The Anonymous Widower

UK To Norway Sub-Sea Green Power Cable Operational

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

The world’s longest under-sea electricity cable, transferring green power between Norway and the UK, has begun operation.

The 450-mile (725km) cable connects Blyth in Northumberland with the Norwegian village of Kvilldal.

The BBC article is based on this press release from National Grid.

The link has been called the North Sea Link (NSL).

These are some thoughts.

What Is The Capacity Of The North Sea Link?

The National Grid press release says this.

[The link] will start with a maximum capacity of 700 megawatts (MW) and gradually increase to the link’s full capacity of 1400MW over a three-month period.

It also says this.

Once at full capacity, NSL will provide enough clean electricity to power 1.4 million homes.

It is more or less equivalent to two or three gas-fired power stations.

What Is The Operating Philosophy Of The North Sea Link?

The National Grid press release says this.

The Norwegian power generation is sourced from hydropower plants connected to large reservoirs, which can respond faster to fluctuations in demand compared to other major generation technologies. However, as the water level in reservoirs is subject to weather conditions, production varies throughout seasons and years.

When wind generation is high and electricity demand low in Britain, NSL will enable renewable power to be exported from the UK, conserving water in Norway’s reservoirs. When demand is high in Britain and there is low wind generation, hydro power can be imported from Norway, helping to ensure secure, affordable and sustainable electricity supplies for UK consumers.

It almost seems to me, that the North Sea Link is part of a massive pumped-storage system, where we can bank some of our wind-generated electricity in Norway and draw it out when we need it.

I would suspect that the rate and direction of electricity transfer is driven by a very sophisticated algorithm, that uses detailed demand and weather forecasting.

As an example, if we are generating a lot of wind power at night, any excess that the Norwegians can accept will be used to fill their reservoirs.

The Blyth Connection

This page on the North Sea Link web site, describes the location of the UK end of the North Sea Link.

These three paragraphs describe the connection.

The convertor station will be located just off Brock Lane in East Sleekburn. The site forms part of the wider Blyth Estuary Renewable Energy Zone and falls within the Cambois Zone of Economic Opportunity.

The converter station will involve construction of a series of buildings within a securely fenced compound. The buildings will be constructed with a steel frame and clad with grey insulated metal panels. Some additional outdoor electrical equipment may also be required, but most of the equipment will be indoors.

Onshore underground cables will be required to connect the subsea cables to the converter station. Underground electricity cables will then connect the converter station to a new 400kV substation at Blyth (located next to the existing substation) which will be owned and operated by National Grid Electricity Transmission PLC.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. The light grey buildings in the North-West corner of the map are labelled as the NSL Converter Station.
  2. Underground cables appear to have been dug between the converter station and the River Blyth.
  3. Is the long silver building to the West of the triangular jetty, the 400 KV substation, where connection is made to the grid?

The cables appear to enter the river from the Southern point of the triangular jetty. Is the next stop Norway?

Britishvolt And The North Sea Link

Britishvolt are are building a factory at Blyth and this Google Map shows are to the North and East of the NSL Converter Station.

Note the light-coloured buildings of the NSL Converter Station.

I suspect there’s plenty of space to put Britishvolt’s gigafactory between the converter station and the coast.

As the gigafactory will need a lot of electricity and preferably green, I would assume this location gives Britishvolt all they need.

Where Is Kvilldal?

This Google Map shows the area of Norway between Bergen and Oslo.

Note.

  1. Bergen is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Oslo is at the Eastern edge of the map about a third of the way down.
  3. Kvilldal is marked by the red arrow.

This second Google Map shows  the lake to the North of Kvilldal.

Note.

  1. Suldalsvatnet is the sixth deepest lake in Norway and has a volume of 4.49 cubic kilometres.
  2. Kvilldal is at the South of the map in the middle.

This third Google Map shows Kvilldal.

Note.

  1. Suldalsvatnet is the dark area across the top of the map.
  2. The Kvilldal hydro-electric power station on the shore of the lake.
  3. Kvilldal is to the South-West of the power station.

Kvilldal doesn’t seem to be the biggest and most populous of villages. But they shouldn’t have electricity supply problems.

Kvilldal Power Station And The North Sea Link

The Wikipedia entry for Kvilldal power station gives this information.

The Kvilldal Power Station is a located in the municipality of Suldal. The facility operates at an installed capacity of 1,240 megawatts (1,660,000 hp), making it the largest power station in Norway in terms of capacity. Statnett plans to upgrade the western grid from 300 kV to 420 kV at a cost of 8 billion kr, partly to accommodate the NSN Link cable] from Kvilldal to England.

This power station is almost large enough to power the North Sea Link on its own.

The Kvilldal power station is part of the Ulla-Førre complex of power stations and lakes, which include the artificial Lake Blåsjø.

Lake Blåsjø

Lake Blåsjø would appear to be a lake designed to be the upper reservoir for a pumped-storage scheme.

  • The lake can contain 3,105,000,000 cubic metres of water at its fullest.
  • The surface is between 930 and 1055 metres above sea level.
  • It has a shoreline of about 200 kilometres.

This Google Map shows the Lake.

Note the dam at the South end of the lake.

Using Omni’s Potential Energy Calculator, it appears that the lake can hold around 8 TWh of electricity.

A rough calculation indicates that this could supply the UK with 1400 MW for over eight months.

The Wikipedia entry for Saurdal power station gives this information.

The Saurdal Power Station is a hydroelectric and pumped-storage power station located in the municipality of Suldal. The facility operates at an installed capacity of 674 megawatts (904,000 hp) (in 2015). The average energy absorbed by pumps per year is 1,189 GWh (4,280 TJ) (in 2009 to 2012). The average annual production is 1,335 GWh (4,810 TJ) (up to 2012)

This Google Map shows the area between Kvilldal and Lake Blåsjø.

Note

  1. Kvilldal is in the North West of the map.
  2. Lake Blåsjø is in South East of the map.

This second Google Map shows the area to the South-East of Kvilldal.

Note.

  1. Kvilldal is in the North-West of the map.
  2. The Saurdal power station is tight in the South-East corner of the map.

This third Google Map shows a close-up of Saurdal power station.

Saurdal power station is no ordinary power station.

This page on the Statkraft web site, gives a brief description of the station.

The power plant was commissioned during 1985-1986 and uses water resources and the height of fall from Lake Blåsjø, Norway’s largest reservoir.

The power plant has four generating units, two of which can be reversed to pump water back up into the reservoir instead of producing electricity.

The reversible generating units can thus be used to store surplus energy in Lake Blåsjø.

Is Lake Blåsjø and all the power stations just a giant battery?

Economic Effect

The economic effect of the North Sea Link to both the UK and Norway is laid out in a section called Economic Effect in the Wikipedia entry for the North Sea Link.

Some points from the section.

  • According to analysis by the United Kingdom market regulator Ofgem, in the base case scenario the cable would contribute around £490 million to the welfare of the United Kingdom and around £330 million to the welfare of Norway.
  • This could reduce the average domestic consumer bill in the United Kingdom by around £2 per year.
  • A 2016 study expects the two cables to increase price in South Norway by 2 øre/kWh, less than other factors.

This Economic Effect section also talks of a similar cable between Norway and Germany called NorGer.

It should be noted, that whereas the UK has opportunities for wind farms in areas to the North, South, East and West of the islands, Germany doesn’t have the space in the South to build enough wind power for the area.

There is also talk elsewhere of an interconnector between Scotland and Norway called NorthConnect.

It certainly looks like Norway is positioning itself as Northern Europe’s battery, that will be charged from the country’s extensive hydropower and surplus wind energy from the UK and Germany.

Could The Engineering Be Repeated?

I mentioned NorthConnect earlier.

  • The cable will run between Peterhead in Scotland and Samnanger in Norway.
  • The HVDC cable will be approximately 665 km long.
  • The cable will be the same capacity as the North Sea Link at 1400 MW.
  • According to Wikipedia construction started in 2019.
  • The cable is planned to be operational in 2022.
  • The budget is €1.7 billion.

Note.

  1. Samnager is close to Bergen.
  2. NorthConnect is a Scandinavian company.
  3. The project is supported by the European Union, despite Scotland and Norway not being members.
  4. National Grid is not involved in the project, although, they will be providing the connection in Scotland.

The project appears to be paused at the moment, awaiting how North Sea Link and NordLink between Norway and Germany are received.

There is an English web site, where this is the mission statement on the home page.

NorthConnect will provide an electrical link between Scotland and Norway, allowing the two nations to exchange power and increase the use of renewable energy.

This sounds very much like North Sea Link 2.

And then there is Icelink.

  • This would be a 1000-1200 km link between Iceland and the UK.
  • It would have a capacity of 1200 MW.
  • National Grid are a shareholder in the venture.
  • It would be the longest interconnector in the world.

The project appears to have stalled.

Conclusion

I can see these three interconnectors coming together to help the UK’s electricity generation become carbon-free by 2035.

 

 

 

 

 

October 3, 2021 Posted by | Computing, Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Langthwaite Reservoir

This site is the second application for United Utilities of floatovoltaics, where solar panels are floated on a reservoir.

This page on the Seaflex web site gives details of the project. This paragraph describes the application of the solar panels.

The 1 MW plant features approximately 3,700 pontoon modules and 3,520 solar panels, and the power generated will be used to run the neighbouring Lancaster water treatment works, which supplies water to 152,000 people across Lancaster, Morecambe and Heysham.

There are links to other floatovoltaic projects on this page.

One project at Alto Rabagao in Portugal tested the design in extreme environmental conditions.

Seaflex appear to be a Swedish company started by an inventor of a rubber mooring system.

August 15, 2021 Posted by | Energy | , , , | Leave a comment

The Immense Potential Of Solar Panels Floating On Dams

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

The article reviews the practice of floating solar panels on ponds, lakes and reservoirs.

I like the practice, as the two technologies are compatible.

  • The panels reduce evaporation and help to curb algae growth.
  • Floating panels are cooled by the environment and more efficient.
  • Solar and hydro power can share electricity transmission systems.

But best of all. they use land twice.

The article claims that as much as forty percent of the world’s power can be generated this way.

The article is certainly an interesting read.

August 14, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , | 8 Comments

Nestlé’s Glass Train Shifts More Cargo From Road To Rail

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

This is the first paragraph.

In France, Nestlé Water is bringing more trains to the rails for the transport of reusable water bottles to and from the production site. The Glass Train project, as it is called, is also getting two more destinations; Arles in Southern France and Merrey in the country’s East. The 25 new trains will help the company remove up to 1,000 trucks off the road and save approximately 500 tons in CO2 emissions.

Nestlé is expanding the project to Vittel and Pellegrino.

Conclusion

We need more projects like this!

June 1, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

Solar Canals Already Competitive With Ground-Mounted PV

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

U.S. researchers have assessed the technical and economic feasibility of solar canals in California and have found that their LCOE is already close to that of ground-mounted solar plants. Three different project configurations were analyzed for eight different sites across the California network of canals.

It is a fascinating concept and is already been tried in India.

But apparently, California has the world’s largest network of canals.

Unlike the French system of Floatovoltaics, which I wrote about in Understanding Floatovoltaics, they don’t float the panels on the water, but suspend them with cables or trusses.

But like the French system, they do cut down evaporation.

March 24, 2021 Posted by | Energy | , , , , | 1 Comment

Morphing Water Crystals Could Be The Future Of Green Energy

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

It’s a process so embedded in our daily lives that itts easy to ignore. However, new research indicates there’s more to water evaporation than simply letting your towels dry in the sun after a day at the beach. Evaporation, like any form of matter transformation, requires energy.

An international team of researchers recently tried to better understand that energy process by examining the shape-shifting crystals that control it. They published their findings in Nature Materials on Monday.

Could the researchers have found a new way to create green energy?

September 15, 2020 Posted by | Energy | , | Leave a comment

A Statue Without Explanation In Islington

Every time I go between my house and the Angel, I pass this statue on Islington Green.

It is of Sir Hugh Myddelton, who was very much a hero to generations of North Londoners prior to the Second World War.

Wikipedia introduces him like this.

Sir Hugh Myddelton (or Middleton), 1st Baronet (1560 – 10 December 1631) was a Welsh clothmaker, entrepreneur, mine-owner, goldsmith, banker and self-taught engineer. The spelling of his name is inconsistently reproduced, but Myddelton appears to be the earliest, and most consistently used in place names associated with him.

So why did my parents and others, born in the early years of the twentieth century, hold Myddelton in such high esteem?

Both my parents were born close to his most famous creation; the New River. Wikipedia explains his part in the project.

Myddelton is, however, best remembered as the driving force behind the construction of the New River, an ambitious engineering project to bring clean water from the River Lea, near Ware, in Hertfordshire to New River Head in Clerkenwell, London. After the initial project encountered financial difficulties, Myddelton helped fund the project through to completion, obtaining the assistance of King James I.

I do wonder, if the generation of my parents felt affectionately about the New River because in their first few decades, it was probably the source of most of the water they drunk and used for cooking and washing.

Wikipedia doesn’t give any clue to the character of Myddelton, but I’m sure that in today’s climate, some would find him not worthy of having a statue in such a prominent place.

I do feel though, that the statue needs a display to fill out the story of a man, who did so much for London over four hundred years ago and is still benefiting from his creation.

June 15, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Understanding Floatovoltaics

Floatovoltaics is mounting panels on floats, on an appropriate stretch of water.

This video, which I think from some of the words in the commentary, is shown to visitors who visit the floating solar farm at Yamakura Dam.

It describes all the advantages of floating solar and shows how this 13.7 MW solar farm was constructed.

We’ve even got a couple of these floating solar farms in the UK.

This Google Map shows the farm in the Queen Elizabeth II Reservoir, near Walton-on-Thames.

There is also this article in the Guardian, which is entitled World’s Biggest Floating Solar Farm Powers Up Outside London. It gives a good description of the project.

The article also states that unlike large solar arrays on land, no planning permission is required.

United Utilities have also installed a system at Godley Reservoir in Hyde, near Manchester, as this Google Map shows.

They must like the first installation, as this Press Release from United Utilities indicates that they are now building a second floating solar farm at Langthwaite Reservoir near Lancaster.

Some points from the Press Release.

  • The floats are made locally.
  • Godley is three times the size of Langthwaite.
  • Godley can generate up to 3 GWh per year.
  • It is thought that the panels help to stop the growth of algae in the water.
  • United Utilities already has 45 MW of installed solar and intends to add 22 more sites in the next two years.

In some ways, this embracing of solar is a bit surprising, as the North West, is England’s wettest region.

Conclusion

If my excellent physics teacher in the 1960s had said that it will be commonplace by 2020 to generate electricity using solar panels floating on water, I would not have believed him!

 

June 5, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , , | 3 Comments

InPipe Energy: Power Through Pressure

The title of this post is the same as that of this story on CleantechConcepts.

This is the introductory paragraph.

It’s the new hydropower. Not dams, no reservoirs, just pipes. With help from Oregon State engineering researchers, an Oregon startup company is developing a system to generate carbon-free electricity from a previously untapped water source: the pipes under our streets.

I think this could be an interesting idea. But could it be applied in the UK and Europe?

April 29, 2020 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Large Hydropower Dams ‘Not Sustainable’ In The Developing World

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

This is the first four paragraphs.

A new study says that many large scale hydropower projects in Europe and the US have been disastrous for the environment.

Dozens of these dams are being removed every year, with many considered dangerous and uneconomic.

But the authors fear that the unsustainable nature of these projects has not been recognised in the developing world.

Thousands of new dams are now being planned for rivers in Africa and Asia.

I think the report has a sound basis and we should think much deeper before we build a large dam.

Storing energy and preventing of floods are probably good reasons, whereas others are not, considering, that solar and wind power are becoming more affordable.

November 6, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment