Library filed under Energy Policy from Europe
Why is Germany considering the building of up to 26 coal-fired power stations when they already have 17,000 wind turbines whirring away to the delight of the European green lobby? Why? Because German E.ON who are doing a roaring trade building windfarms in Scotland and Wales have admitted in their own reports that however many wind turbines they build or sell, without the right back-up they will not provide grid security and herald power cuts across Europe. E.ON UK must be aware of this shortcoming of their parent company's technology. Surely, it is only fair for them to warn their collaborators in Britain like Greenpeace, and FOE, to name but a few, before it is too late.
But the fact is that most alternative power technologies aren't a true solution to the globe's energy problems. The best illustration of this is the long-time poster child of the alternative energy movement, wind power. Apart from hydropower, wind is the most economically viable, developed and feasible alternative energy source. But wind's contribution to the global electric grid is all too often overstated.............At first blush, these facts suggest that the nation's energy policy and wind power industry are a smashing success. But that brings us to the clever marketing trick used by many alternative energy firms; there's a major difference between the terms capacity and generation. Namely, just because a utility may own a plant with 1,000 megawatts of capacity doesn't mean that plant is operating at that capacity at all times. In fact, that's highly unlikely to be the case, particularly for wind power. That's because the speed of wind in an area at a particular point in time is unpredictable. Moreover, even relatively small variations in wind speed can mean large changes in power output from wind turbines. The rated capacity of a wind farm is far less important than how much those wind farms actually contribute to the grid in the form of generated electricity. If we look at Germany in that light, we get a far less impressive picture. Only 5 percent of Germany's electricity generation in 2006 came from wind. Bottom line: As impressive as offshore wind farms may be to behold, those strings of thousands of windmills located on the Baltic just aren't a particularly important source of power for Germany.
The world is blinding itself to the reality of its energy problems, ignoring the scale of growth in demand from developing countries and placing too much faith in renewable sources of power, according to two leaders of the global energy industry. The chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell today calls for a "reality check". Writing in The Times, Jeroen van der Veer takes issue with the widespread public opinion that green energy can replace fossil fuels.
Wind farms will be difficult to set up due to the dense population, Resources and Infrastructure Minister Ninu Zammit told Parliament on Wednesday. "We would have to go offshore, which means that there are downfalls. We'd have to go quite a way out into the water, which proves difficult because of the depth of the sea bed."
Many of us here in Wales, UK, have read the article on "Wind Turbines" in your paper on 14-6-07. It has been posted about by e mail. We in Wales UK are planning a national ANTI Wind Turbine demonstration on July 8th. This horrendous industry will never ever halt global climate change it will only enrich its developers via the obscene level of subsidies being paid in Europe. Are there such massive subsidies your side of the Atlantic?
I was intrigued by the comments from Matthew Spencer, chief executive of Regen SW, that supporters of windfarms believe there is a growing public acceptance that turbines have a role to play in providing power in a renewable way. This is wholly untrue and he knows it. Recently, in North Devon, the Green Party put up 20 candidates for the district council. As predicted, not one candidate was elected and they came last in every ward. That's democracy - and that's what the overwhelming majority of people in North Devon think of turbines. They don't want them!
The row has become public because a review of the renewable energy proposals began yesterday, giving all parties the final chance to lobby for changes to Mr Livingstone's plan. The debate centres on his wish for buildings to generate their own power through solar, wind and other renewables, and the developers' preferred plans to reduce energy usage. Developers insist that energy savings on new offices will be better achieved by efficient design, sharing excess heat with residential developments and increased use of automated systems to turn off lights and computers when not in use. They claim that wind turbines and solar panels are highly inefficient in the capital.
Greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions decreased by 0.8% in 2005, according to an annual report by the European Environment Agency (EEA). While the Commission welcomed the decrease and called for more action, environmental groups saw the modest figure as a sign that the EU is not likely to achieve the emission-reduction targets agreed in Kyoto in 1992.
Farmers and landowners should be aware that changes in the way green electricity will be funded mean there is currently strong demand for wind farm sites. The current system, that beefs up the income from onshore wind farm sites by up to 50%, is due to be changed in 2010 or soon after to favour offshore wind farms as they are considered more acceptable to the public rather than on shore ones. "Wind farm companies are going hell for leather to find onshore sites and agree terms with landowners during 2007," notes head of Fisher German's renewables team Mark Newton. "It's a lengthy planning process to get a site approved which normally takes three to five years, and they need to get a project agreed and built before the system changes. Otherwise the site will not be as profitable for the landowner and the wind farm company."
ONE of Scotland's ageing nuclear reactors had to be shut down manually over the weekend, the latest in a catalogue of problems which prompted experts last night to warn of a possible looming gap in energy supplies.
It was Michael Crichton who first prominently identified environmentalism as a religion. That was in a speech in 2003, but the world has moved on apace since then and adherents of the creed now have a firm grip on the world at large. Global Warming has become the core belief in a new eco-theology. The term is used as shorthand for anthropogenic (or man made) global warming. It is closely related to other modern belief systems, such as political correctness, chemophobia and various other forms of scaremongering, but it represents the vanguard in the assault on scientific man.
Declaring that climate change is a real and serious threat won't raise too many eyebrows these days. But where the debate really starts to warm up is in asking how much energy consumers should pay towards eradicating the threat of climate change. Soundings by Ofgem suggest that most people expect a reduction in emissions to come at a price. What's not clear is whether the amount people anticipate paying will match what they may be asked to pay.
That is why we should not allow Europe's energy needs to be planned by multinational, multi-utility behemoths or set a target for the temperature of the world. It is also why when people tell us what the planet will or should be like in 2050, we should recall how large and unforeseeable have been the economic, political and environmental changes in every 50-year period for the past several centuries.
The CO2 hysteria is absurd, considering the minute contribution made by human beings. Of course the climate is changing - it always has done, hence the thriving vineyards of Northumberland in the 12th century and the Thames frozen three feet deep in the 19th - but human activity is largely irrelevant. The world's climate is controlled by solar activity, by variations in the earth's rotation and orbit, by external factors in space and, terrestrially, by clouds and volcanic activity. If the Canutes of the IPCC imagine they can control those elements, they are even more infatuated than they appear.
London's main electricity supplier EDF Energy has given its strongest commitment yet to finance, build and operate new nuclear power stations in the UK and ditch its dirty coal installations as part of a major commitment to climate change. EDF, the UK arm of the giant Electricité de France which runs a host of nuclear power stations across the Channel, admitted it will have to go nuclear in the UK if it is to meet ambitious targets set today of cutting its carbon dioxide emissions in the UK by 60% over the next dozen years.
From Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to E.ON, the world's largest companies are investing in wind power, the best-performing energy in the past year. Led by Vestas Wind Systems and Iberdrola of Spain, utilities and governments in the United States, China and Europe will spend as much as $150 billion on wind projects in the next five years, according to CLSA Research. Lawmakers are providing financial incentives because windmills are non-polluting and cost less than solar projects. "Wind has the biggest potential to meet renewable energy targets over the next decade, compared with solar and biofuels," said Philippe de Weck, who started the Pictet Clean Energy fund last month for Pictet in Geneva.
IT seems the truth is beginning to come out when Trade & Industry secretary Alistair Darling makes a very damning statement on wind-generated electricity saying: "On very hot days or very cold days, if the wind doesn't blow, you would have a big problem!" Opponents of wind farms have been saying this for years and it is just not lack of wind - little or too much wind and you have the same problem! The next falsehood that needs tackling is the claim of saving on greenhouse gasses and the claimed impact on global climate - wind farms, during their construction phase, do produce greenhouse gases. But what is deniable is the various claims of significant savings in greenhouse gases while they are in operation - every wind farm needs back-up by conventional power stations for a guaranteed supply. Other issues that require addressing are the health of those living in close proximity to these monsters, the industrialisation of beautiful landscapes, property values and the exploitation of customers.
This week, industry, household, councils, environment and development groups were all trying to work out what the proposals mean. All that is clear for now is that the balance has shifted from development at any cost, and that the environment is now stage centre.
Welsh energy policy has been strongly criticised by leading environmental campaigner George Monbiot. Monbiot said he was not singling out Wales, as the UK as a whole was behind in the fight against global warming. But at the Hay Festival he urged an end to windfarms on land and said a Severn Barrage would cause too much damage.
Government faith in wind powered energy was described by a national newspaper commentator yesterday as "a delusion that mediaeval methods could fuel the 21st Century."I know that many correspondents to this paper share that view. I must admit the sporadic performance of the single turbine on Swansea docks, as viewed from my bedroom window, inclines me to agree with them.