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Energy costs. Oh dear.......

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BellaHubby
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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668306

Postby BellaHubby » June 10th, 2024, 3:12 pm

Tedx wrote:https://xlinks.co/morocco-uk-power-project/

Initially I thought it was daft running a flex from Africa to the UK....but in the video they mentioned the fact that we're quite happy to build oil and gas pipelines that are thousands of miles long.....so why not power connectors? It's a fair point!

Maybe interconnectors are the future - particularly when transporting electricity over different timezones and from places where the renewables profile is different.

One concern I have with these undersea energy links is the threat posed by Russia. If the russians/Putin become more beligerent, I think it likely they would disrupt the links, pipelines, internet, etc. Not sure how we could protect against such a threat.

bh

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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668311

Postby scotview » June 10th, 2024, 3:40 pm

BellaHubby wrote: Not sure how we could protect against such a threat.

bh


Frac, Nuclear (big and small), Offshore gas, selected tidal......ASAP

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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668319

Postby DrFfybes » June 10th, 2024, 5:02 pm

UncleEbenezer wrote:Paul

The UK is not bad for wind, and is world-leading in tidal energy. And for an added bonus, there's so much variation around our coastline that we have consistent, reliable power 24/7 without the need for connecting across timezones.

Or would be, if it invested seriously in anything at all before someone else has pioneered it and developed the technology.


Tidal energy is sadly proving too expensive. Tens of millions were spent on Wave Hub, further tens of millions each year go on the trials of various turbines, tubes, and snakes. We personally know someone who invested 7 figures of his own company money into trying to develop something that came to nought. There's been a lot of small scale promise, but nothing commercially viable on a large scale. The construction costs are huge compared to solar and especially wind. There are projects and companies out there ready to go large scale, Orbital, PTEC/Tidal Stream, just needs the money to get it going.

We COULD use tidal energy, provided we wanted to pay a lot more for our power.

Paul
Last edited by tjh290633 on June 10th, 2024, 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Tag corrected - TJH

UncleEbenezer
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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668325

Postby UncleEbenezer » June 10th, 2024, 5:46 pm

DrFfybes wrote:Tidal energy is sadly proving too expensive.

As did other technologies in their early days (including coal and oil in an earlier era). Wind and solar were cheaper for Blighty 'cos others had pioneered them (e.g. Denmark's offshore wind), but even so our most expensive energy by far is what we pay in FITs to owners of rooftop solar panels installed when the government was actively promoting them.

It is in the nature of new technologies that pioneering products cost more than mature technologies.

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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668327

Postby Tedx » June 10th, 2024, 6:07 pm

UncleEbenezer wrote:
DrFfybes wrote:Tidal energy is sadly proving too expensive.

As did other technologies in their early days (including coal and oil in an earlier era). Wind and solar were cheaper for Blighty 'cos others had pioneered them (e.g. Denmark's offshore wind), but even so our most expensive energy by far is what we pay in FITs to owners of rooftop solar panels installed when the government was actively promoting them.

It is in the nature of new technologies that pioneering products cost more than mature technologies.


How difficult could it be to build and tow a load of these.......

https://www.orbitalmarine.com/technology/

..... out into the Pentland Firth and then equip a couple of the local former oil rig construction/servicing yards to look after them on a rotational basis?

How difficult can it be to then deploy many more of these in tidal hotspots around the country?

And why not have wave generators anchored to the seafloor alongside and inbetween these enourmous offshore windfarms?

https://newatlas.com/energy/corpower-wavespring/

Its gotta be a lot easier and cheaper than Hinkly Point C...

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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668337

Postby DrFfybes » June 10th, 2024, 7:34 pm

Tedx wrote:
How difficult could it be to build and tow a load of these.......

https://www.orbitalmarine.com/technology/

..... out into the Pentland Firth and then equip a couple of the local former oil rig construction/servicing yards to look after them on a rotational basis?

How difficult can it be to then deploy many more of these in tidal hotspots around the country?

And why not have wave generators anchored to the seafloor alongside and inbetween these enourmous offshore windfarms?

https://newatlas.com/energy/corpower-wavespring/

Its gotta be a lot easier and cheaper than Hinkly Point C...


I suspect if it was so obviously simpler and cheaper than other sources of power then Overseas investors would be queueing up to fund it, like the rest of our Power generation Infrastructure :(

UncleEbenezer wrote:our most expensive energy by far is what we pay in FITs to owners of rooftop solar panels installed when the government was actively promoting them.


Oh yes. About 12.5TWh per annum from solar prior to the FIT ending. Oddly that has increased little since! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_pow ... ed_Kingdom

Fortunately under 4% of what we use each year so whilst an irritation, not a major factor in the bills. The unseen benefit was in getting the technology established, accepted, installation schemes and accreditation up and running, and kickstarting an industry.

Paul

Paul

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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668356

Postby UncleEbenezer » June 10th, 2024, 10:19 pm

DrFfybes wrote:The unseen benefit was in getting the technology established, accepted, installation schemes and accreditation up and running, and kickstarting an industry.

Which is precisely what we should long since have done for tidal power. Maybe around the same time as the FITs?

Note I'm not mentioning wave power, as that's still very experimental. Though in shallow waters like the North Sea, the tides generate incredibly regular and predictable wave patterns that jolly well ought to be possible to harness!

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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668405

Postby U962 » June 11th, 2024, 10:13 am

Wave and tidal power is extremely difficult due to the corrosive environment of the salt water the things are in.
The one major tidal barrage scheme in France has never been repeated - possibly due to the environmental disaster behind it when the lagoon silted up.

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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668408

Postby Tedx » June 11th, 2024, 10:25 am

U962 wrote:Wave and tidal power is extremely difficult due to the corrosive environment of the salt water the things are in.
The one major tidal barrage scheme in France has never been repeated - possibly due to the environmental disaster behind it when the lagoon silted up.


That's true....the problems are not insurmountable though. Would would have thought we'd be putting fields of 15GW wind turbines in the sea 20 years ago?

I just look at Hinkley Point C and conclude that there are greater interests at work here.

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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668412

Postby BullDog » June 11th, 2024, 10:36 am

U962 wrote:Wave and tidal power is extremely difficult due to the corrosive environment of the salt water the things are in.
The one major tidal barrage scheme in France has never been repeated - possibly due to the environmental disaster behind it when the lagoon silted up.

The South Koreans seem to have done a pretty good job with Sihwa Tidal Power Plant. As far as I know it's successful. There's a bigger one planned too for Incheon Bay, but doesn't look like it's happening as far as I can see.

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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668430

Postby DrFfybes » June 11th, 2024, 11:34 am

Tedx wrote:
I just look at Hinkley Point C and conclude that there are greater interests at work here.


Sunk cost, foreign investment, and contracts signed for production. Unlike scrapping HS2, the divorce bill for Hinkley would make the Brexit one look cheap.

BullDog wrote:The South Koreans seem to have done a pretty good job with Sihwa Tidal Power Plant. As far as I know it's successful


That was an add-on to existing infrastructure (which ad its own pollution isues). However it would be interesting to see if there are sites suitable for a similar project, some sort of Flood Barrier across a major river perhaps ;)

Paul

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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668435

Postby Tedx » June 11th, 2024, 12:26 pm

DrFfybes wrote:
Tedx wrote:
I just look at Hinkley Point C and conclude that there are greater interests at work here.


Sunk cost, foreign investment, and contracts signed for production. Unlike scrapping HS2, the divorce bill for Hinkley would make the Brexit one look cheap.

Paul


Y'know I read about a large UK offshore windfarm (Seagreen I think it was) and these things start earning their keep from the time the first turbine is installed

Following first power in August 2022 the site became fully operational in October 2023

https://www.seagreenwindenergy.com/

...whereas with HPC it'll be ten years in construction - assuming it's ready in 2028. And consider the vast resources that the HPC construction has absorbed and what else we could have been doing with those resources.

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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668441

Postby daveh » June 11th, 2024, 12:48 pm

DrFfybes wrote:
That was an add-on to existing infrastructure (which ad its own pollution isues). However it would be interesting to see if there are sites suitable for a similar project, some sort of Flood Barrier across a major river perhaps ;)

Paul


There aren't for base load. The trouble with the tides is that they are intermittent, both on a daily cycle and a monthly cycle. Yes we know exactly the timings, which can be calculated out indefinitely, but there are high and low waters ~twice a day for each with periods of slack water, so even if power is made both on the rise and fall of the tide there will be periods of no power. Then there is the (lunar) monthly cycle of neaps and springs with a massive difference in the tidal range between neaps and springs and so a massive difference in the amount of power than can be produced.

The problem I saw from a paper I read a few years ago is that there aren't suitable river estuary sites for barrages or lagoons around the UK that are at the right locations so that high tide at one location is occurring at slack water at another location so when power is not been produced at one barrage the slack (pun intended) can be taken up at the second location.

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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668443

Postby UncleEbenezer » June 11th, 2024, 1:07 pm

Tedx wrote:
U962 wrote:Wave and tidal power is extremely difficult due to the corrosive environment of the salt water the things are in.

Offshore engineering - North Sea oil, and offshore wind - faced that same problem. Wave energy has difficult problems with robustness of the kit, not so tidal.
The one major tidal barrage scheme in France has never been repeated - possibly due to the environmental disaster behind it when the lagoon silted up.


That was a hybrid, across an estuary. With a river behind it, silt was inevitable. Not so the Swansea barrage that was in Cameron's manifesto and that everyone[1] supported until the Telegraph vetoed it. And other lagoons to follow.

That's true....the problems are not insurmountable though. Would would have thought we'd be putting fields of 15GW wind turbines in the sea 20 years ago?


Yeah, the difference is that someone else (notably the Danes) pioneered offshore wind, so we were able to adopt it as a more mature, and therefore cheaper, technology. That's geography: the Danes have lots of offshore wind but much less in the way of tides than we do.

A potential upside to that is that when there is a technology to harness waves or tide in the North Sea, there's lots of existing infrastructure to hook it to out there!

[1] Except Peter Hain, who opposed it because it wasn't the Severn Barrage which he wants.

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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668456

Postby Tedx » June 11th, 2024, 2:14 pm

They're currently refurbishing a redundant oil construction yard along the coast and hoping to build concrete floating bases for offshore wind turbines

https://www.bw-ideol.com/en/bw-ideol-un ... t-approach

https://www.bw-ideol.com/en/our-new-ard ... -video-out

In operation since 2018, they seem to stand up to storms ok

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgH5wer5MiE

https://youtu.be/K6Pol6T3W7Y?si=1_UvAF2doTOchtj7

I read elsewhere they were talking about an initial capacity of 1 floater installation per week. Thats about decent sized offshore windfarm per year. Not bad!

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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668500

Postby tjh290633 » June 11th, 2024, 10:04 pm

daveh wrote:
DrFfybes wrote:
That was an add-on to existing infrastructure (which ad its own pollution isues). However it would be interesting to see if there are sites suitable for a similar project, some sort of Flood Barrier across a major river perhaps ;)

Paul


There aren't for base load. The trouble with the tides is that they are intermittent, both on a daily cycle and a monthly cycle. Yes we know exactly the timings, which can be calculated out g, but there are high and low waters ~twice a day for each with periods of slack water, so even if power is made both on the rise and fall of the tide there will be periods of no power. Then there is the (lunar) monthly cycle of neaps and springs with a massive difference in the tidal range between neaps and springs and so a massive difference in the amount of power than can be produced.

The problem I saw from a paper I read a few years ago is that there aren't suitable river estuary sites for barrages or lagoons around the UK that are at the right locations so that high tide at one location is occurring at slack water at another location so when power is not been produced at one barrage the slack (pun intended) can be taken up at the second location.

Barrages and tidal lagoons are the wrong method. What is needed is a system to catch the tidal flow, as was tried out in the Bristol Channel. Such systems do not destroy the tidal flow, as was found with the Rance Barrage in France. Because you are putting tidal flow turbines at various places along the estuary the tidal flow is not destroyed, as it would be with a barrage.

TJH

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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668520

Postby UncleEbenezer » June 12th, 2024, 1:46 am

daveh wrote:
DrFfybes wrote:
That was an add-on to existing infrastructure (which ad its own pollution isues). However it would be interesting to see if there are sites suitable for a similar project, some sort of Flood Barrier across a major river perhaps ;)

Paul


There aren't for base load. The trouble with the tides is that they are intermittent, both on a daily cycle and a monthly cycle. Yes we know exactly the timings, which can be calculated out indefinitely, but there are high and low waters ~twice a day for each with periods of slack water, so even if power is made both on the rise and fall of the tide there will be periods of no power. Then there is the (lunar) monthly cycle of neaps and springs with a massive difference in the tidal range between neaps and springs and so a massive difference in the amount of power than can be produced.


The daily cycle problem is easily solved by multiple tidal plants in locations at different phases of the tide. Even the initial five locations (four in the Bristol channel) proposed by the Swansea Bay folks would've provided that.

The monthly cycle, and the lesser annual cycle, are also entirely predictable, so the problem of dealing with their minima is one of providing sufficient capacity. That exists with any power source (even coal), and the predictability of tides helps a lot.

The problem I saw from a paper I read a few years ago is that there aren't suitable river estuary sites for barrages or lagoons around the UK that are at the right locations so that high tide at one location is occurring at slack water at another location so when power is not been produced at one barrage the slack (pun intended) can be taken up at the second location.


I don't know what would make a river or estuary suitable. I'd have thought them inherently unsuitable, both because of the silting problem and because putting a barrier across a river mouth has significant ecological implications. None of the five locations planned by the Swansea folks were estuaries, though the Somerset one would've served a secondary purpose of alleviating flood problems.

Anyway, the tidal technologies that seem to be gaining traction are not lagoons. They're turbines to harness tidal flow, and more novel technologies like Minesto's kites.

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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668556

Postby daveh » June 12th, 2024, 9:06 am

I agree the tidal flow turbines are a more sensible approach.

The paper I saw was in particularly referring to tidal barrages of the Severn barrage type as an alternative to nuclear for base load.

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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668634

Postby Itsallaguess » June 12th, 2024, 12:40 pm

Itsallaguess wrote:

It'll be interesting to see where my rolling 12-monthly overall costs go from here, but it's certainly the case that our collective household efforts to minimise gas and electricity use, where it's been possible to do so without too much effort or lack of comfort, continues to be worthwhile.


Just a quick update regarding my continuing efforts to get the most value out of our gas and electricity usage, where I record Summer and Winter periods in a spreadsheet, and also capture a rolling 12-month total to check any ongoing progress.

Back in April I was able to update my winter-period usage and was pleasantly surprised to see that whilst the expected 'bottoming out' of electricity use has now been firmly established, I continued to see worthwhile progress being made in winter gas consumption, which has previously been dominated over the colder months by my gas condensing boiler and main-room gas-fire -


Image


In a previous post on this thread, I mentioned that we were going to install a curtain rail across one of our wall-openings in our knocked-through main living area, with a view to moving a pair of heavy lined curtains so as to temporarily reduce the size of the room over the colder months, which would hopefully then allow what has normally been an undersized radiator for that larger living area to then work more efficiently in heating up a smaller, curtained-off area.

Our gas fire is a low-efficiency living-flame one, and whilst it's historically come in handy for those really cold winter periods, I've always had the feeling that it's been an expensive way to try and maintain comfort in a larger knocked-through living area, given the much larger, low-thermal efficiency living space we've normally been asking it to heat up.

By using the large lined curtains, and splitting the larger area into a smaller living space just over winter, which could still be opened into a normal configuration when required, we found that the normally-undersized radiator maintained a much better level of warmth in the smaller 'room' when needed, which meant there was both a big reduction in the times the gas-fire went on, and also where it was used, it was used for much shorter periods due to the fact that the now-reduced living space maintained it's heat a lot better than it used to, and we definitely feel that this single change delivered both an improvement in gas usage and an improvement in comfort at the same time - a double-benefit that's quite rare, with one or the other more often being the case...

One thing to add on the curtain-front, is what a shock I got on one of the earlier cold nights, when we were nice and warm in the smaller living area and I thought I'd 'nip through the curtain' to see if I could feel any difference, as I wasn't quite sure about the level of difference it would make, and it really did feel properly chilly on the other side of the curtain. That was a great early indicator that we'd really feel the benefit over the longer winter period, and we did...

Two other improvements that helped to deliver another good reduction in gas usage this past winter were to install a number of TP-Link Smart Thermostats on my radiators -

Starter Kit - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0BLZ63QQ9

Additional Smart Thermostats - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0BKQWGSMC

These units control just the radiators, so the boiler still needs a good level of timing control, but being able to quickly and easily direct heat to different areas of the house at different times definitely helps to get the most value out of gas central-heating costs over those coldest of months, and having an easily controlled app to see current settings and change things whenever required has definitely improved the amount of gas used by our central-heating boiler, whilst maintaining comfort where it's needed over the winter period.

Finally, one of those 'why didn't we do that years ago' moments came after we installed a cheap draught-excluder on our main-room door, which leads onto our staired hallway -

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0BXP7BMNL

As part of our curtaining-off experiment, we thought we should try and reduce any clear and obvious draughts into our reduced-size living-area over the colder months, with another non-permanent solution that can be put away once things get warmer, and I'm happy to say that it helped quite a lot in terms of maintaining a much warmer 'room', with our then-reduced living space.

One further beneficial option available to us that's being actively considered now we've seen such a benefit from the temporary-curtain solution is to upgrade the living-room radiator from a single-panel type to a twin-panel type, which I suspect would remove the need for any gas-fire usage completely, so that's something for us to think about this year as an additional benefit.

When I look back at my rolling 12-month gas-usage figures, and see that we've gone from using 8918kwh of gas in the 12 month period to April 2021, to now using around 5638 kwh of gas in the 12 month period to April 2024 - a reduction of around 37% in just three years. I struggle a little with aligning that reduction in gas usage with the knowledge that we've also actually still managed to improve the level of warmth and comfort that we're now getting during the more expensive winter period, but it shows to me that it is possible to invest relatively small but incremental amounts into focussed, home-specific areas to help achieve the twin-aims of longer-term energy-savings and higher levels of personal comfort...

Cheers,

Itsallaguess

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Re: Energy costs. Oh dear.......

#668764

Postby funduffer » June 13th, 2024, 9:24 am

Itsallaguess wrote:
When I look back at my rolling 12-month gas-usage figures, and see that we've gone from using 8918kwh of gas in the 12 month period to April 2021, to now using around 5638 kwh of gas in the 12 month period to April 2024 - a reduction of around 37% in just three years. I struggle a little with aligning that reduction in gas usage with the knowledge that we've also actually still managed to improve the level of warmth and comfort that we're now getting during the more expensive winter period, but it shows to me that it is possible to invest relatively small but incremental amounts into focussed, home-specific areas to help achieve the twin-aims of longer-term energy-savings and higher levels of personal comfort...

Cheers,

Itsallaguess


Hi IAAG.

I have also been on a quest to reduce gas and electricity usage over the last few years, although I have probably spent more than you on this. I have a 1960's bungalow in the cold North of England.

The first step was to get solar panels in December 2020 - I spent £4k getting 13 panels and these generate about 3700 kWh per year. They are on course to pay back in about 8 or 9 years.

I have also insulated the house - underfloor, and in the loft and added to cavity wall insulation in the extension which didn't have any.

I have tweaked the combi-boiler settings - I run the hot water at 50C and the radiators at 55C. The radiators are themselves somewhat over sized anyway, so the lower water temperature seems OK. I have also reduced the normal daytime thermostat temperature to 19C from 20C.

More recently, I purchased a heat pump driven Daikin air con unit for the living room, at a cost of £1.3k. Besides offering cooling air-con in the summer, I also use it to heat this room (usually using solar power) in the spring and autumn during the day, rather than run the gas central heating. In the first year of ownership it only consumed just over 100kWh - it seems very efficient.

In July 2021 my 12 month average gas usage was 16000kWh. Today it is 8500kWh - a 47% reduction.

My 12 month average electricity consumption in July 2021 was 2500kWh, whereas today it is 3700kWh - a 48% increase! What happened, you may ask? Well, I purchased an EV in 2021 and this consumes about 1800kWh of household electricity per year, so really, my household electricity (excluding the EV) is now about 1900kWh per year - a 24% reduction from 2021. I use a lot of electricity overnight using my cheap EV tariff, to the extent that 67% of my electricity consumption (including the EV) is at a cheap rate.

If we are to properly insulate UK homes, I feel this is the sort of work that will be needed to achieve net zero.

I am happy with the results so far.

Next step will be to explore getting a heat pump to replace the gas boiler when it reaches the end of its life (it is 10 years old). I can see this will need a sizeable investment, despite the current £7.5k subsidy, but it is a case of wait and see what happens to electricity v gas pricing in the next few years, unless the gas boiler expires!

FD


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