Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

Former Tilbury power station


If this goes ahead it’s likely to be finished years before the troubled Hinkley Point nuclear plant.

German utility RWE has commenced the planning process for the construction of a 2.5 GW gas-fired power plant in Essex, England, reports Power Engineering International.

If the development is to proceed it would be a big boost for the UK energy system, as old coal and nuclear plants are being taken out of the equation.

RWE is starting the planning process to build a 2.5 GW gas power plant in Tilbury, Essex on the site of a former biomass station in what could be a potential boost to the UK energy system.

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Credit: NASA

The report at Phys.org explains that “Even though the moon blocking the sun during a solar eclipse and clouds blocking sunlight to Earth’s surface are two different phenomena, both require similar mathematical calculations to accurately understand their effects.”

It was mid-afternoon, but it was dark in an area in Boulder, Colorado on Aug. 3, 1998. A thick cloud appeared overhead and dimmed the land below for more than 30 minutes. Well-calibrated radiometers showed that there were very low levels of light reaching the ground, sufficiently low that researchers decided to simulate this interesting event with computer models.

Now in 2017, inspired by the event in Boulder, NASA scientists will explore the moon’s eclipse of the sun to learn more about Earth’s energy system. On Aug. 21, 2017, scientists are looking to this year’s total solar eclipse passing across America to improve our modelling capabilities of Earth’s energy.

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Excerpt from an open letter to the head of MIT:

Professor Reif of MIT says, “In 2016 alone, solar industry employment grew by 25 percent, while wind jobs grew 32%.” These numbers are highly misleading. In fact, they underscore how deficient these energy sources are as job creators.

Growing jobs by subsidy is easy, provided that one cares nothing for the far greater number of jobs destroyed by the additional taxation, energy price hikes or public borrowing necessary to pay for the subsidy. Several studieshave shown that the creation of one “green” job results in the loss of two to four jobs elsewhere in the economy. In Spain the estimated ratio was two jobs lost for each one created by renewable energy, prompting the government to finally end most renewable subsidies.

And yet, despite all those subsidies, wind and solar power generation expensively and unreliably account for 5.6% and 0.9% of total U.S. electricity production, respectively. On its own, electricity provides only a small fraction of total energy consumption, including transportation, industrial processes, heating and electricity generation, so these numbers actually exaggerate the contribution of wind and solar facilities to overall energy consumption.

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trump-zap

If you go by the mainstream media’s lockstep ‘coverage’ of the US president’s first six months, he is no more nor less than a tweeting buffoon. A comforting narrative for cant-addicted newsroom hacks and groupthinkers, it handily avoids any and all mooting of Australia’s need to follow his lead.

Our federal and state politicians scuttle about looking for innovative new ways to strangle the Australian energy sector. But across the Pacific, America is unleashing a world-changing energy revolution. The world’s energy fundamentals are in transition. Donald Trump is liberating American coal, gas, oil and nuclear industries from eight years of Obama’s harassment and restrictions.

The consequences for us as a player in energyexport markets are dire. In an officially supportive environment, Australian energy could hold its share – intrinsically, it has  global competitiveness. But politics here involves ‘renewables’ targets and other sacrifices to please the climate gods,  bans  such as Victoria’s on normal and fracked gas exploration, official and green lawfare against every new energy project (think Adani), impromptu Turnbull restrictions on LNG exports, Sargasso seas of red tape, and  on-going fatwas against nuclear proposals.

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Governor on the wind power fiasco: ‘Decisions made now will affect, and perhaps destroy, our state government financially over the next 14 years.’

You couldn’t make it up.

STOP THESE THINGS

As Mark Twain put it: “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” And, even when the dupe accepts his folly, sorry seems to be the hardest word.

Frank Keating was governor of Oklahoma 1995-2003 and is responsible for its wind power calamity, as he calls it.

Uncharacteristically of a modern politician, Keating taps into that fast disappearing virtue – grace – not only admitting that he was fooled, but sincerely apologising for the harm caused to Okies and their State.

Frank Keating: I signed wind industry tax breaks, and I was wrong
Tulsa World
Frank Keating
25 February 2017

In 2001, when I served as governor of Oklahoma, I signed legislation creating the Zero Emissions Tax Credit for industrial wind energy. The tax credit was designed to give a jump-start to a wind industry in its infancy in Oklahoma at the time. It was…

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The dash for renewables in South Australia has gone so badly wrong that crisis measures are now called for, as PEI reports.

A large-scale temporary power solution is being considered, as South Australia struggles to ensure its energy security.

A 250 MW ship-based power station is under consideration as a solution to the crisis for the Australian state, which has seen a lot of investment in renewable power over recent years, while old fossil stations were retired.

The Turkish ship could be operational by the end of the year for less than the $360m budgeted for a new state-owned gas-fired power plant of the same capacity.

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There’s the wind, water, and solar (WWS) vision promoted by a few academics, and then there’s economic and technical reality – with a seriously large chasm in between.

Friends of Science Calgary

Contributed by Robert Lyman © 2017

A new paper prepared by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Earth System Laboratory and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is drawing attention in policy circles in the U.S. The paper critiques the claims of a study by Mark Jacobson et. al. that it is feasible, at low cost, to achieve 100% conversion of the U.S. electricity generation system to wind, hydroelectricity and solar energy by 2050 (the “WWS Vision”).

The authors of the critique include experts in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, who could not be accused of being “climate sceptics”. Indeed, they have previously authored reports in which they concluded that an 80% decarbonisation of the U.S. electrical grid eventually could be achieved at “reasonable” cost, assuming that a broad suite of generation options and other technologies are employed. Their critique of the Jacobson…

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Credit: Kite Power Systems [click to enlarge]


It may be hard to imagine large scale use of kites to generate electricity, but this is the concept being tested in Scotland with some big name backers behind it.

Kite Power Systems (KPS) has secured £2 million equity investment from the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) says Utility Week.

The Scottish economy secretary, Keith Brown confirmed the news yesterday (22 June), following a visit to Kellwood Engineering in Dumfries, where KPS’s latest 500kw demonstration model is being built. Brown said the company’s approach to wind energy “shows great promise”.

“The company has recently relocated from Essex to Glasgow and this £2 million investment from the SIB will enable it to expand further and demonstrate the latest iteration of its kite power technology in Scotland,” he added.

KPS has developed a power system that features two kites, which fly up to an altitude of 1500 feet. Both kites are attached by tethers to a winch system, which generates electricity as the winch spools out. 

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Planned nuclear power station at Hinkley Point


For some reason the UK has chosen to pay a lot more for its new nuclear power than anywhere else, using untried and complex technology, and now even the country’s own auditors are complaining about it. The fear seems to be that it could prove to be a vastly expensive pig in a poke.

UK government plans for a new £18bn nuclear power station have come under fire from public auditors, who call it “a risky and expensive project”, BBC news reports.

The case for the Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset was “marginal” and the deal was “not value for money”, according to the National Audit Office (NAO). The NAO said the government had not sufficiently considered the costs and risks for consumers.

The government said building the plant was an “important strategic decision”. The report comes nine months after the government granted final approval for the project, which is being financed by the French and Chinese governments.

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Biomass on the move [image credit: Drax]


Are we nearing the end of the road for further large-scale wood pellet burning at UK power stations? Cheaper gas from either US or UK fracking must now be influencing business plans.

PEI reports the UK’s biggest power producer Drax is considering the conversion of its remaining coal-fired power units to gas, instead of biomass power, as originally planned.

Management believe a gas-fired power conversion would allow the company to qualify for 15-year contracts in the country’s capacity market auctions. As the government has already changed its stance on renewable energy subsidies which had made biomass conversion attractive, this would be a logical step for Drax.

The company has already converted half of its Yorkshire coal plant to burn wood pellets, but plans to switch the remaining units to biomass have since halted due to the government decision.

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Some day UK leaders might work out that the energy policies of recent years have cost far too much for no good reason. But nobody’s holding their breath waiting for that day. Reducing bills while driving up costs does not compute.

The U.K.’s search for 100 billion pounds ($127 billion) to maintain electricity supplies is likely to become tougher after the Conservative government lost its parliamentary majority in an election last week, says the GWPF.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who is leading a minority government, will need to focus more than ever to get consensus from lawmakers on Britain’s exit from the European Union. That leaves little time for setting new policies that could bolster the case for investing in new energy infrastructure, industry officials said.

“There’s not going to be an energy policy,” Guy Madgwick, managing director of Northern Europe for wind turbine manufacturer Senvion SA, said in a phone interview. “It’s nowhere near the top of their list.”
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josh-trumped

Sammy Wilson was the Democratic Unionist Party’s environment minister in 2008-9. He campaigned vigorously for the United Kingdom to leave the EU and believes that the country would be better served being in charge of our own finances, trade and immigration laws. He serves on the Brexit Committee at Westminster. No wonder the left wing are upset by the DUP’s importance in the new political order at Westminster following the general election:

Sammy-wilsonThe very wise decision by the US President to pull out of the totally flawed and pointless Paris Climate Change agreement, presents huge problems for the UK and the Government’s ongoing trade and industry strategy. It also raises big issues for an energy expensive area like Northern Ireland which has the most expensive electricity costs in the UK.

America is rebuilding its economy on cheap energy from shale gas and shale oil. Already it is attracting manufacturing jobs back to its shore from overseas because energy prices have plummeted due to the massive fall in prices as fracking of shale gas gathers pace. So cheap is its energy that it now pays to ship gas from America to Grangemouth Scotland rather than use gas from the North Sea. If we wish to remain competitive and increase trade with America we cannot ignore the actions of Donald Trump.

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On Sunday I gave a 10 minute presentation at a UKIP policy forum on climate and energy policy. This was well received and in the break-out group sessions during the afternoon, I found myself volunteered to chair the discussion and write-up our deliberations.

Forgive the wobbly video near the start. My cameraman decided to head round the other side of the room so I wasn’t blocking the view of the screen.

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Credit: sciencedaily.com


This is about using the batteries of electric cars, vans etc. as a resource to support the national electricity network. Why it should need to be considered at all is an interesting question. They talk of “improving network capacity and helping to make renewable energy sources more affordable and more widely available”.

UK electricity distribution company Northern Powergrid has signed “a ground-breaking industry partnership” with electric vehicle manufacturer Nissan, reports Power Engineering International

The two organisations will work together over the next six years on examining how electric vehicles, batteries and other technologies can support energy networks.

They will also explore how new technologies can enhance the capacity, capability and resilience of the region’s power network to make it more active and responsive to the growing and changing demands of both domestic and commercial customers. 

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Credit: ktuu.com


Holding vast stockpiles does seem outdated when you can produce your own at an increasingly rapid rate, thanks to new discoveries and modern techniques like fracking.

US President Donald Trump’s 2018 budgetary proposals, currently before Congress, have irked many and tucked in the fine print is an outrageous (says the IB Times) plan to sell over 50% or 687m barrels of the country’s government-owned strategic petroleum reserves (SPR), stockpiled in the states of Texas and Louisiana as an emergency measure.

The SPR was created by the US government following the 1973 oil crisis, which saw several Middle Eastern Opec members impose an oil embargo following Washington’s backing of Israel in the Yom Kippur War.

Unconcerned by current geopolitics, the Trump administration says the sale could generate $16bn for US taxpayers over the next 10 years.

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Yes folks, they’re going to burn wood on an industrial scale and call it ‘climate-friendly’. You couldn’t make it up.

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

image

By Fred Pearce

It looks like greenwash. European nations publicly keen to boost their climate credentials by switching to “green” biomass are accused of working behind the scenes to expunge their carbon emissions from burning wood in power stations from national emissions statistics.

“If we don’t measure emissions when trees are cut, we won’t measure them at all,” says Hannah Mowat of FERN, a European NGO working to save the continent’s forests, who has followed the EU negotiations on the issue.

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Credit: tylertexasonline.com


Some experts call it ‘unprecedented’. But as the Tyler Morning Telegraph reports: ‘there’s a caveat. Technically recoverable doesn’t mean profitable – yet.’

As far back as 1911, geologists predicted that significant mineral wealth lay below East Texas, in what was then called the Woodbine Stratum – a formation above the Haynesville Shale.

And Columbus Marion “Dad” Joiner proved them right in 1930, when the Daisy Bradford No. 3 well struck oil just outside Henderson in western Rusk County.

It was really just a drill stem test – they weren’t expecting to hit anything. But at 3,592 feet, Joiner tapped into what was for years thought to be the largest oil and gas reserves in the world. But no-one predicted the vastness of the energy wealth available here.

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Credit: phys.org


Methane hydrates have been known about for years, but cost and technical difficulties have so far been barriers to exploiting them on any kind of scale. Claims that they could ‘flood the atmosphere with climate-changing greenhouse gases’ are the usual over-the-top propaganda.

Commercial development of the globe’s huge reserves of a frozen fossil fuel known as “combustible ice” has moved closer to reality after Japan and China successfully extracted the material from the seafloor off their coastlines, says Phys.org.

But experts said Friday that large-scale production remains many years away—and if not done properly could flood the atmosphere with climate-changing greenhouse gases.

Combustible ice is a frozen mixture of water and concentrated natural gas. Technically known as methane hydrate, it can be lit on fire in its frozen state and is believed to comprise one of the world’s most abundant fossil fuels.

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Credit: fuelfix.com


Thanks to ever-improving technology, one shale CEO said earlier this year about U.S. oil production: “We’ve doubled it. We can double it again.”

So far it has cost Saudi Arabia something like $200 billion to undertake one of the most expensive experiments of all time, says the GWPF.

The Saudi government has been draining its massive $2 trillion sovereign wealth fund to cover revenues lost from the petroleum price collapse over the past couple of years.

What we’re witnessing is a two-part test. The first question is how much damage have low oil prices caused America’s shale industry. Then the second and far more critical part of the test: As oil prices rise, will the shale industry limp or roar back? If it roars back, high oil prices are history.

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How Moorside might look [credit: in-cumbria.com]

Moorside no more? The UK doesn’t seem to be making much, if any, progress with its plans for new nuclear power plants, as the old ones head for retirement.

The GMB union has once again demanded that the government “stop faffing” and step in to save the Moorside nuclear development from falling apart, reports Utility Week.

The union made the comments after Utility Week reported yesterday that National Grid has shelved a multi-billion project to connect the proposed plant to the transmission network.

GMB slammed the government for “continued dithering” following the latest in a series of setbacks.

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