The Anonymous Widower

New Electricity ‘Superhighways’ Needed To Cope With Surge In Wind Power

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Telegraph.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Energy companies are pushing for the rapid approval of new electricity “superhighways” between Scotland and England amid fears that a lack of capacity will set back the country’s wind power revolution.

Businesses including SSE and Scottish Power are calling on the industry regulator Ofgem to approve a series of major new north-south power cables in a bid to ease congestion on the existing electricity network.

These points are mentioned in the article.

  • Current capacity is 6 GW, which even now is not enough.
  • Another 17 GW of capacity will be needed by 2033.
  • Wind farms in Scotland have been switched off and replaced by gas-fired power stations because of a lack of grid capacity.
  • Another 25 GW of wind farms could be built after leases were awarded last month.

Two North-South interconnectors are being planned.

Peterhead And Drax

This is being proposed by SSE and National Grid.

  • It will be an undersea cable.
  • It will be two cables, each with a capacity of 2 GW.
  • Peterhead and Drax power station are four hundred miles apart by road and 279 miles as the seagull flies, as a lot of the route would be over the sea. So an undersea connection would appear to be sensible.
  • Peterhead is on the coast, so connecting an undersea interconnector shouldn’t be too challenging or disruptive to the locals.
  • Drax power station is a 4 GW power station and the largest in the UK, so it must have good grid connections.

This Google Map shows the location of Drax power station in relation to Hull, Scunthorpe and the rivers in the area.

Note.

  1. Drax is marked by the red arrow in the West of the map.
  2. The large body of water in the East is the Humber Estuary.
  3. Hull is on the North Bank of the Humber.
  4. Scunthorpe, which is famous for its steel industry is South of the Humber in the middle of the map.
  5. To the West of Scunthorpe the Humber splits into the Trent and the Ouse.
  6. The Ouse leads all the way to Drax power station.

I suspect an undersea cable could go up the Humber and Ouse to Drax power station.

Is it a coincidence that both Drax power station and the proposed link to Peterhead are both around 4 GW?

Consider.

  • Drax is a biomass power station, so it is not a zero carbon power station.
  • Drax produces around six percent of the UK’s electricity.
  • Most of the biomass comes by ship from North America.
  • Protest groups regularly have protests at Drax because of its carbon emissions.
  • Drax Group are experimenting with carbon capture.
  • Drax is a big site and a large energy storage system could be built there.
  • Wind is often criticised by opponents, saying wind is useless when the wind doesn’t blow.
  • The Scots would be unlikely to send power to England, if they were short.

This is also said about Drax in Wikipedia.

Despite this intent for baseload operation, it was designed with a reasonable ability for load-following, being able to ramp up or down by 5% of full power per minute within the range of 50–100% of full power.

I take this it means it can be used to top up electricity generation to meet demand. Add in energy storage and it could be a superb load-follower.

So could the similar size of the interconnector and Drax power station be deliberate to guarantee England a 4 GW feed at all states of the wind?

I don’t think it is a coincidence.

Torness And Hawthorn Pit And Torness and South Humberside

These two cables are being proposed by Scottish Power.

  • Each will be two GW.
  • Torness is the site of the 1.36 GW Torness nuclear power station, which is likely to be decommissioned before 2030.
  • Torness will have good grid connections and it is close to the sea.
  • Hawthorn Pit is a large closed coal mine to the North of Newcastle, with a large substation close to the site. I suspect it will be an ideal place to feed power into the grid for Newcastle and it is close to the sea.
  • Just South of Hawthorn Pit are the 1.32 GW Hartlepool nuclear power station, which will be decommissioned in 2024 and the landfall of the cables to the massive Dogger Bank wind farm.
  • As I showed earlier with Drax, the Humber would be an ideal estuary to bring underwater power cables into the surrounding area. So perhaps the cable will go to Scunthorpe for the steelworks.
  • As at Drax, there is backup in South Humberside, but here it is from the two Keadby gas-fired power stations.

The article in the Telegraph only gives the briefest of details of Scottish Power’s plans, but I suspect, that given the locations of the ends of the interconnectors, I suspect the cables will be underwater.

Conclusion

It strikes me that all three interconnectors have been well thought thought and they serve a variety of objectives.

  • Bring Scottish wind power, South to England.
  • Connect wind farms to the two nuclear power station sites at Hartlepool and Torness, that will close at the end of the decade.
  • Allow the big 4 GW biomass-fired station at Drax to back up wind farms and step in when needed.
  • Cut carbon emissions at Drax.
  • Use underwater cables as much as possible to transfer the power, to avoid the disruption of digging in underground cables.

It looks to be a good plan.

February 13, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Farringdon Station – 13th February 2022

The two main entrances to Farringdon station have now been finished and the road that runs between them has now been pedestrianised.

Is Farringdon station the only London station with separate entrances for National Rail and the Underground that are on opposite sides of a pedestrianised plaza?

Does it need to have some outdoor cafes in the Summer months?

February 13, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Tideway – Blackfriars Bridge Foreshore – 13th February 2022

I took these pictures of the Tideway’s Blackfriars Bridge Foreshore site from the top of a 63 bus on Blackfriars Bridge.

Compare the pictures with those I took on the 4th September 2021.

February 13, 2022 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Riding The Latest Alexander Dennis Electric Double-Decker Bus

This morning, I had a first ride in one of the latest Alexander Dennis electric double-decker buses.

 

Note.

  1. The bus is definitely an improvement on previous electric models, that I have ridden on routes 43 and 212.
  2. Bus route 63 goes between Kings Cross and Honor Oak.
  3. If you want to go South from King’s Cross, the bus is caught at Stop D in front of the station.
  4. I’ve never seen a bus before with a wooden floor. Was it real or fake?
  5. The stop buttons were in the back of the seat in front. I’ve never seen this before.
  6. The are charging points for mobile phones.

Overall the standard of finish seemed high, but then it was in the new Wrightbus hydrogen buses I’ve ridden lately.

 

February 13, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments

New Catalyst Extracts Hydrogen From Hydrogen Storage Materials More Efficiently

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Tech Explorist.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Hydrogen storage is a crucial enabling technology for advancing hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. One of the ways to store hydrogen is chemically. Chemical storage allows large amounts of hydrogen stored in small volumes at ambient temperatures.

However, for the hydrogen to be useful, catalysts are needed to activate LOHCs and release the hydrogen. This process is called dehydrogenation.

LOHCs are Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers.

The article describes how scientists at the Ames Laboratory have developed a new catalyst that doesn’t use metals or additives, that works at mild temperatures and under normal atmospheric conditions.

It does seem to me that LOHCs have a future, but given the sparseness of the Wikipedia entry, their widespread use may be some years away.

February 13, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , | Leave a comment