Offshore Wind - and other UK renewable energy projects

The problem with wind/solar generation is storage to even out supply and offer base load as generation is interrupted when the sun don't shine and the wind don't blow.
I think that we are being far too clever when it comes to solving this conundrum as our forebears have already figured this out with the long case clock.
Britain is full of redundant deep seam coal mines with shafts descending hundreds of metres.
Heavy duty winding machines at the old pit heads, connected to massive weights via a chain of reduction gears and a heavy duty electric motor/generator could wind the weights up when power was in surplus and generate when peaks required base load....does't matter if the shafts are flooded although it would probably act as a big pump if the fit of the weight to the shaft was tight.

There are a number of systems at various stages that use this principle.




 
The problem with wind/solar generation is storage to even out supply and offer base load as generation is interrupted when the sun don't shine and the wind don't blow.
I think that we are being far too clever when it comes to solving this conundrum as our forebears have already figured this out with the long case clock.
Britain is full of redundant deep seam coal mines with shafts descending hundreds of metres.
Heavy duty winding machines at the old pit heads, connected to massive weights via a chain of reduction gears and a heavy duty electric motor/generator could wind the weights up when power was in surplus and generate when peaks required base load....does't matter if the shafts are flooded although it would probably act as a big pump if the fit of the weight to the shaft was tight.
A similar idea was used with the hydro power systes in Scotland a few decades ago, during the day the water ran downhill and turned the generators but at night pumps took the spare power from the grid and pumped the water back uphill again, ready to be used the next morning.
 
A similar idea was used with the hydro power systes in Scotland a few decades ago, during the day the water ran downhill and turned the generators but at night pumps took the spare power from the grid and pumped the water back uphill again, ready to be used the next morning.
The run of water over Niagara Falls is controlled to look awesome at tourist times and generate more power at others.

 
A similar idea was used with the hydro power systes in Scotland a few decades ago, during the day the water ran downhill and turned the generators but at night pumps took the spare power from the grid and pumped the water back uphill again, ready to be used the next morning.
The highest capacity pumped-storage system in the UK is actually Dinorwig in Snowdonia. You are possibly thinking of the Cruachan system, which is about a quarter of the generating capacity, and there is also Foyers, Sloy, and Glendoe (which had a troubled start in life) in Scotland. In Wales, there also Ffestiniog.
In all, I think Welsh pumped-storage capacity is a little higher than Scottish.
 
The highest capacity pumped-storage system in the UK is actually Dinorwig in Snowdonia. You are possibly thinking of the Cruachan system, which is about a quarter of the generating capacity, and there is also Foyers, Sloy, and Glendoe (which had a troubled start in life) in Scotland. In Wales, there also Ffestiniog.
In all, I think Welsh pumped-storage capacity is a little higher than Scottish.
ISTR that they were designed to fill overnight and then steadily run down but someone had the bright idea of using them to persistently deal with peaks and so on. This led to excessive wear and tear.
 
ISTR that they were designed to fill overnight and then steadily run down but someone had the bright idea of using them to persistently deal with peaks and so on. This led to excessive wear and tear.
That might be the case for the Welsh ones, I don’t know, but Cruachan was designed from the outset as a pumped storage scheme. If you look at the location of the Cruachan reservoir you will see that it has a very small catchment and not much in the way of natural inflow.
 
That might be the case for the Welsh ones, I don’t know, but Cruachan was designed from the outset as a pumped storage scheme. If you look at the location of the Cruachan reservoir you will see that it has a very small catchment and not much in the way of natural inflow.
Sorry. All pumped storage but they were used in a Stop/Start manner whereas they were designed with a smoothish discharge in mind.
 
Sorry. All pumped storage but they were used in a Stop/Start manner whereas they were designed with a smoothish discharge in mind.
Ah, no idea. Cruachan was built at the same time as the Magnox reactor at Hunterston A, and designed to work with it for peak demand, but I don’t know what the design assumptions for the load profile were.
I had a placement at Hunterston as an undergrad, and was more focussed on it at the time.
 
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