Library filed under Energy Policy from Europe
One of the UK's major wind power operators, EON UK, submitted evidence to a House of Lords select committee in 2008, pointing out that wind power needs backup from conventional fossil-fuelled power stations equal to about 90% of the wind installed capacity. In other words, once we have a lot of wind power, the paradox is that we have to build extra power stations to support it.
Radical changes to the planning system to help build wind farms, nuclear power stations and new roads are likely to cause a storm of protest across Britain, Andrew Gilligan reports. ..."They are going to industrialise the countryside," says Nick Wadham, a local protester against the scheme. Caroline Evans, another resident, says the sound can travel more than six miles. She had an email from a woman in a nearby village who said she had not slept for three nights after the turbines were installed.
When industries look for government subsidies for money-losing propositions, a common business model these days, one of the most important strategic elements is to make sure you have a well-oiled public relations machine to keep the facts from getting in the way. Voters don't like to back money-losers, which means keeping them steadily misinformed or at least confused. Renewable energy industries - wind, solar, biomass, human treadmills - have a particularly tough job.
As the workforce at the only wind-turbine factory in Britain was laid off at the end of April, Rene Umlauft, boss of the renewable-energy division of Siemens, the industrial giant, was enjoying a run of turbine sales. He had sold more than 120 in Britain, Turkey and at home in Germany.
Plans by the Crown Estate to treble its revenues from offshore wind parks have angered energy companies, who say that the move could jeopardise the viability of important new projects and undermine government hopes to boost renewable energy in Britain. The Crown Estate, which owns the seabed out to 12 nautical miles, is already set for a £500 million windfall from offshore wind power production by charging rent based on each unit of electricity produced.
There are much cheaper ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions than subsidizing renewable energies. CO2 abatement costs of PV are estimated to be as high as $1,050 per ton, while those of wind power are estimated at $80 per ton. By contrast, the current price of emissions certificates on the European emissions trading scheme is only 13.4 (Euro) per ton. ...Moreover, the prevailing coexistence of the EEG and emissions trading under the European Trading Scheme (ETS) means that the increased use of renewable energy technologies generally attains no additional emission reductions beyond those achieved by ETS alone.
Campaigners against wind farms have hit out at claims councils should be forced to hand over land for turbines. It comes after Hull East MP John Prescott said too many wind turbine planning applications are blocked and urged ministers to take on "nimbys", which stands for "not in my backyard". The former deputy prime minister wants to force councils to earmark sites for wind farms, as part of a strategy to override residents' objections to the developments.
John Prescott has called for councils to be given more responsibility for the UK meeting its renewable energy targets as figures were released yesterday showing that three quarters of proposed wind farm capacity has failed to win local planning approval. Mr Prescott told delegates at the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) conference in Liverpool that councils were "failing to meet their obligations" in terms of renewables".
John Prescott, the former Deputy Prime Minister, will today launch a ferocious attack on the "landowners and nimbys" who he says are holding up the installation of wind farms across Britain and thus hindering the fight against climate change. In unashamed class-warrior style, Mr Prescott lashes out at opponents of windpower who successfully block planning applications for wind turbines because they may spoil their "chocolate box view".
Government plans to generate 30 per cent of UK electricity from renewable sources by 2020 are doomed to failure, according to the chief executive of one of the world's biggest utility companies. Wulf Bernotat, chief executive of E.ON, said that British politicians needed to stop misleading the public about what was achievable. He said that British plans to build 33 gigawatts of offshore wind power, up from 0.6 gigawatts at present, was impossible, given the necessary investment and relatively short timeframe.
The energy regulator revealed on Friday the figure as the likely price tag for closing cheaper coal-fired plants and installing cleaner power sources, as well as replacing Britain's ageing infrastructure. Utility companies will have to raise the capital, but they are likely to pass costs on to consumers, causing energy bills to rise between 14pc and 25pc over the next decade, peaking at 60pc above today's prices in 2016 under the worst-case scenario. Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, the French power retailer, welcomed the report for "highlighting how massive investment is urgently needed in power stations and infrastructure".
Cash-strapped Britain is now facing a looming energy gap, priced yesterday by Ofgem at up to £200bn. This is the sum that may be required to build new energy infrastructure while meeting environmental targets. Who pays, you wonder. Well, you do, with the pain intensifying around 2015 when Britain shuts down its most polluting coal-fired power plants and our old nukes. Then, household bills could jump by 60pc - enough to make anyone's hair stand on end.
The European Commission is expected to introduce a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that directs the largest slices of €50 billion available for research and development to solar power and capturing and burying emissions from coal plants. ...Christian Kjaer, the chief executive of the European Wind Energy Association, ...questioned the decision to give nuclear power and carbon-capture technologies significantly more than wind, which would receive €6 billion.
Danish Wind Industry Association managing director Jan Hylleberg said ‘Our surveys show there's a huge desire in the councils to construct more windmills ...however, the energy gained from any new wind turbines would almost be offset by the planned removal of older and malfunctioning ones by 2020.
Between 500 and 1,000 protesters gathered last weekend at Mont-Saint-Michel in France to demonstrate against plans to build a wind farm along the Normandy coast. They say it would be a useless eyesore disfiguring the bay area. The European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW), along with four other environmental groups, organized the event "to denounce the massacre of our national and cultural heritage by the wind farm scourge." Though protestors hailed from France, Britain, Belgium, Holland, and Italy, the event received very little media coverage.
We can be fiercely protective of the green and pleasant land itself, or what remains of it. And it has never needed more protecting, because this autumn a new quango - created, symbolically, by the unelected Lord Mandelson - may usher in the biggest change to the landscape in our lifetime. ... Well, the Government wants to increase renewable energy production and is irritated that wind-farm developers are constantly being delayed, or even thwarted, by challenges from local objectors and conservation groups such as the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England.
Two Danish experts in the field of wind energy will be in Washington for the next three days to speak on the subject of wind generated electricity. One would expect they are here to brag on the fact that their country is a leader in the field and that they already satisfy, as President Obama puts it, "20 percent of the electricity through wind power." One would be wrong in such an expectation. They are here to warn us about the dangers of putting our electricity needs in the wind power basket.
A technical critique of Denmark's wind energy development and operation. A brief summary of the report appears below. The full report can be downloaded by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
Wind farms are spreading like a cancer and Teesdale must not be seen as a soft touch by green energy firms, the chairman of Durham County Council says. Cllr Brian Myers visited Bolam recently to find out more about Npower's plan to build a wind farm near the village. The unitary authority's chairman told residents that he was worried about the spread of wind farms in County Durham.
This must be one of the first instances of a civilisation voluntarily and consciously going backwards. We might as well rely for our economic and industrial future on tens of millions of hamsters pattering frantically round treadmills. Hamsters only do this by night. Windmills only make electricity when it is windy. See the problem? For most of us, the truth has yet to sink in.