Network Rail draws up list of ‘no regret’ electrification schemes - New Civil Engineer

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A0wen

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Logistics just doesn’t work that way. If it were, the size of the hubs would be enormous, and various products would have much delayed transit, pushing the price up for everyone.

HGVs are a difficult nut to crack, but I suspect green hydrogen may be the answer here’s in the short medium term until battery technology moves on.

Absolutely agree batteries aren't the answer on HGVs - weight being the key issue. You can already see this issue with cars, where to use a practical example the Hyundai Ioniq as a hybrid has a minimum kerb weight of 1359kg, as a battery a minimum kerb weight of 1420kg and as a plug in hybrid of 1495kg - whereas an equivalent Ford Focus has a minimum kerb weight of 1235kg - so a weight increase of 10-20% - that's not going to be acceptable for HGVs to increase their weight by that much.
 
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quantinghome

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But we do have to find a way of storing low carbon energy in this country, in much larger quantities than we do now. As I’ve said before, batteries are likely to be a big part of the answer, especially as they can be very local, and thus ease many of the local network capacity issues.
Hydrogen storage in depleted reservoirs and solution mined salt caverns would provide sufficient capacity. The former provides the large scale capacity for seasonal variation - it's estimated that you'd only need three North Sea reservoirs to achieve this. Then salt caverns (which are presently used to store natural gas) can be used for more short term fluctuations.
 

AM9

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Absolutely agree batteries aren't the answer on HGVs - weight being the key issue. You can already see this issue with cars, where to use a practical example the Hyundai Ioniq as a hybrid has a minimum kerb weight of 1359kg, as a battery a minimum kerb weight of 1420kg and as a plug in hybrid of 1495kg - whereas an equivalent Ford Focus has a minimum kerb weight of 1235kg - so a weight increase of 10-20% - that's not going to be acceptable for HGVs to increase their weight by that much.
There is a difference in that the gross weight of a car is not that much more than it's tare weight whereas a 44 tonne GVW truck might have a tare weight as low as 15 tonnes. So an increase in weight froma battery is a lower proportion of the gross weight. In addition to that, air resistance is less of an issue with a truck if only because the maximum speed is lower.
 

A0wen

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There is a difference in that the gross weight of a car is not that much more than it's tare weight whereas a 44 tonne GVW truck might have a tare weight as low as 15 tonnes. So an increase in weight froma battery is a lower proportion of the gross weight. In addition to that, air resistance is less of an issue with a truck if only because the maximum speed is lower.

Yeah - but if you have a heavier tractor unit due to batteries, you'll reduce the cargo weight. So you'll end up with heavier tractor units and lower capacity trailers to keep within the weight, which in turn will lead to more vehicle movements.
 

HSTEd

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This rather assumes that it eventually restarts. It hasn't generated since September 2018 owing to ongoing faults and the restart date is continually put back.

There are many many billions of pounds to be made returning it to service.
All AGRs will eventually run until they have exhausted their core fluence lifetime.

Bridges are an obvious problem. Vehicles can be up to 16'6" high and most motorway bridges are only a very few inches higher.
At the low ~670V proposed, electrical clearances are functionally contact clearances though, so its not a showstopper.
 
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Agreed, hence we need more of them; 1 about to be commissioned (IFA2), and three more under construction (Elec Link, North Sea Link, Viking Link), and more planned.
Im not adverse to them at all but largely they've been on import most of there lives as im guessing those that operate them can source cheaper power in Europe to undercut a lot of UK generators. Whats not clear to me is when we get to the 30GW of wind power and we have excess generation will that be competitively priced so they are in export mode?

Personally until we have an integrated European grid run to minimise CO2 this highly interconnected system may well not be as beneficial as it ought to be.
 

Bald Rick

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Bridges are an obvious problem. Vehicles can be up to 16'6" high and most motorway bridges are only a very few inches higher.

The wires coming down onto a public highway is a rather more difficult one to solve. It’s not a controlled environment, like the railway, and getting them back up will mean closing the road (at least part of it).
 
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Bald Rick

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Whats not clear to me is when we get to the 30GW of wind power and we have excess generation will that be competitively priced so they are in export mode?

We regularly have excess generation now - wind farms are routinely paid (at their strike rate) for switching off from the grid on windy nights, weekend mornings and daytime in summer. We also export regularly at competitive rates - wind power is effectively free due to the strike price arrangements - they get paid for it whether it is sent to the grid or not. Therefore selling it via the interconnectors is always worhwhile, so long as someone wants to buy!

For most of yesterday we were selling to France when the wholesale rate was £60-80/MWh, today we’re importing and the rate is less than £50/MWh.
 

Greybeard33

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The wires coming down onto a public highway is a rather more difficult one to solve. It’s not a controlled environment, like the railway, and getting them back up will mean closing the road (at least part of it).
So similar to what happens now when there is an accident/fuel spill/fire that damages the road surface.

As with wires down on the railway, the initial action would be to clear them off the road, then return at a quiet time to string them back up. Meanwhile vehicles would use batteries to traverse the affected area.
 
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We regularly have excess generation now - wind farms are routinely paid (at their strike rate) for switching off from the grid on windy nights, weekend mornings and daytime in summer. We also export regularly at competitive rates - wind power is effectively free due to the strike price arrangements - they get paid for it whether it is sent to the grid or not. Therefore selling it via the interconnectors is always worhwhile, so long as someone wants to buy!

For most of yesterday we were selling to France when the wholesale rate was £60-80/MWh, today we’re importing and the rate is less than £50/MWh.
The windfarms maybe getting paid but lets be clear that's by the consumer not exported to another country who would be paying us cash. Last year Scottish Windfarms received £230m in constraint payments this is absolutely ludicrous so why aren't we selling electricity to Europe at £1/MWH? Well that's because the grid has too many constraints and unless the transmission system is going to be enhanced the interconnectors will always be largely in import mode if we aren't careful.

Im totally for windpower but we need a proper national strategy that ensures when the wind is blowing we can use the energy not pay developers to profit it from it along with the waste in resources and CO2 expended to make them only for them to stand idle. The railway industry would be castigated if it operated this way.
 

Bald Rick

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The windfarms maybe getting paid but lets be clear that's by the consumer not exported to another country who would be paying us cash. Last year Scottish Windfarms received £230m in constraint payments this is absolutely ludicrous so why aren't we selling electricity to Europe at £1/MWH? Well that's because the grid has too many constraints and unless the transmission system is going to be enhanced the interconnectors will always be largely in import mode if we aren't careful.

Well, yes, but some of those constraints are interconnector capacity. Some of it is also that with the French having so much “nucléaire”, they are generating at essentially nil cost at low demand times, so there no need to buy any off us at that time at even the lowest rates. That will change as their power demand grows (which it is).
 

HSTEd

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Well, yes, but some of those constraints are interconnector capacity. Some of it is also that with the French having so much “nucléaire”, they are generating at essentially nil cost at low demand times, so there no need to buy any off us at that time at even the lowest rates. That will change as their power demand grows (which it is).

Indeed EDF has often calculated that the effective marginal rate of their reactor park is negative as attempting to load follow causes more extra maintenance costs than it saves in fuel costs.

They now only really load follow for system stability purposes.
 

158756

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Well, yes, but some of those constraints are interconnector capacity. Some of it is also that with the French having so much “nucléaire”, they are generating at essentially nil cost at low demand times, so there no need to buy any off us at that time at even the lowest rates. That will change as their power demand grows (which it is).

How often are we actually exporting 4GW (the combined capacity of the interconnectors to France, Belgium and the Netherlands, 3GW if the latter isn't working at the moment)? Very rarely it seems to me. So I'm not sure how much interonnector capacity matters here.

If interconnectors are intended to reduce our carbon footprint it seems likely the new Norwegian and Danish links will be used mostly for imports as well. If the German one is built it will be interesting to see on how many 'coal free' days we import power while their lignite plants are running.
 

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Yeah - but if you have a heavier tractor unit due to batteries, you'll reduce the cargo weight. So you'll end up with heavier tractor units and lower capacity trailers to keep within the weight, which in turn will lead to more vehicle movements.
I'd suggest that since the road haulage industry has successfully managed to get GVW increased over past decades the actual limiting factor now is overwhelmingly length.
The construction and use regulations effectively limit the length of a tractor and trailer combination due to the turning circle requirements which are a factor imposed due to the infrastructure upon which they operate ie UK roads.
Thus the additional weight of the tractor unit (due to batteries) is not quite such a problem as it might seem at first glance.
Hypothetically it might even be beneficial (or not) for trailers to carry some batteries on their own chassis for weight distribution reasons which would be connected to the tractor unit.
 

Bald Rick

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How often are we actually exporting 4GW (the combined capacity of the interconnectors to France, Belgium and the Netherlands, 3GW if the latter isn't working at the moment)? Very rarely it seems to me. So I'm not sure how much interonnector capacity matters here.

Fair point.
 
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How often are we actually exporting 4GW (the combined capacity of the interconnectors to France, Belgium and the Netherlands, 3GW if the latter isn't working at the moment)? Very rarely it seems to me. So I'm not sure how much interonnector capacity matters here.

If interconnectors are intended to reduce our carbon footprint it seems likely the new Norwegian and Danish links will be used mostly for imports as well. If the German one is built it will be interesting to see on how many 'coal free' days we import power while their lignite plants are running.
Im pretty confident they never have and never will as there isn't the spare transmission capacity in the SE to support that level of energy transfer on top of domestic demand and when Dungeness goes that will only exacerbate the issue. The i/c's are a way of the UK avoiding the issues of locating generators near to load centres and claiming we have low carbon generation but how much risk are we taking with security of supply here? Many EU countries are accelerating there removal of coal from the system and at the same time pushing EV's as well so I can see a shortfall of generation looming in Northern Europe especially on cold mid winters day when a high depression reduces wind output.

Anyhow one things for sure it must be great challenge being in NG control these days.
 

themiller

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How often are we actually exporting 4GW (the combined capacity of the interconnectors to France, Belgium and the Netherlands, 3GW if the latter isn't working at the moment)? Very rarely it seems to me. So I'm not sure how much interonnector capacity matters here.

If interconnectors are intended to reduce our carbon footprint it seems likely the new Norwegian and Danish links will be used mostly for imports as well. If the German one is built it will be interesting to see on how many 'coal free' days we import power while their lignite plants are running.
Don’t forget the links to the island of Ireland. Sometimes power is imported from continental Europe and passes through to the Emerald Isle without affecting the British mainland.
 

Irascible

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Bridges are an obvious problem. Vehicles can be up to 16'6" high and most motorway bridges are only a very few inches higher.

Not sure why anyone is considering overhead wires, that surely has to be an idea to get people talking rather than any practical consideration. Burying loops under the road next time it's resurfaced would solve the primary infrastructure issues, and they don't need to be continuous ( and if you really wanted, you could drop guidance loops down there too ). I'm sure there's other more practical ideas too.
 

moggie

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We regularly have excess generation now - wind farms are routinely paid (at their strike rate) for switching off from the grid on windy nights, weekend mornings and daytime in summer. We also export regularly at competitive rates - wind power is effectively free due to the strike price arrangements - they get paid for it whether it is sent to the grid or not. Therefore selling it via the interconnectors is always worhwhile, so long as someone wants to buy!

For most of yesterday we were selling to France when the wholesale rate was £60-80/MWh, today we’re importing and the rate is less than £50/MWh.
On a 'good' day (for wind) perhaps. But just when you need it most;

 

HSTEd

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Not sure why anyone is considering overhead wires, that surely has to be an idea to get people talking rather than any practical consideration.
... Why?

Burying loops under the road next time it's resurfaced would solve the primary infrastructure issues, and they don't need to be continuous ( and if you really wanted, you could drop guidance loops down there too ). I'm sure there's other more practical ideas too.

What?
You want to install an unproven wireless power transfer system inside a heavy duty road surface, and this is somehow more practical than a proven technology like low voltage DC overhead wires?
 

Irascible

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You want to install an unproven wireless power transfer system inside a heavy duty road surface, and this is somehow more practical than a proven technology like low voltage DC overhead wires?

Induction charging for well used road routes has been around for years - quite a lot are plates to recharge temporarily stationary vehicles, but there are a bunch of trial schemes for loops for moving vehicles so it's about as proven as the rest of these schemes. There's also a bunch of trials using embedded direct contact conductors which I'm a bit dubious about ( especially on a motorway ).

Has there been an overhead line installation on a high speed road somewhere? I can find a bunch of pantograph installs for stationary charging.
 

HSTEd

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Has there been an overhead line installation on a high speed road somewhere? I can find a bunch of pantograph installs for stationary charging.
There are several prototype roads in use, including this 10km section of what I think is the A5 Autobahn (not sure if its the road in the picture but I know a section has been fitted out)

Here's another better photo of a test section in Germany, not sure if it's the A5.
Also this is not a particularly "high speed" regime, as all the vehicles that would be using it are now required to be limited to 90km/h anyway.

Fundamentally the roadside equipment is just a hybrid of a trolleybus/tram setup and is almost entirely conventional.
The difficulty is on the lorry keeping the pantographs on the wire and avoiding shredding the equipment if it comes off - obviously the relatively crude ADD on a train is not really suitable here as it would shred the equipment whenever the lorry driver forget to lower the pan assenbly before changing lanes.
 
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Irascible

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The difficulty is on the lorry keeping the pantographs on the wire and avoiding shredding the equipment if it comes off - obviously the relatively crude ADD on a train is not really suitable here as it would shred the equipment whenever the lorry driver forget to lower the pan assenbly before changing lanes.

There are automated systems for detecting ( performing too ) lane changes, but I'm not sure how reliable they are - and it only takes one error to cause something fairly catastrophic there, which is one thing I really don't like about the idea. Wear in an environment where the vehicles are less constrained than a rail installation ( vertical as well as lateral movement ) seems like it'd be an issue, and an obvious one is that cars & lighter vehicles can't use the system either. On the other hand it's relatively cheap to install, I guess. Maintenance though?

Mass installs of charging loops/plates at service stations would be a start. If driving hours regulations were adjusted for more frequent shorter breaks that might not even cause that much disruption. ( Edit: now I check the rules they're more flexible than I remembered anyway ).
 
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Bald Rick

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Article in Telegraph today says Essar plans ("which will depend on government support", whatever that means) to invest £750m in producing hydrogen using natural gases and fuel gases from its refinery in Cheshire, and that the carbon produced will be captured and stored in reservoirs in Liverpool bay using Johnson Matthey and SNC-Lavalin tech.

Does such carbon capture tech exist in a commercially useable form?
 

HSTEd

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Does such carbon capture tech exist in a commercially useable form?

Does "commercially useable" include sucking down vast amounts of subsidy money on a commercial basis?

Then yes, otherwise no.
 
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Yep that was a big spike last week. But it’s only a few weeks ago wholesale electricity prices were negative. Hence the need for more interconnectors to help smooth supply.
Or as tonight help us out of a generation shortfall with all i/c's on import as wind is low and DRAX has two units off line so we are paying a premium for that EU power yet when we have a surplus of wind generation we pay the owners to switch them off. So we get little offset to imported costs and we double down by paying out constraint payments.

The simple fact is the cross channel i/c's are leveraged to import as we have a generation deficit in the SE in the winter months and IFA2 will just give EU more opportunity to bid in cheap electricity.

When the North Sea Link is commissioned there ought to be an opportunity to reduce constraint payments as the grid can facilitate excess export power in the NE so hopefully Norway will see the benefit of preserving its hydro resources by taking cheap wind power when its on offer.
 

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Yep that was a big spike last week. But it’s only a few weeks ago wholesale electricity prices were negative. Hence the need for more interconnectors to help smooth supply.
Concerning, when the 'continentals' also replace their generating capability with similar renewable sources.

It has always been the case that at certain times in deepest winter we have periods of 'blocking High Pressure' weather systems. Tonight we have circa 25GW from a demand of 43GW being generated by CCGT + Coal + OCGT - 58%. Wind is contributing 8% - 3.5GW of the demand. Interconnectors 9%. No matter how much more wind capacity we build, which will be used to remove 'dirty' generating capability, when we have these common High Pressure weather systems much of the wind capacity is rendered temporarily redundant. That's going to be one hell of a lot of interconnector capability needed to step up and that's assuming the continent has the power. Energy storage will be part of the solution but far from the whole solution. Meanwhile as coal is finally removed from the landscape and Gas becomes marginalised one can only conclude based on the evidence of the market that the wild spikes in energy costs could well become even more extreme than now. But of course we'll have 'new Nuclear' to fall back on?

One wonders what the future additional electricity demand from mass EV road, domestic energy and other industrial / transport electrification will do to increase what already looks like a perilous gap when the renewables can't contribute?
 

themiller

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Government appears to be holding back the tidal sector which could generate about 9% of the country’s requirements from a Severn barrage which could be balanced by several smaller schemes around the Irish Sea. Before anyone says that generation would stop at slack water (or any other tidal state) the tides around the Irish Sea are out of phase with those at a Severn barrage so could generate pretty much constantly.
 
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