‘since all modern stations use the pumped return …

Comment posted Water Resources (Scotland) Bill introduced – issues arising by Robert Wakeham.

‘since all modern stations use the pumped return system’ – if this is a suggestion that pumped storage is the order of the day, I’d be surprised because a good few recent hydro power projects seem to have been ‘run of the river’ which, by definition, can’t be pumped storage.

Robert Wakeham also commented

  • Are you sure about this, John? – pumping & generating at the same time doesn’t seem to make any sense, and building a bigger dam seems highly improbable, as 10% of the reservoir replenishment comes from feeder canals tapping streams around the mountain – and they’d be too low if the dam was higher, whereas there doesn’t appear to be room to enlarge the reservoir by building a new dam significantly ‘downstream’ from the existing one.
    It’s designed to sell power to the grid at times of peak demand, and replenish the reservoir by using cheap off-peak power to drive the turbines as pumps. Apparently it also provides an almost instant (2 minutes from standing, 30 seconds if spinning) emergency power supply to the grid to ‘kick start’ any other power stations in the event of a major shut-down preventing them from drawing the electricity from the grid that they would need to power-up again.

Recent comments by Robert Wakeham

  • Inveraray & District Local History Society talk focuses on ‘The Argylls’
    On the question of spelling, it’s Plymouth Argyle – and that version of the name isn’t just an English aberration, there’s Argyle Street in Glasgow, and Argyle socks just about anywhere, so goodness knows how there came to be different ways of spelling the same names.
  • Mountaineers and tourism businesses ask for your support to save Rannoch Moor
    Five hundred 20 ton truck loads of concrete? for each foundation? – are you sure about that, JB?
  • Mountaineers and tourism businesses ask for your support to save Rannoch Moor
    ‘…after which it will be decommissioned if it is not repowered.’ – I get the impression that there is every likelihood that turbines will be replaced, with more efficient and/or larger machines, maybe well within their 25 year lifespan; the history of Gigha’s community turbines, bought second hand from the Haverigg 1 site in Cumbria with eight years’ design life remaining, points to this.
  • Mountaineers and tourism businesses ask for your support to save Rannoch Moor
    A lot of people would doubtless think ‘what real harm is one wind farm in such an enormous landscape?’
    The wind farms in Argyll are mostly widely scattered and generally not ‘in your face’ except for a few unlucky people living in relatively remote places – nothing like the massed ranks of turbines lording it over each side of the M74 around Beattock.
    But go up into the Argyll hills and the perception is rather different – venture up to the An Suidhe wind farm above the A83 near Auchindrain, or to the Meall Mor telecoms cluster above the A83 between Ardrishaig and Tarbert, and you might be surprised at how many giants are lurking in the hills and that’s without contemplating the sort of ‘infill’ that the big boys are planning for the Kilduskland hills around the back of Ardrishaig.
    So I think that one windfarm encroaching on the wide open Rannoch landscape is one too many, that the government has to understand that in some areas enough is enough.
  • Managed protest at Pacific Quay shames pro-indy campaign
    Barking’s the word for it.

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11 Responses to ‘since all modern stations use the pumped return …

  1. Very interesting, trying to get my head round it, Tom Johnstone (After leaving Parliament he was Chairman of the Scottish National Forestry Commission (1945-48), Chairman of North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board (1946-59), Chancellor of Aberdeen University (1951-65) and governor of the British Broadcasting Board (1955-56).) led the way at one point for Hydro Power, I might be wrong, no public money was spent, the profit paid of the debt very quickly, then sold of cheaply by Thatcher to give us all cheap energy.

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  2. ‘since all modern stations use the pumped return system’ – if this is a suggestion that pumped storage is the order of the day, I’d be surprised because a good few recent hydro power projects seem to have been ‘run of the river’ which, by definition, can’t be pumped storage.

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  3. My understanding is there is a limit on how much wind power can be connected live to the grid, go above and the grid becomes unstable. Hydro powered by a dam is very stable and the limiting factor is the volume of water. Correct me if I am wrong but Cruachan has started pumping and generating at the same time and a new cavern is in the planning stage along with building a bigger dam. All hydro stations are being reassessed for environmental damage, in America some have been dismantled http://vimeo.com/31305629. There are many good solutions out there, some will not make corporation the profit and will undermined their monopoly.

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    • Are you sure about this, John? – pumping & generating at the same time doesn’t seem to make any sense, and building a bigger dam seems highly improbable, as 10% of the reservoir replenishment comes from feeder canals tapping streams around the mountain – and they’d be too low if the dam was higher, whereas there doesn’t appear to be room to enlarge the reservoir by building a new dam significantly ‘downstream’ from the existing one.
      It’s designed to sell power to the grid at times of peak demand, and replenish the reservoir by using cheap off-peak power to drive the turbines as pumps. Apparently it also provides an almost instant (2 minutes from standing, 30 seconds if spinning) emergency power supply to the grid to ‘kick start’ any other power stations in the event of a major shut-down preventing them from drawing the electricity from the grid that they would need to power-up again.

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      • Reading my comment does not make sense, but the whole nature of the market has evolved. When I was told they were pumping and generating at the same time I did not beleave either. Two different people have told me about the expansion, I know that still does not make it true. Hopefully someone in the known will correct me if I am wrong.

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        • You can pump and generate at the same time. From memory, there are four turbines in the turbine hall under Cruachan. You could have two pumping while two are generating though I’m not sure why that would be desirable.

          As to the amount of wind that can be connected to the grid, I was under the misapprehension that there is a finite limit to how much wind can be connected but the experience from Spain suggests that, though there may be an upper limit, it is much higher than was previously thought and the answer is to have either lots of pumped storage hydro or to have excellent interconnectors so you can draw power from adjacent regions when wind generation in your own region is depressed.

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          • Mind you – that depends on their being separate access tunnels to the turbines. If all turbines are fed by the same tunnel then you couldn’t pump and generate at the same time.

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  4. There are two tunnels feeding four generators and one tail race. So in theory two can generate and two can pump. Interesting to know the hydraulics of water flow in the tail race if they do pump and generate at same time. As I said its what I was told, yes I do find it hard to beleave, but the “unstable” wind generation has brought in a new vairable in to the market. Yet again someone in the know could correct me, years ago I read the maximum of wind power on a grid could only be 16% and then the excess would be exported to a more stable grid. Are we not being conected up to Norway. I may be getting my facts wrong, but there should be an open and transparent debate on energy production.

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  5. Stealth entry by the back door eh…you wee rascals.

    As I said months ago the Scottish Government mean to flood more glens to provide pumped storage facilities for energy storage, energy generated by large commercial windfarms.
    Given the huge environmental footprint of resevoirs of any type…this needs to be taken into consideration when folk quote wind as having a small environmental footprint…it does not…whether we are talking conventional back up or pumped storage…large scale commercial wind causes large scale damage to our uninhabited more natural locations.
    I also hasten to add that the recently anounced connection to Norway will also use their spare storage facility or planned storage facility….much as Denmark is doing now…generate/export/store/release/buy back…madness.

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  6. EURELECTRIC position “Trade-offs between environmental legislation and the low-carbon agenda”The 2009 Renewables Energy Directive stipulates the need to support “the use of energy storage systems for integrated intermittent production of energy from renewable sources.” (wind) Yet regulatory obstacles such as disproportionate implementation and too broad interpretation of environmental legislation are impeding the further development of hydropower in Europe”

    .
    Again Euroelectrics position:”Policymakers must address the conflicting objectives of the low-carbon agenda and the environmental agenda”

    So there we have it, the big businesses are trying their damdest to de-regulate or change current environmental legislation to allow damage to the environment…talk about madness…Not content with messing up the planet already…they intend to mess it up some more…please do not give me the cop out of “this is to protect the planet” what is the point in europe destroying more wilderness areas to counteract US/China/India emmissions when they are the current culprits. Bild a wind farm/sponsor a flooded glen !!!

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