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#139655 12/27/03 12:25 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,253
djk Offline
I can't speak for the UK but hydro is in Ireland. In the early days the Shannon Scheme Hydroelectric system produced almost all of Ireland's electricity requirements it now barely produces 1%.

Windpower is fast becoming the main source of renewable energy here and some very large off-shore windfarms are under construction at the moment. These have the advantage of no visual impact, as they're just off the horizon and uninterupted wind.

Airtricity, one of the wind power companies, has planning permission for over 300MW of onshore windfarms. ESB itself has similar scale developments underway with 180MW online

Airtricity's also currently building the "Arklow Bank wind farm" 200 turbines offshore with a capacity of 500MW

The hydrostations are quite small
Turlough Hill Hydro (Pumped Storage) - 292 MW
Liffey Hydro - 38MW
Ardnacrusha (Shannon Scheme Hydro) 86MW
Erne Hydro - 65 MW
Clady Hydro - 4MW
Lee Hydro - 27MW
Total hydro: 512MW
However, if you exclude pumped storage it's pretty small.

Total generation capacity (of the ESB only, there are other generators) is close to 5,000 MW

Ardnacrusha/The Shannon Scheme built by ESB and Siemens in 1927 actually goes down as one of the IEEE's milestones in Engineering worldwide.

Click below for info

Windpower is being pushed very hard by the Irish Government at the moment as we are WAY off our Kyoto protocal and most of the power in Ireland's being generated fossil fuels.

ESB fossil fuel generation: (there are also a number of private generators using combined cycle natural gas mostly)

Natural Gas (mostly combined cycle i.e. gas turbine followed by normal steam system) 1926MW
Coal (one station) - 915MW
Oil (2 stations) - 860MW
Peat (2 stations) 210MW*
Peat was used as we were totally reliant on imported fossil fuels until the discovery of natural gas here in the 1970s. However, its being phased out as it's now considered very ecologically damaging to harvest peat for fuel as it destroys unique bogland (marsh) habitats.
There is also small scale renewable power production using methane from landfills and sewage treatment systems. We will also see, rather contraversially, municipal waste incinerators coming on-stream in the not too distant future.

(There is MASSIVE public opposition to any form of incineration of waste here coupled with MASSIVE public opposition to the creation of new landfill sites which is pushing Ireland's waste management system into total crisis as there is litterally no where to put waste anymore. Recycling is relatively low and the local athorities have reacted by massively increasing waste charges on the "polluter pays" principle and have even resorted to exporting municipal waste!... As of 2004 there is also direct tax on all sorts of packaging of food items etc which will be itemised on your supermarket / shop receipts. There are also very tight limits in most areas on how much waste will be accepted e.g. in Cork one standard "wheelie bin" per week is all that will be accepted. If you want to throw-out anymore you pay about €200 for a small "mini-skip".) Major recycling efforts HAVE to come on stream or we will just no-longer be able to function.

[This message has been edited by djk (edited 12-27-2003).]

#139656 12/27/03 10:50 PM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 134
Hydro-Electric power is the main source of power generation in this part of the world.
There are several Hydro power stations within a 30 minute drive of Inverness. The local power supplier is called Scottish Hydro-Electric, now part of Scottish & Southern Energy Plc, but in pre-privatisation days was The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board.
If you are interested the following link will give you some information on hydro power in North Scotland.

#139657 12/29/03 11:14 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,498
Likes: 1
C-H Offline
Sweden receives about 50% of it's electricity from hydropower. I've forgotten how much installed capacity there is, but it must be something like 10 GW.

#139658 01/07/04 07:37 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 382
Thanks Paul, I received the tape today in the post so I'll be down in the hole (PAL TV/Video in the basement) to watch it. Shortly thereafter it will be on its way back to RyanjUK.

It will be interesting to compare postal rates beween the UK and US. I was a little shocked to see how much you paid paul - I owe you a couple of pints!

Thanks again,


#139659 01/07/04 11:45 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 382
An interesting and thought provoking documentary. Firstly it was good once again to see another quality product come out of the BBC. Admittedly at first, they were getting the human element on things - who was directly effect etc. - but soon got down to the nitty-gritty which is the privatisation of the electricity supply.

Good pre-1990 engineering sense said that a 30% over capacity was a good number in the electricity generation capacity. When privitisation came in, the bean counters (that plague every industry by-the-way) cut this safety margin back and back in the quest to maximize profitability. This was brought on/forced by an artificially reduced production price based on the fact that extra capacity was not required and could be closed/mothballed, i.e. excess is not economic. Cyclic argument. A just-in-time principle being applied to an essential commodity.

Industry-wide a base level of 20% capacity was thought prudent but the UK generating companies took that down to 16.5% and then the brown hit the revolving.

At least they all got it back up and running within a couple of hours but …

All eggs in the “gas” basket is another disturbing feature of this article. The gas from the North Sea will not run out – as a geologist I feel happy stating this, it will just become more difficult to extract/locate and other sources will become cheaper before the last Therm is pumped out. The industry, and thus country, then become vulnerable to external sources of energy to fuel to power stations. Wind power may be a noble goal but it is not without its downside – not least its visual and noise pollution. In MW per it is pretty weak.

Power and energy are strategic assets for a county and only history will judge whether handing this responsibility entirely over to the stock exchange was a good idea.

#139660 01/10/04 10:06 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 382
The tape is on its way now to the next recipient in the list Ryanjuk - give us a shout when it arrives please.

The next person who wishes to view it should contact Ryanjuk for forwarding. It is recommended viewing.

#139661 01/11/04 06:31 AM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,253
djk Offline
Off shore wind farms can't be seen, other than from a ship. You can install MUCH bigger turbines giving you more efficient operation and offshore winds are much more constant and less gusty.


Also try this:

Doesn't the reserve capacity look rather low?

[This message has been edited by djk (edited 01-11-2004).]

#139662 01/11/04 06:46 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline OP
Glad you enjoyed it Hutch. As you said, it was a little slow to get going at the very beginning, but once it got down to the "nitty gritty" is raised some interesting points.

When privitisation came in, the bean counters (that plague every industry by-the-way) cut this safety margin back and back in the quest to maximize profitability.
That seems to be the main problem. We've seen similar problems with telephones, railways, and many other industries.

#139663 01/19/04 05:07 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,432
Likes: 3
Spare capacity and Electricity Grid is never spoken in the same sentence these days!. [Linked Image]

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