Wednesday 27 November 2013

RWE Shuffles Closer To The Exit

By way of exemplifying our recent comments that RWE might be occupying the bed nearest the door (click on the RWE link in the labels below), they've followed their sale of a portfolio of 770,000 customer accounts by withdrawing from the much vaunted Atlantic Array offshore wind project.  The feathered inhabitants of Lundy Island will be much relieved by this non-development.

At 1.2 GW capacity* from 240 turbines, this leaves a serious gap in DECC's hoped-for renewables fleet.  I suppose they can try passing round the hat in the far east again.  I'm sure they'll find that headlines like 'Miliband declares 20-month energy price freeze'** are helpful in this cause.


UPDATERWE in UK to axe 1,500 jobs.  

* Recall, however, that Teesside Power alone (gas-fired, of course) was rated at 1.875 GW, and was built in just 2 years.  By way of an update to my earlier post that it was due to close shortly, I can report (with a tear in my eye) that the bulldozers came on site this week.  The plant has been sold for scrap (sic).  It is gone.

** Yesterday I attended a learned seminar on energy policy with an expert panel of all sorts: greens, investors, financiers, climate scientists.  Gratifyingly, every single one declared that Miliband was off his head, and deeply dishonest to boot.  It may yet be the policy screw-up I immediately assumed it would be


CityUnslicker said... we really head closer to brownouts. it sort of feels like it if we don;t build any new plant and keep closing down the old stuff.

Hopefully Osborne is bright enough, pardon the pun, to delay this moment until around Winter 2015/16 when mr Milliband's lunacy will be horribly exposed with him sitting in Downing Street.

Elby the Beserk said...

Offshore wind power industry in Germany is in a parlous state.

Kilgore Trout said...

Happy to hear about those learned types who think that Miliband is "off his head" as well. I was beginning to think that I was the one who had lost it, given the (generally favourable) mainstream press response and (purported) public reaction.

...I'm still stunned by what I learned while arguing with a lefty friend when the 'policy' was announced - Miliband is an Economics PhD who has taught at Harvard...

Really makes one wonder at the value of 'Economics', 'PhDs' and 'Harvard'.

Nick Drew said...

yes and as I said, it included some greens & climate scientists

of course, they are deeply in love with high energy prices

as, curiously, are the investors and financiers - funny, that

who speaks for the bloody consumer ? - I hear you ask ...

Budgie said...

"Teesside Power alone (gas-fired, of course) was rated at 1.875 GW, and was built in just 2 years. .... The plant has been sold for scrap."

Apparently there was planning permission in place up to 2015 to update the CCGT plant on site.

If this is not going to happen, Cameron is mad. And so are the rest of them.

andrew said...

You are all wrong.

This is a deeply clever policy designed to further the wider interests of the uk in the long term.

Q: When will the lights go out?
A: When you really need the electricity.

i.e. when it is cold and dark.

Q: what happens when the lights go out and it's cold?
A: more people have accidents, more people suffer from hypothermia

i.e. more people go to hospitals - where there will be (limited) power, but A&E will be swiftly overwhelmed.

and then more people die.

Q: what sort of people will be most affected
A: Vulnerable people

i.e. The old, the sick, the poor, the unlucky.

Q: what sort of people cost the state lots of money
A: The old, the sick, the poor, the unlucky.

A bit like what Denmark and Seweden have been up to, but less organised

This and the Scottish going their own way will lead to a new british empire in the next 30 years.

Nick Drew said...

Elby - I rather like the dry humour in that Spiegel piece:

"Riffgat has a cosmetic defect: the wind farm is still missing part of its power line to the mainland. For the time being, instead of producing energy, Riffgat is actually consuming it. To prevent the rotors from corroding in the salty air, they have to be supplied with electricity produced with diesel generators"

cosmetic ? sounds more like a cosmic defect to me

Andrew - HG Wells, GB Shaw and all the other Fabian eugenicists would be delighted

there is an irony, however: as you hint, A&E will be the place with diesel back-up (great for emissions, that) - but easily overwhelmed, as you say

Jer said...


According to Wikipedia, he isn't a Phd.

"He went on to graduate from the London School of Economics with an MSc in Economics.[13]"

The rest is true.

BTW my wife _does_ have a Phd in economics and has taught at Moscow University... prior to the sort of economics she learned losing credibility in Russia (though not the LSE). Her summary of an Ed Ball's economic speech was "bollocks".

Nick Drew said...

that was a technical assessment then, Jer ?

Kilgore Trout said...

Thanks for the info Jer.

It did seem a little far fetched. Although, according to Wiki, Mr Energy Price Freeze really did teach at Harvard. The mind boggles.

Jer said...

ND - She is currently both a lapsed Communist and a lapsed economist, however I suspect a multi-skilled team of experts with unlimited time and budget would struggle to produce a better summary.

KT - Indeed, I wonder if they might let me have a go?

Elby the Beserk said...

That article doesn't mention that they are also having appalling problems with grouting on offshore turbines.

and so on.

And "bollocks" as a summary of any Ed Balls speech is both a technical response, and more to the point, accurate. His regular appearances on Radio 5 in the morning, in which he likes to namecheck the presenter again and again are sickening. That they are allowed to then turn into long Party Political Broadcasts on behalf of the Labour Party is another matter altogether. Yet equally sickening. Who will rid us of this turbulent nitwit?

Nick Drew said...

Elby - wow. As an old oil industry chap I have long thought that the difficulty of maintenance of offshore turbines has been wildly underestimated

you just can't go offshore in winter and fix stuff - have you ever been in the North Sea in January ? We are talking 50 ft waves

coupled with the fact that wind turbine performance declines materially after just 6 - 7 years, offshore wind is a very dodgy prospect

Elby the Beserk said...


Quite - but don't tell the public!

rwendland said...

The grouting problem doesn't seem that serious for new offshore turbines, as it seems easily fixed with "Shear keys" - lumps of metal in the grout to take most of the load.

Early offshore turbines didn't use this technique, they were bolted down. The grout was a cost & time saving method, and not including shear keys was a further cost saver.

Apparently the use of Shear keys and grout is common in the oil rig industry for decades (although the direction of load characteristics is different so not exactly the same), so rather a bo-bo leaving the pins out on turbines - due to incorrect numerical modelling.

London Array, Walney 2 and Anholt use the fixed method.

Seemingly very good article about it:

But you're right ND, there could well be other future probs from the tough environment.

Budgie said...

rwendland, No, no, no and no.

Shear keys are not "lumps of metal in the grout" they are rods welded to the inside of the Transition Piece (TP), and to the outside of the Monopile and Tower.

There is little difference in cost between bolting and grouting. The advantage of grouting is that it allows for Monopile minor misalignment resulting in better Tower vertical alignment.

Shear keys are not "pins" and the cause of leaving them out was inexperience, not "incorrect numerical modelling".

London Array, Walney 2 and Anholt actually use the conical TP method not "the fixed method" (this is the bolted flange method).

All according to your link.

rwendland said...

Budgie, I stand corrected. Thanks.

I did speed read it. Obviously way too fast, for something I did not have the background for!

Though on the numerical modelling bit he did write:

"as the market pushed on, far too much credence was given to inappropriate “black box” numerical modelling." [+inexperience]