Library filed under Energy Policy from UK
Gordon Brown has been accused of presiding over an environmental policy based on "propaganda and deceit" after a leaked document suggested vital ‘green' energy targets will not be met. Government officials also faced charges of seeking to "undermine" specific environmental commitments made by Tony Blair shortly before Mr Brown took over as Prime Minister last June. The former Prime Minister signed up to a new European Union target of achieving 20 per cent of energy from renewable sources such as wind and tidal power. But a leaked document from officials in the former Department of Trade and Industry revealed that Britain has little hope of achieving its target. According to the briefing paper obtained by The Guardian, officials said the best the UK could actually achieve was just nine per cent by 2020.
Government officials have secretly briefed ministers that Britain has no hope of getting remotely near the new European Union renewable energy target that Tony Blair signed up to in the spring - and have suggested that they find ways of wriggling out of it. In contrast to the government's claims to be leading the world on climate change, officials within the former Department of Trade and Industry have admitted that under current policies Britain would miss the EU's 2020 target of 20% energy from renewables by a long way. And their suggestion that "statistical interpretations of the target" be used rather than new ways to reach it has infuriated environmentalists.
In the blood of every Briton runs at least a little seawater. We sing of the sea, romanticise our maritime heritage and regard the beach holiday as a nationally affirming birthright. Every year we potter in our millions down to the sea with bucket, spade, snorkel, jet-ski, paperback, shark defence kit and inadequate quantities of suncream. Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside; but we have a strange way of showing it. For the past 300 years or so, we have poisoned and plundered the sea; we have destroyed the seabed, killed the fish and bemired the vast oceans with our waste. We wring our hands at the pollution and devastation we have visited on the land, but because we cannot see what is happening beneath the dark waters surrounding this island we somehow assume it will mend itself...........The Bill is not simply some worthy Magna Carta for beleaguered British fish, since it also sets out clear rules for exploiting the sea by fishermen, oil prospectors, dredgers and energy farmers. The Bill will make it far easier to build and operate offshore wind farms, developments to harness wave power, and schemes for storing carbon emissions from power stations in former oilfields. So far from ducking the issue, as successive governments have done, the marine Bill aims to balance competing interests and face up to the inevitable but not insoluble conflict between exploitation and preservation. But in politics, as at sea, the weather changes quickly. The marine Bill, promised in Labour's manifesto of 2005, was expected to become law within a year, but suddenly it seems to have slipped off the political agenda. Gordon Brown did not even mention marine protection in his summer statement, and the marine Bill is not included in his planned legislative programme for next year. The Bill has been kicked into the long seaweed. It is the big one that got away, again.
Judges should have the power to compel the prime minister to set out the remedial measures his government will take if it fails to hit targets to reduce carbon emissions, a cross-party committee of MPs and peers has recommended. A bill due to be introduced in the next parliament places a legal duty on the environment secretary to reduce carbon emissions by 60% by 2050. The bill sets out a series of milestones, including five yearly "carbon budgets" setting out the projected carbon emissions.
The North-east countryside could be "hijacked" to help meet renewable energy targets, an expert has warned. Ecologist Dr John Etherington said the Government would require armies of turbines - and that the open spaces of the North-east could be a prime site. He said: "Rural land is being hijacked as the renewable power generating areas for the cities and big towns.
Hatfield Colliery, a centre of union militancy during the great strike of the 1980s, is coming back to life. Surging demand for coal around the world and hopes that improved technology can usher in a new generation of clean coal power stations has made deep- coal mining an economic prospect in the UK once again...........While the power station will burn coal, unlike other older coal-fired stations, it will not be pouring huge quantities of carbon dioxide and sulphur into the atmosphere. Those gases will be extracted before the fuel is burnt, and will be pumped in liquid form for up to 400 miles to the oil and gas fields under the North Sea. In that way it makes an important contribution to solving one of the government's big dilemmas - how to keep the UK supplied with cheap energy and at the same time cut emissions of greenhouse gases. Richard Budge has an almost messianic belief in clean coal as the fuel of the future. "Clean coal costs only two-thirds of the cost of wind power. Wind farms are ugly, but that's not a reason for not building them. The reason is they are ineffective. Wind farms only work one day in three, and you don't even know which day. Every time the wind doesn't blow, gas stations take up the merit order.
Plans to increase charges to remote generators could undermine renewable energy schemes in Scotland, according to campaigners. Electricity regulator Ofgem said it was "minded to" back changes to the cost of transmission losses. Generators nearer cities and areas of high demand, which have least losses en route to users, would pay less. Opponents fear the changes would discriminate against projects such as wind farms in the north of Scotland.
There are fears that plans to increase charges to remote generators could undermine renewable energy schemes in Scotland. Lawyer Peter Willis argues that such a scheme could breach European legislation.
"Delay in linking new wind farms and other forms of clean electricity to the national grid is one of the main obstacles to achieving the UK's renewable energy aims", Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said today as he launched a joint BERR/Ofgem review of the issue. The Transmission Access Review will recommend changes to the overall framework that will better deliver the connection of renewable generation, taking into account the potential for reduced carbon emissions, cost to the consumer and the impact on security of supply. The time needed to make the essential investments in infrastructure means that many schemes have projected connection dates years from now.
The government is today stepping up its consultation on its energy white paper, including whether nuclear power stations should be built or not. As part of the 20-week consultation period, 12 regional stakeholder events will be held to gauge views on Britain's future energy needs. Energy minister Malcolm Wicks is today attending the first such meeting in Newcastle where the opinions of green groups, energy companies, businesses, consumer groups, unions, faith groups and academies will be heard.
Driven by concerns about climate change and security of electricity supply, public and political commitment to renewable energy has never been stronger. Generous financial support and market interventions have encouraged extremely rapid deployment in many European states and it is now a commonplace of the financial press that environmental business has become mainstream. And so it should. But some are now asking whether this rapid growth, and politically-driven target setting at local and national level, is creating a secure position for environmental technologies, one grounded in the realistic perspectives of engineering and science, or, on the other hand, a mere flash in the pan caused by speculative, subsidy-hunting developments. A wealth of data about the renewable energy experiment worldwide, and particularly in Europe, is now slowly emerging, allowing decision makers to evaluate the success of their policies. These results, as you would expect of real-world data, are mixed, and as we all get to grips with the implications, a change in the way the renewable energy sector operates is likely.
With the odd weather bringing speculation that global warming is showing its ugly effects, environmental awareness is on the up.So should we be welcoming proposals for wind turbines? Not according to artist Christine Lovelock. She said: "Wind power on an industrial scale is not as clean and ‘green' as it is made out to be. There are other, far better ways to do it." Last May Christine undertook a month long walk around Devon and painted various locations of the unspoilt landscapes.
After a six month pre-Assembly election moratorium on development, as many as 22 applications for new windfarms are now pending in Powys and anti-windfarm activists are organising themselves to oppose them. Famous TV naturalist Professor David Bellamy visited Mid Wales to give his support to anti-windfarm campaigners in Powys this weekend.
So in exchange for a one 10th share of not "deflecting climate change" we are sacrificing the Welsh landscape, a potential tourism income which far exceeds the value of wind electricity, and are risking property values and the happiness and health of Welsh people.
SOME people call them windfarms, others describe them as ‘power stations in inappropriate locations', but all agree that one alternative energy source is an issue dividing communities in Northumberland. Alastair Gilmour reports in the first of five features this week looking at the controversial windfarm issue.
Conservation and environmental pressure groups have banded together to fight against proposed changes in the planning laws. They say the reforms will take away the right to protest against major new developments such as nuclear power stations and airport extensions.
ONE of the country’s leading authorities on renewable energy called yesterday for countryside wind farms to be abandoned as a viable power source for Northumberland. John Constable, director of policy and research at the Renewable Energy Foundation, said there were a range of better options for the county than the 71 turbines planned around Alnwick and Berwick.
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.
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.
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!