With the dust settled on the independence debate and a decisive win for Better Together, this edition of blowout comes from the still United Kingdom. 22 stories in all, about half of those from Roger.
Engineering and Technology: “UK oil and gas: Squeezing the last drop
Despite the UK’s ambitious plans for a sustainable low-carbon economy, with significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to be achieved by 2050, oil and gas are set to remain a crucial medium-term component of the energy mix.
RATS (rope access technicians) on a North Sea rig keeping the UK’s oil supplies flowing.
Scientists have taken a major step forward in the production of hydrogen from water which could lead to a new era of cheap, clean and renewable energy.
Catalysis speeds reaction but does not I believe change the energetics of reaction.
Princeton: Scotland’s Sobering Oil Future
Much has been written and promised about the benefits of North Sea oil to an independent Scotland. The reality is that North Sea oil production is in dramatic decline and the deepwater services business is peaking. Thus, oil is a declining benefit to Scotland, and Aberdeen is about to become a liability.
The Earth’s oceans have never been this far beyond the bounds of normal.
New data released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that Earth’s oceans reached a level last month not seen since humans have been keeping comprehensive records. Global ocean temperatures in August 2014 warmed to “the largest departure from average for any month on record” according to a NOAA statement. The previous record was set just two months ago, in June 2014.
IEEE Spectrum: Someday” is Now for Solar and Wind Power, says Lazard
Large wind and solar power farms have the economics to go toe-to-toe with the cheapest fossil fuel-based power supplies in the United States according to the venerable financial advisory firm Lazard Ltd. Thanks to falling costs and rising efficiency, reports Lazard in an analysis released this week, utility-scale installations of solar panels and wind turbines now produce power at a cost that’s competitive with natural gas and coal-fired generating stations—even without subsidies.
From North Sea oil giants to wind farm developers, companies across the energy sector have expressed their relief at the “no” vote.
Nuclear energy, oil, coal, gas and electricity are all currently matters reserved to the United Kingdom. Independence would have heralded a major period of uncertainty as policies underpinning entire industries faced being redrawn.
EDF Energy has warned that Scottish independence would herald massive uncertainty for the energy sector, accusing Alex Salmond of failing to answer a series of fundamental questions over issues such as nuclear waste.
The extent of sea ice in Antarctica is set to reach a record high, scientists said on Tuesday, as they announced that Arctic sea ice appeared to have shrunk to its sixth lowest level ever.
Germany’s flagship Bard 1 offshore wind farm has been described as “a faulty total system” as technical problems continue to plague the project, casting major doubts on the feasibility of large scale offshore projects.
Utility Week: Government approves 470MW gas-fired power plant
The UK government on Friday approved plans from developer CGen to build a new 470MW gas-fired power plant near North Killingholme, north Lincolnshire.
A “yes” vote for Scottish independence will “slam the brakes” on investment in wind farms north of the border, leaving Alex Salmond’s green energy ambitions in tatters, experts have warned.
Nuclear power in the UK has turned out much safer than environmentalists worried it would be.
Friends of the Earth, which feared the threat of a catastrophic Chernobyl-style meltdown in the UK, is now less concerned. Fear of nuclear armageddon was a driving force for the green movement in the UK – Greenpeace has its name for a reason.
A Chinese trading firm has booked the world’s largest super-tanker to store crude at sea, adding to a growing flotilla of vessels used for floating storage as benchmark oil prices slip below $100 a barrel.
Sunshinehours reports that the Antarctic Sea Ice Extent for September 19th, 2014 is 20.11297 million square kilometers,
which is 1,535,000 sq km above the 1981-2010 climatological mean.
Another 58,000 sq km. was added since yesterday, making it the 7th All-Time Record in 7 Days.
More than $100 trillion in public and private spending could be saved between now and 2050 if the world expands public transportation, walking and cycling in cities, according to a new report released by the University of California, Davis, and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. Additionally, reductions in carbon dioxide emissions reaching 1,700 megatons per year in 2050 could be achieved if this shift occurs.
Washington Examiner: Group tells IRS Sierra Club evading taxes, colludes with commercial firms
Sierra Club officials pay no taxes on income the environmental nonprofit generates from solar panel sales by its commercial partners.
At the same time, the Sierra Club Foundation functions in a manner that illegally benefits private commercial interests, including some of the nation’s largest energy firms.
Now there is even more evidence. From From Technische Universität München: Study highlights forest growth trends from 1870 to the present- Global change: Trees continue to grow at a faster rate
“…scientists are putting the growth acceleration down to rising temperatures and the extended growing season. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen are other factors contributing to the faster growth.”
Christian Science Monitor: People’s Climate March aims to be biggest rally yet on global warming
NEW YORK — More than 100,000 people are expected to attend the People’s Climate March in New York this weekend, a parade and protest that organizers hope will be the largest global rally yet to urge world leaders to act against climate change.
National Geogrpahic: As World’s Population Booms, Will Its Resources Be Enough for Us?
There are more than 7 billion people on Earth now, and roughly one in eight of us doesn’t have enough to eat. The question of how many people the Earth can support is a long-standing one that becomes more intense as the world’s population—and our use of natural resources—keeps booming.
When a 5.3 magnitude earthquake rattled Southern Colorado three years ago near Trinidad, scientists wondered what could have caused it. This week, they got their answer.
The U.S. Geological Survey says humans are to blame. More specifically: waste-water injections done by the oil and gas industry.
Despite previous claims, contaminated groundwater found in areas of Pennsylvania and Texas was not caused by controversial fracking drills.
Instead, the tainted water supplies are being blamed on problems in pipes and seals in nearby natural gas wells.
Experts focused on eight hydraulically fractured wells in both states, and used chemical analysis to determine when in the process of gas extraction methane leaked into groundwater.
China’s ban on “dirty” coal could cost Australia’s mining industry almost $1.5bn and force companies to find other markets or face prohibitively high processing costs, according to a leading resources economist.
Under new Chinese regulations, the use of coal with ash content higher than 16% and sulphur content above 1% will be restricted in the main population centres of the country from 1 January, 2015.
Few are as eager as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to see Japan’s idled nuclear reactors brought back into operation. Since the country flicked off the switch to its nuclear energy program a little more than a year ago, expensive energy imports, particularly of liquefied natural gas (LNG), have worsened trade deficits. That’s placed an extra burden on an economy that contracted at an annualized rate of 7.1 percent in the second quarter, its worst showing since 2009.
Scientific American: Used Batteries Might Help California Store Renewable Energy
Used batteries from plug-in electric vehicles could help California meet its goals for energy storage, a report from the University of California, Los Angeles, and UC Berkeley law schools said.
Germany has launched what it claims is Europe’s first and largest commercial battery plant, which will help to store renewable power sources. Such sources can prove erratic, as they are dependent on the elements, such as wind and the sun.
The new plant, opened by Wemag AG, will be able to store five megawatts –enough to power roughly 2,500 homes. With Germany committed to going green, one of the country’s biggest problems had been where to store excess energy. The country currently produces around 25 percent of its energy from green sources.
Note that electrical capacity is normally measured in MWh
Obama’s Former Science Official: ‘Climate Science Is Not Settled’
It was presented as shocking evidence of the damage being done by climate change: a species driven to extinction because of a decline in rainfall in its only habitat. Now the “rediscovery” of a species of snail is prompting questions about the role played by the Royal Society, Britain’s most prestigious scientific institution, in raising false alarm over an impact of climate change. –Ben Webster, The Times, 20 September 2014