The Anonymous Widower

UK Confirms £205 Million Budget To Power More Of Britain From Britain

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from the Department of Energy Security And NetZero.

This is the sub title.

UK government confirms budget for this year’s Contracts for Difference scheme as it enters its first annual auction, boosting energy security.

These are the three bullet points.

  • Government announces significant financial backing for first annual flagship renewables auction, boosting Britain’s energy security
  • £170 million pledged for established technologies to ensure Britain remains a front runner in renewables and £10 million ring-fenced budget for tidal
  • Scheme will bolster investment into the sector every year, delivering clean, homegrown energy as well as green growth and jobs

These are my thoughts.

First And Annual

The scheme is flagged as both first and annual!

Does this mean, that each Budget will bring forward a pot of money for renewables every year?

My father, who being a letterpress printer and a Cockney poet would say it did and I’ll follow his lead.

Two Pots

In Contracts for Difference Round 4, there were three pots.

  • Pot 1 – Onshore Wind and Solar
  • Pot 2 – Floating Offshore Wind, Remote Island Wind and Tidal Stream
  • Pot 3 – Fixed Foundation Offshore Wind

This document on the government web site lists all the results.

For Contracts for Difference Round 5, there will be two pots, which is described in this paragraph of the press release.

Arranged across 2 ‘pots’, this year’s fifth Allocation Round (AR5) includes an allocation of £170 million to Pot 1 for established technologies, which for the first time includes offshore wind and remote island wind – and confirms an allocation of £35 million for Pot 2 which covers emerging technologies such as geothermal and floating offshore wind, as well as a £10 million ring-fenced budget available for tidal stream technologies.

It could be described as a two-pot structure with a smaller ring-fenced pot for tidal stream technologies.

Contract for Difference

There is a Wikipedia entry for Contract for Difference and I’m putting in an extract, which describes how they work with renewable electricity generation.

To support new low carbon electricity generation in the United Kingdom, both nuclear and renewable, contracts for difference were introduced by the Energy Act 2013, progressively replacing the previous Renewables Obligation scheme. A House of Commons Library report explained the scheme as:

Contracts for Difference (CfD) are a system of reverse auctions intended to give investors the confidence and certainty they need to invest in low carbon electricity generation. CfDs have also been agreed on a bilateral basis, such as the agreement struck for the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant.

CfDs work by fixing the prices received by low carbon generation, reducing the risks they face, and ensuring that eligible technology receives a price for generated power that supports investment. CfDs also reduce costs by fixing the price consumers pay for low carbon electricity. This requires generators to pay money back when wholesale electricity prices are higher than the strike price, and provides financial support when the wholesale electricity prices are lower.

The costs of the CfD scheme are funded by a statutory levy on all UK-based licensed electricity suppliers (known as the ‘Supplier Obligation’), which is passed on to consumers.

In some countries, such as Turkey, the price may be fixed by the government rather than an auction.

Note.

  1. I would trust the House of Commons Library to write up CfDs properly.
  2. As a Control Engineer, I find a CfD an interesting idea.
  3. If a generator has more electricity than expected, they will make more money than they expected. So this should drop the wholesale price, so they would get less. Get the parameters right and the generator and the electricity distributor would probably end up in a stable equilibrium. This should be fairly close to the strike price.

I would expect in Turkey with Erdogan as President, there are also other factors involved.

Renewable Generation With Energy Storage

I do wonder, if wind, solar or tidal energy, is paired with energy storage, this would allow optimisation of the system around the Contract for Difference.

If it did, it would probably mean that the generator settled into a state of equilibrium, where it supplied a constant amount of electricity.

Remote Island Wind

Remote Island Wind was introduced in Round 4 and I wrote about it in The Concept Of Remote Island Wind.

This was my conclusion in that post.

I must admit that I like the concept. Especially, when like some of the schemes, when it is linked to community involvement and improvement.

Only time will tell, if the concept of Remote Island Wind works well.

There are possibilities, although England and Wales compared to Scotland and Ireland, would appear to be short of islands.

This map shows the islands of the Thames Estuary.

Note.

  1. In Kent, there is the Isle of Sheppey and the Isle of Grain.
  2. Between the two islands is a large gas terminal , a gas-fired power station and an electricity sub-station connecting to Germany.
  3. In Essex, there is Canvey, Foulness and Potton Islands.
  4. There is also the site at Bradwell, where there used to be a nuclear power station.

If we assume that each island could support 200 MW, there could be a GW of onshore wind for London and perhaps a couple of SMRs to add another GW.

This map shows the islands around Portsmouth.

Note.

  1. Hayling Island is to the East of Portsmouth.
  2. Further East is Thorney Island with an airfield.

The Isle of Wight could be the sort of island, that wouldn’t welcome wind farms, although they do make the blades for turbines. Perhaps they should have a wind farm to make the blades even more green.

But going round England and Wales there doesn’t seem to be many suitable places for Remote Island Wind.

I do think though, that Scotland could make up the difference.

Geothermal Energy

This is directly mentioned as going into the emerging technologies pot, which is numbered 2.

I think we could see a surprise here, as how many commentators predicted that geothermal heat from the London Underground could be used to heat buildings in Islington, as I wrote about in ‘World-First’ As Bunhill 2 Launches Using Tube Heat To Warm 1,350 Homes.

Perhaps, Charlotte Adams and her team at Durham University, will capitalise on some of their work with a abandoned coal mine, that I wrote about in Exciting Renewable Energy Project for Spennymoor.

Timescale

This paragraph gives the timescale.

The publication of these notices mean that AR5 is set to open to applications on 30 March with results to be announced in late summer/early autumn 2023, with the goal of building upon the already paramount success of the scheme.

It does look like the Government intends this round to progress at a fast pace.

Conclusion

If this is going to be an annual auction, this could turn out to be a big spur to the development of renewable energy.

Supposing you have a really off-beat idea to generate electricity and the idea place in the world is off the coast of Anglesey.

You will certainly be able to make a bid and know like Eurovision, one auction will come along each year.

 

 

 

March 16, 2023 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Extending The Elizabeth Line – A Branch To The Isle Of Grain

In Elizabeth Line To Ebbsfleet Extension Could Cost £3.2 Billion, I talked about extending the Elizabeth Line to Ebbsfleet International and Gravesend stations.

In Gibb Report – Hoo Junction Depot, I talked about how Chris Gibb proposed using the former Hoo branch to create a depot for Thameslink trains.

I am a great believer in the idea, that modern railways are a great way of levelling up an area.

I have watched as Dalston and Hackney have risen as the London Overground has developed more and more frequent services through the area.

So when I wrote about the Ebbsfleet Extension to the Elizabeth Line, I asked this question.

Could The Elizabeth Line Be Extended To The Proposed Hoo Station?

The Hundred of Hoo Railway, leaves the North Kent Line about three miles to the East of Gravesend and runs across the Isle of Grain.

I wrote about the proposed reopening of the Hundred of Hoo Railway or the Hoo Branch as it is commonly known in Effort To Contain Costs For Hoo Reopening.

I then put various proposals and facts together.

It is proposed that the Elizabeth Line runs a four trains per hour (tph) service to Gravesend station.

  • Gravesend station is a not very suitable station to turn nine-car Class 345 trains, that are over two hundred metres long, as it is on a cramped site.
  • Government money has been pledged to build a station on the Isle of Grain to support the new housing on the island.
  • According to Chris Gibb, there is space to build a depot.

So why not build a terminal station for the Elizabeth Line on the Isle of Grain?

I had these thoughts on the proposed Hoo station.

  • It would be  under ten kilometres from Hoo Junction, where the North Kent Line is electrified.
  • A single platform could handle 4 tph, but provision for two platforms would be prudent.
  • A couple of sidings could provide stabling.
  • Services would join the North Kent Line at Hoo Junction.
  • Services would use battery power between Hoo Junction and Hoo station.
  • If charging were needed at Hoo station a short length of 25 KVAC overhead electrification would be needed.
  • There is plenty of power available locally to power any electrification.

The only problem is that there would be a need for battery-electric Class 345 trains, but as Aventra trains were designed and built with battery operation in mind, this shouldn’t be too challenging.

I have a few other thoughts.

Housing By An Elizabeth Line Station

Woolwich station was built to serve a housing development and the developers even built the station box, which I wrote about in Exploring The Woolwich Station Box.

So I don’t think the developers of the housing on the Isle of Grain will be against the Elizabeth Line station.

What Would Be The Frequency To Hoo Station?

As I said, the proposed Hoo branch, could easily have a capacity of four tph.

But services to Heathrow Terminal 4, Heathrow Terminal 5, Maidenhead and Reading are all two tph. Only Abbey Wood, Paddington and Shenfield have a higher frequency.

I suspect that two tph maximises the number of passengers, as they are prepared to wait thirty minutes.

Conclusion

I can see the branch to Hoo station on the Isle of Grain, being one of these options.

  • A branch to turn trains running to Gravesend.
  • A short branch to level-up the Isle of Grain.
  • A short branch to provide transport for new housing.

Or perhaps a mixture of some or all options.

Could we see other branches like Hoo?

February 26, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

EuroLink, Nautilus And Sea Link

EuroLink, Nautilus and Sea Link are three proposed interconnectors being developed by National Grid Ventures.

EuroLink

EuroLink has a web site, where this is said.

To support the UK’s growing energy needs, National Grid Ventures (NGV) is bringing forward proposals for a Multi-Purpose Interconnector (MPI) called EuroLink, which will deliver a new electricity link between Great Britain to the Netherlands. 

EuroLink could supply up to 1.8 gigawatts (GW) of electricity, which will be enough to power approximately 1.8 million homes, as well as contribute to our national energy security and support the UK’s climate and energy goals. We’re holding a non-statutory public consultation to inform you about our EuroLink proposals, gather your feedback to help refine our plans and respond to your questions.​

Note, that EuroLink is a Multi-Purpose Interconnector (MPI) and they are described on this page of the National Grid website.

In EuroLink’s case, this means it is basically an interconnector between the UK and The Netherlands, that also connects wind farms on the route to the shore.

  • Coastal communities get less disruption, as the number of connecting cables coming ashore is reduced.
  • Less space is needed onshore for substations.
  • Electricity from the wind farms can be directed to where it is needed or can be stored.

As an Electrical and Control Engineer, I like the MPI approach.

The technology to implement the MPI approach is very much tried and tested.

There are many references to EuroLink terminating at Friston.

Nautilus

Nautilus has a web site, where this is said.

Nautilus could connect up to 1.4 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind to each country through subsea electricity whilst connecting to offshore wind farm/s at sea. By combining offshore wind generation with interconnector capacity between the UK and Belgium, Nautilus would significantly reduce the amount of infrastructure and disruption required both onshore and offshore.

With this new technology, we hope to reduce the impact of infrastructure on local communities and the environment, as well as support the government’s net zero and energy security targets. We are already working closely with other developers in the area to coordinate activities and minimise impact on local communities. We believe that through improved coordination, the UK government can achieve and support the co-existence of renewable energy with coastal communities.

Nautilus is another MPI.

This is said on the web site.

Last year, National Grid Ventures ran a non-statutory consultation for Nautilus, which proposed a connection at Friston.

NGV holds a connection agreement on the Isle of Grain in Kent as part of its development portfolio and we are currently investigating if this could be a potential location for Nautilus. Until this is confirmed to be technically feasible, Nautilus will be included as part of our coordination work in East Suffolk.

So it looks like, Nautilus could connect to the UK grid at Friston or the Isle of Grain.

Sea Link

Sea Link has a web site, and is a proposed interconnector across the Thames Estuary between Suffolk and Kent.

This is said on the web site about the need for and design of Sea Link.

The UK electricity industry is evolving at pace to help lead the way in meeting the climate challenge, whilst also creating a secure energy supply based on renewable and low carbon technologies.

The demands on the electricity network are set to grow as other sectors of the economy diversify their energy consumption from using fossil fuels towards cleaner forms, the move towards electric vehicles being just one example.

Where we’re getting our power from is changing and we need to change too. The new sources of renewable and low-carbon energy are located along the coastline. We need to reinforce existing transmission network and build new electricity infrastructure in these areas in order to transport the power to where it’s needed. This is the case along the whole of the East Coast including Suffolk and Kent.

To allow this increase in energy generation, we need to reinforce the electricity transmission system. Sea Link helps to reinforce the electricity network across Suffolk and Kent.

Our proposals include building an offshore high voltage direct current (HVDC) link between Suffolk and Kent with onshore converter stations and connections back to the national electricity transmission system.

On the web site, in answer to a question of What Is Sea Link?, this is said.

Sea Link is an essential upgrade to Britain’s electricity network in East Anglia and Kent using subsea and underground cable. The proposal includes approximately 130km of subsea cables between Sizewell area in East Suffolk and Richborough in Kent. At landfall, the cables would go underground for up to 5 km to a converter station (one at each end). The converter station converts direct current used for the subsea section to alternating current, which our homes and businesses use. A connection is then made to the existing transmission network. In Suffolk, via the proposed Friston substation; in Kent via a direct connection to the overhead line between Richborough and Canterbury.

Note, that from Kent electricity can also be exported to the Continent.

All Cables Lead To Friston In Suffolk

It looks like EuroLink, Nautilus and Sea Link could all be connected to a new substation at Friston.

But these will not be the only cables to pass close to the village.

This Google Map shows the village.

Running South-West to North-East across the map can be seen the dual line of electricity pylons, that connect the nuclear power stations at Sizewell to the UK electricity grid.

Has Friston been chosen for the substation, so that, the various interconnectors can be connected to the power lines, that connect the Sizewell site to the UK electricity grid.

This would enable EuroLink, Nautilus and/or Sea Link to stand in for the Sizewell nuclear stations,  if they are shut down for any reason?

It does appear from reports on the Internet that the Friston substation is not welcome.

Exploring Opportunities For Coordination

The title of this section is a heading in the EuroLink web site, where this is said.

In response to stakeholder feedback, NGV’s Eurolink and Nautilus projects and NGET’s Sea Link project are exploring potential opportunities to coordinate. Coordination could range from co-location of infrastructure from different projects on the same site, to coordinating construction activities to reduce potential impacts on local communities and the environment.

That sounds very sensible.

 

December 2, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Channel Crossing Problem

My company provided the project management computer system; Artemis, that planned how both the tunnel and the rail link to London was built. So I heard numerous stories of inadequate infrastructure on both sides of the Channel.

I also for a time was a business partner of the man, who had been project manager on a previous attempt to build a Channel Tunnel, that was cancelled by Harold Wilson’s government in 1975, who had a lot of interesting input.

I have heard over the years of these inadequacies,

  • The Dartford Crossing wouldn’t be able to handle the traffic generated at busy times.
  • The Eurotunnel terminal in Folkestone wasn’t built large enough.
  • The port of Dover is too small.
  • The roads to the Port of Dover were inadequate.
  • The rail terminal at St. Pancras doesn’t have the capacity to run services to the places that are better served by train.

The government only has one major improvement in place, which is a new Thames Crossing, but that will only make matters worse, as more traffic will be tempted to cross the Channel to get to Europe.

It is my belief, that we need more innovative services to provide more capacity.

  • A German company called CargoBeamer, is developing a system, whereby unaccompanied freight trailers can be moved thousands of miles across Europe by rail. Their plans include services to Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester and Scotland.
  • I would also run a CargoBeamer service from Calais to Holyhead to create a direct freight service between Ireland and Europe.
  • Ebbsfleet needs to be developed as a destination for the Elizabeth Line and an extra terminal for both daytime and sleeper trains to Europe.
  • High speed freight trains, based on existing 160 mph EMUs could be used.
  • Given the position of the new Thames Crossing on the Isle of Grain, perhaps a new ferry port could be built on the island to partially replace Dover.
  • Could some Eurotunnel services start from Watford Gap?

We have to be bold.

July 24, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

UK-German Energy Link Reaches Financial Close

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

These are the three introductory paragraphs.

A multibillion-euro 725 km interconnector between the UK and Germany has reached financial close, paving the way for construction works to begin in the coming months.

The £2.4bn (€2.8bn) NeuConnect interconnector will form an “invisible energy highway” with subsea cables allowing up to 1.4GW of electricity to flow in either direction between the UK and Germany and will help deliver a more secure and resilient energy supply, particularly as more renewable generation is added.

Independent analysis shows the project will create over £1.7bn in UK consumer benefits over 25 years.

Other points about NeuConnect include.

  • It has been privately funded by a consortium of over twenty national and international banks.
  • It will run between the Isle of Grain and a the new Fedderwarden substation in Wilhelmshaven.
  • It should be operational in 2028.

Although, it is bi-directional, it appears that one of its major uses will be to provide Germany with UK wind energy to compensate for the loss of Putin’s bloodstained gas.

July 21, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , | Leave a comment

UK Energy Exports To Europe At Record High

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

Britain has exported record amounts of gas to Europe so far this year as its liquefied natural gas terminals receive shipments destined for the Continent.

Electricity exports also have surged to unprecedented highs in recent weeks after an unexpected glut of gas pushed down short-term gas prices and resulted in gas-fired power plants generating more for export.

Who’d have thought it, that all those gas pipelines and electricity interconnectors between the UK and the Continent of Europe would be part of the replacementliqui for Russian gas.

According to Wikipedia, we have three liquified natural gas terminals; two at Milford Haven; South Hook and Dragon, and Grain on the Isle of Grain.

Note.

  1. South Hook is Europe’s largest liquified natural gas terminal and is owned by a partnership of the Qataris, ExxonMobil and Elf.
  2. South Hook and Dragon together can provide 25 % of the UK’s natural gas needs.
  3. Grain is owned by National Grid and according to Wikipedia, is in terms of storage capacity it is the largest LNG facility in Europe and the eighth largest in the world.
  4. Grain can supply 20 % of the UK’s natural gas needs.
  5. Grain has a reloading facility, so that gas can be exported.
  6. Grain seems to be continually expanding.
  7. Both Milford Haven and the Isle of Grain have large gas-fired power-stations.

Politicians say we don’t have enough gas storage, but we do seem to have world-class LNG terminals.

I have a couple of extra thoughts.

Blending Natural Gas With Hydrogen

HyDeploy is a project investigated blending hydrogen natural gas to cut carbon emissions. The project is described in this post called HyDeploy.

Surely, these terminals could be places, where hydrogen is blended with our natural gas supply.

  • The terminals are connected to the UK gas network.
  • Both Milford Haven and the Isle of Grain should have access to large amounts of offshore wind energy in the next few years, which could be used to generate green hydrogen.
  • The terminals would need electrolysers to generate the hydrogen.

The Isle of Grain already has a blending capability.

NeuConnect

NeuConnect is an under-development interconnector between the Isle of Grain in Kent and Wilhelmshaven in Germany.

  • It will have a capacity 1.4 GW.
  • All the planning permissions seem to be in place.
  • Prysmian have won a € 1.2 million contract to deliver the interconnector.
  • Arup and German engineering firm Fichtner have formed a joint venture to provide project services for the interconnector.
  • Construction could start this year.

It looks like the Germans will be replacing some of Putin’s bloodstained gas with clean zero-carbon energy from the UK.

Should We Develop More Gas Fields?

There are some gas fields in the seas around the UK, like Jackdaw, that could be developed.

Suppose, we extracted the gas and sent it to the reloading terminal on the Isle of Grain through the gas transmission network, where it could be exported by ship, to the Continent.

The UK would not be increasing its carbon emissions, as that would surely be the responsibility of the end-user.

Should We Develop More Gas Fired Power-Stations?

I believe it is possible to develop carbon-capture technology for gas-fired power stations.

The carbon dioxide would be either used in a beneficial way or stored in perhaps a worked-out gas field under the North Sea.

So long as no carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, I don’t see why more gas-fired power stations shouldn’t be developed.

What is happening at Keadby near Scunthorpe would appear to be one model for zero-carbon power generation.

Keadby Power Station

 

This is an existing

Conclusion

We will be exporting more energy to the Continent.

May 20, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Effort To Contain Costs For Hoo Reopening

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in the April 2022 Edition of Modern Railways.

This is the first paragraph.

Medway Council is working with Network Rail and other industry players in an effort to make restoration of a passenger service to Hoo on the Isle of Grain branch feasible. The Council was awarded £170 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund in 2020 to support schemes to facilitate building of 12,000 new houses in the area, with £63 million of the HIF money for reinstatement of services on the Hoo Branch.

The article mentions, this new infrastructure.

  • A new station South of the former Sharnal Street station.
  • Works to level crossings, of which there are six between Gravesend station and proposed site of the new Hoo station.
  • A passing place at Hoo Junction, where the branch joins the North Kent Line.
  • A passing place at Cooling Street.

Note.

  1. The single-platform Bow Street station cost £8 million.
  2. The single-platform Soham station cost nearly £22 million, but it has a bridge.
  3. Reopening the Okehampton branch and refurbishing Okehampton station cost £40 million.

I think costs will be very tight.

Possible Train Services

This is said in the article about the train service on the branch.

While third rail electrification was originally proposed, this idea has been discarded in favour of self-powered trains on the branch, such as battery-operated trains. Possible destinations include Gravesend, Northfleet or Ebbsfleet for interchange with trains going to London, or extension of London to Dartford or Gravesend services over the branch, using hybrid third-rail/battery trains.

Consider.

  • Merseyrail will be using battery-electric trains to provide services to the new Headbolt Lane station, as permission was not available for extending the existing third-rail track.
  • Electrification would probably cost more than providing a charging system at Hoo station.
  • Turning the trains at Gravesend, Northfleet or Ebbsfleet could be difficult and a new bay platform would probably break the budget.
  • Both Dartford and Gravesend have two trains per hour (tph), that could be extended to the new Hoo station.
  • Hoo junction to Hoo station is no more than five or six miles.
  • There are also half-a-dozen level crossings on the route, which I doubt the anti-thord rail brigade would not want to be electrified.
  • The Dartford services have a possible advantage in that they stop at Abbey Wood station for Crossrail.
  • It may be easier to run services through Gravesend station, if the terminating service from Charing Cross were to be extended to Hoo station.
  • A two tph service between London Charing Cross and Hoo stations, with intermediate stops at at least London Bridge, Lewisham, Abbey Wood and Dartford would probably be desirable.

I feel that the most affordable way to run trains to Hoo station will probably be to use battery-electric trains, which are extended from Gravesend.

It may even be possible to run trains to Hoo station without the need of a charging system at the station, which would further reduce the cost of infrastructure.

Possible Trains

Consider.

  • According to Wikipedia, stopping Gravesend services are now run by Class 376, Class 465, Class 466 and Class 707 trains.
  • Real Time Trains indicate that Gravesend services are run by pathed for 90 mph trains.
  • Class 376, Class 465 and Class 466 trains are only 75 mph trains.
  • Class 707 trains are 100 mph trains and only entered service in 2017.

I wonder, if Siemens designed these trains to be able to run on battery power, as several of their other trains can use batteries, as can their New Tube for London.

In Thoughts On The Power System For The New Tube for London, I said this.

This article on Rail Engineer is entitled London Underground Deep Tube Upgrade.

This is an extract.

More speculatively, there might be a means to independently power a train to the next station, possibly using the auxiliary battery, in the event of traction power loss.

Batteries in the New Tube for London would have other applications.

  • Handling regenerative braking.
  • Moving trains in sidings and depots with no electrification.

It should be born in mind, that battery capacity for a given weight of battery will increase before the first New Tube for London runs on the Piccadilly line around 2023.

A battery-electric train with a range of fifteen miles and regenerative braking to battery would probably be able to handle a return trip to Hoo station.

An Update In The July 2022 Edition Of Modern Railways

This is said on page 75.

More positive is the outlook for restoration of passenger services on the Hoo branch, where 12,000 new houses are proposed and Medway Council is looking to build a new station halfway down the branch to serve them. As the branch is unelectrified, one idea that has been looked at is a shuttle with a Vivarail battery train or similar, turning round at Gravesend or another station on the main line.

Steve White worries that this could mean spending a lot of money on infrastructure work and ending up with what would be a sub-optimal solution. ‘Do people really want to sit on a train for 10 minutes before having to get out and change onto another train? I don’t think so. Ideally what you want is through trains to London, by extending the Gravesend terminators to Hoo.’

That would require a battery/third rail hybrid unit, but Mr. White thinks that is far from an outlandish proposal; with Networker replacement on the horizon, a small bi-mode sub-fleet could dovetail neatly with a stock renewal programme. Medway Council and rail industry representatives are working on coming up with a solution for Hoo that could do what it does best; facilitating economic regeneration in a local area.

Note that Steve White is Managing Director of Southeastern.

I’ll go along with what he says!

Conclusion

I believe that a well-designed simple station and branch line could be possible within the budget.

A battery-electric upgrade to Class 707 trains could be a solution.

But the trains could be very similar to those needed for Uckfield and to extend electric services in Scotland.

May 2, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

NeuConnect Awards Two Major Contracts

This page on the NeuConnect web site is entitled NeuConnect Awards Over £1.5 billion Of Major Contracts As First Ever UK-German Energy Link Moves An Important Step Closer.

NeuConnect is a proposed interconnector between England and Germany.

  • It will have a capacity of 1.4 GW.
  • The interconnector will be around 450 miles long.
  • It will be HVDC, like many similar undersea power cables.
  • As the title says, it will be the first-ever UK-German energy link.

Wikipedia describes the route like this.

The cable will run between the Greystones substation on the Isle of Grain, in Kent in England to the new Fedderwarden substation in Wilhelmshaven in the Lower Saxony region of Germany. Landfall will be next to Grain Coastal Park, in Kent, and at Hooksiel, near Wilhemshaven in Germany.

Two contracts have been awarded.

  • The contract to design, manufacture, install, test and commission the 725km interconnector has been awarded to Prysmian Group.
  • The contract to design and build two converter stations in the UK and Germany has been awarded to Siemens Energy.

This sounds like a very simple plan to add an important interconnector between the UK and Germany.

I have some observations and thoughts.

The Isle Of Grain

The Isle of Grain is described in Wikipedia like this.

Isle of Grain (Old English Greon, meaning gravel) is a village and the easternmost point of the Hoo Peninsula within the district of Medway in Kent, south-east England. No longer an island and now forming part of the peninsula, the area is almost all marshland and is a major habitat for diverse wetland birds. The village constitutes a civil parish, which at the 2011 census had a population of 1,648, a net decrease of 83 people in 10 years.

Apart for the birds, over the last few decades it has been home to the following.

  • Until 1982, it was the location of a BP oil refinery.
  • In the 1990s, the isle was used to make the segments for the lining of the Channel Tunnel.
  • Following completion of the Channel Tunnel, the site is now part-occupied by Thamesport, the UK’s third largest container port.
  • Next to the former BP site is Grain Power Station, built in the 1970s, which previously burnt oil.
  • This power station was demolished in the 2015 and replaced with a 1.275 GW gas-fired power station.
  • Another major installation is a new Grain Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import facility, which takes heat from the gas-fired power station.
  • The Isle of Grain is the landing point for the BritNed undersea power cable between The Netherlands and the UK.

The Google Map shows the Isle of Grain.

Note.

  1. Thamesport is in the South-West corner
  2. To its North is the LNG import facility.
  3. To the North-East of Thamesport is the 735 MW Medway power station.
  4. There is a rail connection to Hoo Junction on the North Kent Line.

This second Google Map shows the Eastern side of the Isle.

Note.

  1. Grain Coastal Park, where NeuConnect will make landfall, is marked by the green arrow at the top of the map.
  2. Towards the South-Eastern corner of the map is the 1.275 GW Grain gas-fired power station.
  3. To the East of the power station, there is more switchgear than you see in a bad Frankenstein film.
  4. The smaller square at the bottom with the two white squares could be the converter station for the BritNed interconnector.

I am sure there is space on the island for a connection for NeuConnect.

There is also a total of 2.01 GW of gas-fired power stations on the Isle of Grain.

Wind Power In The Thames Estuary

This Google Map shows the Thames Estuary.

Note that the red arrow indicates the Isle of Grain.

This map from Wikipedia shows the wind farms in the area.

These are the ones that are operational.

  • 2 – East Anglia Array – 714 MW
  • 8 – Greater Gabbard – 504 MW
  • 9 – Gunfleet Sands – 184 MW
  • 13 – Kentish Flats – 140 MW
  • 15 – London Array – 630 MW
  • 27 – Thanet – 300 MW

Note.

  1. The Isle of Grain is just above the second o in London.
  2. I have ignored the Ramplion wind farm (21!), as it is too far from the Isle of Grain.
  3. This is a total of nearly 2.5 GW.

Planned extensions in the area include.

  • East Anglia Array – 3.1 GW – Completion date of 2026

But the Wikipedia entry for the East Anglia Array says this about the wind farm.

The target capacity for the entire East Anglia Zone is 7200 MW which could require up to 1200 turbines.

Could we see one of the following?

  • A connector from the East Anglia Array to the Isle of Grain.
  • One or more new wind farms in the Thames Estuary connected to the Isle of Grain.
  • German investment in a wind farm or farms connected to the Isle of Grain.

The Isle of Grain could become an island of energy providing power for London, the South-East of England, Germany and The Netherlands.

An Electrolyser On The Isle Of Grain

Consider.

  • There will be plenty of renewable electricity.
  • As there is a liquified natural gas terminal, there is plenty of gas storage.
  • One or both of the gas-fired power stations can be converted to run on hydrogen.
  • As more and more trucks are converted to hydrogen, there will be a large demand for hydrogen for heavy transport.

This must surely make a large electrolyser on the Isle of Grain a possibility.

The BritNed Interconnector

The BritNed interconnector is described like this in Wikipedia.

BritNed is a 1,000 MW high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) submarine power cable between the Isle of Grain in Kent, the United Kingdom; and Maasvlakte in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The BritNed interconnector would serve as a link for the foreseeable European super grid project.

Up to now, most of the electricity flow has been to the UK.

But surely, as more wind farms are developed power will flow the other way.

Wilhelmshaven Will Be A German Hub For Green Hydrogen

In Uniper To Make Wilhelmshaven German Hub For Green Hydrogen; Green Ammonia Import Terminal, I described plans by the Germans for a hydrogen hub at Wilhelmshaven.

The original story came from an article with the same name on Green Car Congress.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Under the name “Green Wilhelmshaven,” Germany-based international energy company Uniper plans to establish a German national hub for hydrogen in Wilhelmshaven and is working on a corresponding feasibility study.

Plans include an import terminal for green ammonia. The terminal will be equipped with an ammonia cracker for producing green hydrogen and will also be connected to the planned hydrogen network. A 410-megawatt electrolysis plant is also planned, which—in combination with the import terminal—would be capable of supplying around 295,000 metric tons or 10% of the demand expected for the whole of Germany in 2030.

As I said in the original post, I’m not happy about green ammonia, but the 1.4 GW NeuConnect interconnector has more than enough power to run a 410 MW electrolyser plant at full capacity.

It could even run three electrolysers of this size.

Hooksiel And Wilhelmshaven

NeuConnect will make landfall at Hooksiel.

This Google Map shows Hooksiel and Wilhelmshaven.

Note.

  1. Hooksiel is the village outlined in red.
  2. The water to the right of the map is the Jade Bight.
  3. The square block sticking out into the bight appears to be a container port.
  4. There appears to be chemical works or oil refineries North of the port.
  5. Wilhelmshaven is the town to the South of the port.

There would appear to be plenty of space for Uniper to construct Green Wilhelmshaven.

German And UK Wind Power Production

According to this page on Wikipedia, which is entitled Wind Power By Country, in 2020, these were installed wind power in various countries.

  • Germany – 62,184 MW
  • Spain – 27,089 MW
  • UK – 24,665 MW
  • France – 17,382 MW
  • Italy – 10,389 MW
  • Netherlands – 6,600 MW

In 2020 we were 37.5 GW behind Germany.

It looks like we’ll commission 3.3 GW this year and 6.1 in 2023, with Wikipedia saying that 12.9 GW is under development, which should close the gap to a certain extent.

In ScotWind Offshore Wind Leasing Delivers Major Boost To Scotland’s Net Zero Aspirations, I described how Scotland will add 15.1 GW of floating and 9.7 GW of fixed foundation offshore wind.

It looks like initially, we’ll be buying German wind-generated electricity, but in the future the direction could easily change around.

Boris And Olaf

There were mumblings from Boris, that energy was talked about in their meeting in Downing Street last week.

It does appear there is a lot of ways that the UK and Germany can co-operate in the future with respect to energy.

  • German finance can be used to build wind farms in UK waters.
  • German companies can build the turbines and the interconnectors we need to develop vast offshore wind farms.
  • We can supply surplus energy to Germany through the NeuConnect interconnector.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Boris and Olaf had signed a very comprehensive energy co-operation agreement.

 

April 11, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments