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.


  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.


  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.


  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.


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.


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

A Trip To Sheppey

Yesterday, I went to Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey.

These are pictures from the trip.

It was a change to go to the island for a walk by the sea, as normally in the past, I’d gone for a funeral of some of my late wife’s relatives.


Related Posts

A Design Crime – Ebbsfleet International Station

A Twelve-Car Ready Railway

Along The North Kent Line

Between Abbey Wood And Belvedere Stations

Connecting North Kent And The Medway Towns To Ebbsfleet International Station

Extending Crossrail To Gravesend

Rainham (Kent) Station

Thameslink To Rainham

The Sheppey Crossing

Through The Medway Towns

What Do You Do With A Problem Like Sheppey?

September 22, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 11 Comments

Sittingbourne Station

Sittingbourne station is the next major station after Rainham station, as you go East on the Chatham Main line.

It doesn’t want for much more, as it has three long platforms, a step-free footbridge and most of the things a good station needs.

It is the station that connects the Sheerness Line to the Chatham Main Line.

So would it be a better idea to run the Thameslink service to Sittingbourne instead of Rainham?

The trains could even co-ordinate with the shuttle train to Sheerness.

It is a possibility, but Sittingbourne has five trains per hour (tph) going into London and they all pass over the bottleneck of the the level crossing at Rainham station.

I discuss this more in What Do You Do With A Problem Like Sheppey?

September 22, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

What Do You Do With A Problem Like Sheppey?

I enjoyed my trip yesterday to Sheerness, that I wrote about in A Trip To Sheppey.

It was a change to go to the island for a walk by the sea, as normally in the past, I’d gone for a funeral of some of my late wife’s relatives.

As someone, who partly grew up in Felixstowe, a lot of what I saw was all too familiar.

Sheerness station has some good points.

  • It is a short walk from the sea front.
  • It has two platforms, that can take eight-car trains.
  • The service of two trains per hour (tph) to Sittingbourne station is adequate in terms of frequency, but possibly not capacity.
  • The junction with the Chatham Main Line allows trains to go to Sittingbourne or the Medway Towns and London.
  • There are a few direct trains to and from London in the Peak.
  • The staff I met, were welcoming and competent.

But the station is pitifully short of facilities and if ever there was a station that needed an imaginative makeover it is Sheerness station.

Felixstowe station was a similar basket case and they converted it into a mini-shopping centre. At least Sheerness has a decent train service, which is twice the frequency and four times the capacity of the rail service between Ipswich and Felixstowe.

Sheerness itself has the air of a town that has seen better days, which I’ve seen in places like Blackpool, Felixstowe, Hastings, Redcar and Yasrmouth in the past and also in the last few years.

As a coeliac, I didn’t find anywhere that could sell me a gluten-free meal, so lunch was just a banana and the worst cup of tea, I’ve ever been served in the UK.

But is help at hand?

This article in Rail Magazine is entitled Maynard cites importance of rail links to coastal towns talks about how the new Rail Minister thinks good rail links to coastal towns are important.

When I was staying with my parents in Felixstowe in the early 1960s, because there were only a few trains a day, I felt trapped and usually stayed at our other house in London.

So I know how it feels to have poor rail links to coastal towns, which often lack the facilities people need.

Good rail links also attract visitors and visitors these days, often come with those two space-eaters on trains; buggies and bicycles.

But it’s not just coastal towns that have this problem, it’s also branch lines that go into scenic countryside too.

Improving The Train Service To The Coast And The Hills

Coastal and hill towns like Sheerness and others like Blackpool, Clitheroe, Colne, Cromer, Felixstowe, Harwich, Walton-on-the-Naze and Yarmouth, often have rail services with a variety of needs.

  • Leisure traffic with lots of buggies and bicycles.
  • Commuter traffic in the peaks.
  • Daytime shoppers.
  • Evening travellers going to and from the cinema, theatre and nightlife of the bigger towns.

As many coastal towns are in flat country, many travellers might be easily tempted to ride to the station.

I’ve not seen any figures, but I suspect that passenger numbers are strongly driven by the weather and events.

This leads me to the belief that coastal towns need a turn-up-and-go service to the local major town or city, using a train designed for the job.

The Leisure/Commuter Train

We need a properly-designed train, that caters for the needs of leisure and commuter traffic.

  • Probably four-cars with the usual facilities.
  • Lots of space for bicycles and buggies.
  • Preferably with the capacity to travel perhaps fifty kilometres without electrification.

Something like most later Electrostars and the new Aventras could be suitably configured.

The current configuration of say a Class 375/377/379/397 Electrostar does not satisfy the need of the difficult mixed market, as it is geared to taking lots of commuters to and from work.

In the case of the Sheerness Line, which is electrified, a couple of Class 377 trains would be ideal for modification for the market. I suspect, that they may even be in Southeastern’s plans to run these trains on the line, when they receive a few more from GTR.

Designed properly, it would also be good for commuting to the nearer major towns.

Improving The Service To Sheerness

Although current figures probably show that two-car trains running with a frequency of 2 tph is sufficient and that if they were four-car trains, they certainly would be, I would think that if there were four tph serving Sheerness, that this would be a traffic magnet par excellence.

One of the problems is that I suspect many of the travellers from the Sheerness Line want to go to to Sittingbourne for work, leisure or family reasons.

As trains going direct to London or the Medway Towns from Sheerness can’t easily call at Sittingbourne, a train going from Sheerness to Rochester would have to reverse at Sittingbourne. This would not be ideal.

So perhaps the solution would be to keep the shuttle at 2 tph and add a second service from Sheerness that goes west on the Chatham Main Line.

The problem of going West is where do you turn the train.

The line from Sittingbourne to Gravesend carries about 8 tph and as none of the stations have an Eastward facing bay platform,, no-one is going to want a shuttle from Sheerness interrupting the long distance traffic.

In my view, there are two possibilities.

  • Dartford serves as a terminus for trains from London and could probably accommodate some from the other direction.
  • Ebbsfleet International could probably turn the required number of trains, in its current platforms 5 and 6.

Both have their advantages.

I would plump for Ebbsfleet International, as this would give 4 tph between the Medway Towns and Continental services.

I do wonder if direct services to London Victoria would continue if Sheerness had a connection to the Medway Towns.

Rochester will have the following connections to London.

  • 3 tph to London Victoria.
  • 2 tph to London Charing Cross and London Bridge, which will be 3 tph from 2018.
  • 2 tph to London St. Pancras.

I think that someone with all the data and knowledge could create a very passenger-friendly service to Sheerness from all over London.

Related Posts

A Design Crime – Ebbsfleet International Station

A Trip To Sheppey

A Twelve-Car Ready Railway

Along The North Kent Line

Between Abbey Wood And Belvedere Stations

Connecting North Kent And The Medway Towns To Ebbsfleet International Station

Extending Crossrail To Gravesend

Rainham (Kent) Station

Thameslink To Rainham

Through The Medway Towns



September 22, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 9 Comments

The Sheppey Crossing

The Sheppey Crossing is the bridge onto the island for road traffic.

Note the towers of the older Kingsferry Bridge, which carries the railway across. It is a rare vertical-lift bridge that carries both road and railway.

One of the others of this type in the UK is the Newport Bridge on Teesside.

The Newport Lifting Bridge

The Newport Lifting Bridge

I wrote about it in The Tees Bridges and Barrage in 2010.

September 22, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment