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Spirit of Ireland - A bright spark in today's economic gloom?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,449 ✭✭✭Heroditas


    Idbatterim wrote: »
    the proposal sounds very good. Surely if we are importing billions worth of fossil fuels every year, we could generate a huge amount of construction and spin off activity and put an end to being at the mercy of fossil fuel prices. We all know which way they are going!


    If the proposal is so good, why haven't the ESB looked at something like this in the past and run with the idea? The ESB is a state-run company and is highly respected worldwide for the work they do in other countries' energy industries .... yet for some reason they have not looked at a scheme like this.

    (before anyone points out that ESBI and ESB are different companies, there are many crossovers)


    And if ESB or Bord Gáis won't run with a scheme like this, why aren't the likes of Viridian or Airtricity running with it?
    And bear in mind that these are privately-owned utility companies that are interested in expanding their market shares and making profits yet they won't touch the SoI proposal with a bargepole.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,376 ✭✭✭ei.sdraob


    Heroditas wrote: »
    If the proposal is so good, why haven't the ESB looked at something like this in the past and run with the idea? The ESB is a state-run company and is highly respected worldwide for the work they do in other countries' energy industries .... yet for some reason they have not looked at a scheme like this.

    (before anyone points out that ESBI and ESB are different companies, there are many crossovers)


    And if ESB or Bord Gáis won't run with a scheme like this, why aren't the likes of Viridian or Airtricity running with it?
    And bear in mind that these are privately-owned utility companies that are interested in expanding their market shares and making profits yet they won't touch the SoI proposal with a bargepole.

    ESB also already have a pumped storage system at Turlough Hill, and it wasn't cheap, this is several orders of magnitude larger and uses salt water.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,449 ✭✭✭Heroditas


    ei.sdraob wrote: »
    ESB also already have a pumped storage system at Turlough Hill, and it wasn't cheap, this is several orders of magnitude larger and uses salt water.

    Also, if we look at Turlough Hill, the facility is absolutely huge and can still only meet a fraction of the country's electricity demand.

    EDIT: I should clarify that I knew about Turlough Hill and was more referring to the ESB pursuing something like SoI on a larger scale


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 624 ✭✭✭Aidan1


    I'll just park this here for future reference for those who seem to believe that gas prices are on a downward slope. This is a graph of wholesale natural gas futures prices on the UK market (which sets the price here).

    https://www.theice.com/marketdata/reports/ReportCenter.shtml?reportId=90&productId=236&hubId=377
    These private loans you speak of, are they similar to private loans property developers took out that the taxpayer was not liable for? Of course the government had to do something with the property loans because they fuelled the bubble with tax breaks, but Im sure you are going to tell me that the price guarantess for wind energy is a completely different situation.

    Yup. Leaving aside the argument about whether the State should have assumed the accumulated debt of Irish developers, there's no reason why it should ever have to do so for Windfarm developers - the sector just isn't big enough to be of systemic importance, and much of the money originates from outside of Ireland anyways. If they cannot operate commercially despite the environment created for them by policy, good luck to them - the receivers will at least will have functional infrastructure to take over.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,376 ✭✭✭ei.sdraob


    Aidan1 wrote: »
    Yup. Leaving aside the argument about whether the State should have assumed the accumulated debt of Irish developers, there's no reason why it should ever have to do so for Windfarm developers - the sector just isn't big enough to be of systemic importance, and much of the money originates from outside of Ireland anyways. If they cannot operate commercially despite the environment created for them by policy, good luck to them - the receivers will at least will have functional infrastructure to take over.

    Wait how is having majority of electricity in Ireland having to be generated from such an unreliable and capital intensive form as wind is not of "importance" :confused:

    Its one thing to be left with ghost estates and billions of debts run up be developers its another thing to have blackouts and/or more expensive electricity on a calm day


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  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 90,877 Mod ✭✭✭✭Capt'n Midnight


    I would expect some kind of battery to be developed which will store the excess wind power, so instead of the spirit of Ireland lakes storing the energy "some kind of battery" will do the job.

    The wind turbines might still be required to charge this battery so they wouldn't be wasted.

    The trick is to develop the right kind of battery to store the wind power.
    The lead acid battery still used in most cars was invented in 1859 and hasn't been replaced yet :(

    NiMH has problems with patents, especially if you want to use anything bigger than a D cell for use in cars.

    Lithium, lets just say that a certain South American country has half the worlds supply and are determined not to get raped like they were on previous minerals.

    compressed air (in bags under the sea) means that you loose a lot of energy in waste heat when compressing the air


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 90,877 Mod ✭✭✭✭Capt'n Midnight


    ei.sdraob wrote: »
    to get back on subject I think this expensive one way bet on wind in a world with plentiful thorium and uranium supplies to last few thousand years (or more with reprocessing and breeding) is silly, especially with increased investment into fusion research in europe and US promising functional plants by 2030
    Let us know when the Indians have got a second Thorium reactor up and running


    Breeder , yeah , how many countries that still have them don't need Plutonium for their military.


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 90,877 Mod ✭✭✭✭Capt'n Midnight


    ei.sdraob wrote: »
    1. we replace Saudi's and Russian's with Chinese manufactured turbines, and China is already limiting the rare earth exports that are needed in construction of magnets for these and electric cars and other "green" technologies which we dont manufacture here :rolleyes:
    magic magnets, get enough of them and you can get free energy :rolleyes:
    if you don't have magnets you can simply energise the coils instead , which is what is done on all large motors / generators

    very light engines used in model planes can be made with just aluminium wire, you loose on efficiency but gain overall because there is less weight to keep aloft


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,376 ✭✭✭ei.sdraob


    Let us know when the Indians have got a second Thorium reactor up and running


    Breeder , yeah , how many countries that still have them don't need Plutonium for their military.

    Interesting how a so called third world country with crushing poverty has its own space programme and research into nuclear energy that doesnt yield weapons grade material.

    What does this "smart&green" economy have? ah yes subsidising yet another industry with money we don have and crushing debt due to past subsidies and lack of oversight of another industry


    magic magnets, get enough of them and you can get free energy :rolleyes:
    if you don't have magnets you can simply energise the coils instead , which is what is done on all large motors / generators

    very light engines used in model planes can be made with just aluminium wire, you loose on efficiency but gain overall because there is less weight to keep aloft

    Ah yes denial, very common among environmentalists


    The Darker shades of Green, we are not meant to know about :rolleyes:
    Just outside the heavily polluted industrial city of Baotou, Inner Mongolia, surrounded by smokestacks, lies a lake with no name.

    At this time of year the lake bed freezes into waves of solid mud. In summer, locals say, it oozes a viscous, red liquid. It is a “tailing lake”, where toxic rare earth elements from a mine 100 miles away are stored for further processing.

    Seepage from the lake has poisoned the surrounding farmland. “The crops stopped growing after being watered in these fields,” said Wang Cun Gang, a farmer. The local council paid villagers compensation for loss of income. “They tested our water and concluded that neither people nor animals should drink it, nor is it usable for irrigation.”

    This is the price Chinese peasants are paying for the low carbon future. Rare earths, a class of metallic elements that are highly reactive, are essential for the next generation of “green” technologies. The battery in a Toyota Prius car contains more than 22lb of lanthanum. Low-energy lightbulbs need terbium. The permanent magnets used in a 3 megawatt wind turbine use 2 tons of neodymium and other rare earths.

    In small workshops near Baotou, workers wearing no protective clothing watch over huge vats of acid and other chemicals, steam rising from rusty pipes, as they stir and bag toxic liquids and powders, turning the rare earth elements into compounds and oxides for further processing into batteries and magnets. Wearing no masks, they breathe air heavy with fumes and dust and handle chemicals without gloves.

    A thousand miles to the southeast, in Jiangxi province, the extraction process is more damaging. Green hills are studded with makeshift plants which pump acid into the earth. Last September villagers in Pitou county blocked lorries carrying chemicals and picketed the council, angry that their fields had been ruined.

    “We farm rice but cannot harvest anything any more,” said a woman, who was afraid to give her name because her husband is still in prison for protesting. “Fruit trees don’t bear fruit any more. Fish die in the river. We used to wash in the river and lots of fish would come to us, but there are none left. Even the weeds died.”

    Officially the polluting plants have been closed down, but villagers say they still operate at night, under armed guard, with the collusion of local Communist party leaders who help mafia bosses keep the lucrative trade going.

    Over the past two decades lax environmental standards and low labour costs have made it impossible for other countries to compete. Now, as the world seeks a new economy based on renewable energy, China produces more than 95% of rare earth supplies.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,449 ✭✭✭Heroditas


    Aidan1 wrote: »
    I'll just park this here for future reference for those who seem to believe that gas prices are on a downward slope. This is a graph of wholesale natural gas futures prices on the UK market (which sets the price here).

    https://www.theice.com/marketdata/reports/ReportCenter.shtml?reportId=90&productId=236&hubId=377



    A year and a half hardly tells the whole story now does it?
    You can also look at gas prices HERE


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,376 ✭✭✭ei.sdraob


    Eirgrid have a report of generation/storage options for ireland going forward and pumped storage and carbon storage are considered

    they give a figure of €1,200/kW for the capital costs


    I used the lifetime generation costs using their data and came up with an interesting figures in parallel thread

    ei.sdraob wrote: »
    Ok lets do a simple exercise using Eirgrid's figures
    Firstly lifetime costs of each tech

    sxn4.png

    Secondly if you take the halfhourly generation figures from eirgrid for 2010, you would get 299MW average generation from an average installed capacity of 1500MW :rolleyes:, thats ~20% availability over the year at any time

    so to generate an extra 1 Terrawatt hour continuously one would need:

    * 80euro * 1,000,000 * (10/9) = 88 million if chose nuclear, 90% availability is the norm with previous gen reactors

    * 75 euro * 1,000,000 * (5/1) = 375 million if chosen onshore wind, yes almost 5x thanks to a measly 20% availability of onshore wind


    Eirgrid predict an extra 10 TWh of demand between now and 2030, so yeah which option will be cheaper



    please note:

    * That the above uses the average over a year for all the windmills scattered all over the country already,
    if you go with wind some months and weeks you could generate **** all energy,
    the average for december was 10%, that means either importing the energy in that time (not cheap and so much for energy independence) or using gas (back to fossil fuels) or freezing :P
    You could store this energy in a Spirit of Ireland type storage at a capital cost of €1,200/kW (source Eirgrid) adding further costs

    * If you go with nuclear you know exactly how much you can generate and you know all the costs, and yes the above figure from Eirgrid is based on Finlands experience and includes waste disposal

    * Going nuclear would not required billions to be spend on new power lines saving even more money


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    Discussion of wind energy on Pat Kenny here.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,318 ✭✭✭dowlingm


    Let us know when the Indians have got a second Thorium reactor up and running.
    Apparently the Chinese have seen something in it - if it can be done, I bet those lads can:

    1. No environmental groups to worry about
    2. Massive financial and organisation resources
    3. If there's any technical data they lack - they'll find a way to get it...


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭Sponge Bob


    Quite a blast against wind energy in general here. I warn before anybody clicks that it may have been financed by the Coal Lobby in Australia but it does contain some salient facts.

    http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/why-wind-wont-work.pdf


  • Registered Users Posts: 131 ✭✭patgill


    Heroditas wrote: »
    If the proposal is so good, why haven't the ESB looked at something like this in the past and run with the idea? The ESB is a state-run company and is highly respected worldwide for the work they do in other countries' energy industries .... yet for some reason they have not looked at a scheme like this.

    (before anyone points out that ESBI and ESB are different companies, there are many crossovers)


    And if ESB or Bord Gáis won't run with a scheme like this, why aren't the likes of Viridian or Airtricity running with it?
    And bear in mind that these are privately-owned utility companies that are interested in expanding their market shares and making profits yet they won't touch the SoI proposal with a bargepole.

    Hi all,
    Haven't been here for a while as I was recovering from major surgery.

    This visit is short and sweet.

    Scottish and Southern, the parent company of Airtricity are busily expanding their pumped storage facilities in Scotland.

    Iberdola, the Spanish company with one of the largest installed wind energy portfolio's in the world, chose pumped storage whenever possible to mitigate intermittancy.

    Worldwide, the installed pumped storage capacity is set to double according to announced projects in 2010.

    S of I is alive and well and working solidly towards its goal.

    There are now several community wind farm co-ops in existence.

    I have seen capacity factors mentioned of 20% in a few of the posts above, Ireland has very few windfarms in the areas of highest resource due to grid constraints, if anyone is genuinely interested in seeing raw data from measuring masts in the west of Ireland proving that capacity factors in excess of 40% are available in the correct sites for large scale onshore windfarms, please e-mail me at patgillenergyinfo@gmail.com.

    And thanks to all who sent me good wishes during my illness.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭Sponge Bob


    Lord Pat we never knew around here, hope you are recovering well.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,318 ✭✭✭dowlingm


    Do not doubt the POWER OF THE NIMBY


  • Registered Users Posts: 86 ✭✭luohaoran


    Wondered where you'd gotten to Pat. Good to have you back.
    Great to hear SoI is still alive and kicking, too.

    Looking forward to some positive news re pumped storage.
    Need to get the investment fund set up before the country defaults and the banks close with all our money, gone.
    I'd imagine a lot of money has already left, which may not be easily repatriated into any SoI investment.
    Hopefully things can move a little faster in the new political climate.


  • Registered Users Posts: 28 Ugool


    Pat, I know your surgery was ardous, long, and difficult and your full recovery will take some time yet, but unlike our economy you have turned the corner


  • Registered Users Posts: 131 ✭✭patgill


    Firstly a little history, personal and national.

    I campaigned for the pro nuclear side during the Carnsore Point debacle, for those who might be too young to remember, in the 1970's, the government and the ESB planned to build 4 reactors in Carnsore Point. The enabling legislation was passed in the Dail by Brian Lenihan Sr without a single vote against and the ESB got on with the job of planning the project in two strands, the reactor plant itself and the Turlough Hill pumped storage unit. Then as now, nuclear is most economic when used in conjunction with pumped storage for several reasons.
    Turlough Hill was chosen as a result of a nationwide survey undertaken in the mid 60's to identify possible PS sites, you may begin to see at this stage how far back the planning had begun.

    At this stage, rumblings of discontent were beginning to be raised by the infant environmental movement, however construction of was Turlough Hill begun.

    The whispers of discontent about Ireland going nuclear soon became shouts of discontent as the Irish trade union movement added its weight to the environmentalist and anti nuclear weopons lobbies, it turned into a popular protest movement which gained such force that the government conceded defeat on the issue, going on to enable legislation which banned the ESB from even considering nuclear energy in the future, this legislation was strenghtened again in the 1999 electricity act. The political establishment never recovered from the shock of that defeat, which is why you never hear a politician promoting nuclear energy in Ireland.

    Instead we got Moneypoint, which despite receiving over 200 million in environmental refits since it was built still emits more pollution including radioactive isotopes than Carnsore Point would have. And it is ironic that Carnsore is now the site of a windfarm.

    Meanwhile Turlough Hill was completed, with apparently no use for it. It soon became apparent though that it would pay for itself in spades as a means of taking the top off the peak demand curve and has been in daily use until recently when it closed for refurbishment.

    The first recorded use of renewable energy in Ireland is at a site in Northern Ireland where the monks of the time, over a thousand years ago constructed a tidal barrage to power a mill.
    Small hydro was used since throughout Ireland to power flour and timber mills.

    In the 1800's, Killarney was the second town in the British Isles to have electric streetlights when a local mill owner added an alternator to his waterwheel and this hydro electric station continued in operation until it was bought by the ESB in the 1930's, the ESB having been given a monopoly by the government of the day.

    The ESB itself was created to manage the worldbeating, at the time, Ardnacrusha project, and to their credit they brought this country into the modern world.

    Ardnacrusha kept the lights on in Ireland through the second world war, because the u boats could do nothing to stop the rain from falling on Ireland.

    Ireland has a long history of renewable energy, it has been an economic backbone for over a thousand years, inspiring many engineers and entrepenuers.

    And that is the foundation on which S of I has been built.

    The Clare and Mayo county development plans are the foundation of our the new Ardnacrusha, together with large scale storage, they have the potential to provide many thousands of jobs, jobs that cannot be exported because the resource on which they depend is located on our west coast.

    To my knowledge there are three projects being developed by Irish companies to make use of wave pump technology, we also have the high profile companies such as Open Hydro etc.

    People are correct to point out that there is a seasonal lull in wind generation in mid winter, however that is when our wave resources are at their highest, it is also true that this mid winter lull in wind resource is much less pronounced in the areas of highest wind resource including Clare and Mayo.

    An Airtricity boss told me some time ago that they will not even visit a site with less than a 38% capacity factor.
    Mount Callan wind farm has had its grant of planning permission referred to an Bord Pleannala, despite having years of recorded wind data proving a capacity factor of 45%, and despite providing a world class EIS and spending a fortune on the planning of its turbine's to ensure that the two local Hen Harriers flight paths are not disturbed.

    Mount Callan by the way is 500 metres from one of the 400KV line's from Moneypoint.

    The wind resource in Co Mayo is among the top three in the world, however their is no grid to enable its economic miracle to take place.

    Over the coming two decades, the only countries that will prosper are those with stable and secure energy supplies. This is the reason that the UK is building a 2GW interconnector to Norway, in order to make use of Norways hydro storage and also why they are building more interconnection to mainland Europe. There is a 20GW generation gap yawning in the UK from 2015.

    That is why S of I are concentrating on exports, lets develop our resources and have that development paid for before we need to draw on them ourselves.

    Finally for now, the S of I concept is a Natural Energy Power Station, with a stable dependendable output, exactly the same as a conventional power station.
    And the scale of the reservoirs enable their use by conventional generation as well, thereby improving their efficiency and extending their life, the result is win win from the environmental and economic standpoints.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,235 ✭✭✭lucernarian


    The biggest question I have is that S of I is still a concept as opposed to a plan. What sort of timescale does this project have? When will we see planning permission for some sort of fjord or other to be converted into a pumped storage site?


  • Registered Users Posts: 28 Ugool


    The biggest question I have is that S of I is still a concept as opposed to a plan. What sort of timescale does this project have? When will we see planning permission for some sort of fjord or other to be converted into a pumped storage site?
    Have a look here http://www.organicpower.ie/phes.php I think it is a bit more than a concept to some people.


  • Registered Users Posts: 131 ✭✭patgill


    The biggest question I have is that S of I is still a concept as opposed to a plan. What sort of timescale does this project have? When will we see planning permission for some sort of fjord or other to be converted into a pumped storage site?

    One of the first decisions taken by S of I was not to repeat the mistakes of Corrib, to this end although many stories have appeared in the press regarding consultations with communities, none have been confirmed by S of I and will not be confirmed until the communities are fully onboard, having said that we have commenced the environmental work on one particular site and would expect to be in the planning process this year.

    The financing work is progressing well so again as soon as our first site receives complete community acceptance the news will follow very quickly.

    This project is being followed very closely by quite a few countries. Both by their utilities and banks.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭Sponge Bob


    patgill wrote: »
    One of the first decisions taken by S of I was not to repeat the mistakes of Corrib,

    That is probably the single wisest thing that Spirit could have done and while it delays the 'groundbreaking' it will speed up the execution of the formal planning and execution stages no end.

    Elements of the Corrib project were installed over 6 years ago and not a puff of gas yet.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,449 ✭✭✭Heroditas


    patgill wrote: »
    Hi all,

    Scottish and Southern, the parent company of Airtricity are busily expanding their pumped storage facilities in Scotland.


    No relevance to Ireland


    patgill wrote: »
    Iberdola, the Spanish company with one of the largest installed wind energy portfolio's in the world, chose pumped storage whenever possible to mitigate intermittancy.


    No relevance to Ireland

    You still didn't say why the private operators here aren't going near the concept.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,235 ✭✭✭lucernarian


    Heroditas wrote: »
    No relevance to Ireland
    This is not me trying to be accusatory in the slightest. Could you explain in more detail why the two examples of pumped storage in other countries are not relevant to Ireland?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,361 ✭✭✭mgmt


    This is not me trying to be accusatory in the slightest. Could you explain in more detail why the two examples of pumped storage in other countries are not relevant to Ireland?

    I dont know anything about the two pumped storage facilities mentioned but I can be 100% certain that they are not pumping seawater into a valley like the farcical proposal of S of I.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,376 ✭✭✭ei.sdraob


    @patgill

    what do you have to say abotu Eirgrid's capital cost estimate of
    €1,200/kW

    or will you continue to not provide any figures and hope no one notices??


  • Registered Users Posts: 28 Ugool


    Heroditas wrote: »
    No relevance to Ireland






    No relevance to Ireland

    You still didn't say why the private operators here aren't going near the concept.
    They are http://www.organicpower.ie/phes.php


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,449 ✭✭✭Heroditas


    Ugool wrote: »


    Not exactly a Viridian or an SSE though, are they?
    Two of the projects they are working on are 0.3GWhr and 0.9GWhr.
    Combine those two and they would meet 1/3 to 1/4 of the market's demand at peak ... for one hour.
    Now think how much is needed to meet demand for a day, a week etc.
    This is the scale of the work that is needed for pumped storage to meet what SoI constantly claim.

    This is not me trying to be accusatory in the slightest. Could you explain in more detail why the two examples of pumped storage in other countries are not relevant to Ireland?

    Different countries
    Different topography
    Different subsidies
    Different capacity payments
    Different market forces
    Different population densities
    Different cost bases
    Different levels of interconnection

    Sorry, not being glib but up to my eyeballs today, hence the reason for the seemingly abrupt answer. :)


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