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https://www.theguardian.com/busines...-reliance-electricity-imports-interconnectors
Sun 20 May 2018 17.05 BST
Power station boss warns against reliance on electricity imports
...
The government expects imports to supply 22% of electricity by 2025, up from 6% last year.

A slew of new electricity links are under construction or planned for the next decade between the UK and France, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and Germany.
Interconnectors map https://interactive.guim.co.uk/uploader/embed/2018/05/interconnectors-zip/giv-3902QVQbm498mjny/

Three of those recently won contracts in a “capacity market” auction of government subsidies for supplying backup power in the winter of 2021-22.
That drove contract prices too low to encourage large new gas plants to be built and saw two of Drax’s new small gas power stations miss out on contracts.
...
This is total folly to not build new fossil power stations and rely on imports via interconnectors. Interconnectors, wind and solar are almost guaranteed to fail - but fail only when you need them most!
Meanwhile -
Decision on tidal barrage - delayed indefinitely.
Decision on Wylfa - delayed indefinitely.
Hinkley Point - Construction scheduled to start in 2019 but the future of nuclear reactor contractor EDF is clouded.

The only thing that might save UK from grid failure is the same as saved Ukraine's grid - near total collapse of industrial demand for energy.
 

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However coal, biomass and gas burned in the UK are also largely imported from abroad - so the exact same arguments of security of supply can also be made against these. It should also be recognised that Will Gardiner is hardly an unbiased source of information on this subject. He is the chief executive of Drax Group, who wish to build a new gas power plant alongside the current coal and biomass plants at the vast Drax complex. So he has vested interests.

Meanwhile just 9 days ago the Guardian published this:

https://www.theguardian.com/busines...lean-uk-does-not-need-to-turn-to-gas-says-wwf

The UK has no need to build new large gas-fired power stations to replace the coal plants that the government has pledged to switch off by 2025, the World Wide Fund for Nature has argued.
The gap can instead be filled by renewables, battery storage and flexible technologies, allowing the UK to go from “coal to clean” and skip new gas completely, according to a report by the environmental group.

The analysis challenges the orthodoxy that phasing out coal will require large new gas plants.
 

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Today:

World's largest battery and car-charging
network planned for UK



The world’s largest battery and vehicle-charging network could roll out across British roads through a new £1.6bn scheme due to start in Southampton next year.

A brand new energy start-up has won the backing of a UK institutional investor, green energy multi-millionaire and National Grid for fresh plans to dot the UK with grid-scale 50MW batteries and rapid vehicle charging docks across 45 sites.

In total Pivot Power’s sites will connect enough new electricity capacity to power 235,000 homes directly to the transmission network over the next 5 years.

The major 2GW boost to British power supplies would provide the equivalent of two-thirds of the installed capacity of the Hinkley Point C new nuclear power plant in a quarter of the time and at a fraction of the cost.


https://www.telegraph.co.uk/busines...gest-battery-car-charging-network-planned-uk/






.
 

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The Government itself as part of the industrial strategy is supporting battery research and development with the objectives of electrifying the road transport network and enhancing battery (and presumably super-capacitor) technology. This is bound to have applications in large-scale energy storage as well.

https://www.gov.uk/government/colle...-challenge-industrial-strategy-challenge-fund

Projects must involve at least one small or medium-sized enterprise (SME). The scope of the competitions may include:
  • reducing the costs of battery cells or packs
  • increasing the energy or power density
  • enhancing safety by eliminating risks such as thermal runaway, which is a condition where there is an increasing rise in temperature that affects efficiency and may lead to a destructive reaction or failure
  • lengthening the life of cells and packs
  • broadening the range of temperature at which a pack can operate efficiently
  • new models to better predict the range and health of the battery
  • increasing recyclability of battery packs such as through design, reuse or recycling
  • improving the production of cells, modules and packs
  • improving the integration of cells into modules, packs and vehicles
  • new battery management systems
  • technologies, systems and infrastructure that enable fast charging
  • any technology or process that stimulates innovation in the manufacture, performance and supply of materials for batteries
 

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I think this country has a very confusing energy policy.

From what I read, increased demand for electricity brought by battery vehicles will be supplied by importing electricity from other countries.

Now, in principle, I have no problem with this, we already import from France when our welsh hydro systems cannot supply peak demand.

But surely we should be aiming for self-sufficiency here. We have the water, wind and tidal power to at least provide the majority of our electricity needs, with nuclear supplying the rest. Yet as we all know, in this country, if someone can't make a profit, we don't do it.

With batteries, they still have to be created from raw materials dug out of the ground. Then we have to generate the power to charge them, then we have to invest in delivery and charging networks.

I remain skeptical of all energy evangelists because it's mostly all linked to profit.
 

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The major 2GW boost to British power supplies would provide the equivalent of two-thirds of the installed capacity of the Hinkley Point C new nuclear power plant in a quarter of the time and at a fraction of the cost.
How is this sort of bollocks allowed to go unchallenged? It will provide 0% extra installed capacity as it's not producing any electricity :bash:
 

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How is this sort of bollocks allowed to go unchallenged? It will provide 0% extra installed capacity as it's not producing any electricity :bash:
No it doesn't produce electricity, but what is does offer is the ability to store electricity obtained/purchased during a period of low demand. And then release it into the UK grid when demand for energy is higher. So for example energy obtained from wind turbines between midnight and 5am on a blustery night could be used several hours later when everyone has showers, puts the kettle on, cooks their breakfast etc.

The theory is that by smoothing out the peaks and troughs in this way the total generation requirement can be less - meaning less need to build expensive power stations. How easy it is to make this happen reliably in real world conditions remains to be seen. But the ability to store a lot of energy means that any short-term interruption of supply through one of the inter-connectors (or the gas pipes) shouldn't become an immediate crisis.
 

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No it doesn't produce electricity, but what is does offer is the ability to store electricity obtained/purchased during a period of low demand. And then release it into the UK grid when demand for energy is higher. So for example energy obtained from wind turbines between midnight and 5am on a blustery night could be used several hours later when everyone has showers, puts the kettle on, cooks their breakfast etc.

The theory is that by smoothing out the peaks and troughs in this way the total generation requirement can be less - meaning less need to build expensive power stations. How easy it is to make this happen reliably in real world conditions remains to be seen. But the ability to store a lot of energy means that any short-term interruption of supply through one of the inter-connectors (or the gas pipes) shouldn't become an immediate crisis.
And therein you have hit the nail on the head. Energy storage actually has the potential to have as big an impact as renewables. Historically we have needed to be able to provide peak requirement less a little bit for a couple of storage methods we have plus a bit for issues caused by nasty out of phase issues (which by the way is why the three phases have a smaller neutral return, so that out of phase we have a neutral rather than using the combined 3 phase as a neutral but i digress). If we could just lop the peaks off the apres Eastenders cuppa and industry startup times then we would need way less generating capacity.

As an aside to the aside decent stored energy would also make dealing with the pesky out of phase issues that inductances cause too. Everyones a winner!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
... The major 2GW boost to British power supplies would provide the equivalent of two-thirds of the installed capacity of the Hinkley Point C new nuclear power plant in a quarter of the time and at a fraction of the cost. ...
How is this sort of bollocks allowed to go unchallenged? It will provide 0% extra installed capacity as it's not producing any electricity :bash:
Agreed, batteries won't add to aggregate generating capacity. But they could perhaps add to peak generating capacity.

My original post was pointing to the near certainty that at some future date (I'm thinking 10 years from now) the electric system will not be able to meet demand on some days and widespread, long lasting, blackouts will be inescapable. On a night or overcast (no solar) calm (no wind) day that turns arctic cold the grid will come down. Unless there is a major change in power station building policy.

Even if batteries are done right (reversible back into the grid) they create a new dilemma - do you go without power in the evening or do you go without recharging your car so you can drive to work tomorrow? Tough choice.

We need to build power stations now, not when the insufficiency strikes, you can't build power stations in a mere year or three. Nuclear and tidal lagoon for reliable generation in adverse weather. Or fossil fuel and make peace with Russia (that won't ever happen under today's rule by NATO).
 

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It is difficult to match power demand to power generation (input) in most applications. Sometime it can be done, with examples being long haul trains and ships moving at constant speeds and loads, where the demand can be matched by the output of the motors, which run on stored energy onboard. Most demand is bursty. That is in: cars, buses, trucks, commuter trains, in the home, industry, commerce and utility networks.

Having a `buffer` can fill the gaps between the peaks and troughs of the demand. The gas distribution network, an energy network, has an `energy` buffer, in storing gas in tanks or in the large distribution pipes for peaks in demand, the same with water in storing water in reservoirs and tanks in buildings to cope with peak demand. Electricity is difficult to store but the energy that produces the electricity can be easily stored, like coal, oil, gas and water to bring in generation when there is a peak demand.

Electricity is not power in itself, it is a more transport mechanism of power. The power is produced in the generator, by energy like: coal, wind, oil and gas. Energy for electricity, coal, water, oil, gas can be stored and used to turn generators when there is demand by staging them in. This is generally costly as the generator's `engines` have to be ticking over most of the time ready to be staged in. The better quick responses are from falling water and gas turbines.

The best way of storing already generated `electricity` complete with some of its `energy` is batteries. If used for grid storage, this has an advantages in that a large battery storage bank can be near where the peak demand will be which is mainly in residential and industrial areas. Most electricity generating power stations tend to be away from the high demand with reduced efficiencies in the distribution cables.

The battery banks can store electricity from generators which need to be running which are on low demand and also wind. Having storage means power generation levels can be calculated to `average` demand, not peak, which means less power stations and less fossil fuel burning.

Generating companies actually pay companies to use electricity as too much is being generated when there are high winds. Local battery storage banks can solve that.
 

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If we could just lop the peaks off the apres Eastenders cuppa and industry startup times then we would need way less generating capacity.
In some areas large users of electricity, usually industrial, have to start up at different times to each other to avoid peaks and putting too much stress on the system.

Large uses of gas, like industrial blast furnaces, may be forced to have a buffer of gas on their premises in having a gas cylinder. When they start up they can seriously draw on the gas distribution network until it catches up. They also will not allow them to start up at times when the local housing estate are all operating their combis first thing in the morning. Some combi boilers are, or were, very sensitive to low gas pressure and would come on with a bang. Combis like to have a stable gas pressure and supply to operate safely. To eliminate large expensive to maintain traditional gas holders gas distribution pipes have been made larger and gas pressures raised, so the gas is stored in the pipes under the streets. The pipes are the buffer. Gas can be compressed. They then could sell off the land the gas holders were sat on, in sometimes valuable city locations, at high prices and also reducing maintenance costs.

Britain has traditionally had local water buffering in having tanks in lofts. The total amount of water in loft tanks in cities amounts to a full reservoir, with the water companies saving by pushing storage, and storage and maintenance costs, onto the end users. Loft storage is diminishing with larger bore water distribution pipes under higher pressures operated by large distribution pumps. We traditionally stored hot water (energy) in hot water cylinders. We still do in large installations. Small homes and flats now heat water instantly using combis. Combis outsell all other types of boilers. Previously, homes used say a 5kw water heater to heat their hot water slowly and store it in a buffer cylinder ready to be used. Now the energy is stored by the gas companies with homes using 24kW to 50kW instant water heaters. The buffering has moved from the home to gas distribution network.

The old traditional British homes had two buffers. A water buffer in the loft (cold water loft tank), and a hot water buffer in a cupboard (hot water cylinder) as the appliances were not advanced enough to heat cold water fast enough (instantly). The storage buffers had to be sized up correctly.

Gas and water traditionally had local storage buffers, and still do. Electricity now is following suit in storing electricity locally in battery banks. The reason the never previously stored electricity locally was that the battery technology was not available.

The secret as water and gas companies discovered long ago was to use buffers locally. Electricity is just catching up on a large scale with grid battery banks. Electricity buffer storage is now is also moving into the home as water has done for near 200 years. Telsa have the PowerWall battery which can charge up overnight using cheap electricity or from solar PV panel on the roof (for free). The electricity stored is enough to run a home at peak usage times. The buffering is also grid-wide as stored electricity in PowerWall batteries can be drawn back into the grid supplementing the grid.

Buffering smooths everything out.
 

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I expect that a lot of grid balancing will be done by commercial vehicle fleet operators. Normal people might not want electricity prices to affect their day-to-day lives but companies will do it if the incentives are there. This is made especially easy by the move to autonomy, as then you don't have a fixed cost (the driver) which makes it less economical to park up and plug in for a bit of vehicle-to-grid action. Commercial operators can just use some fancy algorithms to work out the most profitable course of action - e.g. driving faster to deliver quicker and so provide vehicle-to-grid sooner, or to drive slower and use less energy but also be slower to sell power back to the grid, or to delay or cancel deliveries and instead just head straight for vehicle-to-grid stations. Fleet operators and the market will influence one another - e.g. the spot price of electricity will end up included in spot shipping prices.
 

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"Turning homes into mini power stations could help reduce energy bills by more than 60 per cent, according to a new report."

"The concept has already been deployed on a building in Swansea, where an ‘Active Classroom’ combines integrated photovoltaics (PV) and battery storage with solar heat collection. Saltwater batteries can power the classroom for two days, and over six months of operation the building has produced more energy than it has used."

https://www.theengineer.co.uk/report-mini-power-stations/

Local gas fuelled Combined Heat & Power (CHP) in mini power stations is very efficient in energy overall, as waste heat is used for district hot water and space heating. Efficiencies can rise in total energy usage to over 80% overall. Being local there are little electricity line losses. This also rids us of these ugly combi flues and high pressure discharge pipes on the sides of buildings. Gas, with its inherent dangers, can be out of many buildings altogether. The idea is to use highly efficient gas boilers and Stirling engines to generate the electricity, which operate on heat and sometime known as heat engines, to produce the electricity. But there are emissions in urban areas. Gas is 'very' clean compared to oil, and much, much cleaner than internal combustion when using Stirlings. We are still left with emissions.

PV solar panels on roofs on buildings, with houses and apartment blocks having been designed with solar in mind, with battery storage, can also reduce strain on the grid and also feed into the grid. Musk says his solar tiles, which look like normal tiles, will be cheaper than normal tiles, so no need not to install them on future new or renovated buildings. Then these are emissions free.

By the time we are at the end of our lives, you may find there will be no to little gas in homes with it only used for industrial applications. A PV solar roof/local storage battery may not generate enough kilowatts to heat water instantly like a gas combi. The storage buffer free home we have now, with no cold water storage or hot water storage, may be reverted having a hot water storage cylinder heated by electricity. Unless there is local CHP where the heat is pumped in a hot water pipe loop around homes is used to instantly heat water, which it is done in some applications.

Exciting times we live in.
 

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The power rating of all the fossil fuelled cars in the UK is greater than all the fossil fuelled power stations on the grid. We can get rid of fossil fuelled power stations if all these cars transfer to EVs. Then the cars, together with local electricity battery storage, can feed back into the grid avoiding the nasty peaks. The cars and local batteries sell back electricity. What charges the EVs and local batteries? Just solar, wind and tide...and nuclear as the government seems to insist on nuclear of some description.

There are 'high powered' 350 amp chargers charging EVs in charging stations, that charge a car to the point of 100 miles in 5 minutes. One Tesla model has a range of 330 miles, with one Jaguar model around 300 miles, so this can be charged in about 17 minutes at a charging station, just like at petrol stations. Mercedes Benz and BMW are both introducing 350 mile range cars. Most people only do short trips. This one charge is about 2.5 to 3 weeks driving for most people.

Some home chargers can give 100 miles of charge in 1 hour - around 16.5 kW. So your car can be filled up from empty at home on the drive in 3.5 hours. Most home chargers will probably be charging at the rate of around 40 miles in one hour. Most of these chargers are fine for a 60A or 100A domestic home supply. EVs can be charged like we charge smart phones, in plugging in at various times during the day, at home, work, supermarkets and the likes. Your EV can be charged when you are asleep or watching TV. Parking meters can double up as chargers. Street lamp standards, and other posts on the kerbside, can also double up as chargers, enabling trickle charging of EVs. 95% of people don't need a full 350 miles worth charge immediately.

An EV can also charge up from a local Tesla Powerwall home storage battery that is charged up via the grid overnight or via solar PV panels on the house roof. The price of PV panels has dropped around 75% in about 5 years. When the grid peaks come the grid can draw in from the Powerwall battery and/or EV if it is plugged in. This also applies to electric trains, trucks, buses et al.

If we do need power generation creating emissions to cope with peaks, green gas powered stations can be used. Green gas can come from grass, using a process called Anaerobic Digestion
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
... If we do need power generation creating emissions to cope with peaks, green gas powered stations can be used. Green gas can come from grass, using a process called Anaerobic Digestion
The problem is not debating and deciding what kinds of power stations we should build. The problem is actually making a start on building them. And we aren't. (If you ignore generation capacity that does not work in adverse weather).
It's all about a looming insufficiency of prime movers, not about storage.
 

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As the above video shows, Tesla built a grid battery storage facility to eliminate building a natural gas "peaker" power station in "88 days". It is a matter of running the existing generating stations at full capacity, or near to, and storing the surplus electricity to cope with peaks. Power stations tend to be at their maximum efficiency at near to or at full electricity generation.

Companies are paid to use electricity as at times too much is being generated. This surplus can be stored.

The head of National Grid said no more capacity needs to be generated if the country went over to all EVs in a short time period. Petroleum refining uses a massive level of electricity to produce the fuels. This generation would simply transfer over to charging EVs directly.

It has been suggested that where practicable, government buildings, including schools, should incorporate solar panels, with new buildings having them incorporated into the design, with storage batteries. I gave an example link of a grid linked school that produced 'more' electricity than what it used. All this can easily be implemented quite quickly and quicker than building new 'peaker' power stations. It should result in the decommissioning of fossil fuel power stations.

It is all about storage, 'buffering'. The utilities of: water, gas and sewage have done this for a few hundred years to even out distribution flow. Electricity could only buffer using water, now batteries are capable of storing enough electricity for peak grid use . The UK has a few battery storage facilities. The latest facility was opened in Barrow.

Look at Gridwatch:
http://gridwatch.co.uk
I looked at 11:45 on a Tuesday with the UK demand at only 35% of capacity. No coal was being burnt, 20% renewables, 4% solar, 2% wind, 1% hydro, 17% gas, 7.5% nuclear and 2.5% biomass.
 

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Can hydroelectric systems be used as "batteries"?

Like at Dinorwic, when demand is low and power is cheap, the water is pumped back up to the top reservoir ready for use again.

Could we not have a reservoir by each wind farm / solar farm to ultimately work like a battery? Generate the power, send the required amount to the grid and any surplus use to pump water up to the top reservoir?
 
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