The Anonymous Widower

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

Isle Of Wight Rail Line Set To Reopen After 10-Month Closure

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

It may have been a long time coming, but let’s hope it’s worth it.

I shall certainly going down, when it opens.

It would appear that the reason for the delay is partly down to software problems.

This seems to me an all-to-frequent occurrence these days.

Could this be that first generation programmers like myself, who honed our skills on small machines in the 1960s and 1970s have mostly retired and are not there to pass on expertise?

September 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 8 Comments

Metier’s First And Second Ipswich Office

My Scottish Borders correspondent has asked me about the first office Metier had in Ipswich.

Courtesy of Google Streetview, I was able to capture this image.

Note.

  1. They were in the four story building with the yellow cladding.
  2. I see it’s still called Pearl Assurance House.
  3. Shadu Hair and Beauty used to be a rather good camera shop.

For those of you, who don’t know Ipswich, if you walk straight ahead and keep right, you end up in the centre of Ipswich.

It wasn’t very large, but it was certainly in better condition, than some of the offices we had in London.

This is the second office in Fore Street.

If I remember correctly, the office was found by Wendy, who responded to my advert in the East Anglian Daily Times, saying, that we were looking for an Office Dogsbody.

 

August 18, 2021 Posted by | Computing | , , , | Leave a comment

Health Lessons From Lockdown

Are some of us learning things about ourselves during lockdown?

For myself!

Mental Health

I certainly think, that I’m handling the mental side well, as I’ve had several lockdowns in the past, usually when I want to get some software written.

Another programmer has told me, that he has used lockdowns to get software written in the past.

I am certainly getting bored though! You can only do so many serious puzzles from The Times.

Normally, if I feel bored, I get on a train or a bus and go somewhere interesting.

Exercise

I’m taking exercise regularly and go for a regular walk most days. I’d probably walk more, if I felt like taking public transport more. But, I do feel, buses and trains could be a place to catch COVID-19.

Drinking

My house tends to get a bit warm, so I’m drinking a lot.

Not strong alcohol, although there is quite a bit of 0.5% Adnams beer going down my throat, but mainly, still lemonade, tea and water.

The amount of fluid seems to have cured my periodic constipation.

On the other hand it does seem to have increased my INR, so I have reduced my Warfarin dosage from 4 to 3.5 mg. per day.

Sleep

I seem to be sleeping well! But then I always do!

Conclusion

Except for the boredom, I think, that I’m doing OK.

April 27, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Health, Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments

I Apologise For The Quality Of My Latest Posts

Since swapping to a Microsoft Surface Studio Pro 2 and Windows 10, the quality of my posts has got worse.

This is because they seem to be incompatible with WordPress.

It annoys me terribly, as I was brought up in a letterpress print works, where nothing less than perfect pages were tolerated.

I suspect I need to return to Windows 7!

I have improved them by reediting them in Windows 7 on my old laptop.

I certainly couldn’t recommend a Microsoft Surface Pro and Windows 10 to a blogger, who uses WordPress.

 

March 14, 2020 Posted by | Computing | , , , , | 3 Comments

Class 755 Trains Are Now Running Between Ipswich And Cambridge

According to this article on the East Anglia Daily Times, the new Stadler Class 755 trains are now running between Ipswich and Cambridge stations.

The article also makes these points.

  • The Class 153 trains  will be retired at the end of this week.
  • More Class 755 trains wll come into service in the coming weeks.

There is a software problem that restricts full operation, which should be fixed in a couple of weeks, which is described like this.

A new piece of software is due to be installed within a few weeks – but until then passengers heading east from Elmswell and west from Kennett are being taken by bus to the next station.

Both Elmswell and Kennett are simpler stations, with short platforms.

This Google Map shows Elmswell station.

And this Google Map shows Kennett station.

I wonder, if with these stations, selective door opening is needed the on one platform and the layout doesn’t fit the original software.

When you write software to work in a large number of situations, it’s difficult to make sure you cover everything.

Greater Anglian’s solution of a bus to get around the problem is not an ideal solution, but it should work, until the software is fixed.

 

November 26, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Ultrasound On A Chip

The latest episode of BBC Click is a must-watch.

One section is about a new ultrasound device from Butterfly Network.

Their product called Butterfly iQ; is an ultrasound sensor on a chip, that converts a smart phone into a full function medical ultrasound machine.

But as an engineer, who knows a bit about this sort of technology, I doubt that all the applications are medical ones.

Typical hospital ultrasound machines cost tens of thousands of pounds, but the price of the sensor on the Butterfly Network web site is in the order of a couple of grand. Software is probably extra, but even so, Southampton Hospital has bought four and one is in their paediatric ambulance.

I have one big question.

Is the device open source? This would enable, an imaginative programmer, as I once was, to convert the device, so that it is able to perform an important application.

I would be very disappointing if it wasn’t!

To get a snapshot of the power of ultrasound, read the Wikipedia entry for ultrasound.

A Video

I found this on the Internet.

As you can see, it’s not very big.

Conclusion

This is an amazing development and it will revolutionise so much of healthcare and other fields.

October 19, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Health, World | , , | Leave a comment

The Chilling Power Of Drones And Software

This article on the BBC is entitled Saudi Oil Attacks: Images Show Detail Of Damage.

Read this article and then say, that drones can’t be used to create death ad destruction or merely havoc, like flight disruption at a major airport.

Consider.

  • Automation is such, that drones can now be launched on a fire-and-forget basis.
  • You can’t jam an autonomous drone!
  • There is nothing to stop a top quality programmer creating evil software.
  • Much of the software, used for evil purposes, is probably also used to write business, research, engineering, scientific, educational and other types of software.
  • The genie is well and truly out of the bottle!

14/09/2019 will become a notorious date in history.

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Computing, World | , , , | Leave a comment

How The Boeing 737 Max Disaster Looks To A Software Developer

The title of this post is the same as this article on IEEE Spectrm.

It is the best article, I’ve read on the disaster and I agree with nearly every word the writer has written, except perhaps some of his spelling.

Like the author, I am a software developer and I have had over a thousand hours in command of light aircraft, although I don’t fly now!

I have this feeling that this affair, will go down in history as one of the worst business disasters of all time!

I certainly won’t fly in any 737 again! Or at least not for a long time!

August 2, 2019 Posted by | Business, Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Boeing Says It Could Halt Production Of 737 Max After Grounding

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

This is the first paragraph.

Boeing said it could halt production of the 737 Max jet on Wednesday as it reported the company’s largest ever quarterly loss following two fatal accidents involving the plane.

To my mind, this is a self-inflicted problem caused by trying to stretch a 1960s design too far past the end of its design life.

Boeing realised that they needed a new larger plane and developed the fuel-efficient Class 787 Dreamliner to replace 747s, 767s and 777s.

It was total management failure to not planning to replace the 737 with a smaller plane based on Dreamliner technology.

Will Boeing Solve The 737 MAX Problem?

Compare it with the Class 710 train, that also had software problems that delayed the launch.

  • The Class 710 train is a totally new train, with masses of new features, liked by operators, staff and passengers.
  • The Train Management and Control System of the Class 710 train was very challenging to design and program.
  • If a train fails, it only comes to an embarrassing stop.

On the other hand, the following can be said about the 737 MAX..

  • The 737 MAX is an update of a 1960s design.
  • The mathematics of the 737 MAX must be challenging.
  • The computer system hasn’t been properly designed, programmed and tested.
  • If a plane fails, it’s a lot more than an embarrassing stop.

Boeing seem to have made a tragic mistake for airlines, passengers and them,selves.

Engineers will probably solve the software problem,but will that be enough to save the plane?

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment