Tag Archives: hubert flocard

El Hierro July 2016 performance update

During July the hybrid wind-hydro Gorona del Viento (GdV) plant set a new record of 65.9% renewable energy delivered to the El Hierro grid, handily exceeding the previous record of 53.9% achieved in June. This was dominantly a result of a continuation of the sustained northerly winds that began in mid-June. Continue reading

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El Hierro completes a year of full operation

At the end of June the Gorona del Viento (GdV) plant completed its first year of full operation, during which it supplied 34.6% of El Hierro’s electricity demand with renewable electricity at a cost probably exceeding €1.00/kWh while lowering the island’s CO2 emissions by approximately 12,000 tons at a cost of around €1,000/ton. This post summarizes these unexpectedly poor results, discusses the reasons for them and concludes that GdV, which was intended to show the world how fossil fuel generation can readily be replaced with intermittent renewables, can already be classified as a “failed project”. Continue reading

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El Hierro Renewable Energy Project – End 2015 Performance Review and Summary

The Gorona del Viento (GdV) plant on the Canary Island of El Hierro is a flagship project designed ultimately to provide the island with 100% renewable electricity and to demonstrate that hybrid wind/pumped hydro systems can be used to generate 100% renewable electricity in other parts of the world.

The data accumulated since full operations began on June 27, 2015 are sufficient to show that the GdV plant as presently structured is not capable of supplying 100% of El Hierro’s electricity demand for 100% of the time.
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Wind Blowing Nowhere – Again

The central question lies in the wisdom of distributed power generation. Generating your own wind power down on the farm or solar power on your two bedroom semi’s roof may sound like a great back to nature green solution to electricity production. That is until the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine and your dependency is shifted to the owner of the 3000 mile long, 200 GW HVDC power line to Saudi Arabia. Is it not better to be dependent upon the 100 mile long, 1 GW power line to your local nuclear or gas fired power station? Continue reading

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Another Visit to El Hierro

An analysis of the El Hierro island electric data found on the Red Eléctrica de España site for the period from June 26 to August 31, 2015 shows that the renewable contributions have covered 49.5 % of the electric demand of the island. It also shows that with the present wind plus storage system this renewable fraction can’t exceed 80.1%. Neither the capacity of the smaller reservoir of the pumping system, the power of the pumps, nor their efficiencies appears to be the limiting factor. Increasing the active wind power appears as the most effective option to reach a higher renewable fraction. Continue reading

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Molten Salt Fast Reactor Technology – An Overview

With a few exceptions, environmental lobbies have tended to oppose nuclear power with a vengeance similar to their opposition to coal and natural gas. In certain quarters this has changed with the promise of abundant, cheap and safe electricity that may be produced using thorium (Th) fuelled molten salt reactors. This guest post by French physicist Hubert Flocard places the status of molten salt reactor technology within the historical context of how the nuclear industry has evolved and examines some of the key challenges facing the development and deployment of this magical and elusive energy source. Continue reading

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Wind Blowing Nowhere

In much of Europe energy policy is being formulated by policymakers who assume that combining wind generation over large areas will flatten out the spikes and fill in the troughs and thereby allow wind to be “harnessed to provide reliable electricity” as the European Wind Energy Association tells them it will: Continue reading

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