Renew On Line (UK) 58

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue 158 Nov-Dec 2005

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. Decentral power:
Greenpeace  proposals

2. Farm Power:
Biofuels delays

CHP to backup wind

4. Welsh Renewables: 
Wind plan

5.  BETTA hurts Scotland:
but H2 CCS project emerges 

 6. Going for Micro power:
the Low Carbon programme

7. UK Energy Roundup:
getting there slowly

8. UK Climate Policy:
Blair changes tune?

9. UK Energy Policy Developments:
How not the cut carbon

10. News  from around the world:
US beats EU?

11.World Policy Roundup:
G8 on Climate change

12. Nuclear News:
US, UK, Australia and Russia

CHP to backup wind

A new EU backed research project involving the University of Birmingham  seeks to demonstrate how combined heat and power (CHP) can solve intermittency problems of fluctuating renewable energy sources. An international consortium of universities, research institutes and software companies has been awarded a major grant under the EU’s sixth Research Framework Programme to work in a number of EU countries, including the UK. The University of Birmingham will work with engineering company PB Power to demonstrate the Danish-inspired technique to integrate intermittent sources such as wind power into the British electricity grid.

Gas-fired CHP (as widely used in Denmark), involves the simultaneous production of electricity and heat, and reduces CO2 emissions compared to conventional electricity production. However it can also be much more flexible in helping the electricity grid in coping with intermittent supplies of renewable energy than conventional power stations. Now a new software design is being tested. The software will allow the variable ‘co-production' of electricity from wind & CHP so as to produce an even, predictable, supply of electricity. CHP, which in Denmark is usually linked to heat storage facilities, is often best optimised to furnish a heat supply. But given the heat storage capacity, the heat output can be varied without loss of supply, and the electrical output adjusted to compensate for the lack, or excess, of wind power- so you can store energy when there is too much wind and back up the grid when there is not enough. 

The DESIRE project will demonstrate co-production at three sites in the UK and spread knowledge about how the use of this technique. Advanced methods to predict changes in windspeeds will also be explored.

In addition to laying the ground work for the longer term when renewables will supply large proportions of UK electricity, the researchers say that these techniques can have short term financial advantages- alleviating the intermitency penalties imposed on wind projects by the electricity trading market.

* CHP is used in industry, offices and on housing estates with community heating. In Denmark CHP supplies around 60% of electricity, and a further 20% is supplied by wind power. The UK has around 5000 MW of CHP so far. The Government has a target of achieving 10,000 MW of electricity from CHP by the year 2010. However, there has been little recent growth in CHP, and so Government targets may not be achieved. It is hoped that this project will demonstrate both the need and the way to build up capacity of CHP with heat storage facilities in the UK- thus helping the renewable energy programme. Further info: Dr David Toke tel: 0121415 8616  e-mail

7% from wind by 2010

In response to a question in the Lords on 13th June on windpower and the UK’s 10% by 2010 renewable energy target, Lord Sainsbury, noted that current assessment suggested that ‘around 7% of electricity could be generated from on-shore and off-shore wind by 2010. Our best estimate at the moment is that 4% of that will be from on-shore wind and 3% from off-shore wind. After 2010, we expect an increasing contribution from off-shore wind and other renewable technologies such as wave and tidal.’

And in answer to a question on June 21, Lord Sainsbury reported that average load factors for onshore wind turbines in 2003, as a percentage of their rated output, was 24.1 %.  He added ‘Load factors vary from year to year and the average for the five years from 1999 to 2003 was 27.4%’.

The London Array

The London Array is a major £1.5 billion 270 turbine offshore windfarm planned for location in the Thames Estuary, 12 miles off the Kent coast- which, at its full 1GW rated power could, it is claimed, be capable of supplying a quarter of London’s electricity needs. A planning application for what would be Britain’s most ambitious green energy project was lodged with local authorities and the Government in June. Clearly there will be potential impacts on marine and bird life and the risk to shipping in the area to consider- e.g. the Port of London Authority, says that the layout presents potential navigation hazards. But if permission is granted, the first turbines would be installed in 2008, with the project due to be completed by 2011.  It would just be visible to the naked eye on a clear day from the Kent and Essex coasts.

The development is a joint venture between Shell and E.On and an Anglo-Danish company, Core. who told the Evening Standard (June 7th): “This project will supply the equivalent of a quarter of London’s domestic load and will surely, once and for all, bury the myth that wind energy is insignificant. Furthermore, it is merely the first of a number of similar-sized windpower schemes that will place the UK market at the forefront of offshore renewable energy development worldwide.”

Westmill Wind Co-op

After 4 years deliberation, the Vale of White Horse Council has given planning permission for the 6.5MW five turbineWestmill windfarm near Swidon, which will start construction next spring. The local community, through Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative, will own and operate the £6m project- with minimum shares of £250 now being on offer. 

* Camden Town Hall may have five wind turbines on its roof to generate power for the borough’s fleet of 4 electric cars plus some lights

Offshore: 5 MW turbines

Two of the giant 5MW windturbines developed by REpower Systems of Germany will be used for the Beatrice deep sea windfarm demonstrator project in 40m sea depth 25km off the coast of Scotland in Moray Firth.  The Talisman Energy/Scottish & Southern Energy led project is part of the Euro 3m ‘DOWNVInD’ (Distant Offshore Windfarms with No Visual Impact in Deepwater) project promoted by the EU and is Europe’s largest renewable energy research & technology development programme.

Wind & Birds

In a study reported in the journal of Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (Biology Letters), researchers have claimed that previous estimates of collision risk of  migrating birds with offshore wind farms have been “over-inflated”. The research project involved monitoring at Denmark’s Nysted wind farm in the Baltic Sea, which contains 72 turbines with 69m  nacelle height, which started operating in 2003. It found that birds simply fly around the farm, or between the turbines; less than 1% were in danger of colliding with the structures.

David Gibbons, RSPB’s head of conservation science, told the BBC News website ‘there’s always been concern about turbines as ‘mincer’, but this study is suggesting that the birds fly around or go through. So on the face of it, this is pretty good news for wind farms; but there are other issues when you look at the much larger farms which are coming, and different ways in which they could affect birds. The proposed London Array farm in the Thames Estuary would, for example, cover more than 200 sq km. This is a very important feeding area for the red-throated diver, which could suffer from being displaced.”

He suggested that more research was needed.

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