Library filed under Energy Policy from UK

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

‘Green’ electricity views sought

Plans to get 20% of UK electricity from renewable sources by 2020 are to be put out to consultation by Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling. He will launch the process at the start of work on the £300m Whitelee wind farm, south of Glasgow on Monday. Mr Darling says more energy will have to come from sources such as wind, wave, tidal and biomass technologies. Ministers are also looking to increase the amount of smaller-scale, localised electricity production.
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

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

Turbine shortage threatens wind farms

WIND farm operators are warning that a shortage of turbines could lead to Scotland missing its targets for delivering electricity from renewable sources. Environment minister Ross Finnie said recently that he believed that there were probably enough wind farms planned to meet the Scottish Executive’s share of the 40% renewable energy target by 2020. However, many of Scotland’s operators are struggling to secure permissions for the construction of new wind farms, either because applications are tied up in planning backlogs or public inquiries. Orders for new turbines are placed only after these permissions are secured. For some that may mean that orders for turbines will not go in until 2009, due to planning delays.
8 Oct 2006

‘Wind rush’ set to end, says minister in call for shift in emphasis towards alternative types of renewable energy

Scotland’s “wind rush” - the massive surge in applications to build windfarms - may be coming to an end, the environment minister signalled yesterday. Ross Finnie, who attended the launch of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s report, said the emphasis should now be on other forms of renewable energy such as tidal, wave and biomass. According to a report earlier this year by environmental groups, windfarms made up nearly 90 per cent of renewable energy schemes planned or under construction. If this rate of development were to continue, nearly 600 square kilometres - an area bigger than North Lanarkshire - would be covered by windfarms in order to meet the 40 per cent renewable energy target for electricity by 2020.
3 Oct 2006

Is wind power just hot air?

The harsh truth is that money, rather than worries over global warming, is the only thing that will tempt the British to use alternative fuels en masse. And for the most part, the sums do not add up. Wind energy is a good example. Even the respected Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Wales does not recommend roof-mounted wind turbines, such as that embraced by Mr Cameron. Wind speeds around many houses are low and erratic, while a turbine is noisy and can damage a building, it points out.
30 Sep 2006

Miliband puts wind turbines at the top of green agenda

Environment Secretary David Miliband has paved the way for a new generation of giant wind turbines to be built at schools, hospitals and other public sites.In his keynote speech to Labour’s annual conference, Mr Miliband announced £10 million funding to encourage the construction of hundreds of new wind turbines on publicly-owned land, including sites owned by the Ministry of Defence. No details of the planned sites was available, but they are certain to include locations in the Westcountry, which is viewed by renewable energy experts as having some of the best wind resources in the country.
28 Sep 2006

Wind hits gale force on the political scale

Giant wind turbines could be built in schools and hospitals across the North after the Government called for massive investment in renewables. As Environment Secretary David Miliband yesterday admitted he was “scared” about the threat of climate change, the Government announced plans to allow the development of 300ft turbines on public land. Schools, hospitals, council offices and Ministry of Defence sites are all under consideration and ministers say each project should produce up to five megawatts of power - the equivalent of two 100m turbines.
28 Sep 2006
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