SSE Renewables says the Scottish Government has granted consent for its proposed Coire Glas project, the UK’s largest newly planned hydro pumped storage scheme.
SSE Renewables says this decision marks another step toward helping Scotland and the UK deliver their net zero ambitions.
If commercially approved, Coire Glas could double the UK’s pumped storage volume capacity and provide the national grid with the low-carbon balancing flexibility needed to reduce energy costs to consumers while helping decarbonise the power system, according to a press release.
The project’s future commercial development is subject to identifying the right market investment framework.
The Coire Glas project, located near Loch Lochy in Lochaber in the Scottish Highlands, would be the UK’s first new pumped storage scheme in over 30 years.
Initially approved for a 600 MW scheme in December 2013, revised plans were submitted in April 2018 to the Scottish Government for an up-to-1500 MW scheme. The changes were designed to maximise the potential of the site and help the UK in its transition to a net zero energy system by 2050.
The newly-approved scheme would be capable of producing power for 24 hours non-stop and would have a pumped storage capacity of up to 30 GWh, SSE Renewables said.
One of the most flexible storage technologies, pumped hydro offers a number of benefits and is the most proven large-scale, long-duration storage option available. It can store surplus renewable electricity at times of low demand and provide this power back to the grid over several days.
For example, the output from Coire Glas could power around 3 million homes for up to 24 hours. This makes it an important tool to integrate the additional wind and solar power that will be built over the coming decades to help achieve the UK’s net zero targets.
Additionally, pumped storage can help relieve transmission bottlenecks and provide a wide range of grid services to the Electricity System Operator, such as restarting the system in the event of a black out.
These “black start” capabilities help provide the flexibility needed to lower the cost of balancing the national grid and thereby lower costs to consumers.
“We’re very pleased with the decision by the Scottish Government to consent the revised Coire Glas project, recognising the long-established and proven benefits pumped storage can bring to the UK’s energy system on the journey to net zero,” said Paul Cooley, SSE Renewables’ director of capital projects.
“There are still commercial hurdles to overcome for new pumped storage as to where it fits within the current market framework, and we are actively exploring potential solutions.
“In the meantime, Coire Glas remains an important development option for SSE Renewables and receiving consent is a significant step forward for the project.”
Built inside a hollowed-out mountain, one of Cruachan Power Station’s four generating units will provide the grid with support services including inertia.
This helps to keep the electricity system running at the right frequency to reduce the risk of power cuts.
It will achieve this through using a small amount of power from the grid to spin the turbine 600 times every minute offering inertia to the grid to manage changes in frequency without generating unneeded electricity.
Drax Group chief executive Will Gardiner said: “Drax is a leading provider of system support services in Great Britain. This new partnership underlines our commitment to enabling a zero carbon, lower cost energy future.
“Cruachan has played a critical role in the growth of renewables over the last decade and this new contract will enable more wind and solar power to come onto the grid in the years ahead.”
Inertia was traditionally a by-product of the kinetic energy in the spinning parts of large traditional power stations.
As the country’s electricity system has transitioned from traditional sources of power like coal to renewables, such as wind and solar, there has been an increased need to separately procure inertia to maintain stable, secure supplies of power.
Through the stability tender the ESO has procured the equivalent amount of inertia as would have been provided by around five coal-fired power stations – and in the process will save consumers up to €139m over six years.
ESO head of networks Julian Leslie added: “The GB electricity system is one of the most advanced in the world, both in terms of reliability and the levels of renewable power, and we’re really excited to be adding to that with this new approach to operating the grid.
“Our contracts for stability services with providers such as Drax are cheaper and greener, reducing emissions and saving money for electricity consumers.
“This approach – creating a market for inertia and other stability services – is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and is a huge step forward in our ambition to be able to operate the GB electricity system carbon free by 2025.”
Cruachan power station is a unique pumped hydro storage plant located in the hollowed-out Ben Cruachan mountain.
Using its reversible turbines, the station pumps water from Loch Awe to fill an upper reservoir on the mountainside at times when demand for electricity is low.
This process allows the plant to act like a giant battery to store the water for when it is needed.
When demand increases, the stored water can be released through the plant’s turbines to generate power quickly and reliably
Energy giant Drax has completed a £1 million refurbishment of a historic Stonebyres hydroelectric power station on the banks of the river Clyde which it bought from ScottishPower.
Drax said the work on the A-listed Stonebyres plant in Lanarkshire would help ensure it remains operational for years.
Stonebyres forms part of the Lanark hydro scheme, which has been in operation since 1927.
This generates enough power for 17,000 homes.
The scheme was the first large-scale hydroelectric facility of its kind in Britain.It also includes the Bonnington power station.
Drax said work on the Stonebyres plant was complex and challenging. It involved replacing all the original panes of glass and window frames using stronger, modern materials, while retaining the original design and applying a new concrete coating.
The company reckons power stations such as Stonebyres can play an important part in support of the drive to reduce carbon emissions.
Head of hydro Ian Kinnaird said: “Stonebyres Power Station has been producing reliable, renewable electricity for almost a century, and this major refurbishment will ensure it continues to do so for many years to come.”
Scottish Power to build vast battery to improve wind energy supply
Energy firm says project will be big step towards continuous renewable
Scottish Power is to undertake the most ambitious battery power project in Europe in an attempt to unlock the potential of the UK’s wind and solar farms.
The company will connect an industrial-scale battery, the size of half a football pitch, to the Whitelee onshore windfarm early next year to capture more power from its 215 turbines.
The first major onshore wind power storage project will lead the way for a string of similar projects across at least six of Scottish Power’s largest renewable energy sites over the following 18 months.
It claims the 50MW battery systems promise a “significant step” on the road towards renewable energy, providing baseload, or continuous electricity supply, for the UK energy system.
The battery has more than double the power capacity of any existing battery in the UK. It would take an hour to fully charge and could release enough electricity over an hour to fully charge 806 Nissan Leaf vehicles over a total of 182,000 miles, according to a spokesman for Scottish Power.
Keith Anderson, Scottish Power’s chief executive, said: “Batteries will take renewable energy to the next level. It is a nice, neat solution to help use more and more renewable power in the UK, because that’s what we need to be doing to reach a net zero-carbon economy.”
The lithium-ion battery will help Whitelee, already one of the largest onshore windfarms in Europe, to generate more renewable power by storing electricity when wind speeds are high, for use when the wind drops.
“Over a period of time, we will get to use much more wind output from the project, and across the whole of the country, because even at times of low demand we will be able to capture far more of the wind rather than wasting that potential energy,” he said.
For example, the batteries could charge overnight – when demand for power is low – and release electricity in the morning, when demand from homes and businesses begins to rise.
The on-site batteries will also be used to help even out the UK’s “quite clunky” energy system by releasing short bursts of power to fill in second-by-second fluctuations in renewable energy generation. “They can react in milliseconds and are incredibly useful as a virtually instantaneous tool for the energy system operator,” Anderson said.
Scottish Power’s battery rollout is the UK’s most ambitious move into the emerging energy storage sector, which includes projects from the FTSE energy giants Drax and Centrica as well as its wind power rival, Ørsted.
Paul Wheelhouse, Scotland’s energy minister, said the project was an “exciting new chapter for Whitelee”. The windfarm was one of the first major onshore projects built in the UK 10 years ago.
Wheelhouse said it offered “a number of real potential benefits for Scotland’s energy systems, and the Scottish government will continue to support innovation and deployment in this area”.
Scottish Power will begin construction work at the Whitelee project early next year and expects the facility to be fully operational by the end of 2020.
The plans have emerged just months after Scottish Power sloughed off its remaining fossil fuel power plants to become the first major energy supplier to generate all its electricity from renewable energy sources.
The company struck a £700m deal with Drax last year to hand over its four remaining gas power stations in England to focus exclusively on investing in renewable power and its energy networks business.
“Over the next 10 to 20 years, batteries will become a much more important part of the system. We want to start now,” Anderson said.
Whitelee windfarm on Eaglesham Moor. Photograph: Ashley Cooper/Alamy
All-Energy 2019 the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference. Takes place at Glasgow’s SEC on Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 May 2019. Meet Powersystems UK Renewable Team exhibiting this year on stand F51.
All-Energy 2018 was a fantastic success. The two-day conference and exhibition was attended by over 7,000 from the UK and overseas. Coming together to forge business relationships and share knowledge that will ultimately chart the future direction of the UK’s clean and renewable energy success story.
In 2019 representatives from Powersystems 70-strong specialist renewable energy team, will be there in force over the two days to provide commercial updates on; renewable energy technology, (Solar, Wind, Bio Mass and Anaerobic Digestion plants), Renewable Energy Storage, STOR, electric vehicle infrastructure and grid connections. We will meet clients and new contacts and share our 44 year, market-leading renewable power expertise for all your project needs.
Renewable Onshore Wind and Offshore Wind
The announcement of a new Offshore Wind Sector Deal on 7 March which will not only deliver at least 30GW by 2030, but also seek to employ more than 33% women by the same date, more than double the current figure, it’s great news for our industry. And all this whilst helping pave the way to a cleaner, sustainable renewable energy model at a time when the effects of climate change are in the headlines on a daily basis putting the sector center stage in the UK Government’s wider Industrial Strategy – the new deal is a huge boost for developers, existing and prospective supply chain and for the UK economy at large. Speak with Powersystems renewable team about your Infrastructure and connection solution for your onshore needs and offshore projects.
Emerging Renewable Solar Energy Technologies
Research and development continue to improve existing solar renewable energy technologies while identifying emerging innovations; such as photosynthetic-based solar energy technologies and solar enhanced fuels. Innovations and developments in solar renewable energy technology and enhanced fuels will benefit everyone by making affordable and reliable renewable energy more accessible to more UK businesses and households.
There has been a large uptake in the number of solar parks being granted planning consent in the UK. Powersystems has been involved with many of these providing grid connection schemes at 11kV & 33kV. Each scheme is designed by our team of engineers and covers the requirements of the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) substation, site wide earthing and cabling to the point of connection. The whole process is managed, from initial connection application to final energisation and adoption. In the South West alonePowersystems has connected in excess of 100MW of solar farms Photovoltaic ElectricityGenerating Facilities, Solar Photovoltaic Panels and associated electrical infrastructure.
Renewable Energy Storage Growth
Energy Storage is poised for significant growth in the UK. This is due to a resurgence in confidence for renewable energy, making it the cheapest most sustainable power available. Opportunities in energy storage are aplenty. Storage is overcoming the limiting issue of intermittent renewable energy and is widely understood as the missing piece in the puzzle. According to experts the many opportunities presented require careful consideration. There generally isn’t one revenue stream that storage can use to create a viable business model – it’s more about tapping into multiple revenue streams and being creative about how you make the most of your asset.
Energy Storage Insights Discuss with Powersystems Renewable Team on Stand 51
Discuss you STOR project
Hybrid storage getting the best of both worlds
On the grid understanding the regulations, capacity and infrastructure
Applying battery systems to existing renewable energy schemes
The integration of batteries for EV charging points and other smart systems
Grid Connection – From Application to Energisation
As an Independent Connection Provider (ICP), Powersystems have been providing grid connections across all of the distribution areas of the UK. We have carried out a large number of grid connections for a varied clientele, ranging from Data Centres, Industrial Customers, Formula One Racing Teams, Health Trusts, Water Industry, Major Film Studio/Visitor Attraction and the Renewable Energy Sector. Under our full scope of National Electricity Registration Scheme (NERS) accreditation we are able to undertake connection design work, cable installation, cable jointing, substation design and construction, switchgear and transformer installation and testing and commissioning services.
We have civil construction capability which enables us to offer clients a ‘turnkey’ connection service to include trenching works, directional drilling, substation building, construction and design from small 11kV substations up to 132kV primary substations. We also offer a grid connection ENA application and feasibility study service through our engineering administration department, where Powersystems will deal with all aspects of your application and liaise with the DNO on your behalf.
All associated civil engineering works including excavation, cable laying and back-filling.
Powersystems Anaerobic Digestion (AD) – Turning Waste Into Renewable Energy
Anaerobic Digestion can play an important role as a means of dealing with organic waste. And avoiding, by more efficient capture and treatment, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are associated with its disposal to landfill. AD also offers other benefits, such as recovering energy and producing valuable biofertilisers. The biogas can be used to generate heat and electricity, converted into biofuels or cleaned and injected into the gas grid.
Anaerobic Digestion a Renewable Energy Technology
Anaerobic digestion (AD) is one of a number of renewable energy technologies that have become commercially available to agriculture and industrial sectors. A key attribute of AD is that it offers multiple environmental and economic benefits, particularly for UK dairy and livestock farms. Alongside their potential to deliver low carbon energy, on-farm AD plants also appear to be the most promising mitigation measure for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from manures and slurries. Take a look at a Powersystems Anaerobic Digestion Plant Case Study
Electric Vehicles (EV), grid technology and battery storage
The global market opportunity in electric vehicles is predicted to top over $500 billion between now and 2025. This potential for transformative change creates huge opportunities for both new and existing players in the automotive sector. Speak with Powersystems Renewable EV Infrastructure team to identify how local grid technologies, battery storage and V2G systems can come together to make this happen.
The Future Is Renewable Energy
There are some fantastic opportunities for industries wanting to future-proof and to drive change. The Powersystems renewable energy team see their role to educate and share information on how this is likely to be applied practically over the next five years and beyond.
How is electricity generated from renewable energy?
There are many, many ways that people make renewable energy all over the world. Renewable energy is any energy we use that comes from renewable, natural sources. Renewable means that it’s naturally replenished, so can’t run out. Things like the sun will never run out, same with trees, because although we can cut them down to make biomass energy, we can still replant them, so it’s a renewable source.
Sunlight, water, air and heat from the earth are all renewable sources that we can use to make solar, tidal, wind and geothermal energy. Sometimes renewable energy is also called green or eco energy.
It is produced using natural resources that are constantly replaced and never run out. Just as there are many natural sources of energy, there are many renewable energy technologies. Solar is one of the most well-known, wind power is one of the most widespread, and hydropower is one of the oldest. Other renewable technologies harness geothermal energy, bioenergy or ocean energy to produce heat or electricity. Equally exciting are new enabling technologies that help to manage renewable energy so it can be produced day and night while strengthening the electricity grid. These enabling technologies include battery-storage, supply prediction, grid stability and smart grid technologies.
There are many different forms
Most of these renewable energies depend in one way or another on sunlight
Wind and hydroelectric power are the direct result of differential heating of the Earth’s surface which leads to air moving about (wind) and precipitation forming as the air is lifted
Solar energy is the direct conversion of sunlight using panels or collectors
Biomass energy is stored sunlight contained in plants
Other renewable energies that do not depend on sunlight are geothermal energy, which is a result of radioactive decay in the crust combined with the original heat of accreting the Earth, and tidal energy, which is a conversion of gravitational energy
Powersystems remains at the forefront of the renewable and the power generation industry
With so many projects successfully constructed and exporting power to the grid, whether requiring a turnkey installation, electrical infrastructure or grid connection, Powersystems are an experienced partner in all forms of renewable energy generation projects. Growing environmental awareness has heightened interest in all forms of renewable energy.
Powersystems has completed 1326 projects since 2000 – look at this infographic for the breakdown by renewable energy sectors
Solar energy is energy generated from the sun’s heat or sunlight. Solar power is energy captured from the sun which is converted into electricity, or used to heat air, water, or other fluids.This form of energy relies on the nuclear fusion power from the core of the Sun. This energy can be collected and converted in a few different ways. Powersystems have connected in excess of 200 MW of solar farms across the South West, UK.
This technology converts sunlight directly into electricity using photovoltaic (PV) cells. The solar PV cells are combined in panels. They can be put on rooftops, integrated into building designs and vehicles, or installed by the thousands across fields to create large-scale solar power plants. Concentrating solar PV uses fields of sun-tracking mirrors called heliostats to concentrate sunlight onto highly efficient PV cells located inside a receiver at the top of a mast or tower
This technology converts sunlight into thermal energy (or heat), which in the past has been used mainly for space heating or to heat water (such as in a solar hot water system). This heat energy can be used to drive a refrigeration cycle to provide solar-based cooling, or to make steam that can be used to generate electricity using a steam turbine. Solar thermal energy can also be used in some industrial processes that currently use gas to produce heat. Concentrating solar thermal technology harvests the sun’s heat to produce efficient, large-scale power generation. It uses a field of mirrors to reflect sunlight onto a thermal receiver, which transfers the heat to a thermal energy storage system. Energy can then be released from storage as required, day and night
Powersystems Solar Energy
Emerging solar technologies
Research and development continue to improve existing solar energy technologies while identifying emerging innovations such as photosynthetic-based solar energy technologies and solar enhanced fuels. Innovations and developments in solar energy technology and enhanced fuels will benefit everyone by making affordable and reliable energy more accessible to more UK businesses and households.
Powersystems and your solar energy project
There has been a large uptake in the number of solar parks being granted planning consent in the UK. Powersystems has been involved with many of these providing grid connection schemes at 11 kV and 33 kV. Each scheme is designed by our team of engineers and covers the requirements of the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) substation, site wide earthing and cabling to the point of connection. The whole process is managed, from initial connection application to final energisation and adoption. Powersystems can perform much of the onsite work as well covering:-
Installation of HV cabling and terminations
Design and Build of Intake Substation
Incorporation of G99 protection
Specification and supply of Inverter Transformers
Final Test and Commissioning
The latest solar figures
2020 saw the first full calendar year of the UK’s subsidy-free solar era with 545 megawatts (MW) of new solar PV capacity deployed, a 27 percent year-on-year increase compared with 2019. 60 percent of the new capacity in 2020 came from ground-mounted PV systems. The remaining 40 percent was installed on rooftops, with the majority of this located on commercial and industrial buildings. At the end of 2020, 13.9 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity had been installed in the UK. This is almost 0.5 GW higher than existing Government-released figures, the speed at which new solar sites were installed during 2020 was in keeping with a record-breaking year for UK solar generation.
Powersystems remain at the forefront Renewable Energy Industries with expertise in Wind Farms, Wind Turbines and associated electrical infrastructure. The movement of the atmosphere is driven by differences of temperature at the Earth’s surface due to varying temperatures of the Earth’s surface when lit by sunlight. Wind energy can be used to pump water or generate electricity, but requires extensive areal coverage to produce significant amounts of energy. Wind power is generated by converting the kinetic energy of the atmosphere into useable electricity with wind turbines,
Powersystems UK have connected 27% of all U.K. onshore wind farm generation
Wind is generated by complex mechanisms involving the rotation of the Earth, the heat of the sun, the cooling effect of the oceans and polar ice caps, temperature gradients between land and sea, and the physical effects of mountains and other obstacles. Wind turbines convert the force of the wind into a torque (rotational force), which is then used to propel an electric generator to create electricity. Wind energy power stations (known as wind farms) commonly draw on the output of multiple wind turbines through a central connection point to the electricity grid. Across the world there are both on-shore (on land) and offshore (out to sea) wind energy projects.
Powersystems connected the first wind farm at Goon Hilly downs in 1992. In 2010 the turbines at Goonhilly on the Lizard were at the end of their 20-year life cycle. Originally installed in 1992, they were replaced. Figures from the site said that the old turbines generated electricity on 98% of days during their time .The new turbines are rated five times as powerful. All electricity will go into the local wires which serve the Lizard, Helston and the surrounding areas
It is estimated that there have been a total of 240 million revolutions per turbine and more than 3 billion revolutions for the whole wind farm since it became operational. As well as supplying electricity, Goonhilly wind farm is also used as a teaching resource by the University of Exeter in Penryn, Mullion School and Helston School.
How is wind energy used in UK?
The United Kingdom is one of the best locations for wind power in the world and is considered to be the best in Europe. Latest reports show that Wind power contributed 24.8% of UK electricity supplied in 2020, having surpassed coal in 2016 and nuclear in 2018. It is the largest source of renewable electricity in the UK. The UK Government has committed to a major expansion of offshore capacity by 2030 Wind power delivers a growing percentage of the electricity of the United Kingdom.
By the beginning of December 2020, the UK had 10,930 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of over 24.1 gigawatts: 13.7 gigawatts of onshore capacity and 10.4 gigawatts of offshore capacity, the sixth largest capacity of any country in 2019
This has placed the United Kingdom as the world’s sixth largest producer of wind power
China has a installed capacity of 221 GW and is the leader in wind energy, with over a third of the world’s capacity. It has the world’s largest onshore wind farm with a capacity of 7,965 megawatt (MW), which is five times larger than its nearest rival. The US comes second with 96.4 GW of installed capacity
Polling of public opinion consistently shows strong support for wind power in the UK, with nearly three quarters of the population agreeing with its use, even for people living near onshore wind turbines.
Whitelee Windfarm in East Renfrewshire has reported serious economic, environmental and social benefits;
It notes that it has generated enough clean, green energy to provide almost 90 per cent of total annual household electricity consumed by Scottish households and businesses.
The report also highlights that the wind farm is expected to provide a boost to the UK economy of more than £1billion, including almost £800 million in Scotland.
The wind farm, in a rural location near Eaglesham, was found to have supported more than 4,000 jobs during its peak years of construction while sustaining around 600 jobs each year through its operation and maintenance
Enough carbon dioxide is saved by the wind farm, the report notes, that it is the equivalent of offsetting two days’ worth of domestic flights to and from Gatwick Airport
Through the Renewables Obligation, British electricity suppliers are now required by law to provide a proportion of their sales from renewable sources such as wind power or pay a penalty fee. The supplier then receives a Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) for each MW·h of electricity they have purchased. Within the United Kingdom wind power is the largest source of renewable electricity and the second largest source of renewable energy after biomass.
Overall, wind power raises costs of electricity slightly. In 2015, it was estimated that the use of wind power in the UK had added £18 to the average yearly electricity bill. This was the additional cost to consumers of using wind to generate about 9.3% of the annual total about £2 for each 1%. Offshore wind power has been significantly more expensive than onshore, which raised costs. Offshore wind projects completed in 2012–14 had a levelised cost of electricity of £131/MWh compared to a wholesale price of £40–50/MWh. In 2017 the Financial Times reported that new offshore wind costs had fallen by nearly a third over four years, to an average of £97/MWh, meeting the government’s £100/MWh target four years early. Later in 2017 two offshore wind farm bids were made at a cost of £57.50/MWh for construction by 2022–23, nearly half the cost of a recent new nuclear power contract. In 2019 Offshore wind energy is to provide a third of all UK Electricity by 2030
Powersystems and your wind farm project
Experience in the design and installation of high voltage electrical infrastructure has placed Powersystems in a position ideally suited to carryout wind farm electrical balance of plant contracts. Since our first wind farm installation at Goonhilly Downs in 1992 we have been actively involved with wind farm projects ranging from single turbines to 70 plus turbine sites. Powersystems high voltage engineers are experienced in onshore wind farms projects with over 266 successful wind farm project handovers. We offer a full turnkey service from Design, specification, installation and commissioning of wind farm switchgear, transformers, cable infrastructure, protection panels, earth systems and SCADA cabling, enabling the complete installation to be carried out. On each wind farm site Powersystems carry out grid connection compliance studies, ensuring that the requirements of the connection or grid code are met. In addition to the on site electrical balance of plant works Powersystems can provide grid connections to wind farm sites, and have done so in some extremely remote and challenging locations.
Read about the 132 kV onshore wind farm projects case studies
Powersystems has announced it has been awarded the Electrical Balance of Plant for the 13 Turbine, 62.4 MW Kennoxhead Wind Farm
Powersystems are delighted to commence works on South Kyle wind farm which will be Vattenfall’s largest onshore wind farm in the United Kingdom. At the peak of construction, the project will require around 150 workers on site, and once operational the 240 MW wind farm will make a significant contribution to Scotland’s net-zero ambitions – powering 170,000 homes and saving 300,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually, the equivalent of taking 65,000 cars off the road each year
Read about the 66 kV onshore wind farm projects case studies
£5.8 Million, 6 wind turbine, 14.1 MW, 66 kV Bryn Blaen wind farm, located on land north of the village of LLangurid in Powys, Wales
Powersystems remain at the forefront Renewable Energy Industries with expertise in Hydropower Electricity Generating Stations, Hydro Electric Schemes, Hydropower schemes, Run-Of-River Hydro Scheme, Hydroelectric Generating Station, Pumped Hydro, Storage Hydro and associated electrical infrastructure. Hydropower uses the force or energy of moving water to generate power. This power is also called ‘hydroelectricity’.
Hydroelectricity is electricity produced from hydropower. Hydropower today generates 24% of the world’s total electricity and 70% of all renewable electricity and was expected to increase about 3.1% each year for the next 25 years. Hydropower is produced in 150 countries, with the Asia-Pacific region generating 33 percent of global hydropower in 2013. China,is the world’s largest producer of hydroelectricity, operates three of the world’s ten biggest hydroelectric power plants, including the world’s largest Three Gorges project
Today the UK has a total hydropower installed capacity of over 4,700 MW, including over 2,800 MW of pumped storage. The UK hosts four pumped storage projects in Scotland and Wales. The largest such project, Dinorwig in north Wales, was commissioned in 1983 with a capacity of 1,728 MW. The cost of hydroelectricity is relatively low, making it a competitive source of renewable electricity. The hydro station consumes no water, unlike coal or gas plants. The average cost of electricity from a hydro station larger than 10 megawatts is 3 to 5 U.S. cents per kilowatt hour
With a dam and reservoir it is also a flexible source of electricity since the amount produced by the station can be varied up or down very rapidly (as little as a few seconds) to adapt to changing energy demands, once a hydroelectric complex is constructed, the project produces no direct waste, and in many cases, has a considerably lower output level of greenhouse gases than fossil fuel powered energy plants.
There are four broad hydropower typologies
Run-of-river hydropower: a facility that channels flowing water from a river through a canal or penstock to spin a turbine. Typically a run-of-river project will have little or no storage facility. Run-of-river provides a continuous supply of electricity (base load), with some flexibility of operation for daily fluctuations in demand through water flow that is regulated by the facility
Storage hydropower: typically a large system that uses a dam to store water in a reservoir. Electricity is produced by releasing water from the reservoir through a turbine, which activates a generator. Storage hydropower provides base load as well as the ability to be shut down and started up at short notice according the demands of the system (peak load). It can offer enough storage capacity to operate independently of the hydrological inflow for many weeks or even months
Pumped-storage hydropower: provides peak-load supply, harnessing water which is cycled between a lower and upper reservoir by pumps which use surplus energy from the system at times of low demand. When electricity demand is high, water is released back to the lower reservoir through turbines to produce electricity –
In 2020 the Scottish Government has granted consent for its proposed Coire Glas project, the UK’s largest newly planned hydro pumped storage scheme.
Drax Group’s Cruachan hydroelectric pumped storage plant in Argyll in Scotland has begun supplying critical system stability support services to keep Britain’s power system secure. The six-year partnership with National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO), which is responsible for balancing supply and demand for electricity in Great Britain, is part of a strategy to decarbonise the grid. Built inside a hollowed-out mountain, one of Cruachan Power Station’s four generating units will provide the grid with support services including inertia
Offshore hydropower: a less established but growing group of technologies that use tidal currents or the power of waves to generate electricity from seawater
How does hydropower work?
Hydropower is generated when falling water is channelled through water turbines. The pressure of the flowing water on turbine blades rotates a shaft and drives an electrical generator, converting the motion into electrical energy. It is the most advanced and mature renewable energy technology, and provides some level of electricity generation in more than 160 countries worldwide. Hydro electric power plants range from very small to very large individual plants and vast integrated schemes involving multiple large hydropower plants. This form uses the gravitational potential of elevated water that was lifted from the oceans by sunlight. It is not strictly speaking renewable since all reservoirs eventually fill up and require very expensive excavation to become useful again. At this time, most of the available locations for hydroelectric dams are already used in the developed world.
Powersystems and your hydroelectric scheme project
Hydropower is the oldest form of renewable energy and Powersystems have been involved in constructing the electrical infrastructure on small scale hydro schemes since the late 80’s. Projects completed include 500 kW “Run of the river” schemes and multiple turbine dam storage schemes. In both types of projects Powersystems have completed the full electrical installation package for sites including:-
Main LV Switchboards
Power and Control Cabling
Turbine Control Panels
PLC SCADA Systems
Head Pond Level Sensors
Test and Commissioning
Powersystems hydro power scheme energisation
Powersystems have successfully completed the energisation of two hydro powers schemes in North Scotland, fulfilling the Gilkes Energy Ltd contract for; design, supply, installation and commissioning of the high voltage infrastructure interconnecting the multiple power houses on each project. The two schemes, Pattack Hydro, a 2 MW scheme with two power houses and Attadale Hydro, a 3.5 MW scheme with 3 power houses will now contribute to the UK’s renewable energy targets by generating low-cost, clean energy for many years to come. Read the case studies about the Pattack and Attadale Hydro Station
Biomass and Bio Fuel
Bioenergy is derived from biomass to generate electricity and heat, or to produce liquid fuels for transport. Biomass is any organic matter of recently living plant or animal origin. It is available in many forms such as agricultural products, forestry products, municipal and other waste.
Traditionally, woody biomass has been used for bioenergy, however more recent technologies have expanded the potential resources to include agricultural residues, oil seeds and algae
These advanced bioenergy technologies allow for the sustainable development of the bioenergy industry, without competing with the traditional agricultural industry for land and resources
Biomassis plant or animal material used for energy production, heat production, or in various industrial processes as raw material for a range of products. It can be purposely grown energy crops (e.g. miscanthus, switchgrass), wood or forest residues, waste from food crops (wheat straw, bagasse), horticulture (yard waste), food processing (corn cobs), animal farming (manure, rich in nitrogen and phosphorus), or human waste from sewage plants
Burning plant-derived biomass releases CO2, but it has still been classified as a renewable energy source in the EU and UN legal frameworks because photosynthesis cycles the CO2 back into new crops. In some cases, this recycling of CO2 from plants to atmosphere and back into plants can even be CO2 negative, as a relatively large portion of the CO2 is moved to the soil during each cycle.
Cofiring with biomass has increased in coal power plants, because it makes it possible to release less CO2 without the cost associated with building new infrastructure. Co-firing is not without issues however, often an upgrade of the biomass is beneficiary. Upgrading to higher grade fuels can be achieved by different methods, broadly classified as thermal, chemical, or biochemical.
Biomass is the term for energy from plants. Energy in this form is very commonly used throughout the world. Unfortunately, the most popular is the burning of trees for cooking and warmth. This process releases copious amounts of carbon dioxide gases into the atmosphere and is a major contributor to unhealthy air in many areas. Some of the more modern forms of biomass energy are methane generation and production of alcohol for automobile fuel and fueling electric power plants.
Powersystems generation plant powered by your bio-fuels
In an ever-increasing bid to fulfill the UK’s requirements for new renewable energy fuel sources, Powersystems have assisted customers in the design and construction of generation plants powered by Bio-Fuels. Typically, the generation of these schemes are via reciprocating prime movers, therefore the years of experience gained in Landfill and Anaerobic Digestion (AD) Generation sectors gives Powersystems a lead when advising customers on all aspects, from site layout to electrical infrastructure, ensuring both best design practice and cost-effective solutions.
Take a look at Powersystems Bio-Fuels Case Study Projects
An English creamery is now using its by-products to create biogas in a new sustainable energy project. Yorkshire cheese producer Wensleydale Creamery will supply whey – which was previously discarded – to a local biogas plant to generate 10,000 MWh of thermal power, enough to heat 800 homes per year. Read more here
Powersystems remain at the forefront Renewable Energy Industries with expertise in Anaerobic Digestion (AD) and associated electrical infrastructure
Is a collection of processes by which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. The process is used for industrial or domestic purposes to manage waste or to produce fuels.
Anaerobic Digestion Plant
Anaerobic digestion is used as part of the process to treat biodegradable waste and sewage sludge. As part of an integrated waste management system, anaerobic digestion reduces the emission of landfill gas into the atmosphere. Anaerobic digesters can also be fed with purpose-grown energy crops.
Anaerobic digestion is widely used as a source of renewable. The process produces a biogas, consisting of methane, carbon dioxide, and traces of other ‘contaminant’ gases. This biogas can be used directly as fuel, in combined heat and power gas enginesor upgraded to natural gas-quality biomethane. The nutrient-rich digestate also produced can be used as fertilizer.
With the re-use of waste as a resource and new technological approaches that have lowered capital costs, anaerobic digestion has in recent years received increased attention among governments in a number of countries, among these the United Kingdom, Germany and Denmark
Although currently an infant market with approx.650 AD plants at March 2019 we see this as a sector that will grow and plan to be at the head of any expansion, as Bio-Fuel technologies develop.
Powersystems and your Anaerobic Digestion (AD) Project
Powersystems have connected Anaerobic Digestion (AD) generation plants powered from commercial food waste, energy crops, dairy, pig & poultry waste in the farm-based sectors.
We have worked alongside the major technology providers in delivering both grid connections and onsite customer works. Typically these schemes will be cable connected to the local distribution high voltage network and electrically metered onsite, from there a bespoke site distribution system is designed and installed to meet the AD Plants requirements.
This system would usually be comprised of a generation transformer and main Low Voltage (LV) distribution board, providing electrical circuits to the site generation and AD Plant controls.
Powersystems as part of the installation can specify and install the necessary Feed In Tariff (FIT) meters and auxiliary supply meters to enable generation and auxiliary loads to be appropriately allocated.
To date Powersytems have connected over 30 Anaerobic Digestion sites throughout the UK with many more coming online in the near future.
A hybrid technology is one that integrates a renewable energy generation technology with other energy generation systems
Hybrid technologies can reduce the risk for investors and ensure immediate reliability and affordability. They can also support a smoother transition to more renewable energy generation in the future.
What are hybrid technologies?
An example of a hybrid technology would be a power plant which combines and manages electricity generation from at least two technologies.
For example, a plant that integrates solar energy technology with energy from gas, or another renewable source, to provide a combined energy flow that drives the plant’s power generation.
What are enabling (or related) technologies?
Enabling and related technologies are those which use, or more easily allow, one renewable energy source to be used with another.
These technologies are especially prevalent in the fields of energy storage, grid management and connection, information and communication, mapping and resource identification, forecasting and modelling.
Take a look at Powersystems Hybrid/Enabling Renewable Energy Technologies Case Study Projects
Hydrogen and Fuel Cells
What is Hydrogen?
Hydrogen is an explosive and clean-burning gas. Since the weight of hydrogen is less than air, it rises in the atmosphere and is therefore rarely found in its pure form, (H2). In a flame of pure hydrogen gas, burning in air, the hydrogen (H2) reacts with oxygen (O2) to form water (H2O) and releases energy. The energy released enables hydrogen to act as a fuel. This energy can be used with relatively high efficiency. Hydrogen can be made by splitting water with electricity (electrolysis) or by splitting fossil fuels or biomass with heat or steam, using “reforming” or “pyrolysis”. Any CO2 can be captured and stored. Hydrogen can be stored, liquified and transported via pipelines, trucks or ships. And it can be used to make fertiliser, fuel vehicles, heat homes, generate electricity or drive heavy industry. Hydrogen is usually considered an energy carrier, like electricity, as it must be produced from a primary energy source.
In a hydrogen economy, hydrogen would be used in place of fossil fuels, which currently provide four-fifths of the world’s energy supply and emit the bulk of global greenhouse gas emissions. This could aid climate goals because hydrogen only emits water when burned and can be made without releasing CO2. As Hydrogen is the lightest element of the periodic table and the most common substance in the world. It can be used as feedstock, fuel or energy carrier and does not emit CO2 when burnt, that is why you often hear about its high potential for decarbonising the economy. Potentially hydrogen could soon power trucks, planes and ships. It could heat homes, balance electricity grids and help heavy industry to make everything from steel to cement.
What is green hydrogen?
Green hydrogen is produced using electricity generated from renewables such as solar energy, biomass, electricity (e.g., in the form of solar PV or via wind turbines), instead of fossil fuels. And currently accounts for 1% of overall hydrogen production.
The heat is generated by the natural decay over millions of years of radiogenic elements including uranium, thorium and potassium.
Geothermal energy can be drawn from the hot water circulating among rocks below the earth’s surface, or by pumping cold water into the hot rocks and returning the heated water to the surface. This can drive steam turbines to produce electricity.
Geothermal energy holds the promise of being a renewable energy source that could operate 24 hours a day, providing baseload power for homes and industries. Geothermal energy can be used for heating and cooling purposes. There are a number of buildings, residential homes and swimming pools that currently use geothermal for these purposes.
Energy left over from the original accretion of the planet and augmented by heat from radioactive decay seeps out slowly everywhere, everyday. In certain areas the geothermal gradient (increase in temperature with depth) is high enough to exploit to generate electricity.
This possibility is limited to a few locations on Earth and many technical problems exist that limit its utility. Another form of geothermal energy is Earth energy, a result of the heat storage in the Earth’s surface.
Soil everywhere tends to stay at a relatively constant temperature, the yearly average, and can be used with heat pumps to heat a building in winter and cool a building in summer. This form of energy can lessen the need for other power to maintain comfortable temperatures in buildings, but cannot be used to produce electricity.
Waste-to-energy (WtE) or energy-from-waste (EfW)
Powersystems remain at the forefront Renewable Energy Industries with expertise in Waste-to-Energy Projects and associated electrical infrastructure
Waste-to-energy (WtE)or energy-from-waste (EfW) is the process of generating energy in the form of electricty and/or heat from the primary treatment of waste, or the processing of waste into a fuel source. WtE is a form of energy recovery.
Most WtE processes generate electricity and/or heat directly through combustion, or produce a combustible fuel commodity, such as methane, methanol, ethanol or synthetic fuels.
With an ever-changing waste management industry, government regulations have forced the market to look at new ways of managing the UK’s waste. A result of which has been the design and construction of cleaner more efficient Energy From Waste (EFW) plants.
Such plants can generate electrical power via steam driven turbines or develop a ‘Syngas’ for turbine or reciprocating generation. In either form Powersystems have assisted customers in cost effective grid connections and onsite electrical infrastructure.
Read about the waste to energy plant project case studies
Powersystems remain at the forefront Renewable Energy Industries with expertise in ocean and tidal energy projects and associated electrical infrastructure
Ocean or marine energy technologies refer to all forms of renewable energy derived from the sea. There are two broad types of ocean energy: mechanical energy from the tides and waves, and thermal energy from the sun’s heat. Ocean / Tidal energy is classified as
Wave energy: This is generated by converting the energy within ocean waves (swells) into other forms of energy (currently only electricity). There are many different wave energy technologies being developed and trialled to convert wave energy into electricity
Tidal energy: This is generated by harnessing the movement of tides. Tides contain both potential energy, related to the vertical fluctuations in sea level, as well as kinetic energy, related to the horizontal motion of the water
Ocean thermal energy: This is generated by converting the temperature difference between the ocean’s surface water and deeper water into useful energy. Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) plants may be land-based as well as floating or grazing
Powersystems and your tidal project
The UK has one of the largest marine energy resources in the world, estimated to be more than 10 GW. This along with the predictability of tidal power makes it a form of Renewable Energy that is highly attractive to grid operators as fossil fuel back-up plants are not required. To support this emerging technology, tidal projects will be eligible for five Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) from the UK Government for projects installed and operational by 2017.
Powersystems are actively involved with the construction of the electricity infrastructure to connect marine turbines to the onshore grid. Recent project successes include the 400 kW Delta Stream demonstration device in Ramsey Sound, Pembrokeshire, a demonstration device due to be in service for 12 months.
Take a look at Powersystems ocean /tidal renewable energy technologies case study projects
Powersystems Asks Can A Country Achieve 100%?
If you think 100% renewable energy will never happen, think again. Several countries have adopted ambitious plan to obtain their power from renewable energy. These countries are not only accelerating Renewable Energy installations but are also integrating Renewable Energy into their existing infrastructure to reach a 100% Renewable Energy mix.