The Anonymous Widower

OVO Energy Drops 4 Product Bombshells, Including New Vehicle-to-Grid Charger

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

This is the first paragraph.

n London yesterday, OVO Energy took to the stage and dropped not one new product but four product bombshells that are aimed at creating a new energy ecosystem that is accessible to residential energy consumers.

The products are.

  • A Vehicle-to-Grid Charger for the Masses
  • 7kW Smart Charger
  • One Ring To Rule Them All
  • Residential Energy Stoage

The article discusses them in detail.

If I still drove, I’d be very interested in the vehicle-to-grid charger, as I’d fit one in my garage.

The amount of car use, I would have would probably be fairly minimal, so most of the time the car would be sitting in the garage, acting as a storage battery for the National Grid.

Suppose ten million homes in the UK, had a vehicle-to-grid charger and an electric car with a 30 kWh battery. that would be 300 MWh of energy storage, which would be ideal for storing wind energy generated at night.

April 20, 2018 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

Steam Methane Reforming

In The Liverpool Manchester Hydrogen Clusters Project, I used an extract that describes the project.

This was a paragraph from the extract.

It proposes converting natural gas into clean-burning hydrogen gas, using a process called steam methane reforming. The process also removes CO2 from the gas, which can then be captured using existing carbon and capture storage technology and stored in depleted offshore gas reservoirs.

So what is steam methane reforming?

Methane is a chemical compound consisting of one carbon and four hydrogen atoms, that is the major component of natural gas.

This first paragraph is from the Wikipedia entry for steam reforming.

Steam reforming is a method for producing hydrogen, carbon monoxide, or other useful products from hydrocarbon fuels such as natural gas. This is achieved in a processing device called a reformer which reacts steam at high temperature with the fossil fuel. The steam methane reformer is widely used in industry to make hydrogen. There is also interest in the development of much smaller units based on similar technology to produce hydrogen as a feedstock for fuel cells. Small-scale steam reforming units to supply fuel cells are currently the subject of research and development, typically involving the reforming of methanol, but other fuels are also being considered such as propane, gasoline, autogas, diesel fuel, and ethanol.

If the process has a problem, it is that is produces carbon dioxide, which in the case of the Liverpool Manchester Hydrogen Clusters Project is captured and will be stored depleted gas reservoirs.

April 10, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Huisman Weighs Into Storage

The title of this post is the same as thia article in RENews.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Edinburgh start-up Gravitricity is teaming up with Dutch lifting specialist Huisman to develop gravity-fed energy storage projects at the sites of disused mines in Scotland.

The partners plan to develop a 250kW demonstration project and test it early next year, and ultimately aim to scale up to 20MW commercial systems.

I think that this idea has a chance to be a success.

As an aside, one of my first experiences of industry was working at Enfield Rolling Mills. On one of their rolling mills, there was a ninety-three tonnes two-metre ring flywheel, which was attached to the mill. The flywheel was spun to 3000 rpm, before the copper wirebar was passed through the mill. You could see the flywheel slow, as it passed it’s energy to the mill, as it turned the wirebar into a thinner strand of copper, so that it could be drawn into electrical cable.

I think, that flywheel had an energy storage of over a MwH. Shimatovitch, the Chief Engineer reckoned that if had come of its mountings at full speed, it would have gone a mile before the houses stopped it.

March 22, 2018 Posted by | World | , , | 2 Comments

Large Scale Electricity Interconnection

We have several related problems with electricity.

  • We are using more and more.
  • Electric cars, buses and trucks will mean, that we’ll use even more.
  • A lot of electricity will be produced in the wrong place and at the wrong time.
  • Not everybody uses the same local voltages as our 250 VAC.
  • We need ways of storing electricity.
  • Some methods of generating electricity, emit a large amount of green-house gases.

In the UK, we have a very sophisticated energy grid, which includes a certain amount of energy storage, that moves energy around from where it is generated to where it is needed.

As an example, I’m sure we’ll see industries that need a lot of electricity, taking advantage of wind energy generated at night.

In my lifetime, I can only remember two periods of severe power shortages.

  • In the 1950s, as people bought more electrical equipment like fridges, cookers, kettles and TVs, there was sometimes power cuts at Christmas.
  • In theb1970s, shortages were caused by industrial action.

But in recent decades the National Grid has generally kept the electricity flowing.

Most power cuts have been local equipment failure or weather-related.

As the future unfolds, the grid will get better and of a higher capacity to handle all the extra needs of our lifestyle.

Countries, states, towns and cities will develop their own sophisticated networks to look after their people, industry and transport.

Regional Electricity Networks

These smaller networks are now increasingly being connected together to create larger networks.

One of the first interconnectors was the HVDC Cross-Channel between England and France. Wikipedia gives this history.

The first Cross-Channel link was a 160 MW link completed in 1961 and decommissioned in 1984, while the second was a 2000 MW link completed in 1986.

The current 2000 MW link, like the original link, is bi-directional and France and Britain can import/export depending upon market demands.

I’ve read that in recent years, we’ve been using French nuclear power and they’ve been using our wind power.

According to this page on UtilityWise, there are.

  • Four operational interconnectors are operational.
  • Four interconnectors are being constructed.
  • Seven interconnectors are being planned.

They also have this diagrammatic map.

Note.

  1. If the Icelandic interconnector gets built, it could be a big source of zero-carbon power for the UK and Europe and a large income for Iceland.
  2. Two big interconnectors to Norway are planned, where there is lots of hydro-electric power.
  3. A big interconnector is being built between Germany and Norway, which is not shown.
  4. There will be seven links to France to tap into their nuclear network.
  5. Our contribution to Western Europe’s power will be mainly from our extensive wind farms, which will soon contribute twenty percent of our power needs.

It will all grow like a gigantic spider’s web, connecting excess power in one place to users, who need it, in another.

Large Scale Electricity Interconnection

This document on the International Energy Agency web site, gives a lot more information about Large Scale Electricity Interconnection.

HVDC Connections

Although, domestic connections have used alternating current (AC) for over a hundred years, these interconnectors use High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC)

This means the following.

  • Terminal costs at the end of a link are more expensive.
  • The cost of the cable is less per kilometre.
  • Longer interconnectors have a cheaper cost per kilometre over about 600-800 km.
  • Current technologies give a break-even distance of about 600-800 km.

The article says this about future projects.

With the increase in demand for long-distance interconnection, a number of projects have been envisioned that would greatly improve upon the current status. Projects in the pipeline include the undersea North Sea Network (NSN) link between the Nordic zone and the United Kingdom, which will deliver up to 1.4 GW of power through an undersea cable 730 km in length.

This entry in Wikipedia gives more details on the Norway-UK Interconnector.

Connecting Asynchronous Grids

The document says this.

When AC systems are to be connected, they must be synchronised.

This means that they should operate at the same voltage and frequency, which can be difficult to achieve. Since HVDC is asynchronous it can adapt to any rated voltage and frequency it receives. Hence, HVDC is used to connect large AC systems in many parts of the world.

This may seem technical, but it is important.

Connecting Large Energy Resources And Loads

As the voltage in the interconnector increases, it makes it more economic to connect remote energy resources to where the power is needed.

It gives these examples from around the world.

  • Distant hydro resources in the Chilean Patagonia or in Brazil
  • Hydro power in Western China
  • Solar power in the Rajasthan desert in India.

In the Uk, we ae developing two long interconnectors to Norway and one to Iceland.

Acommodating Variable Renewable Electricity

The document says this.

Variable renewable energy (VRE) deployment requires flexible transmission links. One of the key drivers behind HVDC lines and interconnectors is the ability to shift intermittent renewables to areas of high demand when conditions would otherwise lead to curtailment.

Hopefully, the wind will be blowing somewhere, when the sun isn’t shining somewhere else.

Conclusion

Interconnectors will become a massive part of our distributed electricity system.

I must also say something about energy storage.

Electric vehicles could eventually turn out to be a large part of our mechanism to store excess energy.

Suppose there is excess energy at night, perhaps from wind, waves and tides and it is used to charge the batteries of electric vehicles. It has not gone to waste and is now stored for use when required.

The corollary of this will be, that every parking space or garage, where vehicles are left overnight will have to have a charging point for an electric car.

 

 

 

 

March 16, 2018 Posted by | World | | Leave a comment

Calculating Kinetic And Potential Energies

I used to be able to do this and convert the units, manually and easily, but now I use web calculators.

Kinetic Energy Calculation

I use this kinetic energy calculator from omni.

Suppose you have a nine-car Crossrail Class 345 train.

  • It will weigh 328.40 tonnes, according to my detective work in Weight And Dimensions Of A Class 345 Train.
  • There will be 1,500 passengers at 90 Kg. each or 135 tonnes.
  • So there is a total weight of  463.4 yonnes.
  • The train has a maximum speed of 90 mph.

Put this in the calculator and a full train going at maximum speed has a kinetic energy of 104.184 kWh.

The lithium-ion battery in a typical hybrid bus, like a New Routemaster has a capacity of 75 kWh.

So if a full Class 345 train, were to brake from maximum speed using regenerative braking, the energy generated by the traction motors could be stored in just two bus-sized batteries.

This stored energy can then be used to restart the train or power it iin an emergency.

Out of curiosity, these figures apply to an Inter City 125.

  • Locomotive weight – 2 x 70.25 tonnes
  • Carriage weight – 8 x 34 tonnes.
  • Train weight – 412.5 tonnes
  • Passengers – appromiximately 700 = 63 tonnes
  • Speed – 125 mph

This gives a kinetic energy of 206.22 kWh

And then there’s Eurostar’s original Class 373 trains.

  • Weight- 752 tonnes
  • Speed 300 kph

This gives a kinetic energy of 725 kWh.

If a 75 kWh battery were to be put in each of the twenty cars, this would be more than adequate to handle all the regenerative braking energy for the train.

There would probably be enough stored energy in the batteries for a train to extricate itself from the Channel Tunnel in the case of a complete power failure.

Potential Energy Calculation

I use this potential energy calcultor from omni.

Suppose you have the typical cartoon scene, where a ten tonne weight is dropped on a poor mouse from perhaps five metres.

The energy of the weight is just 0.136 kWh.

I’ve used kWhs for the answers as these are easily visualised. One kWh is the energy used by a one-bar electric fire in an hour.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Rail Engineer On Hydrogen Trains

This article on Rail Engineer is entitled Hydrail Comes Of Age.

It is a serious look at hydrogen-powered trains.

This is typical information-packed paragraph.

Instead of diesel engines, the iLint has underframe-mounted traction motors driven by a traction inverter. Also mounted on the underframe is a lithium-ion battery pack supplied by Akasol and an auxiliary converter to power the train’s systems. On the roof is a Hydrogenics HD200-AT power pack which packages six HyPMTM HD30 fuel cells, with common manifolds and controls, and X-STORE hydrogen tanks supplied by Hexagon xperion which store 89kg of hydrogen on each car at 350 bar. These lightweight tanks have a polymer inner liner, covered with carbon fibres soaked in resin and wrapped in fibreglass.

They have interesting things to say about the trains and the production and delivery of the hydrogen, which can be what they call green hydrogen produced by electricity generated by wind power.

This is said about supplying the hydrogen.

It takes 15 minutes to refuel the iLint, which holds 178kg of hydrogen supplied at a pressure 350 bar. It consumes this at the rate of 0.3kg per kilometre. Thus, Lower Saxony’s fleet of 14 trains, covering, say, 600 kilometres a day, will require 2.5 tonnes of hydrogen per day. If this was produced by electrolysis, a wind farm of 10MW generating capacity would be required to power the required electrolysis plant with suitable back up. This, and sufficient hydrogen storage, will be required to ensure resilience of supply.

These are the concluding paragraphs.

With all these benefits, a long-term future in which all DMUs have been replaced by HMUs is a realistic goal. However, the replacement, or retrofitting, of 3,000 DMUs and the provision of the required hydrogen infrastructure would be a costly investment taking many years.

Germany has already taken its first steps towards this goal.

For myself, I am not sceptical about the technology that creates electricity from pure hydrogen, but I think there are design issues with hydrogen-powered trains in the UK.

The German trains, which are built by Alsthom and should start test runs in 2018, take advantage of the space above the train in the loading gauge to place the tanks for the hydrogen.

Our smaller loading gauge would probably preclude this and the tanks might need to take up some of the passenger space.

But in my view, we have another much more serious problem.

Over the last twenty years, a large number of high quality trains like electric Desiros, Electrostars and Junipers, and diesel Turbostars have been delivered and are still running on the UK network.

It could be that these trains couldn’t be converted to hydrogen, without perhaps devoting a carriage to the hydrogen tank, the electricity generator and the battery needed to support the hydrogen power.

It is for this reason, that I believe that if we use hydrogen power, it should be used with traditional electrification and virtually unmodified trains.

A Typical Modern Electric Train

Well! Perhaps not yet, but my view of what a typical electric multiple unit, will look like in ten years is as follows.

  • Ability to work with 25 KVAC  overhead or 750 VDC third-rail electrification or onboard battery power.
  • Ability to switch power source automatically.
  • Batteries would handle regenerative braking.
  • Energy-efficient train design.
  • Good aerodynamics.
  • Most axles would be powered for fast acceleration and smooth braking.
  • Efficient interior design to maximise passenger numbers that can be carried in comfort.
  • A sophisticated computer with route and weather profiles, passenger numbers would optimise the train.

The battery would be sized, such that it gave a range, that was appropriate to the route.

In an article in the October 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Celling England By The Pound, Ian Walmsley says this in relation to trains running on the Uckfield Branch.

A modern EMU needs between 3 and 5 kWh per vehicle mile for this sort of service.

As I’m talking about a train that has taken energy efficiency to the ultimate, I think it would be reasonable to assume that 3 kWh per vehicle mile is attainable.

As I believe that most axles would be powered, I feel that it would be electrically efficient for a battery to be fitted into each car.

Suppose we had a five-car train with a 30 kWh battery in each car.

This would give a total installed battery capacity of 150 kWh. Divide by five and three and this gives a useful emergency range of ten miles.

These facts put the battery size into perspective.

  • , 30 kWh is the size of the larger battery available for a Nissan Leaf.
  • A New Routemaster bus has a battery of 75 kWh.

Where will improved battery technology take us in the next decade?

Use Of Hydrogen Power With 750 VDC Third-Rail Electrification

This extract from the Wikipedia entry for third-rail, explains the working of third-rail electrification.

The trains have metal contact blocks called shoes (or contact shoes or pickup shoes) which make contact with the conductor rail. The traction current is returned to the generating station through the running rails. The conductor rail is usually made of high conductivity steel, and the running rails are electrically connected using wire bonds or other devices, to minimize resistance in the electric circuit. Contact shoes can be positioned below, above, or beside the third rail, depending on the type of third rail used; these third rails are referred to as bottom-contact, top-contact, or side-contact, respectively.

If a line is powered by third-rail electrification, it needs to be fed with power every two miles or so, due to the losses incurred in electricity passing along the steel conductor rail.

I suspect that Network Rail and our world-leading rail manufacturers have done as much as they can to reduce electrical losses.

Or have they? Wikipedia says this.

One method for reducing current losses (and thus increase the spacing of feeder/sub stations, a major cost in third rail electrification) is to use a composite conductor rail of a hybrid aluminium/steel design. The aluminium is a better conductor of electricity, and a running face of stainless steel gives better wear.

Suppose instead of having continuous third-rail electrification, lengths of electrification with the following characteristic were to be installed.

  • Hybrid aluminium/steel rails.
  • Power is supplied at the middle.
  • Power is only supplied when a train is in contact with the rail.

All trains would need to have batteries to run between electrified sections.

The length and frequency of the electrified sections would vary.

  • If a section was centred on a station, then the length must be such, that a train accelerating away can use third-rail power to get to operating speed.
  • Sections could be installed on uphill parts of the line.
  • On long level sections of line without junctions, the electrified sections could be more widely spaced.
  • Battery power could be used to take trains through complicated junctions and crossovers, to cut costs and the difficulties of electrification.
  • Electrified section woulds generally be placed , where power was easy to provide.

So where does hydrogen-power come in?

Obtaining the power for the track will not always be easy, so some form of distributed power will be needed.

  • A small solar farm could be used.
  • A couple of wind turbines might be appropriate.
  • In some places, small-scale hydro-electric power could even be used.

Hydrogen power and especially green hydrogen power could be a viable alternative.

  • It would comprise a hydrogen tank, an electricity generator and a battery to store energy.
  • The tank could be buried for safety reasons.
  • The installation would be placed at trackside to allow easy replenishment by tanker-train.
  • It could also be used in conjunction with intermittent solar and wind power.

The tanker-train would have these characteristics.

  • It could be a converted electrical multiple unit like a four-car Class 319 train.
  • Both 750 VDC and 25 KVAC operating capability would be retained.
  • One car would have a large hydrogen tank.
  • A hydrogen-powered electricity generator would be fitted to allow running on non-electrified lines and give a go-anywhere capability.
  • A battery would probably be needed, to handle discontinuous electrification efficiently.
  • It might even have facilities for a workshop, so checks could be performed on the trackside power system

Modern digital signalling, which is being installed across the UK, may will certainly have a part to play in the operation of the trackside power systems.

The position of all trains will be accurately known, so the trackside power system would switch itself on, as the train approached, if it was a train that could use the power.

Use Of Hydrogen Power With 25 KVAC Overhead |Electrification

The big difference between installation of 25 KVAC overhead electrification and 750 VDC third-rail electrification, is that the the overhead installation is more complicated.

  • Installing the piling for the gantries seems to have a tremendous propensity to go wrong.
  • Documentation of what lies around tracks installed in the Victorian Age can be scant.
  • The Victorians used to like digging tunnels.
  • Bridges and other structures need to be raised to give clearance for the overhead wires.
  • There are also those, who don’t like the visual impact of overhead electrification.

On the plus side though, getting power to 25 KVAC overhead electrification often needs just a connection at one or both ends.

The electrification in the Crossrail tunnel for instance, is only fed with electricity from the ends.

So how could hydrogen help with overhead electrification?

Electrifying some routes like those through the Pennines are challenging to say the least.

  • Long tunnels are common.
  • There are stations like Hebden Bridge in remote locations, that are Listed Victorian gems.
  • There are also those, who object to the wires and gantries.
  • Some areas have severe weather in the winter that is capable of bringing down the wires.

In some ways, the Government’s decision not to electrify, but use bi-mode trains is not only a cost-saving one, but a prudent one too.

Bi-mode trains across the Pennines would have the advantage, that they could use short lengths of electrification to avoid the use of environmentally-unfriendly diesel.

I have read and lost an article, where Greater Anglia have said, that they would take advantage of short lengths of electrification with their new Class 755 trains.

Electrifying Tunnels

If there is one place, where Network Rail have not had any electrification problems, it is in tunnels, where Crossrail and the Severn Tunnel have been electrified without any major problems being reported.

Tunnels could be developed as islands of electrification, that allow the next generation of trains to run on electricity and charge their batteries.

But they would need to have a reliable power source.

As with third-rail electrification, wind and solar power, backed by hydrogen could be a reliable source of power.

Electrifying Stations With Third Rail

It should be noted, that the current generation of new trains like Aventra, Desiro Cities and Hitachi’s A-trains can all work on both 25 KVAC overhead or 750 VDC third-rail systems, when the appropriate methods of current collection are fitted.

Network Rail have shown recently over Christmas, where they installed several short lengths of new third-rail electrification South of London, that installing third-rail electrification, is not a challenging process, provided you can find the power.

If the power supply to the third-rail is intelligent and is only switched on, when a train is on top, the railway will be no more a safety risk, than a route run by diesel.

The picture shows the Grade II Listed Hebden Bridge station.

Third-rail electrification with an independent reliable power supply could be a way of speeding hybrid trains on their way.

Power Supply In Remote Places

Communications are essential to the modern railway.

Trains and train operators need to be able to have good radio connections to signalling and control systems.

Passengers want to access wi-fi and 4G mobile phone networks.

More base stations for communication networks will be needed in remote locations.

Wind, solar and hydrogen will all play their part.

I believe in the future, that remote routes in places like Wales, Scotland and parts of England, will see increasing numbers of trains and consequently passengers., many of whom will be walking in the countryside.

Could this lead to upgrading of remote stations and the need for reliable independent power supplies?

Conclusion

I am very much coming to the conclusion, that because of the small UK loading gauge, hydrogen-powered trains would only have limited applications in the UK. Unless the train manufacturers come up with a really special design.

But using hydrogen as an environmentally-friendly power source for UK railways to power electrification, perhaps in combination with wind and solar is a definite possibility!

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January 7, 2018 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 4 Comments

This Is What I Call A MOAB

Jamestown is a small Australian town of a few over fourteen hundred souls, probably home to several million flies and some of the most venomous spiders and snakes known to man.

I have never visited the town, but I must have flown nearly over it, when I flew a Piper AQrrow around Australia with C.

Just to the North of the town is the Hornsdale Wind Farm, which consists of 99 wind turbines with a generating capacity of 315 MW.

But this is not what brought the wind farm to my attention in an article in today’s Times under a headline of Biggest Ever Battery Plugs City’s Energy Gap.

This is said.

The battery array was built after a high-stakes bet by Elon Musk, 46, the US technology billionaire behind Tesla electric cars, that he could meet a 100-day building deadline or he would give the system away.

Wikipedia has a section on this battery.

This is said.

South Australia received 90 proposals and considered 5 projects. Tesla, Inc. is building the world’s most powerful lithium ion battery adjacent to the wind farm. It has two sections; a 70 MW running for 10 minutes, and a 30 MW with a 3 hour capacity. Samsung 21700-size cells are used.

It will be operated by Tesla and provide a total of 129 megawatt-hours (460 GJ) of storage capable of discharge at 100 megawatts (130,000 hp) into the power grid. This will help prevent load-shedding blackouts and provide stability to the grid (grid services) while other generators can be started in the event of sudden drops in wind or other network issues. It is intended to be built in 100 days counting from 29 September 2017, when a grid connection agreement was signed with Electranet, and some units were operational. The battery construction was completed and testing began on 25 November 2017. It is owned by Neoen and Tesla, with the government having the ability to call on the stored power under certain circumstances.

It certainly seems to be the Mother-Of-All-Batteries! Hence MOAB!

The Times is reporting that the battery system has cost £30 million.

This works out at about £233,000 to store each Megawatt-Hour stored.

When you consider that we have five offshore that are bigger than the Hornsdale Wind Farm, surely it is only a matter of time before we add a battery to one.

These MOABs are an intriguing concept!

 

November 27, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Joy Of Physics

On the One Show on BBC television, yesterday there was a report about a man called Ian Tansley, who has invented a vaccine fridge for use in places like Africa, where the electricity is not reliable.

This Wikipedia entry for Sure Chill Technology describes the technology and this report on the BBC, describes how the invention has been backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Physics to many is a dull subject at school, but to me, it’s the key to so many interesting inventions and ideas that will shape our lives in a better way.

October 24, 2017 Posted by | Health, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Is A Cap On Energy Prices A Good Idea?

All political parties including the Motherhood and Apple Pie Tendency think this is a good idea, but I’m not sure.

I changed to OVO Energy, one of the smaller companies a couple of years ago, so I looked up on a comparison site to see if I could make a big saving by changing supplier.

Sixty-three suppliers would give me a saving of up to four pounds a month.

As my solar panels haven’t been installed for a year and I don’t know the full affect on my bill yet and I would be changing with solar panels, I shall not be changing my supplier now.

But the interesting figure is that sixty-three different deals were offered. That says to me that competition is working in the energy field.

An Ideal Energy Market

Most consumers would prefer a fixed low price.

But surely, that is impossible as there has to be an equilibrium between the price energy companies pay for their energy and the price they charge consumers.

What happens if there is a global crisis and energy prices are universally high?

The other problem with a low energy price, is that doesn’t encourage consumers to save energy.

The UK’s Energy System

The energy system and market is a constantly changing dynamic system and since energy privatisation in the UK, there have been massive changes to the generation, supply and use of electricity.

  • A nnetwork of interconnectors is starting to stretch over Western Europe to allow interchange of electricity.
  • Wind and solar power generation are increasing dramatically.
  • Coal is dead for generating electricity.
  • Consumers have invested in low-energy appliances.

There will be more developments in the next few years.

  • A planned interconnector to Iceland could be a game changer.
  • Solar panels and energy storage will increasingly be fitted to homes.
  • Millions of electric cars will be sold.
  • Some high-priced nuclear energy will come on stream.

All of these developments have and will continue to move the energy price up and down.

As a Control Engineer, I know that the best way to get a dynamic system like this to a stable point acceptable to all parties, is to apply as few restrictions as possible.

An energy price cap will impose a condition, that will distort the equilibrium and it might not be in the way that politicians want.

Politicians would be better to concentrate on actions that helped the current system find an equilibrium acceptable to all.

  • Make it as easy as possible for consumers to change energy supplier.
  • Avoid backing high-priced energy generation like Hinckley Point C.
  • Promote lower-cost generation and energy storage systems.
  • Fund energy research at universities.
  • Build more interconnectors.

But above all they should not distort the market.

As an aside here, I don’t object to Nicola Sturgeon setting up a tax-payer funded energy company in Scotland. In a free market, it will only promote more competition and possibly lower prices.

But it might lose Scotland a lot of money!

October 12, 2017 Posted by | World | , | 3 Comments

OVO Offers Solar Panels And A Battery

There are a couple of reports on the Internet, that the smaller energy supplier; Ovo Energy, is now offering deals on solar panels and a battery.

I have been thinking of adding a battery for some time, but I don’t think the time is quite right yet, as the price of batteries is becoming more affordable.

However, I do think that Ovo’s move is the first of many we will see in the next few months and years.

This march towards solar and batteries could have various consequences for the UK.

  • Many house builders will add solar panels and a battery to new houses.
  • Domestic electricity needs will reduce.
  • Solar panels and batteries may have some interesting effects on the property market.

Battery owners could also charge up overnight on low-price electricity, so the daily operation could be something like.

  • Overnight the battery is charged on low-price electricity.
  • Morning ablutions and breakfast, thus uses low-price electricity.
  • Hopefully, the sun charges the battery during the day.
  • Evening electricity would in part be what has been stored during the day.

One overall effect of the battery is to smooth the energy needs of a property.

So as the proportion of houses with batteries increases, the National Grid will see a reduction in the spikes of electricity demand, as evetybody makes a cup of tea in the advert breaks.

But the biggest effect will be on how the UK would generate its electricity.

I am not against nuclear power for any technical or environmental reasons, but I do think that the cost of new nuclear power stations like Hinckley Point C are not good value for money compared with other methods of generation. On the other hand, if we are going to have much smoother electricity needs, then we do need the nuclear power station’s ability to produce a steady baseload of power.

I am against inappropriate on-shore wind in many locations, but I am not against off-shore wind or perhaps a few large turbines in an industrial estate.

I feel that solar, batteries and off-shore wind could give the UK very affordable electricity, but they need to be backed by some form of baseload power stations, which at the moment can only be nuclear.

Conclusion

Following my logic, I believe, that as more batteries are installed in the UK, the following will happen.

  • Those who install a battery will save money whether they have solar panels or not!
  • Batteries will be allowed to be charged on low-cost overnight electricity.
  • As more batteries are installed in the UK, the UK power needs will be smoother.
  • Overnight off-shore wind could be used to charge all these batteries.

This leads me to the conclusion, that the Government should create incentives for homes to install batteries, which would be charged with low-cost overnight electricity or solar panels.

October 7, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , , , | 1 Comment