The Anonymous Widower

Energy Dome To Partner With Ørsted For Energy Storage

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

This paragraph from the long article, gives details of the partnership.

I got a press release from Energy Dome this past week telling me that its technology has attracted interest from Ørsted, the Danish company that is a global leader in wind turbine technology. The two companies have signed a memorandum of understand that will allow them to explore the feasibility of deploying of a 20 MW/200 MWh Energy Dome facility at one or more Ørsted sites.

Is this the first deal between a major wind farm developer and a third-party non-lithium battery developer?

The article on CleanTechnica is very much a must-read and it goes into detail about the technology behind Energy Dome’s unique CO2 battery.

These are my thoughts.

Energy Dome Has A UK Office

Is this significant?

  • The UK has a large need for energy storage than any other country in Europe, as we have lots of renewable energy generation, that could benefit.
  • Most Italians speak good English.
  • The UK government is prepared to develop innovative payment schemes for renewable energy.
  • Their is a long history of Italians in the United Kingdom.
  • Italians are distributed all over the UK.
  • Some of the best Italian chefs are resident in the UK.
  • The UK market is not biased against foreign customers.

I wouldn’t be surprised, if Energy Dome targeted the UK market.

Ørsted

Some facts about Ørsted.

  • Ørsted are the largest energy company in Denmark.
  • As of January 2022, the company is the world’s largest developer of offshore wind power by amount of built offshore wind farms.
  • Ørsted own or have shares in fifteen offshore wind farms in the UK, which have a total capacity of 8731 MW.
  • Ørsted have no interests in onshore wind in the UK.
  • Ørsted divested itself of its last onshore wind farm in 2014.

The fact that Ørsted has partnered with Energy Dome is highly significant, as in my experience large powerful companies don’t partner with smaller start-ups without a lot of technical due diligence.

Use Of A 20 MW/200 MWh Energy Dome

I suspect that Ørsted will deploy their first 20 MW/200 MWh Energy Dome facility with onshore wind.

When you compare the 20 MW/200 MWh Energy Dome with the 1.5 GW/30 GWh Coire Glas pumped storage hydroelectric power station, it is only a fairly small storage system, in both terms of output and storage.

As an Electrical and Control Engineer, I suspect that will mainly be used with smaller offshore wind farms to smooth the output, rather than as serious stand-by power for a large GW-sized wind farm.

In the UK, Ørsted has three smaller wind farms, that could be suitable.

Note.

  1. All are a few miles offshore.
  2. Gunfleet Sands 3 was built to test two l6 MW turbines.
  3. All the three wind farms are over twelve years old.

I think it is unlikely, that any of these three wind farms will be fitted with the Energy Dome.

I do believe though, that a 20 MW/200 MWh Energy Dome facility could work well with the Barrow wind farm, as it is a simple farm not connected to any others.

 

 

 

September 26, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , | Leave a comment

Can We Move The Equilibrium Point Of The Energy Market?

Equilibrium In Systems

As a Control Engineer, I believe that most systems eventually end up in a state of equilibrium.

How many football batches have you watched between two evenly-matched teams that have ended, where the statistics are even and the match has ended in a nil-nil draw or a win by one goal.

Now suppose one manager makes an inspired substitution, one important player gets injured or one player gets sent off.

One team will have an advantage, the statistics will no longer be even and one team will probably win.

The equilibrium point will have been shifted.

Zopa’s Stable Peer-to-Peer Lending System

I used Zopa’s peer-to-peer lending system for several years and found it a very stable system, that over the years paid a steady return of between four and five percent before tax.

I even developed a method to maximise my savings income, which I wrote about in The Concept Of Hybrid Banking.

It was a sad day for me, when Zopa closed its ground-breaking peer-to-peer lending system.

As a Control Engineer, I believe that Zopa’s strength was a well-written computerised algorithm, that matched lenders and borrowers and spread the risk.

  • There was no bias in the system, introduced by personal prejudices.
  • The algorithm was agnostic and judged all borrowers on their profiles and credit ratings alone.
  • Money was allocated under fair rules for borrowers.
  • I never borrowed from Zopa, but from my experience of owning half of a finance company, their terms were the most customer-friendly I’ve ever seen.

Someone will go back to the basics of peer-to-peer lending and it can’t be soon enough for both savers and borrowers.

Zopa In Troubled Times

Over the years that I invested in Zopa, my returns stayed very much the same, as the algorithm seemed to be able to maintain sufficient difference between lenders’ returns and borrowers’ rates. I also suspect the dynamics of savvy lenders and borrowers helped to stabilise both the system and the difference between rates.

It even worked through the Banking Crisis of 2008 and other mini-hiccups along the way.

My Conclusion About Zopa

As someone, who knows computing well, I would rate Zopa, one of the best computer systems, I’ve ever seen.

But it showed how a large transactional system can work well.

One of the keys to its success and smooth operation was that the computer was totally in control and it took all transaction decisions without direct human intervention.

The Energy Market

The energy market is a network of energy providers and users.

It is controlled by complicated rules and it has settled into an equilibrium, which involves.

  • Importation of energy, which I suspect is not at a low price
  • Some high priced energy generators, based on gas, which has a high-price, due to Putin’s war.
  • Waste of wind energy due to lack of energy storage.
  • The intermittency of renewable sources.
  • A  lack of gas storage, means that we probably get the wrong end of fluctuations in the gas price.

This results in a high price to consumers.

Can We Move The Equilibrium Point Of The Energy Market?

And we also need to move it quickly to a more favourable place, which benefits everybody!

As a Control Engineer, I believe that there are five ways to move the equilibrium point.

  • Stop Putin’s war.
  • Increase gas storage.
  • Generate more low-cost electricity.
  • Increase electricity storage.
  • Improve the control algorithm.

I will now look at each in more detail.

Stopping Putin’s War

Giving in to Putin’s ambitions, would be an easy way to solve our energy crisis. But at what cost?

My parents generation, watched as Nazi Germany took over Austria and Czechoslovakia, whilst the world did nothing.

  • We mustn’t repeat that mistake.
  • We must not flinch in our support of the Ukraine.
  • We must be ready to support Moldova, Finland and the Baltic States if Putin expands his ambitions.

I do wonder, if Boris will turn up with Churchillian-style anti-Putin rhetoric all over Eastern Europe.

Increasing Gas Storage

The major gas storage facility is Rough, which is handily close to the Easington gas terminal.

The facility needs maintenance and this paragraph from the Wikipedia entry gives the current status.

In May 2022, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng, began talks with the site’s owners with a view to reopening the site to help ease the ongoing cost-of-living crisis in the United Kingdom. In June 2022, owners Centrica submitted an application to the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), the licencing authority for the UK Government, to reopen the facility. Approval was granted in July. Subsequently, Centrica indicated that they are working hard to restore storage operations at Rough which would depend on securing subsidies from the British government. Centrica was aiming to have some capacity available for the winter of 2022/23 against an overall plan to increase storage capacity gradually over time.

Note.

  1. Rough can store around 2832 million cubic metres of gas.
  2. This article on Energy Live News is entitled Reopening Of Rough Storage Gets The All-Clear.

Less well-known is SSE and Equinor’s Aldborough Gas Storage.

These three paragraphs from SSE web site, describe the gas storage.

The Aldbrough Gas Storage facility, in East Yorkshire, officially opened in June 2011. The last of the nine caverns entered commercial operation in November 2012.

The facility, which is a joint venture between SSE Thermal (66%) and Equinor, has the capacity to store around 330 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas.

SSE Thermal and Equinor have consent to increase the storage capacity at the Aldbrough site (Aldbrough Phase 2) and during the last couple of years have been working to involve the local community where appropriate to refine aspects of this project, which has not been progressed to date due to market conditions.

Future plans for the facility, may include converting it to one of the world’s largest hydrogen stores.

In the grand scheme of things, Rough and Aldborough, when you consider that the UK uses 211 million cubic metres of gas every day, will only keep us going for a few days.

But it should be noted, that the Easington gas terminal is connected to the Norwegian gas fields, by the Langeled pipeline.

So Yorkshire and Humberside will be alright.

Generating More Low-Cost Electricity

The only low-cost electricity of any size to come on stream will be wind-power.

This article on Renewables Now is entitled UK Hits 25.5 GW Of Wind Power Capacity.

These wind farms seem to be coming on stream soon or have been commissioned recently.

  • Dogger Bank A – 1200 MW – Commissioning 2023 expected
  • Dogger Bank B – 1200 MW – Commissioning 2024/25 expected
  • Dogger Bank C – 1200 MW – Commissioning 2024/25 expected
  • Hornsea Two – 1386 MW – Commissioned 2022
  • Moray East – 950 MW – Commissioning 2022 expected
  • Neart Na Gaoithe – 450 MW – Commissioning 2024 expected
  • Seagreen – 1075 MW – Commissioning 2023 expected
  • Triton Knoll – 857 MW – Commissioning 2022 expected

That is expected to be over 5 GW of offshore wind by the end of 2023.

In case there is some double counting, I’ll only say that wind power capacity could be near to 30 GW by December 2023, with perhaps another 3 GW by December 2024.

Other large wind farms in the future include.

  • Berwick Bank – 4100 MW – Commissioning 2028 expected
  • East Anglia Two – 900 MW – Commissioning 2026 expected
  • East Anglia Three – 1400 MW – Commissioning 2027 expected
  • Inch Cape Phase 1 – 1080 MW – Commissioning 2027 expected
  • Hornsea Three – 2800 MW – Commissioning 2027 expected
  • Moray West – 294 MW – Commissioning 2027 expected
  • Morgan and Mona – 3000 MW – Commissioning for 2028 expected
  • Morven – 2900 MW – Commissioning for 2028 expected
  • Norfolk Boreas – 1400 MW – Commissioning 2027 expected
  • Norfolk Vanguard – 1400 MW – Construction start planned for 2023
  • Sofia – 1400 MW – Commissioning 2026 expected

That is over 14 GW of wind power.

I should also take note of solar and onshore wind power detailed in this document from the Department of Business, Industry and Industrial Strategy that lists all the Contracts for Difference Allocation Round 4 results for the supply of zero-carbon electricity.

It gives these figures and dates.

  • Solar – 251 MW – Commissioning 2023/24 expected
  • Solar – 1958 MW – Commissioning 2024/25 expected
  • Onshore Wind – 888 MW – Commissioning 2024/25 expected

I can now build a yearly table of renewables likely to be commissioned in each year.

  • 2022 – 3193 MW
  • 2023 – 2275 MW
  • 2024 – 701 MW
  • 2025 – 5246 MW
  • 2026 – 2300 MW
  • 2027 – 6974 MW
  • 2028 – 11400 MW

Note.

  1. Where a double date has been given, I’m taking the latter date.
  2. I have assumed that Norfolk Vanguard will be commissioned in 2028.
  3. I have ignored Hinckley Point C, which should add 3.26 GW in mid-2027.
  4. I have only taken into account one of the Scotwind wind farms in Scotland, some of which could be commissioned by 2028.
  5. I have assumed that BP’s Mona, Morgan and Morven will all be commissioned by 2028.

This is a total of 32 GW or an average of nearly 5 GW per year.

Increasing Electricity Storage

Big schemes like the 1.5 GW/ 30 GWh Coire Glas and 600 MW Cruachan 2 will help, but with 32 GW of renewable energy to be installed before 2028 and energy prices rocketing, we need substantial energy storage in the next couple of years.

One feasible plan that has been put forward is that of Highview Power’s CEO; Rupert Pearce,, that I wrote about in Highview Power’s Plan To Add Energy Storage To The UK Power Network.

The plan is to build twenty of Highview Power’s CRYOBatteries around the country.

  • Each CRYOBattery will be able to store 30 GWh.
  • Each CRYOBattery will be one of the largest batteries in the world.
  • They will have three times the storage of the pumped storage hydroelectric power station at Dinorwig.
  • They will be able to supply 2.5 GW for twelve hours, which is more output than Sizewell B nuclear power station.

Note.

  1. The first 30 GWh CRYOBattery is planned to be operational by late 2024.
  2. 600 GWh distributed around the country would probably be sufficient.

I believe that as these batteries are made from standard proven components, they could be built fairly quickly.

Paying For The Energy Storage

This press release from Highview Power is entitled New Analysis Reveals Extent Of UK Renewable Energy Waste, which makes these three bullet points.

  • Enough renewable energy to power 500,000 homes a day wasted since the energy crisis began.
  • 8 out of 10 Britons want more investment in boosting Britain’s energy resilience.
  • UK spent £390 million turning off wind farms and using gas since September 2021.

Note.

  1. As the press release was published in July 2022, was the £390 million for ten months.
  2. Will this level of spend continue, as we’re not creating any electricity storage or building any factories that will start in a year or so, that will need large amounts of electricity?
  3. The Germans are at least building the NeuConnect interconnector between the Isle of Grain and Wilhelmshaven.
  4. As we’re adding up to 5 GW per year to our renewable energy systems, this problem will surely get worse and we’ll spend more money switching off wind turbines.

We have the money to build a very large amount of energy storage.

Improving The Control Algorithm

A better control algorithm would always help and politicians should only be allowed to set objectives.

Conclusion

There is a chance we’ll have an oversupply of electricity, but this will have effects in the UK.

  • Gas-fired power-stations will be retired from front-line service to produce electricity.
  • Some will question the need for nuclear power.
  • Gas may even be used selectively to provide carbon dioxide for agricultural, scientific and industrial processes.
  • Industries that need a lot of electricity may build factories in the UK.
  • We will have a large supply of green hydrogen.

But it should bring the price of electricity down.

 

September 5, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Pumped Storage Development In Scotland

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on International Water Power & Dam Construction.

It describes and gives the current status of the two large pumped storage hydroelectric schemes under development in Scotland.

The 1.5 GW/30 GWh scheme at Coire Glass, that is promoted by SSE.

The  Cruachan 2 scheme, that is promoted by Drax, that will upgrade Cruachan power station to 1.04 GW/7.2 GWh.

Note.

  1. Construction of both schemes could start in 2024, with completion in 2030.
  2. Both, SSE and Drax talk of a substantial uplift in employment during the construction.
  3. Both companies say that updated government legislation is needed for schemes like these.

The article is very much a must-read.

Conclusion

Welcome as these schemes are, given the dates talked about, it looks like we will need some other energy storage to bridge the gap until Coire Glas and Cruachan 2 are built.

Will Highview Power step forward with a fleet of their 2.5 GW/30 GWh CRYOBatteries, as was proposed by Rupert Pearce in Britain Will Soon Have A Glut Of Cheap Power, And World-Leading Batteries To Store It.

  • The site needed for each CRYOBattery could be smaller than a football pitch.
  • In Could A Highview Power CRYOBattery Use A LNG Tank For Liquid Air Storage?, I came to the conclusion that a single LNG tank could hold a lot of liquid air.
  • The storing and recovery of the energy uses standard turbomachinery from MAN.
  • Highview Power should unveil their first commercial system at Carrington near Manchester this year.

I am sure, that when they get their system working, they could build one in around a year.

September 3, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Creation Of The Coire Glas Monster

Loch Ness is probably most famous for the mythical monster, but it is about to be joined by a man-made monster of a different kind.

To the South-West of Loch Ness lies Loch Lochy.

This Google Map shows the South-Western part of the Great Glen, which runs diagonally across the Highlands from Fort William in the South-West to Inverness in the North-East.

Note.

  1. Fort Augustus in the North-East corner of the map, is at the South-West end of Loch Ness.
  2. In the South-West corner of the map, Loch Lochy can be seen.
  3. To the North-West of Loch Lochy, there are mountains.

This second Google Map shows Loch Lochy and the mountains.

SSE plan to create a pumped storage hydroelectric power station called Coire Glas.

  • Loch Lochy will be the lower reservoir.
  • The upper reservoir will be in the mountains to the North-West of the loch.
  • Energy will be stored by pumping water from the lower to the higher reservoir.
  • The power station will be able to provide 1.5 GW of electricity.
  • The upper reservoir will be able to store enough water to generate 30 GWh of electricity.

If that isn’t a monster of a power station, I don’t know what is! It has more than three times the storage capacity of both Dinorwig or Cruachan.

This article on Utility Week, which is entitled Inside £1bn Pumped Hydro Plans To ‘More Than Double’ Britain’s Electricity Storage, gives more details.

This is the sort of heroic engineering, that will defeat Vlad the Mad and his bloodstained gas.

 

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

Can Highview Power’s CRYOBattery Compete With Pumped Storage Hydroelectricity?

In this article on the Telegraph, Rupert Pearce, who is Highview’s chief executive and ex-head of the satellite company Inmarsat, discloses this.

Highview is well beyond the pilot phase and is developing its first large UK plant in Humberside, today Britain’s top hub for North Sea wind. It will offer 2.5GW for over 12 hours, or 0.5GW for over 60 hours, and so forth, and should be up and running by late 2024.

The Humberside plant is new to me, as it has not been previously announced by Highview Power.

  • If it is built it will be megahuge with a storage capacity of 30 GWh and a maximum output of 2.5 GW.
  • Humberside with its connections to North Sea Wind, will be an ideal location for a huge CRYOBattery.
  • The world’s largest pumped storage hydroelectric power station is Fengning Pumped Storage Power Station in China and it is 40 GWh.

Pumped storage hydroelectric power stations are the gold standard of energy storage.

In the UK we have four pumped storage hydroelectric power stations.

With two more under construction.

As energy is agnostic, 30 GWh of pumped storage hydroelectric power at Coire Glas is the equivalent of 30 GWh in Highview Power’s proposed Humberside CRYOBattery.

Advantages Of CRYOBatteries Over Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power

I can think of these advantages.

  • Cost
  • Could be build on the flat lands of East Anglia or Lincolnshire
  • Factory-built
  • NIMBYs won’t have much to argue about
  • No dams
  • No flooding of valleys
  • No massive construction sites.
  • No mountains required
  • No tunnels
  • Small footprint

I suspect that a large CRYOBattery could be built well within a year of starting construction.

Rupert Pearce’s Dream

The Telegraph article says this and I suspect it’s a quote from Rupert Pearce.

Further projects will be built at a breakneck speed of two to three a year during the 2020s, with a target of 20 sites able to provide almost 6GW of back-up electricity for four days at a time, or whatever time/power mix is optimal.

6 GW for four days is 576 GWh, which if it were spread around twenty sites is 28.8 GWh per site, which is just under the 30 GWh of the proposed Humberside CRYOBattery.

Conclusion

You can just imagine the headlines in The Sun!

Man In Bishop’s Stortford Shed Saves The World!

This story on the BBC, which is entitled Meet The British Inventor Who Came Up With A Green Way Of Generating Electricity From Air – In His Shed, explains my suggested headline.

Now that’s what I call success!

 

July 29, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Will Coire Glas Start A Pumped Storage Boom In Scotland?

This article on Renewables Now is entitled SSE Gets Tenders For Construction Of 1.5-GW Pumped Hydro Scheme.

This is the first paragraph.

SSE Renewables said on Wednesday it has received tenders for the main construction works for the Coire Glas hydro pumped storage project with a capacity of up to 1.5 GW in the Scottish Highlands.

It then lists, the companies who have tendered for the project.

SE Renewables said the ITT has drawn global interest. The tenderers shortlisted for mechanical and electrical plant scope are a partnership between ANDRITZ HYDRO GmbH and Voith Hydro GmbH & Co KG, and GE Hydro France. The parties shortlisted for the civil engineering scope include three consortia and STRABAG UK Ltd. The consortia are made up of Bechtel Ltd, Acciona Construccion SA and Webuild SpA; BAM Nuttall Ltd, Eiffage Genie Civil SA and Marti Tunnel AG; and Dragados SA and BeMo Tunnelling UK Ltd.

It is an impressive list.

The article says that construction is to start in 2024. Other sources say the pumped storage project will have a storage capacity of 30 GWh, which will make it the largest pumped storage plant in the UK.

This press release from SSE Renewables is entitled Tenders Submitted For The Coire Glas Pumped Storage Scheme.

The press release contains this quote from the Project Director for Coire Glas; Ian Innes.

Receiving the tenders on schedule from the six short-listed tenderers is another significant milestone for the Coire Glas project and we are grateful for their continued interest in the project.

We are encouraged by the content of the tenders which now provides the Coire Glas project team with several options on how construction of the project could be undertaken. It is going to take some time to carefully consider and scrutinise the tenders thoroughly and we look forward to working with the tenderers as we endeavour to make our selection decision.

It appears that not only were the tenders received from quality companies, but that they contained options and ideas that could improve the project.

Coire Glas would appear to me to be a project, that is attracting the best companies and they could be putting their best workers on the project.

These are my thoughts.

The Potential For Pumped Storage Schemes In Scotland

There are at least five schemes under development or proposed in Scotland.

This page on the Strathclyde University web site, gives these figures for the possible amounts of pumped-storage that can be added to existing hydro schemes.

  • Errochty – 16
  • Glasgarnock – 23
  • Luichart – 38
  • Clunie – 40
  • Fannich – 70
  • Rannoch – 41
  • Fasnakyle – 78
  • Tummel – 38
  • Ben Lawers – 12
  • Nant – 48
  • Invermoriston – 22
  • Invergarry – 41
  • Quoich – 27
  • Sloy – 20

That is a total of 514 GWh or 620.3 GWh if you include the new storage, I listed above.

Scotland would appear to be land overflowing with large pumped storage possibilities and could provide the modern equivalent of milk and honey.

The Potential For Offshore Wind Power Schemes In Scotland

This is the first two paragraphs of this press release on the Crown Estate Scotland web site.

Crown Estate Scotland has today announced the outcome of its application process for ScotWind Leasing, the first Scottish offshore wind leasing round in over a decade and the first ever since the management of offshore wind rights were devolved to Scotland.

The results coming just months after Glasgow hosted the global COP26 climate conference show the huge opportunity that Scotland has to transform its energy market and move towards a net zero economy.

Some highlights are then listed.

  • 17 projects have been selected out of a total of 74 applications.
  • A total of just under £700m will be paid by the successful applicants in option fees and passed to the Scottish Government for public spending.
  • The area of seabed covered by the 17 projects is just over 7,000km2.
  • Initial indications suggest a multi-billion pound supply chain investment in Scotland
  • The potential power generated will move Scotland towards net-zero.

This map shows the location of each wind farm.

Note, that the numbers are Scotwind’s lease number in their documents.

Fixed Foundation Wind Farms

These are the six fixed foundation wind farms.

  • 1 – BP Alternative Energy Investments – 859 km² – 2.9 GW
  • 6 – DEME – 187 km² – 1.0 GW
  • 9 – Ocean Winds – 429 km² – 1.0 GW
  • 13 – Offshore Wind Power – 657 km² – 2.0 GW
  • 16 – Northland Power – 161 km² – 0.8 GW
  • 17 – Scottish Power Renewables – 754 km² – 2.0 GW

Adding up these fixed foundation wind farms gives a capacity of 9.7 GW in 3042 km² or about 3.2 MW per km².

Floating Wind Farms

These are the ten floating wind farms.

  • 2- SSE Renewables – 859 km² – 2.6 GW
  • 3 – Falck Renewables Wind – 280 km² – 1.2 GW
  • 4 – Shell – 860 km² – 2.0 GW
  • 5 – Vattenfall – 200 km² – 0.8 GW
  • 7 – DEME Concessions Wind – 200 km² – 1.0 GW
  • 8 – Falck Renewables Wind – 256 km² – 1.0 GW
  • 10 – Falck Renewables Wind – 134 km² – 0.5 GW
  • 11 – Scottish Power Renewables – 684 km² – 3.0 GW
  • 12 – BayWa r.e. UK  – 330 km² – 1.0 GW
  • 14 – Northland Power – 390 km² – 1.5 GW

Adding up the floating wind farms gives a capacity of 14.6 GW in 4193 km² or about 3.5 MW per km².

Mixed Wind Farms

This is the single wind farm, that has mixed foundations.

15 – Magnora – 103 km² – 0.5 GW

This wind farm appears to be using floating wind turbines.

These wind farms total up to 24.8 GW

I would expect that this is only a phase in the development of Scottish wind power, which will grow substantially over the next decade.

As I write this the UK is generating a total of 26.2 GW of electricity.

Backing Up The Wind Power

This wind power, which could grow up to well over 50 GW in Scotland alone.

But what do you do, when there is no wind?

Energy will need to come from batteries, which in Scotland’s case could be over 500 GWh of pumped storage.

Europe’s Powerhouse

It is not an unreasonable prediction, that we will continue to expand our wind farms to supply Europe with thousands of GWh of electricity and/or millions of tonnes of green hydrogen.

Conclusion

It is likely that we’ll see an upward increase of wind power in Scotland closely matched by a similar increase in pumped storage.

It is no wonder that the world’s largest and most experienced contractors were so keen to get the first big contract in Scotland’s new pumped storage boom.

They know a good thing, when they see it and after their experience with the Scotland’s oil boom in the last century, I doubt they are delaying their return.

 

 

June 3, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ofgem Enables National Grid To Make Early Payment Of Interconnector Revenues, Helping To Reduce Household Bills

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

These are the first three paragraphs.

National Grid has offered to pay £200m of interconnector revenues ahead of schedule rather than at the end of the standard five-year review period to play its part in reducing household energy bills.

Interconnectors, which are subsea electricity cables connecting the UK and Europe, enable the import of cheaper, cleaner energy from European neighbours, supporting security of supply and reducing carbon emissions.

It’s estimated that National Grid’s interconnector portfolio will help the UK avoid around 100 million tonnes of carbon emissions by 2030.

Ofgem has approved National Grid’s request to make early payments.

These are my thoughts.

What’s In It For Consumers?

National Grid is making a payment early, so they are not getting anything, they won’t eventually get.

But they are getting it early!

What’s In It For National Grid?

As National Grid is making a payment early, they are forgoing interest on the £200 million.

In New Electricity ‘Superhighways’ Needed To Cope With Surge In Wind Power, I talked about National Grid’s plan to build new North-South interconnectors, that would handle all the extra wind-power.

National Grid currently owns all or part of these operating or planned interconnectors.

National Grid would appear to have a substantial interest in the UK’s interconnectors and is the £200 million payment to ensure they get the contract to build and operate any new UK interconnectors? I’m not saying it’s a bribe, but it’s just operating the interconnectors in a manner that is an advantage to the UK and its electricity customers.

Surely, if the ultimate customers are happy, there will be less calls for the break-up of National Grid.

What Is A Cap And Floor Regime?

The press release explains a cap and floor regime like this.

Ofgem’s cap and floor regime sets a yearly maximum (cap) and minimum (floor) level for the revenues that the interconnector licensees can earn over a 25-year period. Usually, revenues generated by the interconnector are compared against the cap and floor levels over five-year periods. Top-up payments are made to the interconnector licensee if revenues are lower than the floor; and similarly, the licensee pays revenues in excess of the cap to consumers.

Ofgem’s approval enables National Grid to make payments of above cap revenues significantly earlier than originally planned, which will contribute to reducing consumer energy costs over the next two years. National Grid is now working with Ofgem to explore how to ensure the early payments can have the most impact for consumers.

I wonder if Ofgem and National Grid feel that a cap and floor regime is not only good for them, but for electricity consumers as well.

Cap And Floor Regimes And Energy Storage

There has been talk that cap and floor regimes should be used for energy storage.

This article on Current News is entitled Cap And Floor Mechanism The ‘Standout Solution’ For Long Duration Storage, KPMG Finds.

These are the first two paragraphs.

A cap and floor regime would be the most beneficial solution for supporting long duration energy storage, a KPMG report has found.

Commissioned by Drax, the report detailed how there is currently no appropriate investment mechanism for long duration storage. Examining four investment mechanisms – the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme, Regulated Asset Value (RAV) model, cap and floor regime and a reformed Capacity Market – it identified cap and floor as the best solution.

I also suspect that if the operator does a National Grid with the revenues, a cap and floor regime, must be even better.

I would not be surprised to see schemes like Coire Glas pumped hydro operating under a cap and floor regime.

Effect On Other Energy Companies

Wind farms seem to be operated under the Contracts for Difference scheme in many cases, but will we see cap and floor regimes being used in this market?

I can certainly see a new regime emerging, that is better for investors, wind farm builders, consumers and the Treasury.

In some ways keeping a happy relationship between the investors, Government and consumers is most important. So as National Grid, the Government and consumers don’t seem to be jumping up and down about their cap-and-floor regime, it must be working reasonably well!

Conclusion

Get the right regime and quality investors could be flocking to the UK’s energy generation and supply industry.

National Grid by their actions in paying up early, have thoroughly endorsed the system.

May 12, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , | 10 Comments

Ministerial Roundtable Seeks To Unlock Investment In UK Energy Storage

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Business leaders have met with UK Energy Minister the Rt Hon Greg Hands MP to discuss how the government could unlock significant investment in vital energy storage technologies needed to decarbonise the power sector and help ensure greater energy independence.

The meeting was organised by the Long-Duration Electricity Storage Alliance, a new association of companies, progressing plans across a range of technologies to be first of their kind to be developed in the UK for decades.

This press release, which I found on the Drax website, has obviously been produced by the four companies; Drax, Highview Power, Invinity Energy Systems and SSE Renewables.

Greg Hands MP, who is the Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth said this.

The Long-Duration Electricity Storage Alliance is a key part of our plan to get the full benefit from our world-class renewables sector. Government have already committed £68 million of funding toward the development of these technologies.

“This will support the UK as we shift towards domestically-produced renewable energy that will boost our energy security and create jobs and investment.

The three CEOs and a director from SSE, make statements about what they are doing and what they need from Government, which are all worth reading.

  • Drax still needs planning permission for its flagship project at Cruachan, that is called Cruachan 2.
  • SSE are saying that the massive 30 GWh Coire Glas pumped hydro scheme has full planning permission and is shovel-ready.
  • Drax and SSE appear to be in favour of Cap and Floor regimes to support long term energy storage.
  • Highview Power and Invinity Energy Systems appear very optimistic.
  • Finance for capital cost is not mentioned. As billions will be needed for some of these schemes and the returns are very predictable, I assume that it has been promised.

After reading this press release fully, I too am optimistic.

Conclusion

I feel sure, that a sensible plan will evolve fairly soon, which will involve these four companies and possibly some others.

March 19, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A Resilient Net Zero Electricity System Achievable By 2035 But Increased Investment Required, Regen Report Finds

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

The technical solutions needed to operate a net zero electricity system by 2035 are available or attainable, Regen has found, though a step-change in the level of investment is still needed.

The trade body has produced a new report for National Grid ESO into a ‘day in the life’ of a fully decarbonized electricity system by 2035, which the ESO is aiming for.

The article gives a lot of figures about our electricity supply in 2035.

Consumption of electricity will be between 450 and 500TWh per year, with the following sources.

  • 55-65GW of offshore wind
  • 25-35GW onshore wind
  • 40-50GW of solar
  • 6-10GW of other renewables
  • 10-15GW of low carbon dispatch
  • 8-10GW of nuclear
  • 8-12GW of carbon capture and storage (CCS)
  • 15-25GW of fossil fuel backup.

Note.

  1. 450-500 TWh is 51-57 GW per hour averaged out over the year.
  2. They emphasise the importance of energy storage.
  3. No mention is made of the massive Coire Glas pumped hydro storage.
  4. No mention is made of hydrogen.
  5. As is normal, with reports like this the authors don’t keep their GW and GWh separate.
  6. They also don’t explain the hierarchy of MW, GW and TW, which is 1000 x steps up the scale.

The full report is at this page on the Internet.

March 17, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , | 2 Comments

The Coire Glas Pumped Storage Scheme

The Coire Glas pumped storage scheme, which is being developed by SSE Renewables will be the first large scale pumped storage scheme to be developed in the UK for more than 30 years.

  • It would have a power output of 1.5 GW.
  • Compared to Dinorwig (Electric Mountain) in Wales at 9.1 GWh and Cruachan in Scotland at 7.1 GWh, it will be a giant.
  • Planning permission has been obtained.

The Coire Glas project has a web site.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Coire Glas is a hydro pumped storage scheme with a potential capacity of up to 1500MW. Coire Glas is an excellent pumped storage site with a large lower reservoir (Loch Lochy) and a significant elevation of more than 500m between the lower and the new upper reservoir site over a relatively short distance.

There is also an explanatory video.

This map was clipped from this SSE planning document.

Note.

  1. Loch Lochy in the Great Glen will be the lower reservoir.
  2. Loch Lochy is a freshwater loch, that is up to seventy metres deep.
  3. The top reservoir is formed by building a dam across the stream, that runs into the Northern end of Loch Lochy.
  4. The green line leading from the pentagon in the lake behind the dam towards Loch Lochy is the headrace tunnel.
  5. It leads to the brown rectangle, which is the underground power station.
  6. The blue line leading from the power station, where water is discharged into the loch.
  7. The two orange lines are access tunnels.
  8. The yellow line is the emergency access tunnel.

It is a standard layout for a pumped storage power station.

  • To store electricity, water is pumped from Loch Lochy and stored in the new lake.
  • To generate electricity, water runs down the headrace tunnel, through the turbines and then down the tailrace into Loch Lochy.
  • The power station would have a number of pump/turbines, that can do both tasks.

In addition, any water from rain or snow melt, that runs into the top lake gives low-cost extra electricity.

This layout of the dam and the upper lake was clipped from this SSE planning document.


It would be an impressive structure.

Could this pumped storage scheme give the UK energy security?

February 26, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment