Blowout week 17

UK and Europe: With European Parliament, Scottish Independence and UK general elections looming, the energy football is in play.

Eight renewable energy projects approved
Drax to sue Government over ‘lost’ green subsidy
Tory energy policy is designed for the few, not the many
Ed Miliband: Britain must embrace onshore wind farms
Revealed: how Glasgow will be Scotland’s first Solar City

The face of energy security. An oil pipe line (now blown up) winds its way across uninhabited mountains in northern  Iraq.

UK: Ed Miliband: Britain must embrace onshore wind farms

Britain must learn to “embrace” onshore wind farms because they can “make a difference” and produce significant amounts of energy, Ed Miliband has said.
In a clear dividing line with the Consevatives, Mr Miliband said suggested that a commitment onshore wind farms are likely to form part of Labour’s manifesto for the next election.

UK: Falkirk Against Unconventional Gas

In his witness precognition statement, David K. Smythe, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Glasgow, concludes that the planned development “poses a threat to groundwater resources over the entire area of the [Proposed Development Area], and there is the additional risk that fugitive methane may even reach the surface”, and in his view, “the development should be refused”.


1.1 Relevant personal details from my CV
1.1.1 I am Emeritus Professor of Geophysics in the University of Glasgow. Although I am now a French resident I remain a British citizen, and take an active interest in UK, French and foreign affairs, as well as in various facets of scientific research.

[Editor’s comment: The report by Smythe is thorough and competent but it surprised me in the extent of the demands being made on Dart Energy to develop what are likely to be meagre gas reserves. This strikes me as being part of a trend where extraordinary demands are being placed on fossil fuel companies to assure safety and environmental integrity to the extent that I am now suspicious the motives are to make fossil fuels so expensive that we can no longer afford to use them. To be clear I am totally in favour of safe and environmentally sound working practices, but there just seems to be a raft of measures being developed to put the fossil fuel companies out of business. The fabric of industrial society, the wealth and prosperity we have was founded upon fossil fuels.]

Europe: Gas can spark prosperity if we work with EU

The cost of energy has become an increasing concern for households and industry alike right across Europe. Indeed, the UK regulator Ofgem’s recent proposal to refer the energy supply and generation market for a full competition review has been just the latest manifestation of this.

Europe: French energy giants fuel UK double

Two French companies are on the brink of completing a unique business double in Britain. EDF, the state-controlled power group, is already the biggest electricity producer and next year Total, the nation’s flagship oil company, will become the leading oil and gas producer in the UK sector of the North Sea.

Europe: Will the wind in Spain blow slower on the plain?

For the first time in Spain’s history, wind contributed the same proportion (21%) of electricity as nuclear last year, according to Red Electrica de Espana (REE), Spain’s national grid. Both now contribute more than any other power source.
This record feat appeared to confound the energy sceptics, who have argued that low-carbon renewable energy production is too intermittent and expensive to be a reliable alternative to coal, gas and nuclear.

UK: Eight renewable energy projects approved

Eight major renewable energy projects, expected to support 8,500 jobs, have been given government approval.

The contracts, which include offshore wind farms and conversions of coal-powered plants to run on biomass, are the first awarded under the government’s energy market reforms.

Europe: Wind and PV ‘beat nuclear, CCS’

Solar and wind power in Europe are already cheaper than nuclear or Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) plants, even if the need for back-up capacity plants is factored in, a study by Prognos AG on behalf of the Agora Energiewende think-tank says.

UK: Drax to sue Government over ‘lost’ green subsidy

Drax is to legally challenge the Government’s decision to exclude the power plant operator’s plans to convert a coal-fired unit into one burning biomass from its latest round of funding.
The decision to challenge the Government could set a precedent for other generators and overshadowed the approval of several new renewable energy projects on Wednesday.

UK: Revealed: how Glasgow will be Scotland’s first Solar City

It may be hard to believe, but sunshine is going to transform Glasgow into one of the world’s greenest cities.

UK: Tory energy policy is designed for the few, not the many

The people who worry about energy bills, the squeezed middle, have the most to lose and the least to gain when it comes to Tory announcements on the subject of onshore wind turbines.
The UK’s energy supply is facing something of a mid-life crisis. It is bloated and fat after decades of reliance on unsustainable and increasingly expensive fossil fuels.

World: Corn biofuels worse than gasoline on global warming in short term – study

Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a new study shows, challenging the Obama administration’s conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change.

My selection of stories posted by Luis de Sousa At The Edge of Time. Luis’ focus this week is on the IPCC, Russia / Ukraine and Iraq.

World: Peak Coal

Comments about coal are usually not complimentary. Despite our dependence on it as a source of heat for electric power generation, environmentalists wish it would go away. On the other hand, advocates like to claim we have more than 110 years of coal left – “at present rates of consumption”. Both sides are overlooking crucial points. Let’s see if we can clarify the future use of coal as a fossil fuel resource.


So, the IPCC has released their report on climate change mitigation. Naturally various people are in spin-mode. Greenpeace’s “journalism” wing have “15 key findings from the IPCC mitigation report.” Unsurprisingly the findings that do not suit Greenpeace’s agenda are not key.

But instead of hectoring journalists and complaining about the inevitable platitudes doled out in response to this report, I will instead suggest that the IPCC needs a good kick up the arse.

World: US financial showdown with Russia is more dangerous than it looks, for both sides

The United States has constructed a financial neutron bomb. For the past 12 years an elite cell at the US Treasury has been sharpening the tools of economic warfare, designing ways to bring almost any country to its knees without firing a shot.
The strategy relies on hegemonic control over the global banking system, buttressed by a network of allies and the reluctant acquiescence of neutral states. Let us call this the Manhattan Project of the early 21st century.

World: B(R)ICS states stick together in Crimea crisis

Do the BRICS states have a common position in the current Russia-Ukraine conflict? Yes they do, Monica Herz told DW. “There is a common position that there needs to be containment of the conflict.” But she added that “when we look at Russian policy, we find that these countries have divergent positions.”

World: Militants blow up oil, gas pipelines in N. Iraq

Militants on Thursday blew up two oil and gas pipelines in Iraq’s northern Saladin province, a security official said.
“Militants detonated an explosive device near an oil pipeline and another near a gas pipeline in the town of Biji,” Saladin Police Captain Omar al-Juburi told Anadolu Agency.
The explosions left thick black smoke in the air and oil spilling into the Tigris River, al-Juburi added, which prompted the local water authorities to cut off water supplies to the area’s purification plants.

World: Iraqi pipeline ‘unusable’

An oil pipeline carrying crude from Iraq’s Kirkuk oilfields to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan is “unusable” because of persistent militant attacks, Turkey’s energy minister was reported as saying on Monday.

The key export pipeline has been pumping way below its 1.5 million barrels per day of capacity, while Kurdistan has been sending crude through a new independent route from the semi-autonomous Iraqi region to the Turkish port.

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2 Responses to Blowout week 17

  1. Roger Andrews says:

    An article hot off the press:

    And while I’m here, the links to the “Wind in Spain” and “Eight Renewable Energy Projects” articles seem to be flipped.

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