Fuel bills

Fjell

Member
The maths of power storage is always fun.

30GW (say half of demand in future) for a week is 5bn kW.hr, or about 350bn 18650 batteries. Which will need replacing every 10 years or so, so 35bn cells a year to replace and recycle. I wouldn?t mind getting that contract.

For scale, the National Battery(tm) above would equate to about 70 million Tesla?s.
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
As an aside, I mentioned above the various ways that my wood burning stove reduces my electricity and gas consumption. I just had an email from my electricity supplier to inform me:

"By powering your home with 100% renewable electricity you could save an average of 1 tonne of CO2 every year. That is equivalent to the carbon absorbed by 500 trees on average per year."

I chose a supplier which does only deal with electricity generated from renewables but, if I was with a company which didn't, the wood burner would effectively lower my overall CO2 emissions by quite a lot (given that I burn wood which would otherwise be left to decompose).

Also, for much of the winter, the gas central heating is turned off because the normal living space is well warmed by the (small) wood burner.

I accept Jopo's point about the other problem associated with burning wood; it's an important one. The advisability of using wood burning stoves greatly depends on the location of the property and the thought / effort put into burning only wood which is properly seasoned. Banning them outright would, in my view, be a step too far.

 

Jopo

Member
I can see them banning wood burners in some towns and cities. The pollution level in some are so high anything to reduce particulate would be a help. I am not sure if a ban would be extended to rural areas.

Jopo
 
Don't think anyone is seriously thinking that Li-ion batteries will be used for 30GW of storage; for grid scale then you are better off using hydro pumped storage, compressed air energy storage (CAES) or possibly hydrogen or ammonia. Other types of batteries (flow batteries) could be used for longer term storage, but are not yet proven at scale/cost. That said, the cost of batteries continues to come down. Finding an economical way of storing excess renewable energy over longer timescales at scale is the key, but we're not there yet.
 

andrewmcleod

Active member
It's always windy somewhere... overcapacity and transmission (even if cross-continental) is probably easier than storage.
 

PeteHall

Moderator
We've recently completed a big interconnector that links Blyth to Norway via an undersea cable. I believe it's the longest undersea cable in the world and is currently in commissioning. The theory is that renewable energy over there peaks at different times to here, so power generation/ demand can be balanced. It makes sense on paper, but I do wonder how realistic it will be to produce an intercontinental grid that actually solves the problem... The infrastructure involved is huge!

Meanwhile in the data centre industry, continuity of power is absolutely vital, so backup supplies are essential in the event of an outage. Ultimately this falls to large fossil fuel generators, but a short term supply is needed to cover the few seconds it takes for them to start up. Gridscale batteries are a common choice,  but the number of batteries required to run a data centre for even a couple of minutes is staggering.

Smoothing out peaks in demand from stored energy is one thing, but the thought of running the country's power grid off batteries for even a short time is incomprehensible.
 

Cantclimbtom

Active member
I worked somewhere that had 6 * 1 MW gens on the roof (in addition to 2 grid connections and substantial battery room) 4 were kept gently ticking over at all times and they cycled which were running and which were resting or being serviced.  They did that so they could get generation up as quick as possible. If you really really need uninterrupted supply to a building, it will cost a LOT of money ;)
It always amuses me the difference between those who have only looked at DR from a textbook and those who've actually run in DR. One place I worked they were proud of an "unstoppable" office facility but they forgot that the sewage system relied on a pump and when they had a sustained power outage with building in use, sewage started overflowing from the bogs on the 1st floor which drained into/down the main stairwell - I laughed a lot (when bosses weren't watching)
Anyhow..  power/fuel costs one thing, but depending on how uninterruptable you want it costs goes up! What if Norway has an unexpected prolonged demand at the same time as UK, maybe some extreme weather event?
You can see why ideas like Moses Kellow's Croesor dam idea get dragged up now and again, I actually heard it discussed a couple of years ago as an option. (Bad idea in my opinion, there's a whole topic about Rhyolite and seepage under dams, Grand Teton failure and all that)
 

Fjell

Member
Cantclimbtom said:
I worked somewhere that had 6 * 1 MW gens on the roof (in addition to 2 grid connections and substantial battery room) 4 were kept gently ticking over at all times and they cycled which were running and which were resting or being serviced.  They did that so they could get generation up as quick as possible. If you really really need uninterrupted supply to a building, it will cost a LOT of money ;)
It always amuses me the difference between those who have only looked at DR from a textbook and those who've actually run in DR. One place I worked they were proud of an "unstoppable" office facility but they forgot that the sewage system relied on a pump and when they had a sustained power outage with building in use, sewage started overflowing from the bogs on the 1st floor which drained into/down the main stairwell - I laughed a lot (when bosses weren't watching)
Anyhow..  power/fuel costs one thing, but depending on how uninterruptable you want it costs goes up! What if Norway has an unexpected prolonged demand at the same time as UK, maybe some extreme weather event?
You can see why ideas like Moses Kellow's Croesor dam idea get dragged up now and again, I actually heard it discussed a couple of years ago as an option. (Bad idea in my opinion, there's a whole topic about Rhyolite and seepage under dams, Grand Teton failure and all that)

Norway doesn?t have enough hydro and uses gas-fired to top it up. Obviously they have no shortage of gas, but reliably selling us non fossil-fuel power in future when most of Europe is also short is maybe not the best idea.

What I always found amusing is the Nyhamna compression trains are officially powered by hydro to make them emissions free for Norway. Whilst pumping 70 million m3 of gas a day to the UK via Langled for us to burn (about 20% of our total energy demand). Most of the gas has been coming from Ormen Lange, 3000 foot underwater, which is also electric and thus emissions free  :LOL:

For techy people, the Ormen subsea control system is completely dualled and has a real mother of a UPS behind it. It also has 7000 tonnes of antifreeze circulating to stop the gas freezing on the seabed as it is below zero there. And it cost about $20bn, this is what country-scale kit looks like.

Build a lot of nuclear, seriously.
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
This has turned into a really interesting topic: I've learned quite a lot.

Just saying . . .
 

PeteHall

Moderator
Cantclimbtom said:
I worked somewhere that had 6 * 1 MW gens on the roof
Current DC we're building has 14 3MW generators! Each has a 72 hour fuel tank.
We're just putting though a planning variation for these as we've switched from gas to diesel option, so I can share details once it's in the public domain if these sort of things interest you  :)

If you really really need uninterrupted supply to a building, it will cost a LOT of money ;)
Absolutely this!

Bit off topic from fuel bills, but it really highlights some of our priorities as a society.
    Northumberland without power for 2 weeks = no problem.
    Internet down for 10 seconds = the worlds going to end!
 

Fjell

Member
Pitlamp said:
This has turned into a really interesting topic: I've learned quite a lot.

Just saying . . .

For really really fun risk management assessment, the UK and Norwegian governments had to accept the (hopefully very small) risk that the eastern UK (in particular) would be devastated by a re-triggering of the Storegga slide as Ormen Lange is built in the middle of it and will result in movement and some compaction of the slide slope above. At a practical level, the seabed is a shitshow of house size boulders, it?s a pig.

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


 

Cantclimbtom

Active member
RobinGriffiths said:
Russian Trawlers - just sayin'.
You have much historical precedent Robin. Certainly with telecoms anyway. It's often claimed the very first act of aggression of the UK with Germany in the great war (1914) was on the seconds after the clock ticked 11pm was a boat that just happened to be passing by their subsea telegraph cables trawled them and ran for home. Currently the Russians show an peculiar interest in the seabed around cables, their survey ships in particular the Yantar, do a lot of surveying around telecoms cables, presumably coincidentally ;)
 

Loki

Member
So I bought one of those plugs that tells you how much you?re spending with a particular appliance. I put in 15p per kWh so adjust accordingly.
Full kettle boil 2p
1 loaf in bread maker 6p
Fridge 2p per day
Freezer 10p p day
30 min 30deg wash 2p
Pc on all day 20p
I was surprised to find that items such as transformers plugged in were taking 3w even if the item wasn?t plugged in at the other end of the cable.
Unfortunately I am yet to investigate the electric shower.
Hope that?s interesting.
 

tomferry

Active member
Loki said:
So I bought one of those plugs that tells you how much you?re spending with a particular appliance. I put in 15p per kWh so adjust accordingly.
Full kettle boil 2p
1 loaf in bread maker 6p
Fridge 2p per day
Freezer 10p p day
30 min 30deg wash 2p
Pc on all day 20p
I was surprised to find that items such as transformers plugged in were taking 3w even if the item wasn?t plugged in at the other end of the cable.
Unfortunately I am yet to investigate the electric shower.
Hope that?s interesting.

?36 for a freezer for a year that?s not bad value in my eyes. you probably would save that in a month on the price difference from fresh food ? My kids always eat frozen chicken burgers , nuggets etc  in comparison to fresh definitely pays for its self in my house .
 

Ian Ball

Well-known member
Post the price cap increase the unit rate will be 28p for us so ?84 for a freezer per year still seems nice.  It's efficiency will drop the more you use it though!

 

tomferry

Active member
Was talking to a mate earlier who I go mine exploring with he has stopped using gas altogether at home and is looking into if he can be cut of to remove the standing charge ? Anyone ever done this ?
 
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