The Government has come under renewed fire for permitting controversial developments after a High Court judge upheld its decision to wave through a transformational expansion of Lydd airport in Kent.The site is next to two areas of substantial environmental interest and importance: Romney Marsh and the Dungeness peninsula. But the airport owner – Sheikh Fahad Al-Athel, the multimillionaire middleman in the £20bn Al-Yamamah arms deal between the Saudis and Britain – was given permission to build a new terminal and extend the runway as part of a £17m project to increase annual passenger numbers to 500,000.
Independent 16th May 2014 read more »
THE people of Limerick have been urged to make their views known on the prospect of having a nuclear power plant located on the shores of Shannon estuary. This follows the publication of a government green paper which raises the possibility of a nuclear plant being located at Moneypoint in West Clare. The Green Paper on Energy says it would be ‘technically possible” to build a small nuclear reactor on the site.
Limerick Leader 18th May 2014 read more »
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has insisted that reaching a final nuclear deal with world powers is still within reach. His comments came after Iran and six world powers – Britain, China, France, Russia, the US and Germany – ended a fourth round of nuclear talks in Vienna with little progress to report. The West accuses Iran of trying to build a nuclear weapon. Iran says its nuclear energy programme is for entirely peaceful purposes.
BBC 18th May 2014 read more »
An independent Scotland will build into its constitution the requirement that weapons of mass destruction can find no place within our borders. We are aware that there is no alternative site for them anywhere else within these islands. The removal of them from Scottish waters will therefore kick-start at last a serious look at how the rest of the UK can finally act more fully on its long-held commitment to a reduction of its weapons of mass destruction, as per the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which it is a signatory.
Open Democracy 19th May 2014 read more »
It’s been just a year since Germany began offering a subsidy for residential lithium-ion battery systems. In that time, already more than 4,000 new solar+battery systems have been installed. The figures — which show the subsidy to be a success — were recently released by Germany’s Federal Solar Industry Association (BSW Solar). Along with the figures, BSW Solar also noted that it expects demand to climb even higher this year. Other interesting stats include the fact that nearly €66 million (US$90.82 million) in low-interest loans were distributed by the development bank over the course of the year, and that about €10 million (US$13.76 million) was given out in grants. According to the association’s managing director, Jorg Mayer, the primary reason for the high demand is that people were increasingly “looking to become independent of fossil fuels and to bring investments in their homes in line with Germany’s wider energy transition (‘Energiewende’).”
Clean Technica 18th May 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar Scotland
INSTALLING state-of-the-art solar panels on 250,000 roofs could meet one-sixth of Scotland’s electricity demands, according to researchers. Scientists believe the strategy could help the one in three Scottish households which they claim are currently struggling to provide themselves with adequate heat and hot water. Experts from the University of Edinburgh, along with other researchers, business leaders and public sector representatives, contributed to a new report which sets out how Scotland could benefit from solar power. Those involved in the project say it offers the most comprehensive assessment yet of Scotland’s solar energy potential, and argue that harnessing energy from the sun on the roofs of south-facing buildings could have “significant economic, environmental and social impacts”.
Scotsman 19th May 2014 read more »
Renewables – Book Review
Barnham nails his colours to the mast from the off. Nuclear energy is not a necessary evil, it is just evil. And that goes for traditional fossil fuels and fracking too. In a post-Fukushima world battling climate change, Barnham’s answer to the burning question of energy supply is simple: harness the power of the sun. After all, “the sunlight falling on the Earth in one hour is more than enough to supply all the energy demands of humankind for one year”. By solar power, Barnham doesn’t just mean photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. As he points out, hydropower is indirectly generated by the sun as its rays fall on the sea, leading to the formation of clouds that later unleash rain that can be held back by a dam and used to power a turbine. And there is a host of other renewable options from wind to wave power that can be used to heat our homes and feed our digital devices.
Observer 18th May 2014 read more »
Public support for fracking for shale gas in the UK has fallen below 50% for the first time, new polling suggests. Just 49.7% of people now say they think the controversial process should be allowed in the UK, marking the third fall in support since high-profile protests last summer in West Sussex which saw dozens of arrests including that of Green MP, Caroline Lucas and ongoing protests at a site in Salford. Support for shale gas was at a high of 58% in July 2012, which slumped to 54% last September and 53.3% this January, the long-running survey by YouGov for the University of Nottingham shows.
Guardian 19th May 2014 read more »
As windfalls go, America’s natural gas boom verges on the biblical. Economists talk of a “game changer”. Producers foresee a US manufacturing renaissance. Greens celebrate the death of King Coal. And strategists talk about a geopolitical trump card – not least in the west’s game of poker with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Hydraulic fracturing has opened up a supply of cheap and relatively clean gas for decades to come. At a time when the US is facing a set of otherwise bleak trends, it is as close as you get to a godsend. That, at least, is the assumption. But what if it is wrong? According to Garten Rothkopf, an international advisory firm, the US is set to exhaust its supply of “economically recoverable” natural gas supplies by 2030. That estimate is based solely on existing projects, and excludes those that have been announced but not yet started. It also makes the conservative assumption that there will be just three liquefied natural gas export terminals in operation by then, as opposed to the six already in the works. Everyone is piling into the “dash for gas” on the basis that US gas prices will remain cheap as far as the eye can see. Long before 2030, however, US producers will have been pushed into the more expensive shale formations. America has turned away from nuclear power. In his first term Mr Obama announced plans to revive a sector that had essentially been frozen since the Three Mile Island leakage of 1978. Nothing has come of it. Only one new US nuclear power plant is planned and that is years away.
FT 18th May 2014 read more »