MikeSharp01

To approve or not approve that is this week's question.

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just clearing up on site and off to the consultation event in the village hall - will let you all know what they have to say for themselves!

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Do a lot of teasing, and if you can find the landowner, tell him to ask for more 'rent' on the land.;)

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Ok - so an interesting evening with the Cleeve Hill project team. I know a little bit more about the project, a lot more about my neighbours and the pros and cons as they see it. and something of the driving force businesses behind it.

 

I met with the ecology team and they took me through quite a lot of the work they have been doing and it is clear that the wildlife will, assuming they do what they say they will do, will be fine and perhaps better off than they are now. While I was having this discussion we got a little waylaid by one of my neighbours who said that the one good thing about the scheme, she was in favour of no other aspect, would be that there would be no more nitrate run off from the 890 acres as it would no longer be farmed. Sheep will not graze because the panels will be too low and as they are arranged - see below they will provide too much shade so little will grow other than along the ditch margins of which there is about 2 miles in the scheme.

 

I spoke with the technical team who had not done an energy compare between the energy from the crops and / or the solar farm. Interestingly another neighbour had written a note on the large map which said surely we should not be giving over the food potential just to get solar energy! The arrangement of the panels is interesting: They will be arranged in rows of ridges running north south with panels facing East and west on either side with a low angle of 8deg. This allows then to get more panels in as they can touch at the ridge and at the gully with almost no gap. This also gives a flatter output curve but without the midday peak! The battery technology is yet to be announced but their reasoning is that they will want to use the latest technology and they assume that by 2019 - when the battery goes in, the technology will be twice as good as it is now. The low angle and east / west orientation allays my fears about glare during the low sun periods.

 

I then spoke to the developer - the MD of HIVE, on the matter of community involvement. He said he thought that my suggestion of allowing the locals to buy into the panels at their bulk price was a good one and he felt that the panel price would be well under £100 per panel (33p/W). I agreed to follow it up with him. That price roughly aligns with my reading of the trends in panels over the last couple of years.

 

 

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11 hours ago, MikeSharp01 said:

by 2019 - when the battery goes in, the technology will be twice as good as it is now.

ROFL

 

The nitrate comment was a good one.  I shall use that.

Edited by SteamyTea

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Posted (edited)

So another consultation day is here for the CLEEVE Hill solar development. I long ago decided this was, on balance, a good idea and  have been a local proponent of it but I get the sense that the groundswell of opposition localy is growing very strong. I guess the developers will know this but their public utterances are doing very little to push  back - they seem only to be reiterating their original points and highlighting the alterations they made on the basis of the first round of consultations. It seems to me that they need to make the bigger picture response much stronger. Firstly by being clear what we all get back for allowing this development on our marshes. EG less gas usage, the coal fired power stations all shut down and returned to natural habitats for wildlife in exchange for the habitat lost here,  cleaner air for our children and children's children to breath. One thing I would like to work out but don't have time before I go to the town meeting later is just what percentage of the country would we need to cover to replace all our fissile fuelled power stations with the equivalent in solar producers. @SteamyTea do you fancy working that out? Let's assume normal UK sun shine and get the equivalent energy generation from that alone - I appreciate that the lights will go off at dusk in this model and we will have too much during daylight hours but it would give us in impression.

 

 

Edited by MikeSharp01

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Posted (edited)

We currently have 8 nuclear power plants that supply a net power of 8700 MW.

Assuming they work 100% of the time, that is 76212000 MWh/year.

 

PV can yield about 10,000 MWh/km2.year.

 

So that would be 7,621.2 km2 of land

 

UK has a land area of 242,495 km2

 

So to replace nuclear with PV would requite 3.1% of England's land.

 

Urbanisation is about 9% of UK land.

Housing is about 2% of UK's land.

Agricultural land is 69% of UK's land area.

Bio-fuel accounts for 1% of arable land usage.

Until 1992, set-aside was set at 15% of area for large producers, reduced to 10% in 1996.  This was reduced to 0% after then, but other incentives to 'not farm' were introduced.

 

It may be better at look at the costs and times involved when comparing nuclear and PV.

A PV 'farm' can be planned, built and be producing in 3 years at about £1m/MW.

Nuclear seems to be taking 25 year at around £9m/MW (figures need verifying)

In 25 years a solar farm of 1MW capacity would have produced around 22,000 MWh of energy.

The nuclear 0 MWh.

 

PV can be distributed but Nuclear can't.

 

(as usual my figures need checking as I get confused when dealing with kWh, MWh, GWh, TWh and PWh, it is easy to get them muddled).

 

 

Edited by SteamyTea

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But you still need the nuclear power stations to cope with the 50% of the time when PV isn't generating anything.

 

I'll believe the practicality of other storage systems when there's 10GWhr in reliable operation; I won't hold my breath.

 

Of course, the costs and time scales are completely distorted by the totally irrational attitude to nuclear power.

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17 minutes ago, billt said:

I'll believe the practicality of other storage systems when there's 10GWhr in reliable operation; I won't hold my breath.

 

Baby steps, but we'll get there eventually.

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Thanks @SteamyTea, @billt and @jack. For my part I would be happy to back nuclear if we could just build them more quickly and handle the waste better. I read somewhere that we used to build our early stations in 5 years from start to finish and they had 30 year lives. Maybe we should build more of those older types rather than push the envelope with newer types. Nuclear, plus wind & Solar, with some sort of storage would get rid of all the fossil fuel stations although you do have to run nuclear all the time to make them efficient.  

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There is a limit to the amount of Uranium that is available.  Called 'Nuclear's Dirty Little Secret' in the trade.

 

Storage of electricity is an issue, but a lot of that can be negated by storage as thermal energy i.e. in concrete, water, phase change materials.

We can also reduce usage by 30% easily, 50% with a lot of work and probably down to 40% of today's use with serious legislation and investment.

That is before we start looking at international supergrids and, the real hard one, societal changes i.e. live near your work (it is barmy that some people commute 100's of miles a week).

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1 hour ago, MikeSharp01 said:

Thanks @SteamyTea, @billt and @jack. For my part I would be happy to back nuclear if we could just build them more quickly and handle the waste better. I read somewhere that we used to build our early stations in 5 years from start to finish and they had 30 year lives. Maybe we should build more of those older types rather than push the envelope with newer types. Nuclear, plus wind & Solar, with some sort of storage would get rid of all the fossil fuel stations although you do have to run nuclear all the time to make them efficient.  

I came from the industry that built those, and it saddens me that we long since gave up the knowledge and ability to build our own.

 

Go and look up e.g the original planning application for Dounereay. Not much more than 1 bit of paper.  Now it would be a 20 year process with at least 2 public enquiries.

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1 hour ago, SteamyTea said:

There is a limit to the amount of Uranium that is available.  Called 'Nuclear's Dirty Little Secret' in the trade.

 

Absolutely. It's a shame the original reactor designs were built with nuclear weapons materials in mind, or we might have gone the thorium route instead. Cheaper, safer and more plentiful than uranium-based.

 

The other big issue with nuclear is the time it takes to design, approve and build the reactors (plus no-one wants a new one near them). Same with fusion. If we'd spent the amount of money on battery based grid storage that's gone into fusion research in the last 30 years, we'd be halfway to solving the energy problem. Fusion at scale is going to be too late imo.

 

There's been work on small (ie, neighbourhood) scale thorium reactors, although I haven't really followed what's been happening over the last handful of years.

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15 minutes ago, jack said:

There's been work on small (ie, neighbourhood) scale thorium reactors, although I haven't really followed what's been happening over the last handful of years

 

 

The Chinese and some privately funded US research teams are at the cutting edge of thorium fission reactors. The quest for the next round of funding means it is difficult to assess the true state of progress.

 

This podcast on thorium is approachable for the lay scientist, though best skip past their regular intro stuff which sounds puerile to the first-time listener. They typically get serious about 5 minutes in.

 

https://player.fm/series/net-rocks-65612/thorium-molten-salt-reactor-geek-out

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Will take a listen, thanks.

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Like @ProDave, I started my career working for UKAEA (as it was then), and have to say that the biggest single problem the nuclear power industry has is the irrational fear factor.  That massively increases the cost of any nuclear project when compared to far more dangerous power projects.  Gas, oil and coal kill and injure many, many more people every year than nuclear power does, yet none of those power generation methods cause anywhere near the level of public fear.

 

My own view is that until we can develop large scale power storage in some form, we either have to rely on nuclear power generation or fossil fuel generation, just to satisfy the baseload and be able to meet our energy needs when renewables aren't generating.  It's a bit like the choice the US had when electing a president last year, none of the options are good, but in my view nuclear is the one that will cause least harm.

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