The Anonymous Widower

Norfolk Wind Farms Offer ‘Significant Benefit’ For Local Economy

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

This is a comprehensive article, which looks at the benefits of the huge Norfolk Boreas and Norfolk Vanguard wind farms will have to the economy of Norfolk.

The last section is devoted to Norfolk Nimby; Raymond Pearce.

This is the section.

Following the re-approval of the decision by the government, Mr Pearce says he is considering a new appeal over what he calls “a very poor decision”.

He is also sceptical of claims the two new wind farms will bring the economic gains promised by Vattenfall.

“It’s renewable energy at any cost and the cost here is to the environment in Norfolk,” he says.

“I don’t blame them for being positive about it, it’s their industry but they’re not looking at it holistically.”

He says he is not against renewable energy but thinks a better plan is needed to connect the offshore windfarms and minimise the number of cables and substations onshore.

It’s his money if he appeals, but we do need more wind, solar and other zero-carbon energy to combat global warming and its effects like the encroachment of the sea around Norfolk.

I believe, that building wind farms off the coast of Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk is a good move, as in the future, if we have spare electricity, it will be easy to export energy to Europe, through existing interconnectors.

But I do agree with him, that a better plan is needed to connect the offshore windfarms and minimise the number of cables and substations onshore.

A Norfolk Powerhouse

This map from Vattenfall, the developer of the two wind farms, shows the position of the farms and the route of the cable to the shore.

Note.

  1. The purple line appears to be the UK’s ten mile limit.
  2. Norfolk Boreas is outlined in blue.
  3. Norfolk Vanguard is outlined in orange.
  4. Cables will be run in the grey areas.
  5. Both wind farms are planned to have a capacity of 1.8 GW

Landfall will be just a few miles to the South of the Bacton gas terminal.

Bacton Gas Terminal

Bacton gas terminal is much more than a simple gas terminal.

With the need to decarbonise, I can’t help feeling that the Bacton gas terminal is very much on the decline and the site will need to be repurposed in the next few years.

Blending Hydrogen With Natural Gas

If you blend a proportion of hydrogen into natural gas, this has two beneficial effects.

  • Gas used in domestic and industrial situations will emit less carbon dioxide.
  • In the near future we will be replacing imported natural gas with hydrogen.

The hydrogen could be produced by a giant electrolyser at Bacton powered by the electricity from the two Norfolk wind farms.

At the present time, a research project call HyDeploy is underway, which is investigating the blending of hydrogen into the natural gas supply.

  • Partners include Cadent, Northern Gas Networks, the Health and Safety Executive, Keele University and ITM Power and Progessive Energy.
  • A first trial at Keele University has been hailed as a success.
  • It showed up to twenty percent of hydrogen by volume can be added to the gas network without the need to change any appliances or boilers.

Larger trials are now underway.

A Giant Electrolyser At Bacton

If hydrogen were to be produced at Bacton by a giant electrolyser, it could be used or distributed in one of the following ways.

  • Blended with natural gas for gas customers in Southern England.
  • Stored in a depleted gas field off the coast at Bacton. Both Baird and Deborah gas fields have been or are being converted to gas storage facilities, connected to Bacton.
  • Distributed by truck to hydrogen filling stations and bus and truck garages.
  • Greater Anglia might like a hydrogen feed to convert their Class 755 trains to hydrogen power.
  • Sent by a short pipeline to the Port of Great Yarmouth and possibly the Port of Lowestoft.
  • Exported to Europe, through one of the interconnectors.

Note.

  1. If the electrolyser were to be able to handle the 3.6 GW of the two wind farms, it would be the largest in the world.
  2. The size of the electrolyser could be increased over a few years to match the output of the wind farms as more turbines are installed offshore.
  3. There is no reason, why the electrical connection between Bacton and the landfall of the wind farm cable couldn’t be offshore.

If ITM Power were to supply the electrolyser, it would be built in the largest electrolyser factory in the World, which is in Sheffield in Yorkshire.

A Rail Connection To The Bacton Gas Terminal

This Google Map shows the area between North Walsham and the coast.

Note.

  1. North Walsham is in the South-Western corner of the map.
  2. North Walsham station on the Bittern Line is indicated by the red icon.
  3. The Bacton gas terminal is the trapezoidal-shaped area on the coast, at the top of the map.

I believe it would be possible to build a small rail terminal in the area with a short pipeline connection to Bacton, so that hydrogen could be distributed by train.

How Much Hydrogen Could Be Created By The Norfolk Wind Farms?

In The Mathematics Of Blending Twenty Percent Of Hydrogen Into The UK Gas Grid, I said the following.

Ryze Hydrogen are building the Herne Bay electrolyser.

  • It will consume 23 MW of solar and wind power.
  • It will produce ten tonnes of hydrogen per day.

The electrolyser will consume 552 MWh to produce ten tonnes of hydrogen, so creating one tonne of hydrogen needs 55.2 MWh of electricity.

Each of the Norfolk wind farms, if they were working flat out would produce 43.2 GWh  of electricity in a day.

Dividing the two figures gives a daily production rate of 782.6 tonnes of hydrogen per day.

But what happens if the wind doesn’t blow?

This is where the gas storage in the Baird, Deborah and other depleted gas fields comes in.In times of maximum wind, hydrogen is stored for use when the wind doesn’t blow.

Conclusion

I believe a plan like this, would be much better for Norfolk, the UK and the whole planet.

Using the existing gas network to carry the energy away from Norfolk, could mean that the electricity connection across Norfolk could be scaled back.

 

 

February 17, 2022 - Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. There is certainly a case to be made to build a single inland substation to gather energy from multiple offshore windfarms but at the moment we have a haphazard approach to windfarm build out. If it was the CEGB they would have planned a national strategy that integrated transmission and offshore construction from the outset. The current ad hoc process is leading to all sort of issues particularly in Scotland where they licence windfarms despite the transmission system being incapable of being able to transport all the wind thats available and the nett result is constraint payments to further boost the coffers of the private companies funding these schemes. EAnglia will also end up being full of transmission constraints as its not a historical centre of generation.

    Wind generation has been close to 15GW today which is good but given we have 20GW metered I wonder how much is being constrained off the system.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | February 17, 2022 | Reply

    • I’ll agree that the CEGB did do things well in their day, but I can also see the same thinking in some of National Grid’s recent decisions.

      I was particularly impressed with their philosophy with the operation of the North Sea Link to Norway. As they are partners in the North Sea Link, they are certainly putting their money where the mouth is.

      It is probably indicative, that National Grid are of the opinion, that we need energy storage. Having an integrated Norfolk Powerhouse would enable National Grid to store excess energy in several places or export it to the Continent.

      Comment by AnonW | February 17, 2022 | Reply

      • Norway i/c has been on import only since it was commissioned. Reality is Norway has very little pumped storage and currently even on days with plenty of wind the traders still can’t give our leccy away to Norway.

        Comment by Nicholas Lewis | February 17, 2022

  2. What you say is very different to the National Grid press release. The guts of it are in this post.

    UK To Norway Sub-Sea Green Power Cable Operational

    Comment by AnonW | February 17, 2022 | Reply

    • As it says when UK exports Norway can conserve water but that’s not pumped storage of but clearly a reservoir is the equivalent of a large battery but it only get trickle charged by the addition of natural water from run off but pump storage would be like a Tesla Super Charger. Be interesting to know whether any of Norways hydro assets could eb retrospectively converted to pump storage.

      Comment by Nicholas Lewis | February 17, 2022 | Reply


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