The Anonymous Widower

UK ‘Need Not Fear Electricity Blackouts’ Says Ex-National Grid Boss

This is the title of another article on the BBC.

This is said.

The UK has enough energy capacity to meet demand – even on the coldest days when demand is highest, says Steve Holliday, the man who ran National Grid for a decade.

He said news stories raising fears about blackouts should stop.

The article goes on to say how gas and coal-fired plants that would have been scrapped will fill any gaps.

They may do, but I have this feeling that energy users and especially big ones are much more savvy than they used to be and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the UK manage next winter without using coal, which produces a lot more CO2 and pollution, than natural gas.

I also think that after 2018, we’ll start to see new technologies and projects generating electricity or bringing it to the UK.

We might even have seen a start on the ICElik or Atlantic Superconnector, which will bring green electricity from Iceland to the UK.

January 30, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Atlantic Superconnection Features In The Sunday Times

I am an electrical engineer by training and although possibly the only work I’ve done in the power field directly is to wire a plug, I know the technology of power generation fairly well.

Ever since I went to Iceland last year and first heard about IceLink, I’ve followed the project with interest.

Today there is an article in The Sunday Times entitled Cameron wants sea cable to bring lava power from Iceland.

It talks about the involvement of a company called Atlantic Superconnection

Read the article and follow the company!

November 1, 2015 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Is Iceland Part Of The Solution To The Problem Of Russia?

Putin’s Russia is increasingly becoming a problem to the rest of the world, as the events in Ukraine show. I’ve also been to Poland recently and talking to Poles, some are getting quite worried about Russian intentions.

We may impose sanctions on the Russians, but the real problem with our relationship, is that many countries in Europe are highly dependent on Russian gas. Germany is especially dependent and has the direct Nord Stream link through the Baltic.

But how do we replace all of that gas?

We already have a Langeled pipeline from the UK to Norway, the Interconector to Belgium and the RBL pipeline to the Netherlands. We are also importing compressed natural gas from the Middle East. We may also see the benefits of fracking in the next few years. So as far as the UK and our near Continental neighbours are concerned, it’s probably a case of “I’m Alright, Jack”

Gas may be a cleaner fuel, than the coal the Germans are rushing to use, but it still is a fossil fuel, although it only generates about forty percent of the CO2, that coal does when you burn it.

On my trip to Iceland, I saw how you could use geothermal and hydro-electric power to create heat and electricity to power a country and energy consumptive industries like aluminium production and data centres.

But they could generate a lot more and that zero-carbon electricity could be plugged into the European electricity grid. A project called Icelink has been proposed that would link Iceland to the UK and onward to Europe.

There is even plans on the drawing board in other parts of the world, where electricity is used to convert aluminium oxide or bauxite to aluminium in a smelter. The aluminium is then transported to where you need more electricity and then burned in a conventional power station to generate that power. After burning the aluminium is turned into oxide, which is then shipped back to be re-smelted into metal. It sounds crazy, but get the designs right and it might well be financially feasible and considerably cheaper than laying an undersea cable.

Connecting all of Western Europe’s gas and electricity systems together will allow everybody to share resources to mutual advantage.

If we do bring Iceland into this network, it will all help to make Russia’s abundant energy unnecessary and give Putin the cold shoulder, he deserves.

July 19, 2014 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment

British And French Engineers Can Work Together

In the Sunday Times today, they are talking about a £4billion project to import electricity into the UK from Iceland,  It is called Icelink and it would appear to have the backing of both the UK and Iceland governments. There’s more about it in this article in Utility Week.

So it got me thinking about undersea electricity connections around the world. There is a list of them here. And there is forty-four of them

Perhaps the best known is the connection between Kent and France, which is called the HVDC Cross Channel.  It is actually the second one and it has been running for nearly thirty years. A section in Wikipedia describes its significance.

Since the commissioning of the 2,000 MW DC link in the 1980s, the bulk of power flow through the link has been from France to Britain. However, France imports energy as needed during the summer to meet demand, or when there is low availability of nuclear or hydroelectric power.

As of 2005 imports of electricity from France have historically accounted for about 5% of electricity available in the UK. Imports through the interconnector have generally been around the highest possible level, given the capacity of the link. In 2006, 97.5% of the energy transfers have been made from France to UK, supplying the equivalent of 3 million English homes. The link availability is around 98%, which is among the best rates in the world. The continued size and duration of this flow is open to some doubt, given the growth in demand in continental Europe for clean electricity, and increasing electricity demand within France.

So it would appear it’s been successful and proves that we can work with the French on an engineering project.

It strikes me that we need to connect all of our power systems together in Western Europe. The UK is being connected to Ireland, Iceland and Norway and the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany are getting in on the act.

What you won’t find from reading about the cables, but you will in some newspaper articles, is that Norway will have the ability to store electricity in a pumped storage system in the future.

So when the wind is blowing and we have too much electricity, the Norwegians will pump water from a low to a high lake and when we want it back, the water will be released through a turbine. It’s like putting your KWh in a bank!

February 16, 2014 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Icelanders Give the UK and The Netherlands Two Fingers

Th Icedlanders did what was expected and rejected the deal to repay the UK and The Netherlands in a referendum.  After all it wasn’t the fault of the good people of Iceland, that their banks went bust.

The trouble is there is a hell of lot more than one born every minute. A few ended up running the Icelandic banks and many more individuals and councils from the UK and The Netherlands invested in banks that were paying a rate that was too good to be true.

If you put any money in something that is outside of both the banking regulations and the UK, you’re asking for trouble.  I know people who put all their savings in such as Icesave. They’d have got a better return in Corals, backing horse number 7 in each race.

But the individuals were all compensated by Gordon Brown, using our hard-earned taxes.  After all if he hadn’t, the election result might have been different!

Councils, like these in Scotland are still waiting.

Commentators and politicians say the dispute will end up in court. So the lawyers will love that one!

April 11, 2011 Posted by | Finance, News | , , , , | Leave a comment