A history of solar century on its 20th anniversary.
Jeremy Leggett 26th May 2018 read more »
A history of solar century on its 20th anniversary.
Jeremy Leggett 26th May 2018 read more »
Consultancy group Ecofys’s report, Marine Biodiversity and the Development of a North Sea offshore Powerhouse, claims greater collaboration is needed for North Sea users to unlock a potential boom in offshore wind. The report said that by keeping to the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement, North Sea offshore wind could grow to almost 180 gigawatts by 2050 – 10 times current capacity. However, the white paper found that a “clear vision and plan is required” for the implementation of large-scale offshore wind.
Energy Voice 23rd May 2018 read more »
Millions of households with open fires and wood-burning stoves could face curbs on their use after the government unveiled plans to clean up the UK’s air quality. Although this week’s announcement was short on detail, the environment secretary, Michael Gove, said he was ready to legislate to ensure only the “cleanest” domestic fuels would be available for sale. About 10% of UK homes (2.5 million) have an open fire or wood-burning stove. The consultation – part of the government’s 25-year plan to improve air quality – will almost certainly focus on wood burners and fires, not least because Gove says they account for 38% of damaging particulate matter in the UK. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has already asked for powers to curb their use and other councils are understood to be looking at them. So what does it all mean for those who love cuddling up in front of their open fire or stove? Experts say the burning of wet or unseasoned wood and smoky solid fuels is the main problem. Wet wood contains moisture that creates smoke and harmful particulates when burned. Properly seasoned wood should have a moisture content of 20% or less. One politically easy measure would be to ban the sale of wood that does not have the “ready to burn” logo. This would outlaw poor-quality logs bought from garage forecourts and DIY outlets. It would also force small log providers to become “Woodsure approved”, at a cost of £300-£400. Similarly, basic coal also faces being replaced with smokeless varieties that are approved by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and produce fewer particulates. Briquettes or heat logs that have a moisture content of about 6% are likely to be more in demand. Between a quarter and a third of all of London’s particulate pollution comes from domestic fires. Although many of the headlines focused on-wood burning stoves, Bruce Allen, chief executive of Hetas, the not-for-profit body that approves fuel and install standards, says open fires produce the bigger problem. One of the newest models of stoves used to burn dry wood will produce a fraction of the particulates of an open fire burning wet logs, he says. The government has also noted this in documents, meaning open fires are most at risk. Plenty of people will not take kindly to being told they can’t use their wood burners, which, some say, may explain why Gove plans to shift any ban on to local authorities. London residents look most at risk: the mayor has already asked for extra powers to improve air quality, including measures to tackle wood/solid fuel burning. It is estimated that between a quarter and a third of all of London’s particulate pollution comes from domestic fires. In January, during a period of high air pollution, it contributed half such emissions in some areas of the capital, according to King’s College London research. Those whose stove has been approved for use in smoke control areas by Defra, or who have a clean-burning “ecodesign ready” model, would still be able to use it. About 10% of existing stoves in homes conform, it is thought.
Guardian 26th May 2018 read more »
Energy giant SSE has today unveiled new carbon intensity targets for its power generation assets, having met its previous goal to halve the carbon intensity of its assets three years early. Published alongside its annual results, the company today confirmed a new target for 2030 pledging to halve the carbon intensity of its power against 2016/17 levels. The commitment comes after the firm last year met its previous target to halve the emissions intensity of its power against 2006 levels by 2020. Meeting the 2030 target would result in carbon emissions from SSE’s fleet reaching around 150gCO2e/kWh by 2030. SSE acknowledged this would be above the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC’s) recommended average power carbon intensity range for the UK grid of between 50g/kWh and 100g/kWh. But it argued its position as a provider of flexible gas capacity designed to complement renewables generation meant it would be one of the generators that would deliver above average levels of carbon intensity. To meet the target the company is set to step up investment in new renewables capacity, but it also today confirmed plans to develop the Keadby 2 combined cycle gas-fired turbine (CCGT) power station. The move is likely to face criticism from environmental campaigners, and comes just a week after a new report from WWF and Sandbag argued the UK did not need to build new gas capacity to bolster its energy security.
Business Green 25th May 2018 read more »
The owner of waste giant Viridor reported better than expected profits despite a drop in recycling as its rubbish-fuelled power plants continue to drive growth. Pennon, which also owns South West Water, said its eight energy-from-waste plants continued to perform well and the next four to start up would provide an “earnings kicker” for the group. Pennon is planning to spend £1.2bn building new facilities that can burn waste that would otherwise top up Britain’s heaving landfills to create electricity. The fresh revenue stream has proved a boost for the group, which is facing rising political risk to its water business.
Telegraph 25th May 2018 read more »
This week, Gothenburg in Sweden played host to the first international conference on “negative emissions”. The three-day event brought together around 250 researchers at Chalmers University of Technology to discuss the different ways to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and store it on land, underground or in the oceans. The topics presented and debated ranged from “natural” solutions to the technologically advanced, through to the potential limitations and risks. Running parallel to the scientific discussions was a focus on the policy challenges. Eva Svedling, Sweden’s secretary of state for development and climate, marked the occasion by launching a public enquiry into the potential for forests, soil and bioenergy to provide carbon removal for the country. Sweden already has a legally binding target to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2045.
Carbon Brief 25th May 2018 read more »
Plans to move mud from alongside the Hinkley Point nuclear site in Somerset to a dumping ground off Cardiff Bay have been debated by AMs. It comes after a petition to the assembly against the plans attracted over 7,000 signatures. Other online petitions gathered tens of thousands of signatures. The assembly petitions committee took evidence on the issue and published a summary of the evidence it had heard and requested the debate in the Senedd. As part of plans to build the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset – 300,000 tonnes needs to be dredged from the seabed nearby. The developers are set to move it within weeks to a disposal site off Cardiff Bay. Both developers EDF and Natural Resources Wales insist tests have shown the sediment poses no risk but campaigners claim it could be contaminated by discharges from the old Hinkley Point A and B and argue the mud has not been adequately tested. Plaid Cymru’s Simon Thomas said the issue illustrated that “we have so little control of our natural resources, that we have to accept the spoil of a nuclear power station in Hinkley Point”. He said that as a matter of principle it is was the Welsh parliament that should decide what happens in Welsh waters. The company behind Hinkley Point C – EDF – said the mud has been tested independently to internationally accepted standards and shown to pose no risk to human health or the environment. It has refused a Petitions Committee request to pay for further sampling – arguing claims the mud is toxic are alarmist and wrong, and that any sampling would yield the same results and would not remove the petitioner’s objection about the testing process. Energy Secretary Lesley Griffiths said Natural Resources Wales was satisfied there was no risk from the dredged material to people, the environment, or the wildlife that lives there. However, she said she has asked NRW to review the way it communicated its decisions over this licence. Independent AM Neil McEvoy, who met the demonstrators, dismissed the suggestion the mud had been tested properly and described the situation as a “dereliction of duty”. He said: “We have a Welsh Government allowing Wales to be dumped on and the mud hasn’t been tested… The top soil was tested – [but] you’ve got five samples only under five centimetres for 300,000 tonnes of mud.” Anti-nuclear campaigner Tim Deere Jones, who submitted the petition, is unhappy with the level of testing undertaken. He said: “What kind of radioactivity is in the mud, how much of it is in the mud, if you dump it into the Cardiff grounds which is a dispersal site – where will it disperse to?” Richard Bramhall is from the Low Level Radiation Campaign, chairman of the Welsh Anti Nuclear Alliance and a former member of the government advisory committee advising on the radiation effects of internal emitters. “The idea that the average radioactivity in the mud is at a low level is of no comfort at all to the people of south Wales,” he said. “The particles will blow ashore and once they’re in your lungs that’s not a low dose.”
BBC 23rd May 2018 read more »
Hinkley Point C site owners, EDF, set target of 1,000 apprentices working on the project during its lifespan, and today a quarter of those places have been filled.
BEIS 25th May 2018 read more »
A MAJOR milestone has been reached for nuclear technology which could potentially be used for a new Bradwell power station. China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) and EDF Energy are carrying out groundwork for a new nuclear power station in Bradwell, which would be called Bradwell B. Whilst development of Bradwell B is still in the very early stages, with no concrete plans expected for several years, CGN have this week announced the successful completion of dome lifting at the demonstration project of HPR1000 nuclear reactor technology, the same tech that would be used for Bradwell B subject to regulatory approval.
Braintree & Witham Times 25th May 2018 read more »
The nuclear sector needs to do more to gain the confidence of the public if it is to become a driving force in the UK’s response to climate change. That was the message from renowned carbon footprinting expert Mike Berners-Lee at the second warm-up event to September’s Cumbria Nuclear Conference, hosted by Carlisle MP John Stevenson. Speaking to representatives from the business and education communities gathered at Rheged, near Penrith, he challenged the sector to prove nuclear power was safe and that it could help to the UK to develop a greener energy mix. Mr Berners-Lee said the UK would never be able to utilise the massive potential of solar energy because of its climate and with other forms of energy making negligible contributions, nuclear had the potential to play an important role in an energy mix that did not include fossil fuels. “There is a lot stronger case for nuclear in the UK than in other countries,” he said “My challenge would be for the sector to gain trust – to be honest about the cons as well as the pros – and have a really robust debate about why nuclear power is needed. If you get it right, then you will even have the Green Party supporting nuclear.”
In Cumbria 25th May 2018 read more »
It has been a quietly significant week for the UK energy industry and its ambitious decarbonisation plans. On Monday, Theresa May again highlighted the importance of climate action to the British economy, hailing it as “one of the greatest industrial opportunities of our time” while announcing a new target to halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030. A day later a major new player in the UK’s energy market exited stealth mode, unveiling plans to build the world’s largest network of energy storage systems and electric vehicle fast charging stations. The long-awaited convergence of the energy and transport systems – a vision now being pursued by many of the UK’s best known energy firms – has yet another credible challenger in the form of Pivot Power. Then, yesterday, the government officially launched a new £102.5m R&D network under the banner of the “energy revolution challenge”. The consortium of R&D bodies is now poised to launch a series of strategic low carbon energy research projects and funding schemes as it seeks to support the development of “local, investable, consumer-centred energy approaches to create prosperous clean energy communities”. What do these announcements have in common? They all suggest the UK’s clean energy transition is fast approaching a turning point where the clean tech innovation and integration that green business leaders and campaigners have been predicting for the best part of a decade finally enters the mainstream. As such, the energy sector is poised to both accelerate the roll out of low cost, established clean power sources, and start to tackle the complex challenges presented by smart grids and heat decarbonisation. Meanwhile, study after study has shown that decarbonising heat remains a huge challenge. This week a new report from Element Energy and E4tech that was commissioned by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) was added to the canon of green heat research, providing further evidence that while heat decarbonisation is possible it faces significant technical challenges and requires hefty investment.
Business Green 24th May 2018 read more »
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