Articles filed under Energy Policy from Europe
The likes of wind farms and other similar ventures have always been seen as more of a headline grabber in the UK rather than a real alternative for the future. The authorities have given minimal tax incentives for companies to get involved and there have even been complications with getting them connected to the national grid. All in all the alternative energy market has been launched and re-launched on many occasions but it is just not working.
In Swansea we have the threat of possibly a massive, useless wind farm being built on Mynydd y Gwair Mountain which will visually pollute this area of outstanding natural beauty from the Gower to Brecon Beacons, Powys and Cardigan Bay, in other words, about a quarter of Wales. Why? Because the Welsh Assembly Government wants to build wind farms to provide intermittent, stuttering electricity supplies which we do not need. How daft and subservient can we Welsh get!
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been leaving about 10,000 computers switched on overnight. ...This means the overnight powering of FCO computers in a year has been roughly equivalent to the average annual output of a 1.7Mw wind turbine, or the electricity usage of several hundred homes. ..."It has been our assessment that the risk of lost productivity and the risk to national security that this policy avoids outweighed its cost," said Munn in the answer given on 15 September.
Gradually, the message is beginning to sink in. With wind farms already growing in unpopularity, people are now waking up to the gigantic scale of the rip-off being perpetrated. As more and more people begin to understand this, it should only be a matter of time before the whole programme crashes and burns. But, there is one minor problem ... wind energy is an EU-supported obsession. To stop the scam, we have to confront the EU. Is there a politician brave enough to do this?
The total power generated by all the 2,300 turbines so far built in Britain, is less than that contributed by a single medium-size conventional power station. ...Far from being "free", wind is one of the most expensive ways of generating electricity yet devised. Without an almost 100 per cent subsidy, unwittingly paid by all of us through our electricity bills, no one would dream of building giant wind turbines in Britain, because their cost is not remotely competitive.
Wind turbines generate electricity very irregularly, because the wind itself is inconsistent. Therefore wind turbines always need backup power from fossil fuels to keep the electricity grid in balance. Gas turbines are the best way to do this. They are able to respond quickly and push power production when wind generators stop suddenly. They can be turned on and off almost instantly, whereas traditional coal-fired plants need to be maintained in a very inefficient standby mode if they are to respond to large fluctuations in power demand. A proliferation of windmills, then, can become a windfall for gas sellers. Just look at the cases of Spain and Germany, Europe's leading producers of wind power.
A government-sponsored scheme set up to encourage farmers to use renewable energy has been branded a "fiasco" by the assembly's agriculture committee. Up to 26 turbines were installed under the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's (Dard) Wind Energy for Rural Businesses project. Dard appointed the Western Regional Energy Agency and Network (Wrean) to deliver the scheme, which was set up in 2003. However, the now-defunct project experienced serious problems as far back as May 2006 when the towers of two PowerBreeze turbines imported from China bent and their blades fell off. Blades on a further two PowerBreeze turbines have since fallen off and five other turbines are not in use for health and safety reasons. A further three turbines made by US firm Jacobs are not working although they can be repaired. Two of the farmers affected are now suing Adman, the company who supplied the PowerBreeze turbines. Wrean is due to cease its operations this month, partly as a result of the failed scheme.
Energy firm ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) has set an ambitious new target for wind-farm development by revealing that it wants to increase capacity by 80%. It was previously committed to producing 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2010 but has raised that to 1,800MW by 2012. As the majority of its wind farms are in Scotland, the firm says this will help the Scottish Government achieve its aim of generating 31% of the country's electricity demand from renewable sources by 2011 and 50% by 2020.
In the next decade, we are due to lose 40 per cent of the generating capacity that keeps our lights on and our economy running. Within a few years, eight of the nine nuclear plants that supply 20 per cent of our power will come to the end of their life. ... To address our looming energy crisis with the urgency it calls for, we would not only have to ignore the fantasies of Mr Hansen and the green lobby, but also directly confront our government in Brussels, which stands in the way of almost every measure we need to take. In this sense, in terms of what it will cost us, energy looks to become the defining issue of our EU membership.
Scotland will miss its target to generate half its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 unless the government fixes the country's transmission problems quickly, a senior executive of a leading wind farm developer will tell a major energy conference this week. Dr Keith MacLean, head of policy and public affairs at Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), who will address the Scottish Council for Development and Industry's Scotland's Energy Future conference in Edinburgh on Tuesday, told the Sunday Herald: "Without an adequate electricity grid system to plug into, our renewable ambitions won't be realised."
Denmark is proud of the fact that a fifth of its electricity comes from wind. But Hugh Sharman, an energy consultant, says this figure should be treated with caution. Sifting through the charts in his crow's nest office overlooking the Jutland peninsula in Denmark, a different picture emerges. "Every time the wind is high, the exports are high. Every time the wind is low, of course there are few exports". Mr Sharman says more than half of Denmark's wind power is exported - so it only actually uses nine percent of the wind energy it generates. If the Danes couldn't do this, their system wouldn't work. The UK, however, doesn't have this option.
The go ahead for one of the UK's largest offshore wind farms to date will be announced by the Prime Minister today, in a speech to business leaders. The 500MW West of Duddon Sands wind farm is planned near Walney Island off the coast of Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria and will comprise of up to 139 turbines. ...The Energy Secretary John Hutton has also approved an updated application from Ormonde Energy Limited to build a 150MW wind farm comprising of up to 30 turbines, which will also be sited near to Walney Island.
Wind energy is so unreliable that even if 13,000 turbines are built to meet EU renewable energy targets, they could be relied on to provide only seven percent of the country's peak winter electricity demand, according to a leading power company E.On. E.On has argued that so little wind blows during the coldest days of winter that 92 percent of installed wind capacity would have to be backed up by traditional power stations.
In two years' time, the UK seems certain to miss one of the core environmental targets of the Blair-Brown years. The Government pledged that 10 per cent of the country's electricity would be generated from renewable sources, principally from wind farms, but also including tidal and solar power. Press releases from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Berr) still boast of the target, which was first promised in 2000 and enshrined three years later in the energy White Paper. ...But the energy industry does not agree. Senior figures point out that less than 5 per cent of electricity was generated from renewable sources in 2007, up from just over 4 per cent the previous year.
A leading power company has claimed wind energy is so unreliable that even if 13,000 turbines are built to meet EU renewable energy targets, they could be relied on to provide only 7 per cent of the country's peak winter electricity demand. E.On has argued that, during the coldest days of winter, so little wind blows that 92 per cent of installed wind capacity would have to be backed up by traditional power stations. It argues this would require new coal-fired power stations to be built so they could be used in an emergency when little wind blows. ...A spokesman said the question had to be asked how power companies would make money from plants that only run when the wind is not blowing.
For many years security of supply has taken a back seat in energy policy. We have been more concerned with price and, latterly, reducing emissions. ...security of energy supply must also be put back on the agenda with an equal priority. That means developing a mix of renewable generating forms including wave, hydro and biomass, which have more predictable output than wind turbines.
For Enterprise Minister Jim Mather and the Scottish Government, events of the past week have left a big hole in plans to turn the country into a global leader in the renewable energy industry. On Friday Mather flew to Kintyre hoping to rescue Scotland's only wind tower factory near Campbeltown following a decision by Danish firm Vestas to halt production at the plant. ...Mather's trip to Campbeltown came on the day he was forced to react to a Westminster decision to shelve a planned subsidy for renewable energy schemes in Orkney and Shetland. The UK Government is no longer willing to cap transmission charges, a move Mather described as "deeply, deeply disappointing". Jason Ormiston, chief executive of trade body Scottish Renewables, warned that transmission charges can be a major component in the cost of running a wind farm and could affect the viability of projects.
Senior figures from wind energy firms have been working at the heart of Government, advising ministers on the potential health impacts of turbines, the WMN has learned. The Government was last night accused of "doing unprecedented and highly questionable favours" for the wind industry amid growing concern about the "clear conflict of interest". ...Questions have also been raised about a move to limit the power for people living near new wind farms to sue operators for negative health impacts caused by noise.
The Ministry of Defence has finally withdrawn its objections to two major wind farms following the intervention of Gordon Brown. For years the MoD has fought the creation of two large wind farms off the coast of Northumberland and Norfolk because of fears of radar interference. It emerged last year that nearly half of all proposed wind farms were stuck in the planning process because of objections from the MoD, which has many RAF bases on the east coast of Britain. This meant that the Government had no chance of achieving its target of producing 20% of the country's total energy from renewable resources by 2020.
"Despite important announcements on new wind and biomass capacity in recent weeks, it is still not clear if Scotland will meet its target for 50% electricity consumed coming from renewable sources by 2020 and if we do hit the target, we need to know what this will mean in terms of costs. "The growth of renewables brings huge opportunities for Scotland, but there are massive barriers ...Equally, there are questions that need answered about the cost and reliability of wind power and the likely contribution from wave and tidal power before 2020."