Archive for Green electricity

Welsh Marine Energy

 

The 1.2 magawatt Deltastream device is the main part of a marine energy project that’s set to transform the Ramsey Sound off Pembrokeshire, Wales, making it one of the renewables hotspots of the UK. According to this report in the Construction index, the Deltastream will have the potential to make enough green electricity to power 1000 homes.

This Welsh energy programme will, according to Chris Huhne, “boost energy security and create jobs” in the area – which is always something that’s good to hear.

More on the story here – I’m unsure of the provenance of the illustration that goes with it though – it looks like an artists impression of Deltastream.

 

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Nuclear energy after Fukushima

As the world’s eyes focus on Japan for developments in the Fukishima story, many media outlets in the west are beginning to discuss nuclear power in slightly more questioning terms than previously.

Nuclear was, at the time of its beginning as a UK fuel source, seen as the future in entirety: a fuel source that would soon be ‘too cheap to meter’. Then of course various nuclear accidents happened: Windscale (which led to the Sellafield re-branding), Three Mile Island, Chernobyl.

At the time of writing, the Fukushima Daiichi incidents have actually had an effect on the stock market. What this means for the nuclear industry is too early to say, but my guess would be that in future any new generation of power stations would have to be more or less meltproof – for two reasons: the first reason is that the ecology simply cannot be subjected to another catastrophe of this kind. The second is that investors will likely see less value in nuclear after Fukushima.

But energy industries are changing massively – and with the Chinese economy growing exponentially, energy will still have to come from somewhere. There’s been talk of making electricity using thorium (abundant, cheaper, safer) so who know where we will be even in ten years’ time.

For the moment though, nuclear can’t just be wound down, decommissioned, forgotten about. Strong opinions are held, and there will be heated debate and loud controversy. Renewables might previously have been seen as some kind of an ‘alternative lifestyle’ (beard and sandals) option. Not no more…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Renewable electricity island

While we’ll all benefit from renewables in the long term, there are likely going to be communities who could benefit just a wee bit more – and proposals for a marine energy facility on the Isle of Wight could mean that they are just one such place.

A report in Business Green online states that the island could be entirely powered by its own renewable marine energy, and become a major producer.

One area of the UK I’m expecting big things from in this area is Shetland – gotta be wind aplenty needing harvested.

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Scottish energy news

Renewables might seem to the uninitated kinda new-fangled or on the margins of the energy scene, but in fact renewables were the source of over a quarter of Scotland’s electricity needs in 2009, and this year that figure is likely to nudge upwards to the 1/3rd mark.

Impressive though this is, it’s medium sized potatoes to the amount of renewable energy planned for the future, with some very ambitious targets having already been set. One thing that will help the industry towards achieving these figures is research and development, so it was good to see this week that the Hydrogen Office in Fife was officially opened by Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond. It’s an impressive building, forming part of Fife’s Energy Park, Scotland’s renewables hub.

Hydrogen Office is powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology and “is expected to become one of Europe’s leading locations for innovation and development of renewable technology” according to Scottish Enterprise.

Photo taken by George McLuskie on behalf of the Hydrogen Office Ltd

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Green power news.

First, a story about China’s Vice Premier, Scotland and clean energy. In a £6.4million deal, Scottish expertise will be used in manufacturing equipment for power generation in China.

The green energy scene hasn’t all been good news this week, however, with the report that wind turbine manufacturer Skykon has gone into administration.

But on a (very) positive note, it looks like the EU may exceed renewables targets by 2020. And that’s only nine years away.

And of course by 2020 there’s a good chance that the electric car will have begun to supercede its combustion engine relation, so it’s good news for everyone that the EU is on course to exceed targets.

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Electrifying the UK – electric plug in points

BBC (and others) report this week on how Manchester is to lead the way in electric plug-in points for the new wave of electric vehicles set to hit the roads in 2011.

According to Manchester Confidential, the plug-in points won’t just be confined to the city either, with some of them being planned for outlying areas such as Oldham and Stockport.

I think we need to think up a better name than “plug-in point” though, so here are my suggestions for an alternative:

Juicebox
Car-go

Err, I give up: any suggestions?

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Sunshine on Brum

With Ian Marchant, head of Scottish energy supplier SSE welcoming the new upped target for renewables (80% by 2020) for Scotland, it’s been a time of good news for the renewables sector.

This week I doubt there’ll be anything to top that but already there are good news stories appearing, not least the one in the Guardian reporting that 10,000 local authority houses will be fitted with solar panels. The scheme, costing £100million, is a might commitment to renewables from Birmingham. Let’s hope the sun shines for them.

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Act local

While “Think Globally: Act Locally” was a great slogan, like all great slogans its reverberation was louder than its conversion into action, for most of us. I mean, how often do you talk to your next door neighbours. Do you even know their forenames?

Slightly less locally is easier to deal with. Buying locally, that kind of thing. Buying our energy from green energy suppliers who make energy from wind and water. Ensuring that we don’t overconsume petrol, using fewer plastic bags. All the stuff that’s by now pretty much common practise, or if it isn’t, very much should be!

But when local communities work together there are all kinds of benefits. People feel involved and are much more aware of the value of their contribution. It’s partly a social as well as an environmental exercise. Working with local communities also counteracts the illusion that in the modern world eveything is all the same wherever you go. We are still a culturally diverse nation and long may it continue.

So it warmed my heart just a little bit to read that Sustainable Development Commission has produced a report entitled The Future is Local: Empowering communities to improve their neighbourhoods. It’s inspirational stuff, this, with an eye to the future and some real food for thought for the present. Read more about it on the Defra Civil Society blog.

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‘Sustainable Energy – without the hot air’, fantastic free book

Sustainable Energy - without the hot air

This is amongst the best books ive read on the energy sector in a long time – ‘Sustainable Energy – without the hot air‘ by David Mackay (a Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge). I really can’t do the work justice in a short blog post and i don’t really need to as you can download the entire book in PDF format for yourselves. There is a 10 page synopsis available for anyone who doesn’t fancy downloading 27mb. I would recommend that anyone with an interest in sustainable energy get hold of this text somehow – you can also buy a copy from Amazon for £19.99.

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Boiler Scrappage Scheme Closes, Discounts Available Elsewhere

Boiler Scrappage ends, will it return?

Apologies for missing the end date on this, but it appears that the government boiler scrappage scheme has closed after 125,000 vouchers being handed out in three months – good luck to those who managed to get a shiny new, energy efficient boiler! If you missed the scheme do not despair as the energy companies are continuing to offer their own deals, i.e. SSE Home Services gas boiler scrappage scheme, so there are still some savings to be made. Elsewhere in the country, SWALEC in Wales has its own scheme in place from April the 1st and Scotland is set to get its own boiler scrappage scheme, but an exact start date is proving a little elusive.

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