Revolt news 172
1. Correction (news171.2) - the pro-wind PR contract placed by DTI with Porter Novelli (not Peter Novelli) is for 2 million pounds, and additional to the BWEA (British Wind Energy Association) campaign "Embrace the revolution", say Country Guardian.
2. Russian President Vladimir Putin's cabinet endorsed the Kyoto Protocol 30.9.04 and sent it to the Duma to be rubber stamped. The lower house of the Duma agreed it last week. With Russia's assent, the Kyoto Protocol will have enough signers to become a United Nations treaty, subject to international law.
3. A note on AC - DC and underground - overhead transmission. Normal transmission lines in the UK are AC and 3-phase, strung on the familiar pylons. They can be buried; then they are usually called "cables" and it can be around 20 times more expensive. For example the new 400kV Yorkshire line is about 75km, mainly overhead but with about 6 km underground. Revolt has promoted the development of super-conducting cables (HTSC) which offer potential cost savings and other advantages. Unusually there are DC transmission lines, both overhead (as planned in Gippsland, Australia, in connection with the Basslink project) and as commonly used under the sea such as the recent interconnector from Scotland to Northern Ireland. At the ends of the DC lines, to connect with the AC system, there are DC-AC converter stations. At the ends of a 400 kV AC line there are substations with transformers to convert to lower voltages for distribution. At the ends of a stretch of underground AC cable there are sealing-end compounds with a terminal towers to link with the overhead sections. Apart from the cost of underground cables, there are costs and impacts of the end systems to consider. Taking all that into account, a form of underground DC cable (HVDC Light, as used in the Murraylink project in Australia) is promoted as offering various advantages particularly over longer distances; it would be worth considering for the Ullapool - Beauly - Denny line. (APPENDIX 1). We did investigate HVDC a year ago and were advised by consultants to nexans.com that it is always going to be more costly than conventional overhead lines. However the latest claims for HVDC Light are that it can be cheaper in total life cycle cost.
4. Extracts from a US newsletter on using naval nuclear engines as floating generators, see APPENDIX 2.
5. Snips from news@all-energy 12.10.04 are at APPENDIX 3.
6. Three companies are prosecuted over the Derrybrien land slip (the bogalanche) (APPENDIX 4).
7. From the CPRE magazine Country Voice: (a) The new Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act came into force this summer. CPRE has created a website to help the public understand the new system. <www.cpre.org.uk/planninghelp> (b) CPRE policy on wind farms. It believes greenhouse gases are a major threat and will campaign for reductions in energy consumption, but says wind farms should avoid damaging valued rural landscapes. CPRE will support renewable energy development in some cases, but will strongly resist those which damage the beauty, tranquillity and diversity of the English countryside.
APPENDIX 1 Notes on HVDC Light (extracts from pdf file sent by commercial parties in Canada)
HVDC Light technology (see www.abb.com\hvdc ) has the potential to play an important role in achieving this solution. It provides improved power quality and power flow control as well as introducing extruded DC-cables which have no technical limit to distance which can be installed, and can provide an alternative to overhead lines particularly when the total capital and environmental costs are considered. In addition, the installation of DC cables is less complicated compared to AC cables, because DC cables produce less EMF impact and have less losses. Therefore, it is possible to consider alternative and simpler installation such as ducts or simply buried cable in the ground or under sidewalks, instead of deep and expensive tunnels as is the case for AC cables.
The health aspect of electromagnetic pollution has been targeted by consumer groups, saying that communities near AC power transmission lines or cables have higher incidences of leukemia among children than those in the rest of the region. Less restriction is made for the magnetic field from a DC cable since this one is stationary (like the Earth's natural magnetic field), while the AC cable generates an alternating magnetic field. An alternating field, but not a stationary field, can induce body current. Another environmental issue is pollution from oil. Extruded insulation cable (fluid-less cable) exists today that is more environmentally friendly. Therefore, high voltage cable technology (either AC or DC) is characterized by a changeover from the conventional lapped paper dielectric impregnated with oil under pressure to extruded synthetic dielectrics. In large cities, large AC cables are best accommodated in tunnels. This solution provides the opportunity to maximize reliability by supplying and installing longer lengths, reducing the number of joints. However, tunnels are rather expensive and cause inconvenience to society during construction. The installation of DC cables is less complicated compared to AC cables, because DC cables produce less EMF impact and have less losses. Therefore, it is possible to consider alternative and simpler installation such as ducts or simply buried cable in the ground or under sidewalks, instead of deep and expensive tunnels.
The Murraylink project . the world.s longest underground high-voltage interconnection at 176 kilometers . o won the 2002 Case EARTH Award for Environmental Excellence for best practice and innovation in the environmental management of civil construction projects. The award was presented by the Civil Contractors. Federation of Australia.
Summary A pair of lightweight DC cables can be laid direct in the ground in a cost- effective way which is comparable to or less than a corresponding total life cycle cost of AC overhead line. As opposed to an overhead line, an underground cable pair has no visual impact on the landscape. Usually it's much easier to obtain permission and public approval for an underground cable transmission compared with an overhead line, especially in residential areas. Last, it is important to note that Hydro One is deploying HVDC Light technology under one of the Great Lakes to connect to the American hydro grid.
APPENDIX 2 Extracts from Floating Nuclear Power By Gordon Prather (c) 2001 WorldNetDaily.comma http://www.sepp.org
The Nimitz is powered by two nuclear reactors, which drive eight steam turbine generators, producing a total of 64 MWe of electrical power. At sea, most of that electrical power is used to drive the Nimitz to speeds in excess of thirty knots and its reactors can operate at full power for a dozen or so years, essentially continuously, and without refueling. But when the Nimitz is dockside in Portland or Eureka, it costs no more to continue to operate its reactors at full power; and most of that 64MWe generated could be provided -- in principle -- to you people ashore,
But that would be silly, of course, using the Nimitz to keep you from freezing in the dark. You don't need a multi-billion dollar, 95,000-ton displacement, 1092-foot long, 252-foot wide aircraft carrier to provide the 60MWe you need. All you need are the nuclear reactors and their steam generators mounted on some kind of unsinkable barge. And it would be a very good thing if the entire power plant sited on the unsinkable barge could be constructed somewhere else, far out of the reach of our federal, state and local regulators, and hence out of the reach of "interveners."
Well, as it happens, the Russians began constructing about five years ago a factory to make at least a dozen such unsinkable barge-mounted nuclear power plants for their own use at remote Russian cities in the Arctic. Because of the financial meltdown in Russia in 1998, the construction was put on hold, but it appears that President Putin has now made resuming construction and the international marketing of these nuclear power plants a fairly important item on his agenda. He certainly did so on his trip earlier this year to Indonesia.
The power plant comprises two KLT-40 reactors, driving four steam turbine generators, producing 70 MWe. The power plant is mounted on a 160-meter long un-propelled double-hulled ice-breaker-like steel barge that will also house the living quarters for the 60 crewmen. The KLT-40 nuclear reactors are presently used in Russian nuclear-powered icebreakers and already have a repair-free life span of 110,000 hours. They can operate continuously for periods of up to 9,000 hours in harsh Arctic conditions.
The factory in Murmansk will "mass produce" the barges and power plants, including on-board refueling and waste management facilities. Each reactor is encased in a containment structure able to withstand high over- pressure. The main hull and superstructure framework is made from D40 steel, which has a high resistance to brittle fracture under low temperature conditions. The hull will be a completely welded structure, reinforced against hitting icebergs in transit and the pressure of being frozen in ice all winter.
The dozen or so Russian barge-mounted nuclear-power plants being built are intended to keep 20 million Russians living in remote communities in the Arctic Circle and the Bering Strait from freezing in the dark. The floating nuclear power plants will not require refueling for up to 4 years, will operate for up to 40 years, being interrupted every 13 years for a return to Murmansk for maintenance.
Separately, Putin and the Russians are also proposing to substitute desalination units for steam turbines on some barges. While not yet a problem in Maine, there may soon be a fresh water deficit in California. It is estimated that there is already a combined fresh- water deficit for India, Pakistan, China, Egypt, Algeria, etc. of more than 10-million cubic meters daily. Each Russian APWS-40 barge mounted nuclear powered desalination plant is expected to be capable of supplying up to 80,000 cubic meters of fresh water daily at a cost of about a dollar per cubic meter.
The disadvantage of using the KLT-40 reactors for power generation is that they are an old design, not very efficient, and use fairly highly enriched (60% U-235) Uranium. It would be a good thing if, for example, the modularized 110 MW "pebble-bed" nuclear power plants -- also a well- proven design but far more efficient and more nuke proliferation resistant -- developed in South Africa by the South Africans (Eskom), Russians (Kurchatov), Germans (Siemens) and Americans (Exelon) could soon be built in South Africa and/or Russia and mounted on unsinkable barges and towed to our shores.
But, at the moment, the enormous advantage of the KLT-40 design is that it has already met all Russian nuclear safety and radiological regulations, and already incorporates all pertinent safety recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency. What that means is that the interveners can't stop these nuclear power plants from being built in Russia. They can't even delay them. The Russian floating nuclear power plants could be off our shores in a matter of two or three years. Then, about the only way the interveners can force you to freeze in the dark is to prevent you from taking your very large industrial strength power cord, rowing out to the Russian barge and plugging it in.
APPENDIX 3 Snips from news@all-energy 12.10.04.
3.1.Consultation begins on transmission line routes
Scottish Hydro-Electric Transmission has asked for views on five possible route corridors should it prove necessary to accommodate output from renewable energy schemes which may be developed on the Western Isles www.scottish-southern.co.uk/news/selectcurrent.asp
3.2.Electricity distribution price control update
Ofgem unveiled updated proposals stressing that investment and efficiency remain at the heart of the forthcoming electricity distribution price control review (2005-2010). The final proposals will be announced in November www.ofgem.gov.uk/temp/ofgem/cache/cmsattach/8741_r6304_27sept.pdf "If the UK's electricity distribution operators are to be able to deliver the networks the country needs, the regulator will need to move rapidly, decisively and affirmatively from its present position on the five-year price review, so that customers don't suffer," Nick Goodall, CEO, ENA www.energynetworks.org/news.asp
3.3.New from Ofgem
Production of seven-year statements by the transmission licensees in the run-up to BETTA go-live www.ofgem.gov.uk/temp/ofgem/cache/cmsattach/8710_22004.pdf
3.4.BETTA draws nearer National Grid invites views on their draft statements of charging methodology proposed for implementation on 1 April 2005 www.nationalgrid.com/uk/indinfo/betta/gb_ consultations.html
3.5.Planning and operating standards under BETTA Newly published ---- 'Planning and operating standards under BETTA -- An Ofgem/DTI conclusion document: Volumes 1 and 2' www.ofgem.gov.uk/ofgem/work/index.jsp?section=/areasofwork/betta02
APPENDIX 3 Three companies to face prosecution after Derrybrien landslides
http://126.96.36.199/news/story.asp?j=120710468&p=yzx7yyy74&n=120711228 < http://188.8.131.52/news/story.asp?j=120710468&p=yzx7yyy74&n=120 711228 > 14/10/2004 - 08:28:25
Three firms are facing joint prosecution after a landslide at Derrybrien in Co Galway last year.
An ESB subsidiary, ESBI engineering, Gort Windfarms from Co Kerry, and Ascon Limited of Kill, Co Kildare, are all facing legal action from Galway County Council and the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board on charges of causing pollution.
A consultant's report earlier this year found construction work on a wind farm was the main cause of the landslide at Derrybrien.
Work on the project has since been suspended.
The three companies are expected to contest the court case, which is likely to take place later this month.
Further news received 20.10.04:
Construction caused landslide, court told
19 October 2004 13:00
Engineering and geology experts have told a District Court in Galway they believe last year's landslide in Derrybrien was caused by construction activity on a €60m wind farm.
Galway County Council and the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board are taking three ESB subsidiary companies and the contracting firm ASCON to court for polluting a local river which was at the centre of the landslide zone.
Dr Michael Rodgers, a senior lecturer in civil engineering at NUI Galway, told the court he was convinced that the landslide on 16 October 2003 was triggered by activity around turbine base Number 68.
Dr Rodgers said could not accept a suggestion by counsel for main sub- contractor Ascon, that the landslide had started further down the hill and had pulled thousands of tonnes of material from above.
Mr Bernard Murphy, an engineering geologist, said he saw no evidence that the landslide was related to a natural event and in his view it was related to construction activity on the site.
-- Mike O'Carroll