The Anonymous Widower

Regulator Approves New Grand Union Train Service From Carmarthen To London Paddington

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from the Office of Rail and Road.

This is the sub-heading of the press release.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has opened up the Great Western Main Line to competition and enabled a significant increase in rail services between London and South Wales.

These points are made in the press release.

  • The rail regulator has approved the introduction of new train services between London, Cardiff and South West Wales from the end of 2024.
  • The services will be operated by a new open access operator, Grand Union Trains, bringing competition to the Great Western route out of Paddington.
  • Passengers travelling between London, Bristol Parkway, Severn Tunnel Junction, Newport, Cardiff, Gowerton, Llanelli and Carmarthen will benefit from an extra five daily return services and greater choice of operator.
  • The decision opens up the Great Western Main Line to competition for the first time, with potential benefits in terms of lower fares, improved service quality and innovation for all passengers using the route.
  • The application, submitted to ORR in June 2022, was disputed by Network Rail due to concerns about capacity on the network. But following careful consideration and analysis, ORR has directed Network Rail to enter into a contract with Grand Union.
  • Grand Union has committed to significant investment in new trains.
  • As an ‘open access’ train operator, however, it will not get paid subsidies from public funds, unlike current operators along the route.

ORR supports new open access where it delivers competition for the benefit of passengers. In making this decision, the regulator has weighed this up against the impact on Government funds and effect on other users of the railway, both passengers and freight customers.

These are my thoughts.

The Company

Grand Union Trains have certainly persevered to get this approval.

  • The company was created by Ian Yeowart, who previously created open access operators; Alliance Rail Holdings and Grand Central before selling both to Arriva.
  • After multiple negotiations with the Office of Road and Rail (ORR), Yeowart must know how to get an acceptable deal.
  • Grand Union Trains have a similar application for a service between Euston and Stirling with the ORR.

Grand Union Trains also have a web site.

The home page has a mission statement of Railways To Our Core, with this statement underneath.

At Grand Union we are passionate about Britain’s railways. We are committed to the traditional values of providing a high-quality customer service and a comfortable journey experience at a fair price.

I’ll go with that.

The Financial Backing Of The Company

All the UK’s open access operators are well-financed either by Arriva or First Group.

The ORR would not receive any thanks, if they approved an operator, which duly went bust.

So what is the quality of the financing behind Grand Union Trains?

This article on Railway Gazette is entitled RENFE Looks At Entering UK Rail Market Through Open Access Partnership, which starts with this paragraph.

Open access passenger service developer Grand Union Trains is working with Spain’s national operator RENFE and private equity firm Serena Industrial Partners on a proposed service between London and Wales.

That is fairly clear and would surely help in the financing of Grand Union Trains.

The Route

Trains will run between Carmarthen and London Paddington, with stops at Llanelli, Gowerton, Cardiff, Newport, Severn Tunnel Junction and Bristol Parkway.

A new station at Felindre will replace Gowerton.

There will be five trains per day (tpd).

I have some thoughts and questions about the route

Felindre Station

Felindre station is named in Wikipedia as the West Wales Parkway station, where it is introduced like this.

West Wales Parkway is a proposed railway station north of Swansea, near to the boundaries of the neighbouring principal area of Carmarthenshire, and the villages of Felindre and Llangyfelach. The station is proposed to be situated at the former Felindre steelworks, near Junction 46 of the M4 and A48, and near Felindre Business Park and Penllergaer Business Park. The project is in the planning stages, as part of a wider Department for Transport proposal to re-open the Swansea District line to passenger traffic.

This Google Map shows where, it appears the Felindre station will be built.

Note.

  1. The Felindre Business Park in the North-West corner of the map, with a Park-and-Ride.
  2. The M4 running across the bottom of the map.
  3. The Swansea District Line runs East-West between the motorway and the Business Park.

It looks that the new station could be located on the South side of the Business Park.

When High Speed Two Opens Will Trains Call At Old Oak Common?

When High Speed Two 0pens, all GWR trains will stop at Old Oak Common station for these connections.

  • Chiltern for for Banbury, Bicester, High Wycombe and the West Midlands
  • Elizabeth Line for Central and East London and the Thames Valley
  • Heathrow Airport
  • High Speed Two for Birmingham and the North
  • Overground for Outer London

As Old Oak Common will be such an important interchange, I think they should.

Will The Platforms At Carmarthen Station Need Lengthening?

This Google Map shows Carmarthen station.

Note.

  1. The station has two platforms.
  2. There are certainly pictures of the station with an InterCity 125 in the station. There is a picture on the Wikipedia entry for Carmarthen station.

These pictures show the station.

I suspect that the station will be upgraded to accommodate Grand Union Trains.

The Trains

An article in the June 2022 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Grand Union Bids For London To Carmarthen, gives these details of the trains.

  • Three classes.
  • 2023 start for the service.
  • Cycle provision.
  • Vanload freight will be carried.
  • Electric trains could start between London and Cardiff by 2023.
  • In 2025, trains could be nine-car bi-modes.
  • South Wales-based operation and maintenance.
  • 125 full-time jobs created.

It certainly seems to be a comprehensive and well-thought out plan.

I have a few thoughts on the trains.

What Make Of Trains Will Be Procured?

Consider.

  • Lumo’s Class 803 trains were ordered from Hitachi in March 2019 and entered service in October 2021.
  • So if they ordered their version of the Hitachi trains by the end of 2022, the trains could be in service by July/August 2025.
  • It would probably be easier, if the only fast trains on the Great Western Main Line between London and South Wales were all Hitachi trains with identical performance.

But the Spanish backers of Grand Union Trains may prefer Spanish-designed trains assembled in South Wales. So would a bi-mode version of CAF’s Class 397 trains be suitable?

On the other hand, the Carmarthen and Cardiff section of the route without a reverse at Swansea is only seventy-five miles.

This Hitachi infographic shows the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train.

Consider.

  • Charging could be provided at Carmarthen using a short length of electrification or one of Furrer + Frey standard chargers.
  • Charging would also use the electrification between London Paddington and Cardiff.
  • A nine-car Class 800 or Class 802 train has five engines and a five-car train has three engines.
  • This train was announced in December 2022.
  • In the intervening two years how far has the project progressed?
  • For the last twelve months, Lumo have been running trains with an emergency battery-pack for hotel power. How are the batteries doing, whilst being ferried u and down, the East Coast Main Line?

Can Hitachi configure a train with more than one battery-pack and a number of diesel engines, that has a range of seventy-five miles? I suspect they can.

I suspect that CAF also have similar technology.

There is also a benefit to Great Western Railway (GWR).

If GWR were able to fit out their Class 802 trains in the same way, they would be able to run between Cardiff and Swansea on battery power.

  • It is only 45.7 miles.
  • Charging would need to be provided at Swansea.
  • GWR could still run their one tpd service to Carmarthen.

It looks like both train operating companies could be able to do as Lumo does and advertise all electric services.

What Could Be The Maxmum Range Of A Hitachi Train On Batteries?

This Hitachi infographic shows the Hitachi Regional Battery Train.

Consider.

  • It has a battery range of 90 km or 56 miles on the single battery.
  • I would expect that by a regional train, Hitachi mean a five car Class 800 or 802 train, like those that go to Cheltenham, Lincoln or Middlesbrough.
  • A five-car Hitachi Regional Battery Train would have a battery that could contain power equivalent to 280 car-miles.
  • Five-car Class 800 or 802 trains have three engine positions.
  • These Hitachi trains have a very sophisticated control system, which I wrote about in Do Class 800/801/802 Trains Use Batteries For Regenerative Braking?

I believe the engineers at Hyperdrive Innovation have designed the battery-packs that replace the diesel engines as simulations of the diesel engines, so they can be a direct replacement.

This would mean that battery-packs could be additive, so the following could apply to a five-car train.

  • Two battery packs could have a range of 112 miles.
  • Three battery packs could have a range of 168 miles.

GWR generally runs pairs of five-car trains to Swansea, which would be 90 miles without electrification.

If five-car trains with two battery packs, could be given a range of 112 miles, GWR could run an electric service to Swansea.

They could also run to Carmarthen, if Grand Union Trains would share the charger.

What ranges could be possible with nine-car trains, if one battery pack is good for 280 car-miles?

  • One battery-pack, gives a range of 280/9 = 31 miles
  • Two battery-packs, give a range of 2*280/9 = 62 miles
  • Three battery-packs, give a range of 3*280/9 = 93 miles
  • Four battery-packs, give a range of 4*280/9 = 124 miles
  • Five battery-packs, give a range of 5*280/9 = 155 miles
  • Six battery-packs, give a range of 6*280/9 = 187 miles
  • Seven battery-packs, give a range of 7*280/9 = 218 miles

Note.

  1. I have rounded figures to the nearest mile.
  2. There are five cars with diesel engines in a nine-car train, which are in cars 2,3,5, 7 and 8.
  3. Diesel engines are also placed under the driver cars in five-car Class 810 trains.
  4. For the previous two reasons, I feel that the maximum numbers of diesel engines in a nine-car train could be a maximum of seven.
  5. I have therefor assumed a maximum of seven battery packs.

These distances seem sensational, but when you consider that Stradler’s Flirt Akku has demonstrated a battery range of 243 kilometres or 150 miles, I don’t think they are out of order.

But, if they are correct, then the ramifications are enormous.

  • Large numbers of routes could become electric without any infrastructure works.
  • Grand Union Trains would be able to run to Carmarthen and back without a charger at Carmarthen. 
  • GWR would be able to run to Swansea and back without a charger at Swansea.

Prudence may mean strategic chargers are installed.

Rrenewable Energy Developments In South West Wales

In Enter The Dragon, I talked about renewable energy developments in South West Wales.

I used information from this article on the Engineer, which is entitled Unlocking The Renewables Potential Of The Celtic Sea.

The article on the Engineer finishes with this conclusion.

For now, Wales may be lagging slightly behind its Celtic cousin to the north, but if the true potential of the Celtic Sea can be unleashed – FLOW, tidal stream, lagoon and wave – it looks set to play an even more prominent role in the net zero pursuit.

The Red Dragon is entering the battle to replace Vlad the Mad’s tainted energy.

South West Wales could see a massive renewable energy boom.

Grand Union Trains will increase the capacity to bring in more workers to support the developments from South Wales and Bristol.

 

 

 

December 3, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Celtic Cluster Launches New Regional Strategy To Maximise Offshore Wind Benefits

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

This is the sub-heading.

The Celtic Sea Cluster has released a new Regional Strategy that outlines how Wales and South West England can maximise floating offshore wind technology benefits, in line with the forthcoming Celtic Sea leasing process being delivered by the Crown Estate.

Who comprise the Celtic Cluster? This paragraph gives the answer.

According to the Cluster, which is led by its founding partners, the Welsh Government, Cornwall, Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, Celtic Sea Power, Marine Energy Wales, and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, the strategy will allow the region’s stakeholders to ensure their activities are aligned and can achieve their common objectives.

I am surprised the Irish aren’t involved politically.

  • The Irish Republic has a coastline on the Celtic Sea.
  • There are a lot of Irish companies, finance and engineers involved in wind farm development.

But the cluster does have a firm ambition, according to the article.

The Cluster’s ambition is to establish the Celtic Sea region as a world leader in floating offshore wind by 2030 and to deliver 4 GW of floating wind in the Celtic Sea by 2035, with the potential to grow to 20 GW by 2045.

Note.

  1. The Wikipedia entry for the Celtic Sea, gives the sea an area of 300,000 km2.
  2. 20 GW or 20,000 MW is to be installed by 2045.

That is an energy density of just 0.067 MW/km2.

In ScotWind Offshore Wind Leasing Delivers Major Boost To Scotland’s Net Zero Aspirations, I calculated that ten floating wind farms had an average energy density of about 3.5 MW per km².

I wouldn’t bet against a few more floating wind turbines being squeezed into the Celtic Sea.

 

November 25, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Equinor Sets Sights On Gigawatt-Scale Floating Offshore Wind Projects In Celtic Sea

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

This is the opening paragraph of the article.

Equinor has disclosed its interest in developing gigawatt-scale floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea, with the upcoming Celtic Sea floating wind seabed leasing round in view.

These are some other points from the article.

  • The Crown Estate is planning a seabed leasing round in the Celtic Sea in 2023.
  • As the developer and soon-to-be operator of two of the world’s first floating offshore wind farms, Equinor said it views new floating opportunities in the Celtic Sea with great interest.
  • Project development areas are being prepared by The Crown Estate for the development of gigawatt-scale floating offshore wind projects.

Equinor could move into the Celtic Sea in a big way.

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.

How much of this possible 50 GW of offshore wind in the Celtic Sea will be leased by the Crown Estate in 2023?

November 12, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , | 1 Comment

Floating Wind Farms At Sea To Create 29,000 Jobs – Crown Estate

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

These three paragraphs introduce the article.

Plans to generate electricity through floating wind farms off the south Wales coast could create thousands of new jobs, according to the Crown Estate.

The property business owned by the monarch but run independently said the new industry could create about 29,000 jobs, including 10,000 in Wales.

It is leasing the space to generate enough power for four million homes.

Will Wales be the world’s next offshore wind powerhouse?

Wind power experts have said there is a potential for 50 GW of offshore wind power in the Celtic Sea and the BBC article talks of an investment of £43.6 billion by 2050.

The process has started, but will the engineers be able to tame the dragons?

October 21, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , | Leave a comment

The Salamander Project

The Salamander project may be a strange name for a proposed Scottish offshore wind farm, but that is what it is.

It is being developed by Ørsted and the Simply Blue Group.

There is a web site, which has this bold mission statement.

Helping To Unlock Scotland’s Floating Offshore Wind.

These paragraphs outline the project.

The Salamander project will utilise innovative and cutting-edge floating offshore wind technologies to produce zero-carbon electricity. The development aims to be a stepping stone to help Scotland and the UK to progress towards a net-zero future.

With a proposed 100 MW pre-commercial size project, the Salamander project which is located off Peterhead in the East coast of Scotland, is in an advanced planning stage. Salamander has a strong focus on supply chain development and will provide an opportunity for the local supply chain to gear up for commercial scale opportunities in Scotland, as well as de-risking floating wind technologies for the future commercial projects in Scotland and beyond. This will allow Scotland to maximise the financial benefit of its strong offshore wind resource and generate long term jobs for its local communities.

The project will contribute to the Scottish government’s target of 11 GW of installed offshore wind by 2030, as well as the UK government’s target of 5 GW of operational floating offshore wind by the same date.

There is also a video, which is very much a must-watch.

Floating offshore wind is a relatively new technology and will become the major generator of the world’s electricity within the next decade.

Note this phrase in the first paragraph.

The development aims to be a stepping stone to help Scotland and the UK to progress towards a net-zero future.

This philosophy is shared with other projects.

In DP Energy And Offshore Wind Farms In Ireland, I said this.

They are also developing the Gwynt Glas offshore wind farm in the UK sector of the Celtic Sea.

  • In January 2022, EDF Renewables and DP Energy announced a Joint Venture partnership to combine their knowledge and
    expertise, in order to participate in the leasing round to secure seabed rights to develop up to 1GW of FLOW in the Celtic Sea.
  • The wind farm is located between Pembroke and Cornwall.

The addition of Gwynt Glas will increase the total of floating offshore wind in the UK section of the Celtic Sea.

  • Blue Gem Wind – Erebus – 100 MW Demonstration project  – 27 miles offshore
  • Blue Gem Wind – Valorus – 300 MW Early-Commercial project – 31 miles offshore
  • Falck Renewables and BlueFloat Energy – Petroc – 300 MW project – 37 miles offshore
  • Falck Renewables and BlueFloat Energy – Llywelyn – 300 MW project – 40 miles offshore
  • Llŷr Wind – 100 MW Project – 25 miles offshore
  • Llŷr Wind – 100 MW Project – 25 miles offshore
  • Gwynt Glas – 1000 MW Project – 50 miles offshore

This makes a total of 2.2 GW, with investors from several countries.

It does seem that the Celtic Sea is becoming the next area of offshore wind around the British Isles to be developed.

These Celtic Sea wind farms include Erebus, which like Salamander is a 100 MW demonstration project.

Salamander And Erebus Compared

Consider.

  • Both are 100 MW floating wind demonstration projects.
  • Salamander and Erebus are 27 and 21 miles offshore respectively.
  • Salamander and Erebus are close to the deepwater ports of Peterhead and Milford Haven.
  • Both are described as stepping-stone projects.
  • Both projects talk about developing supply chains.
  • The developers of Salamander and Erebus include Ørsted and EDF Renewables respectively, who are both big beasts of the offshore wind industry.

Both wind farms are in areas, where the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments want to develop massive offshore wind farms, that will eventually total over 50 GW. I believe that Salamander and Erebus will indicate any problems, that will be likely to occur in the building of these massive offshore floating wind farms.

It is a very sensible plan and could lead to an energy rich future for the UK.

How Long Will It Take To Assemble A Floating Wind Turbine?

Each floating wind turbine requires these major components.

  • A wind turbine, which in the Kincardine Wind Farm have a capacity of 9.5 MW, is obviously needed. Some proposed floating offshore wind farm are talking of turbines between 14 and 16 MW. These turbines will be very similar to onshore turbines.
  • A float, usually made out of steel or possibly concrete. Various designs have been built or proposed. The Wikipedia entry for floating wind turbine gives several examples.
  • The anchoring system to keep the float with its turbine in the desired position.
  • The electrical system to connect the wind turbine to the offshore substation, which could also be floating.

Note that the designs for the float, anchoring and electrical systems will rely heavily on technology proven in the offshore oil and gas industry.

Principle Power are the designer of the WindFloat, which is one of the first floats to be used in floating offshore wind.

Their home page has a continuous full-screen video, that shows a WindFloat being assembled and towed out.

The video shows.

  • The completed float being floated alongside a dock, which obviously has an appropriate water depth.
  • The dock has a large crane.
  • The turbine tower and then the blades being lifted into position and securely fixed.
  • Finally, a tug tows the completed turbine/float assembly to its position in the wind farm.

This would appear to be an assembly operation, that could flow just like the production in any world-class vehicle factory.

  • There would need to be just-in-time delivery of all components.
  • The weather would need to be cooperative.
  • Lighting might be needed to work in poorer light levels.
  • This method of assembly would be turbine and float agnostic.
  • Multiple shift working could be employed.

My project management involvement tells me, that it would not be unreasonable to assemble, at least one complete turbine and its float and accessories in a working day.

I can do a small calculation.

The average size of turbine is 15 MW.

One turbine is assembled per day.

There are 300 working days possible in a year with multiple shift working, ignoring Bank Holidays and bad weather.

Just one site could produce 4.5 GW of floating wind turbines per year.

How Many Production Sites Could There Be?

These are surely the best possibilities.

  • Barrow
  • Belfast
  • Clyde
  • Devon/Cornwall
  • Forth Estuary
  • Great Yarmouth
  • Haven Ports
  • Holyhead
  • Humber
  • Liverpool
  • Milford Haven
  • Peterhead
  • Southampton Water
  • South Wales
  • Teesside
  • Thames Estuary

I have named sixteen areas, that could be suitable for the assembly of floating wind turbines.

So let’s assume that eight will be developed. That could mean as much as 36 GW of capacity per year.

The Energy Density Of 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.

Returning to the earlier calculation, which says we could have the ability to create 36 GW of wind turbines per year, with 15 MW turbines, this means with a generating density of 3.5 MW per km², the 36 GW would take up around a hundred kilometre square of sea.

Conclusion

We will become Europe’s powerhouse.

October 15, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Accelerating The Delivery Of Offshore Wind Farms

It is one of Kwasi Kwarteng’s ambitions to accelerate the delivery of offshore wind farms.

In The Growth Plan 2022, these groups of wind farms are mentioned.

  • Remaining Round 3 Projects
  • Round 4 Projects
  • Extension Projects
  • Scotwind Projects
  • INTOG Projects
  • Floating Wind Commercialisation Projects
  • Celtic Sea Projects

My thinking in this post, will probably apply to all of these groups.

These are my thoughts.

Accelerating Delivery Of A Wind Farm

This will have these positive effects.

  • Electricity will be delivered earlier.
  • Customers will have a more secure supply of electricity.
  • The wind farm owner will start to be paid for their electricity.
  • The Crown Estate will start to be paid for their leases. Although, these might start at signing.
  • National Grid will be paid for the transmission of the electricity.
  • An energy storage company could be paid for storing surplus electricity.
  • Construction teams and engineers can move on to the next project.
  • Expensive construction hardware like ship-mounted cranes will no longer be needed.
  • I also suspect that the government will raise some taxes from the various companies involved.

It looks like it’ll be winners all round.

How Will Delivery Be Accelerated?

These are some thoughts.

Overall Project Time

In How Long Does It Take To Build An Offshore Wind Farm?, I came to these conclusions.

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

I suspect that as we have been building offshore wind farms for some years, that it will be very difficult to reduce these times significantly.

But as some wind farms take quite a few years to progress from the initial proposal to planning consent, I suspect that improvements to the planning process may speed up the overall construction time of a wind farm.

Project And Resource Management

Good project and resource management will always help.

Better Design And Construction Methods

I always remember in the early days of North Sea Oil, being told by a very experienced project manager that construction of production platforms was accelerated by the availability of larger and more powerful cranes.

Are we approaching the design of the ultimate wind farm? I doubt it, as in the last few months, I’ve seen two very radical new designs.

In Hexicon Wins UK’s First Ever CfD Auction For Floating Offshore Wind, I show this image of one of their TwinHub turbine installations being towed into place.

The TwinHub home page has a title of The First Floating Offshore Wind Project in The Celtic Sea.

This is the description on the page.

The TwinHub offshore wind demonstration project intends to prove how Hexicon’s innovative design with two turbines on one floating foundation can further reduce the Levelized Cost of Energy (also referred to as LCoE) before large scale commercialisation. The TwinHub project is a stepping stone to help kick-start floating wind in the Celtic Sea, an area identified as a hotspot for floating wind by the UK Government. It will pave the path for larger and larger projects to help support The Crown Estates’ ambitious target of 4GW of floating wind in the Celtic Sea.

Scroll the page down and there is a fascinating short video of a pair of wind turbines in operation.

  • It appears that when there is no wind, it automatically goes into a safe parked mode.
  • As the wind rises, one turbine starts up.
  • The second turbine starts up and the float turns so they face the wind.

It appears to be a classic example of disruptive innovation.

I have a feeling that this type of installation might have generation, assembly and cost advantages over a single turbine mounted on a single float.

RCAM Technologies are also creating interesting designs for mounting turbines and energy storage using 3D-printed concrete.

What Ts The UK Government Doing To Accelerate Projects?

This article on offshoreWIND.biz, was published in late September 2022 and is entitled BREAKING: UK Puts Massive Amount Of New Offshore Wind Capacity On Fast Track and this is the first paragraph.

The UK will speed up planning and development consent processes for projects from the recently completed, currently ongoing, and upcoming (floating) offshore wind leasing rounds to bring new energy capacity online faster and facilitate economic growth and job creation.

The article is based on what Kwasi Kwateng said on the 23rd of September about speeding up projects in the 2022 Growth Plan.

A Quick Summary Of Our Wind Energy

The article has this paragraph, which summarises our wind energy.

For the UK, which currently has around 14 GW of offshore wind capacity in operation and 8 GW under construction, the projects from the listed auction rounds could bring well beyond the targeted capacity for 2030, which was recently raised to 50 GW.

I can see the target being raised again to at least 60 GW.

 

September 30, 2022 Posted by | Design, Energy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On The Mini-Budget

This article on the BBC is entitled At A Glance: What’s In The Mini-Budget?.

If nothing else KK has whipped up a storm, with the most tax-cutting budget in decades.

But!

According to my calculations in Will We Run Out Of Power This Winter?, the planned offshore wind that will be installed between 2022 and 2027 will be at least 19 GW. About 3 GW of this offshore wind is already producing electricity.

To this must be added 3.26 GW for Hinckley Point C, 2 GW for solar and 0.9 GW for onshore wind in Scotland, which will be developed by 2027.

So we have 25.2 GW for starters.

Following on from this is the 27.1 GW from ScotWind, about 4 GW from the Celtic Sea, 3 GW from Morecambe Bay and 10 GW from Aker’s Northern Horizons. All of these are firm projects and some are already being planned in detail.

These wind and solar farms are the collateral for KK’s borrowing.

The corporate tax changes will hopefully attract world class energy and manufacturing companies to set up UK-domiciled subsidiaries to develop more offshore wind farms and manufacture the turbines and the electrical gubbins close to where they will be installed.

As more wind farms are built, many GW of electricity and tonnes of hydrogen will be exported to Europe.

Note that 1 GW for a day costs around £ 960,000 and for a year costs £350.4 million.

A big benefit of all this electricity, will be that we won’t need to frack.

Technologies like green hydrogen, that will be created by electrolysis will reduce our need for gas.

We might develop a gas field like Jackdaw, to give us gas for a backup with a few gas-fired power stations, for when the wind doesn’t blow, but gas will only have a minor roll.

The force of the maths is with KK!

September 23, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Hexicon Wins UK’s First Ever CfD Auction For Floating Offshore Wind

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

This is the first paragraph.

Today (7th of July) the UK Government confirmed that Hexicon AB’s TwinHub project in the Celtic Sea was successful in the latest Contracts for Difference (CfD) Allocation Round (AR4). It has been awarded a CfD for its 32MW floating wind project at a strike price of £87.30/MWh (2012 real prices) taking the project a significant step closer to completion.

This image shows one of their TwinHub turbine installations being towed into place.

The TwinHub home page has a title of The First Floating Offshore Wind Project in The Celtic Sea.

This is the description on the page.

The TwinHub offshore wind demonstration project intends to prove how Hexicon’s innovative design with two turbines on one floating foundation can further reduce the Levelized Cost of Energy (also referred to as LCoE) before large scale commercialisation. The TwinHub project is a stepping stone to help kick-start floating wind in the Celtic Sea, an area identified as a hotspot for floating wind by the UK Government. It will pave the path for larger and larger projects to help support The Crown Estates’ ambitious target of 4GW of floating wind in the Celtic Sea.

Scroll the page down and there is a short video of a pair of wind turbines in operation.

  • It appears that when there is no wind, it automatically goes into a safe parked mode.
  • As the wind rises, one turbine starts up.
  • The second turbine starts up and the float turns so they face the wind.

It appears to be a classic example of disruptive innovation.

I did the calculations for floating and reusable oil and gas platforms in the 1970s, that were designed by two Cambridge University professors, which would have been launched horizontally and upturned when in position. This experience leads me to believe that the Swedish designers of this type of platform have been able to verify that this is a workable design.

This document from the Department of Business, Industry and Industrial Strategy indicates that the demonstration is for 32 MW.

Does that indicate, that this installation is twin 16 MW wind turbines?

16 MW seems to be the size of the largest wind turbines in the world.

There is a lot to like about this Swedish design.

  • As the video shows, it appears to balance itself with the wind.
  • I suspect from the calculations I did in Cambridge, that the twin design with its higher weight is more stable than a floating single turbine design.
  • The float and its two turbines can be assembled alongside a dock with a large stable onshore dockside crane.
  • Servicing would also be done in a dock.
  • Working onshore is much safer and easier, than working offshore.
  • The twin design allows more power to be generated in a given area of sea.

This is a brilliant concept and it will give Putin, the Sheikhs and the other oil dictators, the most terrible of nightmares.

The initial site chosen for this design in the UK, will be in the sea at Hayle in Cornwall.

This map shows the location.

Hayle is in the North-East corner of the map, by the sandy beach.

A 32 MW turbine could probably provide enough electricity for 15,000 houses.

July 8, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Crown Estate Announces Areas Of Search To Support Growth Of Floating Wind In The Celtic Sea

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

This is the first paragraph.

In a major step forward in supporting the UK’s net zero ambitions, The Crown Estate has today identified five broad ‘Areas of Search’ for the development of floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea – a region rich in natural resources, including world-class wind resource that can be developed with floating turbines. This marks a significant milestone and provides the foundation on which to build greater capacity in the future, helping the UK to achieve its renewable energy targets and drive economic development.

Points in the press release include.

  • Five areas with good wind power potential have been chosen.
  • A competitive tender, is to be launched in mid-2023.
  • It is intended that these areas will deliver 4GW of floating offshore wind power by 2035.

This map shows the areas.

I have a few thoughts.

What About The Other Wind Farms Already Announced In the Celtic Sea?

In DP Energy And Offshore Wind Farms In Ireland, I said this.

They are also developing the Gwynt Glas offshore wind farm in the UK sector of the Celtic Sea.

  • In January 2022, EDF Renewables and DP Energy announced a Joint Venture partnership to combine their knowledge and
    expertise, in order to participate in the leasing round to secure seabed rights to develop up to 1GW of FLOW in the Celtic Sea.
  • The wind farm is located between Pembroke and Cornwall.

The addition of Gwynt Glas will increase the total of floating offshore wind in the UK section of the Celtic Sea.

  • Blue Gem Wind – Erebus – 100 MW Demonstration project  – 27 miles offshore
  • Blue Gem Wind – Valorus – 300 MW Early-Commercial project – 31 miles offshore
  • Falck Renewables and BlueFloat Energy – Petroc – 300 MW project – 37 miles offshore
  • Falck Renewables and BlueFloat Energy – Llywelyn – 300 MW project – 40 miles offshore
  • Llŷr Wind – 100 MW Project – 25 miles offshore
  • Llŷr Wind – 100 MW Project – 25 miles offshore
  • Gwynt Glas – 1000 MW Project – 50 miles offshore

This makes a total of 2.2 GW, with investors from several countries.

It does seem that the Celtic Sea is becoming the next area of offshore wind around the British Isles to be developed.

So what about these seven wind farms?

Erebus and Valorus

Is Blue Gem’s philosophy to develop and prove the technology and put in big bid for around a GW?

Gwynt Glas

The Gwynt Glas web site says this.

The Crown Estate announced in March 2021 that it intends to run a competitive leasing round to award seabed rights to developers for floating offshore wind (FLOW) projects in the Celtic Sea, targeting an overall regional capacity of 4GW.

In January 2022, EDF Renewables and DP Energy announced a Joint Venture partnership to combine their knowledge and expertise, in order to participate in the leasing round to secure seabed rights to develop up to 1GW of FLOW in the Celtic Sea.

The partnership project is called Gwynt Glas, Welsh for Blue Wind, in recognition of its Celtic roots.

Our proposed floating offshore wind project could provide power for approximately 920,000 homes.

It looks like they’re throwing their hat into the ring for 1 GW.

Llŷr Wind

The Llŷr Wind web site says this.

Combined, the two 100MW projects will generate enough renewable electricity to power around 250,000 homes. If successful, we will be able to offer highly cost-effective, floating offshore wind farms to the rest of the world by 2030.

By unlocking new, higher energy capacities from deeper waters, further offshore, the Llŷr projects have huge implications for UK energy consumers. Not only will they help the UK meet its target for net zero emissions, but they will create new opportunities for regional manufacturing and supply chains in Wales and Southwest England as global demand for floating, offshore, wind rises.

It looks to me that this project hasn’t been fully defined yet. Perhaps, this will happen after a successful bid.

Llywelyn

The Llywelyn web site says this.

Llywelyn wind farm is located in Welsh waters in the Celtic Sea, 40 miles off the coast of Pembrokeshire.
Llywelyn’s location has been selected following an extensive feasibility study and rigorous site assessment process. Our assessment has included reviews of protected areas, environmental impacts, cable routing, existing infrastructure, marine traffic, and fishing activity.

We have signed an agreement with National Grid, securing a 300MW grid connection in Pembrokeshire. The system operator is exploring upgrades to the existing site to facilitate the connection. These developments will enable the Llywelyn offshore wind project to quickly enter the planning system.

Have they already said go?

Petroc

The Petroc web site says this.

Petroc’s location has been selected following an extensive feasibility study and rigorous site assessment process. Our assessment has included reviews of protected areas, environmental impacts, cable routing, existing infrastructure, marine traffic, and fishing activity.

We have signed an agreement with National Grid, securing a 300MW grid connection in North Devon. The system operator is exploring upgrades to the existing site to facilitate the connection. These developments will enable the Petroc offshore wind project to quickly enter the planning system.

Have they already said go?

These companies are certainly setting themselves up for bidding or have already got a smaller deal.

How Much Wind Power Can Be Developed In The Celtic Sea?

This article on the Engineer is entitled Unlocking The Renewables Potential Of The Celtic Sea.

The article starts with these two paragraphs.

Over the last decade, the UK has become a global leader in renewable marine energy, tapping into the vast resources its coastal geography offers. Offshore wind, in particular, has flourished, with gigawatt-scale projects being deployed off the east coast of England and Scotland, at Hornsea, Dogger Bank and Moray.

However, looking at a map of existing and proposed wind farms, what’s perhaps most striking is the complete absence of projects in the southwest of Britain, off the rugged shores of Wales, Devon and Cornwall, shaped by the fierce North Atlantic. The Celtic Sea – which extends south off Wales and Ireland down past Cornwall and Brittany to the edge of the continental shelf – is estimated to have around 50GW of wind generating capacity alone. What’s more, it also delivers some of the highest tidal ranges in the world, alongside some of the best waters in Europe for generating wave energy. In a country blessed with renewable resources, the Celtic Sea may well be its biggest prize.

I’ll go along with what this article says and accept that 50 GW of wind capacity could be installed in the Celtic Sea.

As I write this article at around nine o’clock, the UK is generating almost exactly 30 GW of electricity, which gives an idea of how large electricity production in the Celtic Sea could be.

Conclusion

It will be interesting to see how this first round of leasing in the Celtic Sea develops.

 

 

July 5, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

DP Energy And Offshore Wind Farms In Ireland

DP Energy are a company that are developing these offshore wind farms in Ireland.

Clarus Offshore Wind Farm

Located off the West Coast of Ireland, the Clarus Offshore Wind Farm project will utilise Floating Offshore Wind (FOW) technology and upon completion, will have the potential capacity of up to 1 GW.

Inis Ealga Marine Energy Park

Located off the South Coast of Ireland, the Inis Ealga Marine Energy Park project will utilise Floating Offshore Wind (FOW) technology and upon completion, will have the potential capacity of up to 1 GW.

Latitude 52 Offshore Wind Farm

DP Energy has given the name Latitude 52 to the area it is exploring for a potential future offshore wind farm off the coast of Counties Wicklow and Wexford.

It appears to be another 1 GW project.

Shelmalere Offshore Wind Farm

Located off the East Coast of Ireland, the Shelmalere Offshore Windfarm project will utilise fixed bottom wind turbines and upon completion, will have the potential capacity of up to 1 GW.

Note.

  1. These wind farms are being developed in a partnership with Spanish Energy company; Iberdrola.
  2. Each is a one GW offshore wind farm.

They are also developing the Gwynt Glas offshore wind farm in the UK sector of the Celtic Sea.

  • In January 2022, EDF Renewables and DP Energy announced a Joint Venture partnership to combine their knowledge and
    expertise, in order to participate in the leasing round to secure seabed rights to develop up to 1GW of FLOW in the Celtic Sea.
  • The wind farm is located between Pembroke and Cornwall.

The addition of Gwynt Glas will increase the total of floating offshore wind in the UK section of the Celtic Sea.

  • Blue Gem Wind – Erebus – 100 MW Demonstration project  – 27 miles offshore
  • Blue Gem Wind – Valorus – 300 MW Early-Commercial project – 31 miles offshore
  • Falck Renewables and BlueFloat Energy – Petroc – 300 MW project – 37 miles offshore
  • Falck Renewables and BlueFloat Energy – Llywelyn – 300 MW project – 40 miles offshore
  • Llŷr Wind – 100 MW Project – 25 miles offshore
  • Llŷr Wind – 100 MW Project – 25 miles offshore
  • Gwynt Glas – 1000 MW Project – 50 miles offshore

This makes a total of 2.2 GW, with investors from several countries.

It does seem that the Celtic Sea is becoming the next area of offshore wind around the British Isles to be developed.

Interconnectors

Interconnectors are to be built to connect Ireland, UK and France.

The Celtic Interconnector is being built between County Cork in Ireland and the North West Coast of France.

Greenlink is being built between County Wexford in Ireland and Pembroke in Wales.

Conclusion

Are the British, Irish and French governments, planning to build a large wind power resource in the Celtic Sea?

May 1, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments