Energy Cost

Historically, wind farms have come under fire from their critics for being too inefficient and expensive to be cost-effective. However, rapid developments in the technology have resulted in plummeting costs, and the chief of a leading energy company now believes that it is nuclear, and not wind, which won’t be able to compete going forward. Hans Bunting, the chief of renewables at Innogy SE, pointed to the wind farm his company are developing off the coast of Lincolnshire, which has secured a government subsidy allowing it to offer energy at £74.75/MWh – that’s significantly lower than the £92.50 secured for the controversial Hinkley Point C nuclear plant.

Environmental Technology 1st Jan 2018 read more »

Christopher Booker: No, wind power is not our cheapest form of energy. A weird propaganda blitz, widely publicised again last week, is trying to persuade us that the cost of power from wind farms has been “tumbling” so fast that wind has now replaced coal as our “cheapest” source of electricity. This began in October when Greenpeace and various wind companies plastered Westminster Underground station, the one most used by MPs, with posters claiming that the cost of offshore wind had halved in the past five years. This was so laughably untrue that the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the claim was based only on figures that include “tentative future wind projects” that might not even be built. Last week, the ASA emailed the GWPF to say that Greenpeace has now agreed not to repeat its claim; which means that the ASA does not now have to issue a formal ruling that this boast was bogus. In fact, official figures show that, far from falling, the price we all pay for offshore wind electricity can be up to £161 per megawatt hour, three-and-a-half times the current wholesale market rate. In the next four years, our offshore subsidy bill is due to more than double, from £1.4 billion a year to £3.1 billion.

Telegraph 30th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 1 January 2018

Sellafield

The minister for the environment, Ray Burke, received a stinging reply from his British counterpart after calling for the closure of the Sellafield nuclear processing plant in 1987. State papers released under the 30-year rule show the UK energy secretary, Peter Walker, totally rejected what he claimed were Mr Burke’s “unfounded allegations” about the safety of British nuclear energy facilities. The Tory MP also said he could not accept comments made by Mr Burke about Sellafield.

Irish Examiner 1st Jan 2018 read more »

Posted: 1 January 2018

India

More Indian states are switching to solar power from thermal power due to the cost benefits available with the former. Now, the northern state of Punjab is considering setting up a huge solar power project at the land where currently a 460 megawatt coal-based power plant stands. The power plant, spread over an area of 2,000 acres, is set to be retired on the first of January 2018. The state government plans to sell off 1,400 acres of this land for infrastructure development, while the balance of 600 acres could be used to set up a solar power project. An estimated 240 megawatts of capacity could be installed at the available area.

Clean Technica 31st Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 1 January 2018

South Korea

South Korea is expected to add more than 1 gigawatt of photovoltaic installations this year for the first time, propelled by government support for renewable energy, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The Korea Energy Agency organized its first fixed-price solar auction this year, which helped generators get financing. Annual PV growth is forecast to reach 2 gigawatts by 2020, bringing the total to over 10 gigawatts.

Bloomberg 8th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 1 January 2018

Japan

Fears of children who have to check radiation levels outside before they can go and play. Children are still using Geiger counters to test for deadly radiation levels at schools struck by the Fukushima disaster in Japan. Almost seven years after the worst nuclear meltdown in decades, staff are forced to check if schoolyards are too poisonous to play. A large Geiger counter in their playground measures the invisible threat still hanging over them after the nearby nuclear plant was hit by an earthquake and engulfed by the ensuing tsunami. If radiation readings are too high, the children are told they cannot go outside.

Fukushima311 31st Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 1 January 2018

Biomass

Policies aimed at limiting climate change by boosting the burning of biomass contain critical flaws that could actually damage attempts to avert dangerous levels of global warming in the future. That is the stark view of one of Britain’s chief climate experts, Professor John Beddington, who has warned that relying on the cutting down and burning of trees as a replacement for the use of fossil fuels could rebound dangerously. Beddington, a former UK government chief scientific adviser, said there was now a real risk that increasing wood-burning in order to help European countries, including Britain, reach renewable energy targets could turn out to be misguided. “These policies may even lead to a situation whereby global emissions [of carbon dioxide] accelerate,” he states in a blog on Carbon Brief, the UK-based website that covers climate and energy issues. He says wind and solar projects should dominate programmes to boost renewable energy generation in Europe. Burning wood to produce electricity is a relatively inefficient process. In generating exactly the same amount of electricity, wood will release four times as much carbon into the atmosphere as gas would do, and one and half times as much as coal. In addition, energy is used in harvesting and transport while vast stretches of land are needed to create the forests to supply generating stations with the wood they need. This also has profound environmental impacts for a world that will soon be home to more than 10 billion humans who will need every scrap of productive land to provide food.

Observer 31st Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 1 January 2018