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Monday, 4 October 2010

I’ve told you so.


All this green energy is going to cost you even more than you thought..

Households will have to pay an extra £60 in bills to cover the cost of connecting windfarms and other renewable energy sources to the National Grid, the industry regulator warned today.

Energy bills will almost certainly have to increase to make Britain's ageing national electricity and gas networks “fit for purpose” in the era of climate change, according to Ofgem.

I’ve written before about the Operation and maintenance costs before. Here, here, and here

Now of course with those pesky wind farm not delivering a steady output (If any output at all), we will have to build a smart grid to match.

It says about £32 billion needs to be spent on modernising the networks over the next decade, more than twice the amount invested in the past 20 years.

And don’t forget the increased maintenance cost of all these new power lines in out of the way, exposed places.

*No exploding school children were used in the drafting of this post*


  1. I’ve often wondered about the maintenance programs of those windmills. Logic tells me that situated as they are, where they are, they must be very well designed, with maintenance in mind. Materials fit for the purpose. Lightly loaded, well sealed bearings, using the best available synthetic greases and oils, which are good against the sea. There should be good access for maintenance. There would be adequate high-expense, long-delivery-time spares supplied with the initial installation, their costs shared amongst several machines, supplied with the initial installation and stored locally to those machines. Other, smaller, less expensive spare parts kept on site, whilst non-critical items kept centrally, their stock levels carefully controlled, matching usage with ordering.
    Load factors would be conservative, the blades designed for the proverbial 100-year storm, which in my experience comes along roughly once every 7 years.
    The control systems would not be state of the art, not in the forefront of modern technology, (leave that to the space programs and the aircraft engineers who do it very well), but well-tried, solid stuff, with high redundancy. Especial attention would be paid to blade pitch controlling, to allow for those 100 (7) year storms.
    Presumably a 20-year whole-life cost calculation was an integral part of the pre-contract discussions, and of course with several competing manufacturers bidding.
    At least one diesel generator would be a standard supply on each machine, to provide emergency lighting and power for internal machinery.
    And of course, backing it all up would be a planned maintenance system, correctly maintained and monitored, with such things as vibration sensors in the blades, to allow a chance of real-time monitoring them so that they could be feathered them if needed, to avoid failure. The operators would be competent in the operation, trouble-shooting and maintenance of the plants, with regular inspections carried out and logged.
    This is more or less what marine engineers do, as a matter of course, and I expect that windmill engineers will do the same thing.
    They do, don’t they?
    Peter Melia

  2. Yea right Anonymous, of course they do. Five years, and seagoing pikeys will be cutting them down and bringing them back to shore for scrap at great cost to the taxpayer, just watch!

  3. I wonder if they'll have to turn off the ones near Chaaaateris this winter? Last year they collected an ice shroud and when they began to turn it cracked off and went hurtling towards nearby retirement bungalows.

    The inhabitants were not amused at having giants throw plates as hard as 2-in thick glass at their conservatory roofs.

    Pffft, you'd think the people who defied the might of the Luftwaffe would not be scared of being speared in their own beds just because the air was full of ice axes.

  4. Sorry Fascist Hippo, you can't do that.
    You must be consistent about saving the planet.
    Think about the effects of thousands of cubic metres of OxyAcetylene burning away, chopping up the windmills.
    You'd do more damage that way than they themselves could be being left alone.
    No mate, I suggest plan B, which is the one Joe Shell should have taken so many years ago, for their old oil rig, the Brent Spar, the one they wanted to sink in deep water, provide a fish sanctuary. A sound proposition, but opposed by Greenpeace for their own agenda reasons.
    In the face of boycotting of their service stations in Germany, Joe Shell capitulated and agreed to cut the Spar up, which was a completely absurd and anti-environment "decision". I'll bet that Joe Shell have a complete accounting of that burning operation, down to the last bottle of Acetylene. If that could be accessed and published it would wipe Greenpeace's credibility clear off the map.
    Now we have a chance to redress things a little. Collapse the the windmills into the sea, where they stand, they are outside of sea lanes. They could form the basis of fish colonies help restore the fish populations.

  5. That's of course if the fish populations need to be restored (could well be more scare bollocks), who did the last inventory of them Jacques fucking Cousteau with an underwater abacus?

  6. £32 billion?

    All this stuff about a smart grid (including a "smart" meter in your house)is a stalking horse. In some situations in Switzerland the washing machine is on a separate circuit so you can't use it between certain hours. That avenue is a very enticing one for the control freaks. The technology megacompanies are already lobbying away just like Schlumberger , Unisys et al did on ID cards.

    The grid is pretty smart already. However, what is sorely needed (ask windmillmeisters the Danes) is peak load handling from storage and a safety margin of base capacity. We had a twitchy few days in that last cold spell I seem to recall.

    Political schemes like this don't have clear goals and I think Ofgem are about as competent as the FSA.

    That £60 on your bills? - and the rest - they're going to ransom you your electrons!

    I note that CHP is commercially viable for some medium/large UK hotels but not for swimming pools, schools and council offices....

    If the government fertilised the CHP garden a bit we could use significantly less fuel and enhance peak load handling substantially.

    Less fuel means less profits and less tax... discuss


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