Library filed under Energy Policy from UK
The Solway Firth is at the centre of £500 million proposals to build a mile-long dam between England and Scotland fitted with energy-generating turbines, the Sunday Herald can reveal. The proposed tidal barrage, subject of a £60,000-£100,000 feasibility study commissioned by Scottish Enterprise, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and Northwest Regional Development Agency (NRDA), would stretch over the River Solway from Annan in Dumfries & Galloway to Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria.
ScottishPower executives yesterday admitted they are exploring sites for new hydro-electric schemes because of the unreliability of wind power. ...experts concede that the only proven way of storing wind-produced energy is to link it to a pump-storage hydro scheme. This uses surplus electricity to pump water to a high-level reservoir where it can be released at times of peak electricity demand downhill into a hydro-electric power station.
At the moment we generate 75GW of power in the UK of which wind accounts for about 2.2GW. The Government wants us to generate 33GW from wind by 2020. The London Array's phase one will generate 630MW (about two-thirds of a gigawatt) which comes on stream only in 2012. You can see the enormous investment still needed, and needed very soon, if wind power is going to hit its target. But by 2016, 35pc of our traditional oil and coal-fired power stations will be closed under the Large Combustion Plant Directive.
The connection of around 220 new wind turbines to the national grid will be brought forward by more than five years after energy regulator Ofgem announced temporary rule changes yesterday. The connection of 450 megawatts of small and large wind farms in Scotland, capable of powering around 300,000 homes, will be accelerated. The existing turbines in Scotland currently produce two megawatts each on average.
But Miliband's bubble was burst on Tuesday morning, when an announcement issued from Aarhus on the east coast of Denmark reached his desk. Danish wind energy giant Vestas was about to deal a hefty blow to his vision of building thousands of jobs and new businesses around the "low carbon" economy. Vestas chief executive Ditlev Engel revealed the company was axing 625 jobs in Britain and planned to close its manufacturing plant on the Isle of Wight.
A proposed UK scheme designed to force some 5,000 businesses to cut carbon emissions by reducing their energy consumption gives companies no reason to buy renewable energy, critics said on Friday. "Businesses need greater incentives to demand increased renewable power in their fuel mix, not less," said Jo Butlin, vice president at UK renewable power supplier Smartest Energy.
UK Energy Minister Ed Miliband urged world leaders to acknowledge that coal would remain part of the world's energy mix. "We must try every energy option to shift to a low-carbon world," Miliband wrote in The Times newspaper yesterday (27 April). He defended the UK government's recent about-turn in policy after last week's announcement of a ban on new coal plants without carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities.
The government is relying heavily on the growth of wind power to meet tough European Union renewable energy targets and promises another 525 million pounds in support for offshore wind as part of Wednesday's budget. But the more wind turbines Britain erects the more conventional plants it will need.
They're fine for making the odd cup of tea. But, says the Mail's Science Editor; if we wanted to go totally green, we'd have to carpet the country with more windmills than exist in the whole world. ...Wind farms are, it is claimed, noisy and they allegedly shred flocks of birds as effectively as aircraft jet engines. Worst of all, say the antis, wind technology simply doesn't work. It will neither solve the energy crisis nor halt climate change. Salvation, they say, lies elsewhere.
The amount invested in British renewable energy schemes, including wind, solar and wave power, fell from £377 million during the first three months of last year to £79 million during the same period this year, according to figures from New Energy Finance, a research group that monitors industry trends. The figures have raised fresh questions over the Government's ability to fulfil its pledge to slash Britain's carbon emissions and produce more than one third of the country's electricity from green energy by 2020.
The Times has learnt that the European Investment Bank (EIB) is in talks with developers about a financial rescue package for the £3 billion London Array scheme, which is located in the Thames Estuary. Planned to be the world's largest offshore wind farm, it is a project that has strong personal backing from the Prime Minister. Gordon Brown wants part of the renewable energy scheme finished before the 2012 Olympics.
It seems we are now subject to a campaign that uses social rejection as a force to make us accept industrial-scale wind energy stations across the UK; to call them windfarms is disingenuous. As part of this campaign, the great and the good are hectoring on the moral need to embrace wind energy.
If wind energy was the one practical and affordable answer to global warming then I would grit my teeth at the loss of the countryside and accept it. But I know that they are no answer to global warming in northern Europe. The Germans who have invested more than anyone in this form of energy are finding, according to newspaper Der Spiegel, that despite more than 17,000 wind turbines across Germany the nation is now emitting more CO2 than before it built them.
The views of Ed Miliband, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, that opposing wind farms should be socially taboo, are the tactics of a bully, using the power of social ostracising to promote his cause. When can we have a serious debate on wind power?
The view from the top could not be clearer: Ed Miliband, the minister for energy and climate change, said last week that opposing the onward march of wind turbines - on which the government is pinning its hopes of meeting its targets on renewable energy - should be as "socially unacceptable" as not wearing a seatbelt or failing to stop at a zebra crossing. Hmm. Tell that to the people who believe the view over Britain's last remaining wildernesses is about to be destroyed for ever - and for a very dubious set of returns.
A watchdog has asked a firm to stop overstating the carbon-saving benefits of its proposed wind farm. ...AMP spokesman Jon McLeod said: "West Coast's misinformation has been shown up for what it is – green spin designed to bounce a well-meaning community into accepting a disfiguring turbine development.
Energy companies have warned the government that unless they get £2 billion in "immediate" state aid several offshore wind farms will be scrapped - and this would leave Whitehall's pollution-reduction targets in tatters. Companies have put off giving the green light to several big projects, such as the £3 billion London Array in the Thames estuary and Npower's £2.2 billion Gwint y Mor farm off the coast of Wales, until the government decides whether it will stump up more cash to offset building costs that have doubled in the past three years.
Shell will no longer invest in renewable technologies such as wind, solar and hydro power because they are not economic, the Anglo-Dutch oil company said today. It plans to invest more in biofuels ..."If there aren't investment opportunities which compete with other projects we won't put money into it. We are businessmen and women. If there were renewables [which made money] we would put money into it."
A joint statement was issued by the councils of Poole, Bournemouth, Purbeck and Christchurch in response to the "West of Isle of Wight" wind farm proposal. It said they were "key stakeholders" representing local people, committed to sustaining the natural environment and working to support local employment and tourism industry. "We are collectively disappointed that no approach appears to have been made... to either advise us of these plans or seek our views and the views of local residents, partners and businesses.
Wind farms generating enough electricity to supply three million homes could be established off the Scottish coast after The Crown Estate approved key preliminary bids from a clutch of power companies. ...However, experts have questioned whether the wind farms will ever be built without fresh government incentives to make them more viable. Industry analysts say that the cost of building offshore wind farms stands at about £3million per megawatt of installed capacity, suggesting that the price of building 6,000MWs could top £18billion.