The Anonymous Widower

Chancellor Confirms England Onshore Wind Planning Reform

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

UK Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has confirmed that onshore wind planning policy is to be brought in line with other infrastructure to allow it to be deployed more easily in England.

The announcement is the strongest sign yet that the Conservative Party could be poised to reverse its 2015 ban on new onshore wind farms being built in England.

I take a scientifically-correct view of onshore wind, in that I am sometimes against it, but on the other hand in certain locations, I would be very much in favour.

These pictures show Keadby Wind Farm in Lincolnshire.

As the wind farm sits next to two gas-fired power stations and is surrounded by high voltage overhead electricity cables, this is probably a more acceptable location, than beside a picturesque village.

In this page on their web site, SSE says this about the construction of the 68 MW wind farm.

After receiving planning permission in 2008, construction began in 2012 and the first turbine foundation was complete in February 2013. The final turbine was assembled on 11 December 2013 and the project was completed in summer 2014.

If this is typical, and I think it is, it would take six years plus the time arguing about planning permission, to get a new onshore wind farm built.

But supposing, you are a farmer who wants to decarbonise. One way might be with a 10 MW wind turbine and a hydrogen electrolyser, so you had your own hydrogen source to power your tractors and other equipment.

On the other hand, solar panels on house, shed and barn roofs  might be a more discrete alternative.

 

September 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Rolls-Royce Releases mtu Rail Engines For Sustainable Fuels

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Rolls-Royce.

The press release starts with these bullet points.

  • mtu Series 1300, 1500 and 1800 engines already released; Series 1600 and 4000 to follow shortly
  • Up to 90% CO2 savings by operating existing engines with Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO/renewable diesel)
  • Locally emission-free operation possible in combination with mtu Hybrid PowerPack
  • Field tests with DB Cargo and RDC Autozug Sylt

Note.

  1. Hitachi Class 800, 802, 805 and Class 810 trains appear to use Series 1600 engines.
  2. CAF Class 195, 196 and Class 197 trains appear to use Series 1800 engines.
  3. Class 43 power cars, as used in InterCity 125 trains appear to use Series 4000 engines.

It would appear that many of the UK’s new diesel trains and the remaining Class 43 power-cars can be converted to run on HVO.

This paragraph from the press release gives more details.

Rolls-Royce is taking a significant step towards even more climate-friendly rail transport with the release of mtu rail engines for use with sustainable fuels. With synthetic diesel fuels of the EN15940 standard, CO2 emissions can be reduced by up to 100 percent compared to fossil diesel. Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO or renewable diesel), which is already commercially available today, reduces CO2 emissions by up to 90 percent. If the fuels are produced with the help of renewable energy and green hydrogen – through what is termed a Power-to-X process – existing rail vehicles can be operated in a completely CO2-neutral manner. The mtu Series 1800 engines which are used in mtu PowerPacks, as well as Series 1300 and 1500 for locomotives and multi-purpose vehicles, are already approved for use with synthetic fuels such as HVO. Series 1600 and versions of Series 4000 engines will follow in the near future. The release of engines for climate-friendly fuels requires a series of tests and trials and Rolls-Royce has found strong partners for this activity. DB Cargo and RDC Autozug Sylt have already tested or are currently testing mtu Series 4000 engines with HVO in their locomotives.

Rolls-Royce mtu seem to have covered all issues.

This is a very significant statement in the paragraph.

If the fuels are produced with the help of renewable energy and green hydrogen – through what is termed a Power-to-X process – existing rail vehicles can be operated in a completely CO2-neutral manner.

This must be the most affordable way to make your diesel trains zero carbon.

Conclusion

Rolls-Royce and Cummins seem to be doing a thoroughly professional job in decarbonising the diesel engines they have made in recent years.

It now needs someone to take small diesel engines down the conversion route, just as Rolls-Royce mtu and Cummins are cleaning up their large engines.

September 24, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

This Is A 30 MW Power Station

This YouTube video shows a thirty MW power station, that is being built in France.

This page on the Principle Power web site describes the project.

This Google Map shows the location of Leucate and Le Barcares.

The wind farm is around 16 kilometres offshore.

Enjoy!

September 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , | 2 Comments

How Long Does It Take To Build An Offshore Wind Farm?

 

These are some timescales and costs for the construction of some wind farms.

East Anglia One

East Anglia One is a 714 MW offshore wind farm, which consists of 102 turbines on fixed foundations, in a maximum water depth of 53 metres.

  • Planning consent –  June 2014.
  • Contracts – April 2016
  • Offshore construction – June 2018
  • Commissioned – July 2020

It is expected to cost £2.5 billion.

Hornsea One

Hornsea One is a 1200 MW offshore wind farm, which consists of 174 turbines on fixed foundations, in a maximum water depth of 30 metres.

  • Planning consent –  April 2014.
  • Contracts – March/April 2016
  • Offshore construction – January 2018
  • Commissioned – March 2020

It is expected to cost £4.2 billion.

Hornsea Two

Hornsea Two is a 1400 MW offshore wind farm, which consists of 165 turbines on fixed foundations, in a maximum water depth of 30 metres.

  • Planning consent –  August 2016.
  • Offshore construction – 2020
  • Commissioned – August 2022

I can’t find any costs.

Moray East

Moray East is a 950 MW offshore wind farm, which consists of 100 turbines on fixed foundations, in a maximum water depth of 50 metres.

  • Planning consent –  2014.
  • Financial Close – December 2018
  • Offshore construction – July 2020
  • Commissioned – July 2022

It is expected to cost £2.6 billion.

Keadby Wind Farm

Keadby Wind Farm is a 68 MW onshore wind farm, which consists of 34 turbines.

SSE says this about its construction timescale.

After receiving planning permission in 2008, construction began in 2012 and the first turbine foundation was complete in February 2013. The final turbine was assembled on 11 December 2013 and the project was completed in summer 2014.

I can’t find any costs.

Can I Deduce Anything?

Two things are similar on the four fixed-foundation offshore wind farms.

Planning Consent To Commissioning Seems To Take About Six To Eight Years

Moray East took eight years and the other three took six.

In addition Keadby onshore wind farm took six years.

This indicates to me, that any improvements to the planning process for wind farms could shorten the planning process for many wind farms and allow offshore construction of these wind farms to start earlier.

The Start Of Offshore Construction To commissioning Seems To Take About Two Years

It surprised me that it takes twice as long to go from planning to the start of offshore construction, than to actually build and commission the offshore components of the project.

In addition Keadby onshore wind farm took two years.

How will these two observations affect floating wind farms, which could be more numerous in the future?

The home page of the Principle Power web site, shows a floating wind turbine being constructed and floated out.

  • The turbine and its float are assembled in a deep water dock, using a large crane mounted on the dock.
  • This dockside assembly must be less dependent on good weather, than doing assembly onto a fixed foundation forty miles or more out to sea.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find that floating wind farms may have substantial health and safety, and construction advantages, but I doubt they’d save much time on the current two years of offshore construction.

But I suspect, they would be one of these types of project that would only rarely be late.

Assembly And Project Management Issues

As with many types of construction, I suspect good project management will be key to building both fixed-foundation and floating offshore wind farms.

For fixed-foundation wind farms, a steady stream of turbines, foundations, substations and connecting cables would need to be delivered to a tight schedule to the assembly point offshore, where turbines, foundations, substations and connecting cables would be lifted into place by a crane mounted on a barge or ship.

For floating wind farms, a steady stream of turbines, floats and probably some connecting cables would need to be delivered to a tight schedule to the assembly dock in a convenient port, where turbines would be lifted onto floats by a crane mounted on the dock. Once complete, the floating wind turbines would be towed into position, anchored and connected to the offshore sub-station.

  • No large offshore crane would be needed.
  • The dockside crane could be sized for the largest turbines.
  • Floating turbines would be brought back to the dockside for major serving and updating.
  • One assembly dock could serve several wind farms during construction and operation.

Given that in the latest ScotWind leasing round, there was 17.4 GW of floating wind farms and 9.7 GW of fixed-foundation wind farms, which is 64/36 % split, I can see that the proportion of floating wind farms will increase.

Good project management, with particular attention to the rate of the production of critical components will be needed for both fixed-foundation and floating offshore wind farms.

Perhaps it would help, if we reduced the numbers of types of each components?

Would it be too far to imagine a British Standard float, that could handle any manufacturer’s turbine with a standard connecting cable? This is Plug-and-Play at the very heavy end.

Conclusion

Consider.

  • As the floating wind technology matures, I can see the designs getting more affordable and the proportion of floating wind farms increasing dramatically.
  • I also believe that in the future, it will take a shorter time to install, connect up and commission a wind farm.

This leads me to think, that in future, it is reasonable to make the following assumptions.

  • It will take six years or less from planning consent to commissioning.
  • It will take two years or less from the start of construction to commissioning.

Note.

  1. I’m assuming that better project management and improved government legislation, will tend to level down the times.
  2. Floating or fixed foundations doesn’t seem to make much difference.

The UK will become Europe’s zero-carbon power station.

 

September 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , | 8 Comments

Are The Tories Bluffing About Fracking?

I’ve just listened to a Treasury Minister (Chris Philp (?)) on the BBC and he didn’t mention fracking.

But he did mention more oil and gas in the North Sea, where there is a project agreed between the British and Scottish governments called INTOG, which aims to innovatively cut carbon emissions in the North Sea and possibly extract smaller amounts of gas and oil from existing wells.

As you know, I think fracking is irrelevant. It will take a few years to deliver substantial amounts of gas and we can extract more from the North Sea and by repurposing existing wells.

We might even find one or two existing wells, that could be converted to much-needed gas storage.

I also believe that the cash flow in taxes and leases from offshore wind will be astronomic and it can be used to finance borrowing. We did the same with Artemis to finance the company against future sales. But we were only borrowing millions. We used to parcel up all our leases from companies like Shell, NASA and BP and effectively sell them to Lloyds Bank at a discount.

I’m sure that a clever banker could find a mechanism, that converts future income from offshore wind into a magic money tree for today. Is that what Kwasi Kwarteng has done, in order to cut taxes?

The one problem with offshore wind with the public, is that putting in the cables arouses the NIMBYs. It should also be born in mind, that a lot of the grid connections, go through Tory seats, where NIMBYs are very much against more cables.

So I do wonder, if Moggy has announced the start of fracking to give the NIMBYs a target, so they allow the efficiency of offshore oil and gas to be improved and offshore wind farms to be built without hindrance.

Perhaps Moggy should concentrate on the most important thing that our offshore wind industry needs. This is an innovative pricing mechanism for energy storage, that does the following.

  • Allows investors to get a similar return on energy storage to that that they get for offshore wind farms, onshore solar farms and interconnectors.
  • Encourages the building of more energy storage.
  • Assists in the development of novel energy storage ideas.

As one estimate says we need 600 GWh of energy storage in the UK, sorting this pricing mechanism, can’t come soon enough.

The previous government was talking about this, as I wrote in Ministerial Roundtable Seeks To Unlock Investment In UK Energy Storage.

So continue the conversation, Moggy!

September 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment