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SSE’s Billion Pound Pumped Hydro Plant

August 27, 2022

By Paul Homewood

 

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Slated as the first large-scale pumped hydro storage scheme to be built in the UK for more than 30 years, Utility Week Innovate digs into plans to deliver up to 1.5GW and 30GWh of storage by 2030 at Coire Glas.

It’s forecast that SSE Renewables’ Coire Glas pumped storage plant – located in Scotland’s Great Glen between Fort William and Inverness – will create enough storage capacity to power three million homes for up to 24 hours when operational. More than doubling Britain’s existing capacity.

After a revised application to increase proposed capacity from 600MW to 1,500MW was approved by the Scottish Government in October 2020, ground was broken in November 2021. The project is expected to take between five and six years to complete, will cost more than £1 billion and boast an operational life of more than half a century.

https://utilityweek.co.uk/inside-1bn-pumped-hydro-plans-to-more-than-double-britains-electricity-storage/

WOW!! Doubling our electricity storage! It must be impressive.

Except that our electricity storage is so tiny in the first place, that doubling will make little difference.

The claim that it can power 3 million homes is the usual deceptive spin we get from the renewable lobby.

But how long would 30 GWh really last us?

In winter, the UK consumes about 1 TWh a day; that’s 1000 GWh, or 41 GWh every hour. Coire Glas will be able to supply this amount for 43 minutes.

The article claims that this sort of long term storage is vital if high levels of wind power are to be supported:

Large amounts of long-duration energy storage will be required to support accelerated renewable energy plans set out in April’s energy security strategy, in which the government increased its offshore wind target to 50GW by 2030 and committed to onshore wind and solar roll outs that could see 95% of power coming from low carbon sources by 2030.

What’s more, a government document published in August discussing the deployment of large-scale and long-duration electricity storage concluded that it has an important role to play in achieving net zero, integrating and maximising the use of renewables, contributing to security of supply, and shaking up Britain’s technology mix.

The reality is rather different. Less than an  hour’s worth of storage is of little use, other than for balancing ups and downs in demand during the day, or hour to hour volatility in renewable generation. We would need hundreds of Coire Glas style storage plants to cover the periods of days and weeks on end, when the wind stops blowing.

And at a billion pounds a time, who is going to pay the bill?

Interestingly enough, the Utility Week article notes:

 

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This goes to the heart of the economics which make projects like this so unattractive. There are no sizeable or reliable revenue streams, because for much of the time they will be standing idle.

SSE of course see an opportunity to cash in on the highly profitable short term balancing market, probably topped up by Capacity Market revenue. All of this is, of course, to address problems arising from intermittent renewable energy, and all of it has to be paid for by long suffering energy consumers.

But this sort of niche market will only work for a small number of players. To get large numbers of grid scale pumped storage units constructed will need hundreds of billions in taxpayer subsidies.

63 Comments
  1. Nicholas Lewis permalink
    August 27, 2022 10:01 am

    Well i’d rather have this than the daft battery storage projects that are springing up everywhere. On which its about time someone called out the scam thats going with them when they are being deployed into the frequency response market even on days when CCGTs are dominant generators.

    • Nick Dekker permalink
      August 27, 2022 6:06 pm

      Spot on Mr Lewis.

    • AC Osborn permalink
      August 28, 2022 9:11 am

      So you are OK with destroying a great glen valley then?

  2. David Coe permalink
    August 27, 2022 10:08 am

    How many “Great Glens” does the UK actually have to accommodate such grandiose schemes, even if we had the money?

    • Martin Brumby permalink
      August 27, 2022 10:42 am

      Precisely

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      August 27, 2022 1:48 pm

      Coire Glas, the Green Corrie, is quite a small corrie above Loch Lochie.

      A lot suitable places like this will either have been used already for hydro, suffer the same connection problems/cost as remote wind farms in Scotland. I’d guess that more than one or two every 30 years will trigger some environmental protests from some quarter or another.

      • Matt Dalby permalink
        August 28, 2022 11:22 pm

        I’m not sure that more of these schemes will trigger environmental protests as the traditional environmental movement, i.e. protecting wildlife, landscapes etc. has been hijacked by the anti carbon dioxide movement. You only have to consider the lack of protests against wind farms and the fact that environmental groups such as John Muir Trust, RSPB, etc. can’t come out with a stronger position than “they need to be in the right places” to realise that “environmentalists” are unlikely to ever protest against anything, other than nuclear, that claims to help us reach net zero.

  3. magesox permalink
    August 27, 2022 10:24 am

    Sooo, this is budgeted to cost £1bn (but will of course cost infinitely more once “geological” and other problems are encountered). No doubt this will involve huge sums of money spent on fossil fuels, concrete that creates CO2 in manufacture, the purchase of countless £m in equipment sourced from overseas etc etc. Then, the fantasy scheme only works if there is “free” power available to pump the vast amount of water required 500m uphill, only to let the water tumble down again. Where will that power come from and how reliable and free will it really be?
    What could possibly go wrong? For that kind of money why not just build conventional – and reliable- power stations using gas, coal or uranium and live happily ever after?

    • that man permalink
      August 27, 2022 10:37 am

      What? Build reliable power stations??
      You cannot be serious…..

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      August 27, 2022 2:07 pm

      The site is obviously in Scotland which has only 2 large power plants, Torness (closing in a few years and not being replaced by Scottish anti nuclear edict) and Peterhead CCGT. These plants do not meet even minimum Scottish demand so have no surplus to store at any time of day and Peterhead can simply be turned down.
      Solar is a very poor resource in Scotland and none of it is grid connected so cannot be stored by this plant. The only other “domestic” options to recharge it are existing hydro which can readily constrain supply as storage anyway so would not be used for this purpose. Thus the only other option is wind. So the question is how often do wind turbines in Scotland actually have a significant surplus over and above domestic demand and which cannot already be “exported” to rUK?
      The answer to that is bugger all in the grand scheme of things. This is clearly not a “Scottish” issue and should not get any direct or indirect state funding.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        August 27, 2022 2:42 pm

        With present plans to expand Scottish wind the problem will be o the other foot. Already the bulk of curtailment is in Scotland for power that can’t be exported. National Grid has plans for several more offshore links like the Western Link HVDC (which has an appalling record of failures lasting months at a time), in a bid to reduce curtailment. But it will never be economic to eliminate it. We will soon be in the realms of tens of TWh a year being curtailed.

        But as Euan Mearns pointed out several years ago, Coire Glas is a massive but puny beast. For simplicity assume Coire Glas could be filled one day and emptied the next repeatedly. It could handle 180x30GWh of surplus a year as a maximum. 5.4TWh compared with an LCP forecast of 72TWh of curtailment by 2030. Of course in reality it would spend many days waiting for any surplus to fill it up when winds are slight and it will not be needed for supply when we have a protracted windy period, so the real numbers will be much less.

      • Nick Dekker permalink
        August 27, 2022 6:23 pm

        Of course it is not a ‘Scottish’ issue. As I have said Energy Policy is reserved to Westminster.
        Could you explain how it is that since ‘privatisation’ over 30 years ago not a single large despatchable power station has been built in Scotland. That is not because the Scottish Government oppose nuclear. It is because Westminster obviously does not think it is important. And any Scottish Government – even the prior Lab/LibDem Coalition- can go whistle.
        By the way how many nuclear power stations have been built in England in the past 20 years? And how many do you think will England have in 2030?
        It seems to this Scotsman that whether England wants nuclear or not it certainly is not getting very much of it. And the only one it got is incredibly expensive, is being built by foreigners, and some say will never be commissioned.
        Do not hold your breath for the next one.

  4. that man permalink
    August 27, 2022 10:33 am

    The hills covered in windmills. The glens flooded for pumped storage.
    A bonny sight to behold.

  5. Captain Flint permalink
    August 27, 2022 10:40 am

    I would be interested to know the cost of pumping water back up hill to refill the reservoir. What kind of margin is there – or more importantly, does the cost of filling the reservoir make the resulting power very expensive?

    • Martin Brumby permalink
      August 27, 2022 10:50 am

      Very expensive?

      Yes, you could say that.

      Of course wee Ms Krankie will say, No, only using excess generation when it’s really windy. Which, unfortunately, is yet another reason why whirligig energy is unaffordable in the first place.

      She will also point out that she’s no intention of letting England see any benefit from this, so Paul’s 43 minutes is a little pessimistic.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      August 27, 2022 11:03 am

      Essentially the cost is the electricity lost in the round trip inefficiency. For every 4 kWh sent to storage you only get 3kWh back. It is worth pointing out that Pumped Storage Hydro is defined as “STOR” or Short Term Operating Reserve. It is expressly not any form of long term storage medium. PSH operators make most of their money from grid stabilisation services and not arbitrage of electricity.
      Drax (who recently bought PSH from, ironically, SSE) have a good descriptive series on these sorts of things written for the layman.
      https://www.drax.com/power-generation/great-balancing-act-takes-keep-power-grid-stable/

      • Crowcarcher permalink
        August 27, 2022 6:08 pm

        I can remember, a few years ago, having a conversation with a “teenie greeny” in which she firmly believed that pumped hydro produced enough ‘leccy to pump its own water back up and supply the grid!!!
        My reply “So you’ve discovered perpetual motion” shrugged my shoulders and walked away thinking “there really is no hope!!!

  6. August 27, 2022 10:41 am

    You forgot the moors covered in solar panels…

  7. Ray Sanders permalink
    August 27, 2022 10:44 am

    So the sun went to bed last night at 19:40 and solar output was nil. Wind and hydro were then running at a combined output of under 1GW dropping to just 270MW (combined!) at 1:45 am. Output did not rise above 1GW until 7.00 am. today.
    So having run out of water and assisted the UK demand in no way whatsoever, what is going to recharge this PSH for it to be of equally no use tonight?

  8. Nick Dekker permalink
    August 27, 2022 10:46 am

    Why are you always so critical and sceptical. When you think of the cost of say Crossrail, HS2, etc this £1billion is buttons.

    It is great news for Scotland though. The Scottish Government has, for some years) been pressing Westminster ( who you know are totally in charge of energy policy ) to proceed with this. When something is in the national interest you find a way to pay for it. Would you rather we carry on paying constraint payments when we have nowhere to put excess renewable production? Or do you think all renewables should be abandoned and we should just plead with the French/Chinese to build more nuclear, open more coal stations, and rely on our interconnections with the continent?

    The present Cruachan pumped storage in Scotland was put there (by a Statutory company by the way ) to complement Hunterston. There was even a serious proposal to put another pumped storage scheme at Craigroyston above Loch Lomond to complement Torness and it is a great pity that this never proceeded.

    To reduce this proposal to what it can do in a situation where every other source of electricity supply to GB is shut off is laughable.
    I am certain that if Scotland was an independent country and the electricity industry was publicly owned, Coire Glas would have been started years ago.
    Coire Glas is good news.

    • Captain Flint permalink
      August 27, 2022 11:00 am

      If Scotland was independent one of the things it wouldn’t have the cash for is projects like this.

      • Nick Dekker permalink
        August 27, 2022 11:15 am

        Really? I think you must be reading the Mail or the Telegraph.
        It was Scotland’s oil and the revenues that financed Margaret Thatcher in the 80s. Indeed even the Telegraph admitted this some years ago. It all bypassed Scotland.
        Would you like to comment on whether Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland etc. could afford this? And if they could, why Scotland, which has been run and controlled from London for three centuries, and is still even today in the world’s top ten percapita producers of both oil and gas, cannot afford such a vital project?

      • August 27, 2022 4:27 pm

        “…why Scotland, which has been run and controlled from London for three centuries”

        Possibly because the Scots went totally broke in the late 1690s financing the ill-conceived Darien scheme, an unsuccessful attempt, backed largely by investors of the Kingdom of Scotland, to gain wealth and influence by colonising parts of the New World in emulation of Spain and Portugal ( a desire to cash in on the Atlantic slave trade played some small part in their plan), by establishing New Caledonia, a colony on the Isthmus of Panama, a venture which was utterly catastrophic, and begged England to bail them out, surrendering sovereignly by signing the Act of Union in exchange for England settling their debts.

        Had you forgotten that?

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darien_scheme#:~:text=The%20Darien%20scheme%20was%20an,Panama%2C%20in%20the%20late%201690s.

        As for production of oil and gas, in the mid 19th century Scotland was the world’s premier exporter of petroleum products (not a lot of people know that!).

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      August 27, 2022 11:12 am

      There is a certain irony in your comment that you cite PSH built in Scotland to support nuclear plants in that Scotland now refuses to have any replacements for.
      Hunterston is gone and Torness has only a few years left.
      PSH is a fantastic option to work with nuclear on a daily operating cycle as demonstrated here.
      http://euanmearns.com/decarbonising-uk-power-generation-the-nuclear-option/
      Conversely PSH really is a none starter when it comes to supporting highly intermittent renewables.

    • Gamecock permalink
      August 27, 2022 11:52 am

      ‘Would you rather we carry on paying constraint payments when we have nowhere to put excess renewable production? Or do you think all renewables should be abandoned and we should just plead with the French/Chinese’

      False dichotomy.

    • Jordan permalink
      August 27, 2022 6:18 pm

      “Or do you think all renewables should be abandoned and we should just plead with the French/Chinese to build more nuclear, open more coal stations, and rely on our interconnections with the continent?”
      Open more coal stations please, and get started ASAP. Thanks for the question Nick.

  9. Ian Johnson permalink
    August 27, 2022 10:48 am

    Some excess windpower could be useful.

  10. David permalink
    August 27, 2022 10:49 am

    Some of our most beautiful scenery would disappear if this happened- but it wont

  11. Gordon Hughes permalink
    August 27, 2022 11:00 am

    There is also the small problem that the transmission capacity to ship 1.5 GW into the balancing market does/will not exist. Every wind operator and its friends wants to build new onshore or offshore wind farms in the North of Scotland or in Shetland or the Western Isles. There isn’t close to enough transmission capacity to cope with all of the extra generation that is proposed.

    If I were cynical I might suggest that the major function of Coire Glas is to give SHETL (SSE’s transmission business) the grounds to lobby Ofgem to fund massive new investments in new transmission lines. Its financial accounts show SSE as a very risky development business underpinned by large cash flows from its wires (transmission and distribution businesses). On the generation side it is fundamentally a project developer as, like Orsted, most of its profits come from selling stakes in its wind farms to gullible pension funds and other financial investors. However, to keep this act going they need new transmission projects as the cash flow from older investments declines after 25-30 years.

    The money really isn’t in the operation of such facilities but in the development and onward sale of the assets. Another major source of money is playing games with constraint payments – i.e. being paid not to generate because the transmission system cannot handle the contracted output. If there was no compensation for being constrained many of the projects would fall by the wayside.

    • Nicholas Lewis permalink
      August 27, 2022 2:25 pm

      To be fair there is a lot of wind constrained off in the North of Scotland due to inadequate transmission capacity further south so as long as SSE and wind farms don’t get to benefit there ought to be merit in pursuing this option. Of course the real issue here is why so many windfarms have been connected (and there plenty more in queue waiting to be connected) when the transmission system was so inadequate. Its about time BEIS/OFGEM bought a stop to this nonsense and given they ain’t about to give up on net zero the least they can do is build this out in a coordinated way so there are never any constraint payments.

      • August 27, 2022 11:23 pm

        The investment in transmission capacity can never be paid off by revenues from intermittent wind. The transmission lines must be built to carry the maximum wind output (and other system requirements) but only gets paid for the approximately 30% of the rated output that is actually delivered (capacity/load factor). I assume the wind profiteers are demanding that all of the other system users pay for the additions for “equity.” The transmission provider would increase rates to all users. Socialism at its finest: Crony capitalist get the subsidies and regular people pay for it.

      • Nicholas Lewis permalink
        August 28, 2022 9:44 am

        Dave your entirely right but the problem we have is the net zero evangelists have the upper hand at the moment so my point is if you are going pursue a build out of renewables at least do it in a coordinated way so it doesn’t end up costing all a fortune (constraint payments) and enriching the owners of the windmills unfairly. The point being is SSE are compelled to provide connection to the windmills but the windmills don’t have to pay for transmission upgrades. SSE have spent the last 10 years trying to play catch up to increase transmission capacity but irrespective of cost benefit they get bogged down in planning and consenting as well as OFGEM making them jump through loads of hoops that they’ve spent half the cost of construction on just getting the first shovel in the ground. Now we have the utter madness of 50GW of offshore wind in 8 years but even (and i know its a big if) the wind manages to deliver that amount of power there is no way the grid could absorb it. Transmission and generation need to go hand in hand built out in a coordinated way.

        Of course far cheaper is to just erect modern coal fired plants at all the CEGB 2000MW station sites but then pigs might fly (well they did above Battersea PS!).

      • August 28, 2022 4:42 pm

        “the problem we have is the net zero evangelists have the upper hand at the moment”

        For the moment, perhaps.

        However, they are rapidly being overtaken by events way beyond their ability to control.

        This winter there will be a major problem with cold, hungry, disgruntled Germans.

        That is not going to end well.

      • Nicholas Lewis permalink
        August 28, 2022 10:39 pm

        Maybe but one advantage Germany has is that it can store twenty times as much gas as UK and has got over 80% filled already ahead of plan. So i wouls suggest its UK thats at far more risk if we get z cold snap

      • August 28, 2022 11:09 pm

        And how long is that going to last BASF, never mind the rest of German industry?

        A couple of weeks at the outside?

      • Nicholas Lewis permalink
        August 29, 2022 3:12 pm

        A damm site longer than the UK is for sure

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        August 28, 2022 10:02 pm

        Dave Fair

        You are right that providing capacity to handle the maximum output of windfarms leads to a low capacity factor on the transmission lines. The solution is to provide much less capacity and accept curtailment, especially since the power can’t be used anyway. Demand is not there, and it is extremely uneconomic to use storage on a highly intermittent basis.

        That is of course why Coire Glas was never built when they only had permission for 600MW of generation. They now can export 2.5 times as much power into demand peaks when prices are high, transforming the economics. They can turn the storage over 2.5 times more often, each an opportunity to earn an income.

  12. Robert Christopher permalink
    August 27, 2022 11:04 am

    While it is obvious that this pumped hydro plant is but a drop in the ocean 🙂 if it had to supply base load for any length of time, when the wind didn’t blow, it would be a useful addition to the infrastructure in combination with Nuclear.

    A predominantly Nuclear grid, which is the only foreseeable long term solution to our Energy demands, would need a mechanism to smooth out the demand on the slower responding Nuclear powered electricity generation. So, at the risk of raising the hopes of the Eco-loons, this would be a good investment, as long as the Nuclear generation can be put into production before the fifty year life of this development ends.

  13. Gamecock permalink
    August 27, 2022 12:01 pm

    Storage doesn’t solve intermittency.

    The crime in announcements like this is the suggestion intermittency can be fixed.

    You can’t power a nation with wind/solar. Spend umpteen billions, and it still won’t work.

    • Gamecock permalink
      August 27, 2022 12:19 pm

      The amount of storage required to fix intermittency approaches infinity. This project will get you no closer to that goal.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        August 27, 2022 12:35 pm

        “The amount of storage required to fix intermittency approaches infinity….and beyond!

  14. August 27, 2022 12:57 pm

    Fantastic, so now Ms Krankie will be able to hold us to ransom over electricity supply even more than she can already. This is a free bargaining chip which we have handed to the SNP on a plate. What planet are these people on.

  15. Malcolm permalink
    August 27, 2022 1:00 pm

    Don’t knock. We want more of this stuff whilst we get nuclear (R-R miniplants) up and running, get fracking moving and some coal plants in action.

    The neo-romantics have created the only crisis; that of energy, and we must respond quickly and firmly. All hands to the pump (not a deliberate pun) on this project.

    • Nicholas Lewis permalink
      August 27, 2022 1:53 pm

      Unlike the Germans we’ve knocked our power stations so Alok Sharma can do a photo opportunity. He should be the first to be cut off when we run out energy

  16. Brian Smith permalink
    August 27, 2022 5:04 pm

    So when we read how inexpensive wind/solar is, will the figures include the odd billion or two, here and there, for pumped storage and other backup schemes?

    And what is the recycle time for the system? How long before it can deliver a second 40 minutes of power? Hours, days, weeks?

    How much money is the taxpayer on the hook for? £1 billion for 40 minutes power makes the cost of nuclear trivial in comparison.

    Just how do they get these proposals approved? Is it corruption or simple subsidy hoovering?

    • August 27, 2022 8:59 pm

      “Is it corruption or simple subsidy hoovering?”
      How about both?
      In any case, is there any real difference?

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      August 27, 2022 10:36 pm

      We have a new pumped storage program here in Australia; Snowy 2. Put piggyback on the existing Snowy (mountains scheme) which was built largely to regulate water supply and reduce the effects of drought by transferring the flow of the short Snowy River inland.
      The idea of this scheme was to expand the existing pumped storage to help the renewables industry. Originally it was going to cost $2 billion and be ready by 2021, but it is now looking like it will be $12 billion and ready in 2028.
      Note: this doesn’t expand the water stocks, indeed another idea was implemented to reduce them by directing stored water back into the Snowy river for “environmental reasons”.
      I’ve calculated that it could supply about 1.4% of eastern Australia’s needs for 5-6days PROVIDED the upper dam was full and the lower dam was empty. (not a certainty in a drought prone country).
      And after a longwinded start, Brian Smith can be answered. 5 days theoretical output would then require 7 days study input (from renewables). Unless the transmission lines are up-graded at further expense.

  17. August 27, 2022 6:34 pm

    “Large amounts of long-duration energy storage will be required to support accelerated renewable energy plans set out in April’s energy security strategy, in which the government increased its offshore wind target to 50GW by 2030 and committed to onshore wind and solar roll outs that could see 95% of power coming from low carbon sources by 2030”.

    Were there any adults in the room when this nonsense was agreed? That is a mere EIGHT YEARS FROM NOW!!!!!!! And what is the level now may I ask?? They call this an “energy security strategy”. If this were a fortress to keep out bad players their “strategy” is to take the gates off their hinges and knock great holes through the walls!

    Whoever has been “advising” the government, they are either criminally incompetent or political 5th columnists.

    • Jordan permalink
      August 28, 2022 7:22 pm

      Don’t forget the free market dogma – these things are supposed to be resolved by Adam Smith’s invisible hand. According to market dogma, we should all leave it up to the market. This means nobody is individually responsible for security of supply – dogma says it will just happen.
      There are only two problems with here: the philosophy is wrong, and private sector investment (of which there has been plenty) did not give us security of supply.
      As I said on another comment, if this is success for private sector investment, we can only wonder what failure looks like.

      • August 28, 2022 9:55 pm

        Jordan, everything we have in our lives has been supplied by the free market. Until the government got involved we had generally reliable and affordable energy supplies provided by mainly free markets. Those markets have been stable over at least the last 100 years.

        The ideological distortion of energy markets by governments in no way justifies your assumption that private sector investment failed to give us security of supply. You ignore the historical failure of governmental command and control economies; socialism.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        August 28, 2022 10:32 pm

        In the UK we had a period when the electricity system system was run by a benevolent engineer – Sir Walter Marshall – on behalf of the government. He ensured we had a reliable system (at least so long as the miners didn’t spring any surprise strikes) based on coal, nuclear, our limited hydro, and oil as a reserve and source of flex. In reality it was somewhat gold plated, but that came in handy when Thatcher took on the miners. After, privatisation showed up the gold plating, and the industry was able to reduce costs. Then we had EU regulation and increasing other government interference making a mess again, starting with the Large Combustion Plant Directive, and continuing with rigged markets to expand renewables, etc.

      • August 28, 2022 11:06 pm

        “…if this is success for private sector investment, we can only wonder what failure looks like.”

        We know exactly what it looks like, Stalin’s USSR, Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” and Pol Pot’s “Year Zero”.

        We came pretty close to it in the UK via nationalisation of everything in sight throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, culminating in the 1979 “Winter of Discontent”.

  18. August 27, 2022 6:37 pm

    “The project is expected to take between five and six years to complete, will cost more than £1 billion and boast an operational life of more than half a century”?

    Eh?

    What happens then to limit its operational life to a mere 50+ years? What happens then to stop it at 51 years and counting? Have they checked the water supply for consistency which they intend to pump?

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      August 28, 2022 10:07 pm

      I guess they mean that the retaining dam, turbines, electrical equipment and penstocks will need major overhaul and partial replacement. There have been substantial works at Dinorwig for these kinds of reasons in recent years. Still ongoing in fact.

  19. August 27, 2022 8:05 pm

    Something similar has been operating in Wales for nearly 40 years…

    Dinorwig is operated not only to help meet peak loads but also as a short term operating reserve (STOR), providing a fast response to short-term rapid changes in power demand or sudden loss of power stations. In a common scenario (known as TV pickup), the end of a popular national television programme or advertising breaks in commercial television programmes results in millions of consumers switching on electric kettles in the space of a few minutes, leading to overall demand increases of up to 2800 MW.[

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinorwig_Power_Station

    • heatherclad permalink
      August 27, 2022 10:18 pm

      Whilst Nick Dekker is correct in saying energy policy is reserved to Westminster, planning policy in Scotland is dictated by the Scottish government, and Scottish planning policy is very heavily skewed in favour of wind turbines, and against nuclear and onshore fossil fuel generation and extraction. The Scottish government effectively banned coalbed methane and onshore gas fracking via its planning policy powers even before BoJo’s government put in place the “moratorium” on fracking in England. If North Sea oil and gas were under the control of Wee Crankie and The Greens too, we probably wouldn’t have an oil and gas industry left at all.

  20. Coeur de Lion permalink
    August 27, 2022 8:28 pm

    I know it’s ‘weather but our windmills are producing one point four gigawatts as I write so what’s gonna do all the pumping uphill? What’s the efficiency?

    • Lorde Late permalink
      August 28, 2022 9:58 am

      All down hill after all that pumping!

      • Nicholas Lewis permalink
        August 28, 2022 10:56 am

        No its down to 0.93MW now won’t even cover all the auxiliary power demands of the windmills and the battery farms let alone anything spare for storage.

  21. Gamecock permalink
    August 27, 2022 10:44 pm

    “Yes, sire, we are well prepared for the siege. We can hold out for 40 minutes. No problem!”

  22. Lorde Late permalink
    August 28, 2022 9:57 am

    Mind you, every little helps as they say at the spermarket begining with ‘T’!

  23. August 29, 2022 8:27 am

    Storage like this is required for frequency support, and the more renewables the more support is going to be needed.
    By frequency support I mean a source of readily available power that can come on line in a very short time (seconds), I believe Dinorwic can go from zero to two Gigawatts in about fiteen seconds. Whithout such an injection of power, when there is a sudden deficit of supply to demand (such as a large generator trip) this source can bolster frequency and keep the grid within limits. (frequecy being the measure of grid supply and demand balance)
    Another factor in such an event is the inertia inherent in large conventional generators which maintains frequency, but renewable generators do not have any inertia so expanding renewables is not a good idea. And to compound this we are steadily losing nuclear capacity and it’s inertia.
    If you want to design failure into a system our electrical generation plans are a good way to go about it.

  24. europeanonion permalink
    August 29, 2022 10:51 am

    Water shortages meets Room 101. The redirection of water for whatever purpose, led the USSR to dismantle nature (and we know how unfeeling that regime is). Is this just another example of too many agencies operating in splendid isolation, each trying to prove its own brilliance, activity, swelling staff numbers, bigger bonuses for the Board? The signs of tensions between conveners is written here. Water storage in dams is already the cause of wars, the death of natural habitats. A small Rolls-Royce nuclear array, a gas power station, these things make but a small footprint on our land, their portability, their ability to be removed, are favourable to future possibilities. A thundering great dam is but one organisations answer that favours its calling, a corporate and selective mindset and is in contention with its rivals in the utilities; the preservation of the countryside, the determinants in conducting planning that enhances our lives and reins-in rogue elements fawning-over what their doctrinal masters might like, while assuring the extension of their budgetary mastery and continuance.

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