End in sight for micro-hydro?

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Jim
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End in sight for micro-hydro?

Post by Jim »

The UK offshore renewable power generation potential has been valued recently and considered equivalent to 1 billion barrels of oil per year, or 6 times our current power usage.
Could this mean the end is in sight for pathetic onshore renewables?
Obviously offshore power farms are going to have an environmental impact which needs to be considered (out of sight out of mind?) but I would hope that this news will at least allow a scaling back of the destruction of our wild and scenic places for onshore renewables, especially that kayakers nemesis - micro hydro.

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Re: End in sight for micro-hydro?

Post by Bards »

If it comes off, I'm all for it; so long as it's not used to soak up some of the world's increasing energy demands but rather to provide for the essentials in a more responsible manner. As part of a balanced energy policy, it could be there's hope for our grandchildrens' children, yet... ;-) Mind you, it will of course upset someone who's driven 100 miles to take in the pristine sea view through their misted-up (flask of tea, dear?!) windscreen.
If Portland is turned into Teletubbyland on the water, I'd not have a problem with it; I don't see turbines as a blot on the landscape, but rather as a beacon of hope for humanity's future on this planet...

Anyway, I'm of to Brighton ;-) Time for Greeny Bye-Byes...Time for Greeny Bye-Byes...

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Re: End in sight for micro-hydro?

Post by Twiggy »

I hope you're right but in the none too distant future is a Hydropower conference in London (http://www.ciwem.org/events/) aimed at

"... identifying new opportunities, tackling environmental challenges and streamlining the permitting process"

The first and last of which sounds quite ominous!

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Re: End in sight for micro-hydro?

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For me, "identifying new opportunities" and "streamlining the permitting process" are more "encouraging" than "ominous" in this context. Far too much prevarication has gone on in the alt-energy field while fossil-fuel resources have been torched without due regard; I'd not like the last phrase to be used with reference to nuclear to be sure, but am all for it with wind power... YES In My Backyard on this one ;-)

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Re: End in sight for micro-hydro?

Post by quicky »

There are loads of them off the Wirral Peninsula alreay and they dont look bad at all. Rather than than a Nuclear power plant here. Pity they can paint them up a bit and have lots of spinning colours....

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Re: End in sight for micro-hydro?

Post by Debaser »

Bards wrote: If Portland is turned into Teletubbyland on the water, I'd not have a problem with it; I don't see turbines as a blot on the landscape, but rather as a beacon of hope for humanity's future on this planet...
I've used the argument before...tastes change.

When this was built it wasn't considered a blot on the landscape as much as a man-made desecration of a beautiful, wild and sometimes desolate place.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ribbl ... trybee.jpg

It is now one of England's bigger visitor attractions and considered beautiful in its own right.

Tastes change.
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Re: End in sight for micro-hydro?

Post by clarky999 »

Bards wrote:For me, "identifying new opportunities" and "streamlining the permitting process" are more "encouraging" than "ominous" in this context. Far too much prevarication has gone on in the alt-energy field while fossil-fuel resources have been torched without due regard; I'd not like the last phrase to be used with reference to nuclear to be sure, but am all for it with wind power... YES In My Backyard on this one ;-)
It's a HYDROPWER conference not renewable energy. I wish people would get over this fear of nuclear power too.

By the offshore stuff do you mean wind, wave or tidal power? From what I've heard, wave could well be the next big thing, and relatively environmentally friendly.

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Re: End in sight for micro-hydro?

Post by quicky »

From what I've heard, wave could well be the next big thing, and relatively environmentally friendly.
The are trialing wave snakes somewhere off the coast in UK. A seies of tubes which float and flex in the water and somehow make energy.

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Re: End in sight for micro-hydro?

Post by Debaser »

If we're talking offshore there's always http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salter%27s ... r.27s_Duck read, and weep for the opportunity lost.
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Re: End in sight for micro-hydro?

Post by Bards »

clarky999 wrote:this context
Sorry - I didn't make myself clear at all - the context referred to was the scope for realisation of the huge off-shore energy potential, not with regards specifically to the conference; I have no idea what the Hydro agenda is there at all. Hopefully if the off-shore comes together, as I think it has to to a degree, there would be much less imperative for granting of licenses for more debatably damaging Hydropower projects on-shore.

BTW Debaser, I well recall that; I seem to think Lord Marshall was in on that national disgrace...

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Re: End in sight for micro-hydro?

Post by GaryM »

Quicky wrote:
The are trialing wave snakes somewhere off the coast in UK. A seies of tubes which float and flex in the water and somehow make energy.
You mean this beast and it's assorted other trial systems.
Only problem I could see with the "snake" device is that it just moves fluid along a pipe to the linked generator ashore, so that must mean that it cannot be very far off shore, otherwise I would think you would lose a huge amount of the energy in travelling to the generator.
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Re: End in sight for micro-hydro?

Post by Jim »

clarky999 wrote: By the offshore stuff do you mean wind, wave or tidal power?
The report covers all three.

There is quite a lot of R&D going on that isn't in the public domain yet for intellectual property reasons, especially regarding wave generation.

There are quite a lot of offshore wind farms already - I've seen the Wirral ones quite often, I buggy there, but they use what are now yesterdays turbines and are quite close inshore.
Round 3 will involve bigger turbines (3 to 5 MW per turbine - more output than micro hydro which is <3MW), hundreds per farm (I'm looking at an installation for 300 just now which could be extended to 800), and much further from the shore - between 60 and 120 nautical miles. Offshore wind is well established and is getting big. Farms of that size are bound to have environmental impact - the owners do have to carry our wildlife surveys before, during build and during operation for all offshore sites so hopefully the right sort of people are carrying out the surveys and analysing the findings.....

I don't know very much about Pelamis - the hydraulic concept is a bit hard to get my head around, but if you move incompressible fluid along a pipe (noting that it is going to go backwards and forwards as the snake writhes), then you only actually move any bit of fluid a short distance, so I think the losses are not as bad as they seem from intuition. However, as the scale of these things grows I suspect you will find that Pelamis end up moving further offshore and building platforms to house the generators and substations on. Certainly every other type of offshore farm is now looking at the organisational side of things - how many devices can feed each substation, how many substations are needed for each farm, and how can they be most efficiently aggregated onto the least number of platforms. Maybe we should talk to Pelamis about what we could do for them in terms of designing jackets or topsides to move their generators offshore? For all I know my boss already has - I can't keep up!

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