Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dollars vs Euros

I thought it might be interesting to see how the oil price has changed in Euros over the last few months, rather than focussing on the headline dollar price (in a world where the dollar's melting).

The graph shows how the 38% dollar increase from $90 to $125 is equivalent to a 33% increase from euro60 to euro80. So the dollar weakness doesn't seem to have had that much effect over the past few months.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tidal power into the Grid

Congratulations to OpenHydro, who have achieved the first power export into the National Grid from a tidal turbine (at least that Redfield is aware of). The Telegraph's coverage of the story is here.

They've narrowly beaten Marine Current Turbines, who are installing and commissioning their device in Strangford Lough at the moment.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Floating wind technology - crazy or just mad?

StatoilHydro has just announced that it plans to spend MMNOK 400 on a floating 2.3 MW wind turbine prototype to demonstrate the potential to build windfarms in water which would otherwise be too deep.

Now, there's a couple of things here. Redfield's experience in wind turbine tower construction tells us that the turbine nacelle is extremely sensitive to its orientation. The tolerance within which turbine towers must be delivered is extremely tight, because we understand that the turbine bearings would wear irregularly causing early and expensive failure if the turbine nacelle was not absolutely horizontal in space. So we're worried that it will be very hard to orientate the nacelle with the accuracy and stability required.

Even if you can achieve this stability, that assumes that the tower doesn't move at all. We're not sure that's realistic in a 65m tower (with a 100m spar anchor). Can bearings be developed which can tolerate the accelerations at the top of a tower like this? I'm going to try to do some sums on this, as I suspect the g forces may well be much more than bearings can take.

More apocryphally, at last week's All-Energy exhibition, I noticed that StatoilHydro couldn't even get their lovely shiny model of an offshore wind farm to work properly (half of the lights and turbines weren't working). Now, if you can't even get the model to work...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

OPT joins the multi-MW club

Ocean Power Technology has just announced a 10 MW wave energy project in Australia with potential for expansion up to 100 MW later.

It joins the exclusive club of wave energy developers with multi MW projects at some stage in development. Others which come to mind are Pelamis Wave Power with 2.25 MW in Portugal and Scotland, with expansion options, the WaveHub - comprising a few MW from each of Pelamis, OPT, Oceanlinx and Fred Olsen - and Finavera which has a couple of projects in the Pacific NorthWest.

Some other developers might claim to be near to joining the club (WaveDragon, Archimedes WaveSwing), but they're some way off yet (unless I've missed some!)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Northeastern NIMBYs

It's enough to make you tear your hair out.

A company wants to build a 50 MW waste incinerator in Peterhead in the northeast of Scotland. They have commissioned an environmental review which states “An environmental study on behalf of the company found that, in the worst-case scenario, emissions would have no significant adverse impact on the health of residents.”

"No significant adverse impact in the worst case." So what's the response in Peterhead? - a 600 signature (and counting) petition against the proposal. It's enough to drive you mad. The proposed plant would dispose of up to half of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire's residual waste (the stuff which would ordinarily go to landfill), and would power up to 10,000 houses.

Where do these people think economically priced power is going to come from if we don't allow developments like this? And since the proposed plant is situated on an industrial estate, I don't think there can be any great visual impact either.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Blog improvements

I've added to the blog with a ZoomCloud tag cloud, so you can see where we have previously blogged on a topic. I'd thoroughly recommend