Library filed under Energy Policy from Europe
The green energy sector has a lot riding on 2009. Policymakers from Washington to Beijing have pledged billions of dollars in "cleantech" investment to jump-start the depressed global economy and create millions of new low-carbon jobs. ...As with the solar industry, wind power has been hit by a sudden slowdown in private sector investment as credit has dried up and the price of oil has fallen from its mid-2008 high. The industry hopes public spending will help fill the gap until the global economy gets back on its feet.
Bob Baird (Letters, 17 December) has dropped one the biggest boo boos I have ever heard from supporters of wind farms. Please ask his colleagues at the Renewable Group of Strathclyde University to show him and the world some of these hydrogen-producing units at work in a commercial context. Can he tell us where pumped-storage has been built specifically to serve the needs of wobbling wind power?
Hundreds of thousands of consumers are being misled by the green tariffs offered by power companies to boost renewable energy, says a report due out this week. The tariffs do virtually nothing to promote new renewable supplies and can be costly and confusing, according to the Carbon Accountability Programme, set up by environmentalists in Edinburgh. It accuses the six leading power companies of using "greenwash" to make their products seem more attractive.
The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) has agreed to scale down its calculation for the amount of harmful carbon dioxide emission that can be eliminated by using wind turbines to generate electricity instead of burning fossil fuels such as coal or gas. The move is a serious setback for the advocates of wind power ...A wind farm industry source admitted: "It's not ideal for us. It's the result of pressure by the anti-wind farm lobby."
The storm over the city wind farm has still to blow out - despite opponents running out of UK options for defeating the plan. They say they may turn to the European courts after they were refused leave to appeal to the House of Lords. The company behind the proposed seven wind turbines at Petsoe Manor Farm, Emberton, Your Energy, welcomed the decision by the Lords appeal committee effectively upholding Milton Keynes Council's approval of the project.
Royal Dutch Shell has become the second big energy company to abandon the UK wind-energy sector in the last month. ...Shell said: "The focus for new projects will be in North America where we can benefit from the availability of undeveloped wind resources to deliver wind energy at what we expect to be a competitive cost."
Plans to get Britain's first offshore wind farm producing power again after a gap of almost three years have been stalled by a further technical hitch. Rotor blades on the two turbines off Cambois, Northumberland have not turned since March 2006, when the seabed cable connecting them to the mainland snapped.
Falling prices for European carbon emissions permits could stunt investment in the renewable energy sector both within and outside Europe, but the credit crunch continues to have a greater impact. ...A falling carbon price could worsen the economics of renewable energy further, as falling demand for carbon emissions permits in a deepening recession pulls down carbon prices, benefiting fossil fuels.
Wind power can't survive without massive subsidies, courtesy of you and me. "If these hidden subsidies were taken away, there would not be a single wind turbine built in Britain," says David Bellamy, a well-known environmentalist who has been tramping the Scottish countryside to oppose a massive wind project there. ...When will we stop pouring billions into wind? I have no idea. Politicians really love their turbines. Meantime, that soft whooshing sound you hear is your friendly green government, vacuuming money out of your pockets.
Homes and businesses risk being left in the dark if governments get too sidetracked by wind power. A House of Lords report yesterday warned that over-reliance on wind power could prove risky and costly. It said that nuclear energy was a much cheaper and more effective, low carbon solution. ..."Current policies would take the UK into uncharted territory, with a dependence on intermittent supply unprecedented elsewhere in Europe.
The cost of offshore wind farms has continued to soar, Centrica said, leading the company to review the economics of its £4bn wind power investment programme. The spiralling costs of offshore wind threaten to derail the government's renewable energy plans, which rely heavily on offshore turbines because of the difficulty and delays in obtaining planning permission for onshore wind farms.
Government plans for Britain to become a world leader in clean energy technology suffered a double setback yesterday after BP said that it was abandoning the country's wind energy industry and pulling out of a competition to build a demonstration carbon-capture and storage plant. ..."We came to the conclusion that we could no longer put together a winning consortium," the spokesman said. He added that BP was dropping plans to invest in UK windfarm projects in favour of better returns in the industry in the United States.
When it comes to going green, BP's policy appears to be a case of 'Beyond Britain'. The UK's pre-eminent energy company yesterday confirmed it has shelved plans to invest in wind power or carbon-capture technology in this country. Instead, BP's wind investments will be targeted on the US, where there are opportunities for greater economies of scale because of the sheer amount of empty land.
BP has dropped all plans to build wind farms and other renewable schemes in Britain and is instead concentrating the bulk of its $8bn (£5bn) renewables spending programme on the US, where government incentives for clean energy projects can provide a convenient tax shelter for oil and gas revenues. The decision is a major blow to the prime minister, Gordon Brown, who has promised to sweep away all impediments to ensure Britain is at the forefront of the green energy revolution. BP and Shell - which has also pulled out of renewables in Britain - are heavily influential among investors.
More than 13 GW of energy capacity are stuck in the planning process, enough to power at least 7.5m homes, add some 17 per cent to UK electricity generation, and take the country half-way down the road to the 2020 renewable energy targets, reports The Independent. But as the government-backed Planning Bill designed to address bottlenecks in the regime moves to the next stage in its progress through Parliament this week, experts say the new legislation will do little to ease the congestion.
William Kovacs, at U.S. Chamber of Commerce, warns: "Anyone who thinks you can have a cap-and-trade system in which trillions of dollars of new securities will be traded is just not paying attention to what's happening on Wall Street." Meanwhile, prices in emerging carbon markets (Carbon Finance) globally have held up better than in other commodities markets, but financial analysts caution that these markets are too immature to provide a safe haven for investors (Reuters). Though sales of carbon emission offset credits--investment in green projects in lieu of direct emissions reductions--have been strong, some experts still express concern over the quality of oversight (WSJ) these projects receive.
The region's rural landscapes face being blighted by wind farms unless the Government develops a co-ordinated approach to renewable energy projects, it has been claimed. The criticism from two North-East MPs follows a big rise in the number of proposals for wind farms submitted to local councils. Plans for at least ten wind farms, mainly in the Tees Valley and east Durham areas, have been put forward.
Britain has officially achieved planning consent for enough wind farms to meet its 2010 target of 10% renewable electricity, it was announced today. ...Some 25% of all wind energy applications go on to the appeal stage, with around half then being approved. ...The BWEA is therefore lobbying for measures to be added to the Bill to allow the Secretary of State to "call in" a planning application for a decision by the Infrastructure Planning Commission even if it is less than 50MW is size if it has taken too long to secure a local planning decision.
Last week Britain committed itself to cutting greenhouse gases by 80 per cent. This week Gordon Brown will claim the UK is now a world leader in wind power. An Observer investigation reveals his hopes could be blown wildly off course. No country has tried to switch so fast to renewable energy - but rising costs and technical problems mean that, without urgent action and cash, the targets cannot be met.
Royal Dutch Shell completed its withdrawal from the UK wind-energy sector after quietly selling out of the last project it had in this country. ...Shell said: “Our focus for new projects is North America. We are committed to wind projects that make economic sense