Author Topic: How is UK electricity generated?  (Read 2464 times)

How is UK electricity generated?
« on: January 01, 2020, 01:44:11 pm »

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk

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nicknack

  • Hornblower
Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2020, 02:26:17 pm »
 :thumbsup:
There's no vibrations, but wait.

Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2020, 02:31:00 pm »

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2020, 03:02:30 pm »
My fav: http://grid.iamkate.com/
The demand trend over the past seven years is interesting. What's the explanation for that?
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2020, 03:11:07 pm »
I would guess greater efficiency and lower electric lighting energy use.

For myself, my electricity bill now shows NO seasonal variation and I'm using less overall.

My winter lighting & heating for David's observatory seem to be almost exactly balanced by refrigeration in the summer.

I don't think washing machine use varies much.

Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2020, 03:22:48 pm »
My fav: http://grid.iamkate.com/
The demand trend over the past seven years is interesting. What's the explanation for that?

Renewable generation within the distribution zones (mostly sub 50MW installed capacity) is treated by Grid as negative demand.  Peak Winter demand has been down about 10%, some of which is caused by lower usage at the meter.

The growth in small scale renewables has stalled with the removal of subsidies, but expect that to change in the next 1-2 years.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2020, 03:27:57 pm »
My fav: http://grid.iamkate.com/
The demand trend over the past seven years is interesting. What's the explanation for that?

Renewable generation within the distribution zones (mostly sub 50MW installed capacity) is treated by Grid as negative demand.  Peak Winter demand has been down about 10%, some of which is caused by lower usage at the meter.

The growth in small scale renewables has stalled with the removal of subsidies, but expect that to change in the next 1-2 years.
So in simplistic terms, the same amount is being used but an increasing amount of that is being offset by production from rooftop solar fed into the grid? And presumably local schemes like municipal generation from waste incineration.
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2020, 03:33:55 pm »

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk


Interesting that they give coal one of the bigger four meters when it looks like it's about the 6th largest source this year.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2020, 04:47:19 pm »
My fav: http://grid.iamkate.com/
The demand trend over the past seven years is interesting. What's the explanation for that?

Renewable generation within the distribution zones (mostly sub 50MW installed capacity) is treated by Grid as negative demand.  Peak Winter demand has been down about 10%, some of which is caused by lower usage at the meter.

The growth in small scale renewables has stalled with the removal of subsidies, but expect that to change in the next 1-2 years.
So in simplistic terms, the same amount is being used but an increasing amount of that is being offset by production from rooftop solar fed into the grid? And presumably local schemes like municipal generation from waste incineration.

There's been a reduction in energy use too, mainly due to more efficient lighting.  I don't expect that to continue.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2020, 05:11:35 pm »
My fav: http://grid.iamkate.com/
The demand trend over the past seven years is interesting. What's the explanation for that?

Renewable generation within the distribution zones (mostly sub 50MW installed capacity) is treated by Grid as negative demand.  Peak Winter demand has been down about 10%, some of which is caused by lower usage at the meter.

The growth in small scale renewables has stalled with the removal of subsidies, but expect that to change in the next 1-2 years.
So in simplistic terms, the same amount is being used but an increasing amount of that is being offset by production from rooftop solar fed into the grid? And presumably local schemes like municipal generation from waste incineration.

Rooftop but also most large-ish solar and onshore wind.  Even a big field of solar won’t warrant Grid’s attention.   They’re also not very good at forecasting - we don’t use their numbers at work and use other sources.

Demand is also down, though.   More industrial and commercial than domestic - recession did for quite a lot of business and other consumption has moved off-shore.

Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2020, 07:57:15 pm »
Ten years ago, there were still a lot of big CRT and plasma TVs.  These were real energy hogs if you watched a lot of TV.  There were also more desktop computers (not many people have those at home now, except for gamers) and they could pull 400W.  One I had was quite useful as a space heater when the boiler packed up; I set it to work cracking Windows XP product keys all evening to keep the CPU at 100%.

I suspect incandescent lamps were also a lot more prevalent.  I kept them for a few things because CFLs were so shite.  Now there are decent LEDs, it's much better.

The biggest user of energy in most homes is, however, the fridge/freezer.
And Darkness and Decay and the Coronavirus held illimitable dominion over all.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2020, 08:15:08 pm »
Which is why there's no seasonal variation in my electricity use...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2020, 08:57:57 pm »
Businesses are still using broadly similar computers (there's been some shift to laptops for office workers), but they've replaced a lot of inefficient lighting, especially in the commercial sector where CFL never replaced halogen for many applications.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2020, 09:24:53 pm »
I'd have thought most offices and shops went straight from fluorescents to LEDs, and probably many are still on fluorescents. Don't know about industrial premises.
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2020, 09:37:22 pm »

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk

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Thanks for posting that Geoff, as well as being interesting in its own right having followed one of the links I've discovered that I can book a tour of my friendly neighborhood nuclear plant. ;D

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2020, 09:43:39 pm »
While offices and shops have used tubular fluorescents for general illumination since prehistoric times, halogen was the standard option for spot-lighting until quite recently, when single-LED efficacy became sufficient to replace it.

LEDs have started to replace discharge lighting in industrial/outdoor applications, though those were already relatively efficient.

(Of course, fixture reliability is another matter.  But we're talking electricity demand.)
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2020, 11:51:29 pm »

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk

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Thanks for posting that Geoff, as well as being interesting in its own right having followed one of the links I've discovered that I can book a tour of my friendly neighborhood nuclear plant. ;D
That's great! I've just been reading about Chernobyl after watching the HBO series. So I'm experiencing mixed feelings about nukes. BTW credit where its due.. I got the link in the OP from a comment posted in the Grauniad...and thought it needed setting free over here!

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Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2020, 11:56:12 pm »
Here's the original article:

"Zero-carbon electricity outstrips fossil fuels in Britain across 2019"

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jan/01/zero-carbon-energy-outstrips-fossil-fuels-in-britain-across-2019?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Copy_to_clipboard

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Pedal Castro

  • so talented I can run with scissors - ouch!
    • Two beers or not two beers...
Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2020, 06:39:01 am »

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk

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This is a great resource for physics teachers, I used to use it when covering the energy generation topic. Coal use has gone down quite a bit since then!

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2020, 09:22:29 am »

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk

Sent from my STF-L09 using Tapatalk

Thanks for posting that Geoff, as well as being interesting in its own right having followed one of the links I've discovered that I can book a tour of my friendly neighborhood nuclear plant. ;D

It's worth doing, I've done a few in both the US and UK. Admittedly, I don't need to turn the lights on after dark now. The guide at the local one in Connecticut told me the core was so safe I could kick it. So I did. The next day they had to turn it off for safety reasons.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2020, 12:40:47 pm »
Businesses are still using broadly similar computers (there's been some shift to laptops for office workers), but they've replaced a lot of inefficient lighting, especially in the commercial sector where CFL never replaced halogen for many applications.

I dont know about that. Modern processors are much more power efficient than older ones. They dont get as hot as they used to and they scale theri performance when its not needed so office computers will be more efficent. You dont see CRTs anymore either.
Datacentre stuff is a lot more efficient these days. Power and cooling are one of the biggest costs in a DC. Virtulisation has seen compute estate reduced masively from hundreds of bare metal servers to far fewer servers running lots of VMs (or containers or whatever the flavour of the day is). Also the switches in DCs are a lot more efficent than they used to be, unused ASICs and optics get no power delivered to them.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2020, 12:56:42 pm »
Have a look at http://www.electricitymap.org/

This shows CO2 emissions (colours from green through black) per kwh for various countries around the world. Most countries have no data. Notable dirty countries are Poland, Australia, with somewhat less dirty being various Midwest States and some of the smaller European countries. Click on a country for 24h history of CO2 and sources.


Kim

  • Timelord
Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2020, 01:04:19 pm »
Businesses are still using broadly similar computers (there's been some shift to laptops for office workers), but they've replaced a lot of inefficient lighting, especially in the commercial sector where CFL never replaced halogen for many applications.

I dont know about that. Modern processors are much more power efficient than older ones. They dont get as hot as they used to and they scale theri performance when its not needed so office computers will be more efficent. You dont see CRTs anymore either.

I wasn't thinking as far back as the CRT era; the graph was for about 10 years of demand.  Dell Optiplex level kit has't changed that much, and spends most of its time twiddling its electronic thumbs while the user stares at Excel/Facebook.


Quote
Datacentre stuff is a lot more efficient these days. Power and cooling are one of the biggest costs in a DC. Virtulisation has seen compute estate reduced masively from hundreds of bare metal servers to far fewer servers running lots of VMs (or containers or whatever the flavour of the day is). Also the switches in DCs are a lot more efficent than they used to be, unused ASICs and optics get no power delivered to them.

Oh, sure.  But has that reduced overall power demand, or has that just enabled a lot more computing to happen for the same (or increased) number of electrons?  If I had to guess, I'd imagine a lot of that computing is now happening Somewhere Else, clouding (pun intended) the issue.  (That's an interesting question, actually:  How much of the UK's electricity demand takes place in other countries, via the internet?  How would you even begin to account for that...)
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2020, 02:45:29 pm »
In terms of visting sites I did find the coal plant that I looked after to be the most interesting just in terms of the scale of the quite agricultural process.   I was there a couple of times when the trains were offloading but also the stockpile management is fascinating.   They were continually turning the stock to avoid self combustion.   When we first took the contract over there was over 1m tonnes on site.   I suspect the sites that have switched to biomass are pretty good, too, but I haven't had chance to see any of that large scale.

Gas and nuke are marginally less interesting.   I have walked round on-shore wind farms but there's not that much difference between them.   For something completely different Dinorwig is an excellent trip.

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: How is UK electricity generated?
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2020, 03:13:22 pm »
Here's the original article:

"Zero-carbon electricity outstrips fossil fuels in Britain across 2019"

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jan/01/zero-carbon-energy-outstrips-fossil-fuels-in-britain-across-2019?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Copy_to_clipboard
Only if you class nuclear as "zero carbon".
Maybe zero carbon at the point of generation, but how much carbon involved in mining and processing the uranium, then disposing and storing it afterwards.