Articles filed under Energy Policy from UK
Green campaigners have condemned ministers for "steamrollering" objections to major new schemes for nuclear power stations, airport runways, motorways, waste incinerators and even wind farms. Friends of the Earth led green groups in attacking a White Paper unveiled by Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Communities, which will amount to the biggest shake-up of planning rules in a generation. It proposes replacing lengthy and costly public planning inquiries with an independent commission.
Communities and local government secretary Ruth Kelly has said that the aim of today's planning white paper was to make to the planning system less complex and more accessible for everyone.
Nuclear power should be "part of the mix" of Britain's energy supplies in the future, Alistair Darling has said. An energy White Paper will be published on Wednesday - Tony Blair has already said he supports replacing Britain's ageing nuclear power stations. The Observer newspaper reported that his successor Gordon Brown will also support the plans this week. Trade and Industry Secretary Mr Darling told the BBC that renewable energy sources alone would not be sufficient....... "The trouble with renewables is they're very good in providing you with low carbon electricity generation, but of course on very hot days or very cold days, if the wind doesn't blow, then you would have a big problem. "That's where nuclear has provided a base load of electricity for many years now."
THE leader of Scotland's engineering industry has fired a warning shot at new enterprise minister Jim Mather, warning that SNP policies could lead to job losses, threaten secure energy supplies and destabilise Scottish Enterprise.
Gordon Brown is to face down sceptics in his party and give the go-ahead for a new generation of nuclear power stations, which will be built across the country. In a move immediately condemned by environmental organisations, the Prime Minister-elect will give the green light to the plans that will show that he is backing Tony Blair's support of the nuclear industry. Boosted by a new poll, which shows Brown pulling ahead of David Cameron on the issue of competence to run the country, the Chancellor will signal his support this week for a dramatic renewal of the nuclear power programme that will see the building of up to eight new stations, possibly within 15 years.
THE building of new nuclear power plants in Scotland has been effectively ruled out by one of the UK's leading electricity providers. British Energy has described Scotland as "the least attractive part of the UK" to base a new station following the election victory of the anti-nuclear power SNP.
This may be the moment, senior ministers say, to capitalise on one of Britain's greatest assets, the 45ft tide that races through the Severn estuary, making it the second best place in the world - after Canada's Bay of Fundy - to harness tidal energy. By building a barrage, they hope to be able to meet a large chunk of Britain's electricity needs from a single renewable, reliable source. It is just one of a number of clean energy technologies they want to employ to keep the lights on, while cutting back the pollution that causes global warming.
ACROSS Britain, cities are plunged into darkness. In London, the Underground grinds to a halt, leaving panicked commuters stranded in oppressively hot carriages. In office blocks, lifts stop operating and the air-conditioning shuts down. Employees swelter in stifling conditions. This is not the postapocalyptic vision of some film-maker, but a realistic scenario as Britain grapples with a looming energy crisis. The statistics are frightening. In only eight years, demand for energy could outstrip supply by 23% at peak times, according to a study by the consultant Logica CMG. The loss to the economy could be £108 billion each year.
Both sides will be making green arguments on Monday when Britain announces plans to dramatically change its planning rules and speed up projects large and small. Communities and Local Government Minister Ruth Kelly will present parliament with the Planning White Paper, hailing it as the most thorough overhaul of the planning system in decades, aimed at spurring development by ripping up red tape. The measures are expected to speed up the approval of nuclear power stations and wind farms which the government says are key parts of the plan to fight global warming by cutting back the need to burn fossil fuels that release carbon gases.
Britain will next week set out plans for a major policy revamp to secure energy supplies and fight global warming, calling for new nuclear power plants and also giving business and individuals vital roles. The government will vow to rip up red tape delaying major infrastructure projects like roads, airports and power stations and promote a mix of low carbon technologies and energy sources. "I am determined that we should not become over-dependent on more and more imported oil and gas," Trade and Industry Minister Alastair Darling has said.
The building of a third nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast could be forced through as part of a major Government shake-up of the planning system, environmental campaigners warned last night. A White Paper is set to be released by the Government next week which is expected to outline plans to overhaul the planning process for new developments. The Government is likely to publish eight national statements of policy - relating to nuclear power plants, nuclear waste disposal plants, airports, motorways, waste incinerators, wind farms, ports and reservoirs - which will give the green light to site-specific projects considered to be of national importance.
A giant wind turbine proposed by Glyndebourne Productions Ltd on the Sussex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is being resisted by four of the leading national and regional countryside organisations. The Council for National Parks (CNP), the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), the Ramblers' Association (RA) and the South Downs Society (SDS) have formed a coalition because they believe that the 230 ft turbine will destroy the views of the precious landscape of the eastern part of the South Downs. All the organisations are in favour of appropriate renewable energy, but argue that great thought must be given to the type and size of renewable energy developed, particularly in special landscapes such as AONB's and National Parks.
It is not misleading to quote the Government's own figure for saving of the UK's CO2 emission by renewable power generation, mainly wind. This is just 9.2 million tonnes a year by 2010 and is less than the emission from a single medium-sized coal fired power station. More to the point, it is less than 0.0004 of global total CO2 emission and stands no chance of altering atmospheric CO2 concentration, still less deflecting climate change.
One cannot expect much more than the usual "green tears in red eyes" from its chief executive formerly employed by Greenpeace, and its continual misleading information on targets, supply to homes, capacity factors - and putting the blame on everyone else. In these days of the expectancy of apologies all round, they do not apologise for all the heartache they bring to residents of previously happy communities, where the dreaded windfarm applications tear them apart, devalue their property and cause health problems.
Some will say that this is a false choice and that we can do without nuclear or fossil fuel burning. But the technologies that everyone hopes will deliver large quantities of renewable power - wave, tidal, offshore wind - are still years away from being proven to reliably deliver large quantities of power. The other less-polluting sources of power - clean coal and gas with carbon capture and storage - are not even at the demonstration stage yet. Even if these technologies do turn out to work in a technical sense, they have still to be shown to be economic. As last week's row about ScottishPower's electricity prices shows, people expect their electricity to be both reliable and cheap. The party manifestos are full of admirable talk about turning Scotland into Europe's green energy power house, how we can be much more energy efficient and how we can turn our homes into little power stations with rooftop turbines, solar panels, etc. None of this answers the really critical question: can enough of this be delivered quickly enough to close the energy gap which looms in 2015? I have yet to see convincing evidence that it can.
The only proven source of the steady base load electricity necessary for a modern society to function is nuclear fission. James Lovelock - deeply pessimistic about the effects of what he calls global heating - recognises this. However, Greenpeace and others stick to their long-established opposition to nuclear power. Some people see bio-fuels as an important component of a lower-carbon future. Others believe they are a distraction and cause more environmental problems than they solve. Of course, these are not the only options, but they illustrate the point that specific technologies should not to be rejected out of hand. It is ludicrous to suggest that we could rely on wind and solar power entirely. And the agenda for some seems to be to eliminate all private transport and scale back international trade enormously, to take us back to smaller, self-contained economic units; the very reverse of a globalisation trend which has been in progress for centuries.
As the integrity of our electrical power supply is "the" essential element if we wish to remain an industrial power, why do we allow the "naive" green movement and our hapless politicians to bend science to fit their preconceived over-simplified analogies?
On sea and land they are sprouting like one legged monsters with propellers. The "windmill", the vehicle for wind power, is becoming a more familiar sight as the government programme for encouraging faster development of renewable energy gathers momentum. They will become even more familiar, commonplace and controversial over the next decade. Wind power is set to make a bigger contribution to the supply of energy. The offshore wind programme alone could be delivering 9 per cent of electricity demand by 2020 on the basis of current plans. Overall the market for tidal and wave energy could be worth £4.2bn a year to the economy by 2050, according to estimates made by the Carbon Trust.
Members of action groups fighting controversial wind farm developments in Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion will travel to Cardiff this weekend to take part in a national anti-turbine protest. Rhos Garn Whilgarn Action Group and the Brechfa Forest Energy Action Group will be among the community groups marching through Cardiff Bay to the Assembly's Senedd home on Sunday.
On the subject of future electricity generation in Scotland, politicians of all the major parties are indulging in hypocrisy and wishful thinking. Labour is promising us 50% renewable generation by 2050, the SNP 60%, the Greens 80% and the LibDems 100%. However, not one of these parties can tell us how they propose to achieve this, other than vague mumblings about wind, which is unreliable, and wave and tidal, both of which are unproven.