Articles filed under Energy Policy from UK
If climate change is the Big One, let's start with energy policy. We must do more to support renewable energy, and Scotland is well placed to lead the way, for example, with marine technologies. But the newly elected Executive must also make sure that renewable energy developments avoid the most sensitive locations, such as the Lewis peatlands, whose future is threatened by a huge wind farm right in the middle of an area safeguarded under European law for its wildlife. Renewable developments that cause irreparable damage to such precious places make no sense. We can make the shift to greener energy, and create jobs, without sacrificing such places.
EVERY person in Scotland is to be offered a green loyalty card which will reward them for making purchases that help the environment. The Scottish executive is behind the scheme, which ministers hope will offer an incentive to consumers to choose products that cut waste and reduce carbon emissions.
The Government's recent Energy Review outlined plans for another big push on renewables up to 2020 and progress on their development can now be easily tracked via a dynamic DTI web facility that is launching today. On and offshore wind farms, solar power schemes, hydro electric and biofuel projects across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales can all now be located at the click of a mouse.
Scientists have drawn up a list of the 100 biggest questions to face the UK environment, including controversies such as whether farmers should be allowed to kill badgers to protect their cattle from disease and how many seabirds are slaughtered by wind farms. The list, a roll call of Britain's most pressing ecological problems, is based on the suggestions of more than 650 experts in universities, conservation groups and government institutes. It is intended to inform policy-makers and steer research over the next decade to answer key questions in areas such as farming, climate change, pollution and urban development.
The planning director of Highland Council, which is seen by many as preoccupied with onshore windfarms in its green energy strategy, has directed the same criticism at the Scottish Executive. After digesting the detail of the executive's long-awaited guidance to local authorities on the issue, John Rennilson points out that ministers have ignored the thorny issue of upgraded power lines to accommodate the expected boost in electricity output. The document - SPP6: Renewable Energy - reaffirms strong support for green energy, sets a production target of 6,000 megawatts by 2020 and recommends that 20MW developments - anything more than 10 turbines - should be sited at least 1,500 metres from the surrounding population.
Some people perversely claim to like the appearance of the turbines. That reflects the rise of a kind of anti-aesthetic, fostered by the urbanisation of society, brutalist architecture and the excesses of modern art. Anyone who prefers Lewis, or Perthshire, or the Borders covered with turbines has lost that spiritual connection with his native landscape that is the heritage of the true Scot. This vandalism must be halted or the consequences will be total degradation of our countryside. Look thy last on all things beautiful...
One of the knocks against "green" energy is that its generating capacity tends to be too intermittent. When the wind doesn't blow, it pulls the plug on windpower. And solar panels won't collect energy once the sun goes down. But a green energy source that is predictable is tidal power. Charts accurately reveal when tides ebb and flow.
Most shocking of all is new evidence that the need to switch on and off base load fossil fuel power plants, to provide back up for unreliable wind turbines, actually gives off more carbon emissions than keeping them running continuously, thus negating any carbon savings from wind. Alas, only when our governments have allowed thousands more turbines to disfigure Britain’s countryside, not least by their grotesque bending of the planning rules, will the futility of the ‘great Wind Scam’ finally be recognised.
British households may be given state-subsidised individual carbon audits on their homes to encourage them to cut their own contribution to global warming, Tony Blair will say today.
What is to be done? With wind power, above all, we have entered the realm of the illogical: the environmental solution has become the environmental problem.
In a major escalation of the battle against wind farms, the John Muir Trust is to launch its biggest ever campaign. The trust says "industrial scale" wind farms are a "major threat" to unspoiled areas of the Scottish countryside.
Onshore wind generation is the cheapest renewable, but with back up, it costs two and a half times as much as gas or nuclear.
WIND-FARM developers are mainly avoiding sites that would have a significant impact on fragile landscapes and wildlife, according to a report by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). But the environmental agency yesterday warned that the aim of avoiding potential conflicts between renewable-energy developments and heritage-sensitive sites will become more difficult to achieve in the drive to reach the Scottish Executive's target of producing 40 per cent of the country's energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.
National Grid is demanding up to £500m from prospective wind farm developers before it expands the electricity network capacity to accommodate new sources of power.
The Government has today announced proposals to change Building Regulations which will make the use of renewable energy compulsory in all new buildings from 2008.
"The UK now faces a 20 gigawatt power shortage by 2016. The review fails to ensure that we secure a reliable supply for the next 10 years; fails to halt the threat of power cuts; fails to encourage coal plants to reduce emissions with clean coal technology and fails to give a decision for incentives for carbon capture," said a spokesman for Mitsui Babcock, Britain's leading clean coal group. "It is worrying to see government taking a fingers-crossed approach before the first of the planned nuclear plants become operational in 2019."
Micro-renewables are set to become a standard part of any new development north of the border if the Scottish Executive approves a new planning policy.
The government’s targets for increasing alternative-energy supplies probably go as far as the sector will bear. Its targets for nuclear, which so far amount to merely replacing existing stations, do not go far enough.
RESIDENTS in conservation areas could be allowed to erect rooftop wind turbines without planning permission, under plans to encourage people to generate renewable energy. The move could see some of Scotland’s most historic skylines blighted by the generators, which are the size of a satellite dish.
As outlined in its newly-published energy review, the UK government has announced that its policy instrument of choice to encourage new nuclear build is a strong carbon market in Europe. If the European market is unable to deliver this, then additional UK incentives will be introduced to prop up the value of emission credits.