The diagram illustrates my 5 to 10-year plan (was for “2020” when first published in 2015, but for 2021 to 2026 may be more realistic in 2016), featuring
“Wind” – wind turbines (and other intermittent renewables such as solar) to a total 42GW maximum power (supplies 6GW at 14.3% power) – (7.3GW already installed, in 2017) + 34.7GW cost £51 (onshore prices) to £85 billion (offshore prices).
Total pumped-storage power – 6GW, energy stored 216GWh, – cost £5.8 to £8 billion – illustrated as two components –
* “Pumped-storage” (new hydro-turbo-pumps, new reservoirs)
* “Hydro + pumped-storage” (existing conventional hydro upgraded with new hydro-pumps, bigger reservoirs)
“Peterhead gas” – burning hydrogen gas (H2) from power to gas
“Longannet bio-mass” – 2.4 GW (upgraded with handling for bio-mass fuel such as wood) 1.
“Cockenzie gas CCGT” – 1GW (new build) – H2, cost less than £1 billion 2.
Hunterston B nuclear (as today)
Torness nuclear (as today)
Such a plan – total cost £60 – £100 billion, £12 – £20 billion/year for 5 years (or £6 to £10 billion/year for 10 years) can be afforded as UK deficit spending, – offers
* 100% renewable power generation, even during periods of no-wind
* The option to decommission the nuclear power stations at a future date as and when convenient
* Exceptional flexibility to cope with all circumstances
* No requirement to import power from England
* Up to 36GW of intermittent wind power for export, power-to-gas etc.
* more energy for heating 3. and transport too
Diagram adapted from one by Euan Mearns of Energy Matters (and no, I am not he!)
Modelling (see next post) proves that this plan copes well with a 92-day period of low wind recorded in summer 2014.
- Longannet coal-fired power station was decommissioned in March 2016 and a contractor with plans in place to demolish Longannet has since been appointed. So it is too late to “upgrade” the plant to biomass burning. Nevertheless, Scotland still needs additional biomass-burning generating capacity for the lowest-cost transition to 100% renewable energy. The best sites for big new-build biomass power stations are sites on the coast which are conveniently close to a deep water port to facilitate import of biomass fuel from overseas.
- I should mention the smarter option of localising multiple smaller electrolysis, hydrogen gas storage and gas-fired power stations each of which to be sited in association with the larger wind farms.
Localised power-to-gas with gas-to-power has the distinct advantage of being able to use much more of the available surplus wind power above and beyond the limit of surplus power which the grid has the capacity to transmit.
Possibly the way to invest in wind farm on-site power-to-gas and gas-to-power would be to offer grants and subsidies to wind farm operators to install such plant on site.
- See the comment below discussing using electricity and renewable energy hydrogen for heating, suggesting combining air source heat pumps with hydrogen gas network supplied gas boilers for central heating systems.