Roger is on holiday and so this is the first blowout I’ve done for a while. The main local story this week is the prospective closure of Longannet, my local 2.4 GW coal fired power station. The SNP, Scottish independence party, is seeking assurance that we can become dependent on English electricity. Elsewhere snow storms in the USA, Turkey and The Middle East have been making headlines. And there is rumour of Congressional hearings into adjusting temperature records.
Nicola Sturgeon has demanded assurances from the prime minister on the security of Scotland’s electricity supplies.
It follows BBC Scotland’s disclosure that the huge coal-fired power station at Longannet in Fife is facing a renewed threat to its future.
Scottish Power, which operates the plant, warned last year that the cost of connecting to the grid meant the station may close earlier than planned.
Snow in Jerusalem, just one of many anticipated consequences of global warming.
Bishop Hill: Congressional hearings?
According to the Daily Caller, Republicans in the US Congress seem set to announce hearings into the surface temperature records. This intelligence was based on a tweet from Dana Rohrabacher, the vice chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.
A two-day blizzard had dropped 24 inches of snow on Istanbul before it finally let up on Thursday, catching off guard a city of 14 million that rarely gets more than a short-lived dusting.
A winter storm descended on parts of the Middle East, with snow forcing the closure of all roads leading in and out of Jerusalem and sprinkling Israel’s desert with a rare layer of white. Snow also fell in parts of the West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria as a cold front swept through the region. The Holy Land’s ancient sites were picture-postcard pretty. Snow capped the golden Dome of the Rock (above), a Muslim site in Jerusalem, dusted the Western Wall, a Jewish holy site, and blanketed the Nativity Church in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, where Christian tradition holds that Jesus was born.
A number of record lows were broken on Thursday, including in Washington, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Midwest temperatures dropped to -40C (-40F).
The cold has been blamed for at least 19 deaths, many in Tennessee where temperatures were far lower than usual.
They were hailed by the Government as “a new stage in Britain’s green energy investment boom”: five big new offshore wind farm projects, awarded £12 billion in subsidy contracts less than a year ago.
But this week, evidence is expected to emerge that the prices handed to the projects were too generous – saddling consumers with millions of pounds in needlessly high energy bill levies for 15 years to come.
Anti-fracking groups have called on the Scottish government to extend its moratorium on the development of unconventional gas.
They want it to include underground coal gasification (UCG), a technique used to produce gas from coal seams deep underground.
The groups claimed it was the most “experimental and frightening method”.
The UK is on track to meet its renewable energy goals, with wind power substituting for gas and coal use and driving down greenhouse gas emissions, according to new analyses. However, the actions of the next government are likely to be crucial in deciding whether the legally binding targets can be met.
THE early closure of Longannet’s coal-fired power station would be the final chapter in a sorry tale, writes Brian Wilson.
If there was a gold medal for brass neck, Nicola Sturgeon would have been on the rostrum this week for her breathtaking demand that David Cameron should intervene to keep Scotland’s lights on.
The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped in 2013 by 2.4 per cent, official figures have revealed, with the country’s energy sector contributing the most to the reduction.
The energy sector, responsible for 33 per cent of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and by far the most significant polluter, achieved a 6.8 per cent drop in its carbon footprint, largely attributed to the decrease in the use of coal for energy generation and the spread of renewable resources.
Scotland is facing having to import power from England to keep the lights on, Vince Cable has suggested as a leading expert attacked the SNP’s “anti-everything” energy policy.
The Business Secretary said the mooted closure of the Longannet power station in Fife within three years would not jeopardise the country’s electricity supply because it could import energy from south of the Border
Energy Voice: One reason this oil bust may be different
While the oil markets continue to struggle with oversupply, concerns about climate change are driving innovation in the renewables field. Unlike past oil busts, renewables such as solar power are continuing to expand, during both the run up to last year’s peak in crude prices and during the decline of the past seven months.