Documents filed under Energy Policy from UK
The United Kingdom has has taken steps to reduce the financial burden of supporting renewable energy in the country. The Government introduced its new Low Carbon Levies (LCL) framework which was designed to control the cost of supporting low carbon electricity paid by consumers on their electric bills. The plan addresses the costs of the 'Contracts for Difference' (CFD), the 'Renewable Obligation' (RO) and the 'Feed in Tariff Scheme' (FiTs). The government asserted that it will monitor the total cost of these programs and, "Until the total burden of these costs is forecast to fall in real terms over a sustained period, the Control will not allow for new low carbon electricity levies to be introduced. Based on the current forecast, ...this will rule out new levy spend until 2025." The portion of the Government document is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
The UK wind debate assumes that wind farms operate at roughly their average output most of the time. According to this new paper by Dr. Capell Aris’, this assumption is not true. Power comes only extremely intermittently and variably and there are long periods of negligible efficiency, particularly during the long winter months when power is most needed. A 10GW wind fleet would need approximately 9.5GW of fossil capacity to guarantee its output. A summary from the report of Dr. Aris' findings is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This analysis examines the constraints of deploying wind energy and the upper limits of how much wind can be installed. The executive summary is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking on the links at the bottom of this page.
The Scottish Conservatives released this policy statement recommending that the number of planned onshore wind farms be substantially reduced in Scotland and their subsidy cut by fifty per cent to limit household bills. A subset of the report is provided below. Select the links at the bottom of this page to access the full report.
The engineering consultancy Mott MacDonald was commissioned by Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in the UK to update the electricity generation costs in 2009. In its report released June 2010, the firm calculated the “levelised generation costs” for several technologies including wind power. In this report, economist Ruth Lea, examines these Government-commissioned estimates of costs to calculate the most cost-effective technologies.
In the absence of a credible publicly presented plan to deliver Scotland's renewable energy at the scale required, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers considers here what these targets mean from an engineering viewpoint.
When, in my late twenties, I gave up political ambition and devoted myself to a career in industry, I never dreamt I would have the opportunity to speak in Parliament. What an unexpected treat, what a dream fulfilled, what a privilege it is to be able to stand and speak in Parliament, without licking a single envelope, or canvassing a single street, or doing battle with bureaucracy on behalf of a single constituent. And in recognising the privilege, let me also say to the politicians here that I salute you. When I use the word politician, as I will do during this speech, it is as a term of endearment. I recognise that many people, and businessmen in particular, do not appreciate just how bloody hard politics and public service is. For those in business who can say "go" and they goeth and say "come" and they cometh, it can be difficult to understand how hard it is to get things done when people are elected to oppose your every action, when the press peruse your every move, and people around you are volunteers rather than employees. So, as Ali G would say ..... "Respect!"
In a book released today, Dr. John Etherington - former Reader in Ecology, Thomas Huxley Medallist at the Royal College of Science and former co-editor of the Journal of Ecology - argues that wind farm technology is a wholly counter-productive and undesirable response to the problems of climate change and electricity generation.
Political and energy analyst, Tony Lodge, presents a critical analysis of the United Kingdom's renewable energy policy which is heavily reliant on industrial-scale wind power.
This important research paper analyzes the power output characteristics of the wind energy generation supply in Britain over an extended period of time. The abstract and conclusion of the paper are shown below. To access the full report which includes many graphs of data, click on the link at the bottom of this page.
Editor's Note: The following are selected excerpts from the Renewable Energy Foundation press release describing this research. The full press release is available via the link below. Using the new research it is now possible to assess how renewable generators up and down the country are performing. This data, published in five online files; Biomass, Hydro, Landfill Gas, Sewage Gas and Windpower, shows that firm generators are producing high load factors with carefully designed resource use and load following. However in the wind sector, far and away the most active of all the technologies at present, results vary enormously due to location. The capacities offshore are encouraging, whilst those onshore are generally only superior in locations very distant from the populations requiring the electrical energy. Although most sites were built on expected capacity factors of around 30%, results include; 19% (approx) capacity factor for the wind turbines at Dagenham, Essex. 9% (approx) capacity factor at the Barnard Castle plant, County Durham. The best performing wind sites are in the north of Scotland, and on Shetland the wind turbines are producing capacity factors of over 50%. Using this analysis of the Ofgem data, researchers have also calibrated a model predicting how a large installed capacity of wind power built across the UK would actually perform. The project used Meteorological Office data to model output for every hour of every January from 1994-2006. The startling results show that, even when distributed UK wide, the output is still highly volatile. The average January power variation over the last 12 years is 94% of installed capacity. It is an uncontrolled variation decided by the weather. The average minimum output is only 3.7% or 0.9GW in a 25GW system. Power swings of 70% in 30 hours are the norm in January. The governments’ expectation is that three quarters of the 2010 renewables target, and the lion’s share of the ‘20% by 2020’ target will be made up of windpower. However, the new research offers predictions which are in keeping with Danish and German empirical experience and demonstrate the need for a broader spread of investment in the renewable sector. The report was commissioned from Oswald Consultancy Limited and funded by donation from the green entrepreneur Vincent Tchenguiz. 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.”
It is broadly accepted that wind turbines do not emit CO2 at the point of generation. However, in common with all types of power station, it is emitted during their construction and, through damage directly inflicted on the construction site, over a much longer period. The total debt will vary from site to site but will comprise some or all of the following; • Emissions arising from fabrication (steel smelting, forging of turbine columns, the manufacture of blades and the electrical and mechanical components); • Emissions arising from construction (transportation of components, quarrying, building foundations, access tracks and hard standings, commissioning); • The indirect loss of CO2 uptake (fixation) by plants originally on the surface of the site but obliterated by construction activity including the destruction of active bog plants on wet sites and deforestation; • Emissions due to the indirect, long-term liberation of CO2 from carbon stored in peat due to drying and oxidation processes caused by construction of the site. It is important to recognise that peat is a major store of carbon accumulated from dead plant remains over many millennia. It is held in perpetuity because the bog’s wetness and acid conditions prevent the access of oxygen and inhibit the growth of bacteria which would otherwise rot the vegetation. Draining peat for construction reverses both these long-term processes: the soil is exposed to the air, the carbon is converted to CO2 and released slowly to the atmosphere. Several papers from the wind industry in Denmark and the UK have addressed the first two points with estimates of payback time ranging from about six to 30 months. However, the industry rarely, if ever, considers the last two. This is a fundamental omission as their contribution to the overall CO2 debt, in particular the last, can be far greater than all the others put together. This paper outlines a procedure for quantifying it. The guide has been prepared to enable anyone with access to the Environmental Statement (ES) that forms part of a Planning Application (PA) for a wind farm to estimate its CO2 debt. (If some of the requisite information proves to be unavailable, this ought to provide grounds for postponing consideration of the application and the commissioning of further assessment.) The results of the calculations described should be submitted to planning authorities or Public Inquiries as part of the arguments used in assessing the merits and demerits of an application.
..neither renewable energy nor greater energy efficiency can provide the complete solution to the shortfall we face. This will depend on securing energy supplies from abroad, in new nuclear power stations to replace those becoming obsolete and replacing older coal-fired stations with cleaner, more efficient technology.
Editor's Note: Recently updated, Elizabeth Mann's extensive research on the deceptive measures employed by proponents of industrial wind energy in the UK at both the national and local level should prove quite useful to opponents of wind energy in the UK.
The full Executive Summary of the Report is printed below. The complete Report is attached as a pdf file.
The following submission first discusses BWEA’s position on the headline issues before turning to detailed responses to the five questions and four issues on which Government sought views. We are also including four appendices, which address the development of onshore wind, offshore wind and marine renewables, as well as the combined contribution that these technologies plus wind microgeneration can make to our power supplies in 2020. We believe that the evidence we are presenting makes a strong case for setting a firm target of 20% of our electricity from renewable generators in 2020. If this is done it will show that the UK Government is serious in setting this country on a course towards its longterm carbon reduction goals as well as increasing the security of our energy supplies.
Comments from the CLOWD website: The Government has been misled in the past by the wind energy industry into believing that wind turbines offer a viable method of producing energy. The variability and intermittency of wind energy has been underestimated because the wind statistics used have been unscientifically and misleadingly presented. The paper ‘UK Wind Energy Resources (Variability, Intermittency, Dispersal)’ shows the more realistic situation for mainland UK and in particular the situation that is likely to occur should wind farms be built inland far from the coast and at relatively low elevation.
This report has focused on the cost of generating electricity. While this is an important consideration in the choice of power generation technology it should be recognised that wider issues also contribute to the technology employed. This may, for example, include technology complementation, security of fuel supplies, and social and environmental factors.