The Glenmuckloch Pumped Storage Hydro Scheme

Scotland is to get a new pumped storage hydro scheme, not in the Highlands but in the Scottish Borders. With a capacity of 400 MW and an estimated 1.7 GWh of storage this plant can make a meaningful 4 hour contribution to peak generation every day. But wooly arguments made about smoothing intermittent renewables makes it unclear if this commendable strategy is the intended use.

Overview

The Glenmuckloch pumped storage hydro scheme is to be owned and operated by Buccleuch, a company that owns and operates Estates in southern Scotland, in partnership with 2020 Renewables. The scheme is located on the site of a recently abandoned open cast coal mine, that will form the lower reservoir, and one of the objectives is to rehabilitate the land. The upper reservoir will be located on a high ridge above the mine. The high ridge will also host a new wind farm and the scheme therefore has much in common with the Gorona del Viento scheme on El Hierro that has been subject to exhaustive analysis by Roger Andrews and the Energy Matters readership.

This excellent presentation provides an overview and a handful of pictures from the presentation is the best way to describe the scheme:

Figure 1 The now disused Glenmuckloch open cast coal pit. In Scottish, glen=valley, muck=dirt and loch=lake. And since I cannot find a proper place that is actually called Glenmuckloch, I will speculate that this dirty pond is it. The lower reservoir will be located in this void. The upper reservoir on the grass covered ridge above, just in front of the barely visible trees.

Figure 2 What the site looks like on Google Earth. The pit is located close to the town of Kirkconnel. Note the grassy ridge to the N, backed by a forest, that will host the upper reservoir and a wind farm.

Figure 3 Map showing similar view to the GE image (Figure 2) and the locations of upper and lower reservoirs.

Figure 4 Detail of the site layout with locations of wind turbines around the upper reservoir.

Figure 5 Schematic of how the scheme will work. Left shows water draining from the upper to the lower reservoir, generating electricity. Right shows water being pumped up the hill into the upper reservoir, drawing electricity from the grid. As a rule of thumb schemes like this are about 90% efficient. That means it will generate just 90% of the power it consumes. So how does this work financially?

Vital Statistics

The vital statistics I found in the excellent presentation are as follows:

  • Generation capacity 400 MW
  • Volume of water 3.3 million m^3
  • Cost £150 million

But the most vital statistic of all, the storage capacity, is absent from all the documentation I can find, and an omission like this always makes me a little suspicious. So I have had to get the back of my envelope out once again.

Using Google Earth, I estimate the upper reservoir is at 430 m and the lower at 230 m giving a fall of 200 m.

The Engineering Tool Box says this:

  • Thus lifting 10m^3 of water by 10 m produces a store of 0.27 kWh.
  • ….lifting 10m^3 of water 200 m produces a store of 5.4 kWh
  • ….lifting 3.3 million m^3 of water 200 m produces a store of 1.78 GWh

I have been concerned about getting this sum right and so I have compared with the Cruachan pumped storage scheme that has the following statistics:

  • Volume = 1o million m^3
  • Head = 396 m
  • Storage = 10 GWh

(3.3/10)*(200/396)*10 GWh = 1.7 GWh for Glenmuckloch. Thus I’m happy that the storage capacity of Glenmuckloch is of the order 1.8 GWh. What does this mean?

The vital statistic here is that operating at 400 MW, the reservoir can produce power for 4.5 hours. This is a very useful unit of energy to have that can be produced into the 6 pm ± 2 hours demand peak every day thus saving on 400 MW of fossil fuel peaking plants. So what’s not to like?

My Main Gripe

My main gripe with this scheme is the business premise upon which it is based. Buccleuch say this in their nice presentation:

  • Will help in securing electricity supplies by balancing electricity demand with intermittency of some types of generation;
  • Increases the availability of renewable electricity at times of peak demand, thereby supporting the security of renewable energy supply, increasing the diversity of energy supplies and reducing carbon emissions;

And the Scottish Government had this to say:

“The Scottish Government believes there is a huge opportunity around pumped storage hydro. This tried and tested technology can support peak demand and effectively store greater levels of electricity at times when renewable energy output is high but demand is low.”

These statements are worded very carefully in an effort to be true but are in fact deceptive half truths trying to be all things to all people. It is true that pumped storage hydro is a very useful energy technology that can be used to support peak demand and this scheme is ideally scaled for this purpose. But it is only useful in this context if it is available to support peak demand every day. And it is there that the fantasy about storing surplus renewable electricity turns this half truth into a non-truth. Figure 6 is a reminder of what the real world of wind looks like

Figure 6 UK wind production in September and October 2015 from BM reports as reported by Gridwatch. Only large HV connected wind farms are captured by these data.

Over 2 months, Figure 6 shows 9 episodes where it was windy (>3 GW wind at UK level) followed by lulls where it was not. The elegant plan to store the high wind peaks for use when the wind drops (as illustrated with high wind peak “2”) turns out to be a Green fantasy for at least two reasons. The first is that to make the investment in pumped storage economically feasible, it normally has to be used every day, unless another new “market mechanism”, otherwise known as a subsidy, is introduced to make it viable to store this energy for weeks on end. In this two month period, there are really only 9 opportunities, if that, to store surplus wind and dump the stored energy into the troughs. And so, instead of the daily opportunity to make money, this is reduced to once every 9/61 = 0.15 days owing to the stochastic nature of wind.

The second reason is the scale of the surplus peaks and deficit troughs. The > 3 GW surplus of “peak 2” I guestimate to be about 50 GWh and the following trough of similar magnitude. Therefore we need around 28 Glenmucklochs to properly address this intermittency issue that in this example is scaled at only two days duration. In the real world, the wind blows nowhere in Europe for several days on end.

I described the currently shelved Coire Glas pumped storage scheme as a massive but puny beast. Let’s revisit the vital statistics:

  • Generating capacity = 600 MW
  • Storage capacity = 30 GWh
  • Generating duration at capacity = 50 hours
  • Cost £800 million
  • 5 years to build
  • 150 workforce during construction
  • 12 permanent jobs

We see that Coire Glas is 30 GWh / 1.8 GWh = 17 time bigger than Glenmuckloch for £800 million / £150 million = 5 times the price. But the operator of Coire Glas that is the FOOTSIE listed Scottish and Southern Energy has not gone ahead with the scheme because the financials are not right. RIGHT!

So what makes Glenmuckloch different to Coire Glas? There we need to look into the traditional model for pumped storage hydro in the UK, France and elsewhere. In the UK and Scotland, power is cheap at night when our nuclear power stations relentlessly churn out electricity at a time when it is not really needed. The operators of pumped storage buy this cheap power, store it and sell it into the high price daily peak demand period of 6 pm ± 2 hours, every day. Coire Glas is too big for this role but Glenmuckloch is not.

And so I want to throw down the gauntlet to Baccleuch. If Glenmuckloch is genuinely going to store surplus renewable energy for use at times of scarcity let us see the numbers and provide assurances that this is not yet another Green scam aimed at fleecing the consumer. If, on the other hand, Glenmuckloch is a commendable scheme designed to store nighttime surplus for use in the daytime peak then say so, and in doing so, enlighten Scotland’s deluded politicians.

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92 Responses to The Glenmuckloch Pumped Storage Hydro Scheme

  1. 1saveenergy says:

    Excellent appraisal…….with a killer question at the end

  2. gah789 says:

    The economics of pumped storage are a little more complicated and less favourable than you suggest. While the variable cost of operating nuclear plants is low, the market price of electricity is set by the variable cost of operating the most expensive plant required to meet demand. For 98% of the time in the UK the marginal plants are gas but with different levels of efficiency. Hence, the gap between the power prices when pumping up and running down is, in effect, the difference between the variable costs for the most and least efficient gas plants which is not large.

    Re Coire Glas: you don’t have to empty the upper reservoir to exploit the difference between power prices at different times of day. However, I suspect that SSE would need a larger generation capacity relative to upper reservoir storage capacity and that may be limited by the size of the grid connection that can be installed.

    The combined wind/storage design may not be incidental in this case. Under the current regime a new onshore wind farm is not eligible for any subsidies. However, present the whole thing as a peak-lopping hydro plant which happens to be fed by an associated wind farm and one might be able to move the project into a different eligibility category. In addition, you can save the differential in transmission (TUoS) & system balancing (BSUoS) charges. Apparently minor differences of this kind can make a significant difference to the overall project return.

  3. Nigel Wakefield says:

    I think it’s likely to be a “both/and” answer. Energy storage is at its most economically efficient when it maximises run time and price arbitrage.

    This project would likely have a 9-10 hour run cycle; 4-4.5 hours generating and 5-5.5 hours pumping. In an ideal world it would therefore seek to operate, where possible, two full cycles a day. Pumping overnight to generate for the morning peak, than pumping again in the middle of the day ready for the evening peak. Two daily cycles would likely be more possible outside of peak winter months when solar output creates a daily dip in demand. From mid November to mid February, with little solar output depressing prices in the day, it might only be possible to run one cycle, overnight pumping to run for whichever peak (morning or evening) is higher priced, or possibly splitting generation between the two. Either way, market prices at up to half hour granularity, should determine the run schedule.

    There are, of course, alternatives. Pumped storage is very attractive for rapid response reserve capacity. However, to qualify for capacity payments, the facility would need to be available on demand by the National Grid, which would preclude it from operating on a purely commercial basis. This is a tough call to make since price transparency in the granularity required is not available far enough ahead of time for a storage operator to determine whether it’s better off acting as a commercial operator or a capacity operator (capacity auctions take place way ahead of real time).

    If possible, with a facility like this, I think I’d be tempted to try to sign up as a capacity provider for the Nov-Feb period, and remain as a commercial operator for the rest of the year. Without closely looking at the numbers, that would appear to be the logical economic optimisation…

    How does wind fit in to the above? Simply put, windy conditions can alter the conventional shape of the power demand curve. The ability to react to this quickly is a commercial benefit and therefore a role well-suited to pumped storage. However, this is more a reactive than proactive strategy – to take advantage of pricing conditions set by wind, or the lack thereof. It would be inadvisable to have a commercial strategy predicated on trading around price fluctuations caused by wind output.

    I’d therefore deem Euan’s cynicism to be relatively well-founded. Solar is likely to provide greater commercial opportunity for a quick-turnaround storage facility than wind. Opportunities provided by wind generation may add value, but should not form the base case for investment.

    Lastly, I’d like to say that all incremental storage is value destructive, since every marginal unit of storage flattens supply/demand profiles and therefore reduces price arbitrage. Economics for this type of project have to be founded on some readily visible income stream – to this extent I’d expect Capacity Payments to be a vital part of the investment case for this project….

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Lastly, I’d like to say that all incremental storage is value destructive, since every marginal unit of storage flattens supply/demand profiles and therefore reduces price arbitrage.

      This is an important point.

    • OpenSourceElectricity says:

      I also see less oportunity for this special storage solution to balance wind, to balance solar or tidal energy it would fit.
      placing a windfarm there still can make sense when there are good wind conditions.
      The wind far mand the pumped storage can share the grid access then, which makes the wind farm some percent cheaper. And it is quite unlikely that the pumped storage will deliver peak power during high wind condition, it will be pumping then, or stay idle with the storage filled to maximum.
      Storages balancing wind power are better suited in high mountains like the Alps, where dams do not cost more, but head is much bigger, so the amount of stored energy per m³ water is also much bigger. Resulting in storage schemes which can often store for weeks and longer. (And in this case often filled up again by natural inflow.)
      But my experience is that the differene between technical systems and journalists articles are quite big, independent of the topic.
      To find out the real economic intention of the ones constructing the pumped storage we most likely would need to get a look inside their economic calculations.
      As well as we would need to know if there is any states money involved, and not just claim it must be subsidised if some journalist connects it with some “green” ideas.
      E.g. this pumped storage scheme : https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumpspeicherkraftwerk_Atdorf also waits for better economic conditions aka more solar power in the grid to do the dual cycle per day business case.
      So far this does not work, because the solar power “just” removes the day peak, but does not produce a deep price valley during he day in the summer months.
      If the economic conditions will happen which make the project economic we will see.
      If it will be economical, there are many similar attractive places available where more storage can be added. See e.g. this proposal on the next hill: http://www.badische-zeitung.de/schluchsee/pumpspeicher-am-ahaberg–32214940.html.

    • robertok06 says:

      “Solar is likely to provide greater commercial opportunity for a quick-turnaround storage facility than wind. ”

      I beg to differ. In order for solar to be a global (i.e. on a large scale/penetration) source of electricity, it would need to have huge amounts of storage, any storage… because solar (at least in Europe) is highly seasonal… take any country, even a mediterranean one, and you’ll see that PV during the 4 months of Nov-Feb (give or take 2 weeks before or after, depending on year/country) generates 3-4 times less than during the 4 sunniest months.
      This means that PV would need long term storage (with consequently lots of losses due to evaporation)… storing between May-Sept to then re-use it during the said Nov-Feb low-production period.
      Wind, on the other hand, can have “long” windless spells… but long in this case means 3-4 days, exceptionally longer periods… so a lot smaller storage volume (and related losses) as compared to PV.

      Cheers.

      • Nigel Wakefield says:

        I was referring to solar in the UK, and in particular to quick-turnaround storage facilities in the UK (i.e Glenmuckloch). In summer months, relatively large solar, zero marginal cost output in peak solar hours will depress pricing during the day. This will lead to a two-peak price profile: early morning peak (07:00 to 09:00) before solar is really up and running and evening peak (19:00 – 23:00) when solar fades and then disappears.

        This double peak profile allows a project like Glenmuckloch to double-shift during the summer: charging overnight to discharge at the morning peak, then recharging during peak solar hours to discharge at evening peak.

        With solar output negligible during the winter, Glenmuckloch would revert to a single shift: charging overnight to discharge (probably at less than full load) during the morning and winter peaks. It could theoretically double-shift in winter if pricing in the middle of the day was sufficiently low to accommodate a further charge/discharge cycle but even a small increment to demand in the middle of winter days and a small addition to peak supply would likely eradicate this pretty quickly.

        None of the above invalidates your point about solar needing inter-seasonal storage to be really useful, but the design parameters of Glenmuckloch do not suggest that it’s intended to play that role. Storage economics work best when multiple charge/discharge cycles are undertaken – albeit that such activity increases O&M costs and, in the case of batteries, can degrade the operational capacity. All factors to consider when investing in such technology

  4. Steve Argent says:

    storage in Scotland might benefit from several drivers – firstly it should qualify for capacity market payments (regardless of energy arbitrage). Secondly as storage can mop up surplus electricity (which might otherwise be constrained off due to transmission capacity limitations to England). Finally when the Scottish nuclears close renewables will be the main generation left in Scotland. During transmission maintenance combined with low wind, Scotland is more at risk of power cuts due to the transmission constraints on importing power from England – so any generation than can operate can charge a huge premium.
    Steve

    • gweberbv says:

      At 22.5 bucks per kW this plant should earn about 9 million each year. They would need to do 200 full cycles at a price hub of 0.03 per KWh to achieve this by standard commercial operation. (If I did my math correct.)
      I would guess that participating in the capacity market is profitable enough to finance this scheme. Pumping water up and down to operate on the electricity market is just an add on.

      • Euan Mearns says:

        Hey Gunther, maybe they should forget about building it all together, get a few computer graphics run up and simply claim capacity payments. We (the Scottish consumer) don’t mind paying.

      • Nigel Wakefield says:

        My previous comment demonstrated a woeful level of ignorance about the Capacity Market, which I have somewhat rectified…

        Does anyone know how long a qualifying plant has to be available for to get payments? If it’s more then 4-5 hours then the plant would have to register a lower capacity.

        Also, if the plant has to be available within 4 hours of a notification that it’s capacity is required, this would negatively impact the plant’s ability to arbitrage prices…

        • gweberbv says:

          Nigel,

          when (utility-size) batteries can qualify for these auctions, the mandatory operation time seems not be that long.

          -> http://utilityweek.co.uk/news/more-than-2gw-of-batteries-qualify-for-capacity-auction/1284922

          • Olav says:

            Davey say in last post
            “500MW of new batteries reported by Guardian
            Leighton Buzzard battery coat £19 million for 10MWh. ”

            What an expansive price $2000 a KWh stored and media tells about $ 100 a KWh stored for future car batteries. Do I pay $ 52000 or $ 2600 when the batteries in my Leaf fades out?. Media says Tesla battery price is n the 2..300 $ range. We should look at real prices what the end consumer pays and then the Powerwall price i Norway is about 1000 $ a KWh useful stored KWh’s all installasjon costs included, off cause..I really hope my Leaf battery lasts as long as the car…
            In this scenario is this PHS a gift looking at the price compared to todays batteries or unrealistic tomorrows..
            1800 MWh storage for $ 170 million….. This is 94 $ a KWh stored and it lasts 30x the batteries..
            Topping up this storage.. Well the difficulties is the same for batteries or PHS. A few hour with very low electric prices available combined with “several” days when the storage is not called for.
            Batteries do have an advantage of Instant respons (ms) which the fast PHS (less than a minute) cannot match. The 40 minutes fastest Gas turbine response time is way behind.
            But looking at the big PHS price advantage go for the 267 sites for this scenario if you could find it…
            Of cause you cant but a lesser number of sites helps, and then go for interconnectors to Iceland and Norway where similar “low wind” as same time in Scotland is a no issue as both places have “reservoirs”

        • Alex says:

          Hard to see in the rules – but I found this relating to capacity “products”:

          (ii) a time banded capacity product based on the delivery of capacity during the peak hours of 9am-11am and 4pm -8pm on Working Days in Winter.

          If we get too many of these – and too many batteries – then we’d have to worry about them sucking up all the power between Noon and 4pm.

          • Nigel Wakefield says:

            “(ii) a time banded capacity product based on the delivery of capacity during the peak hours of 9am-11am and 4pm -8pm on Working Days in Winter.

            If we get too many of these – and too many batteries – then we’d have to worry about them sucking up all the power between Noon and 4pm.”

            Thanks, Alex, very useful. So… six hours of output required to qualify, which would mean this particular project only being able to offer, roughly, 280 MW (1.7 GWh/6 hours)

            As I said before, every incremental unit of storage is value-destructive. The more power that storage sucks up between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm the lower the price differential between those hours and peak hours – thereby destroying the revenues of storage and eradicating its value. However, the biggest supply/demand differentials (and, theoretically, the biggest price differentials) exist overnight (say 23:00 to 06:00 – the classic Economy 7 hours). Power would first be drawn from those hours to redeliver at peak – this would reduce pricing effects at winter peak to a level more consistent with pricing between 11:00 and 16:00 and from 20:00 to 23:00.

            In theory, this would result in two price plateaus: lower prices from 23:00 to 06:00 and higher prices from 06:00 to 23:00. With supply taken from the lower plateau and given to the higher plateau, incremental storage would reduce the price differential between the two. Higher levels of storage would therefore increase off-peak prices and reduce peak prices, while also lowering the average price across the 24 hours as more costly peaking plant would no longer have to run to meet marginal demand.

            Lower average prices (and lower peak prices) benefit the consumer at the expense of power generators, accordingly there’s very little economic interest for power generation utilities to build storage.

          • It doesn't add up... says:

            You may find this chart useful:

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/38223f3932b5b38bd9afc740f0acab408eec1310a59c02621ba99ee870d9470c.png

            It seems there isn’t much of a swing in demand during the day any more – it merely drops overnight, and has a modest extra peak in the evening rush hour. The big swings are seasonal, or for unusual weather.

            Of course, that isn’t the whole picture, because supply is increasingly variable across the day thanks to solar (the effect of embedded generation can be seen in the curve for minimum demand).

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Scotland has mean winter demand of the order 4GW and we regularly get wind free periods that can last 5 days or more. 5 Days is 480 GWh or 267 Glenmucklochs or 16 Coire Glases. When are ALL the readers of this blog going to come to terms with the fact that with known technology you simply cannot store renewable energy in meaningful quantities.

      The plan for Scotland is to expand interconnection with England from current 3.5 GW and use their coal and nuclear plants instead of our own. Can anyone make a serious argument as to why this makes any sense at any level.

      • gweberbv says:

        More connections: Better utilization and possible reduction of (backup) plants.
        Every storage plant does the same.

        And keeping the (backup) plants alive via the capacity market seems to be dirt cheap at 22 bucks per kW. Firing them up is the expensive part (in particular if you consider emissions as a cost). Nobody seriously talks about briding a few days of demand by storage facilities. But the possibility bridge a few hours already has a significant impact on the utilization factor of the backup fleet.

      • OpenSourceElectricity says:

        It makes sense if you do not look at england, but at the connections leading from England elsewhere.
        If you look for storage, the power lines to Norway and Iceland are much more interresting. Storage in Norway and Sweden are 112.000GWh, so the 500 GWh for Scotland make up 0,5% of that storage capacity.
        A storage size of 400MW/4,5 hours may make some sense to smooth export /inport on a interconnector to fit to generation / demand. In paralel to other tasks.
        When looking for some more Data in germany, I found out that the biggest storage in germany seems not to be counted with its capacity – The Schluchsee-Gruppe is only counted with the individual capacity of the 3 power stations sitting one on top of the other. The serveral million m³ which can be pumped from the rine into the Schluchsee some hunded (610m) meters higher seem to remain uncounted.
        Although the water level of that lake with a surface of 5,1km² can vary by about 30-40m if neccesary.

        • Leo Smith says:

          Few random points.

          Turnround efficiency of pumped storage is generally no better than 75%.

          Although pumped storage to use overnight cheap power to charge and then sell into peak markets in the day/evening is good, the real money is to be made when there is a short term emergency – from looking at Gridwatch over the last few months typically this is when high winds are predicted, but don’t arrive: then hydro and pumped cover while the CCGT sets are spun up.

          Combining with wind will make a reasonably dispatchable pair, but at stupendous cost.

        • robertok06 says:

          “Storage in Norway and Sweden are 112.000GWh”

          Says who? Cite your source of data, please.

      • robertok06 says:

        COrrect Euan… and let me add just one more datum…. a 10 GWh pumped-hydro plant has been built in southern Italy a few years ago, by Swiss energy company REPower. 600 million Euros, 6 years to build and… 2 years after starting operation the company has gone in bad financial troubles (they also wanted to build a new coal plant in Sicily, which didn’t go through local –an Swiss!– approval)… and so they have tried to sell it, desperately… not profitable at all!… due to the low market prices (thanks subsidized intermittent RENs!).
        End of the story? Last time I read something about the PH plant, a chinese energy company was trying to buy it for pennies… 🙁

        Isn’t it wonderful?

        Cheers.

  5. Alistair Buckoke says:

    Many thanks again Euan for this useful illumination.

    Once again there is the story of green delusion and limited capacity, one that can’t hope to deal with that week of high pressure across Europe in November. The Scottish Government might be pleased with another propaganda tool to help shore up their energy policy and at the same time help to keep the shaky renewables+storage show on the road, but as you suggest there may be another side to this project. The location is after all not so very far from Moorside in Cumbria.
    My guess is that Holyrood has seen the alternative game, but is maybe grateful for being handed political ammunition. Buccleuch is perhaps looking towards Westminster as much as it is towards Holyrood.

  6. Just a slight comment re figure 5 caption

    i would be surprised at 90% efficiency. I suspect that the generator alone may be 90+% efficient but it is likely that pumps of this size would struggle to get 90% efficiency. That said, the scale of these pumps is truly phenomenal so my numbers are probably out. Cruachan has turbines that can pump near 200 m3/s at ~40 bar. The largest pumps here are either 4m3/s (low pressure) or our high pressure boiler feed pumps at ~1.3MW (low flow).

    Also another way to do your calculation is by looking at the pump power required.

    P(power) = m(mass flow)*g(gravity)*h(head)/(hydraulic efficiency*electric efficiency)

    • Willem Post says:

      Doug,

      Round trip likely is about 80% efficient. But who cares? Is not wind for free?

      It is truly mind boggling how much storage is required to provide continuous service to the U.K., 24/7/365, year after year, if wind energy is the major source.

      The true levelized cost/kWh of that vastly exceeds nuclear.

      All this has been know to folks on this site for at least a decade.

      • gweberbv says:

        Willem,

        why should anyone aim for a storage capacity to enable (nearly) 100% of supply by wind of PV. You need to keep conventional plants as a backup anyway. Just because a ‘one in a few hundred years’ event like a huge thunderstorm or a volcano explosion can do significant harm to wind and PV performance, lasting for a few months at least.

        I expect that those societies that do not accept nuclear power will end up in a 70% RE, 30% FF scenario. With electricity costs not too much different from the 90% NPP regions.

        • Euan Mearns says:

          Gunther, you don’t seem to have been following along. The Scottish government policy is to have 100% renewable equivalent by 2020. And we have no plan to replace our ageing nukes. And so I agree with your statement:

          why should anyone aim for a storage capacity to enable (nearly) 100% of supply by wind of PV.

          Unfortunately our politicians, unchallenged by academics or industry, seem to be believe we can run our grid off 100% renewables, even though it is dark for 4 months of the year and this means plastering the whole of our landscape with turbines.

          • gweberbv says:

            Euan,

            I guess they are aiming on ‘100% on average’. In northern Germany we have also such 100%er states. Even 150% and more is planned. But none of them plans to set up an island grid.

        • The immediate target for Scotland was to have 50% of electricity consumption via renewables. The government, in their 2015 renewables routemap policy update, have stated that that has been achieved by showing that ~50% of generation was renewable. This has been met by a huge increase in wind and a historically good year for hydro.

          I quote from the routemap update
          “Our target for renewable electricity generation is for renewables to generate the equivalent of 100% of gross annual consumption by 2020, with an interim target of 50% by 2015.”

          So they are going from assuming consumption is the same as generation to assuming that gross annual consumption is the same as generation. Maybe I am too worried about correctness here.

          So what does that mean going forward. Well they have about 35MW capacity under construction (note that may now be constructed) for biomass, waste gas, tidal and hydro and a whopping 621MW for wind.

          Their consented (awaiting construction) has about 500MW for biomass, waste gas, tidal, wave, solar and hydro and a whopping 7,697MW for onshore and offshore wind (slightly more of the latter).

          There is another 4,304MW of onshore wind in planning.

          To put that in perspective at the end of 2014, there was 5,015MW of onshore wind in operation (or 2.5 M homes worth). So their plan is to almost triple wind capacity given that just under 80% of all applications have been accepted to date.

          By that metric the Scottish government want to supply 7.5 million homes from wind alone. Yet there are only 5.2 million people???

          *http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Business-Industry/Energy/RoutemapUpdate2015

          • Alistair Buckoke says:

            And this all assumes that the necessary investment capital will be just instantly available, growing on trees. New wind farm applications in Dumfries and Galloway have more or less dried up recently, to show you how much venture enthusiasm there is.

  7. ralfellis says:

    >>We need 28 Glenmucklochs to properly address this intermittency issue

    And that, is the crux of the matter. And this is why this renewables business is political, not scientific or technical. Because the people who should know this have NEVER raised these issues.

    I did, way back in 2004. And if I could see the problems so clearly, why has the scientific establishment turned a blind eye? It is a political game, all of it.

    Renewable energy – our downfall
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/25/renewable-energy-%E2%80%93-our-downfall/

    (The question mark was not mine. I was certain!)

    R

    • gweberbv says:

      Actually, if you had enough sites for 30 of such pumped storage plants the price tag of about 4.5 billion would be quite low. For sure nothing that causes a ‘downfall’.

      • ralfellis says:

        That is just for Scotland, which has hydro possibilites if the Greens let them build them. Now try doing that for England, with ten times the population, and a 1/10th of the hills.

        And you are still only backing up a fraction of the energy required. Wind can go off line for weeks. Calculate that, plus wind supplying all our electrical, transport and heating energy too. As Prof McKay (government advisor) said, it is simply impossible with wind.

        R

        • OpenSourceElectricity says:

          Impossible is something different, but it would require to accept some changes, as with huge opencast mies or similar.
          Some green piss idea as Euan would declare it to show that ‘impossible’ is something different.
          E.g. if you want to store something as pumped storage in UK, in absence of significant mountains, you’d go into volume, as in Geesthacht, a puumped storage in flat land in germany.
          As there is little land scape in UK, but a lot of ocean, it would likely be useful to go into the sea with the system to have enouch space for it.
          Suppose we go in open water, 50m deep, to calculate easily over the thumb.
          And pump the water waway from a suaremeter, we get a energy stored of 50.000*9,81N*25m= 3,4kWh. So to store significant above 8TWh and get a easy to handle number, e.g. you could build a dam around a area of 3000km². So a 200km dam, 50m height in a circle would do the trick. Make it a average 200m wide thats 200x50x200.000m³=2km³ of dirt, in the scale which german lignite open cast mines move in a year or two.
          So impossible is something different. But you’d have to think big, and accept that some mayor industrial constructions are needed to supply energy to everybody. Or to look at it from another angle – that it comes with some cost if trading of electricity is not wanted.

    • GeoffM says:

      The scientific establishment has turned a blind eye because so many of them are making their salaries and pensions out of continuing the lie. There is a dept. in Highland Council which has 13 posts and 10 named names called the Energy and Sustainability Team. When you look at their document “Carbon Management Plan 2013 to 2020” you see so much corrupt stuff eg. money saving claims made before the price of fossil fuel fell and not including the staff costs of the E+S Team itself; big push for biomass heating when the real reason for this is the perverse incentive that it’s 7 times more lucrative to burn trees than to insulate your buildings; council Wind/solar/biomass projects which were either ripped out after 5 years or less or never worked from the start, reported in the press; etc. etc. When you extrapolate that figure of 10-13 staff to all UK councils you come up with something like 3,500 council staff employed to promote renewables/AGW.
      Add to that teaching staff at unis/colleges/schools (you can now get a degree in renewable energy, or climate change), staff at the renewables trade bodies, staff at DECC or whatever it’s called now, etc. etc. and I reckon there are 10,000+ UK people paid lots of money to communicate these ideas. That’s no doubt more than the number of truly UK-based workers actually installing the wind turbines and solar panels. I reckon that 50-99% of them know that the idea is a dead duck, but they’ll never commit employment suicide by admitting it. Interesting that David MacKay eventually did so.

  8. I suspect Glenmuck was conceived before anyone had any idea how much storage was going to be needed to smooth out UK/Scottish wind and everyone thought that all you had to do to fix the problem was manage diurnal load fluctuations. So while Glenmuck will provide a little more load-following flexibility around peak hours that’s about all it will do. Otherwise it will be about as much use as feathers on a frog.

    • ralfellis says:

      Come now, Roger, If I know that the wind often goes off-line for a week or ten days, I am sure someone in the planning departments must have done. And it is not difficult to calculate the gwhr required to plug those missing ten days. The only problem, is the enormity of the power required to plug those ten days.

  9. brianrlcatt says:

    Obviously adding the cost of a hydro scheme to already 100% or 200% subsidised renewable energy will make the whole thing more ridiculous when nuclear plus a minimum of peak storage is the only sustainable and adequate end game after fossil, and renewables are self evidently pointless. On the energy generation facts, rather than the delusion. But this is very small in fact, as I calculate it. Am I wrong? See below.

    On the numbers. The UK uses c.1TWH pd. 1/6 = 170GWH in 4 hours. So who is this 1.7GWh, 1% of that, 4 hours worth of energy for, exactly?

    I’d like to see the grid links cut if Scotland leaves the union, let them run their economy on their fishy SNP politicians renewable promises. We might sell them nuclear energy when we have a surplus, but only pay wind what it’s worth, when we need it. No ROCs. You are entitled to your own opinions, not to your own facts, and the science facts of energy sources and generation don’t care what you believe. IMO these Scottish energy fraudsters selling their climate change snake oil to harvest easy subsidy money from England, at massive and wholly regressive cost to our economy and increasing CO2 emissions per KWh versus preferring unsubsidised gas and nuclear, need to be stopped – or cut off…….left to live off their own wind.

    The Climate change act is ONLY about easy profits for lobbyists, by preferring weak and intermittent generation and “Bio fuels” , that both make CO2 emissions per KWh much worse in fact, at 2 or 3 times the price by law, than simply replacing coal with gas and gas with nuclear. Why? It’s all about the money, not the climate, on the science facts of energy generation. Do the arithmatic, on the obvious matters of technical fact, as Sir David MacKay FRS, DECC Chief Scientist 2008-2014, explained very well before he died.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCyidsxIDtQ

    But OK, it’s limited on demand reserve will be useful load balancing for Scotland, as a complement to long term inevitable nuclear power, so probably no harm done – as long as no ROCs are involved for prforming unnatural acts with energy physics. We will be using 3 times as much electrical energy when fossil is ended for maintsream heating and transport uses, so a bit more pumped storage will be useful, just lose the fraudulent renewable connection.

    PS: Solar PV – in Scotland? Has subsidy farming replaced the sheep? Hello! What is it they don’t understand about the UK Solar PV duty cycle of 11%? Scotland’s is what? Even the South of England is 50 degrees North. 73 degrees to the Sun about now. etc..Gimmeabreak. QED. CEng, CPhys, MBA, BTW

    • brianrlcatt says:

      The Battery Sum: Where there is no more hydro available (This newscheme seems to be about half what the EC study said was still available), what then? Not sure if anyone has done this already here, but I have done a short study for my group on storage and its physical costed realities. It is in my Dropbox here so I share it with you. Critical comment of a proven physics or factual nature welcome.:

      https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1976309/Storage%20Reality%20in%20a%20Renewable%20Energised%20Environment

      SUMMARY: For a week of current UK average demand of c.7TWh you need 11 Billion average car batteries, over £500Billion worth. 160 each. Or 70Million 85KWh Tesla Li-ion Powerwalls at $4,500, so over £300Billion, one each. Replaced every 3 years?

      Buy shares in battery companies? We can even afford to build over-designed French EPR’s over here with that much of our money to waste by law.

      To rely on renewables to charge this enough to last a week is a dangerous delusion. Even with 3 x overgeneration after fossil (say 180GW rated) to cope with their intermittency. that would be 180,000 IMW onshore turbines, at today’s demand. And the wind may not blow usefully for more that a week at the highest levels of demand in a January High = Winter.

      180,000 turbines would cover nearly the entire 240Km square UK land area at a 1Km pitch. However the doubling of demand just to replace heating and transport energy with electricity after fossil means we haven’t a prayer, BTW. The offshore sea would be full as well. Go figure.

      PS: Why does no one mention that the energy in wind falls off with CUBE of velocity, hence the massive variability of enrgy output with velocity, 1/2 speed = 1/8 output, BTW? I like technology but I am pro-arithmatic, as DMcK said.

    • OpenSourceElectricity says:

      To get a imagination about solar PV in scotland, it might be interesting which amount of subsidys is neccesary to get it some hundred km east of scotland: http://www.pv-magazine.de/nachrichten/details/beitrag/keine-gebote-aus-deutschland-bei-dnischer-photovoltaik-ausschreibung_100025395/
      At the moment a subsidy of 1,7ct/kWh (17€/MWh) for 20 years is neccesary.
      This is still a subsidy, and there is surely a lot of seasonality. On the other hand, it is less than it is necccesary to keep existing nuclear running in Illinois or new york.
      And this in sun drenched Danmark, as far north as Edinburgh

      • gweberbv says:

        OSE,

        I am shocked by this numbers! Really, I have no idea how one can sell of this price and operate a PV plant profitable (in Denmark). Unless, one assumes that wholesale prices during the PV peak will increase significantly in the future.
        I would really like to know what is going on there.

        • OpenSourceElectricity says:

          Well Shells Offer with 55€/MWh for Borssele 3+4 is in the same ballpark. Shell is a new and unexpected player in the wind industry, although with huge experience in big offshore projects. Would be interesting to know why Shell decided to enter a market with cuthroat competition at the moment.
          Only idea I have is someone there did a lifetime kWh extracted per € invested calculation there in comparison with offshore oil, and got some unexpected interesting result. Lets see how things develop.

          • Nigel Wakefield says:

            The Dutch government conducts auctions for offshore wind capacity with a lot of the work already done. Sites are “pre-qualified” with historical wind and other factors already analysed, EIAs covered, etc – this saves each bidder having to conduct its own assessments, making the whole process both cheaper and quicker.

            Grid connections are essentially provided through separate agreements between the government and the grid operator TenneT, so they don’t impact on project costs through uncertainty.

            Auction bidders therefore operate in an environment of far greater certainty than, for example, in the UK – hence the significantly lower realised prices. It does help, however, that Dutch offshore wind sites like Borssele are much closer to shore than a lot of the proposed UK sites…

            I would like to see the UK government adopt similar approaches – Dutch offshore wind is very close to UK baseload price parity. Intermittency, of course, remains a massive problem and absolutely needs to be addressed though I don’t have a great solution in mind!

            My mind keeps coming back to the hundreds of underground salt cavities of that exist in the UK, many very close to the sea. They vary considerably in size and depth, some of them have potential capacity to store tens of GWh and generate at, maybe, a tenth of the storage capacity.

            There must be a way of re-purposing these as the “lower reservoir” for pumped storage with the sea acting as the upper reservoir…. perhaps starting with a relatively small and shallow-lying salt cavity as a proof (or not) of concept…

        • Translated we get

          “The successful bidders received a fixed premium of 12.89 Danish Ore over a period of 20 years – converted 1,73 cents per kilowatt hour in addition to the wholesale price for their solar power. According to electricity market experts, the average photovoltaic market price currently stands at 2.6 to 2.9 cents per kilowatt hour.”

          At those prices, the make the mid east bids look expensive. This is the cheapest bid in the world. I am surprising with Gunther on this.

      • robertok06 says:

        1,7 ct/kWh IS NOT the LCOE of PV… c’mon!… don’t be silly?

        All these bids are just financial scams… promises to deliver electricity, nothing more nothing less. Behind this there are always other sorts of financial “incentives”… reduced taxes, for instance.
        There is NO way, not even in the sunniest areas of the planet, to generate electricity via PV (plus… if the photo is correct it is fixed panels, not even one- or two-axis, which could improve the capacity factor) at that cost.
        IMPOSSIBLE.

        Use this…

        http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe.html

        … and try to get to 1,7 cents/kWh… you would need 50% capacity factor and 0.5 Euro/Wp (and 3% discount rate).

        • Nigel Wakefield says:

          €0.017/kWh is the SUBSIDY given to PV to make it viable, you have to add that to the avoided cost of purchasing grid power at a retail price to get the full picture. I suspect the subsidy level reflects a price at which electricity consumers will continue to install PV, rather than a “real” level of viability. The reality of PV at SME/residential level is that it’s very difficult to consume directly anything more than a small fraction of the output during the April-Sept months

          • OpenSourceElectricity says:

            Wholesale, not retail price. Power is sold to grid at wholesale price. So its at the same level than the 5,38ct/kWh from the last auction in germany, won by installations in Danmark.
            3% Discount rate is most likely to high for such a sure investment, bank require less today.
            0,5€/Wp is a bit too low, but prices for the projects in Danmark are below 0,8€/Wp as I could read by a installer on another site.

          • gweberbv says:

            OSE,

            to be on the same level as the – already quite low – 5,38 ct/kWh of the recent German-Danish auction we must assume wholesale prices of about 40 Euro/MWh. And this during the summer at the time of the PV peak. I really do not see this coming. And even if this is your expectation as a investor, one would think that you have to account for the uncertainty by asking for a higher price.
            There is now way around that this bid of wholesale price + 1.7 ct/kWh is real. But I have no idea about the rationale behind this bid.

          • OpenSourceElectricity says:

            The assumed average wholesale price would be 3,68ct/kWh if the calculation was identical to the german auction.

  10. Greg Kaan says:

    Here is Australia’s equivalent white elephant proposal – just swap wind for PV

    The proposal has been kicking around for a couple of years seeking financing, even after a government funded feasibility study,

    http://www.genexpower.com.au/the-kidston-hydro-project.html

  11. halken says:

    I think the efficiency is bit spurious at 90%. The electric motor is maybe 95% and then again the impeller of the turbine will also see some loss. The wiki rates this at 70-80% effective for a round trip while a Hawaiian outfit claims 87%.

    • robertok06 says:

      A reasonable estimate of the overall efficiency of any pumped-hydro scheme is around 70-75%: 90% during production, 80% to pump the water up to the higher reservoir… 0.9×0.8=0.72.

  12. Davey says:

    ‘But wooly arguments made about smoothing intermittent renewables makes it unclear if this commendable strategy is the intended use.’

    However I’m curious if building storage does have a smoothing effect other than storage being useful. It would be interesting to see how many power stations need to be on standby to cope with sudden lulls in the wind.

    At what penetration of wind power does storage become essential and how much would be required ?

    We have had many posts about the impossibility of storing electricity but a smoothing effect seems vaguely plausible.

    Personally think it would insanely expensive but do we have any electrical engineers with an opinion ?

    • robertok06 says:

      “At what penetration of wind power does storage become essential and how much would be required ?”

      Well… it becomes necessary in order to avoid losses as soon as the power generated goes above a value which depends on the country’s consumption (so, season, day of week, links to other countries for export, etc…) and therefore there is no one and only one value of penetration… but… wind energy has become so inexpensive that…

      http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2013/ee/c3ee41973h

      … unless one wants to store the surplus using the most expensive technologies, then it is economically more advantageous to curtail it… i.e. stop the turbines.
      Note that, on the contrary, PV is (and will remain for northern countries) so expensive that it is almost always better to store it, even with expensive storage, rather than curtail it.

      Cheers.

  13. botwid says:

    Hi,
    it´s always a great pleasure reading Energy Matters. I live in Tenerife and recently read in a local paper that Tenerife will “get energy from water”. I´m a bit sceptic since it never (almost) rains her.
    If you can read my spanish, this is what I am thinking:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/t4w36ft6ebsvwwk/Z3.pdf?dl=0

  14. climanrecon says:

    The schematic diagram shown above implies that all the water in the lower reservoir can be pumped out, but if that is not a requirement to get the capacity payments, then the awful interaction between engineers and accountants will unfold, and the thing may end up with a cheaper solution, in which the depth of the outlet pipe is reduced, and not all the water can be pumped out, giving not as much as the theoretical maximum energy storage capacity.

  15. GeoffM says:

    Something that almost nobody mentions is, if we were to deploy masses of storage, where is the guaranteed energy to come from to recharge the stores after they are depleted? The people promoting the new Leighton Buzzard plant (which, at 10 MWh, is a drop in the ocean) admit that at times they wanted to recharge it but couldn’t.

    This renewables energy push is like watching a slow-motion train crash.

  16. “In the UK and Scotland, power is cheap at night when our nuclear power stations relentlessly churn out electricity at a time when it is not really needed. The operators of pumped storage buy this cheap power, store it and sell it into the high price daily peak demand period of 6 pm ± 2 hours, every day. Coire Glas is too big for this role but Glenmuckloch is not.”

    yes thats what we mentioned before.

    Roberto should see the red flag .. help

    michael

    • robertok06 says:

      Roberto doesn’t see any red flag. UK reactors do not load follow at all… they could do like the frrrrench reactors do, one thing, and Dinorwid was built exactly for that… so it is a non issue here:

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

      Same do the frrrench nukes with the large PH dams in the Alps, no big deal at all.

      Under normal weather conditions (i.e. not during “the coldest week of the century”), nuclear needs “some” daily storage… pump at night and use it during the following day… intermittent renewables need and can only operate in a “baseload-like” mode only with weeks’ to months’ worth of storage, from which stems the physical impossibility to do it on a continental basis.

      Michael, you need to study a bit more this issue… it is not rocket science, you can do it! 🙂

      Cheers.

      • not sure what you are trying to say

        I am not disagreeing with “solar” having problems at times when electric energy is really needed.

        but, great that you confirm now that large fraction of Nuclear power
        requires hydropower pump storage during most time of the year.
        and that you seem to accept that currently the great profit making model
        with selling this hydropower pump storage (nuclear) during lunch time peak hours is spoiled by just the additional capacity from solar
        during that time ..

        and that already the reduced German nuclear power overproduction at night doesn’t help the Suisse model either…

        so, what remains is that you need to realise that
        nuclear power in Western Europe will decline due to natural ageing
        (as not enough new capacity will be constructed).

        but even you can understand this. So good luck with your campaign ..
        if your campaign fails as I predict .. well we can agree with
        missing capacity during winter peak loads..

        michael

        • robertok06 says:

          @michaeldittmar

          “but, great that you confirm now that large fraction of Nuclear power
          requires hydropower pump storage during most time of the year.”

          Never said that, Michael!… mainly because it is NOT true.
          A SMALL fraction of nuclear power needs, at times, pumped hydro backup, mainly to reduce or avoid the complexity of load-following.
          Nice try, though.

        • robertok06 says:

          @michaeldittmar

          “and that you seem to accept that currently the great profit making model
          with selling this hydropower pump storage (nuclear) during lunch time peak hours is spoiled by just the additional capacity from solar
          during that time ..”

          Nope!… you are wrong on this too: it is only because the additional capacity from PV is heavily subsidized and given a preferential right of way on the electricity market that nuclear looses profits at prime time (but only the prime time during daylight, the evening peak is off-target for PV, and will stay so in the future).

          “and that already the reduced German nuclear power overproduction at night doesn’t help the Suisse model either…”

          Mmmh… I’m not sure I follow you on this… exactly what are you trying to say?

          “so, what remains is that you need to realise that
          nuclear power in Western Europe will decline due to natural ageing
          (as not enough new capacity will be constructed).”

          I agree, no problem. But YOU will have to agree with me that if nuclear goes then the 810 TWh that it has generated in 2015 will be substituted in large part by fossil fuels, with a fraction from hyper-expensive intermittent renewables.
          YOU will have to agree with me that the faboulous “lower prices” of PV at few cEuro/kWh are just pipe dreams of the “green” intellighentsia, and that the environment will be much worse off (you know, that CO2 that everybody should be scared of, not to mention the other crap vomited by FF power stations).
          Not to mention the THOUSANDS of Europeans who wil die due to the aforementioned closure of nuclear to the advantage of fossil fuels…. but that I gather is a small concern for those who, like you, are on a personal crusade, right Michael?

          You consider yourself an environmentalist, right Michael?

          “but even you can understand this. So good luck with your campaign ..”

          I have no campaign, amigo! YOU have a campaign, a campaign of smear based on nothing, on pipe dreams. I exposed it in front of tens of people when you came at CERN to present the chapter edited by you on Ugo Bardi’s book, have you already forgotten that? 🙂

          “if your campaign fails as I predict .. well we can agree with
          missing capacity during winter peak loads..

          michael”

          No problem, Michael! We’ll all come to find a warm and comfortable place at your place, those like you say one thing and do another.. I’m sure you don’t let yourself down on nothing.

          Cheers, and happy continuation of crusade.

      • OpenSourceElectricity says:

        …..months’ worth of storage…..on a continental basis……
        Roberto, if its not Rocket science, why don’t you start studying it?
        There is a issue with variability of renewable power production in case of wind solar and waves/tides. But “months is a strawman or worse in continental context.

        • It doesn't add up... says:

          I have started studying it. Here’s wind across Europe this year:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/299a16b711c550d558abacd71da89ad95c4991579bdda2151a3b7936d47bbbf0.png

          Add in Solar

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2d016b56defbd182eed5d112b26a2ef5a7f598add0e542eee5974d1f821a91c1.png

          Average output is 254GWh/day, or just over 10GW. To convert to a constant power flow would require a lossless 4+TWh of storage. Moreover, the requirement is seasonal.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/68368d4fcd00c2aa3c88ecea3e8a4bff002ff95849818ae3a67a0cde12195ae6.png

          Data from http://mylly.hopto.me/windineurope/

          • OpenSourceElectricity says:

            You studied with a part of a continent, and with a very uneven distribution of power generation….
            Nor add in Hydro and Biomass, as they exist to day, and burning waste to make a complete mix of renewable generation.
            (Or, if you count e.g. biomass as storage, germany already has a “storage capacity” of 50 TWh.
            Or the other way round – 50TWh of biomas, as harvested in germany today could balance out around 100GW continuous production if distributed as uneven as today in the 20 countries when thrown in at the right time, as your graphs say.
            If you have the data as a excel sheet, we could discuss the things a bit further.

          • OpenSourceElectricity says:

            Here as a example, just for fun, the european wind and solar production so far in 2016, balanced with 2 TWh e.g. hydeopower (not neccesarily pumped, and some biomass: http://www.file-upload.net/download-12172298/wind_solar_20_countries_raw.xlsx.html

            Enegy generated by wind and solar: 354 TWh
            Energy consued at constant load: 346.6 TWh (41,5 GW constant load)
            Power of biomass generation: 10 GW
            Enegy output : 16 TWh
            Curtailed: 23,1 TWh
            Maximum input in storage: 64 GW
            Maximum output of storage: 32GW.

            Just a example in no way optimised, but also without algorithm to start stop biomass production, so it might include some prediction which runs too far in the future. Just to get a idea how system behaves.

          • It doesn't add up... says:

            Sorry – that doesn’t wash. You can see the full list of countries in the first chart, and they’re very widely spread from Romania in the South East to Spain in the South West, Ireland in the West, the Nordic countries… It’s truly continental scale.

            Your claim was There is a issue with variability of renewable power production in case of wind solar and waves/tides. But “months is a strawman or worse in continental context.

            Disproved.

          • OpenSourceElectricity says:

            @ It doesnt Add up
            In Romania there is practically zero generation power compared to the plock located on a small area at the noth sea (north germanywith almost all german power generation, danmark, dutch, UK offshore generation, all within a few hundred km distance.
            And Europe strtches several thousand km further east from Romanias eastern border.
            So it is a half continent or two third what you look at, with a very uneven distribution of generation.
            Nevertheless as you can see from the table I generated, some biomass at the right times and just 2 TWh storage balance 350 TWh generation in 2016.
            Moths of generation would be n*30Twh wich n>1.
            Since I added some algorithm, I can say that 20 TWh of storage would reduce the needed biomass to zero. 1 TWh of storage , 30 GW generaton capacity for biomass would require 26 TWh of biomass generation. 10 TWh Storage and 30 GW Biomass generation woud require 9,5 TWh Biomass

          • It doesn't add up... says:

            If you look at correlation data, you find that only Norway is the country whose output is mainly anti-correlated with the others. Different weather system in the North Atlantic…

            Greece and Cyprus show close to zero correlation with the others. Romania shows positive correlation.

          • It doesn't add up... says:

            A correction: the anomalous behaviour of the Norway data is simply due to there being no data for the first four months. Apologies for the red herring.

          • OpenSourceElectricity says:

            If you look at the corellation data you find this:

            Land Point Distance Corellation compared to UK
            UnitedKingdom Sheffield 0 1
            Ireland Dublin 318 0,652991632
            Neatherlands Den Haag 415 0,591692408
            Belbium Bruxxeles 487 0,63515391
            France Paris 569 0,463618161
            Germany Hannover 759 0,476117587
            Denmark Aarhus 808 0,39997077
            Norway Oslo 1038 -0,068409497
            CzechRepublic Prague 1150 0,255054868
            Sweden Stockholm 1265 0,271574268
            Poland Gdanzk 1318 0,230554201
            Austria Wien 1374 0,098092275
            Spain Madrid 1451 0,142207624
            Portugal Porto 1461 0,114818793
            Italy Rom 1644 0,031429263
            Estonia Tallin 1733 0,108515933
            Finland Helsinki 1760 0,141822244
            Greece Athen 2575 0,000973749
            Cyprus Nikosia 3380 0,052840948
            Romania Bukarest 2229 0,061236932

            Or in the table for everyone to read and check:
            https://ufile.io/458a0
            Or as a graph:
            https://ufile.io/ece8e
            There is no neccesity for the correlation to become negative. it can be seen that the correlation breaks down to below 0,1 at a distance of 1500-1700km, till that point the drop of correlation over distance is pretty linear, with norway as exception.
            Which means mathematically, that with every area attached to the grid the smoothing effect on wind output becomes bigger.

  17. It doesn't add up... says:

    I seem to be having problems getting my posts to appear. I’ve made several posts in response to others, mostly containing a link or two. Are they disappearing into “moderation” for some reason?

    • Euan Mearns says:

      IDAU – I don’t know why your comments are going to moderation. My own comments regularly go to moderation too. Its possible I now have too many numbers and phrases in the moderation list.

      • It doesn't add up... says:

        Even my comment about moderation went to moderation. All things in moderation now seems ridiculous as an epithet!

  18. sonofametman says:

    The hole in the ground for the lower reservoir already exists, thanks to open cast coal mining. But the upper one doesn’t. They’ll have to dig that one out. The BGS website isn’t dishing up maps at the moment, so I can’t tell if the rocks at the top of the hill are coal measures, or something sturdier. This isn’t just a wee dam in a handy valley, it involves digging another big hole in the ground. Has someone perhaps got a contract for aggregate for roads, but possibly running out of quarry material?

    • OpenSourceElectricity says:

      Usually for similar constructions with the upper reservoir on a hilltop, the upper reservoir includes a dam around it, the material for this is either taken from the upper or the lower reservoir.

  19. 1saveenergy says:

    ” it involves digging another big hole in the ground.”

    & then another one to bury all the spoil from the first one.

  20. Pingback: The Bingham Canyon pumped hydro project – by far the world’s largest, but still much too small. | Energy Matters

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