Articles filed under Energy Policy from UK

Investing in clean energy

“There's legitimate debate about a couple of segments,” says Keith Raab, boss of Cleantech Venture Network. In some instances, valuations accorded to firms with no profits—and little chance of making any soon—were reminiscent of the excesses of the dotcom bubble. As Douglas Lloyd, of Venture Business Research, puts it, “There's too much money chasing too few opportunities. How is it possible that this many solar companies are going to succeed? They're not.”
16 Nov 2006

Lunacy on wind power

Across the board we are being misled. Wind power is said to displace fossil fuelled generation “unit for unit”. This is manifestly untrue. As the German wind industry has told us, very substantial conventional back-up is needed, negating some of the wind contribution. Furthermore, most large wind farms are remote from the centre of consumption, thus causing substantial power loss. The National Grid’s comment on the present north to south power flow is, “To reduce bulk flows would require a general movement of economic generation . . . nearer to the major load centres (eg the south).” This is the very antithesis of government policy for wind power. It is both engineering and economic lunacy.
11 Nov 2006

Wind farm fast-track bid sparks anger

Opponents of massive wind farms and nuclear power stations will have only four months in which to object under Government plans to fast-track energy projects through the planning system. New rules unveiled by Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling yesterday will force local councils - and members of the public - to state their objections to proposed developments within a strict timetable of just 120 days. Mr Darling is determined to cut the amount of time planners and planning inquiries take to deal with contentious schemes for large-scale wind farms, nuclear and electricity power stations by setting strict “timeframes” in which people can object.
11 Nov 2006

Environmental laws planned for Assembly

Plastic bags will be banned in Welsh supermarkets, trolleys will need to be hired and wind farms will become more commonplace in a raft of green measures planned to change people’s everyday lives. Environment Minister Carwyn Jones wants to see new grassroots environmental laws implemented once the National Assembly acquires lawmaking powers next May. He says that the time for grand policy gestures is over and people should take responsibility for their impact on the planet so that they can look the next generation in the eyes.
9 Nov 2006

The trouble with Scotland’s politicians

The “turbine syndrome” - characterised by complete indifference to public opinion - has spread its tentacles throughout the whole of the Scottish community and we need, urgently, to deny it further progress. If we fail to remove from office these modern barbarians, we will suffer the ignominy of becoming mere ciphers in a submissive, uncontesting, unresponsive society with all that that entails.
9 Nov 2006

Planning time cut on power plants

The trade and industry secretary has published proposals to streamline the planning process for new electricity power plants. Alistair Darling announced plans on Thursday aimed at reducing the time taken to approve new projects, including low-carbon generation schemes such as wind turbines and wave or tidal power systems. Darling said that delays, costs and uncertainty have too frequently held back major projects, and that the new “common sense” rules will provide greater efficiency and transparency.
9 Nov 2006

Blackouts should spark a rethink on power supply

The argument between price and reliability continues because dwindling European gas reserves are creating new pressures. In Britain, wind power is fashionable but very expensive and causes network problems. Scotland, being windy, is a good place for wind turbines, but the power is needed in southern England and National Grid worries about the cost of transmission. How much should it build? Because wind is intermittent, each turbine is only 30 per cent efficient, but transmission lines must be able to cope with maximum output....... 100 per cent reliable, clean energy. It’s not feasible and, faced with an expensive dilemma, the British Government has exposed its intellectual failure by threatening consumers with tax increases. Europe has opted, more or less, for market-based solutions that produce cheap rather than secure energy, but suppliers of fuel, such as Gazprom, are becoming more monopolistic. A collision between the two is not far away. Mr Piebalgs needs to get thinking.
8 Nov 2006

Q&A: Europe's power blackout

The German distributor E.ON admitted it caused the blackouts, by switching off a power cable across the River Ems to allow a cruise ship to pass. This meant areas to the west were left with a power deficit, while cables in the east were overloaded. Supplies cut out in Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Croatia and Italy. The EU's Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs has called for the European Transmission System Operators (ETSO) to identify the problem urgently and ensure that such a blackout does not happen again.
6 Nov 2006

Scientific concerns over Stern report

I have seen Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, read the book, and read the Stern report. As a scientist, I am appalled. Both authors present myriad dangers as truth – no doubts, a 100 per cent consensus. Yet a glance at the professional literature on glaciers, hurricanes etc. confirm that this consensus is a myth. Besides, consensus is the stuff of politics, not of science.
2 Nov 2006

Blair Says U.K. Should Lead Europe on Nuclear, Renewable Energy

Prime Minister Tony Blair said Britain should lead Europe on the development of nuclear and renewable energy, as his government decides whether to replace its aging nuclear reactors. ``At least half the European countries are thinking about the next stages of nuclear power,'' Blair said in an interview with the New Scientist magazine, published today. ``We have expertise in this area and we should develop it. Clean energy, clean coal, renewables, energy efficiency -- this is going to be a vast market.''
2 Nov 2006

Do green tariffs help the planet?

Thousands of us are signing up to plans from energy suppliers that promise to provide our energy from renewable sources. But while green tariffs might ease our consciences, do they actually make any difference to the environment? Under green tariffs, energy suppliers promise to match your electricity use by putting the same amount of energy from renewable sources – mostly wind farms – back into the national grid. But environmental groups are not certain of the schemes’ green credentials. Friends of the Earth used to produce a league table of green tariffs, ranking them according to their benefit to the environment. However, it has now ceased the exercise because it says it has become impossible to accurately gauge how much good the schemes do.
27 Oct 2006

Denmark seeks EU renewable energy trading scheme

The European Union should adopt binding energy savings targets and look into launching a new trading scheme to encourage businesses to use renewable energy sources, Denmark’s prime minister said on Friday. Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Reuters the 25-nation bloc, struggling to reduce rising dependency on imported gas and oil, should follow Denmark’s example as it develops a common energy policy at a time of high fuel prices and growing global demand.
20 Oct 2006

Bowman warns tinkering could threaten onshore wind farms

Onshore wind farm developers are concerned about the government’s decision to review the system for ensuring that utility companies are using enough electricity from renewable sources. Philip Bowman, chief executive of Scottish Power, said at the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) conference in Glasgow last week that he was concerned any new structure would undermine investor confidence. Alistair Darling, trade and industry secretary, also announced last week plans to consult on how to achieve the 20% target for electricity from renewables by 2020. As part of this process, the government’s Renewable Obligations (RO) system will be looked at with a view to adapting it to encourage alternative sources of power over and above onshore wind.
15 Oct 2006

Row over renewable energy scheme

A renewable energy scheme is being funded by cuts from other projects designed to promote household energy efficiency, the BBC has learned. At the Labour conference, Environment Secretary David Miliband promised £10m to help fund projects like wind power. But it has emerged schemes to promote double-glazing and insulation are to be cut to fund it. A Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) spokesman said energy efficiency was crucial.
13 Oct 2006

Wind farms may suffer in plan to boost other fuel sources

THE Government is proposing to favour some renewable energy sources over others in an attempt to kick-start types of green power that have been slow to take off. The approach could mean that less well developed forms of renewable energy, such as marine or solar power, receive more subsidy in the form of Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs). Established forms of renewables, such as onshore wind farms, could receive fewer ROCs. The proposals to reform the ROC system were issued for consultation today as Alistair Darling, the Trade and Industry Secretary, stuck the first spade in the ground at what will be Britain’s biggest onshore wind farm — Whitelee — operated by ScottishPower on Eaglesham Moor outside Glasgow.
9 Oct 2006

UK scientists warn of 'gap between rhetoric and reality' on wind turbines

LONDON (AFX) - A major UK government-funded study has warned that the political spinning of energy-efficient technologies such as wind turbines has created 'a substantial gap between rhetoric and reality', which could damage future development. Scientists from the Universities of Sussex, Southampton and Imperial College London said that despite the growth in the profile of micro-generation technologies such as wind turbines -- enthusiastically championed by David Cameron and Sir Menzies Campbell -- the barriers towards implementation on a national scale are still huge. The research, led by Dr Jim Watson at the Sussex Energy Group and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, found that policy makers were still not doing enough to promote micro-generation- technologies that allow households to generate their own electricity.
9 Oct 2006
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