Centrica this morning confirmed it would raise the price of electricity on the British Gas standard tariff by 12.5%.
Energy Voice 1st Aug 2017 read more »
Centrica this morning confirmed it would raise the price of electricity on the British Gas standard tariff by 12.5%.
Energy Voice 1st Aug 2017 read more »
If you’ve ever driven Tesla’s flagship vehicle—the $140,000 Model S P100D—you’ve experienced an unparalleled version of driving power. Zero to 60 in 2.3 seconds punches you back in the seat while making the stomach turn somersaults. Some people live for that feeling. I’m not one of them. Sure, driving a fully loaded electric beast is as thrilling as the fiercest roller coaster—but not everyone wants their daily commute to be the Kingda Ka. After taking one of the first drives of Tesla’s new Model 3 last week, I came away thinking that CEO Elon Musk has finally delivered an electric car for the everyday road tripper like me.
Bloomberg 31st July 2017 read more »
Focusing on switching from diesel and petrol vehicles to electric will most likely result in people simply changing the type of heavy box that they drive around our towns and cities in. This should improve air quality as emissions reduce over the long term, but it will do nothing to solve congestion on our streets, and it is a missed opportunity to improve public health. There is no clearer and bigger opportunity to help reduce air pollution than encouraging more people to ride bikes. In 2015, only 2% of trips in England were made by bicycle despite the average length of each trip being only seven miles. Switching from cars to bikes would not only reduce air pollution but solve many of the biggest issues facing our cities and towns. Congestion is getting worse in cities across the UK at a cost to the economy of Â£11bn a year. While a 3.5 metre-wide single lane can transport 2,000 people an hour in cars, the same lane can be used to transpo rt 14,000 people on bicycles – and this doesn’t even take into account the space saved on parking. With limited space in cities and rising populations, transport planning has to focus on the most efficient way of getting around. While a switch from diesel to electric vehicles will help reduce early deaths associated with air pollution, it will do little to encourage greater physical activity. In England in 2012 only 67% of men and 55% of women met physical activity recommendations, with a similar picture in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Research from the University of Glasgow recently found cycling regularly reduced the incidence of cancer by 45%, heart disease by 46%, and of death by any cause by 41%.
Guardian 31st July 2017 read more »
Matt Ridley: Almost nobody wants Hinkley to go ahead. The public have paid the price for years of missteps: it’s time to scrap Hinkley Point C and support the shale revolution. Shortly before parliament broke up this month, there was a debate on a Lords select committee report on electricity policy that was remarkable for its hard-hitting conclusions. The speakers, and signatories of the report, included a former Labour chancellor, Tory energy secretary, Tory Scottish secretary, cabinet secretary, ambassador to the European Union and Treasury permanent secretary, as well as a bishop, an economics professor, a Labour media tycoon and a Lib Dem who was shortlisted for governor of the Bank of England. Genuine heavyweights, in short. They were in general agreement: energy policy is a mess, decarbonisation has been pursued at the expense of affordability and, in particular, the nuclear plant at Hinkley Point C in Somerset is an expensive disaster. Their report came out before the devastating National Audit Office report on Hinkley, which said the government had “locked consumers into a risky and expensive project [and] did not consider sufficiently the risks and costs to the consumer”. Hinkley is but the worst example of a nationalised energy policy of picking losers. The diesel fiasco is another. The wind industry, with its hefty subsidies paid from the poor to the rich to produce unreliable power, is a third. The biomass mess (high carbon, high cost and environmental damage) is a fourth. Almost nobody wants Hinkley to go ahead, apart from the contractors who get to build it. EDF and Areva, the French owner and developer, are in trouble over the only two comparable reactors in Europe. The one at Flamanville is still to start working, many years behind schedule. The French unions want Hinkley cancelled. Lord Howell of Guildford, the former energy secretary, wisely pointed out in the Lords that the key player is China, a partner in the project. Rather than cost, the government’s excuse for revisiting Hinkley last year was partly worries about security. This was a silly worry and bad diplomacy. However, it is not clear China wants to go ahead, and subtle negotiation could tease this out. The great prize for China was regulatory approval through Britain’s gold-standard “generic design assessment” process, which could unlock foreign markets and give a green light for a Chinese-built reactor at Bradwell in Essex. But Lord Howell says the Chinese increasingly realise that the Hinkley design is a dead end, as costs escalate and delays grow. And they know that the future for nuclear power must lie in smaller, modular units, mass-manufactured like cars rather than assembled from scratch like Egyptian pyramids. Their “Nimble Dragon” design could slot into both the Hinkley and Bradwell sites, perhaps beside the larger Hualong design. Cancellation would cost some £20 billion. But if the initiative comes from Beijing it is just possible that some new arrangement could be salvaged from the certain wreckage of the EDF scheme, without seriously damaging both livelihoods and our relations with China.
Times 31st July 2017 read more »
A growing number of people in Scotland want to see stronger action on climate change, according to a poll. Results from a survey by WWF Scotland show an increase in the percentage of those calling for more investment, renewable energy sources and a reduction in emissions. The data comes as a new Climate Change Bill is out for public consultation, and around 1,000 Scots were surveyed in May and June for the WWF study. More than three-quarters, 76 per cent, of respondents said the Scottish Government should reduce climate change emissions by “investing more in improving the energy efficiency of homes across Scotland”, up from 67 per cent in 2016. A total of 68 per cent said they want the Government to invest in projects that reduce emissions, up from 59 per cent in 2016. There were 72 per cent who believe more should be d one to help people heat their homes from renewable sources. Only 59 per cent thought so in the previous year.
Scotsman 31st July 2017 read more »
The National 31st July 2017 read more »
People are excited about batteries, from electric cars to Tesla’s 129 megawatt-hour energy storage project in South Australia. But one important issue is often overlooked: the raw materials needed to build this technology – where they come from and their environmental cost. New types of batteries such as vanadium “flow batteries” still lag in comparison with the performance of lithium-ion ones (as used by Tesla). Other technologies face significant hurdles before they can be commercially available. This means that, for now, demand for lithium-ion batteries for use in portable electronics, hybrid vehicles and electric tools will only grow. Lithium demand for batteries is forecast to increase dramatically, driving more than a doubling in total lithium demand by 2025.
Renew Economy 31st July 2017 read more »
Letter: There seems to be little understanding of the simple fact that electric vehicles (EV) are, in the main, pollution shifters – from tailpipe to power generation facility (Ban from 2040 on diesel and petrol car sales, 26 July). The electricity generation and transmission system is already tested to its limits during a harsh winter. Only if objections disappeared to the mass building of thousands of the largest wind turbines, plus similar numbers of hectares of photovoltaic solar generation, could the pollution shifters’ argument be refuted. Even then, there would still be need for conventional or nuclear generation for when the sun doesn’t shine and wind doesn’t blow – doubling the capital requirement.
Guardian 30th July 2017 read more »
The UK government says it wants all new cars and taxis to be electric by 2040 and the doom-mongers have come out in force. They say that 100% EVs this will strain the UK capacity to produce electricity. This is not correct. Let’s put a few numbers around the question of how and when electric cars will take over from petrol and diesel and what the impact will be. Between now and 2030, the UK will add about 25 GW of offshore wind. Typically, these turbines will produce at about 50% capacity factor. (This is higher than 40%+ experienced at the moment as turbines get taller, more efficient and sited in higher wind locations). These turbines will thus produce about 110 TWh a year of electricity. Offshore wind load factors tend to be highest in winter, when power demand is also high. The annual electricity demand from 100% electric cars (75 TWh) will be just under about 2/3 of the amount of power produced by the offshore wind installed from now until 2030.
Carbon Commentary 26th July 2017 read more »
Letter: Volker Beckers, chief executive of RWE Npower, 2010-12; Joan MacNaughton, director- general for energy at the Department of Trade and Industry, 2002 -06; Ian Marchant, chief executive of Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), 2002-13 – We welcome the government announcements on the smart future for electricity and the banning of petrol and diesel cars by 2040 (“Giant batteries to store green energy”, News, last week). The UK electricity market is undergoing a rapid transformation with renewables near to the point of needing no subsidy. More than 900,000 homes, communities and businesses already generate their own renewable power and there are 100,000 electric vehicles on our roads today. These technologies were rare just a few years ago. In the past year, the control of energy through digitisation has leapt ahead, enabling users to power their devices and to store electricity at times that match the strength of the wind and the sun. Earlier this year, households in the Welsh town of Bethesda started trading their surplus power directly with each other. The large incumbent power generators and suppliers have been largely caught off guard by these step-change innovations. Their last-century business model of big, centralised power stations and passive consumers is being rapidly undermined. To avoid stranding these assets for their investors, they must now focus on providing cost-saving flexibility, smart and efficient services to customers, bespoke products to so-called prosumers, and collaborating to drive local energy initiatives and innovations into their mainstream business. This promises a very different future that we are excited to see.
Sun Times 30th July 2017 read more »
Michael Gove’s proposal to ban the sale of new cars with petrol or diesel engines from 2040 is very midsummer madness. Don’t just take my word for it. Stuart Haszeldine, professor of carbon capture and storage at Edinburgh University, told me: “It doesn’t have the hallmarks of a well-thought-through policy. If you’re going to deliver electrification of vehicles, you have to think about how it happens. A thought-through policy would also count the carbon emissions of making electricity at a power plant; that has to be nearly zero for electric cars to clean the national emissions inventory as well as cleaning cities.” Using gas means we have to do more to clean up the emissions at the power plant, or else the UK fails its international Paris 2015 UN agreements. A previous government in 2015 chose against carbon capture and storage to clean up electricity from gas burning. If we now want clean electricity for cars, that needs to be brought back quickly.” National Grid also warned that, regardless of the Scottish government’s opposition to fracking, gas will continue to play a key role in powering and heating our nation for decades. Its Future Energy Scenarios report added that as North Sea production declines, our already worrying dependence on gas imports will increase further with additional amounts of liquefied natural gas having to be shipped to the UK. The report comes hard on the heels of a similar assessment by the trade union GMB and Strathclyde University’s Centre for Energy Policy, which warned Scotland’s energy demands cannot be met without gas.
Sunday Times 30th July 2017 read more »
Identifying a tipping point is not always easy. But when one of the world’s most powerful oil bosses says he is in the market for an electric car, there can be little doubt. Shell is already shifting its focus from drilling for oil to natural gas, but within the next year Shell will unveil early plans for a deeper presence in renewable energy and the electrical chain to tap the boom in electric vehicles. “Everyone is repeatedly surprised at how fast electric cars are coming forward,” Professor Dieter Helm told The Telegraph in April. The number of new registrations of plug-in cars has grown from 3,500 in 2013 to more than 100,000 at the end of May. “But the political pressure to adopt this technology is increasing all the time. It’s not due to concerns over climate change – it’s city air pollution,” he said. “There is no doubt that batteries completely and utterly metamorphose the market in that they make the uncontrollable controllable. It makes the arguments against renewable energy fall away,” says Nick Boyle, the founder of Europe’s largest solar operator Lightsource. The new energy reality is not simply about consumers taking power from generators, but means the roles of producer and consumer will flip and, in some cases, merge. Lightsource is already pairing solar panels with battery packs to allow customers to effectively become their own energy market. Solar panels create energy which can be used at cheaper rates than electricity from the main grid, or stored in the battery to use later. If the battery and electric vehicle are both charged a Lightsource customer could sell their power back to the grid. By creating a network of households and businesses which can generate power and reduce demand, Lightsource could create a string of virtual low-carbon power plants. “We’ve always said that we would like to equip a million homes with solar panels and batteries. If you use a 4kW panel that would be 4GW of capacity,” says Boyle. This is the equivalent scale of Hinkley Point C plus a gas-fired power plant, but only when the sun shines. “But if you add a 6kW battery you’ve created an extra 6GW of storable electricity which could be used to balance the grid.” “It’s not about hardware anymore. It’s about software. And this can move at such an incredible pace and will only get quicker,” says Boyle. “It seems like we’re offering something impossible. But this is only because many are still using a yardstick of how they bought energy in the past. You almost need to draw a line under what has come before and start again.” Redesigning the electricity system is no easy undertaking though. Basil Scarsella, chief executive of Britain’s largest electricity distributor, UK Power Networks, says the industry is “on the verge of a change as significant for electricity as the advent of broadband was for telecommunications”. The network operator connects 18 million people across East Anglia, London and the South East to the electricity grid and has already had applications for 16GW worth of battery storage. Following the Government’s battery backing it has launched a fast-track online application process to connect even more home batteries. “The good news is that we don’t need to build a whole new stack of generation,” says Rob Doepel, a partner at EY. “There could be a 10pc increase in demand, but this doesn’t mean we need to increase our capacity by the same amount. The majority of cars are likely to charge overnight when many plants stand idle. So we can use our existing fleet more often.”
Telegraph 29th Jly 2017 read more »
Christopher Booker: To the few of us who have long been trying to follow the Government’s woefully unreported plans for Britain’s energy future, the news of the switch in 2040 to electric cars was hardly a surprise. But the full implications of this drive to phase out virtually all use of fossil fuels in the coming decades have not yet begun to sink in. And there are many more shocks to come. Brushed aside in the daylong blizzard of propaganda to which we were treated in favour of all-electric cars, there are of course many practical reasons these have not caught on. Despite hundreds of millions of pounds in taxpayer bribes to persuade motorists to buy them, they make up only 0.3 per cent of the 31.7 million cars on our roads. It didn’t take long for the crucial question to be asked: where is all the extra 30 gigawatts (GW) of electricity needed to charge these cars to come from, when this would add nearly 50 per cent to our current peak electricity demand, half of it still supplied by the fossil fuels the Government wants to eliminate?
Telegraph 29th July 2017 read more »
ELECTRIC car manufacturer Tesla has rolled out its cheapest vehicle to date which could fire the starting gun on a price war. The new Model 3 retails at $35,000 (£26,650) and founder of the firm Elon Musk hopes it will be the first mass-market electric car.
Herald 30th July 2017 read more »
BBC 29th July 2017 read more »
Transparency Market Research estimated the global lithium-ion battery market at $30bn in 2015, rising to more than $75bn by 2024. Morgan Stanley analysts expect global car sales to rise by 50% by 2050 to more than 130m units a year, and estimates that electric vehicles will account for at least 47% of that total. Lithium-ion batteries have long been used to power smartphones, laptops and other gadgets. Scaled-up versions are now being developed for electric vehicles. These batteries should last for at least 10 years, or 150,000 miles, until they need to be replaced. However, the road to a promised land of zero-emission vehicles is littered with speed bumps and red lights that threaten to seriously slow the progress of the electric car. Battery makers are struggling to secure supplies of key ingredients in these large power packs – mainly cobalt and lithium. The hopes of both battery and vehicle manufacturers hang on the mining sector finding more deposits of these precious minerals.
Observer 29th July 2017 read more »
Just as in 2005 the UK was rushed into an ill-judged nuclear programme by scare-stories of imminent power blackouts, we are now being herded into a panic mode by lop-sided projections of future energy demand out of fear of electric vehicles. EVs are the future of motorised road transportation of course, and I’m sure it will happen quite quickly. But if you work out the figures based on past trends you find out that after re-working the National Grid’s recent projections peak demand is actually likely to FALL, not increase. There is always a supply-side bias in energy projections, and the numbers that are pouring out of the newspapers are the latest manifestation of this phenomenon. One factor which almost everybody seems to have missed is that electricity demand has fallen since 2005 by around 12 per cent (in 2006 the Government talked about dramatic increases in demand). If you carry this forward to the future then this rate of decline would be more than the increase associated with the expansion in the number of EVs that was assumed by the National Grid in their most recent report. Given the fact that they identified opportunities for load shifting, in particular through ‘time of use’ charging that would reduce peak demand by up to 4.5 GW, that adds up altogether to a substantial FALL in the amount of peak generating capacity required in 2030. In fact EVs supplied with electricity by sources such as wind, solar or marine energy are extremely efficient. First, the EVs themselves are, in terms of energy used to move a given distance much more energy efficient than conventional motor vehicles – and this difference is likely to increase as EVs mature as a technology. They have about a threefold advantage in energy efficiency. If the electricity is generated by these renewable energy sources then very little will be wasted (mainly grid losses) before the power is used in the vehicle. In fact the extra electricity needed to power the NG’s projected expansion in EVs will be easily covered by the expansion in renewable energy if we assume recent trends continue. Using the National Grid’s assumption that around 9 million road vehicles constituting around one quarter of Britain’s road transport fleet will be EVs by 2030 then some 108 TWh of petrol/diesel consumption will be replaced by around 40 TWh of electricity. Since 2012 renewable energy production has increased by over 40 TWh between 2012 and 2016. There have been some ridiculously exaggerated numbers printed in one leading newspaper about the numbers of wind turbines needed to cover the extra production for EVs. In fact there are now around 7600 wind turbines in the UK. Given increasing sizes of offshore wind turbines (soon to be 10 MW each) and also increasing levels of efficiency for the newest models (with capacity factors approaching 50 per cent) then no more than 1000 new wind turbines would be needed to generate the demand for all of the EVs in operation by 2030. Now, for various reasons, including cutting carbon emissions and reducing our dependency on imported natural gas, we ought to be doing a lot more than that. Which, I suppose, if I were more cynical might lead me to forget about about countering the exaggerated stuff about the need for new power plant since this boosts the need for renewable energy. But getting further towards the objective of providing close to 100 per cent of our energy from renewables, as well as promoting energy efficiency, are good things in themselves and enough of an incentive to do a lot more than what we are doing now.
Dave Toke’s Blog 27th July 2017 read more »
DIESEL BAN: UK needs TEN nuclear plants & 10,000 turbines for cars to go electric by 2040. The electric car revolution could cost more than £200billion as the National Grid warns peak demand for energy may increase by 50 per cent, a new report has revealed.
Express 27th July 2017 read more »
Nuclear power’s share of the UK’s electricity generation mix was stable at 21% last year, according to statistics released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) yesterday. Nuclear generation rose 2% from 70 terawatt hours to 72 TWh in 2016 as nuclear plants had fewer planned and unplanned outages than in 2015. The Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics 2017, compiled by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, contains tables and extensive commentary, charts and technical notes. As well as giving new data for 2016 it also presents some revised data for earlier years.
World Nuclear News 28th July 2017 read more »
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