Articles filed under Technology from Europe
Plans to clean up two of the most polluting power plants in the UK were revealed by ScottishPower yesterday. The £1billion proposals involve installing new turbines and boilers to cut carbon emissions by a fifth at Longannet power station, in Fife, and Cockenzie, just outside Edinburgh. The new "supercritical" turbines and boilers would burn coal at ultra-high temperatures and pressures. A feasibility study into the project was revealed yesterday as First Minister Alex Salmond visited Longannet on his first official engagement.
Plans have been drawn up to upgrade the North-East's first wind farm with bigger and more powerful turbines. The Great Eppleton site near Hetton-le-Hole was installed by Amec Wind 10 years ago and is one of the few sites to use two-bladed turbines. These are now considered to be an ageing technology and one of the site's four turbines has been reduced to one blade.
Tom Shelley reports on a forward-looking area of heavy engineering where Britain still leads the world Within the next few months, the world's first megawatt tidal flow turbine is to be installed and commissioned in Northern Ireland.
THESE should be heady times for Vestas, a Danish firm that makes more than a quarter of the world's wind turbines. The wind business is booming, and the company said last week that it had swung into profit in 2006, thanks to an 8% rise in revenue. But there is "significant unexploited production capacity", Vestas says, due to shortages of high-quality turbine components. Other companies grumble about a lack of gearboxes and bearings. Wind firms' worries echo those in the solar-power business, which is also booming but where a shortage of polysilicon has hampered growth. Silicon is made from sand, which is abundant, but there are not enough refineries to turn it into solar-grade polysilicon. As a result, prices for silicon contracts have more than doubled, to $70 or $80 per kilogram, in the past three years, says Jesse Pichel, an analyst at Piper Jaffray. In both industries demand has rocketed and supply cannot keep up. The wind business is growing by more than 30% a year worldwide, with America leading the way. (This week Energias de Portugal became the latest European utility to invest in American wind farms, with the $2.2 billion purchase of Horizon Wind Energy.) And when a solar incentive scheme took hold in Germany in 2004-05, demand in Europe roughly doubled, says Ron Kenedi of Sharp, the biggest solar-cell maker.
Chanellor Gordon Brown plans to invest up to £600m to develop 'carbon capture' technology to transform coal into a clean fuel by piping harmful extracts into caverns under the North Sea. He wants Britain to take the lead in capturing climate-changing carbon dioxide and believes there is a multi-billion pound market in India and the Far East for UK expertise. The Treasury has asked San Francisco-based engineer PB Power to investigate the project, find suitable potential partners and recommend whether investment is worthwhile. A decision is expected by the end of the year. Financial Mail understands the Government is impressed with a plan by Centrica, owner of British Gas, to build a 'clean' coal-powered station in Teesside. This would be the first new coal-fired power station in the UK since 1974.
PUTTING a wind turbine on the roof of your house - like Tory leader David Cameron - is a waste of time, according to experts. The turbines, which cost at least £1,500, are next to useless in cities because there's not enough wind to make them work. Dr Luke Myers, of the Sustainable Energy Group, said: "Putting them in places where there's no wind is a fool's errand really. "No one wants to spend £1,500 on a turbine which doesn't work." Wind speeds at house roof level in a city like London, where Cameron lives, are only around 4.6 metres a second. But turbines sold by stores such as B&Q are designed to work at 12.5 metres a second. Brain Mark, on the Department of Trade and Industry Renewables Advisory Board, said the benefits had been "oversold" by green campaigners. He added: "It would be wonderful - if it worked." Home solar roof panels used to heat water are often a better bet and recoup costs in 10 years.
Several of Britain’s growing fleet of wind farms ground to a halt on Thursday as severe gales battered the country. The storms, which caused transport chaos and left hundreds of thousands without electricity, proved too much for some wind farms. Most turbines, which are intentionally sited in some of the windiest parts of the country, automatically stop spinning for safety reasons when wind speeds exceed 25 meters per second, or about 55 miles per hour.
Pete Russell believes we need windpower and that opposition is simply nimbyism (Letters, December 19). He is wrong on both counts. As the contribution by wind increases to only a small proportion of total supply, it will cause serious stability problems unless supported by online conventional generation. E.ON Netz, the operator of the largest assemblage of wind turbines in Europe has specifically warned of this.
DeWind Inc., a subsidiary of Irvine, Calif.-based Composite Technology Corp. (CTC), has completed the construction of the 2 MW DeWind D8.2 wind turbine at an offshore testing site in Cuxhaven, Germany.
Campbell Dunford, CEO of REF, said: “This important modelling exercise shows that even with best efforts a large wind carpet in the UK would have a low capacity credit, and be a real handful to manage. This isn’t the best way to encourage China and India to move towards the low-carbon economy. As a matter of urgency, for the planet’s sake, we need to bring forward a much broader range of low carbon generating technologies, including the full sweep of renewables. Wind has a place, but it must not be allowed to squeeze out other technologies that have more to offer.”
The claimed benefits of wind energy are called into question today by a study that finds few wind farms in England and Wales produce as much electricity as the Government has forecast. The first independent study to rate farms according to how much electricity they produce shows that wind farms south of the Scottish border are not generating as much as the Government assumed when it set the target of producing a tenth of Britain’s energy from renewables by 2010 and 15 per cent by 2015. Despite millions being spent on wind turbines, the study by the Renewable Energy Foundation shows that England and Wales are not windy enough to allow large turbines to work at the rates claimed for them. The foundation, a charity that aims to evaluate wind and other forms of renewable energy on an equal basis, based its study of more than 500 turbines now in operation on data supplied by companies to Ofgem, the energy regulator.
Some onshore windfarms are falling woefully short of their electricity generating targets, throwing into doubt Government targets of having about 15% of the nation’s energy coming from wind by 2020. Research by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) found onshore windfarms in remote locations only are generating above expectation - typically in the north of Scotland where the cost of linking to the National Grid is far greater.
Wind turbine manufacturer Clipper Windpower tumbled from recent highs today after it announced an issue relating to machining tolerances in its gearboxes and a short delay in turbine deliveries. As a result of the issue, the group said it has decided to introduce an additional measurement process during machining to ensure gearbox tolerances are met.
Irish minister for communications, marine and natural resources Noel Dempsey has set a target to treble the contribution made by renewable energy from 5percent to 15percent of electricity produced by 2010. His announcement came at the launch of a new publication called Renewable Energy Development 2006. The report provides a broad overview of current policies in the field of renewable energy and serves as a concise introduction to the topical issues and challenges in the area.
Home wind turbines have become the must-have home improvement among people eager to help save the planet and flaunt their green credentials. Dubbed ‘the ultimate green fashion statement’, are selling in their thousands amid claims they can cut household electricity bills by 30 per cent. But now environmental campaigners say the windmills are not quite what they claim to be - and may actually do more harm than good. As well as being noisy and unsightly, they barely produce enough electricity to power a hairdryer in many houses.
Apart from general bottleneck problems in times of high demand -- like during periods of extremely high or low temperature -- observers have questioned the grid's ability to cope with the addition of renewable energy sources, such as wind energy, into the mix and the network. Often, large wind parks that produce hundreds of megawatts of power in remote areas put a massive strain on local grids, which were designed to bring electricity from the center to the peripheries, and not the other way around. Due to the wind's variable strength, the amount of electricity injected into the grid is fluctuating constantly, further straining the grid.
Wind turbines that can operate through cyclones and earthquakes are increasingly being installed on small, isolated islands that seek improved energy independence, a wind power producer said on Friday. France's fifth largest wind power producer Aerowatt this week launched a 3.85 megawatt-wind farm on the small cyclone-prone French Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, enough to provide power to 12,000 inhabitants out of a total of 700,000. "This is the first wind farm installed on Reunion," Jerome Billerey, head of the company, told Reuters. But installing wind turbines on remote islands can often be complex due to poor logistics, limited port infrastructure and the hurdle of regular cyclones.
A 'clean coal' plant that would capture and bury most of its carbon emissions could become the first coal-fuelled power station to be built in the UK since the seventies, under plans announced by British Gas owner Centrica. Carbon from the Teesside plant would be pumped for storage under the North Sea Although not the first 'clean coal' project in the UK, the £1bn plant would produce almost zero emissions and would be the first with built-in carbon capture and storage (CCS), a spokesman for Centrica told edie.
HIGHLANDS and Islands Enterprise is planning to turn an entire island such as Islay or Mull into a testing ground for environmental technology. Willie Roe, HIE's chairman, said the development agency would attempt to slash carbon consumption on a selected island by more than half in order to demonstrate the latest green technology. Click to learn more... Under the scheme, which should start next year, renewable energy, efficient heating systems and environmentally friendly transport would be combined on a scale which has yet to be tried in the UK.
FINANCIAL TIMES: There has been some recent legislation on Co2 reduction. I wonder if you see that as one of the big developments of late, and what its significance is. JEFFREY IMMELT: Yes. I think if you look at what some of the states are doing, California for instance, or even what's happening around the world, what's talked about in the UK, I think that's going to change the way people look at technology and it's going to change the way people look at energy policy in the future. It tends to be the way change starts. I would say in many ways some of the things that have happened in Europe over time have tended to drive technology. For instance, when Europe said it was going to have 10 per cent renewables that's what really opened up the world of wind energy and solar and things like that, so I think it's very meaningful.