Plans to regenerate a former Fife opencast site are not living up to the initial vision of a renewable energy park, say opponents. Yesterday, councillors on Central Area Planning Committee approved plans for a small-scale gas peaking plant, which would prop up the National Grid at peak times, at Westfield Opencast Coal Site east of Ballingry. The plant, which would include a 30ft tall stack and be powered by 10 gas engines, has been deemed necessary because renewable sources cannot cope with electricity demand at morning and evening peak times. Green MSP Mark Ruskell, conservation charity RSPB and local residents say the proposal flies in the face of efforts to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Council planners have said revenue from feeding the grid would help fund green energy developments across the wider Westfield development site. The gas peaking plant takes up just 1% of the site, which was granted planning permission in principle in 2016 in the hope it would “assist in achieving renewable energy generation and zero waste targets at both council and national level” according to the report to the committee at the time. An energy recovery facility, which would see domestic waste burned to generate energy, was approved for Westfield last month.
Dundee Courier 5th March 2019 read more »
A group of powerful HSBC shareholders have written to the bank’s CEO, John Flint, urging him to close a loophole in its energy policy that allows the lender to bankroll coal projects in certain emerging markets. Investment management firms Schroders, EdenTree and stewardship provider Hermes EOS have also called on HSBC to impose a ban on corporate loans, underwriting and advisory services to bank clients that are highly dependent on coal. The letter, which was coordinated by campaign group ShareAction, stresses that HSBC must adopt a “clear, timebound plan” to phase out its existing exposure to the dirty fuel. HSBC was commended by activist groups including Greenpeace last year after releasing an energy policy that aimed to phase out lending for new coal-fired power plants in high income countries and cut its commitment to oil sands “over time”. But that policy also left a loophole that allows the bank to finance new coal-powered plants in three countries – Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia – until 2023.
Guardian 6th March 2019 read more »