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Renewable energy: Could floating turbines power our homes?

BBC News

Wales currently meets about 50% of its needs from renewable sources, including solar and wind. Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to see fixed offshore wind farms power UK homes by 2030, while Plaid Cymru believes Wales could be self-sustainable through renewables by then. But how big a part could turbines floating off the Welsh coast play? A 96 megawatt (MW) wind farm capable of powering ...


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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Nov 16, 2020

"Renewable energy: Could floating turbines power our homes?"

Sure, whenever the wind is blowing. The Welsh people, however, will discovert the wind isn't as sustainable as their need for electricity.

Charley Rattan's picture
Charley Rattan on Nov 19, 2020

With the Nuclear 'Wylfa' plant closed for a couple of years and presumably being decomissioned at considerable public expsense then  high -wind sites off the Wesl coast are a great alternative  This is especially true when they are coupled with potential  hydrogen generation and offer a realistic way forward for the Welsh people.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Nov 19, 2020

Charley, "presume" all you like. Hitachi has progressive plans for revitalizing Wylfa with a new 2.3 GW nuclear plant - one that will provide at least twenty times the clean electricity of your windfarm, whether the wind is blowing or not. When it isn't, your windfarm will be powering exactly 0 Welsh homes:

"Wylfa Newydd is a plan for a nuclear plant in north Wales. As nuclear plants go in the UK, it is a big one.

It represents a real economic opportunity for north Wales to grow and would create about 9,000 jobs for people during construction.

There are plans to build two to three power plants at Wylfa in Anglesey and another in Gloucestershire, producing nuclear energy in the 2020s.

It is a huge chance for young people to get highly skilled, well paid work and for businesses in north Wales to grow."

Realistically, forcing the Welsh people to rely on wind  to power 21st-century businesses would be a huge step backward.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Nov 20, 2020

What's happening in the real world when it comes to UK nuclear... The last couple of years have not been good.

How are things going in 2020 - even worse.  

Latest from EDF.

Will nuclear in UK ever get back to the 72TWh of generation that it had in 2016?  Maybe - maybe not -

EDF confirms Hinkley Point B to be shut down earlier than planned

Cracks in reactor’s graphite core leads to decision to begin process no later than July 2022

The shutdown was scheduled for 2023, but cracks were discovered in the graphite core of the reactor.

Matt Sykes, the managing director of EDF Generation, said an inspection of Hinkley Point B’s graphite blocks revealed they were “in exactly the sort of condition” expected after 40 years of generating electricity.

The power plant, which has been Britain’s most productive and whose operational life was extended, is offline for further inspections and is scheduled to return to service next year, pending approval from Britain’s nuclear safety watchdog.

EDF had expected the shutdown to take place after the start-up of Hinkley Point C, the first new nuclear power plant being built in the UK in a generation, which was originally due to begin generating electricity “well before 2020”.

However, the scheduled start date has been delayed to between 2025 and 2026 owing to slow progress in agreeing with the government a guaranteed price for the electricity produced.

One thing we know for sure - offshore wind generation in the UK will "blow past" nuclear generation over the next couple of years and by 2030 it will far surpass total nuclear generation in the UK.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Nov 20, 2020

"One thing we know for sure - offshore wind generation in the UK will "blow past" nuclear generation over the next couple of years and by 2030 it will far surpass total nuclear generation in the UK."

That would be hilarious, if it wasn't so predictable. In the last month alone:

UK government could take stake in Sizewell nuclear power station
UK to approve new nuclear plant at Sizewell C ahead of White Paper: report
Rolls-Royce plans 16 mini-nuclear plants for UK
UK includes new nuclear in 'green industrial revolution'
Nuclear: $700m (£525m) towards new plants, including small modular reactors

(tell me when to stop!...)




Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Nov 21, 2020

Love it Bob... when you make a statement/take a stance. If only I could take whatever you say and bet against it in Vegas. Dang.

Let's start off with where things stand now:

1) I assume you know that wind generation overall - onshore/offshore  - already passed nuclear in 2019.  You knew that - right?

In 2019, wind generators became the UK’s second largest source of electricity, providing 64 TWh; almost one fifth of the UK’s total generation. This was achieved by record onshore and offshore generation despite suboptimal conditions for wind, with 2019 reporting the lowest average wind speeds since 2012.

2) As I showed above nuclear is down again so far in 2020. Wind generation on the other hand was up by about 30% over the first half of the year. Offshore wind was up about 40%.

3) my guesstimate for 2020 generation is that nuclear generation will beat out offshore wind - but not by much - maybe 8-10 TWh. Of course overall wind generation will be far ahead of nuclear.

The question really becomes - will offshore wind pass nuclear in 2021 or 2022 ?

 UK currently has 10GW of offshore wind and it provided 14% of UK electricity for first half of 2020. Unlike your nuclear list above - there are multiple offshore projects already under constuction with more scheduled to start over the next 2-3 years. The longer-term goal - is for 40GW of offshore wind by 2030.  This would mean that offshore wind would go from about 40TWh in 2020 to 160TWh in 2030. Like I said - it will blow past nuclear.

What's going on with nuclear?

We will have Hinckley C going live by 2025/26. That should help offset the multiple closings scheduled over the next few years - Hinkley B, Hunterston B, Heysham 1 and Hartlepol.  See below.

Sizewell might get completed by 2030. That would help offset the shutdowns later in the decade -Heyshawn 2, Dungeness B and Torness. 

So basicaly we will have nuclear staying relatively flat over the next decade - maybe dropping further?

Hopefully we will see some of those small nuclear reactors - that you mention- go live in the UK by 2030. They could help eliminate the small amount of NG that will be left on grid by then.


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