The Anonymous Widower

How Clean Energy And Jobs Can Flow From Morocco to The UK

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in The Times.

  • The article has been written by Simon Morrish, who is the founder and CEO of Xlinks.
  •  The article is about his plans to build a 10.5 GW solar and wind power complex in Morocco and connect it to the UK, by an undersea power cable running up the coasts of Morocco, Spain, Portugal and France.
  • This page on the Xlinks web site gives details of the project.

These are some points from the article.

Relationship With The Exchequer

He makes these points about the projects relationship with the Exchequer.

  • The company will be a net contributor.
  • The project will not require government subsidy of finance.
  • Energy will be delivered under the Contract for Difference (CfD) price of £48/MWh.
  • This compares with a CfD price of £92/MWh for Hinckley Point C.

Simon Morrish also claims they will be energised before Hinckley Point C.

That sounds good to me.

Finance

I wonder if at the CfD price quoted in the  article, could this mean that this is a project that could be financed in the City of London or from a Sovereign Wealth Fund?

As Simon  is confident the project can be completed before Hinckley Point C, I suspect that the finance might be in place, even if it hasn’t been signed off.

The 20GWh/5GW Battery

Simon says this about the battery.

Alongside the consistent output from its solar panels and wind turbines, a 20GWh/5GW battery facility will ensure power generated can be delivered every day, resulting in a dedicated, near-constant source of flexible and predictable renewable energy, designed to complement renewable energy generated in the UK.

In Moroccan Solar-Plus-Wind To Be Linked To GB In ‘Ground-Breaking’ Xlinks Project, I forecast that the battery would be from Highview Power, but given the delivery date before Hinckley Point C, I would suspect that Xlinks have a battery supplier in mind.

Employment Benefits

Simon says this about employment benefits.

Thousands of jobs will be created in Morocco and also at home.

If the project goes ahead, given its size, I don’t think many would disagree with that.

Simon also claims the project will create 1350 permanent jobs by 2024. Sites mentioned include Hunterston, Port Talbot and the North East of England.

Simon’s Conclusion

This is Simon’s conclusion about the project.

I love the idea of clean electricity flowing, all the way from Morocco to the UK. I hope it may inspire other ambitious renewable energy projects too — which, together, will provide clean, secure and stable energy, at affordable prices, for businesses and households to rely on and help to protect this special planet.

If you can, I suggest you read the full article on The Times.

Conclusion

The more I read about this project, the more I tilt towards it being feasble

Engineering is the science of the possible, whereas politics is dreads of the impossible.

September 29, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Finance | , , , , | 1 Comment

Cheesecake Energy Secures £1M Seed Investment

The title of this post, is the same as that of this Press Release from Cheesecake Energy.

This is the first paragraph.

Cheesecake Energy Ltd (CEL), a Nottingham, UK-based energy storage startup today announced it has raised £1M in Seed funding to fuel the development of its manufacturing capabilities and support product development of its eTanker storage system. The round was led by Imperial College Innovation Fund alongside prominent investors including Perivoli Innovations, former Jaguar Chairman, Sir John Egan and other angel investors.

And the third and fourth paragraphs describe the technology.

The company’s unique technology, dubbed eTanker, takes established compressed air energy storage concepts and revolutionises them by storing two-thirds of the electricity in the form of heat which can be stored at far lower cost. To store the energy, electric motors are used to drive compressors, which deliver high pressure air & heat into storage units. When the electricity is required, the high-pressure air and heat is passed back through the same compressor (but now working as a turbine), which turns a generator to produce electricity. The company believes its system will cut the cost of storing energy by 30-40% and offers a solution that can be used in several sectors including electric vehicle (EV) charging, heavy industry and renewable energy generation.

The startup has filed 10 patents for stationary, medium-long-duration, long-lifetime energy storage technology. It is based on innovative design work by CEL, a spin-out from over a decade of research at University of Nottingham. Employing circular economy principles, truck engines are converted into zero-emission electrical power-conversion machines for putting energy into and out of storage. Its technology brings together the low cost of thermal storage, the turnaround efficiencies of compressed air energy storage, together with the long life and robustness of a mechanical system, making a game-changing technology in a modular containerised package.

It all sounds feasible to me and if I’d have been asked, I’d have chipped in some of my pension.

The system in some ways can almost be considered a hybrid system that merges some of the principles of Highview Power’s CRYOBattery and Siemens Gamesa’s ETES system of heating large quantity of rock. Although, Cheesecake’s main storage medium is comptressed air, as opposed to the liquid air of the CRYOBattery.

One market they are targeting is the charging of fleets of electric vehicles like buses and from tales I have heard about operators of large numbers of electric buses, this could be a valuable market.

I also noted that the Press Release mentions a National Grid report, that says we will need 23 GW of energy storage by 2030. Assuming we will need to store enough electricity to provide 23 GW for five hours, that will be 115 GWh of energy storage.

At present, pumped storage is the only proven way of storing tens of GWh of energy. In 1984, after ten years of construction, Dinorwig power station (Electric Mountain) opened to provide 9.1 GWh of storage with an output of 1.8 GW.

So ideally we will need another thirteen Electric Mountains. But we don’t have the geography for conventional pumped storage! And as Electric Mountain showed, pumped storage systems are like Rome and can’t be built in a day.

Energy storage funds, like Gresham House and Gore Street are adding a large number of lithium-ion batteries to the grid, but they will only be scratching the surface of the massive amount of storage needed.

Note that at the end of 2020, Gresham House Energy Storage Fund had a fleet of 380 MWh of batteries under management, which was an increase of 200 MWh on 2019. At this rate of growth, this one fund will add 2GWh of storage by 2030. But I estimate we need 115 GWh based on National Grid’s figures.

So I can see a small number of GWh provided by the likes of Gresham House, Gore Street and other City funds going the same route.

But what these energy storage funds have proved, is that you have reliable energy storage technology, you can attract serious investment for those with millions in the piggy-bank.

I believe the outlook for energy storage will change, when a technology or engineering company proves they have a battery with a capacity of upwards of 250 MWh, with an output of 50 MW, that works reliably twenty-four hours per day and seven days per week.

I believe that if these systems are as reliable as lithium-ion, I can see no reason why City and savvy private investors money will not fund these new technology batteries, as the returns will be better than putting the money in a deposit account, with even the most reputable of banks.

At the present time, I would rate Highview Power’s CRYOBattery and Siemens Gamesa’s ETES system as the only two battery systems anywhere near to a reliable investment, that is as safe as lithium-ion batteries.

  • Both score high on being environmentally-friendly.
  • Both rely on techniques, proven over many years.
  • Both don’t need massive sites.
  • Both systems can probably be maintained and serviced in nearly all places in the world.
  • Highview Power have sold nearly a dozen systems.
  • Highview Power are building a 50 MW/250 MWh plant in Manchester.
  • Siemens Gamesa are one of the leaders in renewable energy.
  • Siemens Gamesa have what I estimate is a 130 MWh pilot plant working in Hamburg, which I wrote about in Siemens Gamesa Begins Operation Of Its Innovative Electrothermal Energy Storage System.

Other companies are also targeting this market between lithium-ion and pumped storage. Cheesecake Energy is one of them.

I believe they could be one of the winners, as they have designed a system, that stores both compressed air and the heat generated in compressing it. Simple but efficient.

I estimate that of the 115 GWh of energy storage we need before 2030, that up to 5 GWh could be provided by lithium-ion, based on the growth of installations over the last few years.

So we will need another 110 GWh of storage.

Based on  50 MW/250 MWh systems, that means we will need around 440 storage batteries of this size.

This picture from a Google Map shows Siemens Gamesa’s pilot plant in Hamburg.

I estimate that this plant is around 130 MWh of storage and occupies a site of about a football pitch, which is one hectare.

I know farmers in Suffolk, who own more land to grow wheat, than would be needed to accommodate all the batteries required.

Conclusion

I believe that National Grid will get their 23 GW of energy storage.

 

 

September 28, 2021 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Moroccan Solar-Plus-Wind To Be Linked To GB In ‘Ground-Breaking’ Xlinks Project

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

This is the first paragraph.

New solar and wind under development in Morocco is to be linked with Britain, with developer Xlinks also seeking to develop a cable manufacturing industry.

It looks to be a very challenging project.

  • The HVDC cable will be 3,800 km long.
  • The plan envisages 10.5 GW of electricity being generated.
  • There will be a 5GW/20GWh battery in Morocco.
  • They will export 3.6 GW of electricity to the UK for at least twenty hours per day.
  • The electricity will be exported to the UK by a cable that skirts to the West of Spain, Portugal and France.
  • The UK end of the cable will be at Alverdiscott in Devon.

All except the last are pushing current technology to the limit.

There is more information on the Morocco-UK Power Project page on the Xlinks web site.

  • The company claims, that it can supply renewable energy, that acts like baseload power.
  • When complete, it could supply eight percent of the UK’s energy needs.

These are my thoughts.

The 3,800 km. HVDC Link

This paragraph on the project web page describes the HVDC link.

Four cables, each 3,800km long form the twin 1.8GW HVDC subsea cable systems that will follow the shallow water route from the Moroccan site to a grid location in Great Britain, passing Spain, Portugal, and France.

It appears that would be 15200 kilometres of cable.

The longest HVDC link in the world is 2375 km. It’s overland and it’s in Brazil.

I can’t think otherwise, than that this will be a very challenging part of the project.

This Google map shows the area of Morocco, where the energy will be generated.

Note.

  1. Guelmim Oued Noun is outlined in red.
  2. The Canary Islands are just off the map to the West.

At least the project will be able to have convenient access to the sea.

This second Google Map shows the <Moroccan, Portuguese and Spanish coasts from Guelmim Oued Noun to the Bay of Biscay.

Note.

  1. The light blue of the Continental Shelf
  2. The darker blue of deeper water.
  3. Guelmim Oued Noun is outlined in red.
  4. The Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean to the West of Guelmim Oued Noun.
  5. Could the cable bring power to Gibraltar?
  6. There are other large cities on the route in Morocco, Portugal and Spain.

This third Google Map shows the Bay of Biscay.

Note.

  1. The light blue of the Continental Shelf
  2. The darker blue of deeper water.
  3. There are a series of islands off the Spanish and French coasts.
  4. Could these islands be used as stepping stones for the cable?

This fourth Google Map shows the Western Approaches to the UK.

Note that the prominent red arrow indicates Alverdiscott, where cable connects to the UK National Grid.

The article also says that they may be building their own cable-manufacturing facility. Does this indicate that there is a shortage of HVDC cable?

10.5 GW Of Zero-Carbon Electricity

This sentence on the project web page describes the power generation.

This “first of a kind” project will generate 10.5GW of zero carbon electricity from the sun and wind to deliver 3.6GW of reliable energy for an average of 20+ hours a day.

It appears that they will be providing a baseload of 3.6 GW to the UK for over twenty hours per day.

Consider.

  • Hinckley Point C has an output of 3.2 GW.
  • As I write this around midnight, the UK is generating 22.2 GW of electricity.

This paragraph from their web site describes the advantages of Morocco.

Most importantly, Morocco benefits from ideal solar and wind resources, required to develop renewable projects that could guarantee suitable power production throughout the year. It has the third highest Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI) in North Africa, which is 20% greater than Spain’s GHI and over twice that of the UK. Furthermore, the shortest winter day still offers more than 10 hours of sunlight. This helps in providing production profiles that address the needs of the UK power market, especially during periods of low offshore wind production.

It is not a small power station in the wrong place.

The 5GW/20GWh Battery

That is a massive battery.

The world’s largest lithium-ion battery is Gateway Energy Storage in California. It has a capacity of 250 megawatts for one hour.

The proposed battery in Morocco is eighty times as large.

If I was choosing a battery for this application, I believe the only one that has been demonstrated and might work is Highview Power’s CRYOBattery.

I wrote about Highview’s similar type of application to Morocco in Chile in The Power Of Solar With A Large Battery.

But that installation only will only have storage of half a GWh.

But I believe Highview and their partner; MAN Energy Solutions can do it.

Conclusion

I wish the company well, but I have a feeling that there’s a chance, that this will join the large pile of dead mega-projects.

But I do feel that the solar and wind power station in Morocco will be developed.

And like the project in Chile it will have a large Highview CRYOBattery.

 

 

 

September 26, 2021 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Greater Manchester’s First Low Carbon Hydrogen Hub To Be Developed As Part Of New Collaboration

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article from Manchester Metropolitan University.

This is the first two paragraphs.

A new partnership aims to support ambitions for Greater Manchester to become the first Net Zero region in the world by 2040, with the planned installation of the city’s first low-carbon hydrogen hub.

For the first time, sustainable hydrogen fuel will be produced at scale in the region, creating opportunities for businesses in the area to make Net Zero plans with hydrogen in mind.

It doesn’t say much about the hydrogen hub, but from other sources, I have found the following.

it appears it will have the capability of producing 200 MW of green hydrogen.

  • Carlton Power is the main developer.
  • It will be built on the Trafford Low Carbon Energy Park.
  • Building will start next year with operation scheduled for 2023.
  • It will be built near Highview Power’s 50MW/250 MWh CRYOBattery.

It sounds ambitious. Especially, as it appears Carlton Power are talking about developing another ten similar sites in the UK.

August 11, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen, Transport | , , | 5 Comments

Dublin Energy Start-up Targets $2 trillion Offshore Wind Sector

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

The article gives a few clues, as to what Gazelle Wind Power are about.

This is the sub-title.

Gazelle Wind Power raises $4m to develop its hybrid floating offshore wind platform

What is a hybrid floating offshore wind platform?

I have form in the subject of large floating structures, as I did the calculations for a Cambridge-based company called Balaena Structures, that was proposing floating oil production platforms.

The company failed and I got paid, but their ideas returned to obscurity.

However, from that brief interlude in my life, I believe that there are innovative floating designs that could benefit the wind power industry.

This paragraph sums up the platform.

Overall the company estimates its solution costs half the price of other platforms to manufacture and 60 per cent less in terms of installation fees, while providing savings well above €1 million per megawatt.

I’ll go along with that, as the Balaena was very affordable and very stable.

The company has also recruited some powerful advisors, as this paragraph shows.

Gazelle recently named an elite group of energy industry veterans to its board of directors that includes Dr Javier Cavada, chief executive of Highview Power, Pierpaolo Mazza, a former general sales manager at GE Power, and Connie Hedegaard, former minister of environment to Denmark.

I have a feeling Gazelle Wind Power could be on to something.

Does the presence of the chief executive of Highview Power mean they are developing a floating platform with energy storage?

I remember that Balaena’s platform was very stable and as it was for oil and gas production, it had plenty of processing equipment on top.

Certainly, a wind turbine in the megawatt range with power storage would be a useful system.

August 11, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , | 5 Comments

MAN And Highview Power Sign World-First LAES Project Contract

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

This first paragraph fills out the title and explains the acronyms.

A contract has been signed between the two companies for MAN Energy Solutions (MAN) to provide Highview Power’s (Highview) CRYOBattery facility with its liquid-air energy-storage (LAES) turbomachinery solution.

This contract may apply to only the 50MW/250MWh system at Carrington, near Manchester, but if this system is successful, as Highview have sold nearly a dozen systems worldwide and MAN most certainly has a worldwide support network, it is probably not a small deal for a company like MAN.

Last night, I had a drink with a friend who is the Operations Director for one of London’s largest bus companies. His company is looking seriously at  batteries to ease charging of electric buses.

As MAN Energy Solutions are part of the Volkswagen Group could MAN’s interest in Highview’s technology be partly driven by Volkswagen’s need to provide a charging solution for all of the fleets of battery buses, cars, trucks and vans, that they hope to sell in the next few years.

It must surely help in the selling of thousands of electric vans to a company like Amazon, if you can sell them a charging solution, that includes a large eco-friendly battery, that can be fitted into the average site.

July 15, 2021 Posted by | Energy Storage, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

How Long-Duration Energy Storage Will Accelerate The Renewable Energy Transition

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Renew Economy, which is an Australian publication.

It is very much a must-read and although it was part-written by the President of Hydrostor, who are a Canadian long duration energy storage company, who store energy by compressing air in underground caverns.

The article gives some details on how investment is flowing into long duration energy storage.

We’re also seeing significant and sustained levels of investment in long-duration energy storage happen beyond Australia’s borders.

For example; Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures invested in Energy Vault to accelerate its global deployment of its energy storage solution; Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos invested in iron-flow batteries via Breakthrough Energy Ventures; Sumitomo Corporation invested in UK-start up Highview Power and their cryogenic liquified air storage system; and our team at Hydrostor closed a financing round including a strategic partnership with infrastructure investor Meridiam.

Big players like these, generally don’t back losers. Or at least they pour in more money and expertise, to make sure they succeed.

This paragraph also describes Hydrostor’s sale to Australia.

In 2020, Hydrostor’s 200 MW and 8 hours (or 1,600 MWh) A-CAES system was selected by New South Wales’ Transmission Network Service Provider, TransGrid, as the preferred option in its RIT-T process for reliable supply for Broken Hill.

They are also developing a large system in California.

With Highview Power having sold perhaps ten systems around the world, it does appear that long duration energy storage is taking off for Highview and Hydrostor, who both use that most eco-friendly of storage mediums – air.

The article is fairly scathing about developing more of the most common form of long duration energy storage – pumped storage using water. Especially in Australia, where water can be scarce. But with the world getting warmer, I don’t think we need to design systems, where all our stored energy can evaporate.

Conclusion

I agree very much with the writers of the article, that more long duration energy storage is needed, but that pumped storage is not the long term answer.

July 3, 2021 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , | 2 Comments

The Power Of Solar With A Large Battery

This post is based on this press release from Highview Power, which is entitled Highview Enlasa Developing 50MW/500MWh Liquid Air Energy Storage Facility In The Atacama Region Of Chile.

This is the first paragraph.

Highview Enlasa, the 50/50 joint venture between Highview Power, a global leader in long duration energy storage solutions, and Energía Latina S.A.-Enlasa, the largest backup power generation provider in Chile, is pleased to announce that it is developing the first liquid air long duration energy storage project in Chile. This 50MW/500MWh (10 hours) CRYOBattery™, which represents an estimated investment of USD $150 million, will be located in Diego de Almagro in the Atacama Region.

Ican deduce these points from this paragraph.

The power output of 50 MW appears to be standard for all of Highview Power’s CRYOBatteries, which is not surprising as the centre of each system appears to be a standard turbomachinery solution from MAN Energy Solutions, as I wrote about in MAN Energy Partners With Highview Power On Liquid-Air Energy-Storage Project.

But whereas the first system at Carrington, near Manchester, can only store 250 MWh, this plant in Chile is twice the size and can provide 50 MW of electricity for ten hours. The Chile plant will just have twice the number of storage tanks for liquid air.

I can no reason, why if Carrington needed to store more electricity, that more tanks couldn’t be added.

This Google Map shows the area around the city of Diego de Almagro.

Note.

  1. The city of Diego de Almagro is in the centre of the map.
  2. In the North-Western corner is the Planta Fotovoltaica ENEL Diego de Almagro, which even my rudimentary Spanish, identifies as a solar power plant.
  3. In the North-Eastern corner of the map, is appears that a second solar power plant is under construction.

The city is surrounded by the large Atacama Desert.

This second Google Map shows the location of Diego de Almagro, with respect to the Chilean Coast.

Note.

  1. The red arrow indicates the solar powerplant at Diego de Almagro.
  2. La Paz in Bolivia is in the North-East corner of the map.
  3. The sandy-beige colour indicates the Atacama Desert.

The area would appear not to lack sun.

This extract is from the press release.

With one of the highest solar irradiations in the world, the Atacama Region has the potential to generate all the country’s electricity. By pairing solar with cryogenic energy storage, Chile can benefit from 24/7, 100% renewable energy.

The Wiukipedia entry for Solar Power In Chile, is not as optimistic as the press release, but does show the rapid growth in the amount of solar power.

Conclusion

Solar power installed with large batteries, will transform the electricity supply in countries like Australia, Chile and India and those in Africa and other places, where there are large hot deserts.

In Europe, Spain is investing heavily in solar power and is a big innovator in solar technology.

 

 

July 1, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A CRYOBattery For Chile

This article on pv Magazine is entitled Latin America’s First Liquid Air Storage Project.

This is the first paragraph.

The 50 MW Highview Enlasa project will be located in Diego de Almagro, in Chile’s Atacama Region.

It looks like it is a similar size to their other projects at Carrington in Manchester and in Vermont and Spain.

Diego de Almagro is a city in the North of Chile.

June 5, 2021 Posted by | Energy Storage | , | Leave a comment

All You Want To Know About Highview Power

This article on Power is entitled Market Prospects Heating Up for Cryogenic Energy Storage.

It talks in detail about the technology, financing and market prospects for Highview Power and their CRYOBattery.

  • Their batteries store energy by liquifying air and storing it in large tanks.
  • To recover the energy, the air is encouraged to go to a gaseous phase and put through an air turbine.
  • Their first commercial system is being built at Carrington near Manchester.
  • The Carrington system will have an output of 50 MW and be able to store up to 250 MWh.
  • Other systems are under development for Vermont and Spain.
  • The systems are built like Leho from readily available components from the oil and gas industry.

One of my regrets in life, is that I missed the crowdfunding for this company!

Read the article as you might find one of Highview Power’s CRYOBatteries coming to a site near you.

Power’s article is the best yet on describing the technology.

 

June 2, 2021 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , , , , | Leave a comment