The Anonymous Widower

Engie Partners Innovate UK For £4 Million Energy Transition Competition

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

  • This is an interesting link-up between the UK Government Agency; Innovate UK and the French energy giant; Engie.
  • Wikipedia defines energy transition as a long-term structural change in energy systems.
  • It is the first time Innovate UK has secured overseas private funding.
  • It aims to fund the very best of \british innovation in clean growth innovation.
  • Grants of between £100,000 and £1.2 million will be awarded.
  • There appears to be no mention of Brexit!

It looks to me, like a very strong endorsement of British innovation and the British energy industry by the French.

I also think, that if there is one industry where the British and the French should be linked, it is energy.

The UK has the following energy sources and resources.

  • Offshore and onshore oil and gas.
  • Redundant gas fields for carbon capture and storage.
  • Offshore and onshore wind.
  • Large areas of sea for offshore wind.
  • We have 8,183 MW of installed offshore wind capacity, which is the largest in the world.
  • The possibilities of tidal and wave power from a long Western coast.
  • Vast experience in building off-shore structures in some of the worst weather on the planet.
  • Interconnectors to Norway and Iceland to import their surplus geothermal and hydroelectric energy.

Could we become a renewable-energy powerhouse?

The French have the following.

  • Nuclear power, some of which will need replacing.
  • Only 500 MW of offshore wind.
  • More solar power than we have.
  • Easy connection to North Africa for solar power.

But in some ways, most important is the several interconnectors between the UK and France, with more planned.

Conclusion

Between the UK and France, with help from Ireland, Spain and Portugal, can develop a massive Western European renewable energy powerhouse, backed  by the following, non-renewable or external sources.

  • French nuclear power.
  • North African solar.
  • Icelandic geothermal power
  • Icelandic hydro-electric power
  • Norwegian hydro-electric power

It should be noted that in a few years, the UK will have joined Iceland, Norway and North Africa outside of the European Union.

I believe that Sovereign Wealth Funds, Hedge Funds, Pension Funds, Insurance Companies and other individuals, groups and organisations will increasingly see renewable energy as good places for long-term investment of their funds.

The two big problems are as follows.

  • What happens when all these renewable energy sources are producing more energy than we can use?
  • What happens when there is an energy deficit?

Energy storage is the solution, but the amount needed is massive.

In Airport Plans World’s Biggest Car Parks For 50,000 Cars, I looked at the mathematics in using car parks for electric cars for energy storage.

These are a few figures.

  • Electric Mountain is the UK’s largest electricity storage scheme with a capacity of 9.1 GWh.
  • The largest battery in the world is the Bath County Pumped Storage Station with a capacity of 24 GWh, which works on similar principles to Electric Mountain.
  • Building another Electric Mountain would cost £1350 million, if we could find somewhere to put it.

But supposing half the 35.5 million cars and light goods vehicles in the UK were replaced by new electric vehicles containing a battery of around 20 kWh, that would be a total storage of 355 GWh or nearly forty Electric Mountains.

Conclusion

Harnessing all of these batteries will be an enormous challenge, but it will be ideas like this, that will enable the world to go carbon neutral by 2050.

But I don’t think we’ll ever see Trump or Xi Jinping in an electric limousine..

 

June 21, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Shape Of Solar Farms To Come

This article on Renew Energy is entitled Gannawarra Battery-Integrated Solar Farm – Australia’s Largest – Officially Opened.

These are the first two paragraphs.

The Gannawarra solar and energy storage project near Kerang in western Victoria has had its official launch on Friday, to mark the largest pairing of a solar farm and a grid-scale battery system in Australia.

State energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio officially anointed the landmark project, which has combined 60MW of PV panels and a 25MW/50MWh battery system – Tesla’s second-biggest battery in the country so far.

Form the video in the areticle, it appears that there are 120 hectares of solar panels and the farm provides enough electricity for 25,000 homes.

It is an interesting concept and I’m sure it will be repeated around the world.

Ausralia has lots of sun, but there is no reason, why a similar system can’t be developed with tidal, wave or wind power.

June 18, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Different Energy Storage Technology

Recently, two articles on the web have been caught in my Google alerts.

Both articles are about energy storage using a Vanadium Redox Flow Battery.

This is a paragraph from the Bushveld article.

The project will be implemented in two phases for a total of 1 400 MWh of energy storage capacity – 800 MWh in Phase 1 and an additional 600 MWh in Phase 2.

When you consider that with lithium-ion technology battery capacity is normally talked about in kWH, these are impressive amounts of stored energy.

Reading the Wikipedia post shows that the batteries rely on toxic chemicals like sulphuric acid and vanadium oxide, which would probably rule out mobile applications.

Conclusion

Having read all the two articles and the Wikipedia entry, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some form of technology like this emerge for large scale energy storage to back up intermittent power sources like solar, wind and wave.

 

May 7, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

France, Denmark Eye Hydrogen Future

The title of thid post is the same as that of this article on Energy Reporters.

A few points from the article.

  • EDF has launched a hydrogen production and distribution company called Hynamics.
  • EDF is now the largest shareholder in McPhy, a electrolyses, hydrogen storage and charging station provider.
  • European gas-fired power stations will run on twenty percent hydrogen.
  • Hydrogen will be used to decarbonise the gas network by 2050.
  • Hynamics said it was planning 40 projects in France, Belgium, Germany and Britain.
  • In Denmark, Ørsted, is working on plans to convert electricity from its wind turbines into hydrogen.

The article is a must-read.

April 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Insurers Seek Rule Change To Invest In Green Power

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in today’s copy of The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

The mouthpiece for the insurance industry has called on the regulator to overhaul rules to make it easier to invest in green energy projects, such as wind farms and solar power.

Green energy projects are bad investments for the first few years, as they just burn money during construction. After that, the wind or solar farm, just produces electricity, which gives an adequate return fpr perhaps around thirty years.

As the rules stand, the returns in the construction phase are a dodgy investment.

The Prudential Regulation Authority, who make the rules, was setup in 2013, with probably a bunch of dinosaurs drawing up the rules, based on the past not the future.

These figures show the total energy generated by wind power for the last few years.

  • 2008 – 5.4 GHh
  • 2009 – 6.3 GWh
  • 2010 – 7.9 GWh
  • 2011 – 12.7 GWh
  • 2012 – 20.7 GWh
  • 2013 – 24.5 GWh
  • 2014 – 28.1 GWh
  • 2015 – 40.4 GWh
  • 2016 – 37.4 GWh
  • 2017 – 49.6 GWh

Note

  1. Between 2013 and 2017 electricity generated by wind power has doubled.
  2. In 2017, seventeen percent of our electricity was generated by wind.

These figures show the total energy generated by solar power for the last few years.

  • 2008 – 0.17 GHh
  • 2009 – 0.20 GWh
  • 2010 – .0.33 GWh
  • 2011 – 2.6 GWh
  • 2012 – 1.3 GWh
  • 2013 – 2.0 GWh
  • 2014 – 4.1 GWh
  • 2015 – 7.6 GWh
  • 2016 – 10.3 GWh
  • 2017 – 11.5 GWh

Note

  1. Between 2013 and 2017 electricity generated by solar power has increased fivefold.
  2. In 2017, 3.4 percent of our electricity was generated by the sun.

This paragraph from Wind Power In The UK on Wikipedia, shows the major growth in offshore wind power.

The total offshore wind power capacity installed in the United Kingdom as of February 2019 is 8,183 MW, the largest in the world. The United Kingdom became the world leader of offshore wind power generation in October 2008 when it overtook Denmark. It also has the largest offshore wind farm in the world, the 175-turbine London Array wind farm, located off the Kent coast.

I don’t think the Prudential Regulation Authority saw that one coming.

Conclusion

The rules should be changed

 

 

March 11, 2019 Posted by | Finance, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Government Turns Up Power On Offshore Wind

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in yesterday’s copy of The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

A third of British electricity will be generated by offshore wind farms by 2030 under government plans.

Although Jeremy Corbyn said he would reopen coal mines a couple of years ago, I can’t see a change of Government stopping this.

A few other points from the article.

  • Last year offshore wind produced about eight percent of our electricity needs.
  • The offshore wind energy industry has said it will raise UK content from 48 to 60 percent.
  • The industry has promised to invest £250million in the supply chain.
  • There are 1,900 turbines in British waters, which can generate 8GW.
  • Another 6GW will come on stream by 2022-23.
  • Another 16GW are in the planning stage.

The author feels that as costs are reducing, this is driving the investment.

Conclusion

We have a very windy future.

 

March 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

The Old Order Changeth Yielding Place To New

Two dinosaurs; the Labour Party and the motor industry, got big shocks yesterday.

But both are trying to live in the past with CEOs, who still think that we’re in the 1960s.

This morning, my message read out on Wake Up To Money was this.

I don’t drive any more, but the future is electric and the UK is blessed with a position and a climate to become one of the first countries to power most vehicles with renewables. Vehicle manufacturers must change or die!

Our renewable electricity generation infrastructure is growing apace and in the last few days, the world’s largest offshore wind farm opened, as reported in this article on the BBC, which is entitled First Power From World’s Biggest Offshore Wind Farm.

The Hornsea Wind Farm will have a generating capacity of 6 GW. This is nearly twice as large a capacity as the troubled Hinckley Point C nuclear power station.

But whereas Hinckley Point C will produce continuous power, Hornsea will only produce power when the wind blows.

The National Grid are tasked with keeping the lights on and I agree with them, that energy storage is the solution.

  • There are 25,000,000 homes in the UK. If every house in the UK was fitted with a 10 kWh storage battery, that would be a capacity of 250 GWH.
  • There are 30,000,000 cars in the UK. If every car in the UK was electric and had a 30 kWh battery, that would be a capacity of 900 GWH.

These are very large numbers and just as the Internet passes data all around the UK and the world, the UK’s National Grid will access all these batteries to store energy, when perhaps the wind is blowing at night and retrieve it when there is a high demand.

On a domestic level, you may have an electric car and a battery in your house, with perhaps solar panels on the roof.

  • At night and on sunny days, your batteries will be charged.
  • At times of high demand, your stored energy may be sold back to the grid.
  • Controlling it all would be an intelligent computer system, which would make sure that your car always had enough charge and you had enough energy for the house.

The problem is that nearly all of our houses and cars don’t fit this model.

The proposed closure of the Honda plant is Swindon, is the first of the many casualties in car manufacturing, that will surely happen.

More by luck, than judgement, when I moved to London after my stroke, I bought a house with the following features.

  • Low energy consumption.
  • A flat roof, that is now covered in solar panels.
  • A garage, that would be suitable for an electric car. Although, I don’t drive, the next owner of this house, probably will.

Millions of houses in this country should be demolished and the land used for new houses that fit the modern age.

The Labour Party is living in the 1960s and Corbyn and McDonell still believe that the Robin Hood approach of stealing from the rich and giving it to the poor, is still the way to go.

But these days, most people want to be responsible for themselves. This is why there has been such a growth in people in the gig economy like Uber, Deliveroo and County Lines.

Everybody wants to take control of their lives and their own micro-economy. That is why I left a safe job at ICI in 1969, at the age of just twenty-two.

Like me, those who start their own successful business don’t want government to come along and use it on pet projects that always seem to fail.

Most politicians and especially Labour ones have never done a real job in their lives and Labour’s defections will hopefully be the first of many from all political parties.

I hope that February 18th 2019, will be remembered as the day when two dinosaurs realised they needed to change their spots.

But they won’t change willingly!

However!

  • Companies and individuals will soon be buying electric vehicles in large numbers and only buying diesel and petrol ones, where there is no alternative.
  • Voters will not vote for policies that stink of the past, that don’t fit their micro-economy.

There will also be a lot of unsaleable houses and second-hand cars!

 

February 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Nearly Half Of Institutional Investors To increase Interest In Renewables & Energy Storage

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Windpower Engineering and Development.

To build a successful and ultimately profitable wind farm, you need the following.

  • A good location and excellent engineering.
  • A need for your electricity.
  • Access to affordable finance.

The first is down to your surveyors, analysts and engineers and the second can probably be taken as read.

If as the article suggests, institutional investors are seeing renewables as a safe investment, it would appear that finance will be more readily available.

So provided the wind blows, I can see lots more wind farms and other renewable power sources being created.

International Institutional Investors

I will add one note of caution.

Some of our infrastructure in the UK, is owned by institutional investors from countries like Australia, Canada, Norway and other countries often rich in natural resources. I am not sure, but I seem to remember that some trains, were financed by money provided by Pension Funds of Canadian teachers.

So, we must be careful how we manage the country, as if the UK is seen to be a risky investment, then the institutional investors will use their money in other countries.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Finance, World | , | Leave a comment

Wind Farms Sale Is Breath Of Fresh Air After Merger Setback

The title of this post, is the same as that as an article in the Business pages of The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Selling stakes in two wind farms for £635million will provide funds to reduce debt and to launch up to £200million of share buybacks, SSE said yesterday.

Amongst the purchasers of the stake in the wind farms is an unnamed British pension fund.

So yet again, we’re seeing pension funds investing our future in wind farms.

It is a trend that will continue, as pension funds look for safe places to put the massive funds they have under management.

  • We need the electricity the farms produce.
  • The engineering of wind farms will get better, and farms will be more reliable and produce electricity economically for years longer.
  • The farrms will probably get the best of maintenance, as pension funds will protect their investment.

In addition to wind, I suspect pension funds and insurance companies will invest in other large renewable energy schemes like solar and wave power and energy storage.

Schemes, such as those I mentioned in Exciting Renewable Energy Project for Spennymoor, will surely be ones that will appeal to the funds.

Conclusion

Pension funds and insurance companies with their massive funds are becoming a major force in vutting carbon emissions.

I suspect that this is not just a UK trend, but one with a world-wide dimension, that includes a lot of the EU, the Far East, North American and Australia.

February 3, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Funding Nemo: £600m Power Cable Connects UK And Belgium

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

This is the first paragraph.

A £600m cable connecting the UK and Belgium’s energy systems is about to be switched on, becoming the first of a new generation of interconnectors that will deepen the UK’s ties to mainland Europe just as it prepares to leave the EU.

It runs between Richborough in Kent and Zeebrugge in Belgium and is the fifth interconnector to be connected to Great Britain.

Other interconnectors connect to Ireland, Northern Ireland, France and the Netherlands.

In Large Scale Electricity Interconnection, I discuss the rest of the interconnectors, that are being constructed or planned.

We could see up to fifteen in operation in a few years.

As to Nemo, it was originally thought that the UK would be importing energy from Belgium, but as Belgium needs to service its nuclear power stations and will be shutting them in the next few years, the power will sometimes be flowing the other way. Especially, as more large wind farms come on stream in the UK!

It is my view that Icelink could change everything and Belgium’s possible future power shortage, makes Icelink for likely.

Wikipedia describes the interconnector between Iceland and Scotland like this.

At 1000–1200 km, the 1000 MW HVDC link would be the longest sub-sea power interconnector in the world.

As more interconnectors are built between the UK and the Continent, including a possible link between Peterhead in North-East Scotland to Stavanger in Norway, which is called NorthConnect, the UK will begin to look like a giant electricity sub-station, that connects all the zero-carbon power sources together.

  • Denmark will supply wind power.
  • France will supply nuclear power.
  • Iceland will supply hydro-electric and geothermal power.
  • Norway will supply hydro-electric power.
  • The UK will supply nuclear and wind power.

Other sources like wind power from France and Ireland and tidal and wave power from the UK could be added to the mix in the next decade.

The Consequences For Gas

Our use of gas to generate electricity in Western Europe will surely decline.

If projects, like those I discussed in Can Abandoned Mines Heat Our Future?, come on stream to provide heat, the role of gas in providing heating in housing and other buildings will decline in the UK.

We also shouldn’t forget the role of hydrogen, which could also replace natural gas in many applications. It would be created by electrolysis of water or as a by-product of some industrial processes.

Hydrogen could also become a valuable way of storing excess electricity produced by tidal, wave and wind power.

It is unlikely, we will develop a totally gas-free economy, as methane is a valuable chemical feedstock to produce other chemical products we need.

Conclusion

Not many people will be sorry, except for President Putin and a few equally nasty despots in the Middle East.

 

 

 

 

December 7, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment