The Anonymous Widower

XLCC Obtains Planning Approval To Build UK’s First HVDC Cable Factory In North Ayrshire

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from XLCC.

These are the first three paragraphs.

On 29th June 2022, the North Ayrshire Council Planning Committee resolved to grant planning permission for XLCC’s HVDC subsea cable manufacturing operations in Hunterston, Scotland.

Breaking ground in the coming months, the brownfield site will create a new UK industry to support global decarbonisation targets. Once fully operational, the facility will support 900 jobs in the area, with thousands more in the wider supply chain.

XLCC’s first order is for four 3,800km long cables to connect solar and wind renewable power generation in the Sahara to the UK for the Xlinks Morocco-UK power project.

XLCC have also issued two other important press releases.

XLCC To Build New Cable Laying Vessel To Address Increase In Future Demand For HVDC Cable

These are the first paragraphs.

XLCC, the new HVDC, renewable energy focused business in the UK, has completed the concept design of an advanced, first-of-a-kind Cable Laying Vessel to be delivered in the first half of 2025.

As the world strives for Net Zero, the UK, EU and other world economies have set themselves ambitious targets for decarbonisation. The UK, for example, has stated that it will be powered entirely by clean energy by 2035 and that it will fully decarbonise the power system in the same time frame. This ambition is driving an exponential growth in high voltage cable demand as the increase in installation of offshore wind and interconnectors drive a forecast six times increase (2020 – 2027 over 2014 – 2020) for HVDC cable.

The planned delivery of the XLCC CLV will support the Morocco – UK Power Project, the first client project, through the delivery of four 3,800km subsea HVDC cables from a wind and solar generation site in Morocco to the UK.

This press release can be read in full here.

XLCC Signs UK Steel Charter For New Export-Led Cable Industry

These are the first paragraphs.

XLCC signed the UK Steel Charter at an event in Parliament on 19 April 2022, alongside representatives from politics, business and the trade union movement.

XLCC will create a new export-led HVDC cable manufacturing industry for the UK, nearly doubling the world’s current production. It aims to support renewable energy projects with the first factory planned for Hunterston, Scotland. XLCC will deliver its first project for the Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project, consisting of four 3,800km long subsea cables, with the first phase between 2025-2027 connecting wind and solar power generated in Morocco exclusively to the UK in Devon.

Signing the UK Steel Charter shows a commitment to supporting existing and future jobs within the sector and the supply chain. Along with strengthening UK-based business, sourcing steel locally will cut transport emissions and seek to support decarbonisation in a sector dedicated to finding ways to minimise environmental impact of steel use.

This press release can be read in full here.

I have a few thoughts.

You Wait For A Large Interconnector Project To Come Along And Then Two Arrive Holding Hands

This paragraph introduces the Morocco-UK Power Project.

The Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project will be a new electricity generation facility entirely powered by solar and wind energy combined with a battery storage facility. Located in Morocco’s renewable energy rich region of Guelmim Oued Noun, it will cover an approximate area of 1,500km2 and will be connected exclusively to Great Britain via 3,800km HVDC sub-sea cables.

XLCC have this mission statement on their home page.

XLCC will establish a new, export-led, green industry in the UK: world class HVDC subsea cable manufacturing.

Our mission is to provide the connectivity required for renewable power to meet future global energy needs.

Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project and XLCC appear to be made for each other.

In some ways it takes me back to the 1970s, where large oil and gas projects in the North Sea were paired with platform building in Scottish lochs.

There Are Several Interconnector Projects Under Development

We will see a lot of undersea interconnectors in the next few years.

  • Country-to-country interconnectors
  • Interconnectors along the coast of the UK.
  • Connections to offshore wind farms.

This capacity, with a ship to lay it, is being created at the right time.

Icelink

Icelink is a proposed interconnector between Iceland and the UK.

  • It would be up to 1200 km long.
  • It would have a capacity of around 1 GW

XLCC could spur the development of this project.

Floating Wind Farms Hundreds Of Miles Out To Sea

The developer of a floating wind farm, say a hundred miles out to sea, is not going to develop it, if there isn’t a secure supply of cable.

Where Will Finance Come From?

Wind farms have proven to be good investments for finance giants such as Aviva.

See World’s Largest Wind Farm Attracts Huge Backing From Insurance Giant, for Aviva’s philosophy.

As mathematical modelling for electrical systems get better, the estimates of the finance needed and the returns to be made, will indicate whether these mega-projects can be funded.

It was done with North Sea oil and gas and it can be done with offshore wind power and its interconnectors.

In The Times on the 4th of July 2022, there is this article, which is entitled Schroders Chief Buzzing To Take Finance Offshore Wind Farms.

It is a must-read!

Conclusion

XLCC and its cable factory will spur the expansion of zero-carbon electricity in the UK.

July 3, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Highview Chief Rupert Pearce On The Cold Batteries That Could Save The Planet

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

It is an article very much worth a read, as it talks about former Inmarsat boss; Rupert Pearce and his new position as boss at Highview Power.

I have followed Highview Power for a few years.

I first wrote about the company in British Start-Up Beats World To Holy Grail Of Cheap Energy Storage For Wind And Solar, after reading about the company in the Daily Telegraph in August 2019.

They seem to have had good press in the last three years and have generated a steady stream of orders from Spain, Chile and Scotland.

But progress seems to have been slow to get the first full-size system at Carrington completed.

It does seem , that Rupert Pearce could be the professional boss they need?

Highview Power ‘s CRYOBatteries certainly have potential.

Highview Power CRYOBatteries Compared To Lithium-Ion Batteries

Highview Power ‘s CRYOBatteries do not use any exotic metals or materials, that are not readily available, whereas lithium-ion batteries use lots of rare metals and electricity in their manufacture.

CRYOBatteries can also be expanded in capacity by just adding more liquid-air tanks.

Highview Power CRYOBatteries Typically Cost £500 Million

This figure is disclosed in the Sunday Times article.

For that you probably get a power station, with these characteristics.

  • 50 MW Output.
  • Five to eight hour storage.
  • No emissions.
  • Well-understood maintenance.
  • An environmentally-friendly plant.
  • Long battery life.

But my experience tells me, that like large lithium-ion batteries used for grid storage, that CRYOBatteries could be an asset that will appeal to large financial companies.

  • At present, Highview Power have not run a 50 MW CRYOBattery, but once they show high reliability, I can envisage the energy storage funds taking a good look.
  • At £500 million a throw, they are a good size with probably a decent return for insurance companies and pension funds.

See World’s Largest Wind Farm Attracts Huge Backing From Insurance Giant for Aviva’s view on investing in massive green infrastructure.

I very much feel, that with his City connections and experience, that Rupert Pearce might be the right person to arrange financing for CRYOBatteries.

I will add a story from the financing of Artemis, which was the project management system, that I wrote in the 1970s.

Normally we leased or rented the systems, but some companies wanted to buy them outright, so we came up with a price of something like £125,000. Our bank were happy to fund these systems, when the purchaser was someone like BP, Shell, Bechtel, Brown & Root or British Aerospace. Later on, the bank would package together several systems and get us a better deal.

Intriguingly, £125,000 in the late 1970s is about half a billion now. I suspect, I’m being naive to suggest that Highview’s problem of funding multiple sales is similar to the one we had fifty years ago.

Highview Power CRYOBatteries And Wind And Solar Farms

I discussed the use of CRYOBatteries with solar power in The Power Of Solar With A Large Battery.

As the Highview Power press release, on which I based the article has now been deleted, I would assume that that project has fallen through. But the principles still apply!

But surely, a wind farm paired with an appropriately-sized CRYOBattery would ensure a steady supply of power?

Could CRYOBatteries Be Used With Floating Offshore Wind Farms?

In ScotWind N3 Offshore Wind Farm, I described an unusual wind farm proposed by Magnora ASA.

  • This page on their web site outlines their project.
  • It will be technology agnostic, with 15MW turbines and a total capacity of 500MW
  • It will use floating offshore wind with a concrete floater
  • It is estimated, that it will have a capacity factor of 56 %.
  • The water depth will be an astonishing 106-125m
  • The construction and operation will use local facilities at Stornoway and Kishorn Ports.
  • The floater will have local and Scottish content.

The floater will be key to the whole wind farm.

  • It will certainly have an offshore substation to connect the wind turbines to the cable to the shore.
  • Magnora may be proposing to add a hydrogen electrolyser.
  • Tanks within the concrete floater can be used to store gases.

I wonder if CRYOBatteries could be installed on the concrete floaters, that would be used to smooth the electrical output of the wind farm?

Note that in the past, concrete semi-submersible concrete structures have been used to host all kinds of gas and oil processing equipment.

Conclusion

I feel that Highview Power have made a good choice of Chief Executive and I have high hopes he can awaken a company with masses of potential.

 

 

April 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How Britannia With Help From Her Friends Can Rule The Waves And The Wind

The Government doesn’t seem to have published its future energy plans yet, but that hasn’t stopped the BBC speculating in this article on their web site, which is entitled Energy Strategy: UK Plans Eight New Nuclear Reactors To Boost Production.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Up to eight more nuclear reactors could be delivered on existing sites as part of the UK’s new energy strategy.

The plan, which aims to boost UK energy independence and tackle rising prices, also includes plans to increase wind, hydrogen and solar production.

Other points include.

  • Up to 95% of the UK’s electricity could come from low-carbon sources by 2030.
  • 50 gigawatts (GW) of energy through offshore wind farms, which  would be more than enough to power every home in the UK.
  • One of the big points of contention is thought to have been the construction of onshore wind turbines.
  • Targets for hydrogen production are being doubled to help provide cleaner energy for industry as well as for power, transport and potentially heating.
  • A new licensing round for North Sea oil and gas projects.
  • A heat pump accelerator program.

In this post I shall only be looking at one technology – offshore wind and in particular offshore floating wind.

Who Are Our Friends?

I will start with explaining, who I see as our friends, in the title of this post.

The Seas Around Us

If we are talking about offshore winds around the the UK, then the seas around the UK are surely our biggest and most-needed friend.

The Island Of Ireland

The seas are shared with the island of Ireland and the UK and the Republic must work together to maximise our joint opportunities.

As some of the largest offshore wind farm proposals, between Wales and Ireland involve a Welsh company called Blue Gem Wind, who are a partnership between Irish company; Simply Blue Energy, and French company; TotalEnergies, we already seem to be working with the Irish and the French.

The City Of London

Large insurance and pension companies, based in the City of London like, abrdn, Aviva, L & G and others are always looking for investments with which to provide income to back their insurance business and our pensions.

In World’s Largest Wind Farm Attracts Huge Backing From Insurance Giant, I describe why and how, Aviva back wind farms.

Germany

Germany are certainly on our side, despite being in a mess of Mutti Merkel’s making, because she got the country too deeply dependant on Vlad the Mad’s tainted gas.

  • German utilities are providing finance to build wind farms in British waters.
  • German company; Siemens is manufacturing turbine blades in Hull.
  • Germany wouldn’t mind buying any electricity and hydrogen we have spare. Especially, as we haven’t invaded them since 1944.

I suspect a mutually-beneficial relationship can be negotiated.

Norway

I have customised software for a number of countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and the United States and despite selling large numbers of systems to Norway, the Norwegians never requested any modifications.

They are generally easy-going people and they are great friends of the UK. They were certainly a fertile country for the sale of Artemis systems.

Just as the UK worked together with the Norwegians to deliver North Sea Oil, we are now starting to work together to develop renewable energy in the North Sea.

In UK To Norway Sub-Sea Green Power Cable Operational, I describe how we have built the North Sea Link with the Norwegians, which will link the British and Norwegian energy networks to our mutual benefit.

In Is This The World’s Most Ambitious Green Energy Solution?, I describe an ambitious plan called Northern Horizons, proposed by Norwegian company; Aker to build a 10 GW floating wind farm, which will be 120 km to the North-East of the Shetlands.

Floating Wind Turbines

This is the introduction of the Wikipedia entry for floating wind turbines.

A floating wind turbine is an offshore wind turbine mounted on a floating structure that allows the turbine to generate electricity in water depths where fixed-foundation turbines are not feasible. Floating wind farms have the potential to significantly increase the sea area available for offshore wind farms, especially in countries with limited shallow waters, such as Japan, France and US West coast. Locating wind farms further offshore can also reduce visual pollution, provide better accommodation for fishing and shipping lanes, and reach stronger and more consistent winds.

At its simplest a floating wind farm consists of a semi-submersible platform, which is securely anchored to the sea-bed to provide a firm platform on which to erect a standard wind turbine.

There are currently two operational floating wind farms off the East Coast of Scotland and one in the Atlantic off the Portuguese coast.

  • These wind farms are fairly small and use between three and five turbines to generate between 25-50 MW.
  • The largest current floating turbines are the 9.5 MW turbines in the Kincardine Wind Farm in Scotland, but already engineers are talking of 14 MW and 20 MW floating turbines.
  • Experience of the operation of floating wind turbines, indicates that they can have capacity factors in excess of 50 %.
  • Floating wind turbines can be erected on their floats in the safety of a port using a dockside crane and then towed into position.
  • Floating wind turbines can be towed into a suitable port for servicing and upgrading.

Many serious engineers and economists, think that floating wind farms are the future.

The Energy Density of Fixed Foundation And Floating Wind Farms

In ScotWind Offshore Wind Leasing Delivers Major Boost To Scotland’s Net Zero Aspirations, I summarised the latest round of Scotwind offshore wind leases.

  • Six new fixed foundation wind farms will give a capacity of 9.7 GW in 3042 km² or about 3.2 MW per km².
  • Ten new floating wind farms will give a capacity of 14.6 GW in 4193 km² or about 3.5 MW per km².

Note.

  1. Floating wind farms have a small advantage in terms of energy density over those with fixed foundations.
  2. Suppose these energy densities are achieved using 14 MW turbines.
  3. Engineers are talking of 20 MW turbines.
  4. Using large turbines could increase the energy density by 20/14 or 43 %

We could see in a few years with 20 MW turbines, fixed foundation turbines having an energy density of 4.6 MW per km², with floating turbines having 5 MW per km².

The Potential Of A Ten-Mile Square In The Seas Around Us

I will assume.

  • It is at least 100 km from land.
  • The water would be at least 100 metres deep.
  • There are no structures in the area.

And calculate.

  • The area will be a hundred square miles, which is smaller than the county of Rutland.
  • This will be 259 square kilometres.

If it were to be filled with floating wind turbines at a density of 5 MW per km², the capacity would be 1300 MW or 1.3 GW.

There must be hundreds of empty ten-mile squares in the seas around us.

Offshore Hydrogen Production And Storage

I believe in the near future, that a lot of offshore wind energy will be converted to hydrogen offshore.

  • Electrolysers could be combined with wind turbines.
  • Larger electrolysers could be combined with sub-stations collecting the electricity.
  • In Torvex Energy, I discuss a method to create hydrogen from seawater, without having to desalinate the water. Surely, this technology would be ideal for offshore electrolysis.

Hydrogen would be brought to shore using pipelines, some of which could be repurposed from existing gas pipelines, that are now redundant, as the gas-fields they served have no gas left.

I also suspect that hydrogen could be stored in a handy depleted gas field or perhaps some form of specialist storage infrastructure.

Combining Wind And Wave Power In A Single Device

Marine Power Systems are a Welsh company, that has developed a semi-submersible structure, that can support a large wind turbine and/or a wave-power generator.

This is the mission statement on their home page.

Marine Power Systems is revolutionising the way in which we harvest energy from the world’s oceans.

Our flexible technology is the only solution of its type that can be configured to harness wind and wave energy, either as a combined solution or on their own, in deep water. Built on common platform our devices deliver both cost efficiency and performance throughout the entire product lifecycle.

Our structurally efficient floating platform, PelaFlex, brings excellent stability and straightforward deployment and maintenance. The PelaGen wave energy converter represents market-leading technology and generates energy at an extremely competitive cost of energy.

Through optimised farm layout and the combination of wind and wave energy, project developers can best exploit the energy resource for any given area of seabed.

We are unlocking the power of oceans.

There is a link on the page to more pages, that explain the technology.

It looks to me, that it is well-designed technology, that has a high-chance of being successful.

It should also be noted that according to this news page on the Marine Power Systems web site, which is entitled MPS Lands £3.5M Of Funding From UK Government, the UK government feel the technology is worth backing.

I certainly believe that if Marine Power Systems are not successful, then someone else will build on their original work.

If wind and wave power can successfully be paired in a single float, then this must surely increase the energy production at each float/turbine in the floating wind farm.

Energy Storage In Wind Turbines

The output of wind farms can be very variable, as the wind huffs and puffs, but I believe we will see energy storage in wind turbines to moderate the electricity and deliver a steadier output.

Using lithium-ion or other batteries may be possible, but with floating offshore turbines, there might be scope to use the deep sea beneath the float and the turbine.

Hybrid Wind Farms

In the latest round of Scotwind offshore wind leases, one wind farm stands out as different. Magnora ASA’s ScotWind N3 Offshore Wind Farm is described as a floating offshore wind farm with a concrete floater.

I can see more wind farms built using this model, where there is another fixed or floating platform acts as control centre, sub-station, energy store or hydrogen electrolyser.

How Much Electricity Could Be Produced In UK And Irish Waters?

I will use the following assumptions.

  • Much of the new capacity will be floating wind turbines in deep water.
  • The floating wind turbines are at a density of around 5 MW per km²

This Google Map shows the British Isles.

I will look at various seas.

The Celtic Sea

The Celtic Sea is to the South-West of Wales and the South of Ireland.

In Blue Gem Wind, I posted this extract from the The Our Projects page of the Blue Gem Wind web site.

Floating wind is set to become a key technology in the fight against climate change with over 80% of the worlds wind resource in water deeper than 60 metres. Independent studies have suggested there could be as much as 50GW of electricity capacity available in the Celtic Sea waters of the UK and Ireland. This renewable energy resource could play a key role in the UK meeting the 2050 Net-Zero target required to mitigate climate change. Floating wind will provide new low carbon supply chain opportunities, support coastal communities and create long-term benefits for the region.

Consider.

  • The key figure would appear 50 GW of electricity capacity available in the Celtic Sea waters of the UK and Ireland.
  • Earlier I said that floating turbines can have a wind turbine density of 5 MW per km².
  • According to Wikipedia, the surface area of the Celtic Sea is 300,000 km².

To accommodate enough floating turbines to generate 50 GW would need 10000 km², which is a 100 km. square, or 3.33 % of the area of the Celtic Sea.

This wind generation capacity of 50 GW would appear to be feasible in the Celtic Sea and still leave plenty of space for the shipping.

The Irish Sea

According to Wikipedia, the surface area of the Irish Sea is 46,000 km².

Currently, there are ten wind farms in the Irish Sea.

  • Six are in English waters, three are in Welsh and one is in Irish.
  • None are more than sixteen kilometres from the coast.

The total power is 2.7 GW.

I feel that the maximum number of wind farms in the Irish Sea would not cover more than the 3.33 % proposed for the Celtic Sea.

3.33 % of the Irish Sea would be 1532 km², which could support 7.6 GW of wind-generated electricity.

I can’t leave the Irish Sea without talking about two wind farms Mona and Morgan, that are being developed by an enBW and BP joint venture, which I discussed in Mona, Morgan And Morven. This infographic from the joint venture describes Mona and Morgan.

That would appear to be a 3 GW development underway in the Irish Sea.

Off The Coast Of South-East England, East Anglia, Lincolnshire And Yorkshire

These wind farms are proposed in these areas.

Note.

All wind farms have comprehensive web sites or Wikipedia entries.

The total capacity of these wind farms is 22.5 GW

The North Sea

According to Wikipedia, the surface area of the North Sea is 570,000 km².

Would it is reasonable to assume, that perhaps a tenth of this area would be available for new wind farms in UK waters?

3.33 % of the available North Sea would be 1898 km², which could support 9.5 GW of wind-generated electricity.

On The East Coast Of Scotland

In Wind Farms On The East Coast Of Scotland, I summarised the wind farms off the East coast of Scotland, that are being built in a cluster in the First of Forth.

This map shows the proposed wind farms in this area.

There are five wind farms in the map.

  • The green area is the cable corridor for Seagreen 1a
  • Inch Cape is the odd-shaped wind farm to the North and West of the green area
  • Seagreen at the top of the map, to the North of Inch Cape.
  • Marr Bank with the pink NE-SW hatching
  • Berwick Bank with the green NW-SE hatching
  • Neart Na Gaoithe is edged in blue to the South of the green area.

Berwick Bank and Marr Bank are both owned by SSE and appear to have been combined.

The capacity of the wind farms can be summarised as follows.

  • Seagreen – 1075 MW
  • Neart Na Gaoithe – 450 MW
  • Inch Cape – 1000 MW
  • Berwick Bank and Marr Bank – 4100 MW

This gives a total of 6625 MW or just over 6.6 GW.

Around The North Of Scotland

This map shows the latest successful ScotWind leases.

Note.

  1. Several of these proposed wind farms have detailed web sites.

These seventeen leases total up to 24.3 GW.

An Interim Total

I believe these figures are realisable.

  • Celtic Sea – 50 GW
  • Irish Sea – 7.6 GW – 3 GW already underway
  • South East England, East Anglia, Lincolnshire And Yorkshire – 22.5 GW
  • North Sea – 9.5 GW
  • On The East Coast Of Scotland – 6.6 GW
  • Around The North Of Scotland – 24.3 GW

Note.

  1. I have tried to be as pessimistic as possible.
  2. Irish and North Sea estimates are based on Blue Gem Wind’s professional estimate for the Celtic Sea.
  3. I have used published figures where possible.

My estimates total up to 120.1 GW of extra wind-power capacity. As I write this, current UK electricity production is around 33 GW.

Vikings Will Invade

This Google Map shows the Faroe Islands, the North of Scotland, Norway and Denmark.

To get an idea of scale, the Shetland Isles are around 70 miles or 113 km. from North to South.

In Is This The World’s Most Ambitious Green Energy Solution?, I talked about Norwegian company; Aker Solutions’s plan for Northern Horizons.

  • It would be a 10 GW offshore floating wind farm 136 km to the North-East of the Shetlands.
  • This position would probably place it about halfway between the Faroes and the Norwegian coast.
  • The project is best described in this article on the Engineer, which is entitled Northern Horizons Plans Clean Energy Exports For Scotland.
  • In the article, there is a good graphic and a video.

This will be offshore engineering of the highest class, but then I first came across Norwegian offshore engineering like this in the 1970s, where nothing was too difficult for Norwegian engineers.

There are two major points to remember about the Norwegians.

  • They have the Sovereign Wealth Fund to pay for the massive investment in Northern Horizons.
  • They need to replace their oil and gas income, with a zero-carbon investment stream.

I feel that Northern Horizons will not be a one-off and the virgin sea in the map above will be liberally carpeted with more floating wind farms.

  • On Shetland, electricity can be fed into the UK grid.
  • On Norway, electricity can be fed into the Norwegian grid or stored in Norwegian pumped storage systems.
  • On Scotland, more pumped storage systems can be built to store energy.
  • Hydrogen can be piped to where it is needed to decarbonise heavy industry and transport.
  • Norwegian fjords, Shetland harbours, Scottish lochs and possibly Scapa Flow would be ideal places to assemble and service the giant floating turbines and build the other needed floating infrastructure.
  • I can also see Denmark getting in on the act, as they will probably want to decarbonise the Faroe Islands.

I estimate that between the Faroes, Scotland and Norway, there are 510,000 km² of virgin sea.

With a potential of 5 MW per km², that area has the potential to create an amazing amount of both electricity and hydrogen.

Exporting Power To Europe

There will need to be more interconnectors from the UK to Europe.

These are already working.

These are proposed.

There are also gas interconnectors, that could be converted to hydrogen.

This press release from National Grid, which is entitled Undersea Electricity Superhighways That Will Help Deliver Net Zero Move A Step Closer, has these bullet points.

  • Positive progress on plans for £3.4bn electricity super-highway projects – Scotland to England Green Links.
  • Ofgem opens consultation that recognises the “clear case” and “consumer benefit” of two subsea high voltage cables to transport clean between Scotland and England.
  • The cables form part of a planned 16 project £10 billion investment from National Grid to deliver on the government’s target of 40GW of offshore wind generation by 2030.

This paragraph expands on the work by National Grid to meet the third point.

These projects are part of National Grid’s work upgrading the electricity transmission system to deliver the UK government’s target of 40GW of offshore wind generation by 2030. In addition to the Eastern Links, it is developing 14 major projects across its network to facilitate the target representing a £10 billion investment. This includes two further Scotland to England high voltage links (also in partnership with the Scottish transmission network owners) and proposals in the Humber, Lincolnshire, East Midlands, North of England, Yorkshire, North Kent, as well as four in East Anglia (one of which is a proposed offshore link between Suffolk and Kent).

I think we can assume, that National Grid will do their part to allow the UK government’s target of 40GW of offshore wind generation by 2030 to be met.

Will The UK Have 40 GW Of Offshore Wind Generation By 2030?

In the Wikipedia entry for Windpower In The UK, this is the opening sentence.

The United Kingdom is one of the best locations for wind power in the world and is considered to be the best in Europe. By the beginning of March 2022, the UK had 11,091 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of over 24.6 gigawatts (GW): 14.1 GW of onshore capacity and 10.4 GW of offshore capacity.

It would appear an extra 30 GW of wind power is needed.

In An Interim Total earlier, I gave these figures.

  • Celtic Sea – 50 GW
  • Irish Sea – 7.6 GW – 3 GW already underway
  • South East England, East Anglia, Lincolnshire And Yorkshire – 22.5 GW
  • North Sea – 9.5 GW
  • On The East Coast Of Scotland – 6.6 GW
  • ScotWind – 24.3 GW

The wind farms in South East England, East Anglia, Lincolnshire And Yorkshire and ScotWind and Mona and Morgan are either being planned or under construction, and in many cases leases to construct wind farms are being paid.

I would feel, that at least 30 GW of these 56.4 GW of wind farms will be completed by 2030.

Conclusion

Boris’s vision of the UK becoming a Saudi Arabia of wind is no fantasy of a man with massive dreams.

Standard floating wind turbines, with the possibility of also harvesting wave power could be assembled in ports along the coasts, towed into position and then connected up.

Several GW of wind-power capacity could probably be added each year to what would become the largest zero-carbon power station in the world.

By harvesting the power of the winds and waves in the seas around the British Isles it is an engineering and mathematical possibility, that could have been developed by any of those great visionary Victorian engineers like Armstrong, Bazalgette, Brunel and Reynolds, if they had had access to our modern technology.

Up Yours! Putin!

 

 

 

April 19, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

ILI Group Announces New 1.5GW Pumped Storage Hydro Project

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

This is the body of the article.

Intelligent Land Investments Group (ILI) has commenced the initial planning phase for its new 1.5 GigaWatt (GW) pumped storage hydro (PSH) project, Balliemeanoch, at Loch Awe in Argyll & Bute.

This is ILI’s third and largest PSH project. Its other PSH projects include ‘Red John’ at Loch Ness, which was awarded planning consent from Scottish Ministers in June Last year, and ‘Corrievarkie’ at Loch Ericht for which they aim to submit a Section 36 planning application in August.

The new project would be able to supply 1.5GW of power for up to 30 hours, enough to power 4.5 million homes.

The project will create a new head pond in the hills above Loch Awe capable of holding 58 million cubic metres of water when full and it is estimated the project will offset more than 200 million tonnes of CO2 emissions over its lifetime.

I would assume that this will be a privately-financed project and at 45 GWh it will be one of the largest pumped storage systems in the world.

But it must show that if it is privately-financed that the big boys in infrastructure finance, see pumped storage as a safe place to put insurance and pension funds to earn a worthwhile return.

  • No-one’s going to steal one of these systems.
  • They are a job-creating asset when built.
  • Hydro-electric power seems very safe, when well-built.
  • You don’t see media reports of schemes like Cruachan, Electric Mountain and Foyers breaking down.

In World’s Largest Wind Farm Attracts Huge Backing From Insurance Giant, I talked about Aviva’s funding for wind farms. If Aviva wukk fund those, surely they’ll fund schemes like this, as it could be argued that they make wind farms a better investment and more valuable, as they won’t have to shut down so often, when there’s too much power.

February 16, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Finance | , , , | 2 Comments

SSE Renewables Launches 1.5GW Coire Glas Construction Tender

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Hydro construction companies have been invited to submit tenders for construction of SSE Renewables’ proposed 1500MW pumped hydro storage scheme at Coire Glas, in Scotland.

Coire Glas, on the shores of Loch Lochy near Invergarry, would be the first large-scale pumped hydro storage scheme to be built in the United Kingdom for more than 30 years.

There appears to be global interest and six shortlisted bidders.

  • The ANDRITZ HYDRO and Voith Hydro partnership
  • The Bechtel, Acciona Construcción and Webuild S.p.A consortium
  • The BAM Nuttall, Eiffage Génie Civil and Marti Tunnel consortium
  • The Dragados and BeMo Tunnelling UK consortium
  • GE Hydro France
  • STRABAG UK

Bidders like these probably wouldn’t bother to get involved unless they knew that funding of the project was in place and it was pretty certain that the project will be constructed.

In World’s Largest Wind Farm Attracts Huge Backing From Insurance Giant, I talk about how Aviva are funding the Hornsea wind farm.

I believe, that insurance and pension companies like abrdn, Aviva and L & G could find a way of financing a scheme like Coire Glas.

Conclusion

It looks to me, that it’s almost certain that Scotland will get a 1.5GW/30 GWh pumped-storage system at Coire Glas.

Coire Glas could supply slightly more power than Sizewell B nuclear power station for twenty hours.

Now that’s what I call backup!

February 5, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Finance | , , , , | 3 Comments

Aviva To Eject Company Directors If Climate Goals Are Not Met

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in The Sunday Times.

Increasingly, I am seeing company boards taking decisions, that will cut their company’s carbon footprint.

Only yesterday, I wrote Suppliers Sought For New Bi-Mode Locomotives For TransPennine Express And Great Western Railway, which was about First Group’s moves to decarbonise some of their locomotive-hauled trains.

I have also written about BHP, BP, Fortescue, Go-Ahead and Rio-Tinto taking action to decarbonise.

It does seem that some company boards are following Aviva’s guidance, but then it is in the directors own interest.

Many directors of large companies own shares and in a big public company, these are publicly traded.

I would suspect, that if a company board, do the right thing in terms of decarbonisation, that the share price will rise.

So by following the accepted climate science, they are actually helping themselves.

If they don’t believe that, then aggressive shareholders from Norwich will punish them.

January 23, 2022 Posted by | Business, Finance, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gore Street Energy Storage Fund Revenues Boosted Amid Market Volatility

Over the last few years, I have blogged about energy storage and two energy storage funds; Gore Street and Gresham House.

According to an article on Proactive Investors, with the same title as this post, Gore Street hasn’t been doing badly lately and says this about their recent performance.

Gore Street Energy Storage Fund PLC said its assets in Great Britain generated revenues two times above forecast in September and added that industry is only at the start of its growth curve.

When I saw the concept of an energy storage fund, as a Control Engineer, I liked it.

The wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine, so something is needed to cover the gaps in the supply.

The obvious way to cover the gaps is to put a battery in the circuit.

  • When the electricity supply is higher than the demand, the surplus electricity can be stored in a convenient battery connected to the grid.
  • When the reverse is true and there is a deficit of electricity, the energy in the battery can be used to make up the difference.

The battery works with electricity, just like a bank works with money, except that batteries don’t pay interest.

  • The battery owners do make money by buying electricity, when it’s cheap and selling it back at a higher price.
  • Tesla and others will sell you both batteries and the controlling software.
  • Some areas with perhaps high levels of wind and solar or unreliable power supplies could use batteries improve the robustness of the electricity supply.
  • More wind and solar power will inevitably lead to a need for more energy storage.
  • Battery technology will get cheaper in terms of the cost per MWh of storage.
  • Battery-grid interface hardware will get more capable.
  • Management software will get better at balancing the grid.

This all adds up to increasing opportunities at possibly lower costs for energy storage funds like Gore Street and Gresham House.

So we will inevitably see a growth of energy storage funds.

But they will change.

New Battery Technology

There are several new battery technologies, that I believe could prove to be competitive in terms of capacity, cost, efficiency and reliability when compared to lithium-ion batteries.

Some of them will also have the advantage of only using easy-to-source, environmentally-friendly materials in their manufacture.

Some battery technologies are also easier to scale up, in that your have a central unit, which is connected to several stores. So to scale up, you add another store to the central unit. Highview Power’s CRYOBattery works on this principle.

I can see energy storage funds taking off faster, when someone designs the ideal battery for their purposes.

More Energy Storage Funds

We will see more players enter the energy storage fund market, just as we saw more players enter the peer-to-peer lending market. But just as that market attracted men with silly hats, boots and horses, not all will be reputable. But there are signs that banks I might trust are entering the market.

I also think there could be a hybrid model, which is almost a cross between an energy storage fund and peer-to-peer technology.

But be prepared for financial innovation.

And always do due diligence before investing.

Local Energy Storage Funds

I can envisage sensible established players offering investment on a local basis.

So perhaps the residents of a town with a need for a battery, might like to help fund it.

Or just as Aviva with their strong connections to East Anglia helped to fund Greater Anglia’s new trains, they might fund a battery in perhaps Cromer.

Conclusion

I feel the future is very rosy for energy storage funds.

 

October 26, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Finance | , , , , | Leave a comment

BHP Investor Revolt Over Links To Fossil Fuel Lobby

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

BHP is facing a shareholder revolt after influential investors urged the giant miner to suspend membership of contentious trade groups that lobby for the fossil fuels industry.

So who are these revolting investors?

Greenpeace with a couple of shares and a lot of placards!

No!

They are Standard Life Aberdeen and Aviva, who are two of the biggest financial beasts in the City of London, with support from the Church of England.

It’ll be an interesting Annual General Meeting next week!

October 10, 2019 Posted by | Business, Finance | , , , | Leave a comment

Aviva Investors Acquires 101 Moorgate Development Site

The title of this post is the same as that of the title of this article on Property Funds World.

This introductory paragraph says it all.

Aviva Investors, a global asset management unit of Aviva, has completed the acquisition of the long leasehold interest in 101 Moorgate, EC2, from Transport for London (TfL). Aviva Investors will develop a mixed-use retail and office site above Crossrail infrastructure and opposite the new Crossrail Liverpool Street Station western entrance.

This Google Map shows a 3D visualisation of the site.

Note the site is indicated by the red arrow.

To it’s left is Moor House, which as well as being a large office block, incorporates a Crossrail ventiltion shaft.

Hopefully, Transport for London raised a few pennies for that deal.

 

May 29, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

World’s Largest Wind Farm Attracts Huge Backing From Insurance Giant

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in the Business pages of yesterday’s copy of The Times.

It is not often that three words implying something big appear in the same sentence, let alone a headline! Such repetition would more likely appear in a tabloid to describe something sleazy.

Until recently, wind power was just something used by those in remote places. I remember a lady in Suffolk, who had her own turbine in the 1980s. She certainly lived well, although her deep freeze was in the next door farmer’s barn.

Now, with the building of the world’s largest wind farm; Hornsea, which is sixty miles off the coast of East Yorkshire, wind farms are talked of as creating enough energy for millions of homes.

Hornsea Project 1 is the first phase and Wikipedia says this about the turbines.

In mid 2015 DONG selected Siemens Wind Power 7 MW turbines with 154 metres (505 ft) rotor turbines for the project – around 171 turbines would be used for the wind farm.

Note that the iconic Bankside power station, that is now the Tate Modern had a capacity of 300 MW, so when the wind is blowing Hornsea Project 1 is almost four times as large.

When fully developed around 2025, the nameplate capacity will be around 6,000 MW or 6 GW.

The Times article says this about the funding of wind farms.

Wind farms throw off “long-term boring, stable cashflows”, Mr. Murphy said, which was perfect to match Aviva policyholders and annuitants, the ultimate backers of the project. Aviva has bought fixed-rate and inflation-linked bonds, issued by the project. While the coupon paid on the 15-year bonds, has not been disclosed, similar risk projects typically pay an interest rate of about 3 per cent pm their bonds. Projects typically are structured at about 30 per cent equity and 70 per cent debt.

Darryl Murphy is Aviva’s head of infrastructure debt. The article also says, that Aviva will have a billion pounds invested in wind farms by the end of the year.

Call me naive, but I can’t see a loser in all this!

  • Certainly, the UK gets a lot of zero-carbon renewable energy.
  • Aviva’s pensioners get good, safe pensions.
  • Turbines and foundations are built at places like Hull and Billingham, which sustains jobs.
  • The need for onshore wind turbines is reduced.
  • Coal power stations can be closed.

The North Sea just keeps on giving.

  • For centuries it has been fish.
  • Since the 1960s, it has been gas.
  • And then there was oil.
  • Now, we’re reaping the wind.

In the future, there could be even more wind farms like Hornsea.

Ease Of Funding

Large insurance companies and investment funds will continue to fund wind farms, to give their investors and pensioners a return.

Would Aviva be so happy to fund a large nuclear power station?

Large Scale Energy Storage

The one missing piece of the jigsaw is large scale energy storage.

I suspect that spare power could be used to do something useful, that could later be turned into energy.

  • Hydrogen could be created by electrolysis for use in transport or gas grids.
  • Aluminium could be smelted, for either use as a metal or burnt in a power station to produce zero-carbon electricity.
  • Twenty-four hour processes, that use a lot of electricity, could be built to use wind power and perhaps a small modular nuclear reactor.
  • Ice could be created, which can be used to increase the efficiency of large gas-turbine power plants.
  • Unfortunately, we’re not a country blessed with mountains, where more Electric Mountains can be built.
  • Electricity will be increasingly exchanged with countries like Belgium, France, Germany, Iceland, Norway and The Netherlands.

There will be other wacky ideas, that will be able to store GWhs of electricity.

These are not wacky.

Storage In Electric Vehicles

Consider that there are three million vehicles in the UK. Suppose half of these were electric or plug-in hybrid and had an average battery size of 50 kWh.

This would be a total energy storage of 75,000 MWh or 75 GWh. It would take the fully developed 6GW Hornsea wind far over twelve hours to charge them all working at full power.

Storage In Electric And Hybrid Buses

London has around 8,500 buses, many of which are hybrid and some of electric.

If each has a 50 kWh batttery, then that is 425 MWh or .0.425 GWH. If all buses in the UK were electric or plug-in hybrid, how much overnight electricity could they consume.

Scaling up from London to the whole country, would certainly be a number of GWhs.

Storage In Electric Trains

I also believe that the average electric train in a decade or so could have a sizeable battery in each coach.

If we take Bombardier they have an order book of over four hundred Aventra trains, which is a total of nearly 2,500 coaches.

If each coach has an average battery size of 50 kWh, then that is 125 MWh or 0.125 GWh.

When you consider than Vivarail’s two-car Class 230 train has a battery capacity of 400 kWh, if the UK train fleet contains a high-proportion of battery-electric trains, they will be a valuable energy storage resource.

Storage in Housing, Offices and Other Buildings

For a start there are twenty-five million housing units in the UK.

If just half of these had a 10 kWh battery storage system like a Tesla Powerwall, this would be a storage capacity of 125 GWh.

I suspect, just as we are seeing vehicles and trains getting more efficient in their use of electricity, we will see buildings constructed to use less grid electricity and gas.

  • Roofs will have solar panels.
  • Insulation levels will be high.
  • Heating may use devices like ground source heat pumps.
  • Battery and capacitors will be used to store electricity and provide emergency back up.
  • Electric vehicles will be connected into the network.
  • The system will sell electricity back to the grid, as required.

Will anybody want to live in a traditional house, that can’t be updated to take part in the energy revolution?

Will The Electricity Grid Be Able To Cope?

National Grid have been reported as looking into the problems that will happen in the future.

  • Intermittent power from increasing numbers of wind and solar farms.
  • Charging all those electric vehicles.
  • Controlling all of that distributed storage in buildings and vehicles.
  • Maintaining uninterrupted power to high energy users.
  • Managing power flows into and out of the UK on the various interconnectors.

It will be just like an Internet of electricity.

And it will be Europe-wide! and possibly further afield.

Conclusion

The UK will have an interesting future as far as electricity is concerned.

Those that join it like Aviva and people who live in modern, energy efficient houses will do well.

November 27, 2018 Posted by | Finance, World | , , , , , , , | 18 Comments