Curiosities No.1: The Isle of Grain

We’ve recently had a day exploring the Isle of Grain, the eastern most point on the River Medway in Kent, where we enjoyed a 5 mile coastal walk learning all about it’s historical curiosities. It’s these that I’ll tell you about.

The Isle of Grain is quite an odd place, sort of end of the worldish. While it’s no longer an island, the many creeks and tidal marshes mean it’s almost one. The area has had centuries of defensive fortifications and military activity, much of which have been removed leaving a somewhat ravaged landscape.

On the coastal fringes of the Isle of Grain is the London Thamesport container port, three power stations – Medway, Damhead Creek, and Grain, and two closed power stations which are now almost totally demolished, and a demolished BP oil refinery. Oh, and not forgetting the nationally important LNG [Liquefied Natural Gas] import terminal and storage site, and an electricity interconnector between the Netherlands and the UK.

A remarkable part of the country. For an idle few moments before I begin to describe the curiosities, type Isle of Grain into Google, and click on Maps. Here’s a photo I took of some of the National Grid LNG storage facilities – not exciting I know, but indicative of the landscape of the area.

Upcoming investment into electricity interconnectors

In my articles on how wind power provides an increasing amount of the UK power supply, and coal a reducing amount, I said I’d follow-up with more information on power supply.

InterconnectorsIf you look at the Gridwatch screen you’ll see over on the right hand side dials indicating energy supply via electricity interconnectors with France, Netherlands, and Ireland. Ofgem says about them,

Electricity interconnectors are the physical links which allow the transfer of electricity across borders.

Britain’s electricity market currently has 4GW of interconnector capacity:

  • 2GW to France (IFA)
  • 1GW to the Netherlands (BritNed)
  • 500MW to Northern Ireland (Moyle)
  • 500MW to the Republic of Ireland (East West).

moyle-interconnectorThere are issues with these undersea cables, as the Moyle is working at half capacity due to cable faults, as is the interconnector to France – see HERE.

Given the general tightness of supply in the UK energy market, there are plans for new electricity interconnectors,