The Anonymous Widower

UK To Norway Sub-Sea Green Power Cable Operational

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

The world’s longest under-sea electricity cable, transferring green power between Norway and the UK, has begun operation.

The 450-mile (725km) cable connects Blyth in Northumberland with the Norwegian village of Kvilldal.

The BBC article is based on this press release from National Grid.

The link has been called the North Sea Link (NSL).

These are some thoughts.

What Is The Capacity Of The North Sea Link?

The National Grid press release says this.

[The link] will start with a maximum capacity of 700 megawatts (MW) and gradually increase to the link’s full capacity of 1400MW over a three-month period.

It also says this.

Once at full capacity, NSL will provide enough clean electricity to power 1.4 million homes.

It is more or less equivalent to two or three gas-fired power stations.

What Is The Operating Philosophy Of The North Sea Link?

The National Grid press release says this.

The Norwegian power generation is sourced from hydropower plants connected to large reservoirs, which can respond faster to fluctuations in demand compared to other major generation technologies. However, as the water level in reservoirs is subject to weather conditions, production varies throughout seasons and years.

When wind generation is high and electricity demand low in Britain, NSL will enable renewable power to be exported from the UK, conserving water in Norway’s reservoirs. When demand is high in Britain and there is low wind generation, hydro power can be imported from Norway, helping to ensure secure, affordable and sustainable electricity supplies for UK consumers.

It almost seems to me, that the North Sea Link is part of a massive pumped-storage system, where we can bank some of our wind-generated electricity in Norway and draw it out when we need it.

I would suspect that the rate and direction of electricity transfer is driven by a very sophisticated algorithm, that uses detailed demand and weather forecasting.

As an example, if we are generating a lot of wind power at night, any excess that the Norwegians can accept will be used to fill their reservoirs.

The Blyth Connection

This page on the North Sea Link web site, describes the location of the UK end of the North Sea Link.

These three paragraphs describe the connection.

The convertor station will be located just off Brock Lane in East Sleekburn. The site forms part of the wider Blyth Estuary Renewable Energy Zone and falls within the Cambois Zone of Economic Opportunity.

The converter station will involve construction of a series of buildings within a securely fenced compound. The buildings will be constructed with a steel frame and clad with grey insulated metal panels. Some additional outdoor electrical equipment may also be required, but most of the equipment will be indoors.

Onshore underground cables will be required to connect the subsea cables to the converter station. Underground electricity cables will then connect the converter station to a new 400kV substation at Blyth (located next to the existing substation) which will be owned and operated by National Grid Electricity Transmission PLC.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. The light grey buildings in the North-West corner of the map are labelled as the NSL Converter Station.
  2. Underground cables appear to have been dug between the converter station and the River Blyth.
  3. Is the long silver building to the West of the triangular jetty, the 400 KV substation, where connection is made to the grid?

The cables appear to enter the river from the Southern point of the triangular jetty. Is the next stop Norway?

Britishvolt And The North Sea Link

Britishvolt are are building a factory at Blyth and this Google Map shows are to the North and East of the NSL Converter Station.

Note the light-coloured buildings of the NSL Converter Station.

I suspect there’s plenty of space to put Britishvolt’s gigafactory between the converter station and the coast.

As the gigafactory will need a lot of electricity and preferably green, I would assume this location gives Britishvolt all they need.

Where Is Kvilldal?

This Google Map shows the area of Norway between Bergen and Oslo.

Note.

  1. Bergen is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Oslo is at the Eastern edge of the map about a third of the way down.
  3. Kvilldal is marked by the red arrow.

This second Google Map shows  the lake to the North of Kvilldal.

Note.

  1. Suldalsvatnet is the sixth deepest lake in Norway and has a volume of 4.49 cubic kilometres.
  2. Kvilldal is at the South of the map in the middle.

This third Google Map shows Kvilldal.

Note.

  1. Suldalsvatnet is the dark area across the top of the map.
  2. The Kvilldal hydro-electric power station on the shore of the lake.
  3. Kvilldal is to the South-West of the power station.

Kvilldal doesn’t seem to be the biggest and most populous of villages. But they shouldn’t have electricity supply problems.

Kvilldal Power Station And The North Sea Link

The Wikipedia entry for Kvilldal power station gives this information.

The Kvilldal Power Station is a located in the municipality of Suldal. The facility operates at an installed capacity of 1,240 megawatts (1,660,000 hp), making it the largest power station in Norway in terms of capacity. Statnett plans to upgrade the western grid from 300 kV to 420 kV at a cost of 8 billion kr, partly to accommodate the NSN Link cable] from Kvilldal to England.

This power station is almost large enough to power the North Sea Link on its own.

The Kvilldal power station is part of the Ulla-Førre complex of power stations and lakes, which include the artificial Lake Blåsjø.

Lake Blåsjø

Lake Blåsjø would appear to be a lake designed to be the upper reservoir for a pumped-storage scheme.

  • The lake can contain 3,105,000,000 cubic metres of water at its fullest.
  • The surface is between 930 and 1055 metres above sea level.
  • It has a shoreline of about 200 kilometres.

This Google Map shows the Lake.

Note the dam at the South end of the lake.

Using Omni’s Potential Energy Calculator, it appears that the lake can hold around 8 TWh of electricity.

A rough calculation indicates that this could supply the UK with 1400 MW for over eight months.

The Wikipedia entry for Saurdal power station gives this information.

The Saurdal Power Station is a hydroelectric and pumped-storage power station located in the municipality of Suldal. The facility operates at an installed capacity of 674 megawatts (904,000 hp) (in 2015). The average energy absorbed by pumps per year is 1,189 GWh (4,280 TJ) (in 2009 to 2012). The average annual production is 1,335 GWh (4,810 TJ) (up to 2012)

This Google Map shows the area between Kvilldal and Lake Blåsjø.

Note

  1. Kvilldal is in the North West of the map.
  2. Lake Blåsjø is in South East of the map.

This second Google Map shows the area to the South-East of Kvilldal.

Note.

  1. Kvilldal is in the North-West of the map.
  2. The Saurdal power station is tight in the South-East corner of the map.

This third Google Map shows a close-up of Saurdal power station.

Saurdal power station is no ordinary power station.

This page on the Statkraft web site, gives a brief description of the station.

The power plant was commissioned during 1985-1986 and uses water resources and the height of fall from Lake Blåsjø, Norway’s largest reservoir.

The power plant has four generating units, two of which can be reversed to pump water back up into the reservoir instead of producing electricity.

The reversible generating units can thus be used to store surplus energy in Lake Blåsjø.

Is Lake Blåsjø and all the power stations just a giant battery?

Economic Effect

The economic effect of the North Sea Link to both the UK and Norway is laid out in a section called Economic Effect in the Wikipedia entry for the North Sea Link.

Some points from the section.

  • According to analysis by the United Kingdom market regulator Ofgem, in the base case scenario the cable would contribute around £490 million to the welfare of the United Kingdom and around £330 million to the welfare of Norway.
  • This could reduce the average domestic consumer bill in the United Kingdom by around £2 per year.
  • A 2016 study expects the two cables to increase price in South Norway by 2 øre/kWh, less than other factors.

This Economic Effect section also talks of a similar cable between Norway and Germany called NorGer.

It should be noted, that whereas the UK has opportunities for wind farms in areas to the North, South, East and West of the islands, Germany doesn’t have the space in the South to build enough wind power for the area.

There is also talk elsewhere of an interconnector between Scotland and Norway called NorthConnect.

It certainly looks like Norway is positioning itself as Northern Europe’s battery, that will be charged from the country’s extensive hydropower and surplus wind energy from the UK and Germany.

Could The Engineering Be Repeated?

I mentioned NorthConnect earlier.

  • The cable will run between Peterhead in Scotland and Samnanger in Norway.
  • The HVDC cable will be approximately 665 km long.
  • The cable will be the same capacity as the North Sea Link at 1400 MW.
  • According to Wikipedia construction started in 2019.
  • The cable is planned to be operational in 2022.
  • The budget is €1.7 billion.

Note.

  1. Samnager is close to Bergen.
  2. NorthConnect is a Scandinavian company.
  3. The project is supported by the European Union, despite Scotland and Norway not being members.
  4. National Grid is not involved in the project, although, they will be providing the connection in Scotland.

The project appears to be paused at the moment, awaiting how North Sea Link and NordLink between Norway and Germany are received.

There is an English web site, where this is the mission statement on the home page.

NorthConnect will provide an electrical link between Scotland and Norway, allowing the two nations to exchange power and increase the use of renewable energy.

This sounds very much like North Sea Link 2.

And then there is Icelink.

  • This would be a 1000-1200 km link between Iceland and the UK.
  • It would have a capacity of 1200 MW.
  • National Grid are a shareholder in the venture.
  • It would be the longest interconnector in the world.

The project appears to have stalled.

Conclusion

I can see these three interconnectors coming together to help the UK’s electricity generation become carbon-free by 2035.

 

 

 

 

 

October 3, 2021 Posted by | Computing, Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Will Some Word Processing Software Object To Someone Typing Battersea Power Station Station?

It is quite likely, that someone will need to type “Battersea Power Station Station” into a document.

I’ve just tried to type it into Word and it objects!

September 19, 2021 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , | 2 Comments

Twenty Years On!

On the eleventh of September in 2001, I had three jobs to do in London.

  • I had to visit my press cuttings client near Borough tube station to talk about something, which I have long forgotten.
  • I had to deliver a thousand Al Stewart CDs to his manager, as the singer was going on tour. The handover was to be performed in Waterloo station.
  • I was then going on to Soho to see a Chinese bookmaker, for whom I offered computer advice.

I parked my car on a meter and went to visit the first client at about two.

When I returned to the car, I needed to phone my wife; C about something. My phone was installed in my Discovery and it didn’t have any calling list, as I remembered numbers and just typed them in.

But for some reason I couldn’t remember her mobile phone number or the Office number at home, so I didn’t make the call.

This was very unlike me, as I’ve always had an excellent memory. Especially for numbers.

I did remember to deliver the parcel to Al Stewart’s manager and made my way to Soho, where I parked in an underground car park.

It was only when I got to the bookmakers did I realise what was going on in New York, as they had the televisions on and were watching the drama continuously.

I have a feeling, that I made my excuses and returned quickly to Suffolk.

By this time, my memory had returned and I was able to phone C.

But the worst terrorist attacks of recent memory were probably over.

Did my brain pick up the bad news or was it due to being close to the City of London, where there would have been a large amount of electronic communication to New York?

I have no idea.

But there is another incident, where I may have picked up tragic news through the ether.

On Sunday, the 31st August 1997, I woke up about five as I generally do and remarkably said to C. “Something tragic has happend! I think Tony Blair has been assassinated!”

She told me to stop being silly and I went downstairs to make a cup of tea and do some programming. It was then that I turned on the radio and heard that Princess Diana had died in the traffic accident in Paris.

September 11, 2021 Posted by | Business, Computing, News, World | , , , , | 3 Comments

Building Council Flats In London

I was told this tale by the Head of the Construction Branch of the Greater London Council, who was a big user of the first Project Management System;PERT7, that I wrote in the 1970s.

The GLC were building some council flats alongside the railway.

There were four parallel blocks with five floors and I’ll number them 1 to 4, with 4 alongside the railway and 1 furthest away.

The plan to build them involved the following.

  • Deliveries were planned, so that the many residents around the site and British Rail were not inconvenienced.
  • Site access was arranged with British Rail along the railway on a track to and from a major road a few hundred yards away.
  • The site would be cleared with all the rubble going out in the reverse direction.
  • The plan then was to build the blocks 1, 2, 3 and 4 towards the railway.
  • This was logical, as when each block was completed it could be occupied and the new tenants wouldn’t be living in a building site, as what needed to be done was towards the railway.

But he was overruled by a vociferous local lobby and some local politicians, who had convinced themselves that building away from the railway in a 4, 3, 2, 1 order would be better.

In the end they were built in the 4, 3, 2, 1 order with budget and time overruns and endless complaints from residents.

If there is a lesson from this fairly insignificant project, it is that in a construction project, there is often one way to build it, that minimises construction time and disturbance to neighbours and maximises the cash flow from the development.

August 22, 2021 Posted by | Computing, Design, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Metier’s First And Second Ipswich Office

My Scottish Borders correspondent has asked me about the first office Metier had in Ipswich.

Courtesy of Google Streetview, I was able to capture this image.

Note.

  1. They were in the four story building with the yellow cladding.
  2. I see it’s still called Pearl Assurance House.
  3. Shadu Hair and Beauty used to be a rather good camera shop.

For those of you, who don’t know Ipswich, if you walk straight ahead and keep right, you end up in the centre of Ipswich.

It wasn’t very large, but it was certainly in better condition, than some of the offices we had in London.

This is the second office in Fore Street.

If I remember correctly, the office was found by Wendy, who responded to my advert in the East Anglian Daily Times, saying, that we were looking for an Office Dogsbody.

 

August 18, 2021 Posted by | Computing, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Mott’s £6m Plan Approved For Hammersmith Bridge

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council has approved a new plan to stabilise Hammersmith Bridge at significantly below the original expected cost, with works completing in less than a year.

Consulting engineer, Mott MacDonald have developed a solution to the bridge that is simple in the extreme.

This sentence describes the principle at the heart of the solution.

The Mott MacDonald solution involves the use of elastomeric bearings, which allow any pressure to be applied equally to all four corners while protecting the vulnerable 134-year-old cast iron structure.

There would also appear, that some very serious computing has been applied to allow the new bearings to be inserted, by just jacking up the bridge.

In addition to the cost and the speed of installation, the Mott MacDonald plan has been welcomed by Heritage England, will require less closures and doesn’t involve diversion of the gas main.

Conclusion

This intervention will stabilise the bridge and give time for a long-term solution to be developed, that will allow the bridge to be opened to vehicles.

August 17, 2021 Posted by | Computing, Design, Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Piney Point: Emergency Crews Try To Plug Florida Toxic Wastewater Leak

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Emergency crews in Florida have been working to prevent a “catastrophic” flood after a leak was found in a large reservoir of toxic wastewater.

This Google Map shows the location.

Note.

  1. At the top of the map is an area called Tampa Bay Estuarine Ecosystem Rock Ponds.
  2. The reservoir appears to be in the South East corner of the map.
  3. There appear to be several chemical works to the West of the highway.

This second Google Map shows the reservoir at a larger scale.

Note.

  1. The picture in the BBC article was taken from the North West.
  2. The problem reservoir is right and above of centre.
  3. To its right is Lake Price, which appears to be the sort of lake to sail a boat and perhaps do a bit of fishing and swimming.
  4. Moore Lake to the South appears similar to Lake Price.

It looks to me that it is not the place to have an environmental incident.

This article in The Times says this.

Engineers are furiously pumping the phosphate-rich water into the sea to avoid an uncontrolled spill at Piney Point, whose failure could unleash a 20ft-high wall of toxic effluent.

Pumping it into the sea? Surely not?

I suspect there could have been a mixture of sloppy management and loose regulation, with minimal enforcement and I’ll be interested to see what recommendations are put forward by the inevitable investigation.

In my varied past, I was once indirectly involved, in the toxic waste that comes out of chemical plants. At the time, I was working for ICI in Runcorn and my main job was building designing and building instruments for the various chemical plants in and around Runcorn.

As they had hired me because of my programming skills, they asked me if I could do a few small jobs on their Ferranti Argus 500, which could be plugged in to both their Varian NMR machine and their AEI mass spectrometer.

With the former, to get better accuracy in analysis of chemicals, I would take successive scans of a sample and aggregate them together. The accuracy of the results would be proportion to the square root of the number of scans.

The second to my mind was more difficult and much more interesting.

This explanation of mass spectroscopy is from Wikipedia.

Mass spectrometry (MS) is an analytical technique that is used to measure the mass-to-charge ratio of ions. The results are typically presented as a mass spectrum, a plot of intensity as a function of the mass-to-charge ratio. Mass spectrometry is used in many different fields and is applied to pure samples as well as complex mixtures.

ICI at Runcorn had a lot of complex mixtures and the aim of my project, was to take a mass spectrum and automatically decide what chemicals were present in the mixture.

The mass spectra were presented as a long graph on a roll of thermal paper. I noticed that operators would pick out distinctive patterns on the graph, which they told me were distinctive patterns of chlorine ions.

Chlorine has an unusual atomic weight of 35.5 because it is a mixture of two stable isotypes Chlorine-35 and Chlorine-37, which produced these distinctive patterns on the spectra.

I was able to identify these patterns to determine the number of chlorine atoms in a compound. By giving the algorithm a clue in stating how many carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms could be involved, it was able to successfully identify what was in a complex mixture.

All this was programmed on computer with just 64K words of memory and a half-megabyte hard disc.

ICI must have been pleased, as I got a bonus.

One of the jobs the software was used for was to identify what chemicals were present in the lagoons alongside the River Weaver, which are shown today in this Google Map.

Note.

  1. The chemical works, which were part of ICI in the 1960s, to the North of the Weaver Navigation Canal.
  2. The two former lagoons between the canal and the River Weaver, which seem to have been cleaned out and partially restored.
  3. Was that a third large lagoon to the South of the River Weaver?
  4. There also appears to be a fourth smaller triangular lagoon between the canal and the river.

There certainly seems to have been a better clear-up in Runcorn, than in Florida.

I moved on from Runcorn soon after, I’d finished that software and have no idea how or if it developed and was used.

But the techniques I used stayed in my brain and were used at least four times in the future.

  • In the design of a Space Allocation Program for ICI Plastics Division.
  • In the design of two Project Management systems for Time Sharing Ltd.

And of course, they were also used in designing the scheduler in Artemis for Metier.

I

 

April 5, 2021 Posted by | Computing, Design, World | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I Will Never Use DPD

I keep getting messages from DPD say they have missed me. I’ve had about six.

I know they are scams as the sending e-mail is xxxx.xxxx@hotmail.it. I have the real address.

So I thought I should report this idiot, to DPD, as perhaps it might help find the scammer, so he can be arrested.

But there is no information on their web site, let alone a place to report them.

I don’t deal with companies who don’t look after their customers.

I reported the message to report@phishing.gov.uk.

March 18, 2021 Posted by | Computing | , , | 5 Comments

Never Remove A Feature In A Computer Program

One of my golden rules in updating computing programs, is never to remove a feature however obscure it is. The reason is obvious, in that if the feature exists someone will find an extremely useful way to use it.

Here are two changes in other software systems that are annoying me at present.

The Windows 10 Photo Viewer

I use an SD card to capture images in my camera..

On my old laptop with Windows 7, if I was looking at a folder of images, I could scroll past the last image to the first and vice-versa, which was a very useful feature, when looking for an obscure image.

Windows 10 doesn’t have this feature and it is very annoying.

Zopa’s New System

I invest some of my savings in Zopa and use it as a high-interest one month-access deposit account in a concept that I call hybrid banking, which I wrote about in The Concept Of Hybrid Banking.

The old system used to give two figures about your money, that was yet to be invested.

  • The money sitting there waiting in the queue for new borrowers.
  • The allocated money waiting for the borrower to be checked and sign up.

The first figure was invaluable, as by watching it, it enabled me to see how constipated the system was. There’s not much point, of putting more money in Zopa, if it will just sit there. It could be more productive in crowdfunding an outstanding idea.

But in the new system, they have added these two figures together.

It’s not catastrophic, but it’s a nuisance.

Conclusion

Never disobey, the title of this post!

February 16, 2021 Posted by | Computing, Finance | , | 9 Comments

Inappropriate Language

My bank sends a six character code of three letters and three numbers to my phone, so that I can login.

Today, the three letters were KKK.

How inappropriate is that?

I have complained!

February 5, 2021 Posted by | Computing, Design, Finance | , | 3 Comments