Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

Rugeley B power station calls it quits

Posted: February 8, 2016 by Andrew in Energy, News

Image credit: Express & Star

The owners of Rugeley B announced today that they are to close the power station this summer.


How big can wind turbine blades get? [image credit:]

How big can wind turbine blades get? [image credit:]

Monster ‘SUMR’ wind turbines are on the US drawing board, says ScienceDaily. SUMO more like?

A new design for gigantic blades longer than two football fields could help bring offshore 50-megawatt (MW) wind turbines to the United States and the world. Sandia National Laboratories’ research on the extreme-scale Segmented Ultralight Morphing Rotor (SUMR) is funded by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program.

The challenge: Design a low-cost offshore 50-MW turbine requiring a rotor blade more than 650 feet (200 meters) long, two and a half times longer than any existing wind blade.


Another power station closing early

Posted: February 3, 2016 by Andrew in Energy, fuel poverty, Politics


Britain’s energy situation goes from tight, to critical, with an announcement from SSE.




The fracking disinfo campaign waged by FOE continues…

Peddling and Scaling God and Darwin

For a time I was an active member of Friends of the Earth and supported all they did.  I then moved house and job and my membership lapsed. That is something I regretted as I felt I should be do more for the environment and that Friends of the Earth was one of the best organisations doing that.

That remained the case until March 2014 when I went to a meeting organised by RAFF (Residents against Fracking; Fylde) at Inskip (10 miles from Preston). I was unimpressed with the low level of accuracy in the presentation. i challenged some of this and to my surprise the local FoE activist supported the speaker in the inaccuracies. In two minutes my respect for FoE evaporated. RAFF also handed out a leaflet Shale Gas; the Facts  which they withdrew after a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Over the next 15 months…

View original post 676 more words

What a power station really looks like - in normal daylight

What a power station really looks like – in normal daylight

Paul Homewood highlights a report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on the electricity supply black hole being created by successive UK governments.

Even the notoriously biased (towards unreliable wind and solar energy) Guardian has a story on it, complete with the usual back-lit sunset shot of a power station churning out ‘black steam’- the usual propagandist trick.

From the “We’ve Been Telling You This For Years” Dept:
The UK is heading for a severe electricity supply crisis by 2025, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) is warning today.


No CCS please we're British [image credit: BBC]

No CCS please we’re British [image credit: BBC]

So the much-vaunted carbon capture idea for thermal power stations is an economic and technological dud – who knew? PEI reports from Westminster.

British Prime Minister David Cameron clarified the government’s position on carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) when appearing before a House of Commons Liaison Committee on Tuesday evening.

He denied that the Treasury had tied his hands on climate policy and also took issue when questioned why the UK had slipped down the rankings in terms of renewable energy, calling it ‘total and utter nonsense.’



Solar collector powering stirling engine – image from Wikipedia.

H/T to Nigel Reading of Asynsis design for a pointer to an interesting paper from 2010 by Derek Abbott: “Keeping the energy debate clean: How do we supply the world’s energy needs?” The paper discusses  the scenario where fossil fuels are eventually becoming harder to extract and/or we need to conserve them for non-fuel use such as plastics production. Looking at the alternatives, Abbott concludes that solar plus liquid hydrogen is the way to go. Rather than solar PV, which uses lots of arsenic, he recommends dish collectors heating Stirling or Rankine engines, which have a longer life despite higher initial costs. Energy storage for night-time power would be via electrolysis of hydrogen from water. The spin-off benefit is liquid hydrogen as an automotive fuel.


End of an era where Britain can stand proud

Posted: December 30, 2015 by tchannon in Energy, Nuclear power



(c) Ian Capper under CC

World’s Last Magnox Nuclear Reactor Shuts Down for Final Time

12/30/2015 | Aaron Larson

The Wylfa Nuclear Power Station—the last operating Magnox reactor in the world—came offline permanently on Dec. 30.

Located in Anglesey, an island off the northwest coast of Wales in the UK, the plant entered service in 1971. Originally constructed with two 490-MW units, only Reactor 1 has been operating since 2012.

The UK pioneered the Magnox design back in the 1950s. Its name comes from the magnesium-aluminum alloy used to clad the fuel rods. The reactors were pressurized, CO2-cooled, graphite-moderated units fueled with natural uranium. The design could also be used to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons. The first of 11 eventual plants was the 190-MW Calder Hall facility in Cumbria, which opened in 1956. The Wylfa site was the largest of the Magnox plants.


US power grid vulnerable to foreign hacks

Posted: December 21, 2015 by oldbrew in Energy, government

Not-so-smart meter? [image credit:]

Not-so-smart meter? [image credit:]

A top US official admits: “we are not where we need to be” on cybersecurity in the power generation sector, as reports. An investigation also says smart meters and remotely-sited renewables are giving hackers new chances to cause trouble.

Security researcher Brian Wallace was on the trail of hackers who had snatched a California university’s housing files when he stumbled into a larger nightmare: Cyberattackers had opened a pathway into the networks running the United States power grid.

Digital clues pointed to Iranian hackers. And Wallace found that they had already taken passwords, as well as engineering drawings of dozens of power plants, at least one with the title “Mission Critical.”


Could fireworks technology replace fossil fuels?  [image credit:]

Could fireworks technology replace fossil fuels?
[image credit:]

Cynics may suspect a well-timed bid for a headline, but this story just happened to turn up at this week. There are sure to be snags – aren’t there?

Can you imagine a future where your car is fueled by iron powder instead of gasoline?

Metal powders, produced using clean primary energy sources, could provide a more viable long-term replacement for fossil fuels than other widely discussed alternatives, such as hydrogen, biofuels or batteries, according to a study in the Dec. 15 issue of the journal Applied Energy.


Irish transmission lines [image credit:]

Irish transmission line [image credit:]

Nothing about costs, but let’s see how this demonstration project goes. The technology has already been tried in cars.

Europe’s first flywheel hybrid energy storage plant has been officially launched in Ireland, reports PEI.

The plant in Rhode, County Offaly, is owned and operated by Irish energy company Schwungrad Energie and is expected to enter a test operational phase in February.


Coal-hungry China [image credit:]

Coal-hungry China [image credit:]

The trick for many countries at COP 21 is to talk a good game without committing to too much financial pain. Also China is building coal-fired power stations at a record rate even while world leaders are indulging in a big moan about CO₂ levels. Your Oil & Gas News questions whether China’s climate claims can be taken seriously.

The United Nations’ 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21), running in Paris from November 30 to December 11, 2015, will see China come under particular scrutiny, as the country is likely to propose CO₂ emissions reduction targets that others view as unrealistic, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.


UK pumped storage scheme may lead to others

Posted: November 21, 2015 by oldbrew in Energy, turbines

Dinorwig Power Station in Wales [image credit:  Denis Egan @ Wikipedia]

Dinorwig Power Station in Wales [image credit: Denis Egan @ Wikipedia]

It has to be said this scheme looks very small against the massive Dinorwig set-up (1,728 MW). This type of facility can use surplus off-peak (e.g. overnight) wind power to pump the water up to the top, then send it back down by gravity at any required time to spin the turbines and generate ‘instant’ electricity.

An application has been submitted to begin development on a 99.9 MW pumped hydropower storage facility in Wales, the project’s developers have announced.


UK renewables to be backed up by diesel generators

Posted: November 17, 2015 by oldbrew in Big Green, Energy

Diesel generation plant  [image credit:]

Diesel generation plant
[image credit:]

The UK’s rush to renewables is about to become even more expensive and pointless with this new anti-green twist, as StopTheseThings points out.

Thanks to its ludicrous wind rush, Britain is reeling with a combination of skyrocketing power prices and a grid on the brink of total collapse: Another Wind Power Collapse has Britain Scrambling to Keep its Lights On (Again).

Now, in the mother of all ironies, Brits are turning to the most inefficient and costly-to-run source of commercial power generation there is: diesel generators. Not, as it turns out, that they have much choice in the matter.

Read the rest here.

The GWPF called it ‘Madness On Stilts.’


Image coutesy of

My Thanks to Philip Foster for this timely article on making a simple and effective backup system for coping with black-outs this winter. Be prepared and don’t freeze!

With the likely prospect of power cuts lasting several hours or even days this winter due to becalmed wind turbines, there are things to watch out for and ways to be ready for them.

This article shows how to put in place a standby system in an average home at a cost of around £300.

If you are heated by gas or oil  remember a power cut prevents your boiler from working.  Gas and oil boilers need electricity to run ignition, electronics, pumps and valves. The same is true of most gas cookers. So you will need off-grid electric power.

If you are totally electric then, sadly, there are limited options. It would be sensible to have a camping gas stove (£20-£30), a bottled gas room heater (£130, eg Rhino H02233 Catalytic Heater) and plenty of LED lamps and torches with spare batteries.


Pembroke CCGT (gas) power station

Pembroke CCGT (gas) power station

UK energy policy has tried and failed to face both ways – i.e. pleasing the EU and serving the public – on electricity supply, as this GWPF report shows. Critics like us have been saying this for a long time but now UK leaders are trying to catch up, in words at least, having spent far too long listening exclusively to the ‘greenblob’.

Britain needs to build the equivalent of more than 25 large power stations to meet its power needs over the next two decades, Amber Rudd, the energy secretary, will warn this week. She will say that the nation’s energy security will be under threat unless it starts replacing its old nuclear and coal power stations.


Unreliables subsidy to hit £11 Billion by 2020

Posted: November 11, 2015 by tallbloke in Energy, government, greenblob

H/T to @MhehedZherting

Pipeline cancelled [image credit:]

Pipeline cancelled [image credit:]

The political ducking and weaving is over. After years of indecision, there will be no new oil pipeline from Canada to the US, as BBC News reports.

US President Barack Obama has announced he is rejecting an application to build the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada. Speaking from the White House, he said it would not have served the “national interests” of the US.

Its construction has been hotly disputed for seven years, with environmentalists saying it would do irreparable damage. But the president said the pipeline had taken on an “overinflated role” in the climate change debate.

The proposed pipeline would have run 1,179-miles (1,897km) taking 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska. But Mr Obama said it would not have: lowered petrol prices, created long-term jobs, or affected energy dependence. “The pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy,” he said.

Republican presidential candidates condemned the news, with Jeb Bush calling it an attack on the US economy.

Full report: US rejects Keystone XL pipeline from Canada – BBC News

They will just have to keep sending the oil by rail.

imageLast resort” measure known as NISM issued as margins are squeezed due to power station faults and lack of wind


[image credit:]

[image credit:]

It’s an ambitious plan and renewables are in there too, but it’s one thing to talk big numbers of dollars, another to produce them when needed. PEI mulls over the proposals.

The African Development Bank’s new president Akinwumi Adesina says he can mobilize up to $55bn to end the continent’s power generation problems. At least 620 million people have no access to power, including vast populations in war-torn countries such as South Sudan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Adesina told Bloomberg, “I’m not bothered by that amount – that money is there. Today Africa generates $540bn in tax revenue per year. If you take 10 per cent of that and devote it to the energy sector, the problem is solved. If we light up and power Africa, we can have a GDP growth rate of double digits without any problem at all.”