A shocking statistic, when you consider wage increases for many low income families have been below inflation for most of this time. The Government report on fuel poverty needs to be read with this graph in mind. H/T the Carbon Brief.
Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category
Reposted from Dan Cass & Co
This budget reflects the pessimistic view of solar and wind industries held by Martin Ferguson, Minister for Resources and Energy. There is $60 million additional funding for emerging geothermal and wave technology, regulation of renewable energy markets but mostly this budget shifts big money out beyond the forward estimates or cuts it outright.
Solar Flagships $850 million remains in the forward estimates from the promised $1.5 billion for building large scale solar PV and solar thermal power stations. This is a hit on Australia’s solar sector of $650 million over forward estimates.
(Funds remaining in Solar Flagships are 2011/2 $163.3 mill, 12/13 $163.1 mill, 13/4 $241 mill, 14/5 $283 mill.)
Previous cuts announced to pay for natural disasters cut $150mill and another budget line has cuts of $220mill. In theory the rest of the $1.5 billion program “will be restored beyond the forward estimates”, which means little if anything.
Cracking comment from Peter Lilley MP in the Spectator:
The scandal of official reluctance to develop Britain’s shale gas potential is at last beginning to surface. It may prove to be the dress rehearsal for the ultimate drama — the inexorable collapse of our whole energy strategy.
Most of us have by now heard about the US shale gas revolution. In little more than six years, shale gas has reduced America’s gas prices to a third of what they are in Europe, increased huge tax revenues, rebalanced the economy, created tens of thousands of jobs, brought industry and manufacturing back to the country’s heartlands, and given rise to a real prospect of American energy self-sufficiency by 2030.
Britain may well have comparable shale resources. Indeed, the Bowman shale in Lancashire is a mile thick, whereas most US shale plays are just 300 to 500 feet thick — a strangely unpublicised piece of good news. If shale gas proves abundant it could help the government meet three key objectives: rebalancing the public finances by generating large tax revenues, rebalancing the economy by boosting manufacturing, and rebalancing the north/south divide by creating jobs and a whole new industry in the north.
The powerful employers’ group BusinessEurope has called on European Commission President José Manuel Barroso to radically shift the EU’s energy policy away from climate change mitigation towards cost-competitiveness and security of supply.
Speaking after a regular meeting with the ‘Social partners’ chaired by Barroso yesterday (2 May), BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer argued that the EU should re-industrialise and that for this purpose a change of energy policy was needed.
BusinessEurope is the the organisation representing 41 industrial and employers’ federations in 35 European countries, which is seen by its critics as the most powerful lobbyist with many friends in the European Commission’s leadership.
Beyrer argued for the need to re-industrialise Europe. “The crisis has shown that Europe cannot be successful with an industry quota way below 20%. We think [20%] is the right target,” he said.
In order to make the continent competitive, energy policy should be “totally re-shaped,”
From the “Why didn’t we do some more R&D before carpeting the country in useless bird killing machines” department:
A Tunisian wind energy startup says it is in talks with a number of major industrial players as it looks to move its bladeless wind towers to a commercial scale.
Saphon Energy’s sail inspired towers wobble in the wind, with pistons converting kinetic energy to electricity. It says that by removing blades and gearboxes it can “comfortably” reduce the cost of wind energy by 25%.
Empirical tests it has conducted suggest bladeless wind devices could be 2.3 to 2.5 times more efficient than three-blade turbines, capturing about 60-70% of the wind’s kinetic energy.
So it wasn’t just my greenhouse which got destroyed in the gales on earlier this week. This from the Industrial Wind Action Group:
“It’s worrying because there are so many turbines in this area. If someone had been walking by when this came down it could have been very serious.”
By Jan Lopatka
PRAGUE, April 17 (Reuters) – Czech grid operator CEPS has backed a plan to build transformers to guard against excess flows of German wind-produced electricity which threaten neighbouring transmission systems, a CEPS official said on Wednesday.
The move could complicate efforts to find a regional solution to the problem of surges of renewable electricity from Germany.
CEPS Supervisory Board Chairman Tomas Huener told Reuters that the board approved a plan to install phase-shifters, or transformers, which will protect the Czech grid and could be built by 2016.
a remarkable new oil and gas find that has gone almost unremarked:
There it was, a remarkable stat buried among many that should have made everyone at the Dallas Convention Centre take a deep breath. According to the source, just one oil play in the Texas Midland Basin, the Spraberry/Wolfcap shale, may have a total recoverable resource of up to 50 billion barrels using new tight-oil extraction technologies. This revelation presents us all with an arresting number, if indeed that much oil is producible from a region already famous for its hydrocarbon potential. For one thing, supplementary data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency shows that only 1.3 billion barrels have been produced from the legacy region since its original discovery in 1949. So tapping into the multizone Spraberry/Wolfcap with horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing processes is a like finding a virgin oil field – a very big one at that.
Here’s a new paper from Giorgieva et al which finds strong correlation between the ‘ak’ index of geomagnetic activity and global temperature change since the 1860′s. This suggests a bigger role for the Sun in climate change than is admitted by the IPCC. H/T the Hockeyschtick via ’Oldbrew’.
Solar activity, together with human activity, is considered a possible factor for
the global warming observed in the last century. However, in the last decades solar activity
has remained more or less constant while surface air temperature has continued to increase,
which is interpreted as an evidence that in this period human activity is the main factor for
global warming.We show that the index commonly used for quantifying long-term changes
in solar activity, the sunspot number, accounts for only one part of solar activity and using
this index leads to the underestimation of the role of solar activity in the global warming
in the recent decades. A more suitable index is the geomagnetic activity which reflects all
solar activity, and it is highly correlated to global temperature variations in the whole period
for which we have data.
20 years ago, I met two bright British engineers who had developed a superb piece of engineering technology. The setup was in two units about the size of steel lorry containers. One contained a fairly stock steam turbine and generator set, capable of producing around a Megawatt. The other unit contained their invention. It consisted of a chain-link conveyor belt made from high quality chrome-vanadium steel, which ran through a chamber from which air was excluded. In this chamber, waste materials such as old car tyres were heated to very high temperatures without burning, due to the lack of oxygen.
Through the process of pyrolysis, the tyres would be reduced to their constituents, and the volatile combustible gases were transferred to a second chamber where they were combusted under very carefully controlled conditions. This enabled the combustion process to be very efficient. The heat generated by the combustion was then run round the first chamber, generating the heat needed to perform the pyrolysis process on the following tyres, and from there to a heat exchanger where steam was developed to power the turbine, and spin the generating set to produce electricity.