French giant signs up to help Icelandic volcanoes power UK homes

Posted: November 28, 2016 by oldbrew in Energy, innovation, volcanos


The proposed route in to the UK is via Scotland. Could be interesting with Scottish leaders keen on leaving the UK.

A multibillion pound project aimed at using the power generated by Icelandic volcanoes to fuel British households has lined up a major French infrastructure investor to back its development.

Sky News has learnt that Meridiam, a global asset manager…has agreed to finance part of the development cost of a new 1,000-mile-long pipeline between Iceland and the UK.

The venture, Atlantic SuperConnection, is the brainchild of Edi Truell, a major Conservative Party donor and Boris Johnson’s former pensions adviser.

Chinese, Canadian, Middle Eastern and Singaporean pension funds and sovereign wealth funds have approached Mr Truell’s investment vehicle, Disruptive Capital, about contributing to the estimated £3.5bn cost of the pipeline.

The Atlantic SuperConnection would use geothermal and hydroelectric power generated by Icelandic volcanoes and hot springs to supply electricity to hundreds of thousands – and potentially millions – of UK households.

Mr Truell also wants to build a factory in the northeast of England to manufacture the copper or aluminium cable that would be used for the pipeline, a move that would create a substantial number of jobs.

Under the financier’s plans, the Atlantic SuperConnection could begin supplying power to British homes before the end of 2022.

Source: French giant signs up to help Icelandic volcanoes power UK homes | Sky News

  1. oldbrew says:

    The final decision on the cable route is due next year.

    Completion date: the Sky News report suggests 2022 but National Grid says 2027.
    Possibly some power could flow before final completion.

  2. BoyfromTottenham says:

    I’m confused by this post. Are they proposing a pipeline (carrying a liquid), or a cable (carrying electricity)? The reference to copper implies a cable, but the whole thing sounds amateurish.

  3. Graeme No.3 says:

    At 1.2GW and 3 years gross income at £50 per MWh the cost would have to be £1.577 billion, or £1.58 million per mile. At £75 per MWh the permitted cost is £2.36 billion.

    Which brings to mind the old scheme (Jonathon Swift) for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers.

  4. JB says:

    That they even consider aluminium as a conductor over 1000 miles is absurd. The losses and thermal/corrosive problems to surmount alone would be prohibitive. I own a 40 year old house wired with it. Every connection is a maintenance nightmare.

  5. oldbrew says:

    Looks as if it’s just a bog standard HVDC cable like any other undersea interconnector, only longer than most.

    JB: I’m no electricity expert but note the cable carries DC and domestic supply is AC.
    At each end of the cable (i.e. on land) they convert to/from DC.

    Update: it seems aluminium cable is favoured for greater water depths as it’s lighter and more flexible than copper.

  6. ivan says:

    I wonder if any of these money men have talked with an engineer about this? The resistance of that length of cable would be rather high and the conversion losses add more problems. Aluminium has almost double the resistivity of copper at 0degC.

  7. suricat says:

    Your site has become ‘too hard to work on’ TB! I’m ‘out of here’!

    Sorry, Ray.

  8. oldbrew says:

    ABB offers aluminium or copper cable for HVDC systems up to 1500 kms.

    ‘A single pair of 525 kV extruded HVDC cables could for example transmit enough power from giant offshore wind farms to supply two million households.’
    [includes video 2m.30s.]

  9. wolsten says:

    So what are the odds that this won’t fly without subsidies?

  10. oldbrew says:

    All they say is that they can do it for less per kilowatt hour than other renewables.

  11. wolsten says:

    So it will be even cheaper than wind!

    [reply] well, cheaper than something not-so-cheap, yes

  12. dscott says:

    First Question: Is there a government subsidy for this project? IF so, we automatically know the project is economically unsustainable and therefore a scam to line the pockets of political campaign contributors. A subsidy is only given when project cannot justify a profit. Subsidies are guaranteed profit margins given to companies by governments for a contrived national interest.

    Second Question: At a thousand miles, you are talking very high voltages to transmit electricity to practically contain resistance losses. Has anyone heard of 100,000 KVA lines under water? Is that even feasible?

    Third Question: The article says pipeline, are they mislabeling a cable? There is no way you are going to move steam 1000 miles to have any useful heat to produce electricity at the other end. Has anyone ever heard of such a long transport? Even District Heating has it’s practical distance limits imposed by heat losses.

    It seems, a good idea of geothermal power might just have limitations where distance is involved. Just because it makes economic sense in Iceland doesn’t mean it does so exported elsewhere.

  13. oldbrew says:

    dscott: if you look at the ABB video [see my last comment], they confirm it’s possible up to at least 1500km., which gets a cable from Iceland to Scotland.

  14. ivan says:

    oldbrew, it appears that ABB have not actually installed any of this cable yet although they have used lower voltage cables in some parts of the world. The other thing, it is all very well applying DC to the cable but getting that DC from AC and then converting it back to AC again for use is where the biggest losses occur.

    dscott, regarding your third point. You have to remember these are money men and PR wonks so don’t expect anything too technical – I doubt that they have any engineers anywhere near.

  15. suricat says:

    ivan says: November 30, 2016 at 12:35 am

    Hi ivan, you say that; “oldbrew, it appears that ABB have not actually installed any of this cable yet although they have used lower voltage cables in some parts of the world. The other thing, it is all very well applying DC to the cable but getting that DC from AC and then converting it back to AC again for use is where the biggest losses occur.”

    I disagree.

    ‘DC’ (Direct Current) is inherently restricted to energy transfer by way of the ‘resistance to current’ of the ‘conductor’!

    This is why ‘energy suppliers’ use an ‘AC’ (alternating current) for their distribution network.

    The ‘transformation’ from ‘AC’ to ‘DC’ is ‘illogical’ in this case, though the ‘transformation’ ‘leaks’ less energy than you seem to suppose.

    Best regards, Ray.

  16. Smells a lot like Desertec

  17. Wayne Job says:

    The positive and negative cables would have to be enormous to transport DC with that sort of current over that distance. Good luck finding that much copper, if aluminium is used it has to be even bigger, it would take many years to transport the amount of electricity it would take to smelt the aluminium.
    Aluminium is described as electricity in solid form.

  18. oldbrew says:

    Converting to/from DC/AC is already used for interconnectors all over the place.

    ABB launches world´s most powerful underground and subsea power transmission cable system

    525 kV voltage sets world record for extruded HVDC cable technology, doubling power flow and extending range to enable greater integration of distant renewables and interconnections

    Zurich, Switzerland, August 21, 2014 – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has announced a breakthrough in cable technology. It has successfully developed and tested a 525 kilovolt (kV) extruded high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cable system to make renewable energy installations more efficient and cost-effective.

    This latest innovation will more than double the power capacity to about 2,600 megawatts (MW) from 1,000 MW. It will also expand the cable’s reach to distances of 1,500 kilometers, up from less than 1,000 kilometers, while keeping transmission losses under 5 percent.

    It seems unlikely that ABB is bluffing.

    This is a shot of ABB’s 525 kV aluminium cable

  19. oldbrew says:

    More wind causes less power for the UK…

    Capacity problem looms as main UK interconnector damaged

    Storm Angus, which struck British shores last week, is suspected of having had a damaging impact on the UK’s biggest energy interconnector.

    The news means less overall capacity for the country at a time when the capacity margin is already tight.

    A spokesman said the company was investigating whether the damage was caused by a ship’s anchor dragging along the sea floor during Storm Angus.

  20. avro607 says:

    More £Billions wasted.Industry and people suffer,especially the poor,the old ,and the cold.Please can we have coal back in the UK;as it is the cleanest,cheapest,most reliable,and secure source of electricity that we have right now.