The Future of Power Generation in Great Britain

The Future of Power Generation in Great Britain

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Discussion

LongQ

13,864 posts

198 months

Saturday 20th May 2017
quotequote all
For anyone who is interested in the current commercial grid Electricity markets and the output from Solar farms.

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/



Edited by LongQ on Saturday 20th May 10:54

V8 Fettler

7,019 posts

97 months

Saturday 20th May 2017
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silentbrown said:
Surprised nobody's mentioning demand management... The situation where everyone boils their kettles at half-time in the FA cup will pale to insignificance compared to everyone plugging in their hybrids when they get home from their commute at 6PM.

The intermittency of solar and wind is a big issue but probably not insuperable. Over continent-sized areas wind will tend to even out, and has the advantage that the output is somewhat complementary to solar (high wind often goes with low solar).

Storage is the biggie, though: Being able to use EV and home batteries as distributed grid storage is interesting, as DInorwig-like facilities are massive projects and can only deal with very short-term demain peaks.

Coal is terrible. Even the Chinese are cutting right back on that. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/18/world/asia/chin...

Mr Fusion for the win, though...
Terrible? In what way? Predictable, controllable, ample reserves, no subsidies required. Unloved by the meeedja and the politicos though, that's probably the biggest issue

frisbee

3,437 posts

75 months

Saturday 20th May 2017
quotequote all
LongQ said:
For anyone who is interested in the current commercial grid Electricity markets and the output form Solar farms.

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/
Click on France and the UK is just embarrassing.

Likes Fast Cars

2,588 posts

130 months

Saturday 20th May 2017
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GT03ROB said:
......

In the meantime gas powered plants are quick & easy to throw up relatively clean & flexible. We would need to build some new regas terminals but plenty of sites for these at the existing refineries. Development of fracking would reduce reliance on imports of gas, but there is plenty of gas out there.
Makes a lot of sense. Affordable power, when you need it.

wc98

9,844 posts

105 months

Saturday 20th May 2017
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silentbrown said:
Over continent-sized areas wind will tend to even out,
if you read the link i provided above, you will find it doesn't.

Likes Fast Cars

2,588 posts

130 months

Saturday 20th May 2017
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Mr GrimNasty said:
It's funny how Germany is always held up as the icon of transition to 'renewables', yet it is an unmitigated disaster, and hasn't even successfully cut CO2 (not that that matters).

So they've spunked Euro billions down the drain for some of the most expensive electricity in Europe (they bung extra onto domestic bills to subsidize heavy industry so that doesn't collapse), industrialized their pristine countryside, destabilized their grid, ruined their health with infrasound, decimated the wildlife, all for nothing.

Worse, the collapse of the discredited green party vote and their hated energy policies has been the lifeline for Angula Merkin's party (even though she's just as responsible) for the almighty windmill disaster unfolding.

Plenty of expert/political opinion articles on the matter can be found here.

http://notrickszone.com/
Yes the Germans have politically fked it up for themselves and others who have blindly followed their lead.

What the industry needs are more engineers and not economists -nor politicians, they make arbitrary politically-correct decisions, the effects of which they have neither thought through nor consulted with the experts.

rovermorris999

4,754 posts

154 months

Saturday 20th May 2017
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wc98 said:
silentbrown said:
Over continent-sized areas wind will tend to even out,
if you read the link i provided above, you will find it doesn't.
Indeed it doesn't. Which means you have generating capacity sitting unused a lot of the time. Hardly cost-effective.

Likes Fast Cars

2,588 posts

130 months

Saturday 20th May 2017
quotequote all
rovermorris999 said:
wc98 said:
silentbrown said:
Over continent-sized areas wind will tend to even out,
if you read the link i provided above, you will find it doesn't.
Indeed it doesn't. Which means you have generating capacity sitting unused a lot of the time. Hardly cost-effective.
Yes exactly. And the costs and logistics of building adequate transmission networks to move it around rules out any real European-wide copperplate network. All huff n puff.

LongQ

13,864 posts

198 months

Saturday 20th May 2017
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This could be a useful reference site for worldwide wind projects.

http://www.4coffshore.com/windfarms/


garagewidow

1,195 posts

135 months

Saturday 20th May 2017
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98elise said:
What do you mean by a lower return of power? Solar panels will return way more energy than they take to produce.
really?

how many solar panels would it take to produce a new one from scratch?
extracting the raw materials,processing them,all the people working in the industry,their cars,transportation of goods.
these all rely on fossil fuel consumption.
on a dust to dust basis wind turbines and solar panels are inefficient.
apart from nuclear and other reactive processes fossil fuel is the best source for immediate on demand energy provision but as we know it is limited and has downsides.

garagewidow

1,195 posts

135 months

Sunday 21st May 2017
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Paddy_N_Murphy said:
Of all the technologies - Solar has the biggest opportunities to improve the cost vs productivity.
we are not there yet,.....4.20 in

tasty presenter thoughlickgetmecoat



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4b8ZsFszE8I

Edited by garagewidow on Sunday 21st May 00:53


Edited by garagewidow on Sunday 21st May 00:58


Edited by garagewidow on Sunday 21st May 01:01

anonymous-user

19 months

Sunday 21st May 2017
quotequote all
LongQ said:
For anyone who is interested in the current commercial grid Electricity markets and the output from Solar farms.

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/



Edited by LongQ on Saturday 20th May 10:54
Click on the New France gridwatch button top right of that screen. I knew nuclear was big there, but not that it was so dominant

alfaspecial

848 posts

105 months

Sunday 21st May 2017
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I think we all suffer from a tendency to focus on the 'power generation' aspect but perhaps we should also discuss how to minimise 'power consumption'?

If we had high (Passivhaus type) standards of home insulation then we would not need as much power to be generated...... that would mean that fossil fuels would last longer / less pollution etc, it would also mean that alternative sources of power consumption would be more viable.

As for storing solar energy, is an economic possibility to store heat rather than electricity?
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/heating-...

An interesting article but I don't know specifically what type of 'salt' is used.

XM5ER

Original Poster:

5,080 posts

213 months

Sunday 21st May 2017
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Very interesting reading about hidden costing assumptions.

http://ddears.com/2017/05/19/energy-forecasts-are-...

silentbrown

6,441 posts

81 months

Sunday 21st May 2017
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I'm sure most here have seen this. Some of the figures are likely to be out of date, but it's still a must-read.

https://www.withouthotair.com/

I hadn't realised until yesterday that David Mackay had died last year. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/2016/04/15/p...

WatchfulEye

471 posts

93 months

Sunday 21st May 2017
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Taita said:
This is a very interesting thread - enjoying it smile

Would someone be able to answer a pretty simple question?

Nuclear facilities construction companies - do they have a 'product' or fixed design of reactor that they can build wherever required? Eg all the safety systems and mitigations are already accredited etc. As the layman it seems like each one seems to be custom built?
Most reactors before about 2000 were custom made. France went to a lot of effort to standardise, which is how they built so many and so quickly.

There has been a move among national regulators to encourage just this: The UK office for nuclear regulation (ONR) came up with a new process known as "generic design assessment" to ease this. A reactor supplier submits their design for GDA, and once approved, that design can be used repeatedly in the UK with only site-specific approval (flood risk, risk of power grid failure due to weather events, seismic risk, security, etc., all need individual assessment and may require custom designed mitigation measures beyond the reference design)

If you look at the historic nuclear build in the UK, the AGR reactors (although all nominally of the same design concept) all have different power outputs, slightly different designs, different safety systems, different refuelling systems and methods. It's only really the most recent ones that are basically the same, incorporating the lessons learned.

Sizewell B was built with the mechanics of the reactor system as a near-direct-copy of the latest US plant, but all the motors and pumps needed changing to suit UK electricity. Additional changes were also needed: the UK regulator was not very happy with using computer/electronic controls as used by the yanks. A new control system was custom built based on the magnetic core logic used for all the AGRs, as they had worked well, and both UK engineering firms and the regulator had experience with this technology. Plus, of course, the entire turbine/generator/electrical system had to be redesigned for UK electricity and manufacturing capabilities; the reference design called for a 1500 rpm 1200 MW turbo-generator, this was far bigger than any turbine ever built in the UK, and would have to be imported from Germany or France. In the end, as the AGRs were mostly 500-600 MW, and a ton of 500-600 MW coal units had gone in over the previous decade, a custom twin-turbine solution was engineed using 2x 3000 rpm 600 MW turbo-generators.

The difficulty with this type of custom project is that design has to be validated at every stage, construction techniques validated, suppliers vetted and their manufacturing technique validated, etc. The cost of validating compliance can be substantial. SZB was meant to be first of a string of carbon-copy plants, including Hinkley C and possibly bradwell. However, a collapse in the price of gas in the early 90s meant that there was no business case for these plants, and the custom engineering work put into SZB was a one-off.

Hinkley Point C is basically 2 copies of the Areva EPR-UK reference design, with some minor site-specific custom designs (e.g. water inlet/outlet pipes, some ancilliary buildings moved to suit the fact that 2 plants are next to each other and could be shared, and to better suit the site geography). However, the EPR-UK is not quite the same as the EPRs being built in Finland, France and China, due to specific modifications to better suit the UK regulatory environment and requirements.

Differences in regulatory rules were one of the things that tripped Areva up when trying to build the plant in Finland. They were used to selling reactors in France, and didn't appreciate just how strict the Finnish regulator were compared with the French. For example, the procurement of the emergency backup diesel generators turned into a farce. In France or Germany, it's considered acceptable to use industrial or marine diesel engines set up as generators at their nuclear plants. In Finland, these are nuclear safety critical components - so, for example, the fuel injector is a valve, and it has an impact on nuclear safety - so, under law, it is a nuclear safety critical valve, which brings specific legal requirements for design, manufacturing quality and traceability requirements. Areva had subbed the job out to a large diesel engine manufacturer with a long history of building diesel generators for French and German plants. They took a standard engine design from their industrial series, added a couple of cylinders, and used their usual parts suppliers where possible, albeit with generous safety margins. When the regulator wanted to spot check the paperwork for various sub-assemblies of the diesel generators (e.g. the injectors) it didn't actually exist. It took nearly 5 years to sort this out.

There were many other reasons for failure in Finland. One of the key ones was that Areva is a nuclear plant designer, and a builder of reactors. They are not a builder of nuclear plants, but had won a contract to do just that - build the whole plant. In France, EDF built and project managed the plants, but Areva supplied the core nuclear reactor systems. There's a lot more to a nuclear plant than just the reactor - there is all the civils, specialist construction, rad waste handling plant, turbine/generator, emergency diesels, ventilation/cooling, cooling towers/sea water cooling system, electrics, etc. Areva had no experience in putting out tenders for these aspects, and no experience in how to vet a subcontractor for these works - as a result, there was disaster after disaster as contractors supplied inferior work, or didn't deliver.

The other issue with nuclear plants which somewhat erodes the benefits of a standard design is that the quantity used is low, so there is little opportunity for learning. Areva had the reactor pressure vessel for the Finnish plant made in Japan. But decided to take it in-house for the French plant, but it was later found that the manufacturing process introduced unexpected flaws into the steel. As a result, the Japanese plant which built the Finnish reactor is the only plant which has successfully built one to spec, and has only built 1 (although they may have got the order for the 2 HPC vessels).

Scotty2

1,019 posts

231 months

Sunday 21st May 2017
quotequote all
I work in gas storage where Salt Caverns are developed to store natural gas. They allow peak demand support and seasonal changes in load. In the last 5 years 3 major projects to increase capacity have been cancelled due to the lack of profit in gas storage. At the moment. Government has stated "There is no need for subsidies for gas storage."
Now with Rough Offshore storage knackered, the capacity is further reduced.

Our country has very little in reserve for energy storage compared to our European neighbours. Some of us in the business are amazed at the lack of investment in storage just now. Gas storage would be needed to assist gas production from hydraulic fracturing operations as the flows and pressures fluctuate.

So we are not building caverns (well a few in Cheshire) in the UK.

They have some huge gas storage cavern fields being developed in: Turkey, China, Mexico, and USA has been building them for years.

Usual UK short sightedness instead of adding security of supply for the future.

Otispunkmeyer

11,028 posts

120 months

Sunday 21st May 2017
quotequote all
LongQ said:
For anyone who is interested in the current commercial grid Electricity markets and the output from Solar farms.

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/



Edited by LongQ on Saturday 20th May 10:54
Solar is only estimated on there as a lot of it is unmetered

Otispunkmeyer

11,028 posts

120 months

Sunday 21st May 2017
quotequote all
s2art said:
LongQ said:



Just as a random snapshot point of reference.

I suspect that Hydro/Bio is basically Drax.
Where is the dial for solar?
Solar is unmetered.... but you can guesstimate as you have the output of all the other types, the input from the inter-connects and the demand.

And yes, Hydro/Bio is mostly Drax as Drax is classed as a biomass plant as it burns wood chipping (imported from Canada I believe? yeah go figure). Pumped Hydro in the UK isn't really on the radar as we have so few places to do it and it is very peaky (i.e. good for filling in a short period). Normaly hydro isn't big either as we have no big dams etc... most of it is in Scotland and apparently the output is regulated to make best use of the subsidies.


Edited by Otispunkmeyer on Sunday 21st May 13:49

Otispunkmeyer

11,028 posts

120 months

Sunday 21st May 2017
quotequote all
wc98 said:
well done getting this started op ,it definitely needs a thread of its own. i am very sceptical of wind and solar . solar for obvious reasons due to where the uk is situated and wind due to the huge amount of obfuscation when those involved attempt to explain the numbers. one point recently made elsewhere regarding the viability of wind on a large scale was the "wind is always blowing somewhere".

well in europe apparently not.
"Of course wind energy proponents like to say that the solution is a European-wide integrated network where if the wind is not blowing in one region, then excess power in another region can fill in the gap. After all, “the wind is always blowing somewhere in Europe” they like to say. However, the following chart plainly illustrates that this is far more a fallacy than a truth."
https://stopthesethings.com/2017/05/12/germanys-wi...

when asking those involved in the industry about the long term effects of removing huge amounts of energy from the atmosphere via wind turbines and the ocean via tidal energy i hear nary a mumble,yet some people appear so certain of the effects of getting much of our energy from an inert substance extracted from way below the surface of the planet. for me ccgt and nuclear are where the money should be spent in the near to mid term . current knowledge dictates nuclear in the long term.
Ill have to dig it out (I'm sure its in my Mendeley account somewhere) but I have a report done by someone who looked into UK wind. They worked out that despite a tripling of UK wind capacity, actual generated output didn't really change much.