Pentland Firth Tidal Energy

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Written for Coursera (MOOC) Class ‘Ocean Solutions‘ by University of Western Australia (June 2014)

Location:  North Coast of Scotland (UK), near the town of Thurso on the Pentland Firth.

Marine Tidal Energy has great potential in this location and preliminary testing is progressing with promising results [1].

The Pentland Firth has been identified as one of the best locations for harnessing tidal energy in the world.  The Firth is a narrow stretch of ocean between mainland Scotland and the Orkney Islands [2].  The North Atlantic meets the North Sea at this point and the tidal flow through the Firth is very high.

MAP_Pentland Firth

The leading Tidal Energy devices are bladed turbines, similar in appearance and operation to Wind Turbines, which are mounted on the seabed [3].

Tidal energy is very regular and predictable, unlike wind power, and since water is much denser than air, smaller turbines can yield more energy underwater [4].  It has the added advantage of being less of a potential nusance, since the turbines are located underwater and out of sight, and do not generate much noise.

PIC_Pentland Tidal Diagram

Some disadvantages of tidal energy technologies are that they need to be robust enough to cope with the harsh marine environment, and are more difficult to maintain.  These aspects mean that construction and running costs are higher than land based technologies.

PIC_Pentland Wave Photo

A team of scientists from Oxford and Edinburgh Universities estimates energy output potential of between 1.9 – 4.2 GW (16 – 35 TWh annually) [5].  The oceans are an abundant source of renewable energy, which are under utilised at present [6].

Justification for choosing Tidal Energy in my location, is supported by the scale of this natural resource, together with the strength of international interest in developing marine tidal energy here.  The European Marine Energy Centre (the only facility of its kind in the world) is located on Orkney, and as well as facilitating testing on energy devices, it plays a leading role in developing international standards for the industry [7].

Harvesting energy locally is important for Energy Security, so that we are not reliant on imported power [8].

Tidal Energy in the Pentland Firth is one of several measures in the suite of technologies currently being researched and deployed throughout Scotland (and the UK), including onshore and offshore Wind Turbines, Solar PV, Wave Energy devices, and Geothermal plant.

Scotland is committed to producing 100% of its electricity (consumption) from renewables by 2020 [9].  In February of this year, the Scottish Government granted £4.8 million to marine energy projects [10].

References:

[1] The Scotsman, ‘Pentland Firth tides ‘can power half of Scotland’, 20 January 2014.

[2] Tidal Energy EU, ‘Pentland Firth

[3] Meygen, Tidal Energy Turbine

[4] Environment: benefits of tidal 

[5] Green Energy Scotland

[6] Ocean Solutions: Lecture Materials, 3.0 Ocean Solutions 3.1.3 Energy Abundance

[7] European Marine Energy Centre, Orkney, Scotland

[8] Ocean Solutions: Lecture Materials, 2.0 The Challenge 2.1.3 Energy Security

[9] Scottish Government, ‘Renewables revolution aims for 100%’, 18 May 2011

[10] Scottish Government, ‘£4.8 million boost to marine energy sector’, 26 February 2014.

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UK Gov: Low Carbon Technologies (2015)

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A summary of the UK Government (Dept of Energy and Climate Change) Policy Paper ‘2010 to 2015 government policy: low carbon technologies‘, May 2015.

Increasing the amount of energy the UK gets from low-carbon technologies such as renewables and nuclear, and reducing emissions through carbon capture and storage (CCS), will help us to:

  • make sure the UK has a secure supply of energy
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions to slow down climate change
  • stimulate investment in new jobs and businesses

Innovation in energy technologies is essential if the UK is to meet our challenging future climate change goal of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

CHART_UK GHG Emissions 1990-2013

(UK Gov DECC: Final UK greenhouse gas emissions national statistics: 1990-2013)

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most abundant greenhouse gas (GHG) emitted from fossil fuel consumption.  Other GHGs which are monitored and make up the ‘basket’ covered by the UNFCCC Kyoto Protocol include:  methane (CH4) , nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).

CHART_UK Emissions Targets 2008-2012

(UK Gov DECC: Final UK greenhouse gas emissions national statistics: 1990-2013)

We are legally committed to meeting 15% of the UK’s energy demand from renewable sources by 2020.

  • Bioenergy has the potential to provide about 30% of the 2020 target
  • We introduced the Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) scheme on 1 April 2010. FITs support organisations, businesses, communities and individuals to generate low-carbon electricity using small-scale (5 megawatts (MW) or less total installed capacity) systems. An organisation, business, community or individual installs a small-scale low-carbon electricity generation system (solar photovoltaic (PV), wind, hydro, micro-CHP or anaerobic digestion).
  • New Nuclear Power stations will help the UK reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 and secure its energy supply. The nuclear industry plans to develop around 16 gigawatts (GW) of new nuclear power.
  • Wave and Tidal Stream Energy has the potential to meet up to 20% of the UK’s current electricity demand, representing a 30-to-50 gigawatt (GW) installed capacity.
  • The UK does not have the deep Geothermal Power potential of volcanic regions like New Zealand and Iceland, but in some locations underground temperatures have the potential for deep geothermal projects. These are at depths of over 1km for heat only projects or 4 to 5km for power projects.
  • The UK has some of the best Wind Energy resource in Europe, with 20 offshore windfarms (including the 4 largest farms in the world) and a 3308 MW capacity.  The cost of Onshore Wind Power has fallen and we have been able to cut the subsidy accordingly. In 2012 we announced we would reduce support for onshore wind under the RO by 10% between 2013 and 2017.
  • Carbon Capture and Storage is the only way we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and keep fossil fuels (coal and gas) in the UK’s electricity supply mix. To bring down costs and allow CCS to be more widely used, the full chain of capture, transport and storage needs to be built and operated on a commercial scale at power stations that are already generating electricity.

UK Energy Statistics 2009-2013 (Digest of UK Energy Statistics, UK Gov)

Graphs from data in tables.

CHART_UK Primary Energy 2009-2013 DUKES

CHART_UK Primary Energy MTOe Share 2009-2013 DUKES

PIE_UK Primary Energy Perc Share 2013 DUKES

CHART_UK Renew Energy Mtoe 2009-2013 DUKES

CHART_UK Renew Energy Abs MTOe 2009-2013 DUKES

PIE_UK Renew Energy Perc Share 2013 DUKES

From DECC Statistics (DUKES Digest of UK Energy Statistics)

PIE_DECC Dukes Renewables 2013

FLOW_DECC Dukes Renewables 2013

TABLE_6B DECC Dukes Renewables 2013

CHART_ 6.3 DECC Dukes Renewables 2013

(UKgov DUKES Ch.6 Renewable Sources of Energy 31 July 2014)

Renewable Energy – Global Status 2014 (Capacity)

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The report from REN21, a Renewable Energy Policy Network, provides commentary, data and graphics on renewable energy across the globe.

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The latest report ‘GSR2014‘ is a  216 page document (PDF Download), based on the latest available data.

Here are a selection of Graphics contained in the report for Global Energy, Bio Energy, Geothermal Energy, Solar Energy and Wind Energy.

There are links provided to relevant wikipedia pages for technology information.

Global Energy

Renewable energy provided an estimated 19% of global final energy consumption in 2012, and continued to grow strongly in 2013.  Of this total share in 2012, traditional biomass, which currently is used primarily for cooking and heating in remote and rural areas of developing countries, accounted for about 9%, and modern renewables increased their share to approximately 10%.

Renewable Energy Share of Global (Final) Energy Consumption 2012

CHART_Global Energy Share Renewables 2012

Growth Rates of Renewables (and Biofuels) 2008-2013

CHART_Increases in Global Energy Renewables 2013

Global Electricity Generation by Renewables (2013)

CHART_Global Electricity Share Renewables 2013

Renewable Power Capacities: World, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and Top 6 Countries in 2013

CHART_Global Renewable Capacities World_BRICS_Top 6 2013

Bio Energy

REN21_Symbols_Bio

Biomass consumption continues to increase worldwide for the provision of heat and electricity. The production of liquid and gaseous biofuels for transport and stationary applications is also rising. Approximately 60% of total biomass used for energy purposes is traditional biomass: fuel wood (some converted to charcoal), crop residues, and animal dung that are gathered by hand and usually combusted in open fires or inefficient stoves for cooking, heat for dwellings, and some lighting. The remaining biomass is used for modern bioenergy.

Global Production of Ethanol, Biodiesel and Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) 2000-2013

CHART_Bioenergy Global Production Ethanol Biodiesel HVO 2000-2013

Global Production of Wood Pellets 2000-2013

CHART_Bioenergy Global Production Wood Pellets 2000-2013

Geothermal Energy

REN21_Symbols_Geothermal

Geothermal resources provide energy in the form of electricity and direct heating and cooling, totalling an estimated 600 PJ (167 TWh) in 2013. Geothermal electricity generation is estimated to be a little less than half of the total final geothermal output, at 76 TWh, with the remaining 91 TWh (328 PJ) representing direct use. Some geothermal plants produce both electricity and thermal output for various heat applications.

Global Geothermal Power Capacity 2013

CHART_Geothermal Global Capacity 2013

Hydro Electricity

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An estimated 40 GW of new hydropower capacity was commissioned in 2013, increasing total global capacity by about 4% to approximately 1,000 GW.

Global hydropower generation, which varies each year with hydrological conditions, was estimated at 3,750 TWh in 2013. An estimated 2 GW of pumped storage capacity was added in 2013, bringing the global total to 135–140 GW.

The lion’s share of all new capacity in 2013 was installed by China, with significant additions by Turkey, Brazil, Vietnam, India, and Russia.

Hydro Power Global Capacity Share 2013

CHART_Global Hydro Power 2013

Hydro Power New (Additional) Capacity Top 6 Countries 2013

CHART_Global Hydro Power Top 6 Additions 2013

Solar Energy

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Solar Photovoltaic (PV panels)

The global solar PV market had a record year, after a brief slowdown, installing more capacity than any other renewable technology except perhaps hydropower.

More than 39 GW was added, bringing total capacity to approximately 139 GW.1 Almost half of all PV capacity in operation was added in the past two years, and 98% has been installed since the beginning of 2004.

Solar PV Global Capacity 2004-2013

CHART_Global Solar PV Capacity 2004-2013

Solar PV Top 10 Countries 2013

CHART_Global Solar PV Top 10 Countries 2013

Concentrating Solar Thermal Power (CSP)

The concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) market continued to advance in 2013 after record growth in 2012. Total global capacity increased by nearly 0.9 GW, up 36%, to more than 3.4 GW. The United States and Spain continued their global market leadership.

However, a global shift to areas of high direct normal irradiation (DNI) in developing-country markets is accelerating. Global installed capacity of CSP has increased nearly 10-fold since 2004; during the five-year period from the end of 2008 to the end of 2013, total global capacity grew at an average annual rate approaching 50%.

CSP Global Capacity 2004-2013

CHART_Global Solar CSP Capacity 2004-2013

Solar Thermal (Heating and Cooling)

Solar thermal technologies contribute significantly to hot water production in many countries, and increasingly to space heating and cooling as well as industrial processes. In 2012i, the world added 55.4 GWth (more than 79 million m2) of solar heat capacity, increasing the cumulative installed capacity of all collector types in operation by over 14% for a year-end total of 283.4 GWth. 

An estimated 53.7 GWth (almost 97%) of the market was glazed water systems and the rest was unglazed water systems mainly for swimming pool heating (3%), as well as unglazed and glazed air collector systems (<1%).2 Glazed and unglazed water systems provided an estimated 239.7 TWh (863 PJ) of heat annually.

Solar Water Heating Global Capacity and Top 10 Countries 2012

CHART_Global Solar Heating Capacity and Top 10 Countries 2012

Solar Water Heating Global Capacity 2000-2013CHART_Global Solar Water Heating Capacity 2000-2013

Wind Energy

REN21_Symbols_Wind

More than 35 GW of wind power capacity was added in 2013, bringing the global total above 318 GW.  

Following several record years, the wind power market declined nearly 10 GW compared to 2012, reflecting primarily a steep drop in the U.S. market.

The top 10 countries accounted for 85% of year-end global capacity, but there are dynamic and emerging markets in all regions. By the end of 2013, at least 85 countries had seen commercial wind activity, while at least 71 had more than 10 MW of reported capacity by year’s end, and 24 had more than 1 GW in operation.

Annual growth rates of cumulative wind power capacity have averaged 21.4% since the end of 2008, and global capacity has increased eightfold over the past decade.

Global Wind Power Capacity 2000-2013

CHART_Global Wind Power Capacity 2000-2013

Wind Power Additions (Top 10 Countries) 2013

CHART_Wind Power Additions (Top 10 Countries) 2013

Scotland Energy Report

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Written for Coursera (MOOC) Class ‘Global Sustainable Energy, Past, Present and Future‘ by the University of Florida (June 2013).

1.0   Scotland Introduction

Scotland is country in the United Kingdom, Europe.  It is primarily governed by the UK government in Westminster, London, and on devolved matters by the Scottish government in Holyrood, Edinburgh.  An independence referendum is scheduled for 2014, and will determine whether Scotland remains part of the UK or returns to Independence.

Scotland has a population of 5.3 million and a land area of 78,387 km2.  The capital city is Edinburgh (population 495,360) and Glasgow (population 598,830) is its largest city.  The lowland central belt (including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee) accounts for 70% of the population.  Aberdeen (population 222,800) and Inverness (population 57,960) are two notable cities outside the central belt.  The sparsely populated Highland region has one of the lowest population densities in Europe (population 232,100 / 26,484 km2) 8.4 people per km2.

1.1  Scotland’s Current Energy Mix 

Over the past eight years, where data is available (2004-2011), Scotland has generated on average 50 TWh of electricity annually.  The bulk of which has come from Nuclear Energy: Torness (1.4 GW) and Hunterson B (1.3 GW) stations, Coal: Longannet (2.4 GW) and Cockenzie (1.2 GW) stations and Natural Gas at the Peterhead (1.5 GW) station.

Renewable Energy has more than doubled during this period from nearly 6 TWh in 2004 to just under 14 TWh in 2011.  Of these totals, Scotland’s many Hydro stations accounts for 4.5 TWh on average, with only a small increase in installed capacity (1.3 to 1.5 GW) over the period.  The increases in Renewable Energy generation are from Wind Energy, which increased in installed capacity from 0.4 GW to 3 GW by 2011.  These figures are taken from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change statistics.

Total Energy consumption in Scotland in 2010 was 178 TWh  (DUKES & DECC Statistics), and is broken down by fuel type:

  • Coal & Solid Fuel          (7.2%)
  • Petroleum                     (44.0%)
  • Natural Gas                   (37.4%)
  • Nuclear                          (5.4%)
  • Renewables                   (3.4%)
  • Others                            (2.7%)

TABLE_Summary Scotland Energy 2010 MULTI

Table 1.0: Energy Statistics Scotland 2010

According to the Scottish Energy Study, 2006: (91%) of Coal and other solid fuel is used for Electricity Generation, the remainder is used for domestic space heating (7%), mostly in remote rural areas, and by industry (2%).

Oil based petroleum consumption is predominantly for transportation.  The breakdown is: Transportation (77%), Domestic, mainly heating (15%), Industry (8%), Services (5%) and Electricity Generation (1%).

Natural Gas is the most economical and controllable fuel, which is available by mains supply in most urban areas.  Consumption for Domestic space heating and cooking is (40%).  It is also used for Electricity Generation (25%), for heating and process energy in Industry (21%) and Services sector heating (14%).

Nuclear Energy is 100% for Electricity Generation.

Renewable Energy sources have seen significant growth since the baseline of the 2006 study.  Almost 96% of Renewable Energy is dedicated to Electricity Generation, with a small amount of Thermal Biomass for heating.

Electricity Generation in Scotland is about 50 TWh annually and approximately 80% is for national consumption with 20% of exported to England and Northern Ireland.

Scotland Total GWh Coal Oil Gas Nuclear Renew Other
2004 49,937 13,055 1,391 10,835 18,013 5,832 811
2005 49237 12,142 1,903 9,367 18,681 6,486 659
2006 52,250 17,549 2,189 10,212 14,141 6,963 1,196
2007 48,080 13,856 1,504 10,931 12,344 8,226 1,219
2008 50,121 11,662 1,518 11,608 15,079 9,141 1,112
2009 51,170 11,964 1,294 9,370 16,681 10,755 1,105
2010 49,992 14,716 1,213 8,388 15,293 9,591 792
2011 51,223 10,779 1,156 8,052 16,892 13,728 616
Average 50,251 13,215 1,521 9,845 15,890 8,840 939

Table 1.1: Electricity Generation

CHART_Scot Elect Gen Mix 2004-2011

Figure 1.0: Electricity Generation

 

Electricity consumption remains fairly constant at around 50 TWh per annum.  The bulk of generation by Coal was provided by the 2.4 GW Longannet Station with the remainder intermittently supplied by the 1.2 GW Cockenzie Station (Closed in March 2013), much of Cockenzie’s electricity was exported to Northern Ireland.

Nuclear power provides an annual average base load of just under 16 TWh, from Torness (1.4 GW) and Hunterston B (1.3 GW) stations.

The Peterhead power station (1.5 GW) generates the majority of Natural Gas sourced electricity at around 10 TWh annually.  The Grangemouth petrochem complex is supplied by the 130 MW gas power station.  It provides both electricity and steam locally, as well as exporting excess electricity to the grid [1].  Permission was granted in 2011 for a 1 GW combined cycle gas power plant at the Cockenzie site, it will be equipped with carbon capture and storage technology [2].

Installed capacity for renewables sourced electricity is rapidly increasing in Scotland in line with targets set out by the Scottish government.  The graph below (figure 2.0) illustrates this expansion, with hydro capacity remaining constant and wind and wave capacity being responsible for the majority of the increase.  In actual fact, wave power remains at the prototype stage and currently contributes very little.  We can therefore attribute generation in this category mainly to wind energy.

1.2  Issues with access, Quality, and Sustainability of Current Sources. 

There are very few issues concerning access to electricity in Scotland at the moment.  Power outages are rare, except for in the most isolated and remote parts of the country, where the distribution network occasionally breaks down, usually due to extreme weather conditions.

The majority of the population are well served by electricity and natural gas utilities.   However, nearly 10% of the population, located in remote rural areas, do not have access to mains gas, being limited to using coal, wood logs and electricity as means of heating and cooking [3].

Use of Fossil Fuels such as Oil, Natural Gas and Coal is unsustainable for two main reasons.  These finite natural resources are being depleted and will eventually run out or become uneconomical to extract.  Furthermore, the burning of Fossil Fuels releases carbon into the atmosphere in the form of CO2, a greenhouse gas, which is causing Global Warming.

1.3  Reasons for Developing Renewable Energy Sources 

The Scottish government has set emissions targets, in law, to reduce production of greenhouse gasses responsible for climate change.  ‘The Climate Change (Scotland) Act of 2009, (using 1990 levels as the benchmark) has set a target of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050.  The target for 2020 is set at 42% reduction.  Another target is for 100% electricity generation capacity by renewable sources by 2020.  Although other sources like nuclear and fossil fuel supported by carbon capture and storage are retained initially as backup, the long term goal is have 100% renewable electricity.

Besides electricity generation, Scotland plans to have 30% total energy consumption, 10% transportation (EU target of 10%), 11% of heat energy, by renewable means and an overall reduction in energy consumption of 12% by 2020.  Guidance on how the country shall achieve these targets is provided in the Scottish government publication ‘2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy in Scotland’, August 2011 [4].      

This report will focus on Wind Energy, and briefly look at the status of Hydro Storage and Hydrokinetic (Wave and Tidal) Energy in Scotland.

Scotland has 25% of Europe’s wave and wind power potential [5], and has a theoretical total wind energy capacity of 159 GW.

2.0  Wind and Hydrokinetic Energy Technology

2.1  Wind Energy 

The mass movement of air in our atmosphere caused by variations in atmospheric pressure, gives the air molecules kinetic energy.  Wind Energy harnesses this by transferring the air energy to angled blades on a turbine, causing it to rotate.  This rotary motion is then transferred to an electricity generator and electricity is produced.

Two main design configurations are Horizontal axis and Vertical axis.  Horizontal axis is the most prevalent design due to high efficiency and reliability.  Most commercial turbines are three-bladed and utilise a gearbox in the transfer of power to the generator.  They are designed to turn to face into the wind and most have variable blade pitch to limit high rotational speed as a protection and safety feature, deployed during high wind conditions.

Vertical axis machines have the advantage of not having to face into the wind, but suffer from lower efficiencies and because of the relatively low rotational speeds and high torques produced, they require to be more robust and higher maintenance [6].

A radical new design for a static Wind Generator has been developed by Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.  It uses a grid of wires and charged water droplets to produce electricity without noise or flicker [7].

2.2  Hydrokinetic Energy

Hydrokinetic energy is the transfer of energy from natural water motion to usually electrical energy for consumption.  Hydro energy is a well established and widely adopted form of this technology associated with rivers and dams.

The leading current marine hydrokinetic designs are described below.  Taken from the Union of Concerned Scientists website [8].

Oscillating Water Column.  ‘Waves enter and exit a partially submerged collector from below, causing the water column inside the collector to rise and fall. The changing water level acts like a piston as it drives air that is trapped in the device above the water into a turbine, producing electricity via a coupled generator.’

Point Absorber: ‘Utilizes wave energy from all directions at a single point by using the vertical motion of waves to act as a pump that pressurizes seawater or an internal fluid, which drives a turbine. This type of device has many possible configurations. One configuration, called a hose pump point absorber, consists of a surface-floating buoy anchored to the sea floor, with the turbine device as part of the vertical connection. The wave-induced vertical motion of the buoy causes the connection to expand and contract, producing the necessary pumping action. Through engineering to generate device-wave resonance, energy capture and electricity generation by point absorbers can be maximized.’

Attenuator:Also known as heave-surge devices, these long, jointed floating structures are aligned parallel to the wave direction and generate electricity by riding the waves. The device, anchored at each end, utilizes passing waves to set each section into rotational motion relative to the next segment. Their relative motion, concentrated at the joints between the segments, is used to pressurize a hydraulic piston that drives fluids through a motor, which turns the coupled generator.’

Overtopping Device:A floating reservoir, in effect, is formed as waves break over the walls of the device. The reservoir creates a head of water—a water level higher than that of the surrounding ocean surface—which generates the pressure necessary to turn a hydro turbine as the water flows out the bottom of the device, back into the sea.’

Rotating devices: ‘Capture the kinetic energy of a flow of water, such as a tidal stream, ocean current or river, as it passes across a rotor. The rotor turns with the current, creating rotational energy that is converted into electricity by a generator. Rotational devices used in water currents are conceptually akin to, and some designs look very similar to, the wind turbines already in widespread use today – a similarity that has helped to speed up the technological development of the water-based turbines. Some rotational device designs, like most wind turbines, rotate around a horizontal axis, while other, more theoretical concepts are oriented around a vertical axis, with some designs resembling egg beaters.’

2.3  The Current State of Renewable Energy Sources in Scotland 

The table below shows the level of Electrical Generation by Renewable sources in Scotland in recent years.  In the category of ‘Wind, Wave and Solar’ energy, wind accounts for almost all electricity generation.

TABLE_Scot Renewable Elect Sources 2004-2011

Table 2.0:  Renewable Electricity Sources, GWh (inc Wind Wave & Solar)

CHART_Scot Renew Installed Cap 2004-2011

Figure 2.0: Electricity Generation by Renewables, Installed Capacity MW (UKgov DECC Statistics)

2.4  Wind Energy in Scotland

Scotland reputedly has 25% of Europe’s wave and wind power potential [9] , and has a theoretical total wind energy capacity of 159 GW.

There are currently two offshore and more than 100 onshore windfarms operating in Scotland. In addition to this, another 200 are either under construction, have planning permission or are in planning [10].

The Whitelee wind farm, near Glasgow is the largest onshore wind farm in Europe.  Completed in 2009, it operates 140 turbines each rated at 2.3 MW, giving it a total installed capacity is 322 MW.  A 75 turbine extension to the facility is due for completion in June 2013, and will increase capacity to 539 MW.  The total project cost was £300 million, or around £0.56 million per megawatt [11].

2.5  Hydrokinetic Energy in Scotland 

Scotland is host to the European Marine Energy Centre, located on the Orkney Islands, off the north coast.  It opened in 2003 and is the only centre of its kind in the world for both wave and tidal energy testing.  The centre is an internationally acknowledged leader in marine energy and assists in the development of industry standards and guidelines.

Tidal energy projects at the EMEC include:

  • Andritz Hydro Hammerfest (HS1000) 1 MW
  • Atlantis Resources Corporation (AR1000) 1 MW
  • Bluewater Energy Services (BlueTEC)
  • Kawasaki Heavy Industries (sea-bed mounted horizontal axis) 1 MW,
  • Open Hydro (turbine) 250 kW
  • Scotrenewables Tidal Power Ltd (SR250, SR2000) 250 kW & 2 MW,
  • Tidal Generation Ltd (Deepgen) 500 kW,
  • Voith Hydro (HyTide) 1 MW.

Wave energy projects at the EMEC include:

  

2.6  What additions are required over the next 10 years 

The Scottish government target of generating 100% of national electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020 appears to be very achievable.  The two pronged approach of reducing consumption and increasing renewable capacity is already having the desired affect.

In the 2010 Scottish government publication ‘Conserve and Save: The Energy Efficiency Action Plan’ [12], provision is made to encourage public participation in the broad objective to reduce energy consumption.  Resources are provided to better educate the general public on energy conservation and climate change matters, as well as provision of financial aid to improve domestic energy efficiency, by increasing home insulation for example.

Action 2.1 Within available resources, we will continue to provide ongoing support and financial assistance for energy efficiency in existing housing, levering investment from energy companies and private householders wherever appropriate.’

Scotland is a net exporter of electricity, to neighbouring England and Northern Ireland.  In recent years the trends, shown in the graph below, are for reduced national consumption and increased exports.

The 2011 installed onshore wind generation of 2.4 GW is soon to be augmented by a further 1 GW under construction (added to 2014 total), 2 GW approved for construction (added to 2016 total), 3.5 GW currently in planning (added to 2018 total)and 3.9 GW at the pre-planning stage (added to 2020 total).  The current known potential of 12.8 GW can be included for the short term [13].

According to Scottish Renewables, 10 GW has been identified for short term offshore wind development in the Forth and Moray Firth areas [14].  I have phased in the offshore capacity to 2020 at I GW per year and at 2 GW per year thereafter, since once these units are developed and proven more rapid development is likely.

The Crown Estates and Scottish Government are supporting a £4 billion project to build Tidal power generators around Orkney and the Pentland Firth with an estimated 1.4 GW of power  I have included tidal Hydrokinetic energy at the conservative rate of 0.25 GW per year in my projections [15].

CHART_Scotland Onshore Wind Planning 2011

Figure 2.1: Scotland Onshore Wind  (SCOTgov Statistics)

There are also great opportunities currently being reviewed in offshore wind energy.  This is both a more technically challenging and resource rich sector.  Currently in Scotland there are two offshore wind developments: the 5 MW Beatrice demonstrator project and the 180MW Robin Rigg installation.

The Scottish government initiative ‘Blue Seas – Green Energy A Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy’, March 2011, has identified 5 GW of development in six areas which exhibit favourable potential [16].

In addition to this, the ‘Sectoral Marine Plan’ has identified 25 areas for offshore wind development.  Estimates of Scottish total offshore wind energy potential are in the region of 206 GW.  For projections, a conservative annual increase in capacity of 0.25 GW has been included.

In support of development on the offshore field,  three major turbine manufacturers are to establish facilities in Scotland: Doosan Power Systems, Gamesa, and Mitsubishi Power Systems.

2.7  The 2020 Goal

In line with the Scottish Government targets to reduce consumption and increase renewable energy capacity:

  • 30% of Total Scottish Energy Consumption from Renewable Sources
  • 100% of Electricity Consumption from Renewable Energy
  • 10% of Transport powered by Renewable Energy
  • 11% of Heating Energy by Renewable Sources
  • 12% Reduction in Total Energy Consumption

The rapid expansion of Wind Energy capacity and potential of Marine Hydrokinetic Energy currently being developed at the European Marine Energy Centre, achieving these targets is highly probable.

2.8  Why the Wind and Wave Energy is Appropriate for Scotland 

Scotland has great potential for development of Wind and Wave Energy, with 25% of Europe’s resource total.  It has almost 10,000 km of coastline, open to Atlantic and North Sea energy.

The availability of these resources in Scotland made it the ideal site for the European Marine Energy Centre, which opened on Orkney in 2003 [17].

3.0  Timeframe for Completion

3.1  Reduction in Electricity Consumption (Existing Uses) 

Energy consumption per capita in Scotland is higher than in the rest of the UK.  Historically this was due to higher proportion of consumption in heavy industry and a greater need for energy in space heating in a colder climate. While trends in industry are moving away from energy intensive processes, the climate remains cold.

Several factors give rise to conflicting trends in domestic energy use in Scotland. There is an ageing population and an increase in the number of households and increased single-person living.  There is a growing demand for electrical appliances to increases consumption, but ongoing improvements in housing stock efficiency are helping to reduce it.

The areas where reductions in electricity consumption can be reduced are identified as: improved home insulation, awareness of phantom load and other wasteful habits, improved lighting efficiency.  Lighting and appliances account for 28% of electricity consumption according to ‘Electricity Demand Reduction’, a consultation paper published by the UK government Department of Energy and Climate Change, November 2012 [18].

There are savings to be made as better electricity saving technologies are adopted in appliance designs, similar to efficiency improvements seen with lighting as incandescent bulbs are phased out, and LED and CFT lighting is adopted.

Other areas of reduction include: Lighting controls, replacement of street lights with LEDs, replacement of electric heating with heat pumps, and generally improving control and efficiency of commercial and industrial processes.

Significant investment in upgrading building insulation, lighting technology and control, and industrial processes is required to reduce consumption through increased efficiency.  Building regulations for new buildings already requires this efficiency.  New efficient appliances will reduce consumption as old ones are replaced.

Over the 10 years to 2023, an annual reduction of 1,250 GWh (2.5%) is required from existing modes of consumption to achieve the 25% reduction target. This will be achieved in the early stages from the switchover to efficient lighting (1 – 3 years).  Once saturation of this measure is reached, the more gradual and capital intensive insulation and appliance replacement measures will begin to take effect for domestic consumption (2 – 10 years).  In the longer term, the larger industrial and commercial adaptations will account for efficiency induced reduction in electricity consumption (5 – 10 years).

3.2  Green Electricity Displacing Fossil Fuel.

Although reduction in current electricity use is desirable, increased Renewable Energy capacity is being rapidly developed.  In order to displace Fossil Fuel consumption, in line with Climate Change targets, increases in overall electricity consumption will be seen.

Besides renewable energy displacing Natural Gas and Coal directly in Electricity Generation, as Transport vehicles, cars and trucks are gradually powered by electricity or hydrogen, and not petroleum, there will be an increased demand for electricity either directly or as part of hydrogen production.

There may be a reduction in Transport use and the associated energy consumption, but an overall increase in electricity consumption is likely.  Overall efficiency improvements should see a decrease in total energy consumption overall by 2023.

According to ‘The Scottish Energy Study’ of 2006 [19], Oil based fuels in Transport of 46.77 TWh were consumed in 2002.  Of this, 71% (33.2 TWh) was for Road Transport, 18% for Aviation, 7% for Marine Transport and 4% (1.9 TWh) for Rail Transport.  Focusing on the land based Transportation of road and rail, there is potential to convert 35.1 TWh annually from fossil fuel to renewable electricity.  These figures are valid for 2013 as patterns of road and rail use have remained fairy constant in the past few decades.

Assuming a direct replacement of vehicle petroleum energy by renewable electrical energy, this 35.1TWh is converted to electrical consumption and added to the total.  The enormity of this switch over in terms of infrastructure in charging points, increased electrical output, and availability and uptake of electric vehicles, not to mention opposition from oil companies and other oil stakeholders, suggests that this is a medium to long term scenario.

CHART_Scotland Onshore Wind Capacity 2010-2012

Figure 3.0: Scotland Onshore Wind Capacity

However, at the rate of Renewable expansion currently occurring, the energy capacity issue is being addressed.  For the purpose of this forecast I see an initial switch over of 5% at year 5 (2018), with a 2.5% increase annually.  The first five years will see patchy improvements in uptake of these vehicles, but as infrastructure improves, vehicle prices fall and the technology is developed further, more people will be willing to make the switch.

There are currently more charging points being added every month throughout the country.

3.3  Phasing Out Nuclear Energy 

Scotland’s two Nuclear Power Stations: Hunterston B and Torness are both expected to operate until 2023, at least.  Replacement of the baseload power provided by these stations offers significant challenges, if Renewable sources are to be used in place.  The intermittent nature of Wind and Solar energy is the main issue.

Solutions to cope with this intermittency include increasing current pumped storage capacity of 700 MW.  Depending upon the extent of upgrades to the transmission network, it is estimated that an increase in energy storage capacity of between 3.5 GW and 7 GW would be required [20].

There are two large-scale pumped storage schemes currently being planned for the central Highlands by Scottish and Southern Energy.  These plants have a combined capacity of 900 MW.

Other technologies for large scale storage such as flywheel and battery storage may be part of the solution.  One idea for the future is the use of vehicle battery storage that allows for plugged in vehicles being charged up to act as energy stores, to feed back into the grid as necessary.  Control mechanisms to ensure that vehicles are available for use by owners would form part of such a scheme where financial incentives for participation in grid storage are offered.

4.0  Problems Barriers and Policy Issues

Today in our well developed society we have vastly improved analysis and communication tools at our disposal.  As we are better equipped to foresee potential problems, such as resource depletion and environmental degradation, we are also able to adjust our behaviour in order that we avoid or mitigate the worst consequences of natural phenomenon.

However, there is an inertia which works against major upheaval and change in society.  This is one of the major challenges as we work towards having a better and more sustainable energy industry.  In this section of the report, we identify some of these issues and propose solutions where they exist.

4.1  Identification of Social Barriers to Energy Improvements

People are often resistant to change if it brings increased effort and expense for little or no apparent lifestyle improvement.  The level of awareness of issues like peak oil and global warming will have a large bearing on responsiveness to such problems.

Unless the majority of people are convinced that alterations to consumption levels or long held habits are absolutely necessary, en-mass buy in is unlikely.

Capital investment in more efficient appliances presents an extraordinary strain on personal finances.  The transfer rate to reduced energy consumption achieved when people only replace equipment at end-of-life is low.  Rates are increased as people are encouraged to adopt more efficient equipment sooner.

A particular issue of split incentives is prevalent in rented buildings, both for domestic homes and commercial property.  The cost of upgrading is met by the owner, but the improved facility is enjoyed by the tenant.  Most of the time, short term planning prevails and upgrades are not made.

For large capital projects, the initial spend is usually very large and the payback in terms of reduced energy bills is less apparent.  For this reason, people usually delay this type of project until it becomes absolutely necessary.  This is linked to a lack of finance or access to it.

As well as the financial issue related to energy improvements such as insulation upgrading in homes and commercial premises is the disruption to the space during a refit.

A particular social barrier to the development of wind turbines is the opposition by some people who think that they are unsightly and/or too noisy.

4.2  Solutions to Social Barriers

With respect to social awareness of issues like peak oil and global warming, there needs to be accepted agreement by the establishment: scientists, politicians, economists and business, that the problem exists.  After years of skepticism, global warming is now accepted by governments and is now being tackled at international level.

Peak oil is less well accepted, and until it is, measures to mitigate for oil shortages and subsequent increases in fuel prices are unlikely to be adopted.

Awareness campaigns by governments, using internet, television, radio and other media must be implemented well, to raise public awareness and enlist their support and efforts.

It is known that low cost and basic habit changes, such as using efficient low energy light bulbs and appliances, and reducing phantom loads can reduce energy consumption dramatically.  Also, newer more energy efficient appliances are being developed to reduce consumption.

Government backed finance initiatives, such as the UK’s ‘Green Deal’, allows home and business owners to have approved upgrades carried out and pay back the cost in instalments as the portion of energy cost saved in monthly fuel bills.

Whilst we are still heavily reliant on petroleum for public and personal transport, better driving techniques: lower speeds and acceleration rates, less braking and better use of geographical elevations, all reduce consumption.

In industry, inefficient or oversized motors and equipment can be replaced with newer and better controlled units.

 

4.3  Identification of Political Barriers to Energy Improvements

Currently, in the midst of a global economic slump, national governments have less capital available to invest in large energy projects and infrastructure.  In the UK, the current Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government are executing an austerity programme, which extends to energy investment, so no additional funding is being made available.

In Scotland, the coastal waters extending out 12 miles (19 km) are owned by the Crown Estates and generates income for the Queen.  In effect any offshore wind wave or tidal energy company operating in this area must agree a split of profits with the Crown.

Planning law and the administration of development is carried out at local authority level.  Restrictions are in place for small scale building for both upgrades and new builds.  Administration fees and effort required to negotiate planning are a disincentive to development.  Large scale energy and infrastructure projects usually have an element of national government involvement in terms of administration and finance.

4.4  Political Policy

The Department of Energy and Climate Change commissioned the ‘Electricity Demand Reduction’ report, published in November 2012.  The report analysis identifies key areas of improvement and quantifies potential savings across all sectors.

The report highlights national benefits resulting from a general energy efficiency awareness and broad public and business buy-in.  Reduction in energy demand means that fewer power stations and lighter infrastructure would be required, so reducing system costs.

Reduced energy bills make businesses more competitive in a global marketplace, and stimulate growth.  Also, individual households with lower fuel bills have more disposable income to spend locally, so completing the virtuous circle.

4.5  Environmental Issues in Energy Development

As part of the planning process in Scotland, Environmental Impact Assessments are required for developments.  This is especially true for sites of wind and marine energy, which have previously been undeveloped, Greenfield sites.

Many of the proposed sites for these renewable projects are in remote and rural areas, where the natural environment is prized for its rich diversity of flora and fauna.  The aesthetics of the natural and rugged beauty of the Scottish wilderness is guarded by a host of environment stakeholders including: Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, John Muir Trust, and the National Trust for Scotland.

Wind turbines are assessed particularly for impacts on bird migration and habitat, as well as visual impact on the landscape.  Great care is taken to avoid unnecessary disruption to the natural environment during construction and operation of the turbines.

Similarly, marine assessments are carried out for wave and tidal hydrokinetic schemes to ensure minimal disruption to marine life, local to the devices.

In the end, the relative costs and benefits of the development, after public consultation are evaluated at the planning stage.

5.0  Lists and Graphs of Renewable Sources and 10 Year Projections.

TABLE_Scot Renewable 2011 DATA DEC Sect 5.0

MAP_Scot Wind Intalled Cap Sect 5.0

TABLE_Scot Renewable Elect Sources 2014-2023 SEct 5.0

Table 5.0: Renewable Energy Sources

Notes:

  • See section 2.6 for Wind and Marine Energy projection rationales.
  • Typical Capacity Factors for Scottish conditions used.

CHART_Scot Renew Output 2014-2023 Sect 5.0

Figure 5.0:  Graph of Renewable Output

TABLE_Scot Total Energy Cons 2011-2023 DATA DEC Sect 5.0

Table 5.1:  Total Energy Consumption

Notes:

  • See section 3.2 for explanation of Petroleum transfer to Electricity consumption.
  • Solid Fuel and Natural Gas for space heating reductions to reflect insulation upgrades.

CHART_Scot Total Energy Cons by Fuel 2014-2023 Sect 5.0

Figure 5.1:  Graph of Total Energy Output

TABLE_Scot Elect Gen 2011-2023 DATA DEC Sect 5.0

Table 5.2:  Projected Electricity Generation

Notes:

  • It is anticipated that a conservative reduction of 50% in Coal and Natural Gas will result from increased Renewable generation.
  • Nuclear shall remain constant throughout life of existing plant.
  • It is anticipated that production shall outstrip consumption by nearly 3:1 by 2023, with excess going to export in UK and Europe.

CHART_Scot Elect Gen 2014-2023 DATA DEC Sect 5.0

Figure 5.2:  Graph of Projected Electricity Generation

Notes:

  • Renewable energy is on the cusp of displacing Fossil Fuels in electricity generation.
  • Conservative reductions in Coal and Natural Gas may be increased as Renewable technology matures.
  • Nuclear energy remains constant until end of current plant lifetime.

CHART_Scot Elect Supply 2014-2023 DATA DEC Sect 5.0

Figure 5.3:  Graph of Electrical Energy Supply 

Notes:

  • Losses are due to generator use, transmission and distribution losses.
  • Projected losses calculated at 2011 percentage of total electricity generated.
  • Exports currently to England and Northern Ireland.  Future export interconnector possible to Europe.

CHART_Scot Total Energy Renew 2014-2023 DATA DEC Sect 5.0

Figure 5.4: Percentage of Total Energy Consumption by Renewable Sources 

Notes:

  • Percentage of Renewable energy generated as a percentage of total energy consumption (all fuel types).

6.0  Report Summary

Summary of Major Issues surrounding Global Energy:

  • Peak Oil, Resource depletion and Global Warming illustrate that current Energy Consumption patterns are not sustainable.
  • Renewable Energy sources are the Key to reducing Fossil Fuel dependency and reduction in Carbon emissions.
  • Political, Economical and Social inertia to major change present Barriers in adopting better practices and technology.
  • Greater awareness of the issues by the masses and positive political assistance will accelerate required changes.
  • Additional efficiency benefits accompany the main consumption reduction goals: Lighter infrastructure requirements, lower pollution levels, freeing up of finances at both the national and individual level.
  • Better energy security from a national scheme, with less reliance on foreign energy sources.

Summary of Recommended Steps in Implementing the Plan.

  • Increase the capacity of national and local Renewable Energy generation.
  • National assistance in the Research and Development of new Renewable Energy technologies like Hydrokinetic Marine devices and static wind energy generators.
  • Develop low and zero carbon Transportation vehicles.  Adopt more efficient Driving Techniques.
  • Reduce personal Electricity Consumption by switching appliances and lights off when not in use.
  • Replace appliances and light bulbs with more energy efficient ones.
  • Better insulate buildings to reduce HVAC energy consumption.
  • Government to encourage energy efficiency by providing information on best practices and financial assistance for capital intensive upgrades.
  • Governments to set and meet targets for Carbon reduction and energy efficiency.


References:

[1]        Gazetteer for Scotland Grangemouth Power Station

[2]        Wikipedia Cockenzie Power Station

[3]        Consumer Focus Scotland Our Goals

[4]        Scottish government ‘2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy in Scotland’, August 2011.

[5]        Scottish Development International

[6]        Wikipedia Wind Turbine

[7]        REWIRE article April 2013

[8]        Union of Concerned Scientists Website

[9]        Scottish Development International

[10]      Scottish Power Renewables ‘Whitelee Wind Farm

[11]       Scottish Power Renewables ‘Construction Update

[12]       Scottish government publication ‘Conserve and Save: The Energy Efficiency Action Plan

[13]       Scottish government publication ‘2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy in Scotland’

            Part 5

[14]       Scottish Power Renewables, ‘Offshore Wind

[15]       The Crown Estate ‘Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters

[16]       Scottish government publication ‘Blue Seas – Green Energy

[17]       European Marine Energy Centre

[18]       UK government publication ‘Electricity Demand Reduction’ DECC November 2012

[19]       Scottish Energy Study – Volume 1 – Energy in Scotland, Supply and Demand, 2006

[20]       Scots Renewables website ‘Pumped Storage Hydro In Scotland’ February 2011

Useful Weblinks (Updated June 2014)

BBC: Tidal energy: Pentland Firth ‘could power half of Scotland’ (20 January 2014)

BBC: Pentland Firth tidal turbine project given consent (16 September 2013)

Scottish Government: Marine Scotland – Marine and Fisheries, Offshore Renewable Energy

European Marine Energy Centre (Orkney, Scotland)

UK Liquid Energy

titles_energy production_4

Written for the Coursera (MOOC) Class ‘Energy, the Environment and Our Future’ by Pennsylvania State University (Jan 2014).

The United Kingdom has been extracting oil commercially from oil shale since 1851.  However, large scale extraction began more recently with discovery of the Montrose field in the North Sea in 1969.  In 2011, 1.043 million barrels per day of crude oil (51,972 thousand tonnes per year) was produced [1].

TABLE_UK Crude Oil 2011_UK Liquid Energy

According to the UK government statistics, Department of Energy and Climate Change, approximately two-thirds of UK crude used was produced in the UK.  The vast majority of imported crude oil came from our North Sea neighbour, Norway.

This is illustrated in the DECC chart below.

CHART_UK Oil Imports 1998-2011_UK Liquid Energy

Historically, the UK was a heavy importer of crude at the onset of major domestic production in 1970.  By the early 80’s, the UK was a net exporter of crude oil and remained so until 2005. Indigenous production has declined steadily since 2000.

These trends are illustrated in Figure 1, below.

CHART_UK CrudeOil 1970-2011_UK Liquid Energy

Figure 1: UK Crude Oil (1970-2011)

Refined petroleum products, are processed at one of the seven remaining refineries in the UK.  There were 18 refineries in operation in the late 70’s, but largely due to competition from refineries in the Middle East and Asia, many have closed down, two closed between 2009 and 2012 [2].

In 2011, almost 70 million tonnes (1.4 million barrels per day) of petroleum products were used in the UK.  The breakdown of products is listed in Table 2, below.  Transportation fuels constitute the bulk of liquid fuels used.

Table 2: UK Petroleum Products 2011[1]

Thousand Tonnes per Year Barrels per Day Percentage
Petrol (Gasoline) 13,890 297,030 20.0
Diesel 20,990 421,540 30.2
Aviation Fuel 11,570 232,430 16.7
Other Energy Use 15,770 316,740 22.7
Non-Energy Use 7,250 145,690 10.4
Total 69,490 1,395,430 100.0

The historical trends for UK Petroleum Usage between 1999 and 2011, is shown graphically in Figure 2 below.  The recent overall trend is downward.  There has been a constant reduction in petrol (gasoline) consumption for the past decade, with all other uses including diesel and aviation stable for the past 5 years.

CHART_UK Petroleum Products Use 1999-2011_UK Liquid Energy

Figure 2: UK Petroleum Products Usage (1999-2011)

When we examine the end user data, there is one super-user in the group, see Table 3 below.  Transportation accounted for nearly 80 percent of petroleum usage in 2011.  All other industry and commercial use, including agriculture was 16 percent and domestic non-transportation use accounted for almost 4 percent.

Table 3: UK Petroleum End Users 2011[1]

Thousand Tonnes per Year Barrels per Day Percentage
Electricity Generation 830 16,720 1.3
Other Energy Ind 4,450 89,440 7.2
Other Industries 4,080 81,950 6.6
Transport 48,680 977,690 78.9
Domestic 2,400 48,220 3.9
Agri, Commerce, etc 1,250 25,150 2.0
Total 61,710 1,239,160 100.0

Historically this is true also.  Figure 3 below, plots the numbers from 1999 to 2011.  Transportation fuel gas been the far greatest demand on petroleum in the UK for decades.  All other uses have remained fairly constant.

CHART_UK Petroleum End Users 1999-2011_UK Liquid Energy

Figure 3: UK Petroleum End Use (1999-2011)

References:

[1]  Digest of UK Energy Statistics, UK Gov.

[2]  Deloitte report commissioned by DECC in 2010

Marine Energy in Scotland

titles_energy production_4

titles_aquaculture oceans_4

Written for Coursera (MOOC) Class ‘Ocean Solutions‘ by University of Western Australia (June 2014)

EMEC Kawasaki Tidal

Scotland is host to the European Marine Energy Centre, located on the Orkney Islands, off the north coast.  It opened in 2003 and is the only centre of its kind in the world for both wave and tidal energy testing.  The centre is an internationally acknowledged leader in marine energy and assists in the development of industry standards and guidelines.

BBC: Tidal energy: Pentland Firth ‘could power half of Scotland’ (20 January 2014)

BBC: Pentland Firth tidal turbine project given consent (16 September 2013)

Scottish Government: Marine Scotland – Marine and Fisheries, Offshore Renewable Energy

European Marine Energy Centre (Orkney, Scotland)

Tidal energy projects at the EMEC include:

  • Andritz Hydro Hammerfest (HS1000) 1 MW
  • Atlantis Resources Corporation (AR1000) 1 MW
  • Bluewater Energy Services (BlueTEC)
  • Kawasaki Heavy Industries (sea-bed mounted horizontal axis) 1 MW
  • Open Hydro (Turbine) 250 kW
  • Scotrenewables Tidal Power Ltd (SR250, SR2000) 250 kW & 2 MW
  • Tidal Generation Ltd (Deepgen) 500 kW
  • Voith Hydro (HyTide) 1 MW

Wave energy projects at the EMEC include:

Hydrokinetic Energy is the transfer of energy from natural water motion to usually electrical energy for consumption.  Hydro energy is a well established and widely adopted form of this technology associated with rivers and dams.

The leading current marine hydrokinetic designs are described below.  Taken from the Union of Concerned Scientists website.

Oscillating Water Column.  ‘Waves enter and exit a partially submerged collector from below, causing the water column inside the collector to rise and fall. The changing water level acts like a piston as it drives air that is trapped in the device above the water into a turbine, producing electricity via a coupled generator.’

Point Absorber: ‘Utilizes wave energy from all directions at a single point by using the vertical motion of waves to act as a pump that pressurizes seawater or an internal fluid, which drives a turbine. This type of device has many possible configurations. One configuration, called a hose pump point absorber, consists of a surface-floating buoy anchored to the sea floor, with the turbine device as part of the vertical connection. The wave-induced vertical motion of the buoy causes the connection to expand and contract, producing the necessary pumping action. Through engineering to generate device-wave resonance, energy capture and electricity generation by point absorbers can be maximized.’

Attenuator:Also known as heave-surge devices, these long, jointed floating structures are aligned parallel to the wave direction and generate electricity by riding the waves. The device, anchored at each end, utilizes passing waves to set each section into rotational motion relative to the next segment. Their relative motion, concentrated at the joints between the segments, is used to pressurize a hydraulic piston that drives fluids through a motor, which turns the coupled generator.’

Overtopping Device: ‘A floating reservoir, in effect, is formed as waves break over the walls of the device. The reservoir creates a head of water—a water level higher than that of the surrounding ocean surface—which generates the pressure necessary to turn a hydro turbine as the water flows out the bottom of the device, back into the sea.’

Rotating devices: ‘Capture the kinetic energy of a flow of water, such as a tidal stream, ocean current or river, as it passes across a rotor. The rotor turns with the current, creating rotational energy that is converted into electricity by a generator. Rotational devices used in water currents are conceptually akin to, and some designs look very similar to, the wind turbines already in widespread use today – a similarity that has helped to speed up the technological development of the water-based turbines. Some rotational device designs, like most wind turbines, rotate around a horizontal axis, while other, more theoretical concepts are oriented around a vertical axis, with some designs resembling egg beaters.’

Iceland’s Green Energy

titles_energy production_4

Written for Coursera (MOOC) Class ‘Global Sustainable Energy, Past, Present and Future ‘ by University of Florida (June 2013).

Iceland is unique and interesting place for many reasons, cultural, geological and economically.

  • Generates 100% of its electricity from renewable sources
  • Highest electricity consumption per capita in the world, more than double Norway’s, 2nd highest.
  • Many active volcanoes: Eruption of ‘Eyjafjallajökull’ in April 2010 – airspace closure Europe
  • Capital city Reykjavik: World’s most northerly capital, pop 120,000 (37.5% Iceland total pop)

(CIA Factbook)

Traditionally, Iceland’s main industry has been fishing and more recently Aluminium production.

The clip from the film ‘Dreamland’ highlights some of the opposing views that are currently being debated in the country.  Aluminium smelting and Hydroelectricity, also Environmental Protection and Geothermal Energy are hot topics.

Video Link: ‘Dreamland

Hydro-Electric Power

The geography and climate of Iceland lends itself to hydroelectricity production on a large enough scale to meet the majority of the country’s power needs.  Hydro accounts for 12,500 GWh annually, 73% of total electricity generation.

(Statistics Iceland)

Geothermal Energy

A consequence of Iceland’s geological activity is that it is able to harness heat from below the earth to generate electricity and heat houses.  It is used to produce the remaining 30% of electricity generation, annually 4,700 GWh.  In addition to this, a further 11, 700 GWh are produced as heat for residential space heating, as well as warming greenhouses and swimming pools, etc.

(Orkustofnun)

Total Energy Mix 

The table below shows the national energy mix for Iceland in 2010/11.

Elect Oil Heating
Total 16,290 7,245 7,028
Aluminium 12,341 0 0
Other Industry 1,527 256 222
Residential 863 0 5,694
Transport 0 5,106 0
Agriculture 220 0 194
Fishing 42 1,849 486
Services 1019 0   0
Utilities 700 0 431
Other 0 47   0

The Aluminium industry in Iceland began in 1969 when the smelter at Straumsvík opened.  A further two Aluminium plants were opened in 1998 and 2008.  As can be seen from the graph below, Aluminium production is by far the largest consumer of electricity and total energy in the country.

Aluminium smelting requires vast electricity input, and Iceland’s potential for hydro-generation provided a good economic match.

If Aluminium industry consumption is discarded, the Electricity per capita falls to 12,500 kWh annually, which is marginally above that of the USA.

(indexmundi)

Graph_Iceland_EnergyCons_Bar

Figure 1: Energy Consumption by Sector Giga Watt-Hours

As can be seen from Figure 1, Iceland still relies heavily on imported petroleum for most of it’s transportation mainly for automobile and air travel.  The Icelandic fishing industry is also a major oil consumer, required to power the fishing fleet.

There are some hydrogen filling stations already in Reykjavik, which indicates that the country is working towards 100% clean indigenous energy.

Graph_Iceland_EnergyCons_Pie

Figure 2: Energy Consumption as Percentage of Total

As seen in Figure 2, Industry currently uses nearly half of all the energy consumed in Iceland.  The government estimates that there are over 20,000 GWh as yet untapped geothermal generating capacity.  Since the population growth rate has hovered around 1% since 1960, and is currently 0.3% (World Bank Data), it seems likely that when this additional energy is exploited, it will be used in industry, therefore increasing the fraction of total energy consumed by the sector.

Indexmundi_Iceland_ElectCapita

Figure 3: Electricity Consumption Per Capita (annual kWh) (indexmundi.com)

The figure for Icelandic electricity consumption per capita, see Figure 3, seems astonishing when compared to the other nations in the top ten.  However, the fact that this quantity of energy consumption is 100% renewable, all the more remarkable, is a success story from which other nations can benefit.

Iceland is interested in exporting this energy in some form, they are investigating an interconnector cable to the UK and possibly mainland Europe.  They are also trying to attract energy hungry business to their shores.

They are world leaders in Geothermal Energy, which has great potential across the globe as a source of clean renewable energy.  Oil drilling technology can be adapted to reach into the hot sedimentary rocks, which heat pumped water, which emerges as steam to power turbines and generate electricity.

Geothermal Energy Diagram

Figure 4: Geothermal Electricity Diagram