The Anonymous Widower

Renewable Power’s Effect On The Tory Leadership Election

I wouldn’t normally comment on the Tory Leadership Election, as I don’t have a vote and my preference has already been eliminated.

But after reading this article on the Telegraph, which is entitled Britain Will Soon Have A Glut Of Cheap Power, And World-Leading Batteries To Store It, I feel I have to comment both about this election and the General Election, that will follow in a few years.

These two paragraphs from the article illustrate the future growth of offshore wind power.

It is a point about the mathematical implications of the UK’s gargantuan push for renewables. Offshore wind capacity is going to increase from 11 to 50 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 under the Government’s latest fast-track plans.

RenewableUK says this country currently has a total of 86GW in the project pipeline. This the most ambitious rollout of offshore wind in the world, ahead of China at 78GW, and the US at 48GW.

If we assume that there is eight years left of this decade, that means that we should install about 4.9 GW of offshore wind every year until 2030. If we add in planned solar and onshore wind developments, we must be looking at at least 5 GW of renewable energy being added every year.

We have also got the 3.26 GW Hinckley Point C coming on stream.

I think we can say, that when it comes to electricity generation, we will not be worried, so Liz and Rishi can leave that one to the engineers.

If we have an electricity problem, it is about distribution and storage.

  • We need more interconnectors between where the wind farms are being built and where the electricity will be used.
  • National Grid and the Government have published plans for two interconnectors between Scotland and England, which I wrote about in New Electricity ‘Superhighways’ Needed To Cope With Surge In Wind Power.
  • We need energy storage to back up the wind and solar power, when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.

I think it is reasonable to assume, that we will get the interconnectors we need and the Telegraph article puts forward a very feasible and affordable solution to the energy storage problem, which is described in these two paragraphs from the article.

That is now in sight, and one of the world leaders is a British start-up. Highview Power has refined a beautifully simple technology using liquid air stored in insulated steel towers at low pressure.

This cryogenic process cools air to minus 196 degrees using the standard kit for LNG. It compresses the volume 700-fold. The liquid re-expands with a blast of force when heated and drives a turbine, providing dispatchable power with the help of a flywheel.

The article also talks of twenty energy storage systems, spread around the UK.

  • They will have a total output of 6 GW.
  • In total they will be able to store 600 GWh of electricity.

The first one for Humberside is currently being planned.

Surely, building these wind and solar farms, interconnectors and energy storage systems will cost billions of pounds.

Consider.

  • Wind and solar farms get paid for the electricity they generate.
  • , Interconnectors get paid for the electricity they transfer.
  • Energy storage systems make a profit by buying energy when it’s cheap and selling it, when the price is better.
  • In World’s Largest Wind Farm Attracts Huge Backing From Insurance Giant, I talked about how Aviva were funding the world’s largest wind farm at Hornsea.
  • National Grid has a history of funding interconnectors like the North Sea Link from large financial institutions.

I believe that the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and the waters around our combined shores will become the largest zero-carbon power station in the world.

This will attract engineering companies and financial institutions from all over the world and we will see a repeat of the rush for energy that we saw for oil and gas in the last century.

If we get the financial regime right, I can see a lot of tax money flowing towards the Exchequer.

The big question will be what do we do with all this energy.

  • Some will be converted into hydrogen for transport, the making of zero-carbon steel and cement and for use as a chemical feedstock.
  • Industries that use a lot of electricity may move to the UK.
  • A large supply of electricity and hydrogen will make it easy to decarbonise housing, offices and factories.

The Telegraph article also says this.

Much can be exported to the Continent through interconnectors for a fat revenue stream, helping to plug the UK’s trade deficit, and helping to rescue Germany from the double folly of nuclear closures and the Putin pact. But there are limits since weather patterns in Britain and Northwest Europe overlap – partially.

I suspect that more energy will be exported to Germany than most economists think, as it will be needed and it will be a nice little earner for the UK.

Given the substantial amount of German investment in our wind industry, I do wonder, if Boris and Olaf did a deal to encourage more German investment, when they met in April this year.

  • BP have been backed with their wind farms by a German utility company.
  • RWE are developing the Sofia wind farm.
  • Only last week, the deal for the NeuConnect interconnector between the Isle of Grain and Wilhelmshaven was signed.
  • Siemens have a lot of investments in the UK.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see more German investments in the next few months.

The Golden Hello

Has there ever been a Prime Minister, who will receive such a golden hello, as the one Liz or Rishi will receive in September?

The Tory Leadership Election

Some of the candidates said they would reduce taxes , if they won and Liz Truss is still saying that.

I wonder why Rishi isn’t saying that he would reduce taxes, as he must know the cash flow that is coming. It may be he’s just a more cautious soul.

 

 

 

July 30, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rolls-Royce Lists Sites For New Reactor

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

The headline is a bit misleading, as the site is for a factory to build the reactors.

These paragraphs list the sites.

Rolls-Royce, the engineering company, has shortlisted six sites for a factory that will build its proposed small nuclear reactors.

The constituency of Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, in Richmond, North Yorkshire, is among the locations, which have been whittled down from more than 100 proposals.

The other sites are Sunderland, Deeside in Wales, Ferrybridge in West Yorkshire, Stallingborough in Lincolnshire, and Carlisle.

As Rishi Sunak resigned last night, does that rule out Richmond?

I feel that Rolls-Royce will choose this location with care, as any good company would.

I have a few thoughts.

Will Rolls-Royce Go For Zero-Carbon Manufacture?

If you intend to build large numbers of small modular nuclear reactors, it is not a good idea from a marketing or public relations point of view to release tonnes of carbon in their manufacture.

This page on the Rolls-Royce web site has a title of Destination Net Zero, where this is said.

We have already pledged to reduce emissions from our own operations to net zero by 2030, and to play a leading role in enabling the sectors in which we operate to reach net zero by 2050. Now, we are now laying out our technology pathway and setting clear short-term targets to show how we will achieve those goals.

I am sure Rolls-Royce will go for zero-carbon manufacture.

This will probably mean the site will need to have access to the following.

  • Renewable electricity from wind, solar or hydro.
  • Hydrogen
  • Zero-carbon steel, copper and other raw materials

An external supply of hydrogen may well be the least important, as they recently purchased a German electrolyser developer and manufacturer, that I wrote about in Rolls-Royce To Develop mtu Hydrogen Electrolyser And Invest In Hoeller Electrolyser.

Will The Factory Have A Rail Connection?

A rail connection could have four main purposes.

  • Bringing in raw materials like steel.
  • Delivering manufactured components to site.
  • If the factory is a major source of employment, rail is the greenest way to bring in staff from further away.
  • If large shipments are brought in and delivered by zero-carbon rail, it generally doesn’t annoy the locals.

Note.

  1. The huge Britishvolt gigafactory at Blyth will have a rail connection for the transport of lithium and finished batteries.
  2. Transport of nuclear fuel and waste around the UK is generally done by train, with perhaps the last few miles by truck.

I think it will be very unlikely, that the new factory will not have a rail connection.

Will Power Station Modules Be Transportable By Rail?

Given that in the UK, there will need to be a railhead at or near the power station for fuel and waste, I believe that if modules were transportable by rail, this could give big advantages to the roll-out of the reactors.

If a former Magnox nuclear site like Bradwell is to be home to a fleet of small modular reactors, the electrified railhead is already in place at Southminster station.

The crane and the track probably need a bit of a refurbishment, but overall, it looks in reasonable condition.

If you sell nuclear as zero-carbon, rail is the easiest way to ensure zero-carbon delivery of modules.

The standard loading gauge in the UK is W10, which is 2.9 metres high and 2.5 metres wide.

  • A standard twenty-foot container is six metres long, which must help.
  • W10 gauge allows the transport of standard Hi-Cube shipping containers, which are 9 ft 6 in. high, on flat rail wagons.
  • If the modules can fit into Hi-Cube shipping containers, this would make transport easier everywhere, as all ports and railways can handle these containers.

Would it be possible to fit all components into this relatively small space?

It could be difficult, but I suspect it is possible to achieve, as it would make the reactors easier to sell.

  • Sites would only need to be able to receive Hi-Cube shipping containers.
  • These could be trucked in from a nearby railhead.
  • Containers on a railway are a very secure way of transporting goods.
  • Rolls-Royce has masses of experience in shipping large turbofan engines in standard shipping containers. Some are shipped in very carefully controlled air conditions to minimise damage.
  • Hi-Cube shipping containers can go through the Channel Tunnel.

I am fairly sure, that Rolls-Royce are designing the power station, so that it fits into a number of Hi-Cube shipping containers. It would give other advantages.

  • Smaller components would probably speed up assembly.
  • Smaller components may also mean that smaller cranes could be used for assembly.

There may need to be some gauge enhancement to be able to access some sites in the UK.

  • This article on Rail Engineer, is entitled Showing Your Gauge, and it details how gauge is being enhanced to W10 and W12 in the UK.
  • Network Rail have also published a map, which shows where W10 gauge is possible. Click here to view.

I am fairly certain, that most railways in the world can handle Hi-Cube shipping containers.

Availability Of Staff

Rolls-Royce will obviously opt for a place, where there is good availability of staff.

Conclusion

I feel that any of the sites mentioned could be the ideal place for the factory.

If I had to have a bet, I’d put it the factory at Stallingborough in Lincolnshire.

  • It is close to the Zero Carbon Humber energy and hydrogen hub.
  • There is plenty of space.
  • There is a rail connection.
  • It is close to the Port of Immingham.
  • It is close to British Steel at Scunthorpe.

It is also not that far from Derby by road or rail.

 

 

July 6, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

61GW Renewables And Storage Pipeline Could Bring In £125bn To Economy

I did think about calling this post something like.

  • Do You Like Large Numbers?
  • My Calculator Just Blew Up!
  • I Don’t Believe It!
  • No Wonder Rishi Sunak Has A Smile On His Face!

But I’ll use my normal introduction for this type of post!

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

The UK currently has a pipeline of 61GW of renewables and storage that if developed could bring in £125 billion to the UK economy.

The article also says that this pipeline could provide 200,000 jobs.

So where will this massive 61 GW of electricity come from?

  • Off-shore Wind – 31.7 GW
  • On-shore Wind – 11.9 GW
  • Solar PV – 8.6 GW
  • Storage – 8.5 GW

Where is the Nuclear Option?

iThe article also says that 18 GW of these projects are Shovel-Ready.

The figures come from UK trade association; Regen, whose Chief |Executive is the appropriately named; Merlin Hyman.

The page on the Regen web site, which is entitled Unlock Renewables For A Green Recovery,  is the original document on which the Current News article is based.

Regen want three things from the Government, in return for creating all this renewable electricity capacity.

  1. Publish an Energy White Paper putting the UK on course for a flexible power system based on renewables and storage.
    Commit to annual Contracts for Difference auctions to give investors confidence.
    End the anti onshore wind policies in the English planning regime.

Some will not like the third condition.

I must go now, as I must go down the Chinese-owned Lucky Electronics Shop on Dalston Kingsland High Street to get a calculator with more digits to replace the one that blew up!

July 10, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Finance | , , , | Leave a comment

Beeching Reversal – Upper Wensleydale Railway

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

This map from the Upper Wensleydale Railway web site, shows the location of the proposed reinstated railway.

This is the vision of how the railway will be used, taken from the web site.

It is hoped that a reinstated junction with the existing  Leeds – Settle – Carlisle railway line at Garsdale will allow ‘through’ trains to run from Hawes via Garsdale Junction, past the Yorkshire Three Peaks to Settle, then onwards through Hellifield and Clitheroe into Lancashire for Preston and Greater Manchester.

We are also hoping that some Manchester – Blackburn – Clitheroe trains can be extended to Garsdale and Hawes thereby linking Lancashire to an enhanced service through Settle to the Yorkshire Peaks and Dales.

Connections with other trains could be made at Hellifield (for West Yorkshire & Lancaster) and at Garsdale (for Carlisle, Scotland & the North East of England).

This Google map shows the current state of the railways at Garsdale.

Note.

  1. Garsdale station in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. The Settle and Carlisle Line curving away to the North over the Dandry Mire Viaduct.
  3. The trackbed of the former branch to Hawes stands out as a green scar.

I have followed the route of the railway to Hawes in my helicopter and it doesn’t appear to be a very challenging project to reinstate.

  • Although the comprehensive Routes and Structures page on the Upper Wensleydale Railway, indicates there is a lot to do.
  • It is about six miles long.
  • It is single track with a passing loop at Hawes.

This Google Map shows the town of Hawes,

It certainly looks the sort of place, where Wallace and Gromit might rent a cottage for a week and use as a base to explore the countryside.

  • There’s a Wensleydale Creamery.
  • There’s a traditional ropemaker called Outhwaite, dating from 1905, who have the web site; www.ropemakers.com.
  • The headquarters of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority are located in the North of the town and shown by a green arrow.

Next to the Park Authority is a blue arrow marking the Dales Countryside Museum, which incorporates the original Hawes railway station.

Services To Hawes

Looking at the data from Real Time Trains, it looks like trains on the Settle and Carlisle average about fifty mph on that line, which is generally double-track with an operating speed of sixty mph.

  • I would estimate that a modern diesel or hydrogen-powered train could do the return trip between Garsdale and Hawes station in around thirty minutes.
  • This time would probably mean that the Hawes Branch could be worked with only one train operational on the branch.
  • It would also fit in well with the service plans for the Upper Wensleydale Railway.

I am fairly certain that an hourly service could be run between Hawes and Hellifield stations, which could be extended as far South as the operator wanted.

Military Traffic To Redmire

In the Wikipedia entry for Redmire village, this is said.

Redmire is the terminus of the Wensleydale Railway. The Ministry of Defence uses trains to transport armoured vehicles from bases in the south to the Catterick military area using Redmire railway station as its terminus.

It looks like there must be a quality railway between Redmire station and the East Coast Main Line at Northallerton.

This Google Map shows the site of Redmire station.

Note.

  1. At the left hand side of the map, there look to be loading ramps for the military vehicles, at the end of two sidings.
  2. The building on the North side of the tracks appears to be the old Redmire station buildings.
  3. The blue dot to the right, is a Google Maps pointer for the station

If you type Redmire into Google Maps, it’s easy to find..

This Google Map shows the rail lines at Northallerton.

Note.

Northallerton station in the South-East corner of the map.

The East Coast Main Line runs about West-by-North from the station towards Darlington and Scotland.

The line to Middlesbrough branches off in a North-Easterly direction.

The Wensleydale Railway comes in from the West and joins the East Coast Main Line going North.

It also appears there used to be a tight chord that allowed trains to go between the Wensleydale Railway and the South.

It looks like the Army would like that chord for their vehicle trains.

This enlarged Google Map, shows the site of the chord.

It looks to me, that it was once a chord, but now it’s a substantial wood.

A Bigger Plan

In the Wikipedia entry for the Wensleydale Railway, there is a section, which is entitled Upper Wensleydale Railway, where this is said.

In late 2019/early 2020, a separate company was formed to campaign to reinstate the line between Hawes and Garsdale. The groups’ objective is to have a timetabled year-round service run by a train operating company, rather than a heritage service. This scheme was shortlisted for funding in the second round of the government’s Reverse Beeching Fund, in June 2020.

These are my thoughts on various topics.

The Eastern Terminal

There are three possible Eastern terminals.

  • Northallerton
  • Middlesbrough – There is no connection to the Wensleydale Railway.
  • Darlington – Would probably mean slow trains on the East Coast Main Line.

I think we’re left with Northallerton and the tight connection, which requires the chord to be reinstated.

But, it does say in the Wikipedia entry for Northallerton station, that the station is the terminus for the proposed extended Wensleydale Railway.

This Google Map shows the Northern end of Northallerton station.

Would it be possible to sneak a line down the Western side of the East Coast Main Line and into a new bay platform at the station?

It would certainly allow trains from the Wensleydale Railway to terminate at Northallerton station.

The Western Terminal

As I said earlier, it’s the operator’s choice.

Personally, I would choose Blackburn station.

  • It’s about fifty miles from Gardale station.
  • There is a train depot at Blackburn.
  • Blackburn station is in the Town Centre.
  • Blackburn station has good rail connections to Blackpool, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester and Preston.

Prior to COVID-19, I regularly stayed in the convenient Premier Inn next to the station.

Rolling Stock

The trains will have to be self-powered, as I don’t think the budget will run to electrification and much of the track-bed is owned by a heritage railway.

So that must mean the trains must be self-powered, which will mean either diesel, electric or hydrogen.

  • I think diesel can be ruled out, except as a stop-gap, we are going carbon-neutral on the railways by 2040.
  • Blackburn and Northallerton stations are too far for battery power.

So that means it must be hydrogen power.

But as, it appears that Teesside is going for hydrogen, as I wrote about in Fuelling The Change On Teesside Rails, that should be a convenient fuel.

The route might be a candidate for Vivarail’s Pop-up Metro concept, with fast charging at one or two, of any number of the stations.

Conclusion

I like this scheme, as it sorts a lot of problems.

I also think that there’s a fair chance, it will get the nod.

The local MP is the Chancellor of the Exchequer; Rishi Sunak and this could be a case of he who pays the piper, calls the tune!

July 4, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Gas Network Operators And Energy Suppliers Urge Government To Promote Hydrogen-Fueled Recovery

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

In a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Siemens Energy, Engie, National Grid, and Ryze Hydrogen call for the government to emulate its successful approach to offshore wind development and set an official cost reduction target for green hydrogen.

I think they’re right.

There has also been lots of comment in recent days on The Times web site arguing for more hydrogen.

Points from the Business Green article include.

  • Develop a policy  for carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS), that was promised in its manifesto.
  • Carbon capture and storage would allow the production of zero-carbon blue hydrogen from natural gas.
  • The signatories have £900 million ready to invest in a zero-carbon gas grid in the UK.
  • Plans will be unveiled before the COP26 conference.
  • More emphasis by government on hydrogen buses and HGVs is needed.

The government and the gas industry must work together to deliver an economy, that is as near to zero-carbon as possible.

 

June 12, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , | 1 Comment