The Anonymous Widower

Boris Baldrick’s Cunning Plan

This written statement to Parliament on the UK Government web site, is entitled Transport Update: Transpennine Route Upgrade.

It has been published by Grant Shapps and this is the sub-title.

Additional funding has been made available for the Transpennine route upgrade.

This is the complete statement.

Today 19 July 2022, the government has made available £959 million of additional funding to continue to progress the delivery of the ambitious Transpennine route upgrade.

This funding is a significant milestone and another step towards upgrading the key east-west rail artery across the north of England, to further this government’s levelling up and decarbonisation objectives.

In addition to progressing the design of aspects of the upgrade, this funding will enable further on-the-ground delivery of electrification and journey time improvement works, mostly west of Leeds.

One of the first tangible benefits will be enabling electric trains to run between Manchester and Stalybridge by the middle of the decade. We are also developing scope that will enable the Transpennine route upgrade to become the first phase of Northern Powerhouse Rail, including plans to unlock freight flows and take thousands of lorries off our roads.

We are also more than trebling the investment in the Transpennine route upgrade from £2.9 billion to between £9.0 billion and £11.5 billion.

This additional investment will enable the roll out of digital signalling technology, electrification of the full route and the provision of additional tracks for commercial and freight services, giving rail users more reliable, more punctual, more comfortable and greener rail journeys.

I have some thoughts.

It’s Not A Wish List, But A Reality

The last paragraph reads like a wish list.

This additional investment will enable the roll out of digital signalling technology, electrification of the full route and the provision of additional tracks for commercial and freight services, giving rail users more reliable, more punctual, more comfortable and greener rail journeys.

But it’s not a wish list, it’s what is to be done.

Where Will The Government Get Between Nine and Eleven-And-A-Half Billion Pounds?

It’s not the sort of small change that you have in a sock draw.

This document on the UK government web site, is entitled PM Opening Remarks At Press Conference With German Chancellor Olaf Scholz: 8 April 2022, where this is these three paragraphs.

We will also agree on the importance of weaning ourselves off dependence on Russian gas and oil, and ensuring that our energy security cannot be threatened by a rogue state.

This is not easy for any of us, and I applaud the seismic decisions taken by Olaf’s government to move Germany away from Russian hydrocarbons.

Today we have agreed to maximise the potential of the North Sea and collaborate on energy security and on renewables, where Germany and the UK lead the way in new technology.

So did Boris and Olaf sign the world’s first Green Alliance based on zero-carbon energy?

  • They may not have signed an Alliance, but they have agreed on common actions.
  • Over the last year or so, German money and technology has started to be more visible in our offshore wind farms.
  • BP have been backed by German utility; enBW in some of their huge wind farms.
  • Siemens Gamesa are providing a lot of wind turbines.
  • Will German shipyards build the floats for floating wind farms?
  • An interconnector between the Isle of Grain and Wilhelmshaven is planned.
  • Rolls-Royce and its German subsidiary MTU are charging into battle against climate change.
  • The Germans have taken a liking to ITM Power’s electrolysers to produce hydrogen.

I can see the North Sea or the German Ocean becoming Europe’s power station, with by 2030, a large amount of the energy not needed by the UK, being exported to the Continent, either as electricity or hydrogen.

The Germans could become our magische Geldbäume.

But unlike gas and oil, wind power in the North Sea won’t run out, as it’s renewable.

In How Britannia With Help From Her Friends Can Rule The Waves And The Wind, this was my 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!

This energy and the money it provides will finance our infrastructure and our tax cuts.

 

July 19, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 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 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

NeuConnect Awards Two Major Contracts

This page on the NeuConnect web site is entitled NeuConnect Awards Over £1.5 billion Of Major Contracts As First Ever UK-German Energy Link Moves An Important Step Closer.

NeuConnect is a proposed interconnector between England and Germany.

  • It will have a capacity of 1.4 GW.
  • The interconnector will be around 450 miles long.
  • It will be HVDC, like many similar undersea power cables.
  • As the title says, it will be the first-ever UK-German energy link.

Wikipedia describes the route like this.

The cable will run between the Greystones substation on the Isle of Grain, in Kent in England to the new Fedderwarden substation in Wilhelmshaven in the Lower Saxony region of Germany. Landfall will be next to Grain Coastal Park, in Kent, and at Hooksiel, near Wilhemshaven in Germany.

Two contracts have been awarded.

  • The contract to design, manufacture, install, test and commission the 725km interconnector has been awarded to Prysmian Group.
  • The contract to design and build two converter stations in the UK and Germany has been awarded to Siemens Energy.

This sounds like a very simple plan to add an important interconnector between the UK and Germany.

I have some observations and thoughts.

The Isle Of Grain

The Isle of Grain is described in Wikipedia like this.

Isle of Grain (Old English Greon, meaning gravel) is a village and the easternmost point of the Hoo Peninsula within the district of Medway in Kent, south-east England. No longer an island and now forming part of the peninsula, the area is almost all marshland and is a major habitat for diverse wetland birds. The village constitutes a civil parish, which at the 2011 census had a population of 1,648, a net decrease of 83 people in 10 years.

Apart for the birds, over the last few decades it has been home to the following.

  • Until 1982, it was the location of a BP oil refinery.
  • In the 1990s, the isle was used to make the segments for the lining of the Channel Tunnel.
  • Following completion of the Channel Tunnel, the site is now part-occupied by Thamesport, the UK’s third largest container port.
  • Next to the former BP site is Grain Power Station, built in the 1970s, which previously burnt oil.
  • This power station was demolished in the 2015 and replaced with a 1.275 GW gas-fired power station.
  • Another major installation is a new Grain Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import facility, which takes heat from the gas-fired power station.
  • The Isle of Grain is the landing point for the BritNed undersea power cable between The Netherlands and the UK.

The Google Map shows the Isle of Grain.

Note.

  1. Thamesport is in the South-West corner
  2. To its North is the LNG import facility.
  3. To the North-East of Thamesport is the 735 MW Medway power station.
  4. There is a rail connection to Hoo Junction on the North Kent Line.

This second Google Map shows the Eastern side of the Isle.

Note.

  1. Grain Coastal Park, where NeuConnect will make landfall, is marked by the green arrow at the top of the map.
  2. Towards the South-Eastern corner of the map is the 1.275 GW Grain gas-fired power station.
  3. To the East of the power station, there is more switchgear than you see in a bad Frankenstein film.
  4. The smaller square at the bottom with the two white squares could be the converter station for the BritNed interconnector.

I am sure there is space on the island for a connection for NeuConnect.

There is also a total of 2.01 GW of gas-fired power stations on the Isle of Grain.

Wind Power In The Thames Estuary

This Google Map shows the Thames Estuary.

Note that the red arrow indicates the Isle of Grain.

This map from Wikipedia shows the wind farms in the area.

These are the ones that are operational.

  • 2 – East Anglia Array – 714 MW
  • 8 – Greater Gabbard – 504 MW
  • 9 – Gunfleet Sands – 184 MW
  • 13 – Kentish Flats – 140 MW
  • 15 – London Array – 630 MW
  • 27 – Thanet – 300 MW

Note.

  1. The Isle of Grain is just above the second o in London.
  2. I have ignored the Ramplion wind farm (21!), as it is too far from the Isle of Grain.
  3. This is a total of nearly 2.5 GW.

Planned extensions in the area include.

  • East Anglia Array – 3.1 GW – Completion date of 2026

But the Wikipedia entry for the East Anglia Array says this about the wind farm.

The target capacity for the entire East Anglia Zone is 7200 MW which could require up to 1200 turbines.

Could we see one of the following?

  • A connector from the East Anglia Array to the Isle of Grain.
  • One or more new wind farms in the Thames Estuary connected to the Isle of Grain.
  • German investment in a wind farm or farms connected to the Isle of Grain.

The Isle of Grain could become an island of energy providing power for London, the South-East of England, Germany and The Netherlands.

An Electrolyser On The Isle Of Grain

Consider.

  • There will be plenty of renewable electricity.
  • As there is a liquified natural gas terminal, there is plenty of gas storage.
  • One or both of the gas-fired power stations can be converted to run on hydrogen.
  • As more and more trucks are converted to hydrogen, there will be a large demand for hydrogen for heavy transport.

This must surely make a large electrolyser on the Isle of Grain a possibility.

The BritNed Interconnector

The BritNed interconnector is described like this in Wikipedia.

BritNed is a 1,000 MW high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) submarine power cable between the Isle of Grain in Kent, the United Kingdom; and Maasvlakte in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The BritNed interconnector would serve as a link for the foreseeable European super grid project.

Up to now, most of the electricity flow has been to the UK.

But surely, as more wind farms are developed power will flow the other way.

Wilhelmshaven Will Be A German Hub For Green Hydrogen

In Uniper To Make Wilhelmshaven German Hub For Green Hydrogen; Green Ammonia Import Terminal, I described plans by the Germans for a hydrogen hub at Wilhelmshaven.

The original story came from an article with the same name on Green Car Congress.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Under the name “Green Wilhelmshaven,” Germany-based international energy company Uniper plans to establish a German national hub for hydrogen in Wilhelmshaven and is working on a corresponding feasibility study.

Plans include an import terminal for green ammonia. The terminal will be equipped with an ammonia cracker for producing green hydrogen and will also be connected to the planned hydrogen network. A 410-megawatt electrolysis plant is also planned, which—in combination with the import terminal—would be capable of supplying around 295,000 metric tons or 10% of the demand expected for the whole of Germany in 2030.

As I said in the original post, I’m not happy about green ammonia, but the 1.4 GW NeuConnect interconnector has more than enough power to run a 410 MW electrolyser plant at full capacity.

It could even run three electrolysers of this size.

Hooksiel And Wilhelmshaven

NeuConnect will make landfall at Hooksiel.

This Google Map shows Hooksiel and Wilhelmshaven.

Note.

  1. Hooksiel is the village outlined in red.
  2. The water to the right of the map is the Jade Bight.
  3. The square block sticking out into the bight appears to be a container port.
  4. There appears to be chemical works or oil refineries North of the port.
  5. Wilhelmshaven is the town to the South of the port.

There would appear to be plenty of space for Uniper to construct Green Wilhelmshaven.

German And UK Wind Power Production

According to this page on Wikipedia, which is entitled Wind Power By Country, in 2020, these were installed wind power in various countries.

  • Germany – 62,184 MW
  • Spain – 27,089 MW
  • UK – 24,665 MW
  • France – 17,382 MW
  • Italy – 10,389 MW
  • Netherlands – 6,600 MW

In 2020 we were 37.5 GW behind Germany.

It looks like we’ll commission 3.3 GW this year and 6.1 in 2023, with Wikipedia saying that 12.9 GW is under development, which should close the gap to a certain extent.

In ScotWind Offshore Wind Leasing Delivers Major Boost To Scotland’s Net Zero Aspirations, I described how Scotland will add 15.1 GW of floating and 9.7 GW of fixed foundation offshore wind.

It looks like initially, we’ll be buying German wind-generated electricity, but in the future the direction could easily change around.

Boris And Olaf

There were mumblings from Boris, that energy was talked about in their meeting in Downing Street last week.

It does appear there is a lot of ways that the UK and Germany can co-operate in the future with respect to energy.

  • German finance can be used to build wind farms in UK waters.
  • German companies can build the turbines and the interconnectors we need to develop vast offshore wind farms.
  • We can supply surplus energy to Germany through the NeuConnect interconnector.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Boris and Olaf had signed a very comprehensive energy co-operation agreement.

 

April 11, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Armoured Vehicles For Ukraine

I have just listened to extracts of the press conference by Boris and Olaf on the BBC and there was talk of boxers.

Not the Mayor of Kyiv, the admirable Vitali Klitschko, but the German-produced armoured fighting vehicle.

Looking at the Wikipedia entry for the Boxer, it states that up to 1500 Boxers for the British Army will start to be delivered from an updated BAe factory in Telford this year, for entry into service in 2023. So with two factories in Europe and another in Australia, will this allow older armoured vehicles to be passed on to Ukraine?

Australia has already stated they will send the Ukraine twenty of their thousand Bushmasters.

Perhaps we could send Ukraine some Mastiffs.

April 9, 2022 Posted by | World | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Boris Johnson Wants To Build ‘Colossal’ Irish Sea Wind Farm Within A Year

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

This is the sub-title.

Prime Minister tells industry leaders he has ‘a dream’ that giant floating wind farm could provide ‘gigawatts of energy’

These are the first three paragraphs of the article.

Boris Johnson is pushing energy firms to build a “colossal” offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea within 12 months.

The Prime Minister told industry leaders he has “a dream” that a giant floating wind farm could provide “gigawatts of energy and do it within a year”, according to a government source.

He was addressing wind energy firms at a round table discussion in Downing Street as the Government finalised its energy security strategy.

It is said in the article, that industry leaders smiled at the suggestion.

My feelings though are different and I wonder if Boris has been briefed by an offshore wind expert, who knows what they’re doing.

Quietly and unobtrusively, a new technology has been developed, that allows Boris the luxury to dream.

The World’s Largest Floating Wind Farm

In the UK, we are getting used to superlatives being applied to our offshore wind farms.

In this article on offshoreWIND.biz, which is entitled World’s Largest Floating Offshore Wind Farm Fully Operational, this is said.

Located 15 kilometres off the coast of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in water depths ranging from 60 metres to 80 metres, Kincardine is the largest operating floating wind farm.

The project consists of five Vestas V164-9.5 MW and one V80-2 MW turbine, each installed on WindFloat® semi-submersible platforms designed by Principle Power.

This picture from Cobra Group shows one of the turbines being towed into position at Kincardine.

There are more pictures on this web page.

WindFloats would appear to be proven technology, as there are now two commercial wind farms using the technology and several others under development.

Erebus And Valorous

But Kincardine Wind Farm won’t be the world’s largest floating wind farm for long!

The next two wind farms, using the technology are Erebus and Valorous, who will provide a total of 400 MW from a company called Blue Gem Wind, which will use larger 14 MW turbines.

They will be installed to the South-West of the Pembrokeshire Coast.

Blue Gem Wind

Blue Gem Wind are based in Pembroke Dock and are a partnership of Simply Blue Energy, a pioneering Celtic Sea energy developer, and TotalEnergies.

Simply Blue Group are an Irish company, who are also working with Shell on the development of 1.35 GW of wind power to the West of Ireland.

50 GW Of Wind In The Celtic Sea

On the Projects page of the Blue Gem website, this is said about floating wind in the Celtic Sea.

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.

Is this Boris’s project?

These are my thoughts.

How Many Turbines Would You Need For 50 GW?

If you need 7 x 14 MW turbines for each 100 MW, that would mean you need 3500 turbines and WindFloats for 50 GW.

How Would Each Turbine Be Installed?

It appears from pictures on the Cobra Group web site, that the turbine is mounted on the WindFloat using a large crane on a dock, whilst the WindFloat is alongside.

  • The WindFloat and the turbine are then towed out into the desired position.
  • It would then be anchored to the sea-bed.
  • Finally, it would be connected to the power network.

I would doubt, that one team could probably install more than one turbine per day.

But I suspect more than one team could work in and out of one port at a time.

How Many Ports Could Be Used For Turbine Assembly?

As Blue Gem Wind is based in Pembroke Dock, I would assume that one of the ports would be on Milford Haven Waterway.

But there are other ports on the Welsh and Irish coasts, where the turbine lift could be accomplished.

How Much Capacity Could Be Installed In Twelve Months?

Suppose you had two ports doing assembly, with two teams working at each port, which would mean four turbines could be installed in a day.

  • In a month, that would be 4 x 14 x 30 MW per month.
  • This is nearly 1.7 GW per month or 20 GW per year.

It does appear to me, that floating wind farms with the right project management could be very much quicker to install than traditional fixed foundation wind turbines.

I believe that if we get the manufacturing and the project management right, that a colossal 20 GW of floating wind can be installed in twelve months.

Conclusion

Most people won’t believe Boris’s claim, but I feel that there is a degree of reality behind it, if we can produce four WindFloats and four turbines per day and enough cables and electrical gubbins to link them all together.

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

Another Song For Ukraine

This one is I think Ukrainian.

Note that Ukrainians tend to pronounce W’s as V’s, so NLAW sounds a bit like love.

Apparently, Volodymyr Zelenskyy serenaded Boris with a version of All You Need Is NLAW.

I asked Google, if the Beatles were popular in Russia and found this article on the BBC, which is entitled Beatles For Sale: The Vinyl Underground In The USSR.

The NLAW is an Anglo-Swedish anti-tank weapon, which is being used successfully by the Ukrainians.

March 19, 2022 Posted by | World | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Manchester Arena Attack: Families ‘Disgusted’ By Memorial Trespassing

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

These are the introductory paragraphs,

Families of people killed in the Manchester Arena attack have said they were “disgusted” after a memorial site for the 22 victims was trespassed on.

The Glade of Light memorial in the city centre remains a building site and does not officially open until the new year.

Two bereaved families said they were appalled to find the security fences pulled down on Sunday.

The article also said this.

Ms Curry said she found hundreds of people were walking through the area, which is supposed to be closed to the public.

She said one man stood on a memorial stone and was abusive when challenged, another woman vomited all over the area, and groups of youths were openly smoking drugs.

I can’t understand what led to this aggressive trespass.

When, I am in certain cities, there does seem to be more low life on the streets than you habitually see in London.

I do wonder, if it is partly because of London’s transport regulations and actions as laid down by the Mayor and Transport for London.

London has an extensive CCTV network and after the London bombings of July the seventh and the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in 2005, I’m sure it was improved.

Did the improved CCTV and the police action in the shooting the unfortunate Brazilian, deter a lot of low life from going to the centre?

Ken Livingstone or was it Boris, introduced a policy of banning alcohol on London’s transport system.

The precise details are given in this recent article on the Sun.

I have a feeling it had a positive effect, but did it mean that less drunks found their way to the centre?

In 2011, I sat next to a guy on a Manchester bus going from Piccadilly Gardens to Bury. I noticed that about a dozen youths were harassing the driver, trying to get his fare money and remarked on this to my companion.

My companion on hearing my London accent, said you don’t get that in London because of the contactless ticketing, as there is no fare money on the bus.

I was surprised at his reply and asked him to explain. It turned out he was a Trade Union Official, who looked after bus workers in Manchester. He told me his Union wanted a London-style contactless ticketing system, as it had drastically cut the number of attacks on staff in London.

Having worked with the Metropolitan Police on the analysis of data, they have also found that contactless ticketing helps in the tracing of people through London’s transport network and has solved several serious crimes.

Conclusion

I feel that terrorism and London’s reaction to it, banning of alcohol on public transport, contactless ticketing and other measures have helped keep drunks and those up to no good out of the centre.

 

December 6, 2021 Posted by | News, World | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is The TP Group Worth A Punt?

I have been following the Class 799 train for some time. It is a hydrogen train prototype being sponsored by the owner of the train; Porterbrook.

The difficult task of fitting all of the hydrogen and electrical electrical gubbins under the floor of the train has been accomplished by the combined efforts of Birmingham University and TP Group.

But TP Group according to this article on The Times, which is entitled Directors In Line Of Fire As TP Group Takeover Bid Turns Sour, seems to have turned a bit difficult for the company.

I wrote about the Class 799 train in A Class 319 Train, But Not As We Know It! and I predict that it could be one of the stars of COP26 in Glasgow later in the year.

This picture sums up why!

The prototype may have designed for publicity, but I can see pictures of Joe, Boris, Angela et all going for a ride in this zero-carbon train, that started out as a British Rail commuter train on Thameslink.

I shall be watching the TP Group share price with interest.

 

August 17, 2021 Posted by | Finance, Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Jaw Jaw Is Better Than War War!

There is an article in The Times today with a title of Britain Ready To Share Dutch-Made Vaccine With EU.

It talks of compromise and how Boris Johnson has effectively told his ministers to cool it.

I feel that Boris is right to seek a compromise. As Churchill said “Jaw, jaw is better than war-war!”

I wouldn’t be surprised that we have a lot to offer the EU about other things than making the vaccine.

Vaccination

There have been several examples published in this newspaper and other media outlets, about how we have squeezed extra doses out of the Pfizer vaccine and made sure we have potential recipients on hand, so that nothing goes to waste.

Perhaps we have a suitable brigadier, doctor, mandarin or project manager, who could put some drive and organisation into the EU’s flagging effort.

If it is a big loss of face to some EU politicians so be it.

AstraZeneca’s Problem

If AZ do have problem, it appears to be in the manufacture.

After all it is AZ’s first vaccine.

This surely, is a problem, that can be solved, even if it upsets AZ a bit on how it is done!

European Vaccine Reluctance

But I do think the EU’s vaccination is not helped by the population’s reluctance to have a jab.

We had Tom Jones and the US had Dolly Parton, amongst others who backed vaccinations.

Have stars of similar standing backed the vaccination in the EU?

Help From The Yanks

As usual, the Americans have arrived late to bolster the efforts.

Lets hope that their data published today persuades more EU citizens to take the jab and even one from the UK!

But surely any vaccine that gives you 100 % protection from severe disease, as the Yanks say that the AZ does, can’t be all bad!

Conclusion

I believe that as the UK and the EU share a common will to defeat the virus, that a good compromise can be developed over the next few days.

Let’s hope it goes better than the last time, we told the French what to do in a serious situation.

My father told me about Churchill’s dash to Paris in 1940 to offer union with France to try and save the country.

Read all about it in this article on the London School of Economics web site, which is entitled June 1940: Britain’s Forgotten Attempt To Build A European Union.

What Churchill Actually Said

In trying to find when Churchill used the title of this post, I found this page on the International Churchill Society web site, which is entitled Quotes Falsely Attributed To Winston Churchill.

The actual quote was “Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war” and it was misquoted later by Harold Macmillan.

Does meeting Zoom to Zoom count?

March 22, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The End Of The Beginning

At 16:08 on the 9th of November 2020, I sent this text message to the BBC.

Churchill would have dubbed Pfizer’s news the End of the Beginning in the War against the Covids!

Then at 17:00 Boris used the same phrase in his Press Conference.

Wikipedia says this about Churchill’s use of the phrase.

A quotation from a 1942 speech by Winston Churchill concerning the Second Battle of El Alamein.

The Second Battle of El Alamein was fought between the 23rd of October and the 11th of November 1942. So exactly, seventy-eight years ago, the battle was coming to a close.

As a biographer of Churchill, did Boris spot the historical link?

Let’s hope Boris, Macron, Biden, Merkel, Trudeau et al, get the chance to paraphrase another of Churchill’s quotes about the very different battle.

It may almost be said, “Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat”

Let’s hope Pfizer’s vaccine is our generation’s Alamein and marks the turning point in the War against the Covids.

Certainly, the news has been well-received by experts, including Jeremy Farrar of the Welcome Trust, who was being interviewed by the BBC, when the news broke.

I am 73 and my parents told me how Alamein and other news like it, stiffened the sinews and summoned up the blood in the dark days of World War II!

November 10, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment