The Anonymous Widower

The First Of The Cavalry Arrive To Rescue Kwasi Kwarteng

Most commentators think Kwasi Kwarteng is in trouble, but I feel that he has the strength of the mathematics around him.

This press release from BP was released on Wednesday and is entitled UK Offshore Wind: Laying The Groundwork Today.

These two paragraphs outline the work BP are doing to develop wind power in the Irish Sea.

Plans are critical, but it’s putting them into action that counts. As part of our strategy to get wind turbines turning, specialist vessels and crew are out on the Irish Sea undertaking massive seabed survey work. It’s an early but important step on the road to building some of the UK’s biggest offshore wind farms.

 

Once up and running, our Morgan and Mona projects could deliver enough capacity to power 3.4 million homes with clean electricity and help the UK to meet its climate goals. Their near-shore location – around 30 kilometres off the coast of northwest England and north Wales – will allow for lower-cost, more reliable transmission infrastructure, making them a core part of our plans for more secure and lower carbon energy for the UK.

This EnBW-BP infographic describes the project.

 

Note.

  1. BP’s partner is EnBW, who are a publicly-traded German energy company.
  2. There is a project web site.
  3. The press release and the graphic are showing the same numbers.
  4. Morgan and Mona will use proven fixed-foundation wind turbine technology.
  5. The combined site is around 800 km² or a square of under thirty kilometers, so it is only quite small in the context of the Irish Sea.
  6. First operation is given on the web site as 2028.

As BP and enBW have massive financial, engineering and project management resources, I believe they will look to bring the 2028 operation date as far forward as is possible.

If you do the cash flow for a project like this, especially when you have the financial and engineering resources of BP and enBW, the mathematics show that if you can accelerate the installation of the turbines, you will start to have a cashflow earlier and this will finance the debt needed to install the wind farms.

Consider.

  • I believe the 2028 date, is one that BP know they can keep, to satisfy the Stock Market and investors.
  • BP have large cash flows from their profitable oil and gas businesses.
  • BP have probably reserved places in the manufacturing queues for wind turbines, foundations and all the electrical gubbins to connect the turbines to shore.
  • BP want to prove to themselves and sceptics, that they can handle the building of wind farms.
  • The are already lots of wind farms along the North Wales Coast, so I suspect that the problems of building wind farms in the Irish Sea are well known.

I will not speculate on the date that Mona and Morgan are complete, but I very much doubt it will be in 2028.

These are some more thoughts from the BP press release.

What’s Happening And Why?

The purpose of these deep geotechnical investigations, carried out by specialist Geo-data company Fugro, up to 100 metres below the seabed is to determine soil characteristics for foundation design (find out how it’s done in the short film, above). Collecting this data will enable bp and EnBW to build efficient offshore wind farms with the least environmental impact. It is crucial for securing government consents for the projects and defining the structure and location of the individual turbines.

Even thirty kilometres off shore, there needs to be detailed planning permission.

Our Other Offshore Wind Projects

We aim to become a leader in offshore wind and, over the past three years, we’ve built up a pipeline of projects with partners in both the US and UK that have the potential to power more than 5 million homes.

And earlier this year, we agreed to form a partnership with Marubeni to explore an offshore wind development in Japan.

It’s all part of our aim to have 20GW of developed renewable generating capacity by 2025 and 50GW by 2030 – that’s broadly enough to power the needs of 36 million people.

Note.

  1. Their ambitions are high, but then so much of the experience of offshore oil and gas can be applied to offshore wind.
  2. BP has the cashflow from oil and gas to reinvent itself.
  3. Assuming a strike price of £40/MWh and an average capacity factor of 30 %, that is an income of around five billion pounds for starters.
  4. If they added energy storage to the wind farms, there’s even more money to be generated.

As Equinor, Ørsted and SSE have shown, you have to be big in this business and BP aim to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest.

Conclusion

Wind farms like Mona and Morgan, and there are several under development, will create the electricity and revenue, that will come to the rescue of the Chancellor.

As I update this after a busy day, it looks like Jeremy Hunt has inherited KK’s excellent groundwork and mathematics.

 

October 14, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Accelerating The Delivery Of Offshore Wind Farms

It is one of Kwasi Kwarteng’s ambitions to accelerate the delivery of offshore wind farms.

In The Growth Plan 2022, these groups of wind farms are mentioned.

  • Remaining Round 3 Projects
  • Round 4 Projects
  • Extension Projects
  • Scotwind Projects
  • INTOG Projects
  • Floating Wind Commercialisation Projects
  • Celtic Sea Projects

My thinking in this post, will probably apply to all of these groups.

These are my thoughts.

Accelerating Delivery Of A Wind Farm

This will have these positive effects.

  • Electricity will be delivered earlier.
  • Customers will have a more secure supply of electricity.
  • The wind farm owner will start to be paid for their electricity.
  • The Crown Estate will start to be paid for their leases. Although, these might start at signing.
  • National Grid will be paid for the transmission of the electricity.
  • An energy storage company could be paid for storing surplus electricity.
  • Construction teams and engineers can move on to the next project.
  • Expensive construction hardware like ship-mounted cranes will no longer be needed.
  • I also suspect that the government will raise some taxes from the various companies involved.

It looks like it’ll be winners all round.

How Will Delivery Be Accelerated?

These are some thoughts.

Overall Project Time

In How Long Does It Take To Build An Offshore Wind Farm?, I came to these conclusions.

  • It will take six years or less from planning consent to commissioning.
  • It will take two years or less from the start of construction to commissioning.

I suspect that as we have been building offshore wind farms for some years, that it will be very difficult to reduce these times significantly.

But as some wind farms take quite a few years to progress from the initial proposal to planning consent, I suspect that improvements to the planning process may speed up the overall construction time of a wind farm.

Project And Resource Management

Good project and resource management will always help.

Better Design And Construction Methods

I always remember in the early days of North Sea Oil, being told by a very experienced project manager that construction of production platforms was accelerated by the availability of larger and more powerful cranes.

Are we approaching the design of the ultimate wind farm? I doubt it, as in the last few months, I’ve seen two very radical new designs.

In Hexicon Wins UK’s First Ever CfD Auction For Floating Offshore Wind, I show this image of one of their TwinHub turbine installations being towed into place.

The TwinHub home page has a title of The First Floating Offshore Wind Project in The Celtic Sea.

This is the description on the page.

The TwinHub offshore wind demonstration project intends to prove how Hexicon’s innovative design with two turbines on one floating foundation can further reduce the Levelized Cost of Energy (also referred to as LCoE) before large scale commercialisation. The TwinHub project is a stepping stone to help kick-start floating wind in the Celtic Sea, an area identified as a hotspot for floating wind by the UK Government. It will pave the path for larger and larger projects to help support The Crown Estates’ ambitious target of 4GW of floating wind in the Celtic Sea.

Scroll the page down and there is a fascinating short video of a pair of wind turbines in operation.

  • It appears that when there is no wind, it automatically goes into a safe parked mode.
  • As the wind rises, one turbine starts up.
  • The second turbine starts up and the float turns so they face the wind.

It appears to be a classic example of disruptive innovation.

I have a feeling that this type of installation might have generation, assembly and cost advantages over a single turbine mounted on a single float.

RCAM Technologies are also creating interesting designs for mounting turbines and energy storage using 3D-printed concrete.

What Ts The UK Government Doing To Accelerate Projects?

This article on offshoreWIND.biz, was published in late September 2022 and is entitled BREAKING: UK Puts Massive Amount Of New Offshore Wind Capacity On Fast Track and this is the first paragraph.

The UK will speed up planning and development consent processes for projects from the recently completed, currently ongoing, and upcoming (floating) offshore wind leasing rounds to bring new energy capacity online faster and facilitate economic growth and job creation.

The article is based on what Kwasi Kwateng said on the 23rd of September about speeding up projects in the 2022 Growth Plan.

A Quick Summary Of Our Wind Energy

The article has this paragraph, which summarises our wind energy.

For the UK, which currently has around 14 GW of offshore wind capacity in operation and 8 GW under construction, the projects from the listed auction rounds could bring well beyond the targeted capacity for 2030, which was recently raised to 50 GW.

I can see the target being raised again to at least 60 GW.

 

September 30, 2022 Posted by | Design, Energy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Update To Will We Run Out Of Power This Winter?

My Methods

Project Timescales For Wind Farms

In How Long Does It Take To Build An Offshore Wind Farm?, I came to these conclusions.

  • It will take six years or less from planning consent to commissioning.
  • It will take two years or less from the start of construction to commissioning.

I shall use these timescales, as any accelerations by the government, will only reduce them.

Dates

If a date is something like 2024/25, I will use the latest date. i.e. 2025 in this example.

The Update

In Will We Run Out Of Power This Winter?, which I wrote in July this year, I did a calculation of how much renewable energy would come on stream in the next few years.

I summarised the amount of new renewable energy coming on stream like this.

  • 2022 – 3200 MW
  • 2023 – 1500 MW
  • 3024 – 2400 MW
  • 2025 – 6576 MW
  • 2026 – 1705 MW
  • 2027 – 7061 GW

This totals to 22442 MW.

But I had made two omissions.

  • Hornsea 3 wind farm will add 2582 MW in 2026/27.
  • Hinckley Point C nuclear power station will add 3260 MW in 2027.

Ørsted have also brought forward the completion date of the Sofia wind farm to 2023, which moves 1400 GW from 2024 to 2023.

The new renewables summary figures have now changed to.

  • 2022 – 3200 MW
  • 2023 – 2925 MW
  • 3024 – 1326 MW
  • 2025 – 6576 MW
  • 2026 – 1705 MW
  • 2027 – 13173 MW

This totals to 28554 MW.

Note.

  1. The early delivery of the Sofia wind farm has increased the amount of wind farms coming onstream next year, which will help the Winter of 2023/2024.
  2. It will also help the Liz Truss/Kwasi Kwarteng government at the next election, that should take place in early 2025.
  3. Hornsea 3 and Hinckley Point C make 2027 a big year for new renewable energy commissioning.

By 2027, we have more than doubled our renewable energy generation.

The Growth Plan 2022

In this document from the Treasury, the following groups of wind farms are listed for acceleration.

  • Remaining Round 3 Projects
  • Round 4 Projects
  • Extension Projects
  • Scotwind Projects
  • INTOG Projects
  • Floating Wind Commercialisation Projects
  • Celtic Sea Projects

I will look at each in turn.

Remaining Round 3 Projects

In this group are the the 1200 MW Dogger Bank B and Dogger Bank C wind farms, which are due for commissioning in 2024/25.

Suppose that as with the Sofia wind farm in the same area, they were to be able to be brought forward by a year.

The new renewables summary figures would change to.

  • 2022 – 3200 MW
  • 2023 – 2925 MW
  • 3024 – 3726 MW
  • 2025 – 5076 MW
  • 2026 – 1705 MW
  • 2027 – 13173 MW

This totals to 28554 MW.

It looks like if Dogger Bank B and Dogger Bank C can be accelerated by a year, it has four effects.

  • The renewables come onstream at a more constant rate.
  • SSE and Equinor, who are developing the Dogger Bank wind farms start to get paid earlier.
  • The UK gets more electricity earlier, which helps bridge the gap until Hornsea 3 and Hinckley Point C come onstream in 2027.
  • The UK Government gets taxes and lease fees from the Dogger Bank wind farms at an earlier date.

Accelerating the remaining Round 3 projects would appear to be a good idea.

Round 4 Projects

According to Wikipedia’s list of proposed wind farms, there are six Round 4 wind farms, which total up to 7026 MW.

Accelerating these projects, is probably a matter of improved government regulations and pressure, and good project management.

But all time savings in delivering the wind farms benefits everybody all round.

This document from the Department of Business, Industry and Industrial Strategy lists all the Contracts for Difference Allocation Round 4 results for the supply of zero-carbon electricity.

Many of these projects are smaller projects and I suspect quite a few are shovel ready.

But as with the big wind farms, there are some projects that can be brought forward to everybody’s benefit.

Norfolk Boreas

Norfolk Boreas wind farm is one of the Round 4 projects.

The wind farm is shown as 1400 MW on Wikipedia.

On the web site, it now says construction will start in 2023, which could mean a completion by 2025, as these projects seem to take about two years from first construction to commissioning, as I showed in How Long Does It Take To Build An Offshore Wind Farm?.

The new renewables summary figures would change to.

  • 2022 – 3200 MW
  • 2023 – 2925 MW
  • 3024 – 3726 MW
  • 2025 – 6476 MW
  • 2026 – 1705 MW
  • 2027 – 11773 MW

This still totals to 28554 MW.

This acceleration of a large field would be beneficial, as the 2025 figure has increased substantially.

I would suspect that Vattenfall are looking hard to accelerate their Norfolk projects.

Extension Projects

I first talked about extension projects in Offshore Wind Extension Projects 2017.

The target was to add 2.85 GW of offshore wind and in the end seven projects were authorised.

These are the best figures I have and they add up to an interim total of 3359 MW.

I suspect that these projects could be easy to accelerate, as the developers have probably been designing these extensions since 2017.

I think it is reasonable to assume that these seven wind farms will add at least 3000 MW, that can be commissioned by 2027.

The new renewables summary figures would change to.

  • 2022 – 3200 MW
  • 2023 – 2925 MW
  • 3024 – 3726 MW
  • 2025 – 6476 MW
  • 2026 – 1705 MW
  • 2027 – 14773 MW

This now totals to 31554 MW.

Accelerating the extension projects would be a good idea, especially, as they were awarded some years ago, so are probably well into the design phase.

ScotWind Projects

I first talked about ScotWind in ScotWind Offshore Wind Leasing Delivers Major Boost To Scotland’s Net Zero Aspirations.

It was planned to do the following.

  • Generate 9.7 GW from six wind farms with fixed foundations.
  • Generate 14.6 GW from ten floating wind farms.

But since then three more floating wind farms with a total capacity of 2800 MW have been added, as I wrote about in Three Shetland ScotWind Projects Announced.

I suspect that some of these projects are ripe for acceleration and some may well be generating useful electricity by 2030 or even earlier.

INTOG Projects

I wrote about INTOG in What Is INTOG?.

I can see the INTOG Projects contributing significantly to our fleet of offshore wind turbines.

I have already found a 6 GW/£30 billion project to decarbonise oil and gas rigs around our shores, which is proposed by Cerulean Winds and described on this web page.

If the other large INTOG projects are as good as this one, then we’ll be seeing some sensational engineering.

Floating Wind Commercialisation Projects

This page on the Carbon Trust website is entitled Floating Wind Joint Industry Programme (JIP).

They appear to be very much involved in projects like these.

The page has this description.

The Floating Wind Joint Industry Programme is a world leading collaborative research and development (R&D) initiative dedicated to overcoming technological challenges and advancing commercialisation of floating offshore wind.

This graphic shows the partners and advisors.

Most of the big wind farm builders and turbine and electrical gubbins manufacturers are represented.

Celtic Sea Projects

The Celtic Sea lies between South-East Ireland, Pembrokeshire and the Devon and Cornwall peninsular.

The Crown Estate kicked this off with press release in July 2022, that I wrote about in The Crown Estate Announces Areas Of Search To Support Growth Of Floating Wind In The Celtic Sea.

This map shows the five areas of search.

One Celtic Sea project has already been awarded a Contract for Difference in the Round 4 allocation, which I wrote about in Hexicon Wins UK’s First Ever CfD Auction For Floating Offshore Wind.

Other wind farms have already been proposed for the Celtic Sea.

In DP Energy And Offshore Wind Farms In Ireland, I said this.

They are also developing the Gwynt Glas offshore wind farm in the UK sector of the Celtic Sea.

  • In January 2022, EDF Renewables and DP Energy announced a Joint Venture partnership to combine their knowledge and
    expertise, in order to participate in the leasing round to secure seabed rights to develop up to 1GW of FLOW in the Celtic Sea.
  • The wind farm is located between Pembroke and Cornwall.

The addition of Gwynt Glas will increase the total of floating offshore wind in the UK section of the Celtic Sea.

  • Blue Gem Wind – Erebus – 100 MW Demonstration project  – 27 miles offshore
  • Blue Gem Wind – Valorus – 300 MW Early-Commercial project – 31 miles offshore
  • Falck Renewables and BlueFloat Energy – Petroc – 300 MW project – 37 miles offshore
  • Falck Renewables and BlueFloat Energy – Llywelyn – 300 MW project – 40 miles offshore
  • Llŷr Wind – 100 MW Project – 25 miles offshore
  • Llŷr Wind – 100 MW Project – 25 miles offshore
  • Gwynt Glas – 1000 MW Project – 50 miles offshore

This makes a total of 2.2 GW, with investors from several countries.

It does seem that the Celtic Sea is becoming the next area of offshore wind around the British Isles to be developed.

How do these wind farms fit in with the Crown Estate’s plans for the Celtic Sea?

I certainly, don’t think that the Crown Estate will be short of worthwhile proposals.

Conclusion

More and more wind farms keep rolling in.

September 29, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Chancellor Confirms England Onshore Wind Planning Reform

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

UK Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has confirmed that onshore wind planning policy is to be brought in line with other infrastructure to allow it to be deployed more easily in England.

The announcement is the strongest sign yet that the Conservative Party could be poised to reverse its 2015 ban on new onshore wind farms being built in England.

I take a scientifically-correct view of onshore wind, in that I am sometimes against it, but on the other hand in certain locations, I would be very much in favour.

These pictures show Keadby Wind Farm in Lincolnshire.

As the wind farm sits next to two gas-fired power stations and is surrounded by high voltage overhead electricity cables, this is probably a more acceptable location, than beside a picturesque village.

In this page on their web site, SSE says this about the construction of the 68 MW wind farm.

After receiving planning permission in 2008, construction began in 2012 and the first turbine foundation was complete in February 2013. The final turbine was assembled on 11 December 2013 and the project was completed in summer 2014.

If this is typical, and I think it is, it would take six years plus the time arguing about planning permission, to get a new onshore wind farm built.

But supposing, you are a farmer who wants to decarbonise. One way might be with a 10 MW wind turbine and a hydrogen electrolyser, so you had your own hydrogen source to power your tractors and other equipment.

On the other hand, solar panels on house, shed and barn roofs  might be a more discrete alternative.

 

September 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Are The Tories Bluffing About Fracking?

I’ve just listened to a Treasury Minister (Chris Philp (?)) on the BBC and he didn’t mention fracking.

But he did mention more oil and gas in the North Sea, where there is a project agreed between the British and Scottish governments called INTOG, which aims to innovatively cut carbon emissions in the North Sea and possibly extract smaller amounts of gas and oil from existing wells.

As you know, I think fracking is irrelevant. It will take a few years to deliver substantial amounts of gas and we can extract more from the North Sea and by repurposing existing wells.

We might even find one or two existing wells, that could be converted to much-needed gas storage.

I also believe that the cash flow in taxes and leases from offshore wind will be astronomic and it can be used to finance borrowing. We did the same with Artemis to finance the company against future sales. But we were only borrowing millions. We used to parcel up all our leases from companies like Shell, NASA and BP and effectively sell them to Lloyds Bank at a discount.

I’m sure that a clever banker could find a mechanism, that converts future income from offshore wind into a magic money tree for today. Is that what Kwasi Kwarteng has done, in order to cut taxes?

The one problem with offshore wind with the public, is that putting in the cables arouses the NIMBYs. It should also be born in mind, that a lot of the grid connections, go through Tory seats, where NIMBYs are very much against more cables.

So I do wonder, if Moggy has announced the start of fracking to give the NIMBYs a target, so they allow the efficiency of offshore oil and gas to be improved and offshore wind farms to be built without hindrance.

Perhaps Moggy should concentrate on the most important thing that our offshore wind industry needs. This is an innovative pricing mechanism for energy storage, that does the following.

  • Allows investors to get a similar return on energy storage to that that they get for offshore wind farms, onshore solar farms and interconnectors.
  • Encourages the building of more energy storage.
  • Assists in the development of novel energy storage ideas.

As one estimate says we need 600 GWh of energy storage in the UK, sorting this pricing mechanism, can’t come soon enough.

The previous government was talking about this, as I wrote in Ministerial Roundtable Seeks To Unlock Investment In UK Energy Storage.

So continue the conversation, Moggy!

September 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thoughts On The Mini-Budget

This article on the BBC is entitled At A Glance: What’s In The Mini-Budget?.

If nothing else KK has whipped up a storm, with the most tax-cutting budget in decades.

But!

According to my calculations in Will We Run Out Of Power This Winter?, the planned offshore wind that will be installed between 2022 and 2027 will be at least 19 GW. About 3 GW of this offshore wind is already producing electricity.

To this must be added 3.26 GW for Hinckley Point C, 2 GW for solar and 0.9 GW for onshore wind in Scotland, which will be developed by 2027.

So we have 25.2 GW for starters.

Following on from this is the 27.1 GW from ScotWind, about 4 GW from the Celtic Sea, 3 GW from Morecambe Bay and 10 GW from Aker’s Northern Horizons. All of these are firm projects and some are already being planned in detail.

These wind and solar farms are the collateral for KK’s borrowing.

The corporate tax changes will hopefully attract world class energy and manufacturing companies to set up UK-domiciled subsidiaries to develop more offshore wind farms and manufacture the turbines and the electrical gubbins close to where they will be installed.

As more wind farms are built, many GW of electricity and tonnes of hydrogen will be exported to Europe.

Note that 1 GW for a day costs around £ 960,000 and for a year costs £350.4 million.

A big benefit of all this electricity, will be that we won’t need to frack.

Technologies like green hydrogen, that will be created by electrolysis will reduce our need for gas.

We might develop a gas field like Jackdaw, to give us gas for a backup with a few gas-fired power stations, for when the wind doesn’t blow, but gas will only have a minor roll.

The force of the maths is with KK!

September 23, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Offshore Wind Champion Appointed As £160m Floating Offshore Wind Fund Opens For Expressions Of Interest

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

These three paragraphs describe the policy.

Ambitious plans to expand offshore wind around the United Kingdom to power homes and businesses with cheap, homegrown energy received a further boost today with the appointment of a new government champion and a multimillion-pound manufacturing fund opening for expressions of interest.

The appointment of Tim Pick as the first UK Offshore Wind Champion was confirmed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng today.

The Floating Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme (FLOWMIS) will provide £160 million in government funding to boost floating offshore wind capability around the UK at sites in Scotland, Wales and elsewhere by supporting manufacturers and giving private investors the confidence to back this emerging sector which is expected to rapidly expand in the years ahead.

Floating offshore wind needs the following components.

  • Wind turbines, which are the same as those used onshore.
  • Floats, which are generally made from steel, but concrete can also be used. There are a few proven designs, like the Windfloat from Principle Power.
  • Mooring systems for the turbines.
  • Electrical substations and cables.

There is also a need for deep water docks, with large cranes to assemble the systems, prior to towing the turbines into position.

Floating offshore wind is a new industry and there will be new ideas coming through from innovators.

I feel that the strategy could help bring new ideas through.

 

May 25, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , | 10 Comments

Norfolk Vanguard Offshore Wind Farm Re-approved By Government

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

These are the two introductory paragraphs.

An offshore wind farm capable of generating electricity for nearly two million homes has been re-approved by government after consent was previously overturned by a High Court judge.

Vattenfall’s 1.8-gigawatt Norfolk Vanguard project had been granted consent by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Note.

  1. Norfolk Boreas and Norfolk Vanguard are a pair of 1.8 GW offshore wind farms to be developed 72 and 47 kilometres off the Norfolk coast by Swedish company; Vattenfall.
  2. Hinckley Point C will have a capacity of 3.25 GW.

This map shows the two fields in relation to the coast.

Note.

  1. The purple line appears to be the UK’s ten mile limit.
  2. Norfolk Boreas is outlined in blue.
  3. Norfolk Vsnguard is outlined in orange.
  4. Cables will be run in the grey areas.

This second map shows the onshore cable.

Note.

  1. The cables are planned to come ashore between Happisburgh and Eccles-on-Sea.
  2. Bacton is only a short distance up the coast.
  3. The onshore cable is planned to go from here across Norfolk to the Necton substation.

But the planning permission was overturned by a legal ruling.

This article on the BBC is entitled Norfolk Vanguard: Ministers Wrong Over Wind Farm Go-Ahead, Says Judge.

These are the first four paragraphs.

A High Court judge has quashed permission for one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms to be built off the east coast of England.

The Norfolk Vanguard Offshore Wind Farm was granted development consent in July by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

But Mr Justice Holgate overturned the decision following legal action from a man living near a planned cable route.

A Department for BEIS spokeswoman said it was “disappointed by the outcome”.

This is a paragraph in today’s BBC article.

Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, granted development consent for the wind farm, having re-determined the application.

So will we be back to the Law Courts?

In Is There A Need For A Norfolk-Suffolk Interconnector?, I said this.

But seriously, is it a good idea to dig an underground cable all the way across Norfolk or in these times build a massive overhead cable either?

Perhaps the solution is to connect the Norfolk Boreas And Norfolk Vanguard wind farms to a giant electrolyser at Bacton, which creates hydrogen.

  • The underground electricity cable across Norfolk would not be needed.
  • Bacton gas terminal is only a few miles up the coast from the cable’s landfall.
  • The UK gets another supply of gas.
  • The hydrogen is blended with natural gas for consumption in the UK or Europe.
  • A pure hydrogen feed can be used to supply hydrogen buses, trucks and other vehicles, either by tanker or pipeline.
  • Excess hydrogen could be stored in depleted gas fields.

Thye main benefit though, would be that it would transform Bacton gas terminal from a declining asset into Norfolk’s Hydrogen Powerhouse.

For more information on blending hydrogen into our natural gas supply see HyDeploy.

February 12, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Norfolk And Suffolk Be Powered By Offshore Wind?

This week this article on the BBC was published, which had a title of Government Pledges £100m For Sizewell Nuclear Site.

These are the first three paragraphs.

The government is putting up £100m to support the planned Sizewell C nuclear plant in Suffolk, Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has announced.

The investment marks the latest stage in efforts to build the £20bn reactor on the east coast of England.

However, it does not commit the government to approving the project, which is still subject to negotiations.

My view of the proposed Sizewell C nuclear plant is that of an engineer, who used to live within thirty minutes of the Sizewell site.

  • Hinckley Point C power station, which is currently being constructed, will have a nameplate capacity of 3.26 GW.
  • Sizewell C would probably be to a similar design and capacity to Hinckley Point C.
  • Sizewell C would likely be completed between 2033-2036.
  • Sizewell B is a 1250 MW station, which has a current closing date of 2035, that could be extended to 2055.
  • East Anglia and particularly the mega Freeport East, that will develop to the South at the Ports of Felixstowe and Harwich will need more electricity.
  • One of the needs of Freeport East will be a large supply of electricity to create hydrogen for the trains, trucks, ships and cargo handling equipment.
  • Sizewell is a large site, with an excellent connection to the National Grid, that marches as a giant pair of overhead cables across the Suffolk countryside to Ipswich.

But.

  • We still haven’t developed a comprehensive strategy for the management of nuclear waste in the UK. Like paying for the care of the elderly and road pricing, it is one of those problems, that successive governments have kept kicking down the road, as it is a big vote loser.
  • I was involved writing project management software for forty years and the building of large nuclear power plants is littered with time and cost overruns.
  • There wasn’t a labour problem with the building of Sizewell B, as engineers and workers were readily available. But with the development of Freeport East, I would be very surprised if Suffolk could provide enough labour for two mega-projects after Brexit.
  • Nuclear power plants use a lot of steel and concrete. The production of these currently create a lot of carbon dioxide.
  • There is also a large number of those objecting to the building of Sizewell C. It saddened me twenty-five years ago, that most of the most strident objectors, that I met, were second home owners, with no other connection to Suffolk.

The older I get, the more my experience says, that large nuclear power plants aren’t always a good idea.

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

In Is Sizewell The Ideal Site For A Fleet Of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors?, I looked at building a fleet of small modular nuclear reactors at Sizewell, instead of Sizewell C.

I believe eight units would be needed in the fleet to produce the proposed 3.26 GW and advantages would include.

  • Less land use.
  • Less cost.
  • Less need for scarce labour.
  • Easier to finance.
  • Manufacturing modules in a factory should improve quality.
  • Electricity from the time of completion of unit 1.

But it would still be nuclear.

Wind In The Pipeline

Currently, these offshore wind farms around the East Anglian Coast are under construction, proposed or are in an exploratory phase.

  • East Anglia One – 714 MW – 2021 – Finishing Construction
  • East Anglia One North 800 MW – 2026 – Exploratory
  • East Anglia Two – 900 MW – 2026 – Exploratory
  • East Anglia Three – 1400 MW – 2026 – Exploratory
  • Norfolk Vanguard – 1800 MW – Exploratory
  • Norfolk Boreas – 1800 MW – Exploratory
  • Sheringham Shoal/Dudgeon Extension – 719 MW – Exploratory

Note.

  1. The date is the possible final commissioning date.
  2. I have no commissioning dates for the last three wind farms.
  3. The East Anglia wind farms are all part of the East Anglia Array.

These total up to 8.13 GW, which is in excess of the combined capacity of Sizewell B and the proposed Sizewell C, which is only 4.51 GW.

As it is likely, that by 2033, which is the earliest date, that Sizewell C will be completed, that the East Anglia Array will be substantially completed, I suspect that East Anglia will not run out of electricity.

But I do feel that to be sure, EdF should try hard to get the twenty year extension to Sizewell B.

The East Anglia Hub

ScottishPower Renewables are developing the East Anglia Array and this page on their web site, describes the East Anglia Hub.

This is the opening paragraph.

ScottishPower Renewables is proposing to construct its future offshore windfarms, East Anglia THREE, East Anglia TWO and East Anglia ONE North, as a new ‘East Anglia Hub’.

Note.

  1. These three wind farms will have a total capacity of 3.1 GW.
  2. East Anglia ONE is already in operation.
  3. Power is brought ashore at Bawdsey between Felixstowe and Sizewell.

I would assume that East Anglia Hub and East Anglia ONE will use the same connection.

Norfolk Boreas and Norfolk Vanguard

These two wind farms will be to the East of Great Yarmouth.

This map from Vattenfall web site, shows the position of the two wind farms.

Note.

  1. Norfolk Boreas is outlined in blue.
  2. Norfolk Vanguard is outlined in orange.
  3. I assume the grey areas are where the cables will be laid.
  4. I estimate that the two farms are about fifty miles offshore.

This second map shows the landfall between Eccles-on-Sea and Happisburgh.

Note the underground cable goes half-way across Norfolk to Necton.

Electricity And Norfolk And Suffolk

This Google Map shows Norfolk and Suffolk.

Note.

  1. The red arrow in the North-West corner marks the Bicker Fen substation that connects to the Viking Link to Denmark.
  2. The East Anglia Array  connects to the grid at Bawdsey in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. Sizewell is South of Aldeburgh in the South-East corner of the map.
  4. The only ports are Lowestoft and Yarmouth in the East and Kings Lynn in the North-West.

There are few large towns or cities and little heavy industry.

  • Electricity usage could be lower than the UK average.
  • There are three small onshore wind farms in Norfolk and none in Suffolk.
  • There is virtually no high ground suitable for pumped storage.
  • There are lots of areas, where there are very few buildings to the square mile.

As I write this at around midday on a Saturday at the end of January, 49 % of electricity in Eastern England comes from wind, 20 % from nuclear and 8 % from solar. That last figure surprised me.

I believe that the wind developments I listed earlier could provide Norfolk and Suffolk with all the electricity they need.

The Use Of Batteries

Earlier, I talked of a maximum of over 7 GW of offshore wind around the cost of Norfolk and Suffolk, but there is still clear water in the sea to be filled between the existing and planned wind farms.

Batteries will become inevitable to smooth the gaps between the electricity produced and the electricity used.

Here are a few numbers.

  • East Anglian Offshore Wind Capacity – 8 GW
  • Off-Peak Hours – Midnight to 0700.
  • Typical Capacity Factor Of A Windfarm – 20 % but improving.
  • Overnight Electricity Produced at 20 % Capacity Factor – 11.2 GWh
  • Sizewell B Output – 1.25 GW
  • Proposed Sizewell C  Output – 3.26 GW
  • Largest Electrolyser – 24 MW
  • World’s Largest Lithium-Ion Battery at Moss Landing – 3 GWh
  • Storage at Electric Mountain – 9.1 GWh
  • Storage at Cruachan Power Station – 7.1 GWh

Just putting these large numbers in a table tells me that some serious mathematical modelling will need to be performed to size the batteries that will probably be needed in East Anglia.

In the 1970s, I was involved in three calculations of a similar nature.

  • In one, I sized the vessels for a proposed polypropylene plant for ICI.
  • In another for ICI, I sized an effluent treatment system for a chemical plant, using an analogue computer.
  • I also helped program an analysis of water resources in the South of England. So if you have a water shortage in your area caused by a wrong-sized reservoir, it could be my fault.

My rough estimate is that the East Anglian battery would need to be at least a few GWh and capable of supplying up to the output of Sizewell B.

It also doesn’t have to be a single battery. One solution would probably be to calculate what size battery is needed in the various towns and cities of East Anglia, to give everyone a stable and reliable power supply.

I could see a large battery built at Sizewell and smaller batteries all over Norfolk and Suffolk.

But why stop there? We probably need appropriately-sized batteries all over the UK, with very sophisticated control systems using artificial intelligent working out, where the electricity is best stored.

Note that in this post, by batteries, I’m using that in the loosest possible way. So the smaller ones could be lithium-ion and largest ones could be based on some of the more promising technologies that are under development.

  • Highview Power have an order for a 50 MW/500 MWh battery for Chile, that I wrote about in The Power Of Solar With A Large Battery.
  • East Anglia is an area, where digging deep holes is easy and some of Gravitricity’s ideas might suit.
  • I also think that eventually someone will come up with a method of storing energy using sea cliffs.

All these developments don’t require large amounts of land.

East Anglia Needs More Heavy Consumers Of Electricity

I am certainly coming to this conclusion.

Probably, the biggest use of electricity in East Anglia is the Port of Felixstowe, which will be expanding as it becomes Freeport East in partnership with the Port of Harwich.

One other obvious use could be in large data centres.

But East Anglia has never been known for industries that use a lot of electricity, like aluminium smelting.

Conversion To Hydrogen

Although the largest current electrolyser is only 24 MW, the UK’s major electrolyser builder; ITM Power, is talking of a manufacturing capacity of 5 GW per year, so don’t rule out conversion of excess electricity into hydrogen.

Conclusion

Who needs Sizewell C?

Perhaps as a replacement for Sizewell B, but it would appear there is no pressing urgency.

 

 

January 29, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments