The Anonymous Widower

Is Hydrogen The Fuel Of The Future?

The title of this post, is the same as that as this article on Engineering and Technology Magazine.

The article is a must read about hydrogen.

November 10, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Centrica Re-Opens Rough Storage Facility

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

It has this sub-heading.

Rough Operational For Winter And Increases UK’s Storage Capacity By 50%.

On the face of it, this sounds like good news and these two paragraphs give more details.

Centrica has announced the reopening of the Rough gas storage facility, having completed significant engineering upgrades over the summer and commissioning over early autumn.

The initial investment programme means the company has made its first injection of gas into the site in over 5 years and is in a position to store up to 30 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas for UK homes and businesses over winter 2022/23, boosting the UK’s energy resilience.

Note.

  1. The Rough gas storage facility has been able to hold up to 100 billion cubic feet of gas in the past.
  2. Rough is a complex field with two platforms and thirty wells transferring gas to and from the facility.
  3. Additionally, there is an onshore gas-processing terminal at the Easington Gas Terminal, where it connects to the UK gas network.

It appears to be a comprehensive gas storage facility, that should get us through the 2022/3 winter.

These two paragraphs from the press release, which are the thoughts of the Centrica Chief Executive are significant.

Centrica Group Chief Executive, Chris O’Shea, said “I’m delighted that we have managed to return Rough to storage operations for this winter following a substantial investment in engineering modifications. Our long-term aim remains to turn the Rough field into the world’s biggest methane and hydrogen storage facility, bolstering the UK’s energy security, delivering a net zero electricity system by 2035, decarbonising the UK’s industrial clusters, such as the Humber region by 2040, and helping the UK economy by returning to being a net exporter of energy.

“In the short term we think Rough can help our energy system by storing natural gas when there is a surplus and producing this gas when the country needs it during cold snaps and peak demand. Rough is not a silver bullet for energy security, but it is a key part of a range of steps which can be taken to help the UK this winter.”

Note.

  1. Effectively, in the short term, Rough is a store for gas to help us through the winter.
  2. In the long-term, Rough will be turned into the world’s largest gas storage facility.
  3. It will be able to store both methane (natural gas) and hydrogen.

Having worked with project managers on complex oil and gas platforms and chemical plants, I wouldn’t be surprised to find, that when the design of this facility is released, it will be something special.

Centrica certainly seem to have upgraded Rough to be able to play a significant short term role this winter and they also seem to have developed a plan to give it a significant long-term role in the storage of hydrogen.

Aldbrough Gas Storage

A few miles up the coast is SSE’s and Equinor’s Aldbrough Gas Storage, which is being developed in salt caverns to hold natural gas and hydrogen.

Blending Of Hydrogen And Natural Gas

I believe that we’ll see a lot of blending of hydrogen and natural gas.

  • Up to 20 % of hydrogen can be blended, without the need to change appliances, boilers and processes.
  • This cuts carbon dioxide emissions.

I wrote about this in a post called HyDeploy.

It might be convenient to store hydrogen in Aldbrough and natural gas in Rough, so that customers could have the blend of gas they needed.

With two large gas stores for hydrogen under development, the HumberZero cluster is on its way.

October 28, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What Is INTOG?

This page on the Crown Estate Scotland web site outlines INTOG.

This is the introduction at the top of the page.

Innovation and Targeted Oil & Gas (INTOG) is a leasing round for offshore wind projects that will directly reduce emissions from oil & gas production and boost further innovation.

Developers can apply for seabed rights to build two types of offshore wind project:

IN – Small scale, innovative projects, of less than 100MW

TOG – Projects connected directly to oil and gas infrastructure, to provide electricity and reduce the carbon emissions associated with production

INTOG is designed, in response to demand from government and industry, to help achieve the targets of the North Sea Transition Sector Deal, which is a sector deal between government and the offshore oil and gas industry.

I have a few thoughts and have also found some news stories.

Isolated Communities

This document from the Department of Business, Industry and Industrial Strategy lists all the Contracts for Difference Allocation Round 4 results for the supply of zero-carbon electricity that were announced yesterday.

The document introduces the concept of Remote Island Wind, which I wrote about in The Concept Of Remote Island Wind.

I don’t know of one, but there might be isolated communities, with perhaps a dodgy power supply, who might like to improve this, by means of a small offshore wind farm, meeting perhaps these criteria.

  • Less than 100 MW.
  • Agreement of the locals.
  • A community fund.
  • An important use for the electricity.

Locations and applications could be.

  • A small fishing port, where winds regularly bring the grid cable down in winter.
  • A village with a rail station to perhaps charge battery-electric trains.
  • A deep loch, where floating wind turbines are erected.
  • To provide hydrogen for transport.

We shall see what ideas are put forward.

Floating Power Stations

Floating wind farms are generally made up of individual turbines on floats.

  • Turbines can be up to the largest used onshore or on fixed foundations.
  • The Kincardine floating offshore wind farm in Scotland uses 9.5 MW turbines.
  • The floats are anchored to the sea bed.
  • There is a power cable connecting the turbines appropriately to each other, the shore or an offshore substation.

But we are talking innovation here, so we might see some first-of-a-kind ideas.

Single Floating Turbines

A large floating wind farm, is effectively a large number of floating wind turbines anchored in the same area of sea, and connected to the same floating or fixed substation.

I can’t see any reason, why a single floating wind turbine couldn’t be anchored by itself to provide local power.

It might even be connected to an onshore or subsea energy store, so that it provided a more constant output.

Surely, a single turbine perhaps ten miles offshore wouldn’t be a very large blot on the seascape?

I grew up in Felixstowe and got used to seeing HM Fort Roughs on the horizon from the beach. That is seven miles offshore and some people, I know have windsurfed around it from the beach.

TwinHub

I talked about TwinHub in Hexicon Wins UK’s First Ever CfD Auction For Floating Offshore Wind.

TwinHub mounts two turbines on one float and this is a visualisation of a TwinHub being towed into place.

Note.

  1. The design turns into the wind automatically, so that the maximum amount of electricity is generated.
  2. A Contract for Difference for a 32 MW TwinHub has been awarded, at a strike price of £87.30/MWh, that will be installed near Hayle in Cornwall.
  3. With a capacity factor of 50 %, that will produce just over 140,160 MWh per year or over £12 million per year.

This article on the BBC, which is entitled Funding Secured For Floating Wind Farm Off Cornwall, gives more details of the Hayle TwinHub.

The possibility of a floating wind farm off the coast of Cornwall has moved a step closer after securing government funding, project bosses have said.

Swedish company Hexicon plans to install its TwinHub system, with the hope it could begin operating in 2025.

It would be deployed about 10 miles (16km) off Hayle.

Project supporters said it could be a boost to the local economy and help establish Cornwall in the growing renewable energy sector.

Figures have not been released, but it is understood the government funding has effectively secured a fixed price for the power TwinHub would produce for 15 years, making it economically viable.

The article says that this 32 MW system could develop enough electricity for 45,000 homes.

This could be a very suitable size for many applications.

  • As at Hayle, one could be floated just off the coast to power a remote part of the country. As Cornwall has a few old mine shafts, it might even be backed up by a Gravitricity system on shore or another suitable non-lithium battery.
  • Could one float alongside an oil or gas platform and be tethered to it, to provide the power?

Scotland’s hydroelectric power stations, prove that not all power stations have to be large to be successful.

Vårgrønn and Flotation Energy’s Joint Bid

This article on offshoreWIND.biz is entitled Vårgrønn And Flotation Energy To Jointly Bid in INTOG Leasing Round, gives a few details about their joint bid.

But there is nothing substantial about ideas and locations.

I can see several joint ventures with a suitable system, bidding for various projects around the Scottish coast.

Cerulean

Cerulean sounds like it could be a sea monster, but it is a shade of blue.

This article on offshoreWind.biz is entitled Cerulean Reveals 6 GW Floating Offshore Wind Bid Under INTOG Leasing Round.

These are the two introductory paragraphs.

Green energy infrastructure developer Cerulean Winds has revealed it will bid for four seabed lease sites with a combined capacity of 6 GW of floating wind to decarbonise the UK’s oil and gas sector under Crown Estate Scotland’s Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas (INTOG) leasing round.

This scale will remove more emissions quickly, keep costs lower for platform operators and provide the anchor for large-scale North-South offshore transmission, Cerulean Winds said.

Note.

  1. It is privately-funded project, that needs no government subsidy and will cost £30 billion.
  2. It looks like each site will be a hundred turbines.
  3. If they’re the same, they could be 1.5 GW each.
  4. Each site will need £7.5 billion of investment. So it looks like Cerulean have access to a similar magic money tree as Kwasi Kwarteng.

Effectively, they’re building four 1.5 GW power stations in the seas around us to power a large proportion of the oil and gas rigs.

For more on Cerulean Winds’ massive project see Cerulean Winds Is A Different Type Of Wind Energy Company.

Will There Be An Offshore Wind Supermarket?

I can see the big turbine, float and electrical gubbins manufacturers establishing a one-stop shop for developers, who want to install small wind farms, that meet the INTOG criteria.

So suppose, the archetypal Scottish laird in his castle on his own island wanted a 6 MW turbine to go green, he would just go to the B & Q Offshore web site and order what he needed. It would then be towed into place and connected to his local grid.

I can see modular systems being developed, that fit both local infrastructure and oil and gas platforms.

Conclusion

I can see scores of projects being submitted.

I even know the son of a Scottish laird, whose father owns a castle on an island, who could be taking interest in INTOG. They might also apply under Remote Island Wind in another leasing round.

But we will have to wait until the end of March 2023, to find out who have been successful.

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

The Rolls-Royce SMR Web Site

Rolls-Royce now have a web site for their proposed small modular reactor (SMR) design.

This page is entitled Why Rolls-Royce SMR?, has this outline of the reactor program.

Rolls-Royce SMR offers a radically different approach to delivering nuclear power, we have drastically reduced the amount of construction activities and transformed the delivery environment, from a large complex infrastructure programme into a factory built commoditised product.

Our design has evolved in response to a definitive set of market driven outcomes, this is not technology for technology’s sake, but innovation, to create a transformational clean energy solution that will deliver clean affordable energy for all.

This would appear to be an approach driven by proven engineering principles and excellence, good low-risk design, backed up by the best project management.

These are all traditions inherent in the Rolls-Royce DNA.

But I also believe that Rolls-Royce have looked at the world market for nuclear reactors and designed a product to fit that market.

This paragraph is in a long section entitled Global & Scalable.

The compact footprint increases site flexibility and maximises potential plant locations, including replacement for existing coal or gas-fired plants.

Many things said on the Rolls-Royce SMR Web Site, appear to be very much market led.

In my view, this is the web site of a product designed to dominate the world market for nuclear energy.

August 16, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , | Leave a comment

The Birmingham Bull – 5th August 2022

The non-human star of the Opening Ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham was a mechanical bull.

This article on the BBC is entitled Commonwealth Games: Scots Creator Reveals Secrets Of Metal Bull.

These three introductory paragraphs give an overview of the design.

The secrets of the mechanical bull that wowed audiences during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games have been revealed by its Scottish creator.

The 10m high scrap metal sculpture was one of the stars of the celebration in Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium.

Michael Dollar, of creative model makers Artem, said it took six people to operate the giant structure.

The BBC also revealed today, that the bull would be parked for a few days in Centenary Square outside the Library of Birmingham.

So as my day had fallen apart, I got on a Chiltern train to Birmingham and took these pictures.

Note.

  1. The first picture has the The Library Of Birmingham in the background, with its lattice frontage and gold dome.
  2. The Bull seems to have been built on a loader chassis.
  3. There were a large crowd in Centenary Square looking at the Bull.

I have never seen a public work of art surrounded by such a crowd, most of whom were taking selfies or traditional pictures.

This article on the BBC is entitled Birmingham Commonwealth Games: Ceremony Bull To Stay.

The BBC article says this about the future of the bull.

A giant mechanical bull that became the star of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games opening ceremony it set to stay in the city.

The 10m sculpture is on display in Centenary Square after its debut last week, although its future has been less clear.

Largely made of foam, it was due to be dismantled at the end of the Games, sparking public outcry.

But Birmingham City Council has confirmed the bull has won a reprieve.

It will stay in the square until the end of September before being moved indoors.

This wonderful work of engineering art, is far too good and is now too well-loved to be scrapped.

As it needs to go inside, why not bring it inside High Speed Two’s new Curzon Street station, to greet passengers visiting Birmingham?

 

August 5, 2022 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

It’s A Tough Job, But Someone’s Got To Do It!

For a couple of stops today, on the Elizabeth Line, I shared my section of the carriage, with a party of four Japanese tourists, who I took to be mother, father and son, with an older man, who was probably one of the boy’s grandfathers. The father had his camera out and was photographing his family and the train. As I passed him to leave the train, he said “Good train!” He also pointed to himself and said. “Japanese railway engineer!”

I wonder how many other professional railway engineers will visit London and run their eyes over the Elizabeth Line?

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Crossrail’s Fans At Canary Wharf Station

I have just watched today’s episode of The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway on the BBC.

In one storyline, they negotiate a giant ventilation fan into Canary Wharf station.

Installing the fans is a fascinating tale, where in the end the last movements are performed using hover-pads and several strong men.

I am reminded of a tale I heard in my youth.

  • At the age of 15 and 16, I spent two summers working at a company in North London called Enfield Rolling Mills.
  • The boss of the company was John Grimston, who was a friend of my father and ERM were the largest customer of his printing business.
  • I got a superb introduction to working in a large factory, where I installed simple valve-based electronic control systems on heavy machinery.

The most important rolling mill in the company, was a mill, that reduced copper wirebars to wire about half a centimetre in diameter.

  • The machine had been acquired from Krupp, as war-reparations after the First World War and was still marked with Krupp’s trademark of three interlocked railway tyres.
  • Enfield Rolling Mills had a trademark of four rings.
  • The hot wire zig-zagged from one side to the other and it was turned by men using tongs.
  • The machine was powered by a massive flywheel driven by an electric motor.

At some time in the 1950s, the flywheel needed to be replaced, by a new 96-ton wheel.

The Chief Engineer of the company was an Austrian Jew, known to all as Shimmy, which was a contraction of his surname Shimatovich.

  • He had spent some time in a Nazi concentration camp and walked with a distinct stoop.
  • He was widely recognised as one of the experts on roll grinding and very much respected by management, staff and workers alike.
  • He had supposedly calculated, that if the new flywheel had come off its bearings at full speed, it would have gone a couple of miles through all the housing surrounding the factory.

There was very much a problem of how the new flywheel would be installed until Shimmy announced at a Board Meeting. “We will do it the way, we’d have done it in the concentration camp. We will use men! But our men are fit, well-fed and strong.”

So one Sunday morning, a large force turned up and rolled the flywheel off the low loader and into position using ropes, blocks and tackle and other equipment, that would have been familiar to ancient builders, after which it was duly fixed in place.

The job was completed just before one and the Managing Director of the company then asked if anybody would like a drink and indicated that everybody follow him to the company’s social club.

They arrived just as the steward was cleaning the last of the glasses and getting ready to lock up. On being asked to provide a large number of pints of bitter, he announced he was closed.

On this the Managing Director, by the name of Freddie Pluty, who was a strong man picked up the steward and sat him on the bar.

He then asked the two large workers at the front of the queue. “Are you going to hit him or shall I?”

They got their drinks.

 

June 12, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scotland’s Energy Storage

I have been using the web sites of Drax Group, SSE Renewables and ILI Group, and this page from Strathclyde University to look at various hydro-electric schemes to store energy using the tried-and-tested method of pumped hydro.

I have analysed these schemes.

Affric/Beauly

The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

Situated about 16 kilometres to the west of Inverness, Beauly is the gateway to the Affric/Beauly hydro electric scheme.

Currently, it generates a maximum power of 100.3 MW.

My analysis in Repurposing The Affric/Beauly Hydro-Electric Scheme, showed the following.

  • Research from Strathclyde University, says that the Affric/Beauly scheme could support 78 GWh of pumped storage in one scheme at Fasnakyle.
  • Adding pumped storage facilities to the Affric/Beauly hydro-electric scheme, with a capacity of upwards of a conservative 50 GWh, should be possible.

Generating capacity and system operation could be improved by replacing some or all of the 1950s and 1960s turbines with modern units and using modern control systems.

The Affric/Beauly hydro-electric scheme could be augmented by upwards of 50 GWh of storage.

Balliemeanoch

This new scheme is being developed by the ILI Group.

From what is published in the press. it appears to be a giant 1.5 GW/45 GWh project.

In Thoughts On The Balliemeanoch Pumped-Hydro Scheme, I analyse the plan.

The Balliemeanoch hydro-electric scheme could add 45 GWh of storage.

Balmacaan

This new scheme is being developed by SSE Renewables.

My searches in A Possible Balmacaan Pumped Storage System, showed the following.

It has a 600 MW generating capacity and I suspect would have about 15-20 GWh of storage.

The Balmacaan hydro-electric scheme could conservatively add upwards of 15 GWh of storage.

Breadalbane

The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

The Breadalbane scheme is set in the mountainous region around Loch Lyon, Loch Tay and Loch Earn in Perthshire.

Currently, it generates a maximum power of 168.4 MW.

My analysis in Repurposing The Breadalbane Hydro-Electric Scheme, showed the following.

  • Research from Strathclyde University, says that the Breadalbane scheme could support 12 GWh of pumped storage in one scheme at Ben Lawers.
  • I believe a similar scheme could be built South of Loch Tay to add a similar amount of pumped storage capacity.

As with the Beauly/Affric scheme, generating capacity and system operation could be improved by replacing some or all of the 1950s and 1960s turbines with modern units and using modern control systems.

The Breadalbane hydro-electric scheme could be augmented by upwards of 12 GWh of storage.

Coire Glass

This new scheme is being developed by SSE Renewables and the project has its own web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

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.

It is planned to generate a maximum power of up to 1.5 GW for twenty hours, which indicates an energy storage capacity of 30 GWh.

In SSE Renewables Launches 1.5GW Coire Glas Construction Tender, I talk about the current status of the project.

The Coire Glas hydro-electric scheme could add 30 GWh of storage.

Conon

The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

The Conon scheme lies within the northwest Highlands, broadly between Inverness and Ullapool. Electricity generation started here when the Ross-shire Electricity Supply Company built the small Falls of Conon hydro electric power station in the 1920s.

Currently, it generates a maximum power of 107.2 MW.

My analysis in Repurposing The Conon Hydro-Electric Scheme, showed the following.

  • Research from Strathclyde University, says that the Conon scheme could support up to 131 GWh of pumped storage.
  • Adding pumped storage facilities to the Conon hydro-electric scheme, with a capacity of upwards of a conservative 30-40 GWh, should be possible.

As with other schemes, generating capacity and system operation could be improved by replacing some or all of the 1950s turbines with modern units and using modern control systems.

The Conon hydro-electric scheme could be augmented by upwards of 30 GWh of storage.

Corrievarkie

This new scheme is being developed by the ILI Group.

From the planning application it appears to be a 600 MW/14.5 GWh project.

In Corrievarkie Pumped Storage Hydro Project, I analyse the plan.

The Corrievarkie hydro-electric scheme could add 14.5 GWh of storage.

Cruachan

Cruachan is a pumped-storage power station, that is owned by Drax, which have a comprehensive web site for the power station.

  • It has an output of 440 MW.
  • It has an energy storage capacity of 7.1 GWh
  • It can can reach full generating capacity in less than 30 seconds.

In Drax’s Plans For Cruachan, I analyse Drax’s plans, which they call Cruachan 2.

  • It will be a 600 MW power station.
  • It will be to the East of the current power station.
  • More than a million tonnes of rock would be excavated to build the power station.

The existing upper reservoir, which can hold 2.4 billion gallons of water, has the capacity to serve both power stations.

These was my conclusions.

It looks like very good engineering to me.

  • There is a good chance, that on most nights, the reservoir will be filled using wind energy
  • The maximum output of the Cruachan power station has been more than tripled from 323 to 1010 MW.
  • There has been no increase in the size of the Cruachan reservoir.

Scotland will now have a GW-sized hydro-electric power station.

It will not be very much smaller than Sizewell B nuclear station.

Foyers

The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

The current Foyers Power Station operates quite differently to conventional hydro electric power stations. Foyers hydro scheme consists of one pumped hydro power station and one hydro power station and one major dam..

Currently, it generates a maximum power of 305 MW.

My research and analysis in The Development Of The Foyers Pumped Storage Scheme, showed the following.

  • Foyers is a modern pumped-hydro scheme with a capacity of 10 GWh.
  • The updating of the original 1896 hydro-power station to a modern pumped-storage system in 1974 is a superb example of hydro-power engineering.

The development of Foyers power station is an example, that shows what can be done in other hydro-electric schemes around Scotland and the rest of the world.

Galloway

Galloway is a hydroelectric scheme, that is owned by Drax, which have a comprehensive web site for their two hydroelectric schemes in Scotland; Galloway and Lanark.

  • Galloway has a total output of 109 MW.
  • It has six power stations at Drumjohn, Kendoon, Carsfad, Earlstoun, Glenlee and Tongland.
  • There is no energy storage
  • It is what is known as a run-of-the-river scheme.

The scheme opened in the 1930s.

Glendoe

The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

In 2009, the first major hydro electric power station to be built in Scotland for almost 30 years, Glendoe on the eastern shore of Loch Ness, began generating electricity.

Currently, it generates a maximum power of 106.5 MW.

My analysis in Glendoe Hydro Power Station, led me to conclude, that engineers will look at this scheme built in the early years of this century to convert it to a pumped storage facility. It might even have been designed for conversion to a pumped storage station, as it was built after the successful conversion of Foyers power station. Comparing the size of the upper lake to Foyers and other schemes, I would estimate it could easily provide in excess of 15 GWh of storage.

The Glendoe hydro-electric scheme could be augmented by upwards of 15 GWh of storage.

Glenmuckloch

This is a small scheme promoted by Buccleuch, that generates 4 MW and stores 1.6 GWh in a disused opencast coal mine.

My analysis in The Glenmuckloch Pumped Storage Scheme, led me to this conclusion.

This project appears to have stalled, but I do like the idea of using a disused mine to store energy and the engineering behind the project.

I will ignore it in my conclusions of this post.

Great Glen

The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

The Great Glen runs for more than 100 kilometres from Inverness in the northeast, to Fort William in the southwest, following a geological fault line that divides north and south Scotland.

Currently, it generates a maximum power of 112.7 MW.

My analysis in Repurposing The Great Glen Hydro-Electric Scheme, showed the following.

  • Research from Strathclyde University, says that the Great Glen scheme could support up to 90 GWh of pumped storage.
  • Adding pumped storage facilities to the Great Glen hydro-electric scheme, with a capacity of upwards of a conservative 30 GWh, should be possible.

As with other schemes, generating capacity and system operation could be improved by replacing some or all of the 1950s and 1960s turbines with modern units and using modern control systems.

The Great Glen hydro-electric scheme could be augmented by upwards of 30 GWh of storage.

Lanark

Lanark is a hydroelectric scheme, that is owned by Drax, which have a comprehensive web site for their two hydroelectric schemes in Scotland; Galloway and Lanark.

  • Lanark has a total output of 17 MW.
  • It has two power stations at Bonnington and Stonebyres.
  • There is no energy storage
  • It is what is known as a run-of-the-river scheme.

The scheme opened in the 1920s.

Red John

This new scheme is being developed by ILI Group and the project has its own web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

Between 2007 and 2015, the total installed capacity of renewables electricity in Scotland has more than doubled. Due to its intermittent nature, the rise in renewable generation has resulted in increased demand for flexible capacity to help meet energy balancing requirements for the national grid system.

Pumped storage hydro is considered by the Directors to be the most developed and largest capacity form of grid energy storage that currently exists. This can help reduce renewable energy curtailment and therefore promote grid stability.

The web site says this about the project.

  • The scheme has an output of 450 MW.
  • The storage capacity is 2.8 GWh.
  • The scheme has planning consent.
  • The project is budgeted to cost £550 million.
  • The construction program indicates that the scheme will be completed by the end of 2025.

It also has very detailed maps.

I wrote about the project in Red John Pumped Storage Hydro Project, where I came to these conclusions.

  • This scheme has the output of a large gas-fired power station for just over six hours.
  • The finances must add up, as no-one would back a scheme like this if they didn’t get an adequate return on their money.

It may only be a small scheme, that is a quarter of the size of the existing nearby Foyers pumped-storage scheme, but as it is shovel-ready, we should start digging.

The Red John hydro-electric scheme would add 2.8 GWh of storage.

Shin

The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

Shin is Scotland’s most northerly hydro electric scheme. It utilises water from a 650 square kilometre catchment area in Sutherland, including Loch Shin, and water from the River Cassley and River Brora.

Currently, it generates a maximum power of 32.1 MW.

My analysis in Shin Hydro Power Scheme, showed the following.

  • I would be very surprised if any pumped storage were to be added to this scheme.
  • This 1950s scheme has been partially updated.

Perhaps some more updating would be worthwhile.

Sloy/Awe

The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

With the exception of Cruachan Power Station which was commissioned in 1965, major work on the Sloy/Awe scheme was completed by 1963, the year the Beatles had their first No 1 hit with From Me To You – and a world away from the immediate post-war austerity being experienced when Sloy Power Station was commissioned just 14 years earlier.

Currently, it generates a maximum power of 261.9 MW.

My analysis in Repurposing The Sloy/Awe Hydro-Electric Scheme, showed the following.

  • Research from Strathclyde University, says that the Sloy/Awe scheme could support up to 68 GWh of pumped storage.
  • Adding pumped storage facilities to the Sloy/Awe hydro-electric scheme, with a capacity of upwards of a conservative 40 GWh, should be possible.

As with other schemes, generating capacity and system operation could be improved by replacing some or all of the 1930s and 1950s turbines with modern units and using modern control systems.

The Sloy/Awe hydro-electric scheme could be augmented by upwards of 40 GWh of storage.

Tummel Valley

The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

The Tummel scheme stretches from Dalwhinnie, famous for its whisky distillery, in the north, to the remote Rannoch Station in the west, and the highly-popular tourist town of Pitlochry in the east.

Currently, it generates a maximum power of 309.2 MW.

My analysis in Repurposing The Tummel Hydro-Electric Scheme, showed the following.

  • Research from Strathclyde University, says that the Tummel Valley scheme could support up to 135 GWh of pumped storage.
  • Adding pumped storage facilities to the Tummel Valley hydro-electric scheme, with a capacity of upwards of a conservative 40-60 GWh, should be possible.

As with other schemes, generating capacity and system operation could be improved by replacing some or all of the 1930s and 1950s turbines with modern units and using modern control systems.

The Tummel Valley hydro-electric scheme could be augmented by upwards of 40 GWh of storage.

A Simple Summary

These are deliberately conservative figures from my analysis.

  • Affric/Beauly – 50 GWh
  • Balliemeanoch – 45 GWh
  • Balmacaan – 15 GWh
  • Breadalbane – 12 GWh
  • Coire Glas – 30 GWh
  • Conon – 30 GWh
  • Corrievarkie – 14.5 GWh
  • Glendoe – 15 GWh
  • Great Glen – 30 GWh
  • Red John – 2.8 GWh
  • Sloy/Awe – 40 GWh
  • Tummel Valley – 40 GWh

Note.

  1. With new storage like Balliemeanoch, Balmacaan, Coire Glas, Corrievarkie and Red John, I am using published figures where they are available.
  2. With figures from existing schemes,I am being deliberately very conservative.

That is a total of 324.3 GWh with 107.3 GWh down to new storage

Strathclyde University’s Prediction

This page on the Strathclyde University web site, gives these figures for the possible amounts of pumped-storage that can be added to existing 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 621.3 GWh if you include new storage.

Conclusion

Scotland and the UK, has been left a superb legacy for the future by the pioneering work of Scottish engineers and the North of Scotland Hydroelectric Board.

Most of these assets are now in the hands of two groups; Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and Drax Group.

Having seen several of the schemes detailed in this post, in the last few weeks, on Michael Portillo’s; Great Coastal Railway Journeys, it does seem that both groups are looking after their assets.

SSE and Drax also seem to be doing their best to publicise the success of one of the UK’s high-value, but low-profile engineering assets.

I believe that we should do a survey that would identify the following.

  • What needs to be done to allow each aqueduct, dam, power station and tunnel to continue to function until a given date in the future.
  • Which of the individual schemes can be updated to larger schemes or pumped storage systems.

We would then be able to device a long term plan to create a world-class hydro-electric power scheme for Scotland.

Scotland should be able to provide upwards of 400 GWh of pumped-storage.

This article on Current News is entitled Up To 24GW Of Long Duration Storage Needed For 2035 Net Zero Electricity System – Aurora.

These are the first three paragraphs.

Deploying large quantities of long duration electricity storage (LDES) could reduce system costs and reliance on gas, but greater policy support is needed to enable this, Aurora Energy Research has found.

In a new report, Aurora detailed how up to 24GW of LDES – defined as that with a duration of four hours or above – could be needed to effectively manage the intermittency of renewable generation in line with goals of operating a net zero electricity system by 2035. This is equivalent to eight times the current installed capacity.

Additionally, introducing large quantities of LDES in the UK could reduce system costs by £1.13 billion a year in 2035, cutting household bills by £26 – a hot topic with energy bills on the rise as a result of high wholesale power prices.

The report also says that long duration storage could cut carbon emissions by ten million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

It appears to me, Scotland can provide more than enough energy storage for the UK and the Island of Ireland, even if the seas around the British Isles were almost completed covered by wind turbines.

In addition, to the works in Scotland to update the various hydroelectric schemes, there would need to be more interconnectors around the UK and probably to close countries like Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway.

There could even be an interconnector between Iceland and Scotland, so Iceland’s abundance of zero-carbon electricity could be exported to Europe.

 

 

 

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

The Glenmuckloch Pumped Storage Scheme

This article on the BBC is entitled Glenmuckloch Opencast Mine Hydro Energy Scheme Approved.

  • It appears to be capable of generating 400 MW.
  • Energy storage capability appears to be 1.6 GWh.
  • It is to be built in a disused opencast coal mine.

It is only a small scheme, but it does seem to have planning approval.

The Scheme has a web page, which is entitled Glenmuckloch Pumped Storage Hydro

  • It is being promoted by Buccleuch and 2020 Renewables and respected consultants; Arup has produced this Non-Technical Summary.
  • The Non-Technical Summary is a very professional document and an interesting read.
  • 2020 Renewables are now part of Forsa Energy.
  • It is certainly an interesting way of removing the remains of an opencast coal mine.

According to this article on the BBC, which is entitled Buyer Sought For £250m Hydro Scheme At Glenmuckloch, the project now appears to be for sale.

Whether it will sell will depend on the cost of realising the scheme, the finance and how much the scheme will earn.

Conclusion

This project appears to have stalled, but I do like the idea of using a disused mine to store energy and the engineering behind the project.

March 1, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Repurposing The Sloy/Awe Hydro Scheme

The Sloy/Awe hydro-electric scheme was built in the 1930s and 1950s, by the North of Scotland Hydroelectric Board.

  • The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site.
  • There are ten individual power stations; Sloy, Sron Mor, Clachan, Allt-na-Lairige, Nant, Inverawe, Inverawe, Loch Gair, Striven and Lussa.
  • There are four dams; Sloy, Allt-na-Lairige and two dams at Shira.
  • Cruachan used to be part of this scheme, but is now owned by Drax.

This map from the SSE Renewables web site shows the layout of the dams and power stations.

The sizes of the power stations in the scheme are as follows.

  • Sloy – 152.5 MW
  • Sron Mor – 5 MW
  • Clachan – 40 MW
  • Allt-na-Lairige – 6 MW
  • Nant – 15 MW
  • Inverawe – 25 MW
  • Kilmelford – 2 MW
  • Loch Gair – 6 MW
  • Striven – 8 MW
  • Lussa – 2.4 MW

This gives a total power of 261.9 MW.

It should be noted that Cruachan power station is also in this area and in Drax’s Plans For Cruachan, I talked about expanding the station from a 440 MW/7.1 GWh pumped-storage station to one of 1040 MW/7.1 GWh.

Scotland would appear to have 1.3 GW of hydro-electric power between Loch Awe and Loch Lomond.

 

This Google Map shows the same area as the SSE Renewables Map.

Note.

  1. Loch Awe, which is the sixth biggest freshwater loch in Scotland, is in the North-East corner.
  2. Loch Fyne, which is the longest sea loch in Scotland, is in the South-West corner.
  3. Loch Lomond, which is the second biggest freshwater loch in Scotland, is in the South-East corner.
  4. Loch Long reaches up from the South to the West of Loch Lomond.

These are four big lochs.

Strathclyde University And Pumped Storage Power For Scotland

This page on the Strathclyde University gives a list of the pumped storage potential for Scottish hydrogen-electric dams and power stations.

These figures are given for the dams and lochs in the Sloy/Awe scheme.

  • Sloy – 20 GWh
  • Nant – 48 GWh

It would appear that based on research from Strathclyde University, that the Sloy/Awe scheme could support over 60 GWh of pumped storage.

Water Flows In The Sloy/Awe Scheme

Looking at the SSE Renewables map of the Sloy/Awe scheme, water flows appear to be as follows.

  • Loch Awe to Loch Etive via Inverawe power station.
  • Cruachan reservoir to Loch Awe via Cruachan power station.
  • Loch Nant to  Loch Awe via Nant power station.
  • Loch Nant to Loch Etive via Inverawe power station.
  • Lochan Shira to Lochan Sron Mor via Sron Mor power station.
  • Lochan Sron Mor to Loch Fyne via Clachan power station.
  • Allt-na-Lairige reservoir to Loch Fyne via Allt-na-Lairige power station.
  • Loch Sloy to Loch Lomond via Sloy power station.

All the water eventually flows into the sea to the West from Loch Etive and Loch Fyne.

Refurbishing And Repurposing The Sloy/Awe Scheme

Perhaps as the power stations are now over fifty years old, one simple way to increase the generating capacity of the Sloy/Awe scheme, might be to selectively replace the turbines, with modern turbines, that can generate electricity more efficiently.

I suspect that SSE Renewables have an ongoing program of improvements and replacements for all of their hydro-electric stations in Scotland. Some turbines at Sloy power station have already been replaced with larger ones.

Adding Pumped Storage To The Sloy/Awe Scheme

Strathclyde University picked out two places where pumped storage could be added; Sloy and Nant.

I discussed Sloy power station in A Lower-Cost Pumped Hydro Storage System and came to these conclusions.

  • For £40 million, 14 GWh of pumped storage can be created at Sloy.
  • But it could be bigger than 14 GWh, as this page on the Strathclyde University web site, says 20.4 GWh is possible.
  • This would surely, be a project that could be first in the queue, once the environmental problems are solved.

20 GWh or even 14 GWh of pumped storage would be nice to have reasonably quickly.

As I said, this must be a high priority project.

The other project is at Loch Nant.

Note.

  1. Loch Nant is in the Western side of the map.
  2. Nant power station is marked by the red arrow.
  3. The loch to the South of the power station is Loch Awe.
  4. It appears that water can also go from Loch Nant to Inverawe power station to the North-East of the loch.
  5. Inverawe power station is on Loch Awe, which curves round Loch Nant.
  6. The 440MW/7.1 GWh Cruachan pumped-storage power station is on the other side of Loch Awe in the North East corner of the map, with the Cruachan dam and reservoir above.

Strathclyde University says that 48 MWh of pumped-storage could be possible at Loch Nant.

  • Comparing the size of Cruchan reservoir at 7.1 GWh and the larger Loch Nant, gives me hope that Loch Nant could hold upwards of 20-30 GWh.
  • From pictures on this page at Subterranea Britannica, it appears Nant power station has only a single 15 MW turbo-generator.
  • Inverawe power station is a 25 MW power station with a single turbo-generator.

I suspect that pump-turbines could be installed to fill Loch Nant from Loch Awe, just as was done at Foyers, where a 300 MW pumped storage power station was created.

Conclusion

There would appear to be up to two schemes, that could  each add around 20 GWh of pumped storage.

One advantage is that the waters of Loch Awe and Loch Lomond can be used for the lower reservoir.

 

March 1, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment