Marine energy is an area where the UK excels. As a renewable energy source it’s one that we are perhaps well placed to innovate in – given the length of our coastlines, not to mention our forward looking approach to sustainables.
Posts Tagged renewables
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.
There are a lot of phrases that crop up, and stick around for a while before being consigned to the recycling bin for worn out cliches. Remember “quantum leap”? I haven’t heard that in ages: it’s been replaced by “step change”, or maybe “paradigm shift”.
Anyway, one phrase I never expected to hear was this one: “windfarm nimbyism“. It’s an amusing phrase, conjuring up, of course, a picture of a backyard with a gigantic windmill planted in it, while an angry red-faced old man with rolled up shirt sleeves and a combover shakes his fist at it and shouts obscenities in its direction. Thereby, probably, just making the blades spin all the faster.
But I’m not sure ‘nimbyism’ is quite the right word – wind farms are generally (for obvious reasons) far away from built up areas and therefore it’s stretching the metaphor a bit too much to call their loci ‘yards’?
The Scottish electric experience is looking renewables shaped and while it’s great that the Guardian sets both sides of the argument, I can’t help but see what I see – very little in the way of any kind of nimbyism regarding wind farms.
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
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.
In terms of renewables, it looks like the UK is surely moving in the right direction. While government policy on renewables hasn’t (so far, at least) been exactly what you’d call ‘radical’, there have been some encouraging signs that the main parties are united in their commitment to getting the country where it needs to be, or to the starting line, at least. The UK electorate (as if anyone needs reminding) even returned a Green member of parliament for one of its constituencies way back last month (how long ago the general election seems now…!)
And while much good work has been done, there are always reminders around us that there is still the majority of the progress yet to be made. So it was with mixed emotions that I read the latest findings by Cambridge Econometrics, who have forecast that renewables will account for seven percent of elecricity sales to final users by the end of 2010. While this is a move in the right direction, it actually falls pretty far short of the ten percent target. Assuming that certain economic conditions are as expected, the figure is predicted to rise to 11 percent by 2015 – but since the 2015 target is fifteen percent, we will still be wide of the target.
There is always a good news/ bad news element to this type of forecast, and this one’s no exception. The good news? Carbon emissions are predicted to continue fallling. The bad news? They’re going to fall only by a fraction of a single percent, and even only then because of changes to coal-fired power station equipment. The obverse of the good news v. bad news scenario is the bad news v. good news one – and so it has been predicted that the knock-on effects from the economic downturn of 2008 will provide a significant drop in CO2 emissions, rendering the figure lower than initial projections. And the UK will as a result be likely to meet its Kyoto target without much difficulty.