customers, even fewer after some were spattered with bits of minced seagull. I haven't been past there since 2017, at which time two remained, with one working as I presume it was intended to, and one oscillating alarmingly because of a couple of missing blades. The noise is similar to the airport. If you have seen Crocodile Dundee II, you will wonder why indigenous Australians haven't answered the call to help.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 07, 2021, 02:50:12 pm
Splendid news, but before any undue optimism breaks out, do remember that this refers only to ELECTRICITY and does not include petrol and diesel fuel for transport, nor does it include natural gas, oil, and coal for domestic heating.

Very much my point over a period of time. I have read that use of electricity accounts for only about 20-25% of energy use across Britain. So when we hear that half of all power used was generated by renewables, we should read that as meaning about 10 to 15%.

On the good news front - fusion power is now only 10 years away. It has been only 10 years away since I was old enough to watch Tomorrows World and understand what Raymond Baxter was talking about. This time, the auguries are a little better, with actual building work going on for a full scale demonstration, that will hopefully achieve a net gain in power. I suppose that one day someone will think of a better way of turning heat into electricity than a steam turbine.

HS2 has found a use for old wind turbine blades, using slices of them instead of rebar in concrete structures. Not the track slab, I hasten to add, nor anything else safety critical, but it will at least delay their passage to landfill.

A steel company is pioneering the use of old car tyres in the blast furnace instead of coke, so solving two dilemmas with one solution. Another is looking to use graphene recovered from waste, but I have forgotten the details of how.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 07, 2021, 04:17:55 pm
Back in the good old days, when I was but a nipper, fusion power was THIRTY years in the future, so it seems to be getting closer.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 15, 2021, 08:15:23 am
Back in the good old days, when I was but a nipper, fusion power was THIRTY years in the future, so it seems to be getting closer.


It's a bit like Billy Bunter's postal order, or the jam in Lewis Carroll's book, for anyone who remembers those.

Meanwhile, news reaches me from Bloomberg about solar panels. The article (https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2021-xinjiang-solar/) is behind a paywall, but you get one freebie a month. This is worth blowing your allowance on.

Long story short, the reporting team went to China to research conditions in areas where polysilicon is made for solar panels to sell to we westerners, so we can be nice and green. The article suggests that the work is done by forced labour from the Uyghur community, behind closed doors, and with the encouragement of the national government. This poses a very big moral dilemma for our own government, and other liberal democracies around the world. In Britain, the current way to express outrage at such shenanigans is to throw statues into harbours, but a lot of the people doing that will also be demanding more solar panels. China is far and away the leading producer of both the polysilicate and the solar cells made from it. In terms of the finished product, it makes over four times as much as all the other countries in the world combined. The energy to make them is supplied by coal-fired power stations. The area has some of the worst air quality in the country.

It makes it look as if we are very good at exporting pollution.



Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 15, 2021, 12:03:42 pm
I am not a fan of china or of goods therefrom.
Forced labour, which is the polite term for slavery.
Often questionable enviromental standards in the production of materials.
Sometimes of doubtful qaulity, or outright fakes.

I would prefer that solar panels be produced in the UK, or as a second choice be produced in other western nations with better standards than those in china.

Despite these concerns, I would prefer chinese solar panels to not having solar panels.
The climate emergency is in my view too urgent to agonise over the sources of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, or materials incorporated therein.
First choice=UK made.
Second choice = European or USA made.
Third choice=, reluctantly, chinese made.

UK production is preferable in order to provide employment for UK workers, in addition to the higher enviromental standards and better working conditions in the UK if compared to china.

I expect significant job losses in aviation related industries, fossil fueled vehicle manufacture, road building, and much of the retail sector.
A high priority should therefore be placed on new green jobs, including solar panel manufacture, and other green industries.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on April 15, 2021, 12:07:56 pm
It makes it look as if we are very good at exporting pollution.
Along with our exploitative labour practices and disregard for human rights.

Though we shouldn't really worry; there's plenty of all those left over here too.  >:(


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on April 15, 2021, 12:08:32 pm
I am not a fan of china or of goods therefrom.
Not even a nice china teacup?  ;)


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 15, 2021, 01:12:21 pm

Despite these concerns, I would prefer chinese solar panels to not having solar panels.
The climate emergency is in my view too urgent to agonise over the sources of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, or materials incorporated therein.

I can't agree to that. Forced labour and slavery are wrong, whatever the attempt at justification. Imports of products made under those circumstances should be stopped immediately.

There would be a positive benefit to doing that. If we have to pay a proper price for  solar panels - and wind turbines and batteries too - those in power may be forced to take a long hard look at where the money for electricity gets spent. It may stop Her Majesty's Government (HMG) blowing billions more on things that won't solve the problem in the end, and only look good because they are always backed up by fossil fuels.

Edit: VickiS - Clarifying Acronym


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 15, 2021, 02:45:16 pm
Whilst I share your concerns about slavery, it is unrealistic to ban all imports from china, and indeed from other places with doubtful reputations.

We should IMHO reduce such imports by encouraging UK production, though even then questions will be asked about the origins of components and raw materials.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TaplowGreen on April 15, 2021, 05:55:43 pm
I am not a fan of china or of goods therefrom.
Not even a nice china teacup?  ;)

Can't drink Port out of china!


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 15, 2021, 07:07:07 pm
I am not a fan of china or of goods therefrom.
Not even a nice china teacup?  ;)

Can't drink Port out of china!

Well I suppose that you COULD but a gentleman would not, except in an emergency.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 17, 2021, 12:14:33 am
Whilst I share your concerns about slavery, it is unrealistic to ban all imports from china, and indeed from other places with doubtful reputations.

We should IMHO reduce such imports by encouraging UK production, though even then questions will be asked about the origins of components and raw materials.

It isn't unrealistic at all, just inconvenient and expensive. We might just find the true cost of cheap renewable energy, but not be prepared to dip our hands to our pockets.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on April 17, 2021, 12:08:02 pm
I'd say it would be probably politically unrealistic, particularly if we acted alone. A united front would be much harder for China to act against (but also much harder to achieve).


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 17, 2021, 01:13:00 pm
I'd say it would be probably politically unrealistic, particularly if we acted alone. A united front would be much harder for China to act against (but also much harder to achieve).

I don't see why it should be politically unrealistic, given the current fad for throwing anything to do with slavery into a local river. For the moment, though, the people opposed to Britain's part in the slave trade are in large part the same cohort who sees wind and solar power with batteries and hydrogen as the answer to every problem. At the moment, they are being told to campaign against slavery, diesel cars, and public transport.

Another risk, and not a big one just now, is that a new Chinese leadership decides to stop polluting its own country and forcing ethnic groups to work in its dirtier industries. Or it may decide to simply cross us of the list of favoured customers. The supply of affordable solar panels would dry up overnight, and we have no way of replacing that loss right now. Remember that we used to export our waste plastic to China, but they stopped taking it a few years ago, which threw a right old spanner in the works.

Change in China seems unlikely, but it also seemed unlikely in the Soviet Union until it happened.

Edit: Almost forgot. It's yet another miserable day for wind power, struggling to generate even 2GW. The output hasn't been above 5GW since 0700 on 9 April. So much for it always being windy somewhere.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 19, 2021, 12:27:00 pm
Today is a new day, the 11th consecutive day where wind energy has been at unusually low levels,sometimes even producing less electricity that coal. As it's a third of a month, maybe it isn't so unusual after all.

This hasn't stopped the interested parties from banging on about how they are going to use all this suplus renewable energy. The Sunday Times (https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/hydrogen-or-heat-pump-the-battle-of-the-boilers-is-hotting-up-b09gcp0vq) reported yesterday that a battle is taking place behind the scenes, between advocates of using hydrogen and those in favour of heat pumps to replace the nations 25 million gas boilers. Worryingly, this battle is between lobbyists for the two sides, rather than scientists and statisticians. It's behind a paywall, so here's summary.

Hydrogen is favoured by the oil and gas industry. They concede that making hydrogen by electrolysis is too expensive, and that steam reforming is too dirty. The proposal is to turn natural gas into hydrogen, using all the spare power from nearby wind turbines (see above - there is none) to turn it into into hydrogen. The resultant CO2 will be captured using a process to be invented, and injected into the aquifers the oil and gas came out of. Hopefully, it will stay there, and not make the North Sea all fizzy in the event of an earthquake.

The heat pump lobby says it is very clean, giving 4 KW of heat for every 1 KW of electricity. They say it works best in new build houses, and concede that retrofitting into Victorian stock won't be easy. They suggest combining the installation with thorough draughtproofing and insulation works, which is a good idea. The downsides include having to reinstall hot water cylinders ripped out when efficient combi boilers were installed. And the unspoken matter of where we get all the electricity from. Even a quarter of 25 million times 25 KW output for a combi boiler comes to around 150 GW to find at peak demand, or about ten times today's output of renewable electricity. Including the scandalous dirty stuff, like Drax's biomass.

I have called for evidence. So far, I have been told that there is a lot of spare renewables, as wind and solar farms are switched off when they produce too much. After I finished laughing, I asked why we were still burning fossil fuels in large quantities around the clock. I haven't heard back yet.

Both sides have appointed lobbying firms, and that's the bit that really frightens me, especially in the current political climate. My fear is that, like wind and solar has yet to replace gas, we will spend another decade or two installing batteries and making hydrogen before realising that we still can't switch the gas off, and starting to look for a real solution. The politicians who dish out the cash will be long retired from public gaze.




Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 19, 2021, 12:52:46 pm
In my view we should be replacing natural gas and other fossil fuels with wind, solar, or other renewables whenever possible.
We are some way from being able to replace ALL fossil fuels with renewables. But every little helps.

I am not aware of any plans to prohibit gas central heating in EXISTING homes, it is however proposed that in a few years time that gas heating will be prohibited in NEW homes.
A new home with good thermal insulation will need very little heating, a few kilowatts at the most. There is no question of replacing a 20+Kw gas boiler with a similar level of electric heating.

It is indeed an urban myth that we have a surplus of renewable energy at night.
In windy weather, the night time consumption of natural gas has been much reduced, down to about 5Gw. Progress, but not a surplus.
We also import electricity from mainland Europe almost continually, such imports would not be needed if we had a surplus.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on April 19, 2021, 01:37:17 pm
Quote
They suggest combining the installation with thorough draughtproofing and insulation works, which is a good idea.
I think this is probably key. A well insulated building with 'dirty' heating is probably cleaner than an uninsulated one with 'clean' heat.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 19, 2021, 02:21:15 pm
Quote
They suggest combining the installation with thorough draughtproofing and insulation works, which is a good idea.
I think this is probably key. A well insulated building with 'dirty' heating is probably cleaner than an uninsulated one with 'clean' heat.

It is also worth remembering that fuel burning heating tends to become uneconomic if the heating demand is very low.

A gas central heating system costs several thousand pounds and requires expensive servicing and periodic renewals, even for a very small heating demand. Providing a gas supply also costs money.
Electric heating is far cheaper in capital expense, and the higher cost per unit is of little importance if the demand is small.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: ellendune on April 19, 2021, 05:11:33 pm
Electric heating is far cheaper in capital expense, and the higher cost per unit is of little importance if the demand is small.

Heat pumps use 25% of the energy, but are very expensive at the moment


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 19, 2021, 09:25:15 pm
Electric heating is far cheaper in capital expense, and the higher cost per unit is of little importance if the demand is small.

Heat pumps use 25% of the energy, but are very expensive at the moment

Indeed, heat pumps are in my view more applicable to existing buildings with a relatively large heating demand.
The use of say 3Kw of electricity to produce perhaps 10 Kw of heat can be attractive, but remember that heat pumps are complex and less reliable than one might hope for.

For new homes, the way forward is in my view extreme insulation, such that only a few of Kw of heating is needed. Simple direct acting electric heating then makes sense.

I know of a modern and very large house that only needs about 8Kw of heating in severe weather. 9 bedrooms, 5 adults and a herd of children. No heating whatsoever in moderatly cool weather.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 20, 2021, 08:43:33 am
Anyway, Day 12 of the doldrums, and wind has managed to get up to 533 MW output this morning. If I bought a special sort of very ecological car and was told that it was capable of 100mph in some conditions, but would always manage at least 40mph, but found that for more than one third of a month it wouldn't go faster than a walking pensioner, I would be at the garage demanding my money back. And yet not only do some people support wind power, they tell you what they want to do with the excess. I am beginning to think that all these turbines are owned by the same people who supply gas to the closed cycle gas turbines, who are doing very well indeed, currently over 20 GW.

I would love to be proven wrong.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on April 20, 2021, 09:45:23 am
Electric heating is far cheaper in capital expense, and the higher cost per unit is of little importance if the demand is small.

Heat pumps use 25% of the energy, but are very expensive at the moment

Indeed, heat pumps are in my view more applicable to existing buildings with a relatively large heating demand.
The use of say 3Kw of electricity to produce perhaps 10 Kw of heat can be attractive, but remember that heat pumps are complex and less reliable than one might hope for.

For new homes, the way forward is in my view extreme insulation, such that only a few of Kw of heating is needed. Simple direct acting electric heating then makes sense.

I know of a modern and very large house that only needs about 8Kw of heating in severe weather. 9 bedrooms, 5 adults and a herd of children. No heating whatsoever in moderatly cool weather.
The large number of people probably help as well. Current demographic trends – increasing number of single-person households – are bad for energy consumption as well as land.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 20, 2021, 06:59:04 pm
Our government have announced plans reduce carbon emissions by 78% by 2035, considerably faster than the original date of 2050.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-56807520 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-56807520)

I suspect that most people have no idea of the scale of changes needed to achieve this.
It is probably achievable in the case of electricity supply, but what about transport, and domestic heating.
Most politicians and voters probably don't know the difference between "total energy" and "electricity"


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: ellendune on April 20, 2021, 07:14:03 pm
Anyway, Day 12 of the doldrums, and wind has managed to get up to 533 MW output this morning. If I bought a special sort of very ecological car and was told that it was capable of 100mph in some conditions, but would always manage at least 40mph, but found that for more than one third of a month it wouldn't go faster than a walking pensioner, I would be at the garage demanding my money back. And yet not only do some people support wind power, they tell you what they want to do with the excess. I am beginning to think that all these turbines are owned by the same people who supply gas to the closed cycle gas turbines, who are doing very well indeed, currently over 20 GW.

I would love to be proven wrong.

But solar should be doing quite well today.

The renewable we have plenty of that is predictable is tidal power.  We are not doing very well at developing that. 


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on April 20, 2021, 07:38:13 pm
Our government have announced plans reduce carbon emissions by 78% by 2035, considerably faster than the original date of 2050.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-56807520 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-56807520)

I suspect that most people have no idea of the scale of changes needed to achieve this.
It is probably achievable in the case of electricity supply, but what about transport, and domestic heating.
Most politicians and voters probably don't know the difference between "total energy" and "electricity"
Plant.more.trees.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 20, 2021, 08:36:42 pm
But solar should be doing quite well today.

Indeed it was, peaking at 7GW, and delivering useful energy for almost 10 hours. That's its downfall really - night. We can use it to light our homes, but not when we need to. Storage outside of the domestic setting is rather pointless, and it is so land intensive. Then there's the panels, cheap because of being made by slaves.

Quote
The renewable we have plenty of that is predictable is tidal power.  We are not doing very well at developing that. 

Puzzles me, too. I don't subscribe to the conspiracy theories about it being suppressed by the wind and solar boys so they can keep generating subsidies, because tidal power would get subsidised too. Maybe it isn't as easy as the early demonstrations made it out to be. Engineering and ecological issues, trouble with storms and the like, silting - I've heard them all mentioned but don't know the truth. I've seen the Rance barrage, which is impressive, but silting is an issue and sand eels and plaice have vanished. Some say that our offshore wind farms are doing for the sand eels too, risking turning the North Sea into a desert. That might be a scare story, it might not.

Edit: Day 13, and wind has begun to stir. We are up to 4 GW, and have turned the coal-fired stations off, or left them spinning but not producing, just in case.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on April 23, 2021, 08:08:37 pm
Any kind of tide mill is going to alter the environment, and something will suffer. Hence interest in the alternative, anchoring a floating turbine platform - it's just a sort of ship, isn't it? I think they've had difficulty making them strong enough to cope with water being heavy and liking to leap about and smash things (see under "Dawlish"). And scaling them up to a useful power rating only makes the strength vs force balance worse.

Anyway, this bunch (https://orbitalmarine.com/o2/) have just launched a new one claimed as the biggest in the world at 2 MW.
Quote
Orbital Marine Power Ltd (Orbital), Scottish-based developers of the world’s leading floating tidal turbine technology, successfully launched its 2MW tidal turbine, the Orbital O2, from the Port of Dundee on Thursday 22nd April.

The operation was managed by Osprey Shipping Ltd. and saw the 680-tonne tidal turbine transferred from the Forth Ports quayside facility in Dundee into the River Tay using a submersible barge. The launch marks the completion of the turbine build, managed by TEXO Fabrication, and the O2 will now be towed to the Orkney Islands where it will undergo commissioning before being connected to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) where it will become the world’s most powerful operational tidal turbine.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 23, 2021, 09:42:45 pm
Any kind of tide mill is going to alter the environment, and something will suffer. Hence interest in the alternative, anchoring a floating turbine platform - it's just a sort of ship, isn't it? I think they've had difficulty making them strong enough to cope with water being heavy and liking to leap about and smash things (see under "Dawlish"). And scaling them up to a useful power rating only makes the strength vs force balance worse.

Anyway, this bunch (https://orbitalmarine.com/o2/) have just launched a new one claimed as the biggest in the world at 2 MW.
Quote
Orbital Marine Power Ltd (Orbital), Scottish-based developers of the world’s leading floating tidal turbine technology, successfully launched its 2MW tidal turbine, the Orbital O2, from the Port of Dundee on Thursday 22nd April.

The operation was managed by Osprey Shipping Ltd. and saw the 680-tonne tidal turbine transferred from the Forth Ports quayside facility in Dundee into the River Tay using a submersible barge. The launch marks the completion of the turbine build, managed by TEXO Fabrication, and the O2 will now be towed to the Orkney Islands where it will undergo commissioning before being connected to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) where it will become the world’s most powerful operational tidal turbine.

Are those figures right? 2 MW is about the output of a standard wind turbine. 680 tonnes of practically anything costs a lot of money, and if that's what it takes to get tifal power, it must be a rather small BCR.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: ellendune on April 23, 2021, 09:48:56 pm
Quote
Orbital Marine Power Ltd (Orbital), Scottish-based developers of the world’s leading floating tidal turbine technology, successfully launched its 2MW tidal turbine, the Orbital O2, from the Port of Dundee on Thursday 22nd April.

The operation was managed by Osprey Shipping Ltd. and saw the 680-tonne tidal turbine transferred from the Forth Ports quayside facility in Dundee into the River Tay using a submersible barge. The launch marks the completion of the turbine build, managed by TEXO Fabrication, and the O2 will now be towed to the Orkney Islands where it will undergo commissioning before being connected to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) where it will become the world’s most powerful operational tidal turbine.

Are those figures right? 2 MW is about the output of a standard wind turbine. 680 tonnes of practically anything costs a lot of money, and if that's what it takes to get tifal power, it must be a rather small BCR.

Yes but AIUI the European Marine Energy Centre provides testing facilities for prototype systems. 2MW is quite reasonable for a prototype. 


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on April 23, 2021, 10:14:34 pm
Anything going into the sea has to be massive compared to something surrounded only by air.

Here's some more about the power of the tides, if not "tidal power". From offshoreWIND.biz (https://www.offshorewind.biz/2021/04/29/inter-array-cable-issue-to-leave-eur-403-million-mark-on-orsted/):
Quote
An inter-array cable issue on several Ørsted’s offshore wind farms in the UK and Continental Europe could have a total financial impact around DKK 3 billion (around EUR 403 million) across 2021 to 2023, the company reported in its latest financial results.

A cable failure was discovered during an inspection campaign at the Race Bank offshore wind farm in the UK and it was determined that there was an issue with the cable protection system (CPS). The issue occurs when the CPS moves across the scour protection, abrading the CPS and, in the worst-case scenario, causing cable failure.

The company has initiated remediation measures with a two-phased remediation approach. Phase one involves stabilisation of the CPS by adding another layer of rock protection to prevent further degradation and will be carried out during this year. Phase two includes the repair or replacement of damaged cables and will be done in 2022 and 2023.

“Stabilisation will deliver the optimal value risk management in the short term to prevent further damage and can likely eliminate the need to repair or replace most of the less damaged cables in phase two. We expect a limited production downtime related to the stabilisation activities”, Ørsted said.

As this CPS design was a solution in use for several years, the company currently estimates that up to ten of its offshore wind farms could be affected.

That doesn't tell what sort of a thing a "cable protection system" is - the Times report made it sound like it was the rocks piled on the cables, and thus what caused the problem. But I think it's a sheath for the cable where it goes through the dangerous bit of its route from running down inside the turbine mast to lurking on the sea bed. It needs to bend because the cable does, so steel mesh or something composite is involved. Most of the rocks are scour protection - to stop the tides felling the turbine (or "semaphore lighthouse", if you prefer).


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on May 26, 2021, 12:55:46 am

Many steel companies around the world are researching ways to replace coke with hydrogen. One of the most advanced projects is in Sweden where a consortium called ?Hybrit? began constructing a pilot plant in 2018. But they don?t expect to have a workable solution till 2035. And initial studies indicated the production cost would be 20-30% higher than using coke to make steel.

An alternative process already exists ? direct reduction of iron ore using reformed natural gas. This is less carbon-intensive than the coke-based process, but of course not fossil-free.

It's a little while since we were into coalless steelmaking, but here's a report (https://ca1-eci.edcdn.com/reports/ECIU_stuck_starting_line.pdf?mtime=20210524152011&focal=none) about how the various programmes to make bigger plants are going. There are several in Europe, with ArcelorMittal leading the charge, plus two in northern Sweden. But in the UK? Not a lot, which is the point the report is making.

I had wondered if Boris (even post-Dominic) might want to do some kind of OneWeb manoeuvre on the British steel industry. Something like "we'll bung you a load of cash (aside: we have  to, really, to keep our new friends in the north on-side) but this will be your one chance to turn yourselves from bankrupt also-rans into a competitive, green and getting greener, industry." But no, apparently not.

The report is from the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (https://eciu.net/) - yes, yet another one! It concludes:
Quote
When compared with progress overseas, it is clear that the current level of ambitions for clean steel in the UK are not sufficient to ensure that the industry catches up in the race to clean up steel production.

One tentative-at-best UK project compared to 23 more advanced schemes across Europe clearly shows the disparity in ambition and action between the two regions, with the gap only set to grow if current timescales for government support are maintained.

The Clean Steel Fund, as it stands, is not driving progress in steel sector decarbonisation, nor is the scope of ambition in the government’s Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy commensurate with that shown from governments overseas. Factors such as these are highly likely to be taken into account by multinational companies when planning investment, and could see finances flow towards plants in Germany, France and further afield, instead of toward upgrading steel mills in the UK.

With the history and skills that come with a long-standing steel sector, ample renewable energy assets from which to generate clean hydrogen, and a world-leading university and research sector, the UK is poised to charge ahead in the race to clean steel.

Instead, with 23 projects taking shape across Europe and many more worldwide, there is real danger that the UK’s proud steelmaking history could be consigned to the history books.

Oh dear.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Red Squirrel on May 26, 2021, 04:08:51 pm
Anyway, Day 12 of the doldrums, and wind has managed to get up to 533 MW output this morning. If I bought a special sort of very ecological car and was told that it was capable of 100mph in some conditions, but would always manage at least 40mph, but found that for more than one third of a month it wouldn't go faster than a walking pensioner, I would be at the garage demanding my money back. And yet not only do some people support wind power, they tell you what they want to do with the excess. I am beginning to think that all these turbines are owned by the same people who supply gas to the closed cycle gas turbines, who are doing very well indeed, currently over 20 GW.

I would love to be proven wrong.

Missed this one earlier!

April was the cruellest month as far as wind-powered generation was concerned, and May was less than spectacular. But the attached image shows that in the round, wind is making a significant contribution.

There is about 10400MW of wind energy capacity online at the moment, with 3500 MW  under construction, a further 3400 in pre-construction and 11500 planned. When all this is online, some time before the end of this decade, then there will be times when there is surplus generating capacity. Of course there will also be times when the wind turbines are generating next to nowt. But aside from the political hype, surely it's worth having this generating capacity? And the arguments about subsidies don't wash; all electricity generators are subsidised.

Legend:
Blue = Wind
Grey = Nuclear
Amber = Gas
Yellow = Solar
Black = Coal
Pink = Imported, mostly nuclear


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on May 26, 2021, 05:09:39 pm
Wind is not the complete answer for the reasons given of calm weather.
Wind power is still in my opinion a good thing for the following reasons.

Every Gwh generated from wind is several Gwh of natural gas NOT burnt. Less carbon emissions, less foreign currency spent on gas imports, and less reliance on unstable countries from which gas is imported or passes through.


I support at least doubling installed wind power capacity and also at least doubling installed solar capacity. That would eliminate  gas burning for power production under favourable conditions and much reduce gas burning under unfavourable conditions.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on May 26, 2021, 05:44:07 pm

Missed this one earlier!

April was the cruellest month as far as wind-powered generation was concerned, and May was less than spectacular. But the attached image shows that in the round, wind is making a significant contribution.

There is about 10400MW of wind energy capacity online at the moment, with 3500 MW  under construction, a further 3400 in pre-construction and 11500 planned. When all this is online, some time before the end of this decade, then there will be times when there is surplus generating capacity. Of course there will also be times when the wind turbines are generating next to nowt. But aside from the political hype, surely it's worth having this generating capacity? And the arguments about subsidies don't wash; all electricity generators are subsidised.

Legend:
Blue = Wind
Grey = Nuclear
Amber = Gas
Yellow = Solar
Black = Coal
Pink = Imported, mostly nuclear
That's not the easiest graph to read in terms of an immediate grasp of the figures, but amber looks pretty strong throughout the entire year.

I don't quite follow your figures. According to Power Technology (https://www.power-technology.com/features/wind-energy-by-country/#:~:text=Wind%20power%20has%20become%20an%20important%20source%20of,countries%20have%20the%20highest%20capacity%20of%20wind%20energy%3F), which seems to be fairly neutral in terms of types of power generation, we had around 20.7 GW of installed wind capacity in July 2020, when the article was updated last. Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_the_United_Kingdom#:~:text=UK%20Wind%20power%20capacity%20and%20generation%20%20,%20%2021%25%20%208%20more%20rows%20) says we have more than 24 GW as of December 2020, and goes on to list the major offshore projects. That is more than double the figure you quote, making me wonder if we are talking about the same thing. It also makes the figures for April and May look as though we have an asset worth tens of billions of pounds generating less than 5% of its supposed capacity for not insignificant periods of time, and that doubling it won't help because double nowt is nowt. As always, I admire your optimism, and wish I shared it.

In truth, we already have a lot of overcapacity in the generation system. We still have some coal power stations that stand idle for much of the time, and never produced more than 1.5 GW at any time throughout April 2021. There was a period of a few days when gas was producing under 3 GW, prompting ecstatic headlines in the papers. At some point in March (another cruel month for wind), however, gas was going flat out at 21 GW, meaning that we have at times ten times the capacity of the working CCGT plant standing idle. Apart from snow ploughs, gritters and fire extinguishers, I can't think of any other item we purchase in such profusion to stand idle for so long.

The power generation industry does not exist to solve the problems of emissions, but to sell power and collect subsidies, selling it twice in effect in the case of renewables. Each renewable energy company exists to throw in its own bit and get paid for it, while telling us that it is reducing global emissions. That last bit isn't strictly mendacious, because a wind turbine does that when the wind is blowing, and when the wind isn't blowing, the problem of emissions isn't the problem of the operator. Operators of solar farms reduce emissions too, during the hours of daylight only. We are going to need a lot more "low carbon" energy to get us out of the grip of oil and gas, and my simple mind thinks that if we try to do that by wind and solar, we will end up using gas forever. As you say, the power generated by wind and sun is gratefully received, but how far are we prepared to go as a nation in adding capacity that could in theory produce energy we don't need on an unforeseeable number of days in any year, yet come up woefully short on others? Will we be happy to dot the the landscape with batteries to store that excess for a day or so, yet still have gas to back up the batteries? At the moment, it doesn't really matter, because we are always using gas to produce electricity, and can just turn it down when it is windy. The government can say it is promoting low emission generation and preparing us for a carbon neutral future, but it is making promises for the next government but one to try to keep.

Bit of a puzzler.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Red Squirrel on May 26, 2021, 08:06:51 pm
I got my figures by totting up the capacities listed here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_the_United_Kingdom) in the section 'List of operational and proposed offshore wind farms'. I omitted onshore wind, which was an oversight. This, and your figures, suggest that the UK government's target of 40GB may not be out of reach.

Double nowt is indeed nowt, and double 17.6GW (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/21/may-gales-help-britain-set-record-for-wind-power-generation) is 35.2GW, unless my arithmetic has failed me again. That's not theoretical; it's often pretty blowy in the North Sea. No-one (as far as I am aware) is suggesting that wind has the same consistent output as nuclear power, but unlike nuclear power, wind is getting cheaper and subsidies for it are reducing.

The power industry does not, as you say, exist to solve the problem of emissions. Left to its own devices it would probably still be almost exclusively using the 300 years supply of coal Derek Ezra used to tell us about. As it is we are in a state of transition, and a heady mix of politics, economics, pragmatism and idealism is bound to create some inefficiencies. It is, as you say, all a bit of a puzzler.

Am I an optimist? Sometimes. But until we have better ways to store energy while the wind blows, there will clearly be a big hole in the equation when it's dark and the wind isn't blowing. I just don't accept that this is a reason not to expand wind generation capacity.

If it helps, I could be persuaded that SMRs are worth a look - at least while the technology develops to allow us to plug the hole.



Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on May 26, 2021, 11:52:03 pm

If it helps, I could be persuaded that SMRs are worth a look - at least while the technology develops to allow us to plug the hole.


And so could I. The ultimate seems to be fusion power, the holiest of grails, but 10 years away since I was a kid. Assuming it will be another 20 years minimum, we need a stop-gap, like we had the HSTs to fill in until we finished the electrification. SMR looks favourite to me, being much more familiar than CCS or grid-scale battery storage of excess renewable power. We have had small modular reactors of one sort or another since 1954, when USS Nautilus was launched. Britain's first nuclear submarine, HMS Dreadnought, was launched in 1960. That predates the introduction of natural gas as a fuel in the UK by some 7 years, and the country's conversion from coal gas was not completed until 1977. It seems odd to think that I have lived through the rise of natural gas as the clean alternative to coal gas to its demonisation as the producer of carbon dioxide, but have not seen much to suggest that a successor is standing by. Maybe not as odd as the knowledge that the population of the world has more than doubled since I was born (I am not wholly responsible!), or that my grandmother was a teenager when Orville Wright first flew and lived for a few years after the space shuttle took to space, but odd.

My children were still children when I first saw a modern wind turbine in action, at which time I thought that the solution to all of our energy problems had arrived. I think one of them was still at school when I realised that I had been wrong about that. I would not rule out the possibility that even I might see the last one in Britain cease generation. That, and the completion of the Portway Parkway station.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Red Squirrel on May 27, 2021, 11:08:37 am
I can follow everything you say, and agree with most of it, up to the point where you imagine a future where wind generation plays no role. That just seems eccentric. Wind turbines are getting cheaper and more efficient, and the problem of grid storage at scale may well begin to be solved in my dog's lifetime. There's no shortage of ideas, many of which look very promising. These are known technologies that just need investment and development.  You make the point yourself that fusion is a rolling ten years off. It may never happen. Meanwhile, we have technologies that work.

I might be betraying a misunderstanding of the energy market, but it seems to me that every watt generated by wind is a few cubic centimetres less gas that we have to buy from the Russians. Just under half Britain's gas come from the North Sea.

There is and never will be a Holy Grail of generation. Nuclear power must be seen as a necessary evil. It is no small matter to generate pollution that has to be guarded for 10,000 years. People started writing 5,000 years ago. 10,000 years ago, people first started settling in villages. A lot of civilisations have risen and fallen. It's a very, very long time! 


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on May 27, 2021, 06:52:46 pm
The great pyramids in Egypt are among the oldest large and substantially intact man made structures..
They are a few thousand years old.
A nuclear waste repository will have to last several times longer than the pyramids.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on May 27, 2021, 09:58:46 pm

I might be betraying a misunderstanding of the energy market, but it seems to me that every watt generated by wind is a few cubic centimetres less gas that we have to buy from the Russians. Just under half Britain's gas come from the North Sea.

There is and never will be a Holy Grail of generation. Nuclear power must be seen as a necessary evil. It is no small matter to generate pollution that has to be guarded for 10,000 years. People started writing 5,000 years ago. 10,000 years ago, people first started settling in villages. A lot of civilisations have risen and fallen. It's a very, very long time! 

And there was me thinking we were getting rid of gas! As it happens, we buy a lot from Norway rather than Russia. According to the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES), our net gas imports for 2019 were 430,414 GWh. Almost 296,000 GWh of that came from Norway by pipeline. We also import LNG, the biggest supplier being Qatar. Russia was second, with 34,442 GWh, slightly more than what we bought from the US, who we pay to do our fracking for us. I'm sure we could easily replace the Russian imports by buying more from the other human rights champions instead. We are not on the end of a pipeline, as some European countries are or hope to be.

As for waste - why waste it? The original nuclear plants were primarily for producing plutonium for bombs, not energy. We don't need to do that now, I hope, Fuel can be reprocessed and reused. If eventually the waste is vitrified and dumped in former coal mines or similar, it is no longer a threat at all, whereas coal and gas put CO2 into the atmosphere that was once locked away. It sounds much more dangerous on a global scale, and will be much harder to get under control.

But I had in mind fusion, if and when it arrives, rather than fission. The radioactive waste from bashing a few tritium atoms together will be negligible. If it all ends up as Raymond Baxter once told us, so cheap that it won't be worth metering and charging for it, why would we need a mechanical alternative? (My turn to be ridiculously optimistic).


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on May 28, 2021, 11:14:33 am
I do not share your confidence regarding future natural gas supplies.
If Russia cuts of gas supplies to Europe, we would suffer shortages very quickly. The fact that we obtain little gas from Russia helps not.
There would be a general shortage of gas from other sources and we would have to outbid everyone else for the supplies from other places.

We are going to be partly reliant on natural gas for many years to come, but we should in my view reduce the degree of gas reliance as much as possible.
Every unit of electricity generated from wind or solar is several units of gas not consumed.
Our now very limited natural gas storage would last longer with significant wind and solar generation, then if generating mainly from gas.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on June 09, 2021, 02:32:21 pm
Another small step towards decarbonisation  :)

The government have announced that sales of most types of halogen lamp are to banned from this September in a further step towards energy efficiency.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/end-of-halogen-light-bulbs-spells-brighter-and-cleaner-future (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/end-of-halogen-light-bulbs-spells-brighter-and-cleaner-future)

The press release is rather short on detail.
It says that SALES are to be prohibited from this September, I wonder if they mean it ? All previous bans have been on production or import, with existing stocks able to be lawfully sold.

Also no mention as to which types of lamp are to be banned. An exemption for stage, filming or TV production is noted, but which types ? Or will almost any halogen lamp still be allowed if marked "for stage use only"


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on June 09, 2021, 09:08:30 pm
Another small step towards decarbonisation  :)

The government have announced that sales of most types of halogen lamp are to banned from this September in a further step towards energy efficiency.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/end-of-halogen-light-bulbs-spells-brighter-and-cleaner-future (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/end-of-halogen-light-bulbs-spells-brighter-and-cleaner-future)

The press release is rather short on detail.
It says that SALES are to be prohibited from this September, I wonder if they mean it ? All previous bans have been on production or import, with existing stocks able to be lawfully sold.

Also no mention as to which types of lamp are to be banned. An exemption for stage, filming or TV production is noted, but which types ? Or will almost any halogen lamp still be allowed if marked "for stage use only"

Well, as usual it announces an announcement which doesn't exit - yet. Presumably that will be in the commons, probably tomorrow. Any fiddly details will be in the legislation itself.

But, without gong to dig out the previous ones, it does look as if the production of domestic spotlights stopped in 2016, and other domestic bulbs is 2018. So this next step is the end of the run-down of stocks.

The main type not banned is actually the HL-R7, a 475/500W tubular one commonly used in floodlights - often coupled to a PIR. They are just way too powerful for LEDs to replace yet, and the stage lights will be even brighter. That's likely to be the criterion, I guess.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on June 10, 2021, 01:08:49 pm
Somewhat further away than Aberthaw, in fact completely "out of area" but nevertheless of interest, there's a project underway to export solar power from Australia's Northern Territory to Singapore.
https://suncable.sg


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on June 16, 2021, 05:28:31 pm
Somewhat further away than Aberthaw, in fact completely "out of area" but nevertheless of interest, there's a project underway to export solar power from Australia's Northern Territory to Singapore.
https://suncable.sg

Impressive. I don't think we will see similar here, not just because of the climate, but because of the 12,000 acres of land required. To put that into some sort of perspective, that's about 70 times the land needed for Hinkley C for about 8% less energy in the daytime, and 100% less at night. Land is something Australia isn't short of.

It will need about 12 million of the solar panels I have 4 of on my roof. I hope the suppliers can find the staff to make them all without too much difficulty. I read yesterday that solar panel prices have started to rise after falling for a decade, which could have something to do with this.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on June 16, 2021, 06:44:34 pm
On a small island, I have misgivings about covering large areas with solar panels.
We could however considerably expand solar capacity by fitting PV modules to existing buildings or to new structures that are being built in any case.
No EXTRA land is taken up thereby.

Consider not just houses, but also railway stations and car parks.
Many stations lack waiting shelters. The cost of providing these could be offset by use of PV modules.
Many car parks could be partially roofed with PV.

PV is not the complete answer, but could play a larger part. Consider the daytime charging of all those electric cars, and trains.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: eightonedee on June 16, 2021, 08:35:42 pm
Quote
Somewhat further away than Aberthaw, in fact completely "out of area" but nevertheless of interest, there's a project underway to export solar power from Australia's Northern Territory to Singapore.
https://suncable.sg

This piqued my interest - I reckon the distance from Northern Territory to Singapore (3348 Km according to Time & Date.com = https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/distanceresult.html?p1=72&p2=236) is less than from the parts of the Sahara in Morocco to England (the nearest I could get is 2080km from Casablanca to London  -https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/distanceresult.html?p1=136&p2=60)

If Sun Cable is viable..........

 


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on June 16, 2021, 10:03:41 pm
Quote
Somewhat further away than Aberthaw, in fact completely "out of area" but nevertheless of interest, there's a project underway to export solar power from Australia's Northern Territory to Singapore.
https://suncable.sg

This piqued my interest - I reckon the distance from Northern Territory to Singapore (3348 Km according to Time & Date.com = https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/distanceresult.html?p1=72&p2=236) is less than from the parts of the Sahara in Morocco to England (the nearest I could get is 2080km from Casablanca to London  -https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/distanceresult.html?p1=136&p2=60)

If Sun Cable is viable..........

 

I do not feel that a link from North Africa or the Middle East to the UK would be viable. The reasons are political and human rather than technological.
The places in question have a reputation for wars, coups, revolts, and violent regime changes, and for poor governance in general.
Whom is going to invest billions in a scheme that it is liable to destruction in the next war, or to confiscation by the next regime.
Australia by contrast looks safe and stable.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on June 17, 2021, 05:29:58 pm

If Sun Cable is viable..........
 

...so is IceLink. There is an update by Askja Energy (https://askjaenergy.com/category/subsea-interconnector/), which reckons we could be importing electricity from Iceland by 2025.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: eightonedee on June 17, 2021, 06:57:41 pm
Quote
I do not feel that a link from North Africa or the Middle East to the UK would be viable. The reasons are political and human rather than technological.
The places in question have a reputation for wars, coups, revolts, and violent regime changes, and for poor governance in general.
Whom is going to invest billions in a scheme that it is liable to destruction in the next war, or to confiscation by the next regime.
Australia by contrast looks safe and stable.

Hmmm- we are emerging from a prolonged period when off and on we have been reliant on nations around the Persian Gulf (hardly a centre for peace and stability in recent decades) for a substantial proportion of our energy needs. A cable from Australia to Singapore runs past Indonesia (a nation riven by ethnic and religious divisions) and under seas, the control of which China is seeking to assert.

Morocco (the country I mentioned) may not be a model of democratic open government, but has managed to survive without violent regime change since independence in 1956. With a back up supply of geothermal from Iceland, is it so daft? We might also if we cooperate sensibly with the French and Spanish be able to share the cost and benefit too.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on June 17, 2021, 07:17:53 pm
Our reliance on oil from the Middle East is indeed grounds for concern, but at least oil can be stored against shortages. Electricity can not be stored affordably on a large scale.
My concerns were not primarily about the risks of Saharan electricity being interrupted, my concern is that the scheme will never be built, due to potential investors fearing loss by war, riot, coup, revolt, or confiscation.

Some imports of fossil fuels will probably be unavoidable for many years yet, but we should seek to reduce these imports for at least three reasons.
Firstly we should be reducing fossil fuel use due to concerns about climate change.
Secondly we should avoid becoming reliant on imports that are vulnerable to events outside our control.
And finally we should be supporting our own economy by producing more renewable energy within our borders employing UK workers and suppliers.

Some imports of electricity via existing and planned submarine cables are inevitable, but we should avoid becoming unduly reliant on other nations. At the very least we should aim to export at least as much electricity as we import, averaged over a year.
The UK has plenty of wind, and it seems very shortsighted for a nation with so much wind power to be a net importer of electricity.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on June 22, 2021, 02:32:19 pm
Our reliance on oil from the Middle East is indeed grounds for concern, but at least oil can be stored against shortages. Electricity can not be stored affordably on a large scale.
My concerns were not primarily about the risks of Saharan electricity being interrupted, my concern is that the scheme will never be built, due to potential investors fearing loss by war, riot, coup, revolt, or confiscation.

Some imports of fossil fuels will probably be unavoidable for many years yet, but we should seek to reduce these imports for at least three reasons.
Firstly we should be reducing fossil fuel use due to concerns about climate change.
Secondly we should avoid becoming reliant on imports that are vulnerable to events outside our control.
And finally we should be supporting our own economy by producing more renewable energy within our borders employing UK workers and suppliers.

Some imports of electricity via existing and planned submarine cables are inevitable, but we should avoid becoming unduly reliant on other nations. At the very least we should aim to export at least as much electricity as we import, averaged over a year.
The UK has plenty of wind, and it seems very shortsighted for a nation with so much wind power to be a net importer of electricity.

Oil isn't stored in large quantities, though, it's almost a "just in time" commodity. Tankers leave port full, not always with a final destination in mind. Those that do plot a course to a certain place can be diverted en route to reflect currency changes or renewed bidding. A tanker leaving the Gulf has a long journey to our own refineries, and can easily change course for Rotterdam a day before arriving. As the shortages after the fuel depot blockades show us, oil comes in by tanker to refinery, leaves shortly afterwards in its different forms for fuel stations, and the whole lot including the tanker is a part of the storage. Stop oil coming in, and we would be without fuel in under a fortnight.

We can't store wind, either, even if it does blow consistently. We have over 24 GW of installed wind power, currently providing 4.5 GW, and that on a breezy day. It doesn't matter how much we have, it can't be relied upon.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: GBM on June 22, 2021, 02:39:51 pm

Oil isn't stored in large quantities, though, it's almost a "just in time" commodity. Tankers leave port full, not always with a final destination in mind. Those that do plot a course to a certain place can be diverted en route to reflect currency changes or renewed bidding. A tanker leaving the Gulf has a long journey to our own refineries, and can easily change course for Rotterdam a day before arriving. As the shortages after the fuel depot blockades show us, oil comes in by tanker to refinery, leaves shortly afterwards in its different forms for fuel stations, and the whole lot including the tanker is a part of the storage......
Several years ago, when on tankers, we would discharge to a refinery, then backload the same cargo, then discharge to a different storage tank at the same refinery.
It was because that cargo was sold, then resold, and often sold on again within a few days!
It was also a tax 'thing' at the time as well.

As TonyK says, we would be bound for 'Landsend for orders' and enroute frequently diverted to somewhere else.
On rare occasions we would take a pilot for the final port, only for that port to be cancelled and we would turn around (after dropping the pilot off!) and head somewhere else.
The very large crude oil tankers are also used for oil storage, in that they load for a port and are asked to steam at around 10knots to a port, so taking much longer to arrive.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Red Squirrel on June 22, 2021, 06:11:05 pm
We have over 24 GW of installed wind power, currently providing 4.5 GW, and that on a breezy day. It doesn't matter how much we have, it can't be relied upon.

According to UK government figures (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/875384/Wind_powered_electricity_in_the_UK.pdf), in 2019 the UK had, as you say, 24GW of installed wind power capacity. 14.2GW of this was onshore, and 9.8GW offshore. The load factors reported for this period were 26.5% for onshore, and 40.5% for offshore, so on average the offshore turbines are producing around 3.97GW, and the onshore ones 3.76GW. Which, if my arithmetic can be trusted, is a total of 7.73GW on average; it would be rather more than that on a good breezy day.

Where did the figure of 4.5GW come from?



Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: eXPassenger on June 22, 2021, 06:30:40 pm
We have over 24 GW of installed wind power, currently providing 4.5 GW, and that on a breezy day. It doesn't matter how much we have, it can't be relied upon.

According to UK government figures (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/875384/Wind_powered_electricity_in_the_UK.pdf), in 2019 the UK had, as you say, 24GW of installed wind power capacity. 14.2GW of this was onshore, and 9.8GW offshore. The load factors reported for this period were 26.5% for onshore, and 40.5% for offshore, so on average the offshore turbines are producing around 3.97GW, and the onshore ones 3.76GW. Which, if my arithmetic can be trusted, is a total of 7.73GW on average; it would be rather more than that on a good breezy day.

Where did the figure of 4.5GW come from?



The Gridwatch web site (https://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/) shows the current state of generation.. It has wind at 4.61Gw (13.19% of generated electricity).  Gas is 39%, European imports are 13% and coal is 2%


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on June 22, 2021, 06:53:02 pm

Where did the figure of 4.5GW come from?


That Gridwatch site you recommended to me.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51264986339_f766750d0c_c.jpg)


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on June 22, 2021, 07:11:18 pm
UK wind power varies from a low of about 0.5 Gw up to a maximum of about 14 Gw.
For most of the last 24 hours it has been about 5 Gw.

5 Gw is certainly useful in reducing our reliance on imported natural gas and reducing carbon emissions from gas burning. I would support at least doubling our wind power capacity, we would still need gas but reliance on gas would be reduced.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on June 22, 2021, 07:24:55 pm
UK wind power varies from a low of about 0.5 Gw up to a maximum of about 14 Gw.
For most of the last 24 hours it has been about 5 Gw.

5 Gw is certainly useful in reducing our reliance on imported natural gas and reducing carbon emissions from gas burning. I would support at least doubling our wind power capacity, we would still need gas but reliance on gas would be reduced.

Last year, according to the service recommended to me by Red Squirrel, wind hit a maximum of 13.85 GW, around what you said, and a minimum of 0.095 GW, about 1/50th of the figure you gave, with an average of 6.22 GW. If we double that, we will be able to turn the gas down slightly, although not enough to make any difference once we have filled all the electric vehicles. That will hopefully be offset by the lower use of petrol and diesel. I thought we were supposed to be doing away with fossil fuels rather than using less, or swapping oil products used for transport for gas to make electricity to fill batteries, but that is what is going to happen.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on June 23, 2021, 07:51:39 am
This report gives a rather more optimistic view of UK wind power.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-57519392 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-57519392)

I very much doubt that wind power will ever supply ALL our electricity, but do expect it to play a much larger part, together with solar.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on June 23, 2021, 09:22:48 am
UK wind power varies from a low of about 0.5 Gw up to a maximum of about 14 Gw.
For most of the last 24 hours it has been about 5 Gw.

5 Gw is certainly useful in reducing our reliance on imported natural gas and reducing carbon emissions from gas burning. I would support at least doubling our wind power capacity, we would still need gas but reliance on gas would be reduced.

Last year, according to the service recommended to me by Red Squirrel, wind hit a maximum of 13.85 GW, around what you said, and a minimum of 0.095 GW, about 1/50th of the figure you gave, with an average of 6.22 GW. If we double that, we will be able to turn the gas down slightly, although not enough to make any difference once we have filled all the electric vehicles. That will hopefully be offset by the lower use of petrol and diesel. I thought we were supposed to be doing away with fossil fuels rather than using less, or swapping oil products used for transport for gas to make electricity to fill batteries, but that is what is going to happen.
Note that petrol and diesel vehicles also need electricity as the refining process uses large amounts. Therefore each electric vehicle that replaces a petrol or diesel one doesn't simply add to the demand for electricity by the amount it uses, especially when you consider that electric motors are far more efficient at converting energy to motion than internal combustion ones are. But neither of course do they reduce the demand for petrol and diesel by the corresponding amount. I wouldn't dream of attempting the maths even if I had the full data. And in practice there is no substitution where the electric car is an additional vehicle not a replacement.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on June 23, 2021, 09:34:02 am
This report gives a rather more optimistic view of UK wind power.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-57519392 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-57519392)

I very much doubt that wind power will ever supply ALL our electricity, but do expect it to play a much larger part, together with solar.

It is a very optimistic report, although I couldn't help but see that in the final shot, the only blades moving were on the helicopter. The demise of coal is to be welcomed, but the reporter didn't mention the rise of CCGT power stations, with more being built.

We're not really "decarbonising" at all, are we? We will still be generating electricity by gas in 20 years' time, when all these wind turbines will need replacing. Let's hope the Danes are still feeling as generous then.


Note that petrol and diesel vehicles also need electricity as the refining process uses large amounts. Therefore each electric vehicle that replaces a petrol or diesel one doesn't simply add to the demand for electricity by the amount it uses, especially when you consider that electric motors are far more efficient at converting energy to motion than internal combustion ones are. But neither of course do they reduce the demand for petrol and diesel by the corresponding amount. I wouldn't dream of attempting the maths even if I had the full data. And in practice there is no substitution where the electric car is an additional vehicle not a replacement.

That's interesting, and not something I had considered before. I found  this report on the Government website  (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/416671/Oil_Refining_Report.pdf)which looked into the matter. I'll read it on my next quiet day, but the executive report suggests that the fuel used in refineries is primarily derived from the oil itself. It is our third highest source of greenhouse gases, so would be missed in a positive way. I'm not sure that we would gain any electricity from closing refineries though. Someone will know, and will help us out.

After broadgage sowed the seeds of doubt in my mind with his posting of the link to the BBC's happy story about our new place in the world as the Saudi Arabi of wind power, I thought I would look how well things are going today. I chose my most flavoursome hat with some trepidation, then with trembling hand clicked on the website recommended to me by my learned friend Red Squirrel, who knows what's Watt. My hat is safe - coal is currently producing more electricity than our 24 GW fleet of Danish wind turbines. Solar is helping a bit, but today is yet another wonderful day for the sellers of gas.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51264782417_489babdd29_c.jpg)

Every time I start to believe that wind and solar power will save the day, this happens.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Red Squirrel on June 23, 2021, 12:49:04 pm
That's why looking at the output averaged over the year is meaningful in almost exactly the way that occasional snapshots aren't.

If your are arguing, TonyK, that we should have built a whole load of nuclear power stations 20 years ago, I think I might agree with you. If you are arguing that we might be able to generate nuclear electricity using better technology in 10 or 20 or 30 years time, I'd probably agree with you again. But without the benefit of a viable (thorium powered?) time machine, neither solution is of the slightest use to us today. Wind turbines are quick, cheap and easy to roll out today. What else is there that we can deploy right now?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on June 23, 2021, 01:29:21 pm
Dungeness nuclear power station has now closed. Hunterston will be closed no latter than early next year. Hinckley point will be closing no later than July next year.
Those three power stations represent a not negligible loss of about 6% of UK maximum demand. I hope that sufficient alternatives are available.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Red Squirrel on June 23, 2021, 03:10:24 pm
Hinkley C, with its 3.2GW capacity, will replace a number of smaller power stations as they go offline. The balance of nuclear power when they've shut and it has opened will be unchanged.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on June 23, 2021, 03:11:02 pm
That's why looking at the output averaged over the year is meaningful in almost exactly the way that occasional snapshots aren't.

If your are arguing, TonyK, that we should have built a whole load of nuclear power stations 20 years ago, I think I might agree with you. If you are arguing that we might be able to generate nuclear electricity using better technology in 10 or 20 or 30 years time, I'd probably agree with you again. But without the benefit of a viable (thorium powered?) time machine, neither solution is of the slightest use to us today. Wind turbines are quick, cheap and easy to roll out today. What else is there that we can deploy right now?

Well, apart from the fact that rolling out another 15GW of wind farms will take more than a day, there's the problem of keeping the grid supplied when it's not windy over the next few years. Storage would make the first the answer to the second, but it needs to be "grid-scale" in current jargon. Not just as individual units, but in total to run the grid for days. Of course storage has other uses to the grid too.

That's going to be a big journey, but if all journeys begin with a single step then maybe this is it. From Pivot Power (a green bit of EDF) (https://www.pivot-power.co.uk/press-release/pivot-power-wartsila-and-habitat-energy-activate-50mw-transmission-connected-battery-in-cowley-oxford/):
Quote
Pivot Power, Wärtsilä and Habitat Energy activate 50MW transmission-connected battery in Cowley, Oxford
PRESS RELEASE
Category: Battery storage Energy Superhubs Pivot Power Oxford
date: 23 June 2021
Pivot Power Oxford lithium-ion battery

Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewables, Wärtsilä, the global technology company, and Habitat Energy, the battery storage optimisation specialists, today activated the UK’s first grid-scale battery storage system directly connected to the transmission-network as part of the £41 million Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO) project.

The government-backed project, led by Pivot Power, integrates energy storage, electric vehicle (EV) charging, low carbon heating and smart energy management technologies to decarbonise Oxford by 2040 and creates a blueprint for other towns and cities to achieve net zero. The system is the first to go live as part of Pivot Power’s plans to deploy up to 40 similar sites throughout the UK.

The 50MW lithium-ion battery energy storage system will be directly connected to National Grid’s high-voltage transmission system at the Cowley substation on the outskirts of Oxford. It is the first part of what will be the world’s largest hybrid battery, combining lithium-ion and vanadium redox flow systems, which is due to be fully operational later this year. The energy storage system will provide essential flexibility to cost-effectively integrate more renewables, increase system resilience and future-proof the UK’s electricity network.

Pivot Power is developing the battery energy storage system together with an 8km private wire network, which will share the connection to the high-voltage transmission network and deliver large volumes of power to public and commercial EV charging locations across the city. The first of these will be the UK’s largest public charging hub at Redbridge Park & Ride, which will feature 38 fast to ultra-rapid chargers when it opens later this year, to kick start Oxford’s EV revolution.

Wärtsilä has provided cutting edge battery energy storage technology, underpinned by its world leading GEMS Digital Energy Platform, for optimised hybrid system control. GEMS dynamically manages energy systems through a broad range of applications, providing critical feedback to stakeholders across asset owner, operation and trading value chains. The system’s design enables the delivery of different services from frequency regulation to enhanced grid resilience. In addition, it has the ability to provide back-up power to EV charging infrastructure connected to Pivot Power’s private wire network.

Habitat Energy will optimise the battery trading and revenue generation using their AI-enabled PowerIQ platform, overseen by a team based in their Oxford office. This approach combines the best opportunities available in the day ahead market, intraday and balancing mechanism and provides ancillary services such as Dynamic Containment. They will manage and optimise the EV charging, to maximise value to the end consumer and benefit to the grid.

There's a video here (https://youtu.be/qwbC-2I7Mw4), if you like pictures of people talking in front of big grey boxes.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on June 23, 2021, 04:05:18 pm
Hinkley C, with its 3.2GW capacity, will replace a number of smaller power stations as they go offline. The balance of nuclear power when they've shut and it has opened will be unchanged.

I am not convinced that Hinckley C will ever open. AFAIK the only other nuclear power station of the same design is at Flamenville in France and is about 15 years behind schedule.
And even if it does eventually open it wont help in the near term.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on June 23, 2021, 04:42:38 pm
Hinkley C, with its 3.2GW capacity, will replace a number of smaller power stations as they go offline. The balance of nuclear power when they've shut and it has opened will be unchanged.

I am not convinced that Hinckley C will ever open. AFAIK the only other nuclear power station of the same design is at Flamenville in France and is about 15 years behind schedule.
And even if it does eventually open it wont help in the near term.

Flamanvile is actually EPR number 4. Numbers 2 and 3 are in China, and were partly built and mostly operated by Chinese companies. The are both now operating, though took over ten years to get there. The first, in Finland, is still not quite ready after more than 15 years. Flamanville is the worst delayed because they found dodgy welds in the pressure vessel after they had put it in and built most of the containment around it.

The general opinion is that it is still a safer and more efficient design, but that has made it more complicated to build. Whether that has exceeded Areva (now EDF)'s level of capability, or just led to a long learning period, who knows?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on June 23, 2021, 04:52:12 pm
That's why looking at the output averaged over the year is meaningful in almost exactly the way that occasional snapshots aren't.

If your are arguing, TonyK, that we should have built a whole load of nuclear power stations 20 years ago, I think I might agree with you. If you are arguing that we might be able to generate nuclear electricity using better technology in 10 or 20 or 30 years time, I'd probably agree with you again. But without the benefit of a viable (thorium powered?) time machine, neither solution is of the slightest use to us today. Wind turbines are quick, cheap and easy to roll out today. What else is there that we can deploy right now?

The best time to do something about the looming energy crisis was 20 years ago, I agree. The next best time is now. Wind turbines are, as you say relatively cheap and quick to roll out, if not dependable or long lived. The good news is that CCGT plants can be thrown up in a reasonably short period of time too, to back the wind farms up, and we can buy all we need from the Chinese and the Danes, and the gas from the Norwegians and sundry hangmen, henchmen and headsmen. Looking at Gridwatch again, if we had ten times the installed wind power, then today we could reduce our use of gas to provide around 7GW of energy, so it is a long way from net zero, but presumably acceptable to the green lobby.

I know full well that building a traditional nuclear station is at least a 20 year job, so I am not arguing for one to open tomorrow, nor any other impossible thing. I am drawing attention to the fact that wind and solar will never, on their own, lead us to a net zero future, something that becomes more and more apparent the closer we get to it. The chilling thing about it is that government knew this was coming decades ago, and have done naff all to head it off. The first, rather messy, generation of nukes came and went with nothing to replace them. The Blair government expanded the gas capability as an emergency stopgap by means of the South Wales Gas Pipeline, begun in 2003 and completed before some of the protest groups had organised themselves, in 2007. Wind power isn't the answer on its own, it's more a way for the government to say it's doing something, don't worry, the next government can sort it out properly, we want to win the next election, not upset people.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on June 24, 2021, 09:49:52 pm
I read today that we are about to resume operations drilling for oil and gas in the North Sea. There must be more wind turbines on the way.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on August 19, 2021, 02:42:28 pm

Many steel companies around the world are researching ways to replace coke with hydrogen. One of the most advanced projects is in Sweden where a consortium called "Hybrit" began constructing a pilot plant in 2018. But they don?t expect to have a workable solution till 2035. And initial studies indicated the production cost would be 20-30% higher than using coke to make steel.

An alternative process already exists - direct reduction of iron ore using reformed natural gas. This is less carbon-intensive than the coke-based process, but of course not fossil-free.

More news from Hybrit (https://www.hybritdevelopment.se/en/the-worlds-first-fossil-free-steel-ready-for-delivery/): they say they have delivered the first of their "fossil-free" steel to a commercial customer.
Quote

SSAB has now manufactured the first fossil-free steel in the world and delivered it to a customer. The test delivery is an important step toward a fully fossil-free iron and steel production value chain and a milestone for the HYBRIT partnership between SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall.

In July, SSAB Oxelösund rolled the first steel produced using HYBRIT technology, i.e., reduced by 100% fossil-free hydrogen instead of coal and coke, with good results. The steel is now being delivered to the first customer, the Volvo Group.
...
SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall created HYBRIT, Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology, in 2016, with the aim of developing a technology for fossil-free iron- and steelmaking. In June 2021, the three companies were able to showcase the world’s first hydrogen-reduced sponge iron produced at HYBRIT’s pilot plant in Luleå. This first sponge iron has since been used to produce the first steel made with this breakthrough technology.

The goal is to deliver fossil-free steel to the market and demonstrate the technology on an industrial scale as early as 2026. Using HYBRIT technology, SSAB has the potential to reduce Sweden’s total carbon dioxide emissions by approximately ten per cent and Finland’s by approximately seven per cent.

They don't say if the production was commercial, in the sense of costing less to make than the selling price. But it's not really fair to ask about that so early in their programme.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on August 19, 2021, 03:19:02 pm
I doubt that this carbon free process will be viable just yet on an industrial scale, but it certainly shows considerable promise for the future.
A vast amount of renewably generated electricity will be needed to make enough hydrogen.

Hydrogen storage near the steel works would be viable, allowing best use of inherently variable wind power.

Steel is of course an alloy of mainly iron with a little carbon, so some carbon would still be required, but the amounts would be very small if compared to the coke consumed in a blast furnace.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: ellendune on August 19, 2021, 10:51:46 pm
The government's Hydrogen Strategy came out.  It seems that they are very keen on Hydrogen power.  So keen that since they won't be able to get enough "Green Hydrogen" from renewable energy they are going to use "Blue Hydrogen" made from methane which will, according to this report in the Independent (https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/blue-hydrogen-association-chair-quits-b1905437.html?utm_content=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1629403798), actually generate 20% more carbon dioxide than simply using the methane as fuel!


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Lee on August 20, 2021, 12:20:58 am
The government's Hydrogen Strategy came out.  It seems that they are very keen on Hydrogen power.  So keen that since they won't be able to get enough "Green Hydrogen" from renewable energy they are going to use "Blue Hydrogen" made from methane which will, according to this report in the Independent (https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/blue-hydrogen-association-chair-quits-b1905437.html?utm_content=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1629403798), actually generate 20% more carbon dioxide than simply using the methane as fuel!

Does this mean there is scope for farmers to replace their "Red Diesel" with "Red Hydrogen" sourced by recycling the methane emissions of their ruminant livestock?...


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on August 20, 2021, 01:45:54 am
The government love hydrogen for several reasons.
Firstly it saves dong anything much here and now. Measures to substantially reduce fossil fuel consumption such as by doubling the price of the fuels and by prohibiting new installations of fossil fueled equipment would prove unpopular. The promise of hydrogen avoids taking unpopular measures now.

Secondly most politicians and most voters cant understand  basic science and believe that hydrogen will be the new wonder fuel that "only produces water when burnt" and will of course be cheap and plentiful.

If green hydrogen is to replace natural gas  we will need a vast expansion in wind power capacity. To between ten and twenty times the present capacity has been suggested. To install that many wind turbines would almost certainly require major changes in the law. And do not forget all the extra high voltage transmission lines, substations, and hydrogen production facilities.
And with wind power being inherently variable, a LOT of hydrogen storage tanks, a few of which may explode. Probably not many explosions, but society is not tolerant of NEW risks, though accepting existing risks such as road deaths.

It might be simpler to use less fuel. More efficient appliances, double the price of less efficient types. More efficient lighting, quadruple the price of less efficient lamps.
Design new homes to need almost no heating.
Encourage walking, cycling, and electric public transport.



Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on August 20, 2021, 09:39:39 am
Everybody loves that clean and simple equation: 2H2 + O2 >> 2H2O
In practice air contains lots of nitrogen which at combustion temperatures also combines to give various NOx. Not as bad as from diesel but it's not as clean as we like to think. And regardless of how clean we can make it, I think Broadgage has a point that we (governments, industries and consumers) like the idea of it because it seems to promise a clean future without us having to change our ways.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on August 20, 2021, 11:11:36 am
The government's Hydrogen Strategy came out.  It seems that they are very keen on Hydrogen power.  So keen that since they won't be able to get enough "Green Hydrogen" from renewable energy they are going to use "Blue Hydrogen" made from methane which will, according to this report in the Independent (https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/blue-hydrogen-association-chair-quits-b1905437.html?utm_content=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1629403798), actually generate 20% more carbon dioxide than simply using the methane as fuel!

It smells to me as though the lobbyists have been very busy.

The government love hydrogen for several reasons.
Firstly it saves dong anything much here and now. Measures to substantially reduce fossil fuel consumption such as by doubling the price of the fuels and by prohibiting new installations of fossil fueled equipment would prove unpopular. The promise of hydrogen avoids taking unpopular measures now.

Here goes...

I agree with you, broadgage. Jam tomorrow is always better than no toast today.


Quote
Secondly most politicians and most voters cant understand  basic science and believe that hydrogen will be the new wonder fuel that "only produces water when burnt" and will of course be cheap and plentiful.

I tend to agree with you, broadgage. Hydrogen isn't a fuel as such because of the tiny amounts found free in nature, just a way of storing energy. It is as clean as the process that made it.

Quote
If green hydrogen is to replace natural gas  we will need a vast expansion in wind power capacity. To between ten and twenty times the present capacity has been suggested. To install that many wind turbines would almost certainly require major changes in the law. And do not forget all the extra high voltage transmission lines, substations, and hydrogen production facilities.
And with wind power being inherently variable, a LOT of hydrogen storage tanks, a few of which may explode. Probably not many explosions, but society is not tolerant of NEW risks, though accepting existing risks such as road deaths.

I have stopped agreeing with you now. I know this is only a snapshot, but it happens a lot.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51391058595_ae9c2359ea_c.jpg)

Don't forget that Orsted were recently complaining that the lack of wind this year has cut their forecast profits from offshore wind to a mere £1.7 billion this year, meaning that someone might have to postpone the replacement yacht for a few months, and cancel the upgrade of the corporate jet fleet. It might, as an aside, reduce the amount of renewable electricity produced. Anyway, if we had ten times the current number of wind turbines, we would still be burning gas for electricity today,

Quote
It might be simpler to use less fuel. More efficient appliances, double the price of less efficient types. More efficient lighting, quadruple the price of less efficient lamps.
Design new homes to need almost no heating.
Encourage walking, cycling, and electric public transport.

I have started agreeing again. Having a government drive to replace every incandescent lamp in the land with LED equivalents, free of charge, would be a good use of money, which could be generated by stopping the near £1 bn pa payments to some fuel companies to burn imported forests. Standards for new homes are already high, so maybe more attention could be paid to the heritage stock. In 1981 or thereabouts, I put the first ever layer of insulation in the loft of my newly acquired house, with the aid of £25 from the council. As a nation, we should be taking that a few more steps towards having every home more energy efficient. A proper energy audit of every house would be a good idea, rather than leaving it to individuall companies to solve individual problems (or not) with their innovative products.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on August 21, 2021, 05:47:10 am
If we had twenty times todays wind power capacity, then that would regularly result in a significant surplus of wind power that could be used to make hydrogen.

Wind power regularly exceeds 5 GW, twenty times that is of course 100 GW or about twice the present maximum demand.
Wind power fairly regularly exceeds 10 GW, and twenty time that would be several times present demand.

The lowest wind power production that I recall in winter is about 0.5 GW, twenty times that would be a useful 10 GW, but still leaving a substantial shortfall.
The lowest wind power output that  I recall seeing in summer was about 0.1 GW, twenty times that would still be a limited contribution to Summer maximum demand of about 35 GW. Solar would help a lot with Summer maximum demand, and could be expanded so as to meet ALL the Summer daytime demand.

Some of the hydrogen could be stored and used to generate electricity at times of low wind during darkness. That needs EVEN MORE wind turbines.

Sounds cheaper to reduce fuel use, rather than to look for costly and complicated alternatives.

Building wind turbines, transmission lines, hydrogen pipelines, and hydrogen stores on the scale required would be hugely unpopular, and would probably be unachievable in a democracy.
Declare martial law and shoot the NIMBYs ? Might not be popular ?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: mjones on August 21, 2021, 08:13:47 am
Energy storage is clearly needed to cope with variable wind generation,  but it shouldn't be assumed that hydrogen is the best way to do this. Electrolysis isn't particularly efficient, nor are current fuel cells, so you only get back 30% to 40% of the original energy. This might still make sense if the energy would otherwise be wasted,  but there are more efficient energy storage methods that are also more easily scaled up than electrolysers. Liquified air has been mentioned before here, there are schemes to use heavy weights pulled up and down in old mine shafts, pumped hydraulic fluids, compressed air, flow batteries, to name a few. There is a risk that lots of money gets spent on hydrogen schemes that turn out to be uneconomic compared to other technologies and more sophisticated demand management.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Rhydgaled on August 21, 2021, 10:24:39 am
The government's Hydrogen Strategy came out.  It seems that they are very keen on Hydrogen power.  So keen that since they won't be able to get enough "Green Hydrogen" from renewable energy they are going to use "Blue Hydrogen" made from methane which will, according to this report in the Independent (https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/blue-hydrogen-association-chair-quits-b1905437.html?utm_content=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1629403798), actually generate 20% more carbon dioxide than simply using the methane as fuel!
I thought 'blue hydrogen' was hydrogen from electrolysis using electricity from the national grid (where burning gas is currently a large part of the mix), 'green hydrogen' was also made using electrolysis (but using 100% renewable electricity) and steam-reforming of methane was 'brown hydrogen'. However, when I Googled, I found this page (https://energyfactor.exxonmobil.eu/science-technology/blue-green-hydrogen) (https://energyfactor.exxonmobil.eu/science-technology/blue-green-hydrogen/) which states that "the labels ‘blue hydrogen’ and ‘green hydrogen’ have no commonly agreed-on definition."


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: ellendune on August 21, 2021, 11:57:50 am
The government's Hydrogen Strategy came out.  It seems that they are very keen on Hydrogen power.  So keen that since they won't be able to get enough "Green Hydrogen" from renewable energy they are going to use "Blue Hydrogen" made from methane which will, according to this report in the Independent (https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/blue-hydrogen-association-chair-quits-b1905437.html?utm_content=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1629403798), actually generate 20% more carbon dioxide than simply using the methane as fuel!
I thought 'blue hydrogen' was hydrogen from electrolysis using electricity from the national grid (where burning gas is currently a large part of the mix), 'green hydrogen' was also made using electrolysis (but using 100% renewable electricity) and steam-reforming of methane was 'brown hydrogen'. However, when I Googled, I found this page (https://energyfactor.exxonmobil.eu/science-technology/blue-green-hydrogen) (https://energyfactor.exxonmobil.eu/science-technology/blue-green-hydrogen/) which states that "the labels ‘blue hydrogen’ and ‘green hydrogen’ have no commonly agreed-on definition."

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_economy) agrees that the terms are not standardised but does define them.  It describes a whole range of colours.

Quote
Gray or blue
Hydrogen is industrially produced from steam reforming (SMR), which uses natural gas.[50] The energy content of the produced hydrogen is less than the energy content of the original fuel, some of it being lost as excess heat during production. Steam reforming emits carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.
 

In essence they are produced from fossil fuels. It states that the difference between grey and blue is that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is used in the production of blue hydrogen.  I assume that grey hydrogen can also be produced by electrolysis, but if blue hydrogen was produced that way the have to be CCS used in the production of the electricity. 

However according to the article in the Independent (https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/blue-hydrogen-association-chair-quits-b1905437.html?utm_content=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1629403798) I quoted earlier, blue hydrogen made from methane which still actually generate 20% more carbon dioxide than simply using the methane as fuel.  Whether that is referring to blue of grey hydrogen I don't know. 

According to Wikipedia, brown hydrogen is produced from coal presumably in a way similar to the production of town gas that was as much as 50% hydrogen. 


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on August 21, 2021, 05:21:33 pm
The government's Hydrogen Strategy came out.  It seems that they are very keen on Hydrogen power.  So keen that since they won't be able to get enough "Green Hydrogen" from renewable energy they are going to use "Blue Hydrogen" made from methane which will, according to this report in the Independent (https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/blue-hydrogen-association-chair-quits-b1905437.html?utm_content=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1629403798), actually generate 20% more carbon dioxide than simply using the methane as fuel!
I thought 'blue hydrogen' was hydrogen from electrolysis using electricity from the national grid (where burning gas is currently a large part of the mix), 'green hydrogen' was also made using electrolysis (but using 100% renewable electricity) and steam-reforming of methane was 'brown hydrogen'. However, when I Googled, I found this page (https://energyfactor.exxonmobil.eu/science-technology/blue-green-hydrogen) (https://energyfactor.exxonmobil.eu/science-technology/blue-green-hydrogen/) which states that "the labels ‘blue hydrogen’ and ‘green hydrogen’ have no commonly agreed-on definition."

There is a lot of re-branding going on, and a certain amount of fudging to show that ANY hydrogen must be a good thing.
A few years ago it was announced that homes built after 2025 would not be allowed to have gas heating. Greatly improved insulation and very limited electric heating was the suggested alternative.
This was opposed by various vested interests, and a "get out clause" has been proposed whereby gas central heating will still be allowed if the boiler  carries a blue sticker carrying the words "hydrogen ready"


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on August 23, 2021, 10:01:25 pm

In essence they are produced from fossil fuels. It states that the difference between grey and blue is that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is used in the production of blue hydrogen.  I assume that grey hydrogen can also be produced by electrolysis, but if blue hydrogen was produced that way the have to be CCS used in the production of the electricity. 

However according to the article in the Independent (https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/blue-hydrogen-association-chair-quits-b1905437.html?utm_content=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1629403798) I quoted earlier, blue hydrogen made from methane which still actually generate 20% more carbon dioxide than simply using the methane as fuel.  Whether that is referring to blue of grey hydrogen I don't know. 

According to Wikipedia, brown hydrogen is produced from coal presumably in a way similar to the production of town gas that was as much as 50% hydrogen. 

In one sense, Carbon Capture and Storage has been going on for years in the production of hydrogen by steam reforming. The carbon dioxide produced in the reaction is purified, and stored in metal cylinders. Unfortunately, this storage is largely temporary, as almost every use this gas is put to - fizzing up some beers and soft drinks, stunning animals, making greenhouse plants grow faster etc - ends with it being discharged to the atmosphere. The recovery of the CO2 is economic because it is at a much higher concentration than in the atmosphere, there is a market for it, and has to be got rid of as a waste product anyway.

The government proposal looks very much as though it will either divert energy from wind turbines from the grid to make hydrogen, in which case we will burn more gas to power the grid, or (more likely) end up using energy produced by burning gas to turn more gas into hydrogen and CO2, so that we can use the hydrogen to turn back into a lot less electricity, or burn instead of gas. I can see why we would end up with more CO2, unless we all agree to drink more lager and pop. Unless there are many, many more offshore wind turbines, this would be just another box-ticking exercise. Even then, there would come a point where even the most ardent greenie would have to admit that their will be times when we don't have sufficient electricity, and times when there is so much that we either have to pay generators to switch off, or end up running out of steel to make enough canisters to store all the hydrogen, while ships dodge turbines to cross the sea, and fish disappears from the national menu.

Put me down as sceptical.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on September 10, 2021, 10:16:36 am
It has all gone orribly wrong WRT natural gas price and supply in the UK.
Wholesale gas it at present trading at 140 pence a them. And has been for some days. That is about FOUR times the usual price at this time of year, and substantially in excess of the last peak price of 82 pence a therm.

Russia is restricting supplies, and various Asian countries are outbidding us for LNG cargoes.

In the near term, this is bad news for the environment as coal burning has increased, West Burton coal power station is back in use for example.

In the longer term, prices like this are good news for the climate as use of gas is discouraged and renewables become more economic. Two domestic energy retailers have gone bust, due to paying much higher wholesale prices and being unable to pass this on promptly to consumers. Others are expected to follow.

Although gas prices are greatly increased, there are not YET any physical shortages in the UK.

If supplies remain adequate but at today's price then I expect retail gas prices to at least double, and electricity prices to increase by at least 50%

If significant physical gas shortages occur, then I expect that HMG will bring in emergency regulations to limit consumption, and that large scale power cuts will result. GAS cuts are unlikely for safety reasons, It is ELECTRICITY supplies that would be at risk in any serious gas emergency.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on September 10, 2021, 10:21:06 am
Various links re above.

UK gas prices, 5 year chart.  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/cxwdwz5d8gxt/natural-gas (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/cxwdwz5d8gxt/natural-gas)

And, energy suppliers bust over prices, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/sep/08/two-uk-energy-suppliers-succumb-to-record-surge-in-prices (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/sep/08/two-uk-energy-suppliers-succumb-to-record-surge-in-prices)

West Burton power station back in use, https://www.energylivenews.com/2021/09/07/britain-fires-up-coal-power-plant-to-meet-electricity-demand/ (https://www.energylivenews.com/2021/09/07/britain-fires-up-coal-power-plant-to-meet-electricity-demand/)


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: GBM on September 10, 2021, 12:38:54 pm
Yorkshire Energy & A.N.Other failed late last year (early this year?).
Yorkshire Energy consumers were moved to Scottish Power.

We were with Y.E for around a year.  Left Scottish Power soonest & transferred to PfP.
Been with them for around 7 or 8 months.
Ofgem will transfer us to one of the big companies again, and we'll switch to a far cheaper one again.


Title: Decarbonisation
Post by: Red Squirrel on September 10, 2021, 12:49:12 pm
A friend (who works in nuclear power) pointed me at this interesting resource which shows carbon intensity of electricity generation by country. Obviously it doesn't quite tell the whole story, but it does lend weight to the view that the quicker we get a few new nuclear power stations going the better...

https://www.electricitymap.org/map

Scroll down to see Australia - Land of Sun, remember - and weep.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on September 10, 2021, 02:17:56 pm
I have mixed feelings about nuclear power.
It should be a good idea, but I have doubts as to the practical application.

I do not trust chinese involvement from either the quality control point of view or for national security reasons.
And as for japan, if they cant build a decent train then I don't want a nuke from them.

I would have more faith in UK designed and built reactors, but could we build them these days ?

Hinkley C is years late and will no doubt go furthur over budget.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Red Squirrel on September 10, 2021, 02:40:07 pm
Hinkley C is years late and will no doubt go furthur over budget.

...which is probably a good reason for getting on with Sizewell C. The high cost is down to fiscal policy as much as technology.


Title: Re: Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on September 10, 2021, 03:54:32 pm
A friend (who works in nuclear power) pointed me at this interesting resource which shows carbon intensity of electricity generation by country. Obviously it doesn't quite tell the whole story, but it does lend weight to the view that the quicker we get a few new nuclear power stations going the better...

https://www.electricitymap.org/map

Scroll down to see Australia - Land of Sun, remember - and weep.
Never mind "Australia", contrast Queensland with Tasmania.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on September 15, 2021, 09:24:25 am
The increase in natural gas prices continues.
Now at about 180 pence a therm, well over twice the last peak price, and many times the norm for this time of year.

I am shocked at both the actual price and at the absence of any significant comment or reporting of this.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: ellendune on September 15, 2021, 09:16:03 pm
The increase in natural gas prices continues.
Now at about 180 pence a therm, well over twice the last peak price, and many times the norm for this time of year.

I am shocked at both the actual price and at the absence of any significant comment or reporting of this.

I listened to the 5:00 new on Radio 4 today and there was a piece about it and the knock on effect on electricity prices


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on September 16, 2021, 11:19:00 pm
There were two pieces of news this week about electricity supply. One was the fire at Sellindge, taking taking the converters for IFA (the first cross-channel link) out of action. One half is expected back in a couple of weeks, the other not until the spring (though that appears to be planned maintenance). Which is bad, but not quite so bad now that there are several other links.

The other news was about the new grid link from Hinckley to Avonmouth, where the first pylon has just been erected. Work along the route via Bridgwater and Sandford has been going on for some time (as residents of places like Nailsea will know), but it's newsworthy because this is the first of the new pretty (well, prettier) T-pylons. This line has its own web site (https://hinkleyconnection.co.uk/your-area/), giving loads of details of what happens where as it crosses 57 km of GWR-land.
(https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/976/cpsprodpb/CD5D/production/_120537525_mediaitem120537524.jpg)
Picture from this BBC report (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-58548878), as NG ESO have not reported that yet.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: paul7575 on September 17, 2021, 01:41:21 pm
They won’t look quite like that once the 3 phase cables, insulators and aerial earth wire are fitted though?  I wonder if it’s just a coincidence that they’re having a significant PR story with photos of just the bare mast?

Still looks good though…

Paul


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on September 17, 2021, 04:31:58 pm
They won’t look quite like that once the 3 phase cables, insulators and aerial earth wire are fitted though?  I wonder if it’s just a coincidence that they’re having a significant PR story with photos of just the bare mast?

Still looks good though…

Paul


They have tidied up the insulators too. It was surprisingly difficult to find pictures of the NG prototype line with its realistic wires, as opposed to CGI. However, this is one from the designers, Bystrup;
(https://static.wixstatic.com/media/055fa7_9d8020fc9c0840029c51ec9242ff5952~mv2_d_4725_3149_s_4_2.jpg/v1/fill/w_980,h_640,al_c,q_85,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01/055fa7_9d8020fc9c0840029c51ec9242ff5952~mv2_d_4725_3149_s_4_2.webp)

They do need in-line insulators, and a few other tricks, for sharp bends, terminations, and junstions.

Of course some people are hard to please - this Guardian article (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/13/electricity-pylons-britain-duller-place-national-grid-t-pylon-design) maintains they are so boring as to be no better than the old lattice ones:
Quote
Designed by Danish architect Bystrup, the T-pylon is shorter than the lattice of old, which is achieved by stringing the wires in a triangular configuration. However, the style feels somewhat safe, as if to appease the detractors – after all, barely anyone objects to lamp-posts. What a wasted opportunity to drop more innovative sculptures across the landscape.

As professional detractors, they should know ...


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: PhilWakely on September 17, 2021, 05:28:21 pm
It was surprisingly difficult to find pictures of the NG prototype line with its realistic wires, as opposed to CGI. However, this is one from the designers, Bystrup;
(https://static.wixstatic.com/media/055fa7_9d8020fc9c0840029c51ec9242ff5952~mv2_d_4725_3149_s_4_2.jpg/v1/fill/w_980,h_640,al_c,q_85,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01/055fa7_9d8020fc9c0840029c51ec9242ff5952~mv2_d_4725_3149_s_4_2.webp)

If those are National Grid wires, they are extremely low!


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on September 17, 2021, 05:45:13 pm
If those are National Grid wires, they are extremely low!

How are you judging scale so as to decide that? HV grid wires always look lower than they are, partly because they are thicker wires than your imagination tells you. The T-pylons are shorter, but that's mainly due to the lack of a pointy top and the triangular arrangement of the wires being more compact than vertical stacking. I'm sure the limit of vertical clearance for 400 kV is still the same.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on September 17, 2021, 08:21:41 pm

Of course some people are hard to please - this Guardian article (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/13/electricity-pylons-britain-duller-place-national-grid-t-pylon-design) maintains they are so boring as to be no better than the old lattice ones:
Quote
Designed by Danish architect Bystrup, the T-pylon is shorter than the lattice of old, which is achieved by stringing the wires in a triangular configuration. However, the style feels somewhat safe, as if to appease the detractors – after all, barely anyone objects to lamp-posts. What a wasted opportunity to drop more innovative sculptures across the landscape.

As professional detractors, they should know ...
I'm not sure anyone called Flash should be trusted with anything electrical!


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on September 18, 2021, 03:08:22 am
Those insulators look inadequate to me. Are they actual photographs or "artists impressions" ?
 
High voltage insulators need not just enough clearance for the voltage, but also a generous "creepage length" along the insulator. This is typically achieved by a number of discs so arranged as to present a very long creepage distance.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Oxonhutch on September 18, 2021, 08:17:02 am
I hope that top connection to the tee arm is stronger than it looks. The engineer-bit in me senses two single points of failure.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on September 18, 2021, 11:19:00 am
Those insulators look inadequate to me. Are they actual photographs or "artists impressions" ?
 
High voltage insulators need not just enough clearance for the voltage, but also a generous "creepage length" along the insulator. This is typically achieved by a number of discs so arranged as to present a very long creepage distance.

Well, that is - or at least is claimed to be - progress. Broadgage, I think, has been misled by the scale of the things - as we all are. Here are a couple of pictures from Allied Insulators (https://www.alliedinsulators.com/innovations/t-pylon/), who are the ones claiming cleverness credit of them. One has people in, to show the scale, but the insulators are covered. The second shows that they do have all the usual features, including track-lengthening corrugations. 
(https://www.alliedinsulators.com/assets/slideshows/t-pylon/2116fa0b29/t-pylon1.jpg)
(https://www.alliedinsulators.com/assets/slideshows/t-pylon/6cb655d91c/t-pylon5.jpg)

I hope that top connection to the tee arm is stronger than it looks. The engineer-bit in me senses two single points of failure.

All change has consequences, and the art of good engineering is to foresee all the adverse ones and prevent them or stop and try another approach. Of course you can never know whether an unforeseen consequence is adverse, so you need to foresee all of them to find out!

I'd agree with broadgage's general view that a lot of recent designs (not just trains) have done badly in this respect, even appearing to be unaware of things that not long ago all designers knew. I don't share his view that there is a Rosicrucian cell skulking in the basement of DfT Towers plotting to make life as miserable as possible for rail travellers in general, and broadgage in particular, as a prelude to shutting down the railways.


Title: Re: Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on September 18, 2021, 09:55:40 pm
I go away for a week and come back to a foreign country, where nothing seems as I left it.

A friend (who works in nuclear power) pointed me at this interesting resource which shows carbon intensity of electricity generation by country. Obviously it doesn't quite tell the whole story, but it does lend weight to the view that the quicker we get a few new nuclear power stations going the better...

I couldn't agree more, Red Squirrel, and that "illegal subsidy" strike price of £92.50 per MWh looks a real bargain now.

I have mixed feelings about nuclear power.
It should be a good idea, but I have doubts as to the practical application.

I do not trust chinese involvement from either the quality control point of view or for national security reasons.
And as for japan, if they cant build a decent train then I don't want a nuke from them.

I would have more faith in UK designed and built reactors, but could we build them these days ?

Hinkley C is years late and will no doubt go furthur over budget.

I think the past 60 years show that nuclear power is practical. It is even more so now for a number of reasons. Firstly, we probably won't need to make any more plutonium for bombs for a long time - I would much prefer that we used it as fuel instead. This gives us a lot more choice over design - the Magnox reactors were inefficient in using the fuel because of the need for plutonium. That leads to the second point - we know a great deal more about nuclear energy than we did 60 years ago, even if we did run down the skills set somewhat. The choice of materials is easier to make now when know what various types of concrete and steel look like after being bombarded by neutrons for a few decades. How we deal with what is currently termed waste, but which may prove to be fuel has improved enormously.
The third point is competitiveness. Nuclear can already match wind and solar for safety, but can beat them soundly in terms of reliability. I was laughed at some time ago for saying that the limitations of renewables would become more apparent as more came on line and we got closer to beginning to fase out phossils. Seems I was right, although that has yet to stop the snake oil merchants from flooding social media with stories about how they are going to store all the excess renewable power in batteries or make hydrogen with it. We need a supply of energy that is reliable and controllable, and if we don't want gas or coal in the mix, it will have to be nuclear.
Brings me nicely to the fourth point - yes we can build them. Hinkley C seems to be going to plan, and is having something of an, er, electrifying effect on confidence in the nuclear engineering sector. At the top is a man with wild hair who works out what goes bang when what hits what, and how best to keep it under control. The pyramid expanding below is about engineering in the truest form, applying lessons learned in materials and techniques. An awful lot of people have been grafting away on Hinkley C for a long time, with apprentices watching their every move. Sizewell C should be relatively straightforward for them - if it gets built. That's really down to the financial modelling at the moment, which, as RS says, is the really complicated bit. We won't get Hinkley C terms again - I share broadgage's view that the price will rise, but remember - we don't pay until it starts running.
I say "if" Sizewell C is built. I think it will be, but other technologies are in the ascendancy. Rolls-Royce has designs for small modular plant, built in a factory and transported (if they can find a lorry driver) to a suitable site. Next to a closed coal power station or nuclear plant will do fine. They are off-the-shelf, just add a couple more for extra power. Thorium is back in vogue, as are molten salt reactors.


It has all gone orribly wrong WRT natural gas price and supply in the UK.
Wholesale gas it at present trading at 140 pence a them. And has been for some days. That is about FOUR times the usual price at this time of year, and substantially in excess of the last peak price of 82 pence a therm.

Russia is restricting supplies, and various Asian countries are outbidding us for LNG cargoes.

In the near term, this is bad news for the environment as coal burning has increased, West Burton coal power station is back in use for example.

In the longer term, prices like this are good news for the climate as use of gas is discouraged and renewables become more economic. Two domestic energy retailers have gone bust, due to paying much higher wholesale prices and being unable to pass this on promptly to consumers. Others are expected to follow.

Although gas prices are greatly increased, there are not YET any physical shortages in the UK.

If supplies remain adequate but at today's price then I expect retail gas prices to at least double, and electricity prices to increase by at least 50%

If significant physical gas shortages occur, then I expect that HMG will bring in emergency regulations to limit consumption, and that large scale power cuts will result. GAS cuts are unlikely for safety reasons, It is ELECTRICITY supplies that would be at risk in any serious gas emergency.

It has gone horribly wrong, although it was not a surprise to some commentators. The renewables companies are saying that it has been 20% less windy than expected, which has had a big impact on their profits output. We aren't the only ones trying to close coal plants down, although I can see the closure plans being slowed a little, meaning more gas has been needed. Russia and China are replenishing stocks in the same way as some people buy toilet paper when told there is no cause for alarm. Both are looking to increase production generally, adding pressure. We produce nearly a half of our own gas, with most of the rest coming from Norway and Qatar. That last is especially subject to price volatility, being delivered by ships that can change course if they get a better offer. As much of our electricity is derived from gas, the price of that goes up when the price of gas rises. The price of uranium is also rising, but as a stock the size of a suitcase will power a 3 GW reactor for a month, the effect isn't so marked. India intends to build a Thorium reactor, with the fuel being extracted from sand - not a scarce product in India.

I am not sure how this can be of long term benefit for renewable energy. The price of that will begin to rise again, and bigly so in the event of installation supplies from any country using cheap forced labour being banned from the market. The price of the backup generators is already up.

As part of my job, I look into energy deals for consumers. The big savings have vanished, with deals offering much the same prices as the capped standard variable tariffs. Some are even charging more than the SVT. I wouldn't let that put you off signing up to a fixed deal. The SVT cap is about to go up, and many commentators expect a further 20% rise next spring. They also predict that we will be down to 10 or so suppliers within months. Some small ones are already trying to sell their domestic customers, but the big boys seem content to just let them fail and be appointed by Ofcom to take over. That saves a lot of angst with TUPE, pensions, credits due to consumers etc.

Those insulators look inadequate to me. Are they actual photographs or "artists impressions" ?
 

I'll bet you a pound to a sufficiency of port that they have been tested to a specification well beyond necessity. I rather like the design, although I am yet to see one "live", as it were. I have certainly seen a lot of work going on adjacent to the M5, and on passing through Tickenham. I find it rather exciting. I bet most people have no idea what is going on. Not everyone is in favour, but remember that the original lattice pylons won a design competition. They look rather dated now, with many being in their 70s.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: eightonedee on September 18, 2021, 10:49:24 pm
While I agree with most of what TonyK says......

Quote
Seems I was right, although that has yet to stop the snake oil merchants from flooding social media with stories about how they are going to store all the excess renewable power in batteries or make hydrogen with it.

I am not so sure that this is all snake oil - the hydrogen bit perhaps, as it seems extraordinary that something that seems to take so much energy to produce in the first place is so far up (apparently) the agenda. Everyone seem fixated with the "only water out of the tailpipe" bit that they ignore the energy used to get the fuel in the first place.

But I have heard credible professional people talk about battery farms to help deal with the uneveness of renewable wind, and that there is now an active search for sites convenient to the North Sea. This seems just to be the 21st century equivalent of the municipal gas holder.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on September 18, 2021, 11:13:48 pm
While I agree with most of what TonyK says......

Quote
Seems I was right, although that has yet to stop the snake oil merchants from flooding social media with stories about how they are going to store all the excess renewable power in batteries or make hydrogen with it.

I am not so sure that this is all snake oil - the hydrogen bit perhaps, as it seems extraordinary that something that seems to take so much energy to produce in the first place is so far up (apparently) the agenda. Everyone seem fixated with the "only water out of the tailpipe" bit that they ignore the energy used to get the fuel in the first place.

But I have heard credible professional people talk about battery farms to help deal with the uneveness of renewable wind, and that there is now an active search for sites convenient to the North Sea. This seems just to be the 21st century equivalent of the municipal gas holder.

I am glad that at least two of us realise this. I am told in other less learned places that batteries will save us all by storing all the excess renewable energy and using it to run the country when the wind ain't playing ball. You and I know this is nonsense. The batteries - some are already in place - have the twofold purpose of evening out the flow as you describe, and being ready to restart the national grid in the event of total failure - a so-called "black start". This doesn't stop companies placing stories in social media about how they  can store all this energy. The comments are then quickly filled with cries of joy at how this will keep us going through those frequent stalled high pressure times, with nothing being done to dispel the notion. This is not accidental. Why would such a company advertise a 5 GWh monstrosity to be placed in a beauty spot near you - do they expect us to start clubbing together to buy one for our village? No - it's to remind us to tell our MPs that we want the government to subsidise more batteries.

There will be a number, probably near those big junction box things like the one near Melksham. They will most likely be fully charged at all times, however the grid is being supplied.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on September 19, 2021, 04:58:14 pm
I am more optimistic about utility scale batteries than some people.

Whilst the existing and proposed batteries are small in relation to demand, that is in my view comparable to saying that the railways of 1830 were of little relevance, or that petrol cars of 1900 would never be used on a significant scale.

Even a battery able to deliver 5 GW for an hour is a very useful addition to the grid. It could supply 10% of the winter peak demand for an hour, rather than running gas gobbling OCGT plant for that hour.
Another 1 GW of battery capacity would a useful emergency reserve at any time of day if something breaks. The intention in such a case is to "bridge the gap" between a failure and the starting of other generating plant. One GW from a battery is far preferable to blacking out a million people.


Title: Re: Decarbonisation
Post by: ellendune on September 19, 2021, 06:25:07 pm
I largely agree with Tony I would just question a couple of points.

Nuclear can already match wind and solar for safety, .....

I am concerned that we are getting a bit complacent on this since we haven't had a major incident from a UK reactor since 1957.  As we change our technology in the way Tony describes we the potential for new types of failure. (for example molten salt sounds like it could have challenges for materials).  However, the major risk that concerns me is a repeat of Fukushima Daiichi disaster which was caused by a tidal wave. I know we are not in an earthquake zone but tidal waves are a known risk in the UK - Bristol Channel 1609 and the projected risk from an expected cliff collapse on the canaries has been modelled as affecting the UK.  The problem is that many of our nuclear sites on low level sites on the coast. 

I was laughed at some time ago for saying that the limitations of renewables would become more apparent as more came on line and we got closer to beginning to fase out phossils.

I agree this is always going to be a problem with wind and solar, but we have not exploited tidal power, despite being blessed with some of the best possible sites.  Tidal is much more predictable and if geographicall diverse around our coasts can give a consistent supply. 


Title: Re: Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on September 19, 2021, 09:03:28 pm
I largely agree with Tony I would just question a couple of points.


I am concerned that we are getting a bit complacent on this since we haven't had a major incident from a UK reactor since 1957.  As we change our technology in the way Tony describes we the potential for new types of failure. (for example molten salt sounds like it could have challenges for materials).  However, the major risk that concerns me is a repeat of Fukushima Daiichi disaster which was caused by a tidal wave. I know we are not in an earthquake zone but tidal waves are a known risk in the UK - Bristol Channel 1609 and the projected risk from an expected cliff collapse on the canaries has been modelled as affecting the UK.  The problem is that many of our nuclear sites on low level sites on the coast. 

Luckily you are not the only one who thought about this. EDF's Hinkley C website  (https://www.edfenergy.com/energy/nuclear-new-build-projects/hinkley-point-c/about)tells us that:

Quote
As with all of our operational nuclear power stations across the UK, the design basis for Hinkley Point C ensures that the proposed plant is secure against natural hazards that have a frequency of less than one in 10,000 years. These hazards include tides, storm surges and tsunami as isolated and in-combination events.

To protect the Hinkley Point C station from such events, the platform level of the site is set at 14.0 metres above sea level, behind a sea wall with a crest level of 13.5 metres. Sea level rise which could result from future climate change has also been considered and an allowance has been made to cover the full 60 year operating lifetime of the new station.

The FAQs don't specifically address the point, but I will wager that thee emergency diesel generators to keep the pumps running in the event of loss of power will be somewhere where they won't be swamped by the same tsunami. It was that which did for Fukushima - the initial reserve was in a basement in the complex, and the additional backup generators were not high enough above sea level.

In re the Canary Islands tsunami risk relates to the Cumbre Vieja volcanic region on La Palma (lovely place), which could deposit a lump of rock about the size of the area between Bristol and Weston super Mare into the Atlantic without notice. I noticed, when looking up the name, that recent studies have downgraded the likely effect of this from a cataclysmic tsunami that would flood the entire eastern seaboard of the US for ten of miles inland, and make Glastonbury an island again, to a few wellington boots being overtopped at the seaside. I have no idea if this is true, but we might find out soon. The volcano that might trigger the event has just begun to erupt again. I'm going to the Canaries on holiday in January and February if they are still there.

I was laughed at some time ago for saying that the limitations of renewables would become more apparent as more came on line and we got closer to beginning to fase out phossils.

Quote
I agree this is always going to be a problem with wind and solar, but we have not exploited tidal power, despite being blessed with some of the best possible sites.  Tidal is much more predictable and if geographicall diverse around our coasts can give a consistent supply. 

I am genuinely puzzled by the non-appearance of wave power. I don't subscribe to the usual conspiracy theories about the oil companies suppressing it, as surely they would have nobbled wind and solar, unless they thought they were not a threat to their existence (which they aren't - quite the opposite). I am beginning to think that there is some major natural or engineering obstacle in the way, that we haven't been told about because it might cause funding for research to dry up. If so, it could well be that the financiers and insurance companies are reluctant to get involved. Suppose they spent £100 billion on the Severn Barrage, and it wrecked the ecological balance of the whole of South Wales, Gloucestershire, Bristol and Somerset?  Maybe it is too big an unknown risk for them in a way that nuclear isn't.



Title: Re: Decarbonisation
Post by: ellendune on September 19, 2021, 09:40:35 pm
I am genuinely puzzled by the non-appearance of wave power. I don't subscribe to the usual conspiracy theories about the oil companies suppressing it, as surely they would have nobbled wind and solar, unless they thought they were not a threat to their existence (which they aren't - quite the opposite). I am beginning to think that there is some major natural or engineering obstacle in the way, that we haven't been told about because it might cause funding for research to dry up. If so, it could well be that the financiers and insurance companies are reluctant to get involved. Suppose they spent £100 billion on the Severn Barrage, and it wrecked the ecological balance of the whole of South Wales, Gloucestershire, Bristol and Somerset?  Maybe it is too big an unknown risk for them in a way that nuclear isn't.

I wonder if they spent too much time following up the mega-schemes such as the Severn Barrage and so aren't as far ahead with the more realistic options. 


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on September 20, 2021, 09:31:21 am
What I note from https://www.electricitymap.org/map is that the 'greenest' areas are mostly powered by hydro. This is an energy source that never gets talked about here. Do we not have any suitable rivers?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on September 20, 2021, 10:06:41 am
Hydropower needs either a vast flow of water and a modest drop in height, or a reasonable flow and a large drop in height.
All the best sites for large scale hydro are already in use.
There is potential for increasing peak capacity at existing sites. The total energy produced in a year is limited by the amount of water, but 1,000 MW for a few peak hours a day is a lot more valuable than 100 MW 24/7.

There is potential for more small hydroelectric plants, but these wont make much difference nationally.

As an example, I am aware of one rather public site, Bishops Mill in Salisbury. Many non technical people observed the water flow and reached most optimistic views as to the amount of electricity that could be produced.
"Could power the hospital"
"Use it to power electric trams"
"Cheap or free electricity for the poor"

In fact the potential output was about 7 kw, enough for one not very good electric shower. or perhaps for two all electric homes, if energy efficient and with thermal storage water heating and space heating.
The value of the electricity would be about £1 an hour. That would take a while to repay any significant capital costs.

In a post apocalyptic world 7 kw could power a small town with very careful use. 1000 homes at 7 watts each. Six one watt  LED bulbs per home and a transistor radio. That is more light than most of our ancestors had. And in daylight, 7 kw could  pump water to an elevated tank, grind grain, or power other machinery.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on September 20, 2021, 10:17:14 am
What I note from https://www.electricitymap.org/map is that the 'greenest' areas are mostly powered by hydro. This is an energy source that never gets talked about here. Do we not have any suitable rivers?

Suitable for what? Power (kW) = flow rate (m3/s) x vertical drop (m) * 9.81 (g), and very few rivers have enough of both flow and verticality. There are some in the obvious places, so SSE Renewables (descendant of the old North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board) claims a total of 1,459MW, but that includes pumped storage. So not a big contributor.

Somebody must believe in their value in the English plains, though, as hydro generator has just been installed at Caversham weir. According to their website (https://readinghydro.org/technical-summary/), the current power output is -0.9 kW, and I can't see any historical data. The weir currently (9 am BST) has a head of 1.46 m and a total river flow of 7.95 m3/s, so using all of its flow at 100% efficiency would yield 113.85 kW.

In reality ... a fraction of that, though the plans are (obviously) pretty optimistic. They have two Archimedes screws with total rated output of 47 kW, and expect 320 MWh/year. That averages out at 36 kW, or more than 18 hours of full power per day all year. It will be interesting to see how much they do get out of it. But, as a potential major source of power ... not really.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on September 20, 2021, 11:14:48 am
So it seems we don't have large enough rivers, mostly.

Hydro storage is marked differently on that map, and that seems sensible as it's releasing stored energy.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: johnneyw on September 20, 2021, 11:16:22 am
I've taken a look at the very modest sized hydro units at Radyr on the river Taff in Cardiff and Totnes on the Dart.  Both, I recall, use the Archimedes Screw as the turbine mechanism.  Both of these are quite unobtrusive and fit in with existing river weirs.  I'm not suggesting for a moment that they alone present a solution to our energy needs but I there are plenty more substantial rivers with reliable flows that have weirs that could yet be utilised.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Witham Bobby on September 20, 2021, 11:30:44 am
As a kid, I lived with family for a few years in the wilds on North Devon.  There was a plan, which got abandoned after we'd moved to Worcestershire in 1967, to build a dam and flood a valley near us (not far from Bradworthy) and to use unwanted "free ( :D)" off-peak electricity at night time which would be released back into the river in the day to spin turbines and make electricity.  Pumped storage.  As at Dinorwig and some other locations.  I've often wondered what happened to that idea.  The land loss is dreadful, of course.  But linked with nuclear power plants with relatively un-variable output, it would seem like a winner

The only online reference I can find with a quick search refers to the CEGB having engineering problems

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/1966-11-29/debates/273a51a0-6ed5-4970-8b3b-8b1a62f1ee57/NorthDevonPumpedStorageScheme


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on September 20, 2021, 12:41:07 pm
As a kid, I lived with family for a few years in the wilds on North Devon.  There was a plan, which got abandoned after we'd moved to Worcestershire in 1967, to build a dam and flood a valley near us (not far from Bradworthy) and to use unwanted "free ( :D)" off-peak electricity at night time which would be released back into the river in the day to spin turbines and make electricity.  Pumped storage.  As at Dinorwig and some other locations.  I've often wondered what happened to that idea.  The land loss is dreadful, of course.  But linked with nuclear power plants with relatively un-variable output, it would seem like a winner

The only online reference I can find with a quick search refers to the CEGB having engineering problems

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/1966-11-29/debates/273a51a0-6ed5-4970-8b3b-8b1a62f1ee57/NorthDevonPumpedStorageScheme

You will find some more about hydropower on Exmoor  here (https://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/planning/planning-advice/hydropower).

One major reason the planned pumped storage scheme didn't go ahead was the cutting back of the planned nuclear expansion programme. Dinorwig remains the biggest, at least for the moment. That cost £400 million - I can't imagine what it would cost if built today, which could explain why little is heard of plans for new pumped hydro.

This is what one hydroelectric plant looks like.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51495594461_6277d3ae0a_c.jpg)

I took the picture in May 2016. It is  Goat Lake (https://lowimpacthydro.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Project-Description.pdf) in Alaska. At the bottom end of the pipe to the right of the waterfall, there is a 4 MW plant that powers the town of Skagway. The pipe is a lot less slender than it looks. I don't think it ruins the aesthetics, especially when the benefit is so large. The lake at the top is fed by a glacier. I have no idea if this is under threat - I saw one glacier on my travels there from a point that a few years previously was under many metres of ice, but although many glaciers in Alaska and Canada are shrinking, a few are still growing.

Getting back to the hydroelectric plant, it looks a wonderfully clean source of energy. I can't think of any similar site around where I live, but 800 of these would provide the equivalent of Hinkley C. It works very well for Skagway, but would make minimal difference in a big city.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: ellendune on September 20, 2021, 12:50:56 pm
Small scale hydro like this 100kW project using an existing weir on the river Calder at Whalley (https://www.whalleyhydro.co.uk/) in Lancashire has potential. I recall that the CEGB closed a number of small hydro plants in the 1970's because they were considered uneconomic to run.  I suggest that some of these could now be reopened. 


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Witham Bobby on September 21, 2021, 11:02:40 am

You will find some more about hydropower on Exmoor  here (https://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/planning/planning-advice/hydropower).

Thank you


Title: Re: Decarbonisation
Post by: Rhydgaled on September 23, 2021, 04:09:14 pm
I am genuinely puzzled by the non-appearance of wave power. I don't subscribe to the usual conspiracy theories about the oil companies suppressing it, as surely they would have nobbled wind and solar, unless they thought they were not a threat to their existence (which they aren't - quite the opposite). I am beginning to think that there is some major natural or engineering obstacle in the way, that we haven't been told about because it might cause funding for research to dry up. If so, it could well be that the financiers and insurance companies are reluctant to get involved. Suppose they spent £100 billion on the Severn Barrage, and it wrecked the ecological balance of the whole of South Wales, Gloucestershire, Bristol and Somerset?  Maybe it is too big an unknown risk for them in a way that nuclear isn't.
You start by asking about 'wave power' and finish with 'Severn Barrage' (which would be tidal power, not wave power); so which are you asking about? There are also different sorts of tidal power plant too - barrages and lagoons (both known as 'tidal range' I believe) and 'tidal stream' (which are like underwater wind turbines). I've heard of a number of small-scale wave and tidal stream demonstrators, but don't know much about them. Maybe it's just that nobody has been willing to take the risk in investing the significant sums needed to bring something to production scale when wind and solar are established and are therefore safer bets?

The one issue I have heard (relating to one of the tidal stream demonstrators I think) was one that also impacts proposals for wind turbines in mid Wales. That issue is the distribution network - there is a double-row of horribly ugly pylons across south Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire* but in the rural areas where you might put a wind farm or (on the coast) tidal stream turbines there are just wooden poles holding up two or occasionally three wires. We don't want the pylons and the cost of installing them is probably rather significant.

* I'm not sure if that's taking electricty from Pembroke Power Station (gas-powered) to England or bringing electricity from England to power the Pembroke oil refinery


Title: Re: Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on September 23, 2021, 09:28:21 pm
You start by asking about 'wave power' and finish with 'Severn Barrage' (which would be tidal power, not wave power); so which are you asking about? There are also different sorts of tidal power plant too - barrages and lagoons (both known as 'tidal range' I believe) and 'tidal stream' (which are like underwater wind turbines). I've heard of a number of small-scale wave and tidal stream demonstrators, but don't know much about them. Maybe it's just that nobody has been willing to take the risk in investing the significant sums needed to bring something to production scale when wind and solar are established and are therefore safer bets?

The one issue I have heard (relating to one of the tidal stream demonstrators I think) was one that also impacts proposals for wind turbines in mid Wales. That issue is the distribution network - there is a double-row of horribly ugly pylons across south Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire* but in the rural areas where you might put a wind farm or (on the coast) tidal stream turbines there are just wooden poles holding up two or occasionally three wires. We don't want the pylons and the cost of installing them is probably rather significant.

* I'm not sure if that's taking electricty from Pembroke Power Station (gas-powered) to England or bringing electricity from England to power the Pembroke oil refinery

You caught me out there, Rhydgaled, although in my defence, I struggle with wind panels and solar turbines too. Helpfully, you have looked at the question I meant to ask, which would have included both wind and tide. It seems that like myself, you don't know the answer. The risk of causing completely irreversible damage to a large area may have put the money men and the government off the idea. I haven't ruled out the possibility that the scientific and engineering communities know already that there are problems that cannot be resolved with our current (no pun intended) technology, but are keeping schtum for fear of finding protestors sellotaping themselves to the front lawn.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: ellendune on September 23, 2021, 09:33:58 pm
There is some wortk going on of tidal and wave power in Orkney at the http://www.emec.org.uk/ (http://www.emec.org.uk/)


Title: Re: Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on September 23, 2021, 11:30:26 pm
The one issue I have heard (relating to one of the tidal stream demonstrators I think) was one that also impacts proposals for wind turbines in mid Wales. That issue is the distribution network - there is a double-row of horribly ugly pylons across south Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire* but in the rural areas where you might put a wind farm or (on the coast) tidal stream turbines there are just wooden poles holding up two or occasionally three wires. We don't want the pylons and the cost of installing them is probably rather significant.

* I'm not sure if that's taking electricty from Pembroke Power Station (gas-powered) to England or bringing electricity from England to power the Pembroke oil refinery

The big power lines across the Severn and along the south coast are, of course, feeding power to wherever it's used - people and all kinds of businesses. There are also lines across the north, but no national grid lines between the two. The grid was built where it was needed at the time, and lasts a long time, so it's bound to be out of date when requirements change.

As you sort of pointed out, even people who are in favour of wind turbines in theory (less so if they come too close) can be opposed to the power lines they need crossing their especially pretty fields and mountains. In most cases these will be part of the distribution network, and it probably doesn't help that south Wales is Western Power Distribution's and the north has SP Energy Networks.

With no coal or nuclear power produced in Wales, what's left is almost all gas. I think (if it's all available) there's enough for Welsh demand, but when gas is not needed nationally there is too little wind capacity to make up for it. So then wind, nuclear, and imports will all come in via ... Melksham, mostly.


Title: Re: Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on September 24, 2021, 01:09:40 pm

I am concerned that we are getting a bit complacent on this since we haven't had a major incident from a UK reactor since 1957.  As we change our technology in the way Tony describes we the potential for new types of failure. (for example molten salt sounds like it could have challenges for materials). 

I forgot to mention that point earlier. Uranium fluoride at 700°C is indeed a bit rough on other materials, and especially welds. That wasn't what did for the research though, which began when the US heard a (false) rumour that the USSR had a nuclear aircraft that could fly indefinitely. The powers that be threw their weight behind the competing technology, at least so far as funds were concerned, the Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor (LMFBR). Molten salt reactors would work today, as the problems are understood and materials have been developed that cope with them perfectly. The design has advantages, with the need for high pressures associated with light water reactors being completely avoided. The fuel is the coolant, and if anything goes wrong, it simply spills into a safety vessel and goes cold. It can't do the hydrogen explosion thing we saw at Fukushima, nor go critical. Our own government hasn't supported research with any enthusiasm (or money), and the British firm Moltex Energy has begun work on a molten salt reactor in Canada.

Speaking of our own government, it has clearly been following our debate here from a distance, and has decided that the way forward is the one expounded by myself, Red Squirrel, and others. Business Live (https://www.business-live.co.uk/economic-development/nuclear-consortium-has-plan-wylfa-21663689) tells us:

Quote
A US nuclear sector consortium “has a plan” to build a large nuclear plant at Wylfa - with UK Government saying “exploratory” talks were taking place.

Westinghouse says the Anglesey site is the “perfect location” for a new nuclear site while partner Bechtel, a US engineering giant, has a proposal in place.

It would be based on a nuclear scheme in Georgia in the United States - although that project has been dogged by long delays and doubled in price from the original cost estimate.

Talking at the Welsh Affairs Committee a senior Government official said initial discussions were taking place with consortiums interested in building a nuclear plant at Wylfa.

The Times has a bit more detail, and hints at the design being Westinghouse's  AP1000 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AP1000). I am not sure that pressurised water was top of my list, but it will do. It would seem that the Prime Minister and some members of the cabinet have been warming to nuclear over a period, rather than having something of a Damascene conversion when the gas bill arrived.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on September 24, 2021, 01:24:39 pm
Then there's the plan to build a nuclear fusion plant at Aberthaw ...


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on September 24, 2021, 01:30:08 pm
I remain opposed to chinese built or financed nuclear reactors on both quality control and national security grounds.

I would be more relaxed about an American design. Provided that it can be delivered on time and within budget. In practice I am rather doubtful about any new nukes getting beyond studies, reviews, consultations, and planning appeals and counter appeals. And any change of government deciding that the previous lot did not do the above correctly and that the process needs to be done again.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on September 24, 2021, 01:32:15 pm
Then there's the plan to build a nuclear fusion plant at Aberthaw ...

In about thirty years when the technology has been perfected.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on September 24, 2021, 02:06:51 pm
Then there's the plan to build a nuclear fusion plant at Aberthaw ...

In about thirty years when the technology has been perfected.
...but needs only 15 years to become commercially feasible...


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on September 24, 2021, 02:10:49 pm
I remain opposed to chinese built or financed nuclear reactors on both quality control and national security grounds.

I would be more relaxed about an American design. Provided that it can be delivered on time and within budget. In practice I am rather doubtful about any new nukes getting beyond studies, reviews, consultations, and planning appeals and counter appeals. And any change of government deciding that the previous lot did not do the above correctly and that the process needs to be done again.

I am not sure I would have any greater confidence in Westinghouse than I would in far East in-house. I do have faith in our own nuclear watchdog to scrutinise the building with a most intensive scrute, though. The first real attempt at building a Westinghouse AP1000 went rather badly, and took Westinghouse to the edge of bankruptcy. Not much of that was to do with the actual building of the reactor, though. The idea was to do it Ikea style - built in bits in factories for assembly on-site. It could well offer a new standard, but things move quickly in nuclear power station design. There is one already running in China. Remember, though, that this is the design which Toshiba was going to use at Sellafield, and which came to naught. Finance could kill this idea.

Then there's the plan to build a nuclear fusion plant at Aberthaw ...

In about thirty years when the technology has been perfected.
...but needs only 15 years to become commercially feasible...

It has been only 5 years away since I first saw it mentioned by Raymond Baxter on Tomorrows World, in 1965.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on September 27, 2021, 01:45:49 pm
Here is a good example of indulgences being sold.
Customers believe that that they are buying green electricity, when in fact much of it is produced by burning fossil fuels.
But with the purchase of indulgences carbon offsets or credits.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56602674 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56602674)

Somebody at the BBC has been reading my posts here and elsewhere over the past few years.  ;D

Some interesting reading between the lines here. The few companies who actually generate the renewable energy they sell are allowed to charge their customers more for the privilege of being holy. It follows therefore that renewable energy is more expensive to generate than other forms, which goes against what the green lobby keep telling us, unless the idea is to enrich the owner of the company to a greater degree than the hated fat cats at the big multinationals as a reward. I don't think that can be the case, as the most famous such owner only owns one football team, and his castle isn't particularly huge. Being able to sell the product twice must help, although I still don't know where the energy comes from on our many windless days and nights.

What would happen if everyone in the country signed up to a green tariff? Would the energy companies say sorry, no, we've run out of stiffcuts? My guess is that they would scour the earth for more REGOs, so pushing the price up to a point where it might cost as much as £2 per year per household to greenwash the tariff and put a picture of a wind turbine on the bill, all the while making electricity from rendered dolphin carcasses.

What would happen if nobody bought into the lie? Would the windmills and solar panels all disappear? Of course not. Energy companies would just have to find new ways to fleece their customers, and employ more PR people to spread the myth of how green are their hillsides. You can see that the spin doctors are hard at work already:

Quote
Its chief executive, Emma Pinchbeck, says: "All renewable tariffs, including those with REGOs, are supporting renewables in some way. Over a third of our power now comes from renewables.

A third of our electricity might come from renewables, if you include the scandalous output of Drax's alleged biomass, but that still equates to well under 10% of our energy use. That hasn't stopped talk of using excess renewable energy (there isn't any) to make hydrogen and charge batteries to see us through the doldrums and the nights. Buying pieces of paper isn't going to square this circle.

I love the idea of "indulgences", broadgage! I shall steal it immediately.

The market in indulgences has all gone orribly wrong! As my neighbour said, why is electricity on my "green tariff" going up ?
They claim 100% renewable generated power, so what has the rising gas price got to do with it. Wind is still the same price.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on September 27, 2021, 03:23:30 pm
They claim 100% renewable generated power, so what has the rising gas price got to do with it. Wind is still the same price.

Are you sure? Apparently there has been less wind and so less wind power this summer than was planned for. As the capital costs of the wind generators and ancillaries are the same, doesn't the unit price go up?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on September 27, 2021, 04:45:00 pm
Yes, I suppose that it does, but plenty of wind now. So presumably green suppliers can cut prices ?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on September 27, 2021, 08:45:39 pm
The market in indulgences has all gone orribly wrong! As my neighbour said, why is electricity on my "green tariff" going up ?
They claim 100% renewable generated power, so what has the rising gas price got to do with it. Wind is still the same price.

Yes, this current pickle does seem to have rather let the cat out of the bag. It all goes in the mix, however the electricity is generated. Even the few companies actually producing the stuff they sell to their customers have to buy electricity made from gas, nuclear or coal when the wind drops, and they have to pay the same wholesale price as everybody else. The Emperor's new clothes aren't what he told us they were, and we can see his winkie.

My own esteemed supplier buys the output of my solar panel for about 5p per KWh, then sells it back to me for 16.6p per KWh, although in fairness, I have already used it before they buy it from me. It is all very laudable, and ticks lots of boxes, but you don't need to be a Diane Abbott to see the flaws in the environmental benefit workings out.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on October 01, 2021, 06:24:17 pm
Then there's the plan to build a nuclear fusion plant at Aberthaw ...

In about thirty years when the technology has been perfected.
...but needs only 15 years to become commercially feasible...

I'm sure everyone will be pleased that as of today the UK government has a fusion* strategy (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-set-to-be-first-country-to-legislate-for-safe-and-efficient-rollout-of-fusion-energy) (in a suitably green paper (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1022540/towards-fusion-energy-uk-government-fusion-strategy.pdf)). It includes - pretty much starts with - STEP (Spherical Tokomak for Energy Production), for which Aberthaw, among other old power station sites, was nominated. Mind you, its declared timescale is "by 2040", so breathing is not optional.

But at least this time they can't be accused of short-termism. On the other hand it is a bit .. well, Boric. A sample:
Quote
This paper sets out the UK Government’s strategy to move from a fusion science superpower to a fusion industry superpower. With this plan, the UK hopes to lead the world on the commercialisation and deployment of this potentially world-changing technology.

*The word "nuclear" should be inserted, lest anyone get the idea that the UK government plans to fuse with anyone or anything.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on October 01, 2021, 08:08:27 pm
The word "nuclear" is to be avoided as the public link it with nuclear weapons, Chernobyl, cost overruns, delays, Fukushima, And with "rays and things that harm children"

Fusion by contrast sounds like a good word without any of the above bad connotations.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on October 02, 2021, 07:40:42 pm
The word "nuclear" is to be avoided as the public link it with ... And with "rays and things that harm children"


Like they did at some point in the early years of the century, when a mobile phone mast was due to be erected on the A38 Gloucester Road in Bristol. I went to the meeting, and listened to the forecasts of deaths of children on a scale not seen since the days of King Herod*. There was another a few years later, which I didn't go to, to complain about the lack of signal outside a nearby junior school.

* Son of Antipater the Idumaean**, One of the bad guys in the New Testament, unless you are Roman.
** I don't know either.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: ellendune on October 02, 2021, 09:09:14 pm
* Son of Antipater the Idumaean**, One of the bad guys in the New Testament, unless you are Roman.
** I don't know either.

Idumean - from Edom.  The suggestion was that he wasn't a proper Jew which didn't go down well with the religious rulers of that time.  Though those who made a fuss about it usually didn't live very long. 


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on October 12, 2021, 08:09:11 pm
Going back to hydropower for a minute, this bloke reckons his domestic, homemade turbine provides enough electricity to serve an average three-bed house in the UK, but only for seven months of the year. Luckily though, those are the months when the sun doesn't shine so much, so there's a balance. He does have have enough land to provide an 18m fall from intake to turbine though...

https://youtu.be/lSt96KFFHxA

Tom and Barbara eat your heart out!


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on October 14, 2021, 11:51:41 pm
Are you sure? Apparently there has been less wind and so less wind power this summer than was planned for. As the capital costs of the wind generators and ancillaries are the same, doesn't the unit price go up?

One of the leading European experts on wind power and subsidies said he is sure that wind will be back to full strength soon, although he didn't show his working-out. So that's all right, then.

* Son of Antipater the Idumaean**, One of the bad guys in the New Testament, unless you are Roman.
** I don't know either.

Idumean - from Edom.  The suggestion was that he wasn't a proper Jew which didn't go down well with the religious rulers of that time.  Though those who made a fuss about it usually didn't live very long. 

I am indebted, yet again. I think my education is now complete.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on March 05, 2022, 03:15:59 pm
A great deal of UK electricity was produced from wind power in February, possibly a new record.
A good thing if looking at the current natural gas price and considering possible supply shortages.
Hopefully more wind turbines will be erected and more PV modules installed. We are some way away from ceasing use of natural gas, but should be seeking to reduce gas use for both environmental reasons and due to concerns about reliance on foreign powers for supplies.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on March 07, 2022, 11:26:12 am
On another forum it is reported, that UK electricity from wind during December was 7.6 twh, not only a new record but substantially in excess of the previous record of 5.5 twh. And that in the shortest month of the year.

And that electricity from wind was nearly as great as that from natural gas.

BTW, UK natural gas prices have just just reached 600 pence a therm. A truly shocking figure, even to me.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on March 15, 2022, 03:59:53 pm
On another forum it is reported, that UK electricity from wind during December was 7.6 twh, not only a new record but substantially in excess of the previous record of 5.5 twh. And that in the shortest month of the year.

And that electricity from wind was nearly as great as that from natural gas.

BTW, UK natural gas prices have just just reached 600 pence a therm. A truly shocking figure, even to me.

That could explain why we are using coal again, according to Gridwatch (https://gridwatch.co.uk/?oldgw=):

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51940076931_c9878fafd1_c.jpg)

Someone check my sums again, but if we assume installed capacity for wind of 22 GW (I read that somewhere) then the efficiency is about 46%, in a month when I had to rescue the gas barbecue from a neighbouring field?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on March 15, 2022, 05:51:30 pm
Wind power in the UK does in a good month produce about one half of the rated capacity, less than that in the summer.

"efficiency" is not really relevant as wind is free. A more relevant question would be

"Do wind turbines produce enough electricity to justify the cost of building them ?" And the answer to that is yes, they do.

Every GWH of wind generated  electricity is several GWH of natural gas NOT burnt, with a corresponding reduction in carbon emissions, saving of foreign currency, and less reliance on Russia.

Natural gas is now at many times the historical norm, and doubts exist as to the reliability of future supplies. This should underline the need for more wind turbines. And more solar.

Under present conditions wind power is not the complete answer, but we should be working towards increasing power from renewables and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.








Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Trowres on March 15, 2022, 06:35:17 pm
The "other" gridwatch site http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ (http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/) explains that 30% of wind capacity is unmetered and instead appears as a reduction in demand.

If so, that would make the calculations a little more complex.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on March 15, 2022, 07:48:02 pm
As an approximate guide to the cost of generating electricity from natural gas, observe the published price of gas in pence per therm and divide this by ten to give an approximate price in pence per unit for electricity generated from that gas.

Natural gas today was around 300 pence per therm, which AS AN APPROXIMATION is about 30 pence a unit. And that is at the "power station gate" Transmission and distribution costs would be extra, probably about another 10 pence a unit.

The present subsidised price of domestic electricity is about 20 pence a unit, soon to increase to about 30 pence a unit.
Cost price 40 pence, retail price 30 pence cant carry on.

Wind power by contrast is under 10 pence a unit, often well under. Even Hinkley C at about 10 pence a unit is starting to look like a bargain.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on March 15, 2022, 07:50:07 pm
The "other" gridwatch site http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ (http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/) explains that 30% of wind capacity is unmetered and instead appears as a reduction in demand.

If so, that would make the calculations a little more complex.

They are not really unmetered. They are not connected to the transmission grid directly, but to the distribution network, so both their capacity and power flows are known to the DNO. The grid (ESO) would like to know more abut them, and even be able to exert come control over them, especially during disruption events. You may remember their comments on this subject after the "9th August" event in 2019.

There are moves going on, and in 2018 the Energy Networks Association published a proposal for enhanced data exchange (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiW5aC-7sj2AhUHQUEAHZyoDfsQFnoECAkQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nationalgrideso.com%2Fdocument%2F164061%2Fdownload&usg=AOvVaw3XUUtumqvErMys9d2MgfMw), within their Open Networks Project.
Quote
This will provide National Grid with:
  • Full details of the sub-transmission network and any connections directly connected to the sub-transmission network
  • Details of all distributed energy resource connections greater than 1MW to the distribution network and their impact on energy flows at cardinal demand points; peak demand, summer minimum demand and solar-peak/daytime-minimum demand.
  • Details of all distributed energy resource greater than 1MW ‘accepted’ to be connected to the distribution network and their anticipated impact on energy flows at cardinal demand points; peak demand, summer minimum demand and solar-peak/daytime-minimum demand.
  • Details of all distributed energy resource connections less than 1MW to the distribution network, aggregated by fuel type and disaggregated by substations connecting to the sub-transmission network.

As you can see, distributed energy resources are the main area of concern.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on March 16, 2022, 07:39:34 am
There are some small wind turbines that are not metered in real time, domestic sized units with a meter that is read at long intervals. Similar in principle to domestic sized solar energy schemes. The energy supplied into the grid at any given time by such installations can never be known accurately, it can only be estimated or inferred.

I would be very surprised indeed if such non metered wind turbines contribute as much as 30% and I strongly suspect that this information is out of date. It might well have been accurate some years ago, prior to the recent substantial increase in large wind farms, all of which are real time metered.



Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 10, 2022, 10:11:01 am
On the subject of decarb rather than Aberthaw, I noticed the other day that not only have cables appeared on the kinky new T-shaped pylons between Hinkley Point and just south of the Mendips, but some of the the older pylons have lost their knitting. I found a press release date 30 March from National Grid (https://www.nationalgrid.com/hinkley-connection-project-completes-high-voltage-cable-installation-under-mendip-hills) which says:

Quote
National Grid and Balfour Beatty engineers working on the Hinkley Connection Project have completed the installation of high voltage, 400kV cables under the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Since starting in February 2021, teams have pulled a total of 102km cables (the distance between Bridgwater and Gloucester). The cables were delivered on 108 separate cable drums. Each drum held approximately 1km of cable, weighed between 35-50 tonne and stood 5 metres high. Next follows a programme of jointing and testing with energisation expected in Autumn this year. Reinstatement of the land is already underway on different parts of the route.  The Mendip cables section of the Hinkley Connection Project will be fully complete by the end of 2023.

Once work is completed and existing WPD pylons removed in summer, this part of the Mendip Hills AONB will be pylon free for the first time since the 1960s. Last week, representatives from the AONB Unit visited to see the works for themselves and gain insight into what is involved in a project of this scale.

and more at the source. The old 132 kV pylons will be coming down over the summer.

Sadly, I didn't have time for photos, although may have when I head back that way later this month. The T-pylons seem to have as much of a base as a wind turbine, and it will be interesting to see how much of that is temporary.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 10, 2022, 12:07:11 pm
They had better get a move on, before English Heritage list the old pylons.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on April 10, 2022, 12:23:54 pm
They had better get a move on, before English Heritage list the old pylons.

On a more practical note, I've been puzzled by the way news reports about the current energy supply crisis, due to Russian gas becoming distasteful, segue into repeating standard decarbonisation scripts. Surely the question is "what extra supply of any form of energy can we (in this context, as Europeans) cobble together before next winter?" So I expected to hear by now about some projects - new temporary pipelines or gas terminals, or more likely reviving or repurposing old ones - that have already begun.

So where, in the cobbling-together spectrum (running from daft as a bush to might just work sort of), would sticking some smallish wind turbines onto old pylons rather than taking them down come?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: nickswift99 on April 10, 2022, 05:05:27 pm
Big projects across Europe (subject to political whim):
1) Pausing and temporarily reversing the decommissioning of nuclear reactors in Germany
2) Peripheral countries e.g. UK massively importing and stockpiling as much LNG as they can. Note that Germany doesn't have an LNG terminal so will be reliant on (1) and gas pipelines from other countries. We haven't recently stockpiled because of the storage cost but I expect this to change.
3) Working with industry to manage demand. Industry could be given incentives to over produce in the summer with a clear warning that they will be rationed in the winter.
4) Environmental concerns given short shrift/relaxed. For example, French nuclear could output much more power over the summer if the government were willing to accept the loss of fish in some of the rivers.
5) Big national campaigns for energy efficiency. We've already seen the Italian government say that living without air conditioning would be a price worth paying.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 10, 2022, 05:30:25 pm
I doubt that putting even a small wind turbine on a redundant pylon would be viable, on account of the wind forces produced. A very small wind turbine should be doable, but it is doubtful if these are economic in grid connected applications. More applicable to boats and to remote premises without a grid connection.

As regards restricting peak time supplies of electricity to industry, I have my doubts except in a handful of special cases. It could result in exporting our remaining manufacturing industry to countries with cheap electricity available 24/7.



Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: ellendune on April 10, 2022, 05:37:54 pm
Big projects across Europe (subject to political whim):
1) Pausing and temporarily reversing the decommissioning of nuclear reactors in Germany
2) Peripheral countries e.g. UK massively importing and stockpiling as much LNG as they can. Note that Germany doesn't have an LNG terminal so will be reliant on (1) and gas pipelines from other countries. We haven't recently stockpiled because of the storage cost but I expect this to change.
3) Working with industry to manage demand. Industry could be given incentives to over produce in the summer with a clear warning that they will be rationed in the winter.
4) Environmental concerns given short shrift/relaxed. For example, French nuclear could output much more power over the summer if the government were willing to accept the loss of fish in some of the rivers.
5) Big national campaigns for energy efficiency. We've already seen the Italian government say that living without air conditioning would be a price worth paying.


2) We have very little gas storage capacity it was decommissioned a few years ago.  Is there any change we could recommission it? or build more from scratch?
5) The UK government don't seem to be interested in the quickest saving which is a national campaign on insulation. 

A push on onshore wind and on tidal power projects.  Remarkably much of our tidal projects are still EU funded including the Anglesey/Yns Mon project just starting! Is the UK government at all interested in funding such projects?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: eXPassenger on April 10, 2022, 06:33:44 pm
On the subject of decarb rather than Aberthaw, I noticed the other day that not only have cables appeared on the kinky new T-shaped pylons between Hinkley Point and just south of the Mendips, but some of the the older pylons have lost their knitting. I found a press release date 30 March from National Grid (https://www.nationalgrid.com/hinkley-connection-project-completes-high-voltage-cable-installation-under-mendip-hills) which says:

Quote
National Grid and Balfour Beatty engineers working on the Hinkley Connection Project have completed the installation of high voltage, 400kV cables under the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Since starting in February 2021, teams have pulled a total of 102km cables (the distance between Bridgwater and Gloucester). The cables were delivered on 108 separate cable drums. Each drum held approximately 1km of cable, weighed between 35-50 tonne and stood 5 metres high. Next follows a programme of jointing and testing with energisation expected in Autumn this year. Reinstatement of the land is already underway on different parts of the route.  The Mendip cables section of the Hinkley Connection Project will be fully complete by the end of 2023.

Once work is completed and existing WPD pylons removed in summer, this part of the Mendip Hills AONB will be pylon free for the first time since the 1960s. Last week, representatives from the AONB Unit visited to see the works for themselves and gain insight into what is involved in a project of this scale.

and more at the source. The old 132 kV pylons will be coming down over the summer.

Sadly, I didn't have time for photos, although may have when I head back that way later this month. The T-pylons seem to have as much of a base as a wind turbine, and it will be interesting to see how much of that is temporary.

We live very close to the buried section and have been following the build with interest.  Locally the cables came down a few months ago and we are waiting for the pylons to go and then the haul road.

As an aside the BBC progamme 'Digging for Britain' included a segment on a Roman town discovered during this work.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 10, 2022, 06:46:55 pm


2) We have very little gas storage capacity it was decommissioned a few years ago.  Is there any change we could recommission it? or build more from scratch?
5) The UK government don't seem to be interested in the quickest saving which is a national campaign on insulation. 

A push on onshore wind and on tidal power projects.  Remarkably much of our tidal projects are still EU funded including the Anglesey/Yns Mon project just starting! Is the UK government at all interested in funding such projects?


The main UK gas store was in depleted gas fields under the North sea. It was decommissioned because the wells used  had rusted badly and were unfit for further use. It would in principle be possible to plug the old wells with concrete and drill new ones nearby, but the costs would be prohibitive.
New above ground storage for liquid natural gas is a possibility, but expensive, vulnerable to accidents or terrorist attack, and likely to be out NIMBYied.
 


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 10, 2022, 10:33:02 pm
Big projects across Europe (subject to political whim):
1) Pausing and temporarily reversing the decommissioning of nuclear reactors in Germany
2) Peripheral countries e.g. UK massively importing and stockpiling as much LNG as they can. Note that Germany doesn't have an LNG terminal so will be reliant on (1) and gas pipelines from other countries. We haven't recently stockpiled because of the storage cost but I expect this to change.
3) Working with industry to manage demand. Industry could be given incentives to over produce in the summer with a clear warning that they will be rationed in the winter.
4) Environmental concerns given short shrift/relaxed. For example, French nuclear could output much more power over the summer if the government were willing to accept the loss of fish in some of the rivers.
5) Big national campaigns for energy efficiency. We've already seen the Italian government say that living without air conditioning would be a price worth paying.


1) Entirely sensible, but the government has frightened the people for years. There are more coal stations in the offing - I hope no-one mentions that coal fired plants tend to emit more radioactive material than nuclear.
2) Easier said than done. Not only do you need storage, but also gas to put in it. We aren't the only country asking, and some have deeper pockets.
3) Good luck with asking people to work harder all summer and take their summer holidays in January.
4) Another way the French could balance their energy books would be to stop exporting electricity to us, and we rely heavily on our offshore nuclear plants.
5) Good luck too with telling Italians what to do. We do, however, have a massive national campaign for energy efficiency called Raising the Price cap on Energy. It will quickly bear fruit.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 11, 2022, 09:02:24 pm
And if you were thinking of installing a big solar array on your roof, bear in mind that it doesn't always save on emissions. From Bristol 24/7:

Quote
SOLAR PANELS CATCHING FIRE APPEARS TO BE CAUSE OF WE THE CURIOUS BLAZE
By MARTIN BOOTH, Sunday Apr 10, 2022

(https://www.bristol247.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/We-The-Curious-roof-solar-panels-fire-damage-photo-Martin-Booth-1600x900.jpg)

We The Curious will be closed to visitors for the duration of the Easter holidays and maybe for longer after a serious fire on Saturday afternoon.

Exclusive footage shot by Bristol24/7 shows dozens of solar panels on the building’s roof were destroyed in the blaze.

We The Curious has Bristol’s largest photovoltaic solar panel array of around 200 panels, with more than 60 of these completely destroyed.

In a statement on Sunday, We The Curious said that they have “sustained some significant fire and water damage to the roof, our second floor and areas of the building where water has come through. Thankfully, our main exhibition floors appears to remain relatively unharmed.

“We’ve still got some more assessing of the site to do, but we now know that we’ll be closed for a few weeks.”

(https://www.bristol247.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/We-The-Curious-roof-solar-panels-fire-damage-photo-by-Martin-Booth.jpg)
We The Curious declared a climate emergency in 2019 by publicising their pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030 – photo: Martin Booth

Analysis by the BRE National Solar Centre suggests that there are three possible root causes for solar panel fires: an error in the system design, a faulty product or poor installation.

The most frequent cause of recent fires has been due to poor installation practices, leading to water getting into DC isolators.

There are more than one million solar panels installed across the UK, with solar panels contributing more than ten per cent of renewable generation and more than four per cent of total electricity generation in the UK in 2021.

In their statement, We The Curious added: “We’d like to say a massive thank you to our incredible staff for their hard work and dedication, to our visitors for their understanding, and to the Avon Fire and Rescue team and police for their swift action.

“We’d also like to say a big thanks to Bristol Hotel, SS Great Britain and Bristol Old Vic for supporting a wedding party that we had on Saturday.”

My son said he could smell it in Fishponds.

They say the most frequent cause of recent fires is poor installation, leading to water getting into DC isolators. The 2019 report Fire and Solar PV Systems - Investigations and Evidence (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/786882/Fires_and_solar_PV_systems-Investigations_Evidence_Issue_2.9.pdf) compiled on behalf of DECC, points the finger at DC isolators as the biggest, but by no means only, culprit, with poor installation being a common theme. I mention this only in case anyone is out there worrying about their own solar panel on the roof. I am sure there will be a full investigation into this incident. There are millions of solar panels around the country in almost a million installations, making this a rare incident, albeit high profile. We The Curious will be closed over one of it's busiest weekends. It was also inconvenient for the couple due to be married there (lawfully welded), the good news being that the cake was rescued intact.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on April 12, 2022, 07:05:10 am
Most solar panels are made largely of glass and metal and are therefore non combustible. The connections to the solar panels can catch fire as a result of poor materials or workmanship.

In the pictures shown, I suspect that the main fuel was the roof structure or roof covering. The fire might have been started by defective connections to the solar panels.

One hazard of large solar panel installations is that  an electrical fault may result in prolonged arcing.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 17, 2022, 03:29:25 pm
This is a bit inconvenient for the various industry lobby groups trying to get us to switch everything to hydrogen:

Quote
Use of hydrogen (H2) as a substitute for carbon-containing fossil fuels such as natural gas would prevent emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, with significant climate benefits. Nevertheless, any leakage of hydrogen will affect atmospheric composition (with implications for air quality) and have an indirect warming effect on climate, partially offsetting some of the climate benefits of the reduction in carbon dioxide.

This is the start of the executive summary of Atmospheric implications of increased Hydrogen use (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1067144/atmospheric-implications-of-increased-hydrogen-use.pdf) published under open government licence by some people who paid a lot more attention than I did in chemistry lessons. The researchers are from the universities of Cambridge and Reading.

Long story short, converting everything to hydrogen might not be as good an idea as it seems on paper, particularly if a lot of it leaks. The chemistry lessons I did stay awake for  included one where the teacher complained about how hard it is to keep hydrogen where you want it to be, demonstrating the point by filling a balloon with it. It didn't stay inflated for long. Any leaks on a grander scale will find their way into the atmosphere, where they would react with the hydroxyl radicals that currently deal with a lot of the methane that escapes from pipes and cows. Said methane would then linger in the atmosphere longer than at present, so increasing the rate of global warming.  It isn't given as a definite, because the rate at which we will leak hydrogen is as yet unknown. If it is the same rate we leak most other chemicals as a race globally, I would incline towards the higher end of the scale.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Oxonhutch on April 18, 2022, 01:20:42 pm
Warning – technical! Summary is that there could already be large natural hydrogen emissions into the atmosphere before any man made additions are taken into account.

An interesting report by climate scientist using atmospheric models on the reduction of hydroxyl radicals in the atmosphere by an elevated hydrogen flux. They concede that one of their greatest unknowns, and one that impacts disproportionally on their model outputs is the ratio of hydrogen uptake in soil versus reaction with HO*. Current hydrogen atmospheric concentration is steady at 0.55 ppm.

Being atmospheric scientists, they look only to the atmospheric bit of the global hydrogen cycle and I think this exposes a weakness in their model. Normal, and well understood, geological processes currently produce huge quantities of natural hydrogen and I am part of a Natural Hydrogen Study Group that is trying to understand better how to tap into this natural hydrogen as an energy resource - so called ‘golden’ hydrogen. How much of this hydrogen is currently entering the atmosphere? We don’t know but we suspect it is huge.

The most common geological process is serpentinisation where water reacts with reduced (ferrous) iron bearing minerals such as olivine to more oxidised (ferric) iron in minerals such as magnetite. In its most simplest form, the reaction can be represented by the equation:

2FeO + H2O = Fe2O3 + H2

Note that serpentine itself derives from the magnesium component of the olivine and is not represented above.

We know that this reaction is occuring at all the mid-oceanic ridges constantly but it is unknown how much of this hydrogen enters the marine environment and exhausts to atmosphere. We know it is produced where old oceanic crust is faulted to surface such as Oman and Cyprus, and hydrogen is currently being produced from an old water well in Mali northwest of the capital Bamako. It is powering a generator to provide electricity to the village. Our study group is attempting to understand how this hydrogen system works and where else should we be exploring for it.

Because this reaction is so common, it suggests that there is currently a large hydrogen flux to the atmosphere that is being buffered by natural earth processes and I suspect that this is dominated by reactions in the soil and hydrosphere. We see these reactions on satellite imagery in the form of ‘faerie rings’ caused by changes in vegetation around hydrogen seeps.

Frustratingly, there is very little data on natural hydrogen emissions  from wells etc., the majority of data is currently from Russia. It is not routinely analysed even in areas where we strongly suspect it is present.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on April 18, 2022, 01:37:50 pm
They had better get a move on, before English Heritage list the old pylons.
I wouldn't be hugely surprised. Apparently there are societies of pylon spotters (they probably make the geekiest rolling stock spotters seem like the hippest cool dudes) who will presumably have things to say. I've been told that the Wentlooge Levels, between Cardiff and Newport, are a global mecca due to the large number of different types found there. But maybe the advent of T-pylons will draw them to Somerset.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on April 18, 2022, 08:24:09 pm
But maybe the advent of T-pylons will draw them to Somerset.

Let's hope not, eh?  ;D

Warning – technical! Summary is that there could already be large natural hydrogen emissions into the atmosphere before any man made additions are taken into account.

An interesting report by climate scientist using atmospheric models on the reduction of hydroxyl radicals in the atmosphere by an elevated hydrogen flux. They concede that one of their greatest unknowns, and one that impacts disproportionally on their model outputs is the ratio of hydrogen uptake in soil versus reaction with HO*. Current hydrogen atmospheric concentration is steady at 0.55 ppm.

Being atmospheric scientists, they look only to the atmospheric bit of the global hydrogen cycle and I think this exposes a weakness in their model. Normal, and well understood, geological processes currently produce huge quantities of natural hydrogen and I am part of a Natural Hydrogen Study Group that is trying to understand better how to tap into this natural hydrogen as an energy resource - so called ‘golden’ hydrogen. How much of this hydrogen is currently entering the atmosphere? We don’t know but we suspect it is huge.

The most common geological process is serpentinisation where water reacts with reduced (ferrous) iron bearing minerals such as olivine to more oxidised (ferric) iron in minerals such as magnetite. In its most simplest form, the reaction can be represented by the equation:

2FeO + H2O = Fe2O3 + H2

Note that serpentine itself derives from the magnesium component of the olivine and is not represented above.

We know that this reaction is occuring at all the mid-oceanic ridges constantly but it is unknown how much of this hydrogen enters the marine environment and exhausts to atmosphere. We know it is produced where old oceanic crust is faulted to surface such as Oman and Cyprus, and hydrogen is currently being produced from an old water well in Mali northwest of the capital Bamako. It is powering a generator to provide electricity to the village. Our study group is attempting to understand how this hydrogen system works and where else should we be exploring for it.

Because this reaction is so common, it suggests that there is currently a large hydrogen flux to the atmosphere that is being buffered by natural earth processes and I suspect that this is dominated by reactions in the soil and hydrosphere. We see these reactions on satellite imagery in the form of ‘faerie rings’ caused by changes in vegetation around hydrogen seeps.

Frustratingly, there is very little data on natural hydrogen emissions  from wells etc., the majority of data is currently from Russia. It is not routinely analysed even in areas where we strongly suspect it is present.

I had no idea, and nor, I'll  wager, did very many others. "Golden" indeed - just add water! I knew that helium continues to be produced by radioactive decay, but I didn't know there was so much unattached hydrogen still being formed. My understanding was, until a few minutes ago, that its rarity in the atmosphere as free molecules was because it reacts with lots of things without help, including the hydroxyl ions, and that any that doesn't is light enough to escape to space. It seems there is more to it, and thank you for the enlightenment.

I'm as sure as I can be that the report was not the work of climate change deniers* or advocates of another technology having a pop at the hydrogen promoters, because of where the authors are from. I am still far from convinced that hydrogen is anything of a solution for energy storage by using electrolysis, but if it turns out there's an abundant source of the gas just waiting to be tapped, I shall be very happy.

(* "Climate change deniers" looks like a new specification for stocking material, to take account of the rising temperatures.)


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Oxonhutch on April 18, 2022, 09:54:32 pm
Their report is good and founded in good science - I tip my cap. They identify their weaknesses. All sound science.

My feeling was that their present day boundary conditions were not well defined and therefore their results might not hold up under scrutiny.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on July 28, 2022, 05:44:59 pm
Here's a couple of updates of on subjects mentioned earlier in this thread.

Big projects across Europe (subject to political whim):
1) Pausing and temporarily reversing the decommissioning of nuclear reactors in Germany
2) Peripheral countries e.g. UK massively importing and stockpiling as much LNG as they can. Note that Germany doesn't have an LNG terminal so will be reliant on (1) and gas pipelines from other countries. We haven't recently stockpiled because of the storage cost but I expect this to change.
3) Working with industry to manage demand. Industry could be given incentives to over produce in the summer with a clear warning that they will be rationed in the winter.
4) Environmental concerns given short shrift/relaxed. For example, French nuclear could output much more power over the summer if the government were willing to accept the loss of fish in some of the rivers.
5) Big national campaigns for energy efficiency. We've already seen the Italian government say that living without air conditioning would be a price worth paying.

2) We have very little gas storage capacity it was decommissioned a few years ago.  Is there any change we could recommission it? or build more from scratch?

Centrica are reactivating the Rough storage facility. They have one approval (of several needed), and are haggling with who- or whatever is the government about money.

Rough is usually described as holding 10 days' supply, but I think that's at the average annual usage so it's fewer days of full winter demand. But it still more than doubles the total: the rest adds up to 1730 (bcm, i.e. cubic km) which is about eight days at 811 TWh per year. (Don't you love those mixed units?)

It's not a lot, even then. France has taken energy security much more seriously, and has 12 bcm available, or over 100 days.

The other subject was virtual inertia:
...Why? If they replace physical inertia, its absence certainly does. But in principle a BESS (battery plus 4-quadrant converter) can provide virtual or synthetic inertia. All you need is to add the right ... software!

Work continues on this, though most of it is analysis or simulation. PG&E in California have at least reported some experiments (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwif05WCiP7sAhVtRBUIHeZjA2sQFjAGegQIBBAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pge.com%2Fpge_global%2Fcommon%2Fpdfs%2Fabout-pge%2Fenvironment%2Fwhat-we-are-doing%2Felectric-program-investment-charge%2FPGE-EPIC-Project-2.05.pdf&usg=AOvVaw0JcivDBB0_MmDCq5j72qMz) with a 1 MWhr unit and a real grid.
...
Our TSO is working on it, though I can't find evidence of any real hardware.

Someone, in Australia as it happens, is building a usefully big one. Its value as inertia depends mostly on its power rating, which is 150 MW. Maybe not so big relative to the whole UK grid, but it's on a lower-density system in Southern Australia. This (from E&T) (https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2022/07/south-australia-battery-to-deliver-world-first-inertia-services/) says its inertia is 2000 MW, which I'm sure should be 2000MWs (Neoen themselves (https://hornsdalepowerreserve.com.au/learn/) say up to 3000 MWs).

It has far more storage capacity than that inertia function calls for, nearly 200 MWh, so it can also do stuff like (they claim) backing up power lines so they can run close to full rating, as well as the obvious understudy for generation. The clever software is "Tesla’s Virtual Machine Mode" - whether that's clever technically, or clever marketing, I've no idea.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on July 28, 2022, 08:33:55 pm
The Rough gas storage facility was closed due to the well casings rusting and doubts about safe continued operation.
If it is to be returned to use, then presumably the working pressure and thus the storage capacity will be much reduced if compared to that previously available.

They have left it a bit late to reopen Rough ! from where is the gas coming to fill it? Natural gas is already scarce and hugely expensive. Buying gas at 400 pence a therm to put into storage, will lock in that very high price when the gas is released from the storage. Though 440 pence a therm, after storage costs is probably better than running out.

We really need significantly more renewable energy generation in the UK.
Due to the inherently intermittent nature of wind and solar, we cant use ONLY these renewables, but we could use MORE. To be burning hugely expensive imported gas in power stations even in windy or sunny weather is simply daft for both environmental and financial reasons.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on July 28, 2022, 10:08:03 pm
We really need significantly more renewable energy generation in the UK.
Due to the inherently intermittent nature of wind and solar, we cant use ONLY these renewables, but we could use MORE. To be burning hugely expensive imported gas in power stations even in windy or sunny weather is simply daft for both environmental and financial reasons.

By November?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on July 28, 2022, 11:05:09 pm
We really need significantly more renewable energy generation in the UK.
Due to the inherently intermittent nature of wind and solar, we cant use ONLY these renewables, but we could use MORE. To be burning hugely expensive imported gas in power stations even in windy or sunny weather is simply daft for both environmental and financial reasons.

By November?

Unlikely that much can be achieved by November, but some more solar could be installed by then.
Wind turbines that are already under construction could be hurried up, perhaps by extending working hours.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: MVR S&T on July 28, 2022, 11:13:56 pm
Seem to be runing our coal plants at the moment, so all right then....


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on July 28, 2022, 11:40:33 pm
Seem to be runing our coal plants at the moment, so all right then....

Regrettable but understandable in the present crisis. AFAIK, we only have 2 GW of coal burning plant left, useful but limited.

Edit to add, does anyone KNOW how much coal burning electricity generating plant is available. I refer here to existing plant that is either in full working order, or that requires only minor works to bring it back into running order. Not including "rusty relics" that cant be quickly and cheaply put into working order.

I suspect about 2 GW as above, but a reliable source of data is preferable to me saying "I think---" Wikipedia says 3.5 GW I suspect that might be out of date.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on July 29, 2022, 03:31:56 pm

Edit to add, does anyone KNOW how much coal burning electricity generating plant is available. I refer here to existing plant that is either in full working order, or that requires only minor works to bring it back into running order. Not including "rusty relics" that cant be quickly and cheaply put into working order.


Gridwatch shows that the highest output in 2021 was 3.9 GW, one day in January which coincided with one of the regular winter no-wind days and obviously a very short day for solar. That 3.5 GW mentioned in Wikipedia looks to be accurate - West Burton A 1 GW, Kilroot 520 MW, and Ratcliffe on Soar 2 GW. Half of Burton A was shut down in March 2022, and may be usable again. Kilross in Co Antrim is due to be converted to CCGT this year (yeah, right).

Installing more solar in time for the short dark days of winter won't help much until spring. faster installation of wind offshore or in Scotland depends on the foreign companies that own the sites being able to secure the foreign workers who install them, and of course the machines themselves. The top 10 manufacturers are China, US, Denmark and seven other foreign countries. There are currently 16 active manufacturers of wind turbines in UK, none of whom make the industrial-scale bird mincers needed, and a couple looking like they are at the novelty end of the market.

It's time to adopt the standard British response to crises such as this, and start finding someone to blame. I offer Margaret Beckett, who rejected the idea of more nuclear 20 years ago, in favour of throwing money at renewables like a woman with shallow pockets and long, long arms. Oh, and the protest industry that fell for the idea that intermittent and unpredictable power backed by gas was a good idea in the light of rising gas imports.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on July 29, 2022, 06:33:17 pm
I thank you for the figures WRT to coal fired generation.

I can not agree with your rather negative views regarding renewable energy.

On nuclear power I am "neutral" I can see the advantages, and the old nuclear power stations have served us well for many decades.
The new nuclear power station being built at Hinkley Point is not a hopeful indicator regarding either costs or completion dates.

And I simply do not trust any form of chinese or russian involvement in crucial infrastructure like power stations in general, and nuclear ones in particular.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on July 29, 2022, 11:17:35 pm
I thank you for the figures WRT to coal fired generation.

I can not agree with your rather negative views regarding renewable energy.

On nuclear power I am "neutral" I can see the advantages, and the old nuclear power stations have served us well for many decades.
The new nuclear power station being built at Hinkley Point is not a hopeful indicator regarding either costs or completion dates.

And I simply do not trust any form of chinese or russian involvement in crucial infrastructure like power stations in general, and nuclear ones in particular.

I thought I was being more positive than usual, but no matter.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on August 08, 2022, 11:01:05 am
Wasn't the Chinese component of Hinkley Point cancelled and the contract given elsewhere? Or am I imagining that (and if so, why?)


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on August 08, 2022, 12:21:17 pm
Wasn't the Chinese component of Hinkley Point cancelled and the contract given elsewhere? Or am I imagining that (and if so, why?)

Because that was Sizewell, and news items about it always bung in a mention of Hinkley? CGN are still 1/3 partners in Hinkley, with EDF (prop E Macron), and I don't think there's a serious plan to buy them out.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Red Squirrel on August 08, 2022, 02:45:19 pm
As an aside, members will have noted that France has had to turn down the wick on its nuclear power stations recently. Specifically, those which use river water for cooling: it seems the temperatures are currently high enough to risk damage to river life:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/03/edf-to-reduce-nuclear-power-output-as-french-river-temperatures-rise

I read somewhere that one of the objections to Sizewell C is that it will raise the temperature of the sea locally, though in this case the problem relates to the growth of phytoplankton in the balmy discharge.

https://tasizewellc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/g-Ecological-Impacts140679253.pdf

Shame they can't build power stations where people live; we could add the waste heat to local heat networks:

https://www.energyservicebristol.co.uk/business/heat-networks/







Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on August 08, 2022, 05:01:14 pm
I am not convinced that drought is the main reason for the substantial reduction in French nuclear output. The output has been well below the historical norm for more than a year, including during times of normal rainfall.
The underlying reason is reported to be stress cracking and corrosion in a large number of nuclear power stations. The French are trying hard not to publicise this since they hope to sell nuclear power stations to the UK and elsewhere.

Better to blame the weather rather than defective design or construction.

As a result France have been regularly importing expensive electricity from us. I think that mainland Europe are in a panic over gas and electricity for the coming winter. Various energy saving measures are being enacted or proposed.

And what is being done in the UK ? nothing much.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on August 08, 2022, 05:42:37 pm
All river-cooled power stations (and some sea-cooled ones too) have, for a very long time now, operated with outlet temperature limits. And in the summer they often have to reduce exhaust heat by that route - which is why they have cooling towers as back-up. This year, in France, the drought is such that some of them may be short of water for those too.

There hasn't been any secret about how many of the French nuclear generators are "in need of repair", and this goes back to last year. That is why our grid's usual fix of the French electrons has been replaced by us feeding them a little (actually 1.68 GW now). The heatwave effects just add to that. If you think about it, needing more repair is exactly what you would expect as they get older - it happened to ours as well.

I did see a suggestion that the feeding of electricity that way is a virtual gas pipeline, to help France and Germany build their reserves using terminal capacity in the UK. They are short of this, while we have some that we have replaced by the Norwegian pipeline. So if we burn gas on their behalf they have more of it to send down the salt mines.  But I doubt that's more than an accidental result of what had to happen anyway.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on August 08, 2022, 08:59:55 pm
As an aside, members will have noted that France has had to turn down the wick on its nuclear power stations recently. Specifically, those which use river water for cooling: it seems the temperatures are currently high enough to risk damage to river life:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/03/edf-to-reduce-nuclear-power-output-as-french-river-temperatures-rise

That's a very sensible idea, and might also save a few euros in fuel.

Quote
I read somewhere that one of the objections to Sizewell C is that it will raise the temperature of the sea locally, though in this case the problem relates to the growth of phytoplankton in the balmy discharge.

https://tasizewellc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/g-Ecological-Impacts140679253.pdf

I know that dilution is not the solution to pollution, but I find it hard to remember enough physics to work out how much heat would have to be discharged into the sea to make any difference, especially given the currents and tides. Perhaps Sizewell C could be designed so that some of this heat can be used for industry or agriculture. It's been done elsewhere.

Quote
Shame they can't build power stations where people live; we could add the waste heat to local heat networks:

https://www.energyservicebristol.co.uk/business/heat-networks/



That too. The problem is that nobody wants a power station of any type in the neighbourhood, but I'm sure hot water could be piped for relatively long distances with the right pipework.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: chuffed on August 09, 2022, 04:44:42 pm
Referring to Tony K's last comment, it almost seems an oxymoron that Iceland has miles and miles of above ground pipework to cool the geothermally heated water so it is at a safe temperature for human and industrial use.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on August 09, 2022, 09:23:32 pm
Referring to Tony K's last comment, it almost seems an oxymoron that Iceland has miles and miles of above ground pipework to cool the geothermally heated water so it is at a safe temperature for human and industrial use.

'Tis true, I've marvelled at it myself. It is also piped direct to the hot water taps. It sometimes smells a bit sulphurous coming out of the shower head, but they say that's good for the skin, and as a bonus, you can get away with a lot.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on August 09, 2022, 11:36:33 pm
The use of waste heat from power stations for domestic heating or industry is frequently proposed and can sound attractive, but seldom makes economic sense.

The first problem is that this waste heat is rejected at a very low temperature, less than blood heat. This slightly warm water is not very effective for domestic heating or industrial purposes.
Try heating a home to say 23 degrees by means of warm water at about 30 degrees. It can be done but requires either underfloor heating or very oversized radiators.

To transport a useful amount of heat at such low temperatures requires huge volumes of water. Very large and expensive pipes that are disruptive to install. Considerable energy used in pumping all that water.

Possible uses include heated swimming pools, heated glasshouses, or thermal desalination of seawater.



Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Bmblbzzz on August 10, 2022, 09:05:57 am
Referring to Tony K's last comment, it almost seems an oxymoron that Iceland has miles and miles of above ground pipework to cool the geothermally heated water so it is at a safe temperature for human and industrial use.

'Tis true, I've marvelled at it myself. It is also piped direct to the hot water taps. It sometimes smells a bit sulphurous coming out of the shower head, but they say that's good for the skin, and as a bonus, tou can get away with a lot.
;D :o :D


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on August 10, 2022, 10:21:43 am
The first problem is that this waste heat is rejected at a very low temperature, less than blood heat. This slightly warm water is not very effective for domestic heating or industrial purposes.

The other way of looking at that is to say that if heat has to be rejected at a higher temperature so it is useable, the electrical output (and thus the efficiency) is reduced. So this heat isn't "free" at all: it has a significant cost in electricity foregone.

In 1972 (I think) I was a lab demonstrator on an OU summer school in Loughborough, and we did a few factory visits (GEC turbines in Derby was one). Two were to power stations; one was Ratcliffe on Soar, mentioned upthread as still in operation. Lasted well, hasn't it? It was only a few years old when I saw it, new and almost shiny. Of course it was impressive, like anything else that's like something familiar but a hundred times bigger. Surprisingly, having seen the boiler (mega-huge), and the turbine (huge), the alternator was almost small by comparison, tacked on the end of the turbine (with an even smaller exciter tacked on the end of that).

Following that we went to Spondon, which I think is the biggest British power station built to provide process heat first and electricity second. It was smaller (30 MWe) but had a very big water softener. The water inside a steam cycle has to be very pure, so that's usually a closed cycled with a purifier for its make-up water. At Spondon the steam went from the boiler through a single high pressure turbine and then, instead of medium- and low-pressure turbine stages, it went across the canal (actually the Derwent) into British Celanese and never came back. If the plant was shut down (which would be rare), so was the power station - another constraint of this sort of joint operation.

And as for heating homes ... well, this week, one problem with siting a power station to do that should be obvious enough. There is heat to be rejected all year, but heating isn't needed in summer. So some alternative is called for - not a river, obviously! And cities are already uncomfortably hot (heat islands), but guess what happens if you plonk a GW or two of heat engine down in one (or even moderately near)?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on August 10, 2022, 07:59:42 pm
The first problem is that this waste heat is rejected at a very low temperature, less than blood heat. This slightly warm water is not very effective for domestic heating or industrial purposes.

The other way of looking at that is to say that if heat has to be rejected at a higher temperature so it is useable, the electrical output (and thus the efficiency) is reduced. So this heat isn't "free" at all: it has a significant cost in electricity foregone.


Yet another way to look at that is to see the water as having had the maximum amount of energy used. I'm sure I recall a big heated greenhouse affair in Kent using waste heat from something, and somewhere similar near Preston doing the same thing to grow salads. I can't find anything about it now, so maybe it didn't work out.

Iceland's heating systems use a bit of a mix. Reykjavik has boreholes under streets with water at a comfortable temperature for showering and radiators piped to every home. We were told not to turn the heating down if it got too hot, but to open windows, that being the most efficient way. Pavements are heated from below, making them ice free. The big superheated water plants get water at 200C-plus. That gets used for power production, then piped to Reykjavik to provide district heating to the parts without boreholes. The mineral content means it is corrosive, so uses heat exchangers with clean water and traces of hydrogen sulphide added. When we went there the first time, I wanted to look around the power stations, but was outvoted by my wife, and had to settle for stunning scenery and geysers instead.

We could yet use some of this expertise in the UK, albeit at a less dramatic scale. Just don't tell anyone that a lot of the heat is from radioactive decay.

Edit: My subsequent reading suggests that all this Icelandic innovation developed out of necessity, and as from recently as the 1970s. Prior to that, Iceland had hydroelectric power developed from the early 20th century, but was largely reliant on imported coal and oil for a lot of power as well as space heating. That changed with the oil crisis 50 years ago, giving limited choices of either paying more, using less, or finding another way. A nation with a lower population than Bristol planned and built the solution, and now attracts energy hungry companies that don't have to rely on a single physical location, like data centres and the dreaded Bitcoin miners. We could yet import energy from their if Icelink (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icelink) ever gets the nod.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Red Squirrel on August 10, 2022, 11:08:50 pm
As an aside, I understand that the average water temperature of rivers in the UK is just under 10 degrees. Bristol think it's worth extracting some of this heat in a water-sourced heat pump located on the edge of the grassed-over bombsite that some call Castle Park. Presumably you could extract a lot more heat, more efficiently, from water at 23 degrees? Or am I showing my ignorance again?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: ellendune on August 10, 2022, 11:16:17 pm
As an aside, I understand that the average water temperature of rivers in the UK is just under 10 degrees. Bristol think it's worth extracting some of this heat in a water-sourced heat pump located on the edge of the grassed-over bombsite that some call Castle Park. Presumably you could extract a lot more heat, more efficiently, from water at 23 degrees? Or am I showing my ignorance again?
You could extract much more heat more efficiently from water at 23 degrees yes.  Just need a heat pump. 


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: CyclingSid on August 11, 2022, 06:51:02 am
They did a trial of geothermal energy at Marchwood, opposite Southampton, 50+ years ago. There is something related now opposite the West Quay Shopping Centre when I cycle from the station to the ferry.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on October 04, 2022, 11:17:49 pm
... STEP (Spherical Tokomak for Energy Production), for which Aberthaw, among other old power station sites, was nominated. Mind you, its declared timescale is "by 2040", so breathing is not optional.

Not Aberthaw, in the end (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/site-of-uks-first-fusion-energy-plant-selected):
Quote
Site of UK’s first fusion energy plant selected

West Burton power station site in Nottinghamshire has been selected as the home for the UK’s prototype fusion energy plant.

From:    Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and UK Atomic Energy Authority
Published    3 October 2022

Today (3 October 2022), the government announced that the West Burton power station site in Nottinghamshire has been selected as the home for ‘STEP’ (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production), the UK’s prototype fusion energy plant which aims to be built by 2040.

Fusion is based on the same physical reactions that power the sun and stars, and is the process by which 2 light atomic nuclei combine while releasing large amounts of energy. This technology has significant potential to deliver safe, sustainable, low carbon energy for future generations.

The government-backed STEP programme will create thousands of highly skilled jobs during construction and operations, as well as attracting other high tech industries to the region, and furthering the development of science and technology capabilities nationally.

The ambitious programme will also commit immediately to the development of apprenticeship schemes in the region, building on the success of the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) Oxfordshire Advanced Skills centre in Culham. Conversations with local providers and employers have already begun, with schemes to start as soon as possible.

The UK government is providing £220 million of funding for the first phase of STEP, which will see the UK Atomic Energy Authority produce a concept design by 2024.

The same news was announced at the Tory conference by the relevant minister - Rees-Mogg, of course. I'm sure this is grossly unfair, but there's something about the way he elocutes about nuclear fusion just sounds weird.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on October 05, 2022, 05:15:13 am
Splendid news. For most of my lifetime, fusion has been about 30 years in the future. Recently this has dropped to about 10 years in the future. And it might now be nearer than that.
Note that this project is to build a working power station, not a research project.

It might not work, but the potential gains are so great that considerable spending is IMHO justified.

Also very glad that this is a UK project.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Witham Bobby on October 05, 2022, 09:56:07 am
Calder Hall was a world first for the UK, too, as an atomic power station, wasn't it? (not that it was the main purpose)


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on October 05, 2022, 02:19:21 pm
Splendid news. For most of my lifetime, fusion has been about 30 years in the future. Recently this has dropped to about 10 years in the future. And it might now be nearer than that.
Note that this project is to build a working power station, not a research project.

It might not work, but the potential gains are so great that considerable spending is IMHO justified.

Also very glad that this is a UK project.

It has always been much closer than 30 years in the future. In 1965, when I first heard about fusion power from Raymond Baxter on Tomorrow's World, it was only 10 years away, and has remained 10 years away ever since. My Dad voiced some scepticism about the timescale, but he was more of a pessimist than I am.

Calder Hall was a world first for the UK, too, as an atomic power station, wasn't it? (not that it was the main purpose)

I believe that the first to generate electricity for a grid was in Obninsk, USSR, in 1954. Calder Hall was the first full scale, and was, as you say, not designed entirely for power. It was the first Magnox reactor, designed to breed Plutonium-239 for bombs, like the Windscale Pile before it, with electricity production being a clever way of both hiding the main purpose and getting rid of that pesky heat that had caused the fire in the pile. It was all British as you say, and the design was still in use in the UK until 2015, when Wylfa closed. The design meant that the fuel was used in a very inefficient manner as compared to modern pressurised water reactors, and left a lot of highly active waste. It also left deep distrust and fear of nuclear power.

Speaking of decarbonisation, I have long argued that paying Drax billions of pounds to burn imported wood pellets is not very green. It seems that the BBC now agrees with me, as evidenced by last night's Panorama documentary "The Green Energy Scandal Exposed". (https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m001cw6z/panorama-the-green-energy-scandal-exposed) If you wondered about this, or had never heard of it, you could invest 30 minutes into watching the programme on iPlayer using that link. If after that you are in the mood for more offerings about descent into madness, I recommend  "The Man Inside"


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on October 05, 2022, 04:33:20 pm
I have long doubted the greenness of imported wood chip or wood pellet fuel, and have said so on this and other forums. I hope that use will be discontinued once present stocks and supplies already en-route are used up.

Back to coal as a SHORT TERM EMERGENCY measure, with the medium term aim of phasing out coal and moving to renewables, with very limited natural gas burning only under adverse conditions.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on October 05, 2022, 07:33:07 pm

Back to coal as a SHORT TERM EMERGENCY measure, with the medium term aim of phasing out coal and moving to renewables, with very limited natural gas burning only under adverse conditions.

Good luck with that. So far this year, we have burned on average 12.7 GW of gas purely to produce electricity. That is gas burning to make electricity every second of every day. Add on what gets burned for heating and hot water, plus industry, and you have a lot of replacing to do.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on October 05, 2022, 08:22:58 pm

Back to coal as a SHORT TERM EMERGENCY measure, with the medium term aim of phasing out coal and moving to renewables, with very limited natural gas burning only under adverse conditions.

Good luck with that. So far this year, we have burned on average 12.7 GW of gas purely to produce electricity. That is gas burning to make electricity every second of every day. Add on what gets burned for heating and hot water, plus industry, and you have a lot of replacing to do.

And yet ... globally ... provided you can believe a think tank called Ember (https://ember-climate.org/insights/research/global-electricity-mid-year-insights-2022/) ...
Quote
01     Renewables met all growth in global electricity demand

Global electricity demand rose 3% in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period last year; this was in line with the historic average. Wind and solar met 77% of this demand growth, and hydro more than met the remainder. In China, the rise in wind and solar generation met 92% of its electricity demand rise; in the US it was 81%, while in India it was 23%.

02     Coal and gas generation remained almost unchanged

Because renewables growth met all the demand growth, fossil generation was almost unchanged. Coal declined by 1% and gas declined by 0.05%; these were offset by a slight rise in oil. Consequently, global CO2 power sector emissions were unchanged, despite the rise in electricity demand. Coal in the EU rose 15% only to cover a temporary shortfall in nuclear and hydro generation. Coal in India rose 10% because of a sharp rebound in electricity demand from the lows early last year when the Covid-19 pandemic struck hardest. These rises were offset against falls of 3% in China and 7% in the US...


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on October 06, 2022, 08:43:44 am

Back to coal as a SHORT TERM EMERGENCY measure, with the medium term aim of phasing out coal and moving to renewables, with very limited natural gas burning only under adverse conditions.

Good luck with that. So far this year, we have burned on average 12.7 GW of gas purely to produce electricity. That is gas burning to make electricity every second of every day. Add on what gets burned for heating and hot water, plus industry, and you have a lot of replacing to do.

A very substantial reduction in gas burnt for power generation should be easy to achieve. Wind turbines are a mature technology, and DOUBLING the installed capacity should be easy. Grid tied PV could also be considerably expanded.
SOME natural gas would still be required for when neither wind nor solar is available, but much less than at present.

The short term aim should be to eliminate gas burning in power stations during daylight (use solar) and in even moderately  windy weather.

To burn expensive imported gas 24/7 as we do at present is simply daft. To be reliant on potential enemies for that gas is even worse.

New wind generation is now very cheap, about one third of that expected from Hinkley C and about one tenth of that expected from gas.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Witham Bobby on October 06, 2022, 10:21:38 am
Electricity demand peaks on the coldest, calmest days.  When windmills don't turn

Back-up is always going to be required; wind is not sufficiently reliable as a means of maintaining the economy or living standards, despite everything the green lobby says.

Absent coal fired and nuclear plants these days, how is gas generation avoidable?


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on October 06, 2022, 02:29:44 pm
Under present circumstances, some gas burning generation is unavoidable, but should in my view be minimised due to the high gas price, doubts as to the reliability of supplies, and the carbon emissions.

At present we are generating about 6GW from gas and about 13GW from wind. If wind power capacity was doubled as I suggested, then wind power plus a little from nuclear, would supply the ENTIRE UK demand. and probably leave some for export.
Gas would still be unavoidable at times of low wind, but to be burning gas on a windy day such as today makes no sense.



Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on October 06, 2022, 07:25:07 pm
Under present circumstances, some gas burning generation is unavoidable, but should in my view be minimised due to the high gas price, doubts as to the reliability of supplies, and the carbon emissions.

At present we are generating about 6GW from gas and about 13GW from wind. If wind power capacity was doubled as I suggested, then wind power plus a little from nuclear, would supply the ENTIRE UK demand. and probably leave some for export.
Gas would still be unavoidable at times of low wind, but to be burning gas on a windy day such as today makes no sense.



Today is a good day for wind, I will admit, unlike Sunday and Monday, but that is still only half of the installed capacity. The power of the wind is proportionate to the cube of its speed, meaning small variations in speed mean big changes in power. Turbines cope with changes by altering the blade pitch, but below a certain point the output is marginal. We have days, sometimes weeks, when doubling capacity would still not help, although it would lead to significant over-production on other days. That happens more in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK, leading to constraint payments. You would think, given the hype, that someone would want to do something with the excess like desalination or hydrogen production, but it looks like industry isn't keen on unpredictability. Whatever happens, wind and especially solar will always need backup, so will tie us into fossil fuels for a bit longer, a bit like riding the bike to save energy, but having the car following behind in case you get tired.

Getting rid of gas in the generation of electricity only solves a quarter of the problem anyway. Had we gone down the road of renewing the nuclear fleet when pivotal decisions were being made in the early 2000s, we would have had a few nuclear plants running now with 50 years left on the clock, and wouldn't be in quite such a pickle, but then again, if my auntie had nuts etc. Governments don't make long-term decisions here. We only have Hinkley C, HS2, the Elizabeth line, a partially electrified GWR and a few more big number projects because they survived a few changes of government until they were too far down the line to cancel.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: Witham Bobby on October 07, 2022, 10:47:19 am
Under present circumstances, some gas burning generation is unavoidable, but should in my view be minimised due to the high gas price, doubts as to the reliability of supplies, and the carbon emissions.

At present we are generating about 6GW from gas and about 13GW from wind. If wind power capacity was doubled as I suggested, then wind power plus a little from nuclear, would supply the ENTIRE UK demand. and probably leave some for export.
Gas would still be unavoidable at times of low wind, but to be burning gas on a windy day such as today makes no sense.



No matter how many windmills you install, whatever their nominal output, they produce zero when not turning.  We have some very still days.  If you install windmills, you have to either have backup to immediately replace the electricity when the blades aren't turning, or accept power cuts and grid trips with no notice

Who in their right mind is going to keep gas-fired power stations in existence, but not be able to sell anything unless it's a calm day?  Unless you get the right to charge absolutely what you like on days when the country needs that power.

This is a dead-end that will lead to us all being poorer and colder


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on October 07, 2022, 12:53:27 pm

No matter how many windmills you install, whatever their nominal output, they produce zero when not turning.  We have some very still days.  If you install windmills, you have to either have backup to immediately replace the electricity when the blades aren't turning, or accept power cuts and grid trips with no notice

Who in their right mind is going to keep gas-fired power stations in existence, but not be able to sell anything unless it's a calm day?  Unless you get the right to charge absolutely what you like on days when the country needs that power.

This is a dead-end that will lead to us all being poorer and colder

The installed capacity of wind power in this country is 25.5 GW. The actual output last month averaged 6.2 GW, roughly a quarter, with a high of 15 GW (60% of capacity) and a low of 690 MW (2.7%). The installed capacity of nuclear capacity is now under 6 GW. The actual output last month averaged 4.5 GW (about 75% of capacity) with a high of 5.5 GW (92% - surprised me too) and a low of 3.9 GW (65%). Doubling the capacity of nuclear would have meant no gas at all being needed in electricity generation for about 7 days last month, and we could begin to think about making inroads into converting transport and heating from fossil fuels to electricity.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on November 05, 2022, 09:45:46 am
I have just realised that for the past 4½ years, I have been running a non-scientific experiment without my own knowledge, to measure the effectiveness of solar energy. I didn't leap from the bath naked shouting "Eureka", just finished entering the meter reading for the feed-in tariff (FIT) for my small solar array into the website for the free money, and thought "Hang on a minute..."

The builder of my house added a 1.2 KW, nominally 1 KW, solar panel on an unobtrusive south-facing bit of roof. He told me this was not because of his green credentials, but the cheapest way of obtaining the coveted A rating for the Energy Performance Certificate. He had already done most of the other obvious things of insulation, underfloor heating, windows to minimise loss and maximise solar gain, and other methods like ground source heating would have cost a lot more. I paid little attention to it at first, but realised from the smart meter that there are long periods of sunny days when appliances were running without me using any of British Gas's electricity. I was pleasantly surprised by my first FIT payment - far from enough for another exotic holiday, but enough to cover dinner out, all without me doing anything.

I had long wondered how accurate were the claims made by developers of solar farms in their promotional material, concerning the actual output and the number of homes that would feed. After all, it does get dark a lot, although I am assured by someone who advocates covering the countryside with Chinese panels that they work on average 50% of the time across a whole year. Yesterday, it suddenly dawned on me that I had the means to estimate the effectiveness of solar power at my very fingertips.

I moved here at the end of April 2018, 4½ years ago, almost to the day. The meter for the panel records KWh produced by my 1.2 KW panel. I seem to recall it already had 50 or so on the clock when we moved in, but for ease of comparison, I will ignore that and assume a zero start 4½ years ago, along with a few other roundings of figures. The week contains 168 hours, 52 of those giving us a nominal year of 8,736 years. 4½ of those amounts to 39,312 hours of residence below my own personal little power station. Were it to have operated around the clock at the nominal rating, it would have produced 39,312 KWh of electricity. In fact, it has turned out 5,831.16 KWh. I make that just under 15% of its round-the-clock potential. A fortiori, if it is light 50% of the time on average, it produces only 30% of what my environmentalist mate thinks it should. I shall rub his nose in it when I next see him and refer to him henceforth as the environ-mentalist. I shan't be getting rid obviously - every little helps, it was here when I bought the place, and rooftops seem a good place to put the machinery. My next job is to find some figures for a large-scale solar farm, and see how they compare.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: eXPassenger on November 05, 2022, 07:24:15 pm
I have looked at the power generation of the 150W solar panels on my camper van.  I only get the nominal output when the sky is clear and the sun is at exactly 90degrees to the panels.  Either of these cause the output to rapidly fall off.  Therefore TonyK's 85% reduction from nominal is due to cloudy skies and non optimal orientation of the panel as the sun moves round.

It would be interesting to compare the output at 12 noon (if the panel points South) on sunny and cloudy days and at different times of day when the horizontal angle will be different.  The vertical angle will also differ between winter and summer.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on November 05, 2022, 08:46:25 pm
Grid tied PV is increasingly attractive when considering the increased price of electricity.
It is more economic if some of your electricity use can be shifted to the hours of sunlight. A 1.2 kw system is useful, but current thinking is towards installing nearly 4 kw.

Off grid PV, whether on a camper van or for isolated premises is also attractive since it is often displacing very expensive electricity from a vehicle engine or from a small generator.
There is no limit on the capacity of such systems. Even 50 watts helps a bit, and a few kw is ample for most households.



Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on November 06, 2022, 08:10:35 pm
I have looked at the power generation of the 150W solar panels on my camper van.  I only get the nominal output when the sky is clear and the sun is at exactly 90degrees to the panels.  Either of these cause the output to rapidly fall off.  Therefore TonyK's 85% reduction from nominal is due to cloudy skies and non optimal orientation of the panel as the sun moves round.

It would be interesting to compare the output at 12 noon (if the panel points South) on sunny and cloudy days and at different times of day when the horizontal angle will be different.  The vertical angle will also differ between winter and summer.

The array faces due south pretty much exactly, at an angle that seems to get all-day sky. There is nothing else in the way. We have a lot of sky, and it is easy to see the effect of the Earth's tilt through the seasons. Short of a motorised mount, I can't think how it could be done any better.

It would be interesting to know actual output at midday, but I don't have the facilities. That wasn't what I wanted to measure - I know that at certain times, I will be getting the full 1.2 KW, at other times nothing, and all points in between. I was interested in the bigger picture over a period of time. You only hear about renewables on good days as a rule - when the wind picks up and the garden furniture starts to lift off, I know that the papers will have banner headlines two days later about how wind turbines produced record amounts of electricity, and why the government should scrap all planning limitations for them, and send billions to the foreign owners to build more. The advocates fall silent when it's below freezing and we don't have a breath of wind for a week.

Grid tied PV is increasingly attractive when considering the increased price of electricity.
It is more economic if some of your electricity use can be shifted to the hours of sunlight. A 1.2 kw system is useful, but current thinking is towards installing nearly 4 kw.

Off grid PV, whether on a camper van or for isolated premises is also attractive since it is often displacing very expensive electricity from a vehicle engine or from a small generator.
There is no limit on the capacity of such systems. Even 50 watts helps a bit, and a few kw is ample for most households.

On this occasion and this specific subject only, I shall say that the actual size is of no importance. The roof there is the width of the house rather than length, so what I have there is pretty much all there is room for. The biggest unbroken piece of roof faces due east. It's at the back of the house, so would not spoil the look, but the isn't the optimum place, and thus not an economic proposition. As I explained above, it was installed as a ruse, almost, to get ticks in the correct boxes.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on November 07, 2022, 05:54:32 pm
It will soon be worthwhile installing PV modules on East or West facing rooves. The output will be much reduced if compared to South facing, but still worthwhile if grid electricity remains expensive and if PV modules get cheaper.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: stuving on November 07, 2022, 07:15:45 pm
It will soon be worthwhile installing PV modules on East or West facing rooves. The output will be much reduced if compared to South facing, but still worthwhile if grid electricity remains expensive and if PV modules get cheaper.

I was wondering this summer whether it would make sense to put PV panels on a gable wall. It needs something to keep the sun off, since the long period of heating during the afternoon and evening drives a lot of heat into the wall. A PV panel could power a heat pump (aircon) to remove the heat that still gets in e.g. via the windows.

The problem is that much of the gable is shaded part of the time. I don't think standard PV panels can cope with shading, since the cells are in long series strings. The electronics couldn't cope with a variable number of cells being lit per string. But I may inquire, just to find out.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: broadgage on November 19, 2022, 06:00:14 am
PV modules can be installed on gable end walls and useful power produced thus. A South facing wall will produce more power than a roof in UK winter conditions, but total annual output from a wall is less than from a roof. If the demand is primarily for lighting, than a south facing wall can be a good choice.

PV modules do not cope well with partial shading and damage may result.

If the whole module is shaded then they work fine but at a much reduced output. Bright but cloudy weather may give 50% output, heavy overcast only a few percent.


Title: Re: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation
Post by: TonyK on November 19, 2022, 01:14:23 pm
PV modules can be installed on gable end walls and useful power produced thus. A South facing wall will produce more power than a roof in UK winter conditions, but total annual output from a wall is less than from a roof. If the demand is primarily for lighting, than a south facing wall can be a good choice.

PV modules do not cope well with partial shading and damage may result.

If the whole module is shaded then they work fine but at a much reduced output. Bright but cloudy weather may give 50% output, heavy overcast only a few percent.


So in bright sunshine, you will be able to switch all the lights on for free. Next thing to sell you is a battery pack and another inverter, so you can save a few pence on lighting at night.



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