Train Graphic
Great Western Passengers' Forum [home] and [about]
November lockdown advice
Forum in and beyond Coronavirus
DfT Covid Travel Advice
Read about the forum [here].
Register [here] - it's free.
What do I gain from registering? [here]
 04/12/20 - TWSW AGM - ONLINE
09/12/20 - Community Rail Network Awards
13/01/21 - Melksham RUG - ONLINE
Random Image
Train Running Polls Acronyms/Abbreviations Station Comparator Rail news GWR co. site Site Style 1 2 3 4
Next departures • Bristol Temple MeadsBath SpaChippenhamSwindonDidcot ParkwayReadingLondon PaddingtonMelksham
Exeter St DavidsTauntonWestburyTrowbridgeBristol ParkwayCardiff CentralOxfordCheltenham SpaBirmingham New Street
November 26, 2020, 09:14:02 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Forgotten your username or password? - get a reminder
Most liked recent subjects
[138] Roger Newman - RIP
[136] Could you give up flying? Meet the no-plane pioneers
[76] Dawlish - permanent resilience work - ongoing discussions
[56] Railusergroups.net
[49] Single vehicle passenger trains from ....
[41] Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year ...
News: A forum for passengers ... with input from rail professionals welcomed too
 
   Home   Help Search Calendar Login Register  
Pages: 1 ... 3 4 [5]
  Print  
Author Topic: Aberthaw Power Station and Decarbonisation  (Read 3263 times)
Red Squirrel
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3972


There are some who call me... Tim


View Profile
« Reply #60 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

Logged
TonyK
Global Moderator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 5269


The artist formerly known as Four Track, Now!


View Profile
« Reply #61 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.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2020, 08:14:23 pm by TonyK » Logged

Now, please!
Red Squirrel
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3972


There are some who call me... Tim


View Profile
« Reply #62 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.

Logged
broadgage
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 3453



View Profile
« Reply #63 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.
Logged

A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
stuving
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 5133


View Profile
« Reply #64 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, 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!
Logged
Bmblbzzz
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 3131


View Profile
« Reply #65 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.
Logged

Tuesday had come down through Dundrum and Foster Avenue, brine-fresh from sea-travel, a corn-yellow sun-drench that called forth the bees at an incustomary hour to their bumbling.
TonyK
Global Moderator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 5269


The artist formerly known as Four Track, Now!


View Profile
« Reply #66 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.

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 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".
Logged

Now, please!
Red Squirrel
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3972


There are some who call me... Tim


View Profile
« Reply #67 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'?
Logged
Bmblbzzz
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 3131


View Profile
« Reply #68 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?  Grin
Logged

Tuesday had come down through Dundrum and Foster Avenue, brine-fresh from sea-travel, a corn-yellow sun-drench that called forth the bees at an incustomary hour to their bumbling.
Do you have something you would like to add to this thread, or would you like to raise a new question at the Coffee Shop? Please [register] (it is free) if you have not done so before, or login (at the top of this page) if you already have an account - we would love to read what you have to say!

You can find out more about how this forum works [here] - that will link you to a copy of the forum agreement that you can read before you join, and tell you very much more about how we operate. We are an independent forum, provided and run by customers of Great Western Railway, for customers of Great Western Railway and we welcome railway professionals as members too, in either a personal or official capacity. Views expressed in posts are not necessarily the views of the operators of the forum.

As well as posting messages onto existing threads, and starting new subjects, members can communicate with each other through personal messages if they wish. And once members have made a certain number of posts, they will automatically be admitted to the "frequent posters club", where subjects not-for-public-domain are discussed; anything from the occasional rant to meetups we may be having ...

 
Pages: 1 ... 3 4 [5]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.2 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
This forum is provided by a customer of Great Western Railway (formerly First Great Western), and the views expressed are those of the individual posters concerned. Visit www.gwr.com for the official Great Western Railway website. Please contact the administrators of this site if you feel that the content provided by one of our posters contravenes our posting rules (email link). Forum hosted by Well House Consultants

Jump to top of pageJump to Forum Home Page