The Anonymous Widower

Cost Of Turning Off UK Wind Farms Reached Record High In 2021

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

This is the first paragraph.

The cost of turning off wind farms in the UK has reached record levels, according to a new report.

The press release makes these points.

  • Investing in more long duration electricity storage, such as expanding Drax’s Cruachan pumped storage hydro plant in Scotland, would mean more excess renewable power could be stored and made available when required, cutting costs and carbon emissions.
  • The cost of turning off UK wind farms to manage the electricity system rose from almost £300m during 2020 to over £500m in 2021, contributing to higher energy bills and carbon emissions, according to a new report.
  • Costs increased substantially because the system relied on expensive gas power to manage periods when wind power was curtailed, as not enough electricity storage was available to prevent the excess renewable power from wind farms going to waste.

Drax give these reasons for the problems.

This happened as a result of constraints in the transmission system and a lack of long-duration storage capacity, which is needed to manage periods when renewable power generation outstrips demand.

The problem is going to get worse as we increase the amount of wind power in the UK.

Penny Small, Drax’s Group Generation Director sums everything up.

This report underlines the need for a new regulatory framework to encourage private investment in long-duration storage technologies.

The UK is a world-leader in offshore wind, but for the country’s green energy ambitions to be realised we need the right energy storage infrastructure to support this vital technology, make the system secure and reduce costs.

Drax’s plan to expand Cruachan will strengthen UK energy security, by enabling more homegrown renewable electricity to power British homes and businesses, reducing system costs and cutting carbon emissions.

A good framework has been created for wind farms and many more are being proposed and developed.

Frameworks are needed for both transmission systems and long-duration energy storage capacity.

June 21, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , | 1 Comment

Will Coire Glas Start A Pumped Storage Boom In Scotland?

This article on Renewables Now is entitled SSE Gets Tenders For Construction Of 1.5-GW Pumped Hydro Scheme.

This is the first paragraph.

SSE Renewables said on Wednesday it has received tenders for the main construction works for the Coire Glas hydro pumped storage project with a capacity of up to 1.5 GW in the Scottish Highlands.

It then lists, the companies who have tendered for the project.

SE Renewables said the ITT has drawn global interest. The tenderers shortlisted for mechanical and electrical plant scope are a partnership between ANDRITZ HYDRO GmbH and Voith Hydro GmbH & Co KG, and GE Hydro France. The parties shortlisted for the civil engineering scope include three consortia and STRABAG UK Ltd. The consortia are made up of Bechtel Ltd, Acciona Construccion SA and Webuild SpA; BAM Nuttall Ltd, Eiffage Genie Civil SA and Marti Tunnel AG; and Dragados SA and BeMo Tunnelling UK Ltd.

It is an impressive list.

The article says that construction is to start in 2024. Other sources say the pumped storage project will have a storage capacity of 30 GWh, which will make it the largest pumped storage plant in the UK.

This press release from SSE Renewables is entitled Tenders Submitted For The Coire Glas Pumped Storage Scheme.

The press release contains this quote from the Project Director for Coire Glas; Ian Innes.

Receiving the tenders on schedule from the six short-listed tenderers is another significant milestone for the Coire Glas project and we are grateful for their continued interest in the project.

We are encouraged by the content of the tenders which now provides the Coire Glas project team with several options on how construction of the project could be undertaken. It is going to take some time to carefully consider and scrutinise the tenders thoroughly and we look forward to working with the tenderers as we endeavour to make our selection decision.

It appears that not only were the tenders received from quality companies, but that they contained options and ideas that could improve the project.

Coire Glas would appear to me to be a project, that is attracting the best companies and they could be putting their best workers on the project.

These are my thoughts.

The Potential For Pumped Storage Schemes In Scotland

There are at least five schemes under development or proposed in Scotland.

This page on the Strathclyde University web site, gives these figures for the possible amounts of pumped-storage that can be added to existing hydro schemes.

  • Errochty – 16
  • Glasgarnock – 23
  • Luichart – 38
  • Clunie – 40
  • Fannich – 70
  • Rannoch – 41
  • Fasnakyle – 78
  • Tummel – 38
  • Ben Lawers – 12
  • Nant – 48
  • Invermoriston – 22
  • Invergarry – 41
  • Quoich – 27
  • Sloy – 20

That is a total of 514 GWh or 620.3 GWh if you include the new storage, I listed above.

Scotland would appear to be land overflowing with large pumped storage possibilities and could provide the modern equivalent of milk and honey.

The Potential For Offshore Wind Power Schemes In Scotland

This is the first two paragraphs of this press release on the Crown Estate Scotland web site.

Crown Estate Scotland has today announced the outcome of its application process for ScotWind Leasing, the first Scottish offshore wind leasing round in over a decade and the first ever since the management of offshore wind rights were devolved to Scotland.

The results coming just months after Glasgow hosted the global COP26 climate conference show the huge opportunity that Scotland has to transform its energy market and move towards a net zero economy.

Some highlights are then listed.

  • 17 projects have been selected out of a total of 74 applications.
  • A total of just under £700m will be paid by the successful applicants in option fees and passed to the Scottish Government for public spending.
  • The area of seabed covered by the 17 projects is just over 7,000km2.
  • Initial indications suggest a multi-billion pound supply chain investment in Scotland
  • The potential power generated will move Scotland towards net-zero.

This map shows the location of each wind farm.

Note, that the numbers are Scotwind’s lease number in their documents.

Fixed Foundation Wind Farms

These are the six fixed foundation wind farms.

  • 1 – BP Alternative Energy Investments – 859 km² – 2.9 GW
  • 6 – DEME – 187 km² – 1.0 GW
  • 9 – Ocean Winds – 429 km² – 1.0 GW
  • 13 – Offshore Wind Power – 657 km² – 2.0 GW
  • 16 – Northland Power – 161 km² – 0.8 GW
  • 17 – Scottish Power Renewables – 754 km² – 2.0 GW

Adding up these fixed foundation wind farms gives a capacity of 9.7 GW in 3042 km² or about 3.2 MW per km².

Floating Wind Farms

These are the ten floating wind farms.

  • 2- SSE Renewables – 859 km² – 2.6 GW
  • 3 – Falck Renewables Wind – 280 km² – 1.2 GW
  • 4 – Shell – 860 km² – 2.0 GW
  • 5 – Vattenfall – 200 km² – 0.8 GW
  • 7 – DEME Concessions Wind – 200 km² – 1.0 GW
  • 8 – Falck Renewables Wind – 256 km² – 1.0 GW
  • 10 – Falck Renewables Wind – 134 km² – 0.5 GW
  • 11 – Scottish Power Renewables – 684 km² – 3.0 GW
  • 12 – BayWa r.e. UK  – 330 km² – 1.0 GW
  • 14 – Northland Power – 390 km² – 1.5 GW

Adding up the floating wind farms gives a capacity of 14.6 GW in 4193 km² or about 3.5 MW per km².

Mixed Wind Farms

This is the single wind farm, that has mixed foundations.

15 – Magnora – 103 km² – 0.5 GW

This wind farm appears to be using floating wind turbines.

These wind farms total up to 24.8 GW

I would expect that this is only a phase in the development of Scottish wind power, which will grow substantially over the next decade.

As I write this the UK is generating a total of 26.2 GW of electricity.

Backing Up The Wind Power

This wind power, which could grow up to well over 50 GW in Scotland alone.

But what do you do, when there is no wind?

Energy will need to come from batteries, which in Scotland’s case could be over 500 GWh of pumped storage.

Europe’s Powerhouse

It is not an unreasonable prediction, that we will continue to expand our wind farms to supply Europe with thousands of GWh of electricity and/or millions of tonnes of green hydrogen.

Conclusion

It is likely that we’ll see an upward increase of wind power in Scotland closely matched by a similar increase in pumped storage.

It is no wonder that the world’s largest and most experienced contractors were so keen to get the first big contract in Scotland’s new pumped storage boom.

They know a good thing, when they see it and after their experience with the Scotland’s oil boom in the last century, I doubt they are delaying their return.

 

 

June 3, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , | Leave a comment

Drax Submits Application To Expand Iconic ‘Hollow Mountain’ Power Station

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

The project is called Cruachan 2 and is described on this web site.

This is the introduction to the project.

We have kickstarted the planning process to build a new underground pumped hydro storage power station – more than doubling the electricity generating capacity at Cruachan.

The 600 megawatt (MW) power station will be located inside Ben Cruachan – Argyll’s highest mountain – and increase the site’s total capacity to 1 gigawatt (GW).

The new power station would be built within a new, hollowed-out cavern which would be large enough to fit Big Ben on its side, to the east of Drax’s existing 440MW pumped storage hydro station. More than a million tonnes of rock would be excavated to create the cavern and other parts of the power station. The existing upper reservoir, which can hold 2.4 billion gallons of water, has the capacity to serve both power stations.

Note.

  1. The generation capacity will be increased from 440 MW to 1040 MW, which is an increase of 36 %.
  2. Cruachan has a storage capacity of 7.1 GWh, which will not be increased.
  3. Cruachan opened in October 1965, so the generating equipment is nearly sixty years old.

I will assume that Drax and its various previous owners have kept the turbines, generators, dam and associated pipework in good condition, but as an Electrical Engineer, I do believe that the modern equipment, that will be used in Cruachan 2 will offer advantages.

  • One of these advantages could be the ability to ramp up power faster, than the original equipment.
  • I also suspect, it will have a sophisticated computer control system, that will allow the output of the power station to be precisely controlled.

These two features should mean that when a spike in power demand happens, that the combined Cruachan will step up to the plate.

So all those watching the Celtic and Rangers match on television, will still get their half-time cuppa.

I suspect that the combined Cruachan will be a power regulator of the highest quality.

Will The Storage Capacity Of Drax Be Increased?

Drax don’t appear to have any plans for increasing the size of the upper reservoir and I suspect that geography can’t deliver an affordable solution.

But.

  • Loch Awe is an excellent lower reservoir for a pumped storage system.
  • The building of Cruachan 2 may create substantial employment and economic benefits in the area.
  • Cruachan 2 is not the only pumped storage scheme under development in the area.
  • The UK needs as much pumped energy storage as can be created.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see, further development of Cruachan, if Cruachan 2 is an overwhelming success.

It’ll all be down to the geography and the economics.

 

May 17, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , | 1 Comment

Wind And Solar Boom Will Bring Energy Surplus

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

Under the picture, is this sub-title.

The government has set a target of 50 gigawatts of offshore wind farms by 2030, up from about 10 gigawatts at present.

According to this Wikipedia list of offshore wind farms, the UK currently has 2180 offshore turbines with a capacity of 8113 MW.

These wind farms appear to be planned.

Hornsea

The Hornsea wind farm is currently supplying 1.2 GW to the grid, but it is planned to be expanded to 6 GW, which is another 4.8 GW.

East Anglia Array

The East Anglia Array is currently supplying 0.7 GW to the grid, but it is planned to be expanded to 7.2 GW, which is another 6.5 GW.

Sofia

The Sofia wind farm will supply 1.4 GW from 2026.

Moray East

The Moray East wind farm will supply 0.95 GW from 2022.

Neart Na Gaoithe

The Neart Na Gaoithe wind farm will supply 0.45 GW from 2023.

Triton Knoll

The Triton Knoll wind farm will supply 0.86 GW from 2022.

Seagreen

The Seagreen wind farm will supply 1.1 GW from 2023.

Dogger Bank

The Dogger Bank wind farm will supply 3.6 GW from 2025.

Moray West

The Moray West wind farm will supply 1.2 GW from 2025.

Rampion 2

The Rampion 2 wind farm will supply 1.2 GW before 2030.

Norfolk Boreas

The Norfolk Boreas wind farm will supply 1.8 GW before 2030

Norfolk Vanguard

The Norfolk Vanguard wind farm will supply 1.8 GW before 2030

These wind farms total up to 31.1 GW

Morgan And Mona

The Morgan and Mona wind farms will supply 3 GW from 2028.

ScotWind

This map shows the wind farms in the latest round of leasing in Scotland.

These wind farms should be providing 24.8 GW by 2030.

Celtic Sea

In Two More Floating Wind Projects In The Celtic Sea, I give details of six wind farms to be developed in the Celtic Sea, that will produce a total of 1.2 GW.

All should be delivered by 2030.

Northern Horizons

In Is This The World’s Most Ambitious Green Energy Solution?, I talk about Northern Horizons, which will produce 10 GW of wind energy from 2030.

An Armada Of Wind Farms

As many of these wind farms will be floating and wind-powered, the collective noun must surely be an armada.

These are some figures.

  • The size is certainly spectacular at 70.1 GW.
  • As the UK electricity consumption in 2020-2021 was 265.4 TWh, the average hourly production throughout the year is 30.3 GW.
  • As I write this post, the UK is generating 30.1 GW.

As the best offshore wind farms have a capacity factor of around fifty percent, we should be able to power the UK with wind power alone.

So when The Times says this in the first two paragraphs of the article.

Britain will have excess electricity supplies for more than half of the year by 2030 as a huge expansion of wind and solar power transforms the energy system, a new analysis suggests.

Energy storage technologies, including batteries and electrolysers to make hydrogen, will need to be deployed at massive scale to prevent this surplus electricity going to waste, according to LCP, a consultancy.

The article would appear to correct.

The Need For Energy Storage

If we look at energy production at the current time, energy production is as follows.

  • Biomass – 0.5 GW
  • Gas – 17 GW
  • Nuclear – 5 GW
  • Onshore Wind – 12 GW with 20 % capacity factor – 2.4 GW
  • Offshore Wind – 8.1 GW with 30 % capacity factor – 2.4 GW
  • Interconnects – 0.4 GW
  • Others – 0.5 GW

This totals up to 28.2 GW.

In 2030, energy production could be as follows.

  • Biomass – 0.5 GW
  • Nuclear – 5 GW
  • Onshore Wind – 12 GW with 20 % capacity factor – 2.4 GW
  • Offshore Wind – 30 GW with 30 % capacity factor – 9 GW
  • Floating Offshore Wind – 40 GW with 50 % capacity factor – 20 GW
  • Others – 0.5 GW

This totals up to 37.4 GW.

So if you take a typical day, where on average throughout the day we are producing around 7 GW more of electricity than we need, we will actually produce around 7 * 24 GWh = 168 GWh of excess electricity

Whichever was you look at it, we have got to do something concrete with a large amount of electricity.

  • Store it in batteries of various types from lithium ion, through new types of batteries like those being developed by Highview Power and Gravitricity to pumped hydro storage.
  • Store the energy in the batteries of electric cars, vans, buses, trucks, trains and ships.
  • Store the energy in Norwegian pumped hydro storage.
  • Convert it to hydrogen using an electrolyser and blend the hydrogen with the natural gas supply.
  • Convert it to hydrogen using an electrolyser and use the hydrogen to make zero-carbon steel, concrete and chemicals.
  • Convert it to hydrogen using an electrolyser and develop new zero-carbon industries.
  • Convert it to hydrogen using an electrolyser and store the hydrogen in a depleted gas field.
  • Sell it to Europe, either as electricity or hydrogen.

Note.

  1. We are going to have to build a lot of batteries and I suspect they will be distributed all round the country.
  2. We are going to have to build a lot of hydrogen electrolysers.
  3. We have world class battery and electrolyser companies.

We should also fund the following.

  • Developments of technology, that makes better batteries, electrolysers, boilers and heat pumps.
  • I would also do a lot of work to increase the capacity factor of wind farms.

I also believe that if we have masses of electricity and hydrogen, we might find as a country, it’s very beneficial in terms of jobs, exports and a healthier economy to invest in certain industries.

Conclusion

The future is rosy.

 

May 7, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Shell And ScottishPower Win Bids To Develop 5 GW Of Floating Wind Power In The UK

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

This is three paragraphs from the press release.

Shell and ScottishPower have secured joint offers for seabed rights to develop large-scale floating wind farms as part of Crown Estate Scotland’s ScotWind leasing. The partners have won two sites representing a total of 5 gigawatts (GW) off the east and north-east coast of Scotland.

The new wind farms will be delivered through two joint ventures called MarramWind and CampionWind. They bring together ScottishPower’s and Shell’s decades of experience working offshore and significant presence in Scotland, as well as their strong innovation capabilities for delivering world-class offshore energy projects.

The development, construction and operation of ScotWind projects is set to bring new skilled jobs and manufacturing opportunities and boost local supply chains.

ScottishPower are actually involved in three large ScotWind projects; one by themselves and two in partnership with Shell.

MacHairWind

MachairWind is a project that Scottish Power is developing alone.

I wrote about this project in MacHairWind Wind Farm.

MarramWind And CampionWind

These two wind farms are being developed in partnership with Shell.

They both have their own web sites.

MarramWind’s web site has this introduction.

ScottishPower and Shell have joined forces to develop the MarramWind offshore windfarm following success in the recent ScotWind auction process by Crown Estate Scotland.

Located 75 kilometres off the North East coast of Scotland in water depths averaging 100 metres, the proposed MarramWind floating offshore windfarm could deliver up to 3 gigawatts (GW) of cleaner renewable energy.

This map clipped from the MarramWind web site, shows the location of the wind farm.

CampionWind’s web site has this introduction.

ScottishPower and Shell have joined forces to develop the CampionWind offshore windfarm following success in the recent ScotWind auction process by Crown Estate Scotland.

Located 100 kilometres from the east coast of Scotland, in water depths averaging 77 metres, the proposed CampionWind floating offshore windfarm could deliver up to 2 gigawatts (GW) of cleaner renewable energy.

This map clipped from the CampionWind web site, shows the location of the wind farm.

Note.

  1. The two wind farms will be within a few miles of each other.
  2. Both wind farms will use floating wind turbines.
  3. The water is a bit deeper at MarramWind, but this surely doesn’t bother a floating turbine.
  4. MarramWind and CampionWind will have a total capacity of 5 GW.
  5. Hywind Scotland is the world’s first commercial wind farm using floating wind turbines, situated 29 kilometres off Peterhead. This wind farm is only 30 MW, but in its first years of operation has achieved a capacity factor of over 50 %.
  6. The proposed turbines at Northern Horizons‘ 10 GW wind farm, which is 130 kilometres to the North-East of Shetland will be 20 MW giants and nearly as tall as The Shard in London.

So will Scottish Power and Shell design and build a combined field, similar in concept to Northern Horizons’ wind farm, using an armada of 250 floating wind turbines?

  • The wind turbines might be moored around a fixed or floating mother platform or structure, that will collect the electricity and deliver it to the shore.
  • Turbines could be serviced in situ or moved into port, as needed.
  • Extending the wind farm could just be a matter of mooring the extra turbines in position and then connecting them to the mother platform.
  • Is there a convenient disused oil or gas platform, that could be repurposed as the mother platform?

It certainly would appear to be a way of building large offshore fields in deep waters.

Where Would The Combined MarramWind And CampionWind Rank In Terms of UK Wind Farms?

Consider.

  • MarramWind and CampionWind will have a total capacity of 5 GW.
  • Phase one of the Hornsea Wind Farm is the largest offshore wind farm in the world, with a capacity of just over 1.2 GW and when complete it will have a capacity of 6 GW.
  • Northern Horizons is planned to be 10 GW.
  • The East Anglian Array could be as large as 7.2 GW.
  • The Dogger Bank Wind Farm is planned to be as large as 4.8 MW.
  • Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas are a pair of 1.8 GW wind farms.
  • MacHairWind will be a 2 GW wind farm.

Note.

  1. This is not a complete list of large wind farms in the development pipeline.
  2. BP have obtained leases, but have not published their plans.
  3. Most farms under development are at least one GW.
  4. These farms are a total of 38.6 GW.

The Combined MarramWind and CampionWind would be one of several large wind farms around 5 GW.

There Is A Desperate Need For Energy Storage

If we are generating upwards of 40 GW of wind and solar energy in the UK, there will be a desperate need for energy storage to cover for the times, when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.

Scotland should be OK, as there are various energy storage projects in development.

  • The 1.5 GW/ 30 GWh Coire Glas project is according to SSE shovel-ready and has planning permission.
  • The 450 MW/2.8 GWh Red John project is being constructed.
  • Drax, ILI Group and SSE have several other projects under development.

So what would happen in the South?

The government appears to be on the case as I wrote in Ministerial Roundtable Seeks To Unlock Investment In UK Energy Storage.

But there is also the possibility of using hydrogen.

  • Hydrogen could be created by a series of giant electrolysers.
  • It could be blended with natural gas to eke out our natural gas and save carbon. According to HyDeploy, it appears that up to 20 % can be added, without needing to change boilers and appliances.
  • It can be stored in depleted offshore gas fields.
  • It can be used to power heavy transport like buses, trucks, trains and ships.
  • It can be burned in gas-fired power stations to generate electricity.

Hydrogen can also be used as a feedstock or green energy source for the making of chemicals, concrete and steel.

Conclusion

We are approaching the end of the first phase of the development of renewable energy in the UK.

Massive floating wind farms using armadas of floating wind farms, a large expansion of pumped storage hydro and a huge expansion of the use of hydrogen will see us through to a carbon-free future.

 

 

 

 

March 23, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

MacHairWind Wind Farm

MachairWind wind farm has its own page on the ScottishPower Renewables web site.

These are the two introductory paragraphs.

The MacHairWind project off the coast of Islay, which could deliver 2GW of cleaner renewable energy, will make a significant contribution to tackling climate change and achieving Net Zero, with the potential to generate enough clean electricity to power over 2 million homes in Scotland.

It will also build on ScottishPower’s long-standing presence and positive track record of investing in and working with local communities and businesses across Argyll & Bute to realise the benefits of renewable energy developments.

This Google Map shows the area of the wind farm, which is to the North West of the island of Islay.

Note.

  1. There certainly is a large space of empty sea to the North-West of Islay.
  2. Glasgow is not far away.

This second Google Map shows the area to the North-East of Islay.

Note.

Wikipedia says this about the relationship of the Cruachan power station and Hunterston’s nuclear stations.

Construction began in 1959 to coincide with the Hunterston A nuclear power station in Ayrshire. Cruachan uses cheap off-peak electricity generated at night to pump water to the higher reservoir, which can then be released during the day to provide power as necessary.

Now that the two nuclear stations are being decommissioned, will the MacHairWind wind farm be used to pump water to Cruachan’s higher reservoir?

Conclusion

The MacHairWind wind farm seems a well-positioned wind farm.

  • It is close to Glasgow.
  • It can be used in tandem with the Cruachan pumped hydro power station.
  • It will have access to the Western HVDC Link to send power to the North-West of England.

Is Scotland replacing the 1.2 GW Hunterston B nuclear power station with a 2 GW wind farm, with help from Cruachan and other proposed pumped storage hydro schemes to the North of Glasgow?

It also looks like increasing the power at Cruachan from the current 440 MW to a GW, by the building of Cruachan 2 would give the area even more energy security.

 

March 23, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Loch Kemp Pumped Hydro

Loch Kemp Is a smaller loch just to the East of Loch Ness.

This Google Map shows Loch Kemp in relation to Loch Ness.

Note.

  1. Loch Ness is in the North West corner of the map, with partial cloud cover.
  2. Loch Kemp is in the South East corner of the map.

The proposed Loch Kemp pumped hydro scheme will have these characteristics.

  • Loch Kemp will be the upper reservoir.
  • Loch Ness will be the lower reservoir.
  • The power station will be on the banks of Loch Ness.
  • The power station will be designed to fit into the environment.
  • Eight dams will be built to enlarge Loch Kemp.
  • Trees will be planted.
  • Output of the power station will be 300 MW
  • Available storage could be 9 GWh.

The station will have almost as much storage capacity as Electric Mountain, but that power station has an output of 1.8 GW.

In Glendoe Hydro Power Station, I wrote about the Glendoe Hydro Scheme.

  • It is a 100 MW hydroelectric power station
  • It has the highest head at 600 metres of any power station in the UK.
  • It opened in 2009, making it one of the newest hydroelectric power stations in the UK.
  • The actual power station is in an underground cavern.
  • The dam and power station have been designed to be hidden from view.

This Google Map shows the location of Glendoe power station to the South of Loch Kemp.

Note.

  1. The red arrow indicates Loch Kemp.
  2. The loch in the South East corner is the reservoir that feeds Glendoe power station.
  3. Fort Augustus is at the Southern end of Loch Ness.

This Google Map shows the Northern end of Loch Ness.

Note.

  1. The red arrow indicates Loch Kemp.
  2. Foyers, which is a short distance to the North West, is the site of the Foyers pumped hydro scheme. I wrote about this scheme in The Development Of The Foyers Pumped Storage Scheme.
  3. Loch Duntelchaig, in the North-East corner of the map, is being used as the upper reservoir of the Red John pumped hydro scheme. I wrote about this project in Red John Pumped Storage Hydro Project.

On the East side of Loch Ness there seems to be four substantial hydro-electric schemes.

In order from South to North these schemes are.

Glendoe

Glendoe is a modern 100 MW hydroelectric power station, that opened in 2009.

In Glendoe Hydro Power Station, I felt it might be possible to expand Glendoe into a pumped hydro scheme, with upwards of 10 GWh of storage.

Loch Kemp

Loch Kemp is a proposed 300 MW/9 GWh pumped hydro storage station.

Foyers

Foyers is an existing 300 MW/10 GWh pumped hydro storage station.

Red John

Red John is a proposed 450 MW/2.8 GWh pumped hydro storage station, which has received planning permission.

These four power stations could be summarised as follows.

  • Glendoe – 100 MW/10 GWh
  • Loch Kemp – 300 MW/9 GWh
  • Foyers – 300 MW/10 GWh
  • Red John – 450 MW/2.8 GWh

Note.

  1. Totals are 1150 MW and 31.8 GWh
  2. Foyers was converted from a conventional hydroelectric power station, that was opened in 1895  to a pumped hydro storage station.
  3. If Foyers can be converted, why can’t Glendoe.

A very large pumped storage station of four separate units, can be built on the East side of Loch Ness.

Conclusion

This is only on the East side of Loch Ness, so if the West side can be similarly developed, Loch Ness could be developed into a real Loch Ness monster with over 60 GWh of pumped hydro storage.

 

March 21, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plan For New Nuclear Reactors At Wylfa And Trawsfynydd A Step Closer As Natural Resource Wales Looks At Designs

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Plans for new nuclear power stations at Trawsfynydd and Wylfa have taken a step closer after the UK Government asked government regulators to assess designs for the reactors.

Natural Resources Wales will be among those assessing the designs by Rolls-Royce, with both Wylfa and Trawsfynydd have been named as potential sites for housing them within the UK.

These are points about the reactors.

  • They will cost £1.8 billion each.
  • They are capable of powering a city the size of Cardiff, which has a population of about half-a-million.
  • I’ve read elsewhere that the reactors are planned to have a nameplate capacity of 470 MW.

The article did mention, that the Nimbys were lining up.

The Wylfa Site

The original Wylfa power station was a Magnox nuclear station generating 980 MW, that was decommissioned in 2015.

This Google Map shows the location of the site on Anglesey.

This second Google Map shows the site in more detail.

The power station doesn’t appear to have had a rail link, but there is a railway line a few miles away, with sidings that might have been used to handle fuel flasks.

There has been a proposal for a hybrid plant consisting of a wind farm and small modular nuclear reactors, which is described in this Wikipedia section, where this is said.

In January 2021, Shearwater Energy presented plans for a hybrid plant, to consist of a wind farm and small modular reactors (SMRs), to be installed adjacent to the existing Wylfa power station but separate from the proposed Wylfa Newydd site. Shearwater has signed a memorandum of understanding with NuScale Power for the SMRs. The plant could start generation as early as 2027 and would ultimately produce up to 3 GW of electricity and power a hydrogen generation unit producing up to 3 million kg of hydrogen per year.

Note.

  1. Wylfa Newydd was a proposal by Hitachi to build a nuclear station on the site.
  2. Shearwater Energy is a UK developer of energy opportunities.
  3. NuScale Power is an American company with its own design of small modular nuclear reactor.

In Holyhead Hydrogen Hub Planned For Wales, I talked about hydrogen and the port of Holyhead.

The Trawsfynydd Site

The original Trawsfynydd power station was a Magnox nuclear station generating 470 MW, that was decommissioned in 1991.

This Google Map shows the location of the site in North Wales.

This second Google Map shows the site in more detail.

Note.

  1. The power station was built on the Northern shore of Llyn Trawsfynydd.
  2. Llyn Trawsfynydd is a man-made lake, that was built in the 1920s to supply water to the 24 MW Maentwrog hydro electric power station.
  3. There is a railway from near the site, that connects to the Conwy Valley Line at Blaenau Ffestiniog.

The Trawsfynydd site is a lot more than just a decommissioned Magnox power station.

Pumped Energy Storage In Snowdonia

Currently, there are two existing pumped storage in Snowdonia.

A third scheme is under development at Glyn Rhonwy, which could have a capacity of 700 MWh.

Looking at the size of Llyn Trawsfynydd, I do wonder, if it could be the top lake of a future pumped storage scheme.

  • Llyn Trawsfynydd, contains 40 million tonnes of water.
  • There is a head of 190 metres.

That could give energy storage of 20 GWh. That sounds a lot of GWhs! But with two possible small modular nuclear reactors at possibly 500 MW each nearby and some help from windfarms, it could be filled within a day, if there is a suitable low-level reservoir.

Rolls-Royce And The Duisburg Container Terminal

In Rolls-Royce Makes Duisburg Container Terminal Climate Neutral With MTU Hydrogen Technology, I showed how Rolls-Royce and its subsidiary were providing an innovative climate neutral solution for Duisburg Container Terminal in Germany.

A North West Wales Powerhouse

Could Rolls-Royce be planning a Duisburg-style solution for North West Wales.

  • Small modular nuclear reactors at Wylfa and Trawsfynydd.
  • Hydrogen electrolysers to create hydrogen for the Port of Holyhead and heavy transport.
  • Adequate pumped hydro storage for surplus energy.

But there could be little serious above-ground construction.

Conclusion

Something is awakening in North West Wales.

March 11, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Scotland’s Energy Storage

I have been using the web sites of Drax Group, SSE Renewables and ILI Group, and this page from Strathclyde University to look at various hydro-electric schemes to store energy using the tried-and-tested method of pumped hydro.

I have analysed these schemes.

Affric/Beauly

The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

Situated about 16 kilometres to the west of Inverness, Beauly is the gateway to the Affric/Beauly hydro electric scheme.

Currently, it generates a maximum power of 100.3 MW.

My analysis in Repurposing The Affric/Beauly Hydro-Electric Scheme, showed the following.

  • Research from Strathclyde University, says that the Affric/Beauly scheme could support 78 GWh of pumped storage in one scheme at Fasnakyle.
  • Adding pumped storage facilities to the Affric/Beauly hydro-electric scheme, with a capacity of upwards of a conservative 50 GWh, should be possible.

Generating capacity and system operation could be improved by replacing some or all of the 1950s and 1960s turbines with modern units and using modern control systems.

The Affric/Beauly hydro-electric scheme could be augmented by upwards of 50 GWh of storage.

Balliemeanoch

This new scheme is being developed by the ILI Group.

From what is published in the press. it appears to be a giant 1.5 GW/45 GWh project.

In Thoughts On The Balliemeanoch Pumped-Hydro Scheme, I analyse the plan.

The Balliemeanoch hydro-electric scheme could add 45 GWh of storage.

Balmacaan

This new scheme is being developed by SSE Renewables.

My searches in A Possible Balmacaan Pumped Storage System, showed the following.

It has a 600 MW generating capacity and I suspect would have about 15-20 GWh of storage.

The Balmacaan hydro-electric scheme could conservatively add upwards of 15 GWh of storage.

Breadalbane

The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

The Breadalbane scheme is set in the mountainous region around Loch Lyon, Loch Tay and Loch Earn in Perthshire.

Currently, it generates a maximum power of 168.4 MW.

My analysis in Repurposing The Breadalbane Hydro-Electric Scheme, showed the following.

  • Research from Strathclyde University, says that the Breadalbane scheme could support 12 GWh of pumped storage in one scheme at Ben Lawers.
  • I believe a similar scheme could be built South of Loch Tay to add a similar amount of pumped storage capacity.

As with the Beauly/Affric scheme, generating capacity and system operation could be improved by replacing some or all of the 1950s and 1960s turbines with modern units and using modern control systems.

The Breadalbane hydro-electric scheme could be augmented by upwards of 12 GWh of storage.

Coire Glass

This new scheme is being developed by SSE Renewables and the project has its own web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

Coire Glas is a hydro pumped storage scheme with a potential capacity of up to 1500MW. Coire Glas is an excellent pumped storage site with a large lower reservoir (Loch Lochy) and a significant elevation of more than 500m between the lower and the new upper reservoir site over a relatively short distance.

It is planned to generate a maximum power of up to 1.5 GW for twenty hours, which indicates an energy storage capacity of 30 GWh.

In SSE Renewables Launches 1.5GW Coire Glas Construction Tender, I talk about the current status of the project.

The Coire Glas hydro-electric scheme could add 30 GWh of storage.

Conon

The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

The Conon scheme lies within the northwest Highlands, broadly between Inverness and Ullapool. Electricity generation started here when the Ross-shire Electricity Supply Company built the small Falls of Conon hydro electric power station in the 1920s.

Currently, it generates a maximum power of 107.2 MW.

My analysis in Repurposing The Conon Hydro-Electric Scheme, showed the following.

  • Research from Strathclyde University, says that the Conon scheme could support up to 131 GWh of pumped storage.
  • Adding pumped storage facilities to the Conon hydro-electric scheme, with a capacity of upwards of a conservative 30-40 GWh, should be possible.

As with other schemes, generating capacity and system operation could be improved by replacing some or all of the 1950s turbines with modern units and using modern control systems.

The Conon hydro-electric scheme could be augmented by upwards of 30 GWh of storage.

Corrievarkie

This new scheme is being developed by the ILI Group.

From the planning application it appears to be a 600 MW/14.5 GWh project.

In Corrievarkie Pumped Storage Hydro Project, I analyse the plan.

The Corrievarkie hydro-electric scheme could add 14.5 GWh of storage.

Cruachan

Cruachan is a pumped-storage power station, that is owned by Drax, which have a comprehensive web site for the power station.

  • It has an output of 440 MW.
  • It has an energy storage capacity of 7.1 GWh
  • It can can reach full generating capacity in less than 30 seconds.

In Drax’s Plans For Cruachan, I analyse Drax’s plans, which they call Cruachan 2.

  • It will be a 600 MW power station.
  • It will be to the East of the current power station.
  • More than a million tonnes of rock would be excavated to build the power station.

The existing upper reservoir, which can hold 2.4 billion gallons of water, has the capacity to serve both power stations.

These was my conclusions.

It looks like very good engineering to me.

  • There is a good chance, that on most nights, the reservoir will be filled using wind energy
  • The maximum output of the Cruachan power station has been more than tripled from 323 to 1010 MW.
  • There has been no increase in the size of the Cruachan reservoir.

Scotland will now have a GW-sized hydro-electric power station.

It will not be very much smaller than Sizewell B nuclear station.

Foyers

The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

The current Foyers Power Station operates quite differently to conventional hydro electric power stations. Foyers hydro scheme consists of one pumped hydro power station and one hydro power station and one major dam..

Currently, it generates a maximum power of 305 MW.

My research and analysis in The Development Of The Foyers Pumped Storage Scheme, showed the following.

  • Foyers is a modern pumped-hydro scheme with a capacity of 10 GWh.
  • The updating of the original 1896 hydro-power station to a modern pumped-storage system in 1974 is a superb example of hydro-power engineering.

The development of Foyers power station is an example, that shows what can be done in other hydro-electric schemes around Scotland and the rest of the world.

Galloway

Galloway is a hydroelectric scheme, that is owned by Drax, which have a comprehensive web site for their two hydroelectric schemes in Scotland; Galloway and Lanark.

  • Galloway has a total output of 109 MW.
  • It has six power stations at Drumjohn, Kendoon, Carsfad, Earlstoun, Glenlee and Tongland.
  • There is no energy storage
  • It is what is known as a run-of-the-river scheme.

The scheme opened in the 1930s.

Glendoe

The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

In 2009, the first major hydro electric power station to be built in Scotland for almost 30 years, Glendoe on the eastern shore of Loch Ness, began generating electricity.

Currently, it generates a maximum power of 106.5 MW.

My analysis in Glendoe Hydro Power Station, led me to conclude, that engineers will look at this scheme built in the early years of this century to convert it to a pumped storage facility. It might even have been designed for conversion to a pumped storage station, as it was built after the successful conversion of Foyers power station. Comparing the size of the upper lake to Foyers and other schemes, I would estimate it could easily provide in excess of 15 GWh of storage.

The Glendoe hydro-electric scheme could be augmented by upwards of 15 GWh of storage.

Glenmuckloch

This is a small scheme promoted by Buccleuch, that generates 4 MW and stores 1.6 GWh in a disused opencast coal mine.

My analysis in The Glenmuckloch Pumped Storage Scheme, led me to this conclusion.

This project appears to have stalled, but I do like the idea of using a disused mine to store energy and the engineering behind the project.

I will ignore it in my conclusions of this post.

Great Glen

The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

The Great Glen runs for more than 100 kilometres from Inverness in the northeast, to Fort William in the southwest, following a geological fault line that divides north and south Scotland.

Currently, it generates a maximum power of 112.7 MW.

My analysis in Repurposing The Great Glen Hydro-Electric Scheme, showed the following.

  • Research from Strathclyde University, says that the Great Glen scheme could support up to 90 GWh of pumped storage.
  • Adding pumped storage facilities to the Great Glen hydro-electric scheme, with a capacity of upwards of a conservative 30 GWh, should be possible.

As with other schemes, generating capacity and system operation could be improved by replacing some or all of the 1950s and 1960s turbines with modern units and using modern control systems.

The Great Glen hydro-electric scheme could be augmented by upwards of 30 GWh of storage.

Lanark

Lanark is a hydroelectric scheme, that is owned by Drax, which have a comprehensive web site for their two hydroelectric schemes in Scotland; Galloway and Lanark.

  • Lanark has a total output of 17 MW.
  • It has two power stations at Bonnington and Stonebyres.
  • There is no energy storage
  • It is what is known as a run-of-the-river scheme.

The scheme opened in the 1920s.

Red John

This new scheme is being developed by ILI Group and the project has its own web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

Between 2007 and 2015, the total installed capacity of renewables electricity in Scotland has more than doubled. Due to its intermittent nature, the rise in renewable generation has resulted in increased demand for flexible capacity to help meet energy balancing requirements for the national grid system.

Pumped storage hydro is considered by the Directors to be the most developed and largest capacity form of grid energy storage that currently exists. This can help reduce renewable energy curtailment and therefore promote grid stability.

The web site says this about the project.

  • The scheme has an output of 450 MW.
  • The storage capacity is 2.8 GWh.
  • The scheme has planning consent.
  • The project is budgeted to cost £550 million.
  • The construction program indicates that the scheme will be completed by the end of 2025.

It also has very detailed maps.

I wrote about the project in Red John Pumped Storage Hydro Project, where I came to these conclusions.

  • This scheme has the output of a large gas-fired power station for just over six hours.
  • The finances must add up, as no-one would back a scheme like this if they didn’t get an adequate return on their money.

It may only be a small scheme, that is a quarter of the size of the existing nearby Foyers pumped-storage scheme, but as it is shovel-ready, we should start digging.

The Red John hydro-electric scheme would add 2.8 GWh of storage.

Shin

The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

Shin is Scotland’s most northerly hydro electric scheme. It utilises water from a 650 square kilometre catchment area in Sutherland, including Loch Shin, and water from the River Cassley and River Brora.

Currently, it generates a maximum power of 32.1 MW.

My analysis in Shin Hydro Power Scheme, showed the following.

  • I would be very surprised if any pumped storage were to be added to this scheme.
  • This 1950s scheme has been partially updated.

Perhaps some more updating would be worthwhile.

Sloy/Awe

The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

With the exception of Cruachan Power Station which was commissioned in 1965, major work on the Sloy/Awe scheme was completed by 1963, the year the Beatles had their first No 1 hit with From Me To You – and a world away from the immediate post-war austerity being experienced when Sloy Power Station was commissioned just 14 years earlier.

Currently, it generates a maximum power of 261.9 MW.

My analysis in Repurposing The Sloy/Awe Hydro-Electric Scheme, showed the following.

  • Research from Strathclyde University, says that the Sloy/Awe scheme could support up to 68 GWh of pumped storage.
  • Adding pumped storage facilities to the Sloy/Awe hydro-electric scheme, with a capacity of upwards of a conservative 40 GWh, should be possible.

As with other schemes, generating capacity and system operation could be improved by replacing some or all of the 1930s and 1950s turbines with modern units and using modern control systems.

The Sloy/Awe hydro-electric scheme could be augmented by upwards of 40 GWh of storage.

Tummel Valley

The scheme is now owned by SSE Renewables and has a page on their web site, which introduces the scheme like this.

The Tummel scheme stretches from Dalwhinnie, famous for its whisky distillery, in the north, to the remote Rannoch Station in the west, and the highly-popular tourist town of Pitlochry in the east.

Currently, it generates a maximum power of 309.2 MW.

My analysis in Repurposing The Tummel Hydro-Electric Scheme, showed the following.

  • Research from Strathclyde University, says that the Tummel Valley scheme could support up to 135 GWh of pumped storage.
  • Adding pumped storage facilities to the Tummel Valley hydro-electric scheme, with a capacity of upwards of a conservative 40-60 GWh, should be possible.

As with other schemes, generating capacity and system operation could be improved by replacing some or all of the 1930s and 1950s turbines with modern units and using modern control systems.

The Tummel Valley hydro-electric scheme could be augmented by upwards of 40 GWh of storage.

A Simple Summary

These are deliberately conservative figures from my analysis.

  • Affric/Beauly – 50 GWh
  • Balliemeanoch – 45 GWh
  • Balmacaan – 15 GWh
  • Breadalbane – 12 GWh
  • Coire Glas – 30 GWh
  • Conon – 30 GWh
  • Corrievarkie – 14.5 GWh
  • Glendoe – 15 GWh
  • Great Glen – 30 GWh
  • Red John – 2.8 GWh
  • Sloy/Awe – 40 GWh
  • Tummel Valley – 40 GWh

Note.

  1. With new storage like Balliemeanoch, Balmacaan, Coire Glas, Corrievarkie and Red John, I am using published figures where they are available.
  2. With figures from existing schemes,I am being deliberately very conservative.

That is a total of 324.3 GWh with 107.3 GWh down to new storage

Strathclyde University’s Prediction

This page on the Strathclyde University web site, gives these figures for the possible amounts of pumped-storage that can be added to existing schemes.

  • Errochty – 16
  • Glasgarnock – 23
  • Luichart – 38
  • Clunie – 40
  • Fannich – 70
  • Rannoch – 41
  • Fasnakyle – 78
  • Tummel – 38
  • Ben Lawers – 12
  • Nant – 48
  • Invermoriston – 22
  • Invergarry – 41
  • Quoich – 27
  • Sloy – 20

That is a total of 514 GWh or 621.3 GWh if you include new storage.

Conclusion

Scotland and the UK, has been left a superb legacy for the future by the pioneering work of Scottish engineers and the North of Scotland Hydroelectric Board.

Most of these assets are now in the hands of two groups; Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and Drax Group.

Having seen several of the schemes detailed in this post, in the last few weeks, on Michael Portillo’s; Great Coastal Railway Journeys, it does seem that both groups are looking after their assets.

SSE and Drax also seem to be doing their best to publicise the success of one of the UK’s high-value, but low-profile engineering assets.

I believe that we should do a survey that would identify the following.

  • What needs to be done to allow each aqueduct, dam, power station and tunnel to continue to function until a given date in the future.
  • Which of the individual schemes can be updated to larger schemes or pumped storage systems.

We would then be able to device a long term plan to create a world-class hydro-electric power scheme for Scotland.

Scotland should be able to provide upwards of 400 GWh of pumped-storage.

This article on Current News is entitled Up To 24GW Of Long Duration Storage Needed For 2035 Net Zero Electricity System – Aurora.

These are the first three paragraphs.

Deploying large quantities of long duration electricity storage (LDES) could reduce system costs and reliance on gas, but greater policy support is needed to enable this, Aurora Energy Research has found.

In a new report, Aurora detailed how up to 24GW of LDES – defined as that with a duration of four hours or above – could be needed to effectively manage the intermittency of renewable generation in line with goals of operating a net zero electricity system by 2035. This is equivalent to eight times the current installed capacity.

Additionally, introducing large quantities of LDES in the UK could reduce system costs by £1.13 billion a year in 2035, cutting household bills by £26 – a hot topic with energy bills on the rise as a result of high wholesale power prices.

The report also says that long duration storage could cut carbon emissions by ten million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

It appears to me, Scotland can provide more than enough energy storage for the UK and the Island of Ireland, even if the seas around the British Isles were almost completed covered by wind turbines.

In addition, to the works in Scotland to update the various hydroelectric schemes, there would need to be more interconnectors around the UK and probably to close countries like Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway.

There could even be an interconnector between Iceland and Scotland, so Iceland’s abundance of zero-carbon electricity could be exported to Europe.

 

 

 

March 2, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Glenmuckloch Pumped Storage Scheme

This article on the BBC is entitled Glenmuckloch Opencast Mine Hydro Energy Scheme Approved.

  • It appears to be capable of generating 400 MW.
  • Energy storage capability appears to be 1.6 GWh.
  • It is to be built in a disused opencast coal mine.

It is only a small scheme, but it does seem to have planning approval.

The Scheme has a web page, which is entitled Glenmuckloch Pumped Storage Hydro

  • It is being promoted by Buccleuch and 2020 Renewables and respected consultants; Arup has produced this Non-Technical Summary.
  • The Non-Technical Summary is a very professional document and an interesting read.
  • 2020 Renewables are now part of Forsa Energy.
  • It is certainly an interesting way of removing the remains of an opencast coal mine.

According to this article on the BBC, which is entitled Buyer Sought For £250m Hydro Scheme At Glenmuckloch, the project now appears to be for sale.

Whether it will sell will depend on the cost of realising the scheme, the finance and how much the scheme will earn.

Conclusion

This project appears to have stalled, but I do like the idea of using a disused mine to store energy and the engineering behind the project.

March 1, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment