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MG ZS EV
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This has been the year when power generation became coal free, well almost, and looking at the peak of renewable electricity generation it has reduced gas generation to 4 GW for hours on some days. So as a bystander I have been musing as to when gas might get switched off. I’ll take a punt on 14 April 2025.
 

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Are we looking for gas free for an hour?
I'm going optimistic an hour without gas in 2023. Let's say May11th.

April 2025 seems plausible. I'm curious. Why April, why not a summer day with wind in the years beforehand? Or just a very windy night once we have all the interconnects sorted. Are you looking for wind plus melting snow in Norway so full hydro reservoirs?

I can see gas was down to 2.6GW a couple of times last month, but only at 3AM when it's windy...
There are times when Scotland and the north of England are already gas free, but further south we are a way from that. Maybe when all the new North Sea wind kicks in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Are we looking for gas free for an hour?
I'm going optimistic an hour without gas in 2023. Let's say May11th.

April 2025 seems plausible. I'm curious. Why April, why not a summer day with wind in the years beforehand? Or just a very windy night once we have all the interconnects sorted. Are you looking for wind plus melting snow in Norway so full hydro reservoirs?

I can see gas was down to 2.6GW a couple of times last month, but only at 3AM when it's windy...
There are times when Scotland and the north of England are already gas free, but further south we are a way from that. Maybe when all the new North Sea wind kicks in.
Yes gas off for an hour, but given the problems switching power stations on and off quickly, I think they will not bother for an hour but half a day, that would be different!

And I was betting on a windy early Sunday afternon.
 

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My money is on 3am Sunday 27 November 2022, just when the first winter storm of the season passes through the North Sea. It'll happen in Oct/Nov imo because they install the offshore wind farms in the better summer weather, so those months will be the first chance for any new farms to catch the breeze.

There's technical issues caused on the grid by not having enough old fashioned spinning turbines - look at the Drax website, it has lots of interesting background stuff like that, so I don't know if that might delay things because we have pretty much no storage for now.
 

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My money is on 3am Sunday 27 November 2022, just when the first winter storm of the season passes through the North Sea. It'll happen in Oct/Nov imo because they install the offshore wind farms in the better summer weather, so those months will be the first chance for any new farms to catch the breeze.

There's technical issues caused on the grid by not having enough old fashioned spinning turbines - look at the Drax website, it has lots of interesting background stuff like that, so I don't know if that might delay things because we have pretty much no storage for now.
I think it's entirely plausible that winter wind could create sufficient power to overcome the 3AM demand. It'll be interesting to see how they regulate the frequency without all the Gas, but maybe hydro and biomass could fill that gap.
 

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MG EZS 2020
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It'll be interesting to see how they regulate the frequency without all the Gas, but maybe hydro and biomass could fill that gap.
Isn't that where Gridserve come in? The main point of their hub(s) is to smooth out the grid. It looks like EV charging is a bonus outcome of their main business.
 

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Biomass already does. We burn a lot of imported wood chippings - very clean🙄. There are new developments in nuclear that should allow them to match demand closer using thermal (liquid salts) storage. Thermal storage in peoples homes (yes storage heaters) can also level up demand. Wind, clearly is too unreliable and therfore gas will be needed well beyond 2026. Hydrogen is a gas so this too could replace natural gas. Solar is pretty much an irrelevance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Biomass already does. We burn a lot of imported wood chippings - very clean🙄. There are new developments in nuclear that should allow them to match demand closer using thermal (liquid salts) storage. Thermal storage in peoples homes (yes storage heaters) can also level up demand. Wind, clearly is too unreliable and therfore gas will be needed well beyond 2026. Hydrogen is a gas so this too could replace natural gas. Solar is pretty much an irrelevance.
Not sure that solar is an irrelevance, it peaks at near 10 GW and is still being developed. Double sided panels in zig zag vertical arrays and there is a Finnish outfit selling domestic trackers which vastly improve the time throughout the day at peak power. Wind is intermittent but watch out for the Crown Estate Scotland’s new bidding round which could bring in the area to the west of Orkney and Shetland where it is always windy. Rolls Royce mini nuclear reactors probably use the same principles as reactors in nuclear submarines which are capable of going from idling to peak power in seconds, but the cost of clean up remains a big issue. There are a bunch of nuclear submarines in Devonport that are ‘cooling’, more likely that the bottoms will rust and the reactors will have to be recovered from the bottom of the harbour!
It is all going to be about time of use in the end with hydrogen and fertiliser production soaking up big surpluses and not being produced at calm times.
it is quite conceivable that there could be 50 GW of wind turbines by 2030/2. Some of the old onshore turbines will come to the end of their life and the wind farms will be ‘repowered’ so old turbines and towers rated at up to 2 MW will be replaced by 4 MW machines. This is already happening in a limited way where permission is being granted for removal of a few old to provide extensions to existing farms. Similarly the earliest offshore wind farms will be due to be replaced 2030 onwards and the speed of improvement there has been astonishing. SSE will be using 14 MW machines in the Dogger Bank wind farm and folks may not have noticed the sleight of hand, they were awarded cfds at about 4p a kWh for 454 MW of the Seagreen farm but are building over 1050 MW at that site, the remainder without any support.
Of course floating wind will become very important, sea bed conditions have precluded wind farms off Wales, early development got halted when poor conditions for piling were found.
Development is required for the flexing of high voltage cables and anchoring systems in harsh (very windy therefore excellent) conditions for floating wind.
The published data on offshore development takes some studying, The Crown Estate leases the seabed and it can take time for proposals to be worked up to the point where it becomes known what developers want to build. Then planning gets in the way, both offshore and onshore including the need to cater for birds, whales, low flying military aircraft and ex American presidents! But over 3 GW is currently being built, another 8 GW is in the approved category some 4-5 GW of extensions to existing wind farms is in the planning and pre approval stage and over 8 GW in feasibility stages. Another 20 GW of offshore leases are coming up for auction in the next 12 months. The wider the placing of the wind farms the less likely for there to be a total calm.
 

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The biggest issues with moving to wind and solar only is the lack of inertia and how they would bring the grid back up from a black start. My current understanding is wind turbines and Solar cannot provide either. I know they’re experimenting with solar inverters for frequency regulation but inertia and black starts would still be a problem unless there has been a solution or they plan to use the nukes to do that initially.
 

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The biggest issues with moving to wind and solar only is the lack of inertia and how they would bring the grid back up from a black start. My current understanding is wind turbines and Solar cannot provide either. I know they’re experimenting with solar inverters for frequency regulation but inertia and black starts would still be a problem unless there has been a solution or they plan to use the nukes to do that initially.
Wind turbines on their own can't provide inertia or black start, that's for sure. I'm interested in the Highview project where they're building a 50MW/250MWh unit near Manchester. That's a liquid air energy storage system which can potentially join the inertia market as well as providing back up for when the wind's not blowing. Not sure if it will meet the criteria for black start though.
 

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The Nat Grid is aiming to be able to run gas free if only for minutes by 2025 i believe. But thats only could,not will,nor will it choose to. The biggest threat to the grid is power stations dropping out suddenly, transformers tripping and transmission cables falling over and therefore there is always multiple just in case plans to cover most eventualities. This will frequently involve running plants at " tick over" to keep warm etc.

This year the grid payed Sizewell B ? to reduce output (at great expense) even when at that time we were still importing leccy and constraining wind production presumably because the grid could not have responded in case of an outage.

Not a simple case of supply=demand as reliability is paramount.

The grid is investing in storage and synchronous generators for frequency stabalisation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The Nat Grid is aiming to be able to run gas free if only for minutes by 2025 i believe. But thats only could,not will,nor will it choose to. The biggest threat to the grid is power stations dropping out suddenly, transformers tripping and transmission cables falling over and therefore there is always multiple just in case plans to cover most eventualities. This will frequently involve running plants at " tick over" to keep warm etc.

This year the grid payed Sizewell B ? to reduce output (at great expense) even when at that time we were still importing leccy and constraining wind production presumably because the grid could not have responded in case of an outage.

Not a simple case of supply=demand as reliability is paramount.

The grid is investing in storage and synchronous generators for frequency stabalisation.
The electric mountain in Wales is capable of black starts in seconds. We need a few more of them.... pity we don’t have the geography for them. Having said that an engineer was mooting a massive man made loch in Scotland to cope with the issue and days on end of calm.
 

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Wind turbines on their own can't provide inertia or black start, that's for sure. I'm interested in the Highview project where they're building a 50MW/250MWh unit near Manchester. That's a liquid air energy storage system which can potentially join the inertia market as well as providing back up for when the wind's not blowing. Not sure if it will meet the criteria for black start though.
Irrelevant. We have pumped hydro with proven Grid scale black start capacity not some silly little toy air turbine.
 

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Irrelevant. We have pumped hydro with proven Grid scale black start capacity not some silly little toy air turbine.
Our pumped hydro capacity is a woeful 3GW max and even then can’t sustain that for long so surely insufficient for a full black start for the grid. And also, what happens if the grid needs a restart when it’s already used most of its storage in the top reservoir? With no grid, it can’t refill and therefore just as useless.
 

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Our pumped hydro capacity is a woeful 3GW max and even then can’t sustain that for long so surely insufficient for a full black start for the grid. And also, what happens if the grid needs a restart when it’s already used most of its storage in the top reservoir? With no grid, it can’t refill and therefore just as useless.
Freddy comes over a bit trolly, hence my somewhat grumpy response to his contribution.

I'm no expert on the grid, but I've read that both Dinorwig and Cruachan have black start as part of their contracted obligations to the grid. There's an interview on the Drax web site (at least, I think it was) where they talk about the pumped storage site providing "local" power to get their part of the grid back up and that the rest of the grid would then be brought back to life in phases once the gas plants are running again.
 

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My current understanding is wind turbines and Solar cannot provide either.
This will frequently involve running plants at " tick over" to keep warm etc.
The electric mountain in Wales is capable of black starts in seconds. We need a few more of them.... pity we don’t have the geography for them
Isn't this where batteries would be the answer. The one in Australia did this in milliseconds and only those in the know noticed it. It wasn't until it hit the news that the general public found out.
 

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Isn't this where batteries would be the answer. The one in Australia did this in milliseconds and only those in the know noticed it. It wasn't until it hit the news that the general public found out.
Batteries have a role to play, but as the gap to be bridged gets bigger then other technologies become more attractive. This graphic gives a sense for that:
138304

So batteries are more for low capacity, low discharge rate scenarios, although they do have very fast response time and also have a role to play in frequency regulation.
 

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Yeah, that makes sense. Eventually you'd need battery packs the size of skyscrapers. :unsure:
 
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