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AEP’s Storage Delusions

July 30, 2022

By Paul Homewood

h/t Ian Magness

AEP is away with the fairies again!

 image

Today’s electricity price shock is the last crisis of the old order. Britain will soon have far more power at times of peak production than it can absorb. The logistical headache will be abundance.

Wind and solar provided almost 60pc of the UK’s power for substantial stretches last weekend, briefly peaking at 66pc. This is not to make a propaganda point about green energy, although this home-made power is self-evidently displacing liquefied natural gas (LNG) imported right now at nosebleed prices.

It is a point about the mathematical implications of the UK’s gargantuan push for renewables. Offshore wind capacity is going to increase from 11 to 50 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 under the Government’s latest fast-track plans.

RenewableUK says this country currently has a total of 86GW in the project pipeline. This the most ambitious rollout of offshore wind in the world, ahead of China at 78GW, and the US at 48GW.

Much of the power will have to be stored for days or weeks at a time. Lithium batteries cannot do the job: their sweet spot is two hours, and they are expensive. You need “long duration” storage at a cost that must ultimately fall below $100 (£82) per megawatt hour (MWh), the global benchmark of commercial viability.

That is now in sight, and one of the world leaders is a British start-up. Highview Power has refined a beautifully simple technology using liquid air stored in insulated steel towers at low pressure.

This cryogenic process cools air to minus 196 degrees using the standard kit for LNG. It compresses the volume 700-fold. The liquid re-expands with a blast of force when heated and drives a turbine, providing dispatchable power with the help of a flywheel.

Fresh tanks can be added to cover several days or even weeks of energy storage. The efficiency loss or “boil off” rate from storage vats is 0.1pc each day, and much of this is recaptured by the closed system.

“Think of us as pumped-hydro in a box. We can store for very long periods, and discharge over long periods,” said Rupert Pearce, Highview’s chief executive and ex-head of the satellite company Inmarsat.

“We can take power when the grid can’t handle it, and fill our tanks with wasted wind (curtailment). At the moment the grid has to pay companies £1bn a year not to produce, which is grotesque.”

Highview is well beyond the pilot phase and is developing its first large UK plant in Humberside, today Britain’s top hub for North Sea wind. It will offer 2.5GW for over 12 hours, or 0.5GW for over 60 hours, and so forth, and should be up and running by late 2024.

Further projects will be built at a breakneck speed of two to three a year during the 2020s, with a target of 20 sites able to provide almost 6GW of back-up electricity for four days at a time, or whatever time/power mix is optimal.

Most North Sea wind lulls last less than 24 hours. Research by Delft University found that the longer Dunkelflaute events – caused by cold high-pressure weather systems – tend to range from 50-100 hours. They typically occur in November, December, and January. …

Mr Pearce said Highview’s levelised cost of energy (LCOE) would start at $140-$150, below lithium, and then slide on a “glide path” to $100 with over time. The company has parallel projects in Spain and Australia but Britain is the showroom.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/07/28/britain-will-soon-have-glut-cheap-power-world-leading-batteries/

Yet another puff piece for Highview!

But perhaps AEP should learn how to use a calculator!

Highview plan to build 18 plants, each of about 2.5 GWh – see their website here. That makes a total of 45 GWh.

During January 2020, a not untypical month weather wise, wind power fell below 7 GW, or about 30% of capacity, for 163 hours in succession. The average output in that period was 3.8 GW, which was 15.8% of the then capacity.

image 

According to the National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios, demand in winter will rise to about 80 GW, of which biomass and nuclear will supply 15 GW. Gas generation will, according to AEP, be a thing of the past, while solar power is negligible in winter and there is little else other than wind to fill the gap.

Wind power is projected at a nameplate capacity of 109 GW, but with an average output of about 44 GW.

Another low wind interlude such as January 2020 would see that 44 GW drop to 16 GW for a week, and quite probably longer.

Now do the sums:

A shortfall of 28 GW x 163 hours = 4564 GWh.

Highview’s eighteen proposed plants will supply just 45 GWh.

 

A slight problem, I think AEP!

As ever, he simply does not understand the energy market. In particular, he does not understand that all forms of storage, whether lithium, pumped storage or cryo are only useful for short term balancing. Even the National Grid’s Future Energy Scenario  recognises this:

image

https://www.nationalgrideso.com/future-energy/future-energy-scenarios#fullsuite

Maybe it is time that the Telegraph employed a proper energy expert to report on the topic.

68 Comments
  1. Peter F Gill permalink
    July 30, 2022 1:01 pm

    Anyone know on which planet AEP resides?

  2. Gordon Hughes permalink
    July 30, 2022 1:17 pm

    I think that the core problem is that AEP – like all too many journalists – doesn’t understand the difference between GW and GWh. He says 2.5 GW for 12 hours or 0.5 GW for 60 hours – both 30 GWh – whereas Highview says 2.5 GWh. The latter is a small gas-fired power plant – useful for daily balancing but nothing compared with a Netpower Allam cycle plant.

    It is clear that he doesn’t understand the economics of long term storage. Whether it is 45 GWh or 450 GWh storage the cost of seasonal storage which is only used 3-4 times per year is insanely expensive. Using it as an alternative to pumped storage might just work though pumped storage costs a lot less than £100 MWh.

    I assume that Highview knows all this but welcome the publicity. We have a collection of journalists writing about energy who are close to completely innumerate.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      July 30, 2022 11:59 pm

      We have some order of magnitude costings:

      https://www.rechargenews.com/energy-transition/highview-power-unveils-1bn-of-liquid-air-energy-storage-projects-in-spain/2-1-1012670

      2.1GWh/350MW redelivery for $1bn, with a claimed life of 30-40 years for the plant but only 6 hour duration storage. Perhaps useful for shifting solar peaks to the evening or morning rush, plus providing some ancillary services (its main purpose anyway).

      National Grid have got as far as admitting 56TWh of storage might be needed in their tame modelling of seasonal requirements, so that would be a mere snip at £26.6 trillion. In order to pay for it – capital plus cost of financing – they would need to earn £1.5-2 trillion a year at least. Efficiency on holding large volumes for months or years is going to get caned. They could save a bit by increasing storage duration, as there is only need to be able to handle say 100GW of input rather than 9.3TW. But it’s not going to alter the economics of longer storage by enough to make it economic.

      Looking at the small scale stuff, if we assume the storage turns over daily, so it is producing for about 2,200 hours a year it would need margins of the order of $90-100/MWh on redelivered power to cover capital costs. That’s probably consistent with their $140-150/MWh output cost after allowing for the efficiency factor. But we never used to get such swings in prices on a regular basis – only when the market was exceptionally tight. It’s not fully competitive with Dinorwig, which would be making handsome profits at such prices.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        July 31, 2022 12:01 am

        Oops – should be $26.6 trillion – but that still doesn’t make it add up…

  3. Martin Brumby permalink
    July 30, 2022 1:27 pm

    In view of the tiny, transient, unimportant problems with European energy supplies which, beyond doubt they will have for at least a year, might there not be THIS WINTER a little problem in obtaining electricity through the interconnectors, which little fig leaf HMG and National Grid have been hiding behind for at least five years (and Damn the Expense!!)

    I wonder if Golden Genius of the Decade AEP might suggest the answer to that immediate conundrum NOW, before troubling his lovely little head about what to do with all the surplus energy that his chums in RenewablesUK have promised him (at some ill defined future point)?

    • I don't believe it! permalink
      July 30, 2022 2:29 pm

      He quotes a loss of only 0.1% whilst the air is in storage (apparently it is a low pressure system despite the compression by a factor of 700?) but ignores the 55% efficency mentioned by Geoff B?
      It doesn’t matter though as Wind Turbines will last for ever and will produce 60% of their maximum possible output.

      • sch permalink
        August 2, 2022 4:31 am

        The air is liquified, not ‘compressed’ though it is compressed and cooled in repeated cycles while liquified, once liquid it is at essentially atmospheric pressure, subject to loss from boil-off. That assumes a very high quality thermos jug type storage. Slightly puzzled by the ‘heating to get high pressure to run turbines’ aspect and the energetics of all this.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      July 30, 2022 5:23 pm

      There is no solution beyond power rationing. We have killed off too much capacity, and capacity will be short on the Continent any time the wind drops. Much of industry expects to have to shut down. How far it spreads beyond that will be the interesting question. NG are fooling themselves if they think that Europe will increase its own power rationing to keep us supplied, even if we offer silly money as we did the other day – equivalent to over £1bn a day to keep the interconnectors running to us. Will consumers be prepared to pay that? I think they’d have Fintan Slye’s guts for garters.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      July 30, 2022 6:01 pm

      Scafell Pike?

    • jimlemaistre permalink
      July 30, 2022 6:13 pm

      First . . . Planet Earth is NOT flat, I think it was Columbus that proved that . . . All joking aside, Planet Earth is a Centrifuge, like your washing machine when it spins. Planet Earth Earth rotates once a day, spinning at about 1,000 miles per hour (1,670 kms per hr). The Earth circles The Sun once a year, flying through space at 67,000 miles per hour (107,000 kms per hr). Pretty cool eh . . . Well, that creates what are known as Gyers. Way out in the middle of the Oceans of the world . . . Like Giant toilets flushing . . . Believe me you Do Not want to get near one of them . . . they will ‘Take you Down’, ask any Captain.

      Natural self-regulation from Mother Nature

      5 Gyers – North and South Atlantic, North and South Pacific and The Indian Ocean Gyers

      How do Gyers stabilize Water Levels? As mentioned, water is drawn into the Gyers by Centrifugal Forces sped up by Rising Ocean Temperatures. That water accumulates at ever increasing volumes out in the Centre of the Oceans and along the Equator. The Oceans cover 71% of Planet Earth . . . That is where water accumulates . . . Out in the middle and along the Equator . . . Out in the Middle. Not along the Shore !!

      NOT the information the BBC has researched . . . But Hey . . . They are the BBC after all . . .

  4. Lorde Late permalink
    July 30, 2022 1:35 pm

    I too thought the enthusiasm over the Battery storage a little ambitous!

  5. tbarronskycom permalink
    July 30, 2022 1:47 pm

    Hi I’ve attached a very interesting article by Andrew Kenny a South African engineer. He really does know what he’s talking about and also extremely sceptical of wind power/batteries. Interesting and reasoned logic.

  6. GeoffB permalink
    July 30, 2022 1:59 pm

    He must have invested in Highview!!!!
    The cryogenic process is only 55 % efficient, energy to compress and freeze the air and energy to rapidly warm it up to get the expansion to drive the turbine. It is suggested to use the waste heat from other processes to unfreeze the air. Coal power station springs to mind, just replace the cooling towers! The mans an idiot.

    • mikewaite permalink
      July 30, 2022 4:28 pm

      An early paper on the subject concluded:

      “This paper presents one possible system configuration for liquid air energy storage. its performance was compared with the simplest possible possible system where no external energy, except heat from ambient air, is used in the regasification of liquid air. The baseline configuration has too low a roundtrip efficiency to be interesting in comparison with other energy storage options”

      which is rather pessimistivc , but it did use the figure of 0.5KWh/Kg for the energy required to liquefy the air and this might be too conservative a figure . Not sure what figure the promoters are using .
      doi: 10.1016/j.egypro.2016.06.100 (open access)

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      July 30, 2022 5:32 pm

      The efficiency of the system is a rather elastic concept. They claim to reach up to 70% – provided they get free coolth (e.g. from LNG regasification) and heat (e.g. from power station cooling water – the virtue is they don’t need particularly high temperatures to regasify the air). The reality accounting properly is probably more like 30%, which is about the same ballpark as an electricity -> hydrogen -> electricity scheme. Meantime they obviously should set up in Milford Haven where regas coolth and low grade process heat can be obtained (from the refinery and power station).

      • July 30, 2022 6:32 pm

        Er…what refinery and power station ? They’ll be gone !

  7. MrGrimNasty permalink
    July 30, 2022 2:06 pm

    The problem with all these storage solutions is that they won’t deliver in reality.
    You won’t get the perfect excess amount to fully charge your storage for use just as and when it is required.
    You’ll end up fully charged and then have to curtail anyway, or you’ll get a lull before there has been sufficient charge. You’ll probably end up running despatchable sources to charge the storage for use when the wind lulls, but it’ll be hidden in the total grid demand!

  8. cookers52 permalink
    July 30, 2022 2:17 pm

    There is always a market for bullshit.

  9. Vernon E permalink
    July 30, 2022 2:32 pm

    The only practical solution to storage of energy is the Ireland Alternative Fueo Obligation wherby gas turbine generators are mandated to hold reserve supplies of liquid fuels (kerosene or similar) the wind isn’t blowing and gas is in short supply.

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      July 30, 2022 4:16 pm

      I agree entirely that oil is the best immediate energy storage option. It means converting our CCGTs to oil burning: not particularly difficult in fact as they were mostly designed for oil originally. We need to buy oil when prices are low of course.

      Sadly, the climate-destroyers have now got rid of most of our once excellent coal fired stations (Eggborough was finally demolished last week!), which also act as energy stores.

      In terms of using excess power for storage, which is what is immediately needed, there are only 3 other established and proven technologies that work at the required scale: Gas storage (eg Rough); pumped storage; and, compressed air energy storage (CAES) using gas turbines. We have limited hydro sites unfortunately, so CAES should be accelerated, and Rough made fully operational.

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        July 30, 2022 5:13 pm

        And we need to get fracking.

  10. David Wojick permalink
    July 30, 2022 2:39 pm

    Yet another of those endless stories touting a start up or invention as the solution to the impossible national need of enough storage to make wind work.

  11. Vernon E permalink
    July 30, 2022 2:59 pm

    O/T: I am surprised that there hasn’t been any rersponse to ITV’s three-parter “Big Oil vs The World”. The slickest, most convincing, propaganda I have yet seen on the subject of catastrophic warming. All American, big names, masses of technical “detail” etc etc. Must have been financed by the “men of Davos”. Except when one looks a bit closer, the technical details are mostly flashes of technical papers with no explanation of what they are representing. There are graphs of increasing variables that are so perfect in their positions about the mean that they can only be from computers – nothing in nature behaves with such regularity (just look at Paul’s graphs). Never-the-less, this is dangerous stuff.

  12. Nicholas Lewis permalink
    July 30, 2022 3:07 pm

    im as sceptical as the rest of us on here but the problem is the politicians well most of them so we have signed up net zero so all we can do currently is influence at the margins.

    1. There must be a national policy to protect CCGTs along with gas supply to at least 2050 not the madness that has befallen coal power stations. If storage manages to spectacularly find the sweet spot then it can be reconsidered.

    2. If we are going to waste money on more renewables then battery or hydrogen electrolysers need to be co located to avoid anymore money being pissed away on constraint costs.

    3. Get serious on reducing energy demand by improving energy efficiency be it domestic, commercial or industrial.

    Of course a couple of good blackouts in mid winter may change the outlook although even then it would be someone elses fault.

    • Mad Mike permalink
      July 30, 2022 3:39 pm

      If you were lucky enough to own a wind farm enjoying all those lovely subsidies why would you go to the expense of buying a load of batteries when some or all of the constraint payments would be lost?

    • July 31, 2022 3:59 pm

      Nicholas,

      you said “Get serious on reducing energy demand by improving energy efficiency be it domestic, commercial or industrial.2

      What do you mean get serious, if efficiency is cost effective it happens pretty automatically.
      Where it fals down is if it’s uneconomic or detrimental (i’m thinking of insulation that causes damp in older houses).

      No the real push must be for adequate reliable generation capacity, and curtail the expansion of wind and solar. They are the real inefficiencies.

      I’m not holding my breath though.

  13. John Brown permalink
    July 30, 2022 3:15 pm

    If the wind turbine capacity factor is 40% and the liquid air storage has an efficiency of 60% then I calculate that the installed wind capacity needs to be 3.5 times the required constant power output required. So 40GW of power would require 140GW of installed wind capacity.

    • GeoffB permalink
      July 30, 2022 3:58 pm

      When there is no wind, normally when a high pressure area gets “stuck” over UK, then wind generation is generally zero everywhere, in that case the backup has to supply the total load, it is not a case of one turbine in three working. There is NO wind power!

      • John Brown permalink
        July 30, 2022 6:10 pm

        GeoffB : Thanks for your reply. You are correct that when the wind doesn’t blow there is no wind power. But my calculation takes this into account and that with 3.5 times the required power output the installed wind power will be able to provide sufficient power when there is excess to build up the storage required. Hence, for instamce, you would need 140 GW of installed power to be able to build up sufficient storage to provide a constant 40GW of power. Not sure though how much storage (GWhrs) is required…

      • Micky R permalink
        July 31, 2022 4:21 pm

        ” it is not a case of one turbine in three working. There is NO wind power! ”

        In this situation, wind turbines can require electricity to rotate slowly and to maintain essential services within the turbine unit e.g. heating, lubrication, control systems etc. Energy usage by wind turbines for this situation is difficult to find; this link from several years ago provides some clues:

        http://www.aweo.org/windconsumption.html

        Therefore low wind can mean that wind turbines are net users of energy, but who knows how much?

  14. Peter lawrenson permalink
    July 30, 2022 3:18 pm

    AEP has cheerfully cherry picked data. When you download gridwatch data for the weekend there was 8 hours from 0015am to 8000am when wind generated more than 50% peaking at 11.8 gw I.e.54.8%. But demand was 21 gw. Very low but then everyone was asleep.

  15. John Wallace permalink
    July 30, 2022 3:54 pm

    I saw this earlier and rather hoped that Paul would tackle it. I can’t believe that they actually let him get away with this nonsense.

  16. July 30, 2022 4:04 pm

    Reblogged this on delboydave and commented:
    I want whatever AEP is taking, he’s certainly living in cloud cuckoo land!

  17. July 30, 2022 4:06 pm

    All these reporters writing in the media or broadcasting on TV should be made to read and understand “Sustainable Energy – without the hot air” by the late Professor Sir David MacKay, Regis Professor of Engineering at Cambridge University. They should have to pass an exam on the contents of the book before being allowed to say anything in public.

    • cassio21 permalink
      July 30, 2022 4:25 pm

      See http://www.manhattancontrarian.com/blog/2022-7-28-what-the-future-holds-for-our-climate-leaders by Francis Menton, who writes that he is “working on a big Report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation on the subject of energy storage as a means to back up electricity generation from wind and solar facilities. The Report is basically finished, and now going through an editing process. It will probably be published some time in September.”

      And hopefully it will be reviewed here by our host.

  18. woodburner0 permalink
    July 30, 2022 4:13 pm

    Some of the TV presenters are no better than amateur YouTube contributors, when it comes to file pictures and clip-shots – even some reverse prints!

  19. jimlemaistre permalink
    July 30, 2022 4:57 pm

    Yup . . . Let’s get serious on ‘Energy Demand’ . . . Exciting the electrons Inside a Lithium Ion battery wastes 16% of the input electricity and that is lost as HEAT . . . then an additional 15% is lost during transmission . . . 31% of the Electricity PRODUCED is lost . . . Simple, Very Simple Science . . . OHM’s Law . . . Resistance !!

    I am Sooo sick of hearing about Electricity being touted as our ‘Savior’ . . . . It makes me want to Puke !!

    All energy production of All kinds pollutes Planet Earth . . . Somewhere, Somehow . . .

    All the ‘Clean Green Energy’ . . . ‘Solutions’ . . . are False Propaganda !!

    Propaganda brought to us by ‘Self fulfilling Profits’ who stand to gain $$$

    https://www.allaboutenergy.net/270-energy/today/multiple-energy-types/world/3278-all-electricity-pollutes?highlight=WyJqaW0iLCJsZSIsIm1haXN0cmUiLCJqaW0gbGUiLCJqaW0gbGUgbWFpc3RyZSIsImxlIG1haXN0cmUiXQ==

    We must learn to strike back . . . Science and Truth MUST prevail . . .

  20. Mr T permalink
    July 30, 2022 5:00 pm

    The outcome of the Contracts for Difference Allocations, Round 4, was announced on 7 July. Are each of these guaranteed to get the full strike price when the Grid is unable to take their electricity? Are the strike price inflation linked and how long are the contracts for. Can anyone tell me where I can find this information?

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      July 30, 2022 5:55 pm

      The contracts still do not require the party to commence their CFD promptly on commissioning. Do not expect to see power at the CFD prices for many a year – if ever. So far as curtailment is concerned, when not under a CFD the wind farms will curtail whenever prices are negative, and otherwise take any positive market price they can unless they are offered a bigger curtailment payment. Those wind farms with lavish CFDs and ROCs have no incentive to curtail at all. The 4th round CFD terms are the first that provide no compensation in any hour for which the day ahead price is negative. Previously, compensation was limited to the strike price (i.e. no extra compensation was paid where market prices are negative), and was paid provided that the period of contiguous hours with negative prices was six hours or less. This has regularly been gamed by bidding up the price to barely positive for an hour after 5 hours, and then letting prices go negative again. So far these longer events have been overnight when demand is low. I think there have only been 1 or 2 six hour plus negative price runs, and that did lead to curtailment by CFD wind farms (but not those on ROCs unless they were being paid handsomely to do so).

      It is noticeable that since we have some wind farms on market prices, not taking up CFDs, the average cost of curtailment has been lowered. The market price wind farms will accept a lower payment that ones getting modest ROCs (onshore wind). They only have to undercut the ROC to be sure of the revenue, while the ones on ROCs continue to produce and collect. Curtailment has to be procured when Scotland is producing too much wind to export to England.

      I might try asking Gordon Hughes for some help with data wind farm by wind farm to demonstrate which ones are curtailing.

  21. David Wojick permalink
    July 30, 2022 5:12 pm

    How much electricity does this hummer use? Deep freezing sounds like a lot.

  22. It doesn't add up... permalink
    July 30, 2022 5:58 pm

    This is as far as NG have got on storage:

    There is a small hint that something of the order of 100TWh+ may be required to do the job properly top left in the chart. But they don’t really know, because they’ve only looked at 2013 type weather to generate future demand and renewables generation, because it is an “average” year – which is of course useless for planning, where you need to look at the most difficult circumstances, and ensure that your system is going to keep on working year after year. They have done none of that evaluation. Their footnote reveals: Our FES scenarios do not model specific flexibility services and model an unconstrained network, as such these graphics are indicative only and do not directly align to FES modelling and the Data Workbook.

  23. July 30, 2022 6:16 pm

    Ambrose used to be a pleasure to read in a sea of socialism….but that was a long time ago.. And socialism is much more prevalent these barmy days.

  24. Mr T permalink
    July 30, 2022 6:28 pm

    I think you need to take a step back and think through the logic here rather than focused on a single month with unusually low wind speeds.

    Think about the overall system over the course of an average year. After-all we don’t design our water system based purely on a driest month we design for the average and accept that there will occasionally be hosepipe bans that we learn to live with.

    Here are the facts – we produced 27.7% of our electricity from renewables in the past year. We are on track to increase our capacity by maybe 4-5x so renewables combined with a mix of balancing/storage technologies for day to day smoothing can provide the main bulk of our energy needs over the course of a year.

    We will also have have nuclear for base load and probably maintain some gas capacity to kick-in for when there is a particularly low wind week or month.

    Demand will increase due to electric cars and heat pumps which is why home insulation and energy efficiency should be national priorities

    • July 30, 2022 6:48 pm

      Don’t be ridiculous.

      We have reservoirs to store water, but we cannot store months worth of electricity.

      Nuclear is already built into the FES and gas will be banned.

    • July 31, 2022 4:05 pm

      Mr T.

      gas is misrepresented, it is not just back up. Gas is what keeps the grid stable and balances supply and demand. There is also a limit to how much renewable power can be fed into the grid otherwise gas will be overwhelmed and the grid trips.

      We are losing nuclear capacity slowly and that also helps keep the grid stable.

  25. Dazed and conservative permalink
    July 30, 2022 6:36 pm

    I suspect AEP and all the rest of the Telegraph’s green goblins don’t give a stuff about being accurate ( much less truthful ) because they know that most of their readers aren’t able to analyse these ‘ facts ‘ . They also know that if they hurl enough made – up green manure at the wall of public opinion a fair amount of it will stick . This tactic seems to have paid off for the green left in general .

  26. Gamecock permalink
    July 30, 2022 6:57 pm

    ‘with the help of a flywheel’

    Wut?

    • Stuart Brown permalink
      July 30, 2022 9:08 pm

      Wut, indeed. Highview claim:

      “Although a huge market already, demand for stability services is set to grow significantly. That’s because the retirement of gas generation is leading to a shortfall in balancing capabilities. Highview REPS are ideally placed to fill this emerging gap. We provide a full range of grid services including inertia, short circuit, voltage support and black start services.”

      Maybe the flywheel helps with that, although the electricity generation is from a turbine, so not convinced it would add anything. It’s not mentioned on their website that I can see. Maybe AEP made it up. And black start?

      Meanwhile the only actual operating (2018) plant is a pilot at a landfill facility in Bury, Greater Manchester. It’s 5MW/15MWh and uses heat from burning waste gas from the landfill. We UK taxpayers contributed £8m. I can’t immediately find anything to show it was profitable/worked/is still working…

      But… If this thing was 20-100 times the size and placed alongside a nuke, would it make sense for load balancing, using the waste heat to help the process? Probably far cheaper to turn a gas powered CCGT up and down…

  27. Joe Public permalink
    July 30, 2022 7:25 pm

    The credibility of a company is stretched when to push its system, it claims, as Highview Power tries:

    “Long-duration energy storage would reduce the UK’s gas usage by 10 MEGATONNES
    by 2035.”

    No consumer in the UK buys (natural) gas by mass, they buy energy.

    Even LNG tankers’ capacity is based upon volume (m^3 or ft^3 at standard conditions of temperature and pressure)

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      July 31, 2022 11:34 am

      1.15 mtoe = 1 million tonnes LNG. 1 mtoe =12TWh. So it’s ~100TWh, which is at least the order of magnitude of curtailment you could expect with a high level of wind generation, or the storage you might really need to balance the system. But the economics are horrendous. If you could get the cost down to £500bn a year, it would be £5,000/MWh just for the capital fixed cost.

      See my posts above for supporting detail.

  28. Vincent Booth permalink
    July 30, 2022 7:29 pm

    “Wind and solar provided almost 60pc of the UK’s power for substantial stretches last weekend,” This statement should state, electrical energy only, and it misleads the public. The % should include all the energy provided by gas used for domestic and industrial. Renewables only supplied approx 4% of the total energy used in 2020.

    • jimlemaistre permalink
      July 30, 2022 8:04 pm

      Facts . . . Science . . . Honest Research . . . What’s That ?? . . . Must be ‘Drivel’ from all those ‘Deniers’ . . .

  29. robertliddell1 permalink
    July 30, 2022 7:33 pm

    Great article. AEP has lost the place

  30. Gamecock permalink
    July 30, 2022 9:02 pm

    Through the magic of internet searching, I found more info on CAES.

    The basic theory is to pump air into underground chambers, then use that compressed air later to drive turbine generators. Two operational plants exist, and are reputed to have been working well for decades.

    The Highview innovation is compressing the air to liquid state, thus substantially reducing the storage space required. ‘Tanks’ vs caverns. That solves a real problem; there may not be an old salt mine under where you need a station. The downside is that it takes enormously more energy to process air to the point of being liquid. And the complication of extreme cooling when evaporating a liquid.

    My opinion: you’d have to be desperate to use the Highview technology. Complicated and energy intensive. Cirrusly, you waste half the energy you are storing.

    They could argue that the energy is free, since they will be using the (alleged) excess energy from wind farms, but, if you really need it, wasting half of it can’t make any sense.

    • jimlemaistre permalink
      July 30, 2022 9:12 pm

      Touché !! . . . Clean Green Madness at every turn . . . $$$ . . . Our $$$

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      July 31, 2022 11:45 am

      If wind farms are giving away half their energy for free they must earn twice as much on the portion they sell for something real to cover their costs. When you analyse on the basis of marginal capacity you find that the useful capacity from adding wind farms starts going down rapidly, as they contribute next to nothing on windless days while simply adding uselessly to surpluses on windy ones. The result is that an ever higher proportion of output is valueless. At 80, 90, 95% uselessness the effective cost is 5, 10, 20 times the number you first thought of. It does justify some more expensive storage, but not at these costs for interseasonal storage.

      • jimlemaistre permalink
        July 31, 2022 3:00 pm

        Don’t EVER forget that for every kwh that they sell . . . They ALSO sell ‘Carbon Credits’ . . .
        so that High polluters who buy them can continue Polluting, Unabated, without spending a single penny on the REAL clean up of pollution from their facilities and STILL claim ‘Net Zero’ on their output . . . Such a FRAUD !!

  31. John Brown permalink
    July 30, 2022 9:22 pm

    I think the mistake being made is in thinking that the Net Zero Strategy /FES is going to supply the promised “cheap, abundant energy available at the flick of a switch” when in fact all the energy that will be available/needed when the wind doesn’t blow will be Highview’s 45 GWhrs and made available only to a select few. The rest of us will have to live with intermittent power and hence with volatile pricing and “demand management” (viz rolling blackouts), all controlled by smart meters. Lack of energy in general and rolling blackouts will also be useful to lessen the need to increase local and national grid capacity which is currently woefully insufficient for all the currently proposed electrification of heating and transport.

    • July 30, 2022 9:56 pm

      Yes Mr. Brown . . . No Doubt . . . But only IF . . . We The People . . . Let the Madness get that far . . . Where are the conscientious objectors marching in the streets ??

      When ‘The People’ have ‘Had Enough’, they march to be heard . . . Nobody is listening . . . Because there is NO ‘Voice’ ! We sit here and share Knowledge and Fact . . . Nobody is ‘Out There’ being heard. Democracy, sometimes means, SCREAMING . . . I am SOO mad . . . I am NOT going to take this sh!t anymore !! If it comes to that . . . Politicians and even the media WILL HEAR ! . . . otherwise . . . They are deaf to Reason . . . that has NO ‘Voice’ . . .

  32. Ardy permalink
    July 30, 2022 11:51 pm

    Forget about AEP what are the bureaucrats doing about basic math like this? Aren’t they supposed to advise the government about large project issues?

    • Gerry, England permalink
      July 31, 2022 11:34 am

      Our once renowned Civil Service was destroyed by the warmongering liar Tony Blair and his Liar-in-Chief Alistair Campbell who politicised the service by forcing out the honest and impartial and flooding it with political stooges.

  33. Micky R permalink
    July 31, 2022 4:31 pm

    The long-defunct CEGB was monolithic and insular, but at least it employed many engineers with a grasp of the basic principles and the ability to use a slide rule. Probably log tables as well.

  34. tomo permalink
    July 31, 2022 11:21 pm

    I wish AEP (AKA the hyphenated hoaxster) would update his scribblings about the Clinton clan

    – much more entertaining than this Panglossian “renewable drivel”…

    If you don’t buy the book – the Amazon comments give a whiff/flavour of the hijinks that the dynamic duo have been up to.

    It would be interesting to know if AEP had revisited the Clintons – and if not, why not.

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