The Anonymous Widower

France’s First Offshore Wind Farm Fully Up And Running

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

This is the sub-title.

France’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm, the 480 MW Saint-Nazaire, has been fully commissioned.

Does this mean, that this is France’s only operational offshore wind farm?

It does appear so, whereas the UK has 13,628 MW of offshore wind.

With onshore wind, the French have 15,000 MW and England has 14,000 MW.So we’re ahead in offshore and  total, but behind in onshore.

November 23, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , | Leave a comment

Consortium To Develop Low-Cost Operations To Revive France’s Local Lines

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

This was the first paragraph.

Thales has joined forces with a group of companies and the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Regional Council to develop innovative digital signalling and operations with a view to cutting the cost of running trains on lightly-used rural lines.

When I first read this article, I immediately thought, that the French problem is similar to problems we have in the UK, and I’ve also seen in other countries in Europe like Germany and The Netherlands.

The French consortium are looking at these technologies.

  • Platform-agnostic, autonomous train positioning and odometry without trackside infrastructure.
  • Cyber-secured data transmission via public telecommunications networks.
  • High-density digital terrain mapping.
  • Formal methods of generating safety data.
  • A tablet-based supervision and operations interface for drivers.
  • Integrated surveillance of level crossings.
  • Network surveillance using sensors mounted on rail vehicles.

Thales says that the technology ‘will be fully interoperable with the core network and promises to reduce investment and operating costs by more than 30%’. Apart from reviving rural railways, it will improve safety, ‘especially at level crossings’, the company said.

As someone, who was designing and installing automation on heavy machinery nearly sixty years ago, I feel the French are on the right track.

I have a few thoughts.

Could Drone And/Or Missile Guidance Technology Be Used?

It should be noted that Thales Air Defence are a company who manufacture several successful missiles including the NLAW. They are also a subsidiary pf Thales Group, who are leading the French rural rail consortium.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find, that Thales have access to loads of applicable technology.

Could Drivers Use A Tablet To Drive The Train?

I don’t see why not!

The Elizabeth Line has been designed to use auto-reverse to speed up operations at Paddington, which I wrote about in Crossrail Trains Will Have Auto-Reverse.

I suspect that the driver has a simple controller to monitor the reversing train and stop it in an emergency.

Integrated Surveillance Of Level Crossings

Whoever solves this tricky problem will do the railways of the world a big service.

Network Surveillance Using Sensors Mounted On Rail Vehicles

This is starting to happen all over the world.

Conclusion

I think that the results of this French study will be felt worldwide.

November 11, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

French Farmers Are Covering Crops With Solar Panels To Produce Food And Energy At The Same Time

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on euronews.green.

These paragraphs explain the technique.

Agrivoltaics – the practice of using land for both solar energy and agriculture – is on the rise across France.

In the Haute-Saône region, in the northeastern part of the country, an experiment is being conducted by solar-energy company TSE. It is hoping to find out whether solar energy can be generated without hindering large-scale cereal crops.

Previous attempts to experiment with agrivoltaics have been through smaller-scale projects. But, keen to see if it can thrive on an industrial level, 5,500 solar panels are being spread over this farm in the commune town of Amance by TSE.

The article also contains a picture, which shows panels high in the air and a tractor going underneath.

I’m not sure of the idea’s practical application, although, I do know of a farmer, who is experimenting with using solar panels in a field with sheep. He also has found that on another field fully fitted with solar panels, hares were thriving.

In Understanding Floatovoltaics, I talked about another French idea; floating solar panels, where solar panels are floated on calm water like a reservoir.

Talking of reservoirs, I remember seeing a Tomorrow’s World, as a child, where it was proposed that concrete reservoirs, like those under the Heathrow flightpath, be filled with foamed concrete and covered with soil, so they could be used to grow crops.

  • The water capacity would be slightly smaller.
  • There would be less water losses.

I wonder what happened to that idea.

October 19, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

This Is A 30 MW Power Station

This YouTube video shows a thirty MW power station, that is being built in France.

This page on the Principle Power web site describes the project.

This Google Map shows the location of Leucate and Le Barcares.

The wind farm is around 16 kilometres offshore.

Enjoy!

September 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , | 2 Comments

North Seas Countries Commit To 260 GW Of Offshore Wind By 2050

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

The nine member countries of the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) on Monday committed to at least 260 GW of offshore wind energy by 2050.

The NSEC aims to advance offshore renewables in the North Seas, including the Irish and Celtic Seas, and groups Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the European Commission.

Note.

Intermediate targets are 76 GW by 2030 and 193 GW by 2040.

The UK has a target of 50 GW by 2030, of which 5 GW will be floating offshore wind.

The UK is not mentioned, but has joint projects with the Danes, Germans, Irish, Norwegians, Spanish and Swedes.

There is nothing about energy storage or hydrogen!

On the figures given, I think we’re holding our own. But then we’ve got more sea than anybody else.

September 13, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

SSE Renewables Completes Acquisition Of European Renewable Energy Development Platform

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

This paragraph introduces the deal.

SSE Renewables has completed the transaction with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) to acquire its existing European renewable energy development platform for a consideration of €580m.

I have a few thoughts.

Why Have Siemens Gamesa Sold Their European Renewable Energy Development Platform?

This article on Renewables Now is entitled Siemens Gamesa Wraps Up Sale Of 3.9-GW Wind Portfolio To SSE Renewables, gives a reason.

For the turbine maker, the sale represents one of the measures implemented to rein in profit losses quarter after quarter due to internal challenges, high costs and supply chain issues.

As with many things, it appears to be all about the money.

Can SSE Renewables Afford It?

Consider.

SSE seem to have found a Scottish magic money tree.

€580m is just small change.

What Projects Are Included In The Deal?

This is a paragraph from the press release.

The SGRE portfolio includes c.3.8GW of onshore wind development projects – around half of which is located in Spain with the remainder across France, Italy and Greece – with scope for up to 1.4GW of additional co-located solar development opportunities. Development of the portfolio of projects has continued to progress since the acquisition was announced in April, with additional opportunities identified and permits and grid connections advancing. Over 2GW of the total pipeline is considered to be at a secured stage, where a grid connection or land agreement has been secured or relevant permits granted.

Note.

  1. As an engineer, I note that there is no offshore wind, which surely is the renewable energy development with most risk and installation costs.
  2. SSE Renewables have a lot of experience of onshore wind, so delivering and financing the extra 3.8 GW, shouldn’t be a problem.
  3. The 1.4 GW of solar comes with the word co-located. Wind and solar together, perhaps with a battery must surely be a good investment in the sunnier climes of Europe.

It doesn’t look to me that SSE Renewables have bought a load of assets that no-one wants.

I do wonder thought, if Siemens Gamesa were having trouble progressing this large diverse portfolio of projects, due to a shortage of resources like money and engineers.

So are SSE finishing off a few projects and they can transfer a few engineers to these projects?

Are SSE Spreading The Risk?

SSE operate mainly in the UK and Ireland, so is adding Spain, France, Italy and Greece a good idea?

Of the four new countries, it’s unlikely that all will perform well, but a mixed portfolio is usually a good idea.

Will SSE Renewables  Buy Siemens Gamesa Turbines In The Future?

SSE Renewables seem to do an individual deal on each wind farm, as no one manufacturer dominates.

But now Siemens Gamesa may be more financially stable, perhaps they can get a better deal for the turbines they want.

Conclusion

I don’t think SSE Renewables have done a bad deal.

 

 

September 5, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A French Banker’s View Of The French Police

After the violence at the weekend in Paris, I am reminded of a meeting with a French banker.

 

Many years ago, I used to do business with a French banker; Andre, who lived and worked in Geneva.

Whether, there had been an excess of violence by French police at the time, I can’t remember, but in a restaurant in Geneva we got talking about the different between French police and other forces in Europe. Andre stated that if you join the French police, you immediately lose all your friends, as no-one wants a policeman as a friend, such is the distrust of the police.

Andre had worked all over Europe, and felt that only in France, is there this attitude to the police.

Does this closed society of the French police lead to them going over the top, as they regularly seem to do?

I’d love to know what the French police think of refugees! I wonder, if they see them as a supreme nuisance and feel the sooner, they have left French soil the better.

May 30, 2022 Posted by | Finance, Sport, World | , , , | 2 Comments

Was Storm Franklin Named By An Old Minchendenian?

This press release from the Met Office is entitled Storm Franklin Named.

When I first heard yesterday, that the storm was to be named, I must admit, that I allowed myself a small smile.

I went to Minchenden Grammar School in Southgate, leaving in 1965.

One teacher, that we looked upon with a degree of affection was our German teacher, who was Frank J Stabler, who some pupils referred to as Franklin J Stabler. I don’t know whether that was his real name or whether it was fellow pupils making it up.

But he did have one story, that he used to liven up one of the lessons, where he taught me enough German to get by in the country.

Apparently, he was returning from France to the UK on the night of Saturday, the 31st of January in 1953, using the ferry from Dieppe in France to Newhaven in Sussex.

That ferry route used to have a reputation for being rough and on one bad crossing around 1975, my five-year-old son fell and cut himself just above his eye. He was skillfully cleaned up and plastered by one of the chefs. Luckily the chef had been a soldier, who had been well-trained in first aid.

Back in 1953, Mr. Stabler could have chosen a better night for his trip, as that day was the night of devastating East Coast Floods, which killed over five hundred people in the UK.

The captain of the ferry decided to sit the storm out and crew and passengers spent twenty-four hours being tossed about like a cork in the English Channel, which was a tale Mr. Stabler told with great drama.

He finished the tale, by saying that in the end, he prayed for the boat to go down to put everybody out of their misery.

Conclusion

I have to ask if someone on the committee that decides storm names, either directly or indirectly, has heard this tale and decided that Franklin would be an appropriate name for a storm beginning with F.

 

 

February 21, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does Anybody Know Of A Covid Travel Consultancy?

There are a few places in Europe, that I’d like to go for a couple of days.

I can book all the train tickets and hotels myself, but what I would like is someone to review my route for a fee and send me a pack of all the things I need to do and take.

Countries, I would like to visit include France, Germany, Hungary and The Netherlands.

January 19, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 4 Comments

Macron Is Having Trouble With Another Brigitte

The text is a small section in the January 7th Edition of The Times.

Brigitte Bardot, 87, said she had refused the vaccine. “I’m allergic to all chemical products,” the film star told Gala magazine. “Even when I travelled in Africa, I refused to do it for yellow fever. My doctor wrote me a false certificate.” The remarks were not helpful for President Macron, who is trying to eradicate false vaccine certificates.

If she is allergic to all chemical products, what does she use to wash?

Perhaps, President Macron could ask Dame Joan Collins, who has been vaccinated, to point out to Brigitte, the error of her ways. After all, they were born within twelve months of each other.

January 7, 2022 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , | 1 Comment