Blowout week 11

The bonfire of insanity: The Mail reports on clearing forests in the USA to fuel Green electricity production at Drax power station in the UK.

Economy: The high cost of subsidising renewables and the high cost of helping industry pay its power bills.

Nuclear: Uncertainty in Hinkley deal.

Common sense: In short supply this week 🙁

UK: The bonfire of insanity: Woodland is shipped 3,800 miles and burned in Drax power station. It belches out more CO2 than coal at a huge cost YOU pay for… and all for a cleaner, greener Britain!

The trees seem to stretch to the horizon: a serene and timeless landscape.

But North Carolina’s ‘bottomland’ forest is being cut down in swathes, and much of it pulped and turned into wood pellets – so Britain can keep its lights on.

UK: Green deal finance company falls foul of advertising watchdog

A government-backed company set up with £244m of public money to finance the green deal energy efficiency programme has fallen foul of the advertising watchdog after claiming that its loans are the cheapest on the market.

World: Cheap batteries will revolutionise the renewable energy market

Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, announced it would invest in a $4bn-$5bn “gigafactory” doubling the world’s production of lithium-ion batteries. These power your mobile phone, but also Tesla’s high-end luxury electric cars. The objective is to cut battery prices by 30% in three years, and to halve them by 2020.

UK: Michael Fallon to pledge help for industry as high energy costs put jobs ‘at risk’

Heavy industry will be granted more relief from rising energy costs in an attempt to tackle the “clear and present danger” of job losses, Michael Fallon will pledge on Monday.

Europe: IEA executive director: “We welcome a renewables target for 2030

The International Energy Agency (IEA) supports an EU renewable energy target for 2030 – this would reduce policy risk and so “bring down costs and put us on the path we want to be on”, stated Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the IEA today..

Europe: EWEA steeled for political scrap

The European wind energy sector is preparing for an intense political battle on key issues such as 2030 renewables targets that will define the sector’s prospects for the coming decade and beyond.

UK: EDF to miss its own deadline for Hinkley Point nuclear decision as EC state aid investigation drags on

EDF expects to miss its own deadline for deciding whether to build Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation, the Telegraph can disclose.
The French energy giant announced in October that it planned to take a final investment decision on the £16bn Hinkley Point C plant by July, after striking a landmark subsidy deal with government.

UK: Russian state nuclear firm in talks to build power station in the UK

Britain is in talks with the Russian state nuclear company about building a nuclear power station in the UK, an official said on Tuesday.

World: Polar Vortex Emboldens Industry to Push Old Coal Plants

The polar vortex may give new life to aging coal and nuclear power plants in the U.S.

Masses of arctic air rolling down from the North Pole have driven electricity prices to more than 10 times last year’s average in many parts of the country and have threatened some cities with winter blackouts.

Europe: Energy UK urges Government to keep all EU leaders focused on energy affordability at the EU Summit

Energy UK urges Government to keep all EU leaders focused on energy affordability at the European Summit later this month

Balancing customer cost and continued investment in renewable energy generation across Europe should be at the core of the UK’s response to the ‘2030 Framework’, Energy UK said today.

UK: Renewable energy helps Scotland become one of the world’s wealthiest nations

Scotland’s control over a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind and marine energy has helped it become one of the world’s wealthiest nations, according to newanalysis released today.

The new figures from the Scottish Government show that Scotland with its broad base of economic strengths would be ranked as the 14th wealthiest nation per head within the OECD, the grouping of the world’s richest countries.

UK: Wind farm “goldrush” fears as ministers reveal £1.2bn subsidy

A Westcountry MP has criticised a “Klondike-type gold-rush” among green energy developers after it emerged wind farms are being subsidised by an eye-watering £1.2 billion a year.

Europe: European Commission: Hinkley C subsidies are unfair State Aid

The European Commission has launched its public consultation over the UK’s proposed state aid to the proposed Hinkley C nuclear plant in Somerset – and in the process delivered a mighty broadside against the UK Government’s plans.

Europe: Irish wind developer calls for urgent political deal

Irish wind imports to Britain will not help towards the UK’s 2020 renewables target without an urgent intergovernmental agreement, a major developer warned today.

UK: Energy bills may rise by £600 a year

Cost of building power stations, replacing grids and erecting wind farms will add £640 a year to household bills, Which? consumer group warns Treasury

UK: Britain has the right energy policies in place, it just needs to keep the costs down

The recent floods and severe weather across Britain have brought the debate around climate change back into sharp focus. While it is not right to attribute individual weather events to changes in the global climate, the storms were consistent with the increasingly volatile and extreme weather patterns predicted by climate scientists.

Europe: RWE agrees Dea sale to billionaire

German power giant RWE is to sell its oil and gas unit to a Russian billionaire in a €5bn (£4bn) deal, it emerged last night.
The debt-laden company, which owns supplier npower in the UK, has agreed to sell its Dea unit to L1 Energy, the investment vehicle backed by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman.

UK: Public inquiry will hear of ‘high risk’ of water pollution from fracking

An internal report from Scotland’s environment watchdog, warning of a “high risk” of water pollution from drilling for underground gas, has been seized on by objectors in the run-up to a major public inquiry opening this week.

World: Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for ‘irreversible collapse’?

A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

This entry was posted in Blowout and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Blowout week 11

  1. Roger Andrews says:

    After conversion of three of the six Drax units from coal to biomass (scheduled for completion in 2016) these units will emit essentially the same amount of CO2 as they did when they were burning coal (10-15 million tonnes/yr depending on load factor).

    Except that they won’t.

    Enter the EU, which with a stroke of the legislative pen reduces the reportable emissions to zero. Annex IV of EU ETS directive 2003/87/EC states:

    “Calculations of emissions shall be performed using the formula: Activity data × Emission factor × Oxidation factor”

    (Where Activity data is the amount of fuel burned, Oxidation factor is how much C gets converted to CO2 and the Emission factor is a number based on how “green” the fuel is thought to be.)

    And what’s the Emissions factor for biomass?

    “The emission factor for biomass shall be zero.”

    Ain’t legislation wonderful?

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Roger, Europe’s target based energy policy is now operating like Soviet style planned economy. This one makes me really angry if it is true they are felling virgin forest in the name of reaching CO2 targets. There is a world of difference between using annually cycled bio mass such as straw where a fragile argument can at least be made that CO2 is simply being recycled through a power station and the bonkers strategy of burning 100 year old forest which adds as much CO2 to the atmosphere as burning coal. Got to do a little bit of research around this and then maybe a post.

      • Roger Andrews says:

        Hi Euan:

        Well, I guess you’re going to be angry because felling virgin forest is exactly what they’re doing.

        If you’re going to do a post on this you’re probably going to have to look into the intricacies of the poorly-understood carbon cycle, which is something I’ve studied in enough detail at least to establish my level of ignorance in the matter. So yell if you need any informed comment. 😉

  2. Kit P says:

    “Roanoke wetlands ”
    I live in a place called Forest jut down the Roanoke via the Blue Parkway. There is no shortage of untouched forests and beautiful trees. There is a huge surplus of wood rotting on the ground releasing ghg nitrous oxide. This is indeed the low hanging fruit of ghg reductions. This not a case of damaging the environment but using natural resources to reduce the impact of nature on the environment.
    It is also a case of really bad journalism and Roger and Euan not having clue about what they comment about.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Europe and USA used to run on bio mass until we had destroyed so much forest we were in danger of extinction at the beginning of the 19th Century. And then along came coal. Bio mass cannot make any meaningful contribution to industrial society’s energy needs today and so using it is merely a fashion statement pandering to The Greens. Green policies are destroying the natural environment world wide.

      Rotting wood returns organic and mineral nutrients to the soil.

      • Kit P says:

        The fallacy of Euan’s argument is that only being able to a little bit of good does not mean you should not do it. Because Euan can not manage the environment does not mean others can not. I am not too worried about the fertility of poorly drained sandy soil. That is why it is not used as farm land.

  3. Kit P says:

    “EDF expects ..”
    Just back from China and I expect to work there for a year so I am less interested in progress in the UK for building nukes. Building any large power plants is a long process and EDF may want to get projects producing power before they start new construction projects. While in China I read a article on new coal plant in India. It looked looked just like the very coal plant we passed daily in China. The plant in China was equipped with modern pollution controls. China and India are building coal plants at a rate, that make renewable energy statements in the EU and US sound just a little silly.

Comments are closed.