1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

UK Power Industry - a turning point?

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by PlacidCasual, May 12, 2016.

  1. Glaucus

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Mar 11, 2004

    Posts: 76,645

    It is expensive but so is nuclear, it's insanely expensive. For each plant you have like 30bn that can be spent on storage.
    Coal isn't viable unless you want to pay fines which will make it increadably expensive and cope with the pollution and deaths caused by it.
     
  2. PlacidCasual

    Soldato

    Joined: May 13, 2003

    Posts: 5,998

    I agree nuclear is expensive but each new nuclear station costs the same as the cost of storage for 1 hour of winter national demand at current prices. I accept they may come down.

    Questions our Atkins diet obsessed polticians aren't answering include; what is the required amount storage? How do we cope with unlikely but possible situations when the demand on storage is exceeded? How much back up thermal plant would they install, of what type and at what installation cost and what maintenance cost? What would upgrading the local an national distribution system cost when we need to balance both up and downstream from distributed storage? How long does a storage cell last at what efficiency? Who is buying and maintaining the sotrage cells for distributed storage? How are they being funded, taxation, electricity bills? What is future winter electrical demand in a 80% carbon free by 2050 UK when domestic heating, doemstic hot water and most transport now has to be electric? How is that demand met, how many GW of installed capacity?

    Now many if not quite all of those questions could be answered plausibly today even if the economics of different solutions might change the balance. Our Governments have signed us up to this, in UK statute law, but have't publically to my knowledge suggested a framework for meeting it.

    But none of that from the second paragraph down is for anyone n this forum to answer, our representatives need to be doing it and explaining the cost and why we should bare it.
     
  3. Glaucus

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Mar 11, 2004

    Posts: 76,645

    Again you are comparing national total usage to one power plant which doesn't get close, very odd and worthless comparison.
     
  4. PlacidCasual

    Soldato

    Joined: May 13, 2003

    Posts: 5,998

    Sorry I thought comparing the equivalent of the cost of a tank of water that holds 100 litres to the cost of 4 taps that supply a total of 20 litres an hour is meaningful when your pot of money to purchase is going to be limited.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016
  5. Glaucus

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Mar 11, 2004

    Posts: 76,645

    How is that useful? It means nothing.


    The actual calculation needs to be cost of nuclear for a constant 3gw, compared to cost of renewable + storage needed.
     
  6. PlacidCasual

    Soldato

    Joined: May 13, 2003

    Posts: 5,998

    I think we agree on that.
     
  7. Rroff

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 13, 2006

    Posts: 64,195

    Cracking storage is one of the big challenges - there is something like ~650 hours a year where high levels of solar generation are possible in the UK (infact way more than demand at those parts of the year) and another ~650 hours of so so generation from which it would be possible to cover requirements for the whole year if we had anything like a suitable storage method which AFAIK currently we don't I believe even stuff like pumping water for later hydro generation even come far short.
     
  8. JeditOjanen

    Mobster

    Joined: Feb 7, 2011

    Posts: 4,458

    Clean, reliable, cheap: pick two.

    However, even allowing for that the cost of Hinckley C has been vastly overinflated by the government agreeing to pay massively over the odds for it.
     
  9. satchef1

    Mobster

    Joined: Apr 17, 2009

    Posts: 4,249

    For a brilliant look at the energy conundrum have a read of this:

    http://www.withouthotair.com

    The book is a brilliant bit of work. It must have taken a lot of time to research and write, and I applaud the author for giving it away on his website. It dives deeply in to how much energy we need, and how we can meet that need, whilst remaining relatively neutral.

    For a shorter version, try this TED talk:

    https://www.ted.com/talks/david_mackay_a_reality_check_on_renewables

    It touches on my of the same points, though in nowhere near the same level of detail, and lacks the author's suggested options for UK energy. But it's only 18 minutes, instead of a week's worth of reading :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
  10. satchef1

    Mobster

    Joined: Apr 17, 2009

    Posts: 4,249

    We need a lot more than 4 hours of stored capacity. Maybe two days, minimum, if we're heavily reliant on wind. While battery prices will likely crash very quickly (following existing trends in electric vehicles and home storage), you're not wrong in suggesting it'll remain too expensive for some time.

    Pumped Water is another solution. You build a hydroelectric dam with a lake at the top, another at the bottom. When the grid has excess energy, water is pumped from the bottom lake to the top one. When the grid doesn't have enough energy, water is allowed to flow from the top lake to the bottom one, through the hydroelectric dam. Though by the time we've built large amounts of wind turbines and converted something like 100 UK lakes to pumped water storage, our countryside will look rather different. To some, that's acceptable. To others, it isn't.

    Distributed storage is an interesting idea, though the limited charging cycles of Lithium Ion batteries limits its appeal. Who wants to lose a chunk of their battery's life to balancing the grid?

    FWIW, I'm not sure Solar is even a consideration in the UK. It's a popular home solution because it's cheap and easy to install. But it's just not scalable in our country. If renewables are a large part of future energy generation in the UK, Solar will be smaller than Wind, Tide and Wave.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
  11. Tefal

    Capo Crimine

    Joined: Jun 30, 2007

    Posts: 66,559

    Location: Wales


    Most cant work on straight hydrogen they need duterium or tritium or helium 3 etc

    But that can be made in the reactor from lithium in the walls.


    But they do not run clean as they arent straight hydrogen they produce lots of fast neutrons and so make the casing and replaceable internal blankets radioactive over time
     
  12. dlite

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 5, 2015

    Posts: 252

    Location: Reading, UK

    One good site to check numbers regarding renewables is the german Fraunhofer Institute's energy-charts.

    https://www.energy-charts.de/power.htm

    German electricity generation / usage is a bit different than UK, but not much and definitely in roughly same scale. The site offers nice interactive charts where one can tick on and off certain generation methods to see their effect etc.

    For example Germany has to live from time to time a whole week without much output from its wind / solar plants during the winter months.

    I think the distribution of wind power output would be more favourable for constant generation in UK.
     
  13. PlacidCasual

    Soldato

    Joined: May 13, 2003

    Posts: 5,998

    Broadly yes but with some important caveats.

    The full report is downloadable from the following link, it's been a while since I read it, so if at any point I've misrepresentated it I apologise.

    https://www.johnmuirtrust.org/about...wer-generation-november-2008-to-december-2010
     
  14. andicole0

    Soldato

    Joined: Sep 12, 2005

    Posts: 6,069

    Location: Robertsbridge

    We don't need an energy strategy, we'll just buy it from Europe. That'll be cheap if we're not in the EU because we'll get a great deal.
    Andi.
     
  15. JeditOjanen

    Mobster

    Joined: Feb 7, 2011

    Posts: 4,458

    How's the weather in Opposite-of-Reality Land?
     
  16. Vonhelmet

    Caporegime

    Joined: Jun 28, 2005

    Posts: 48,109

    Location: On the hoods

    Mind the sarchasm.
     
  17. Vonhelmet

    Caporegime

    Joined: Jun 28, 2005

    Posts: 48,109

    Location: On the hoods

    Surely if that's the game, you'd be better off with tidal barrages, like the one they're due to build in the Severn (I think?) and then you can just let the moon do the pumping.
     
  18. PlacidCasual

    Soldato

    Joined: May 13, 2003

    Posts: 5,998

    Pumped storage is nice in principle but the number of genuinely useable locations is limited and in order to store enough electricity to make 100% solar and wind generation practical woud mean turning vast areas of wilderness into power stations. Dinorwig was really only built to act as an emergency generator in the event of a major unit trip such as Sizewell B.

    Tidal barrages are a great idea the power source is entirely predictable months in advance the phasing of the tidal motions across the UK means that the Bristol Channel, Mersey, Clyde, Firth of the Forth, Humber, Wash and Thames are seeing rise and falls at different times giving good load levelling. A Severn barrage could produce 7GW near constant load.
    The only problem is that large swathes of tidal habitat would be lost. Personally I might be inclined to do it but it would have a huge impact on certain types of wildlife.
     
  19. Angilion

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Dec 5, 2003

    Posts: 16,342

    Location: Just to the left of my PC

    I think it's also worth noting that the fusion reactor they referred to is almost certainly ITER, which is a test facility and not a power station. That fusion project doesn't have a power station planned until the 2040s. As far as I know, there aren't any likely plans for fusion power stations before then. ITER is the most advanced of the next gen, building on what has been learned at JET, which is the most advanced of the current gen.

    Fusion would solve the energy problem in a way that is practically permanent (i.e. we could use it for as long as humanity exists) and we certainly should be funding the research (including research into reducing the rate at which the internal wall becomes radioactive or even stopping it becoming radioactive at all, which is theoretically possible), but it's not a short term solution. We need something else in the meantime and it would be a good idea to have another workable solution anyway. Perhaps we could go 100% fusion in the future, but energy supply is too important to gamble it all on any one thing.
     
  20. Tefal

    Capo Crimine

    Joined: Jun 30, 2007

    Posts: 66,559

    Location: Wales


    Best way is to run staighr fusion hydrogen -hydrogen.

    No neutron (or negligable) neutron emission then.

    But as it stands we need those neutrons to turn lithium into tritium/deuterium to power the reactor.

    Does mean though that the reactor makes some of its own fuel as a byproduct