Posts Tagged ‘electricity’


The researchers say ship exhaust can alter thunderstorm intensity. They seem to have ignored the fact that ships on the open seas have always been a natural target for lightning.

Thunderstorms directly above two of the world’s busiest shipping lanes are significantly more powerful than storms in areas of the ocean where ships don’t travel, according to new research reported at Phys.org.

A new study mapping lightning around the globe finds lightning strokes occur nearly twice as often directly above heavily-trafficked shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea than they do in areas of the ocean adjacent to shipping lanes that have similar climates.

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There are robust and reliable electricity supplies, or the other kind.

STOP THESE THINGS

Texans have been in the news for all the wrong reasons, over the last week or so.

Hurricane Harvey belted the Texan coast with 130 mph (209 kph) winds and delivered a deluge of biblical proportions.

For some time now, Texas has been the pinup girl for American wind worshippers. With some 21,000 MW of nominal capacity spread over 40 projects, like everything in Texas, wind power is ‘big’.

Except, of course, when the weather turns nasty.

Modern industrial wind turbines do not operate when wind speeds hit around 25 m/s (90kph or 55mph) – Hurricane Harvey dished up a gale double that speed, and more.

In order to prevent their catastrophic disintegration (as seen in the video below) Texas’s turbines downed tools, en masse, (as they are deliberately designed to do) leaving the critical work of providing power to storm battered Texans to its fleet of nuclear power plants.

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Lots of coal in Australia


Some say the ‘soaring prices and increased black outs’ mentioned in the report are at least partly due to over-hasty substitution of fuel-powered generation by expensive and intermittent renewable energy, mainly wind and solar. Now the argument is that Australia needs early action to try and prevent the situation getting even more serious.

Alan Finkel, Australia’s chief scientist, believes the country would be better off extending the life of existing coal-fired power plants, rather than investing in clean coal technology, as PEI reports.

Finkel says the move would increase Australia’s energy security in an affordable manner.

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This may go some way to counter complaints that it’s mostly the better-off who can afford to buy solar power and benefit from its subsidies. On the other hand even council tenant subsidies have to be paid from utility bills in the end.

Andrew James

Solar panels are to be installed in 800,000 low-income homes across England and Wales over the next five years, as part of a new government scheme.

The Dutch firm, Maas Capital is investing £160m in the project.

The panels are expected to save 100,000 tenants living in social housing hundreds of pounds, according to the UK firm Solarplicity.

The first tenants to benefit from the scheme include residents of a sheltered retirement home in Ealing, west London.

Speaking at the site, International Trade minister Greg Hands said, “This initial £160m capital expenditure programme will deliver massive benefits to some of the UK’s poorest households.

“As well as creating 1,000 jobs and delivering cheaper energy bills for up to 800,000 homes, it shows yet another vote of confidence in the UK as a place to invest and do business.”

The firm providing the panels, Solarplicity, will partner with more than 40…

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German wind farm [image credit: Dirk Ingo Franke / Wikipedia]


If the flood of subsidies looks like turning to a trickle, the backers of renewables soon get cold feet – in Germany at least, as Pierre Gosselin explains (via GWPF).

While Germany likes to fancy itself as being among the “global leaders” in tackling climate change by expanding green energies, the country has in fact taken very little action recently to back up the appearances.

If anything, Germany is more in the green energy retreat mode. There are good reasons for this.

German flagship business daily “Handelsblatt” reported yesterday how Germany’s wind energy market is now “threatening to implode” and as a result “thousands of jobs are at risk”.

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Waiting for a recharge


When are people going to notice that making electric cars compulsory would/will limit them to travelling relatively short distances from home without a break, assuming they can afford one at all?

Green groups have urged the government to demonstrate its commitment to clean growth by accelerating the proposed ban on diesel and petrol engine cars and vans, reports Utility Week.

In a new report published today (25 August), the Green Alliance of environmental charities and groups has called on ministers to require all new cars and vans to be zero emission by 2030.

In its air quality plan, published last month, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs set a target that petrol and diesel should be banned by 2040.

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Brew or battery charge?


Another potential snag for electric car owners in a hurry, as Auto Express reports.

Electric vehicle owners may not be able to rapidly charge their car at home at the same time as boiling a kettle, National Grid has warned.

The grid operator said that using a fast charger, which can be installed at home to reduce charging times, is likely to trip a house’s main fuse if used simultaneously with other ‘high demand’ items such as kettles, ovens and immersion heaters.

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Sydney, Australia


Sounds promising, but can these batteries make the leap from hearing aids to machinery in general? Developments – if any – awaited.

Zinc-air batteries are an enticing prospect thanks to their high energy density and the fact they’re made with some of the most common materials on Earth, says New Atlas.

Unfortunately, those advantages are countered by how difficult it is to recharge these cells. Now, a team at the University of Sydney has created new catalysts out of abundant elements that could see rechargeable zinc-air batteries vying with lithium-ion batteries in mobile devices.

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Credit: siemens.com


Could be expensive, but similar systems have already been installed in Sweden and California. No overtaking?

The German state of Hesse is to build a 10km-long highway with overhead power lines that trucks can connect to at speed with a pantograph, reports Power Engineering International.

Siemens Mobility are to develop the line to supply electricity to hybrid trucks, which will then be able to operate twice as efficiently as they would when running on petrol or diesel.

The company said that a 40-tonne truck running for 100,000km on an eHighway would realise €20,000 in reduced fuel costs.

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Credit: Solar Squared


Leaving aside questions like cost, effectiveness and ease of replacement, the idea is that ‘the electricity generated will then be available to power the building, be stored or used to charge electric vehicles’.

Buildings could soon be able to convert the sun’s energy into electricity without the need for solar panels, thanks to innovative new technology, reports Phys.org.

Renewable Energy experts from the University of Exeter are developing a pioneering new technique that could accelerate the widespread introduction of net-zero energy buildings through the latest Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV).

These products, similar to the solar tile created by Tesla, can become a part of a building’s architecture to generate electricity.

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As stopthesethings sums it up: ‘Third World outcomes with First World costs’. But will other renewables-mad governments take any notice?

STOP THESE THINGS

Diesel-fuelled jet engines: what promises to power
SA this summer and next summer and ..

If South Australia were a novel, it would find itself a place amongst the classic tragic comedies.

For a while the bromance between its vapid Premier, Jay Weatherill and Californian carpetbagger, Elon Musk might’ve earned a place in the ‘rom/com’ category, as well.

However, now that Jay Weatherill is determined to keep the lights on this Summer and beyond using diesel fuelled jet engines – instead of powering SA with sunshine and breezes captured and stored lovingly in Musk’s mega-batteries – that romance is clearly at an end.

South Australia generating electricity from rubbish and diesel powered jets, if they could only burn government regulations instead
Jo Nova Blog
Jo Nova
9 August 2017

A little update on our favourite green state.

SA tries to fix a Big-Government mess with a Bigger Government: Man-made regulations created…

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21st Century Scottish landscape


John Constable and Matt Ridley at Capx deliver the lowdown on how Scotland gets UK taxpayers to pay for its windfarms, even when there’s no wind – or too much wind.

Imagine a sausage factory – the luckiest, most profitable sausage factory in the world. Its machines crank out their sausages, and lorries carry them to supermarkets. So far, so normal.

But this particular factory makes as many sausages as the management and staff choose. If they feel like taking the day off, the lorries and shelves stay empty. If they want to go a bit wild, they sometimes make so many sausages that there aren’t enough lorries to take them away. Or they carry on cranking out sausages even if the shelves are already full.

And here’s the really amazing thing: even when the lorries can’t cope or there is no demand for sausages, the factory gets paid.

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If cars are to be electric only there will obviously be a massive increase in demand on the National Grid as a result – and that’s only one of a number of major issues arising from such a policy, such as cost and practicality. Whether hybrids would still be allowed is not clear.

New diesel and petrol cars and vans will be banned in the UK from 2040 in a bid to tackle air pollution, the government is set to announce.

Ministers will also unveil a £255m fund to help councils tackle emissions from diesel vehicles, as part of a £3bn package of spending on air quality, reports BBC News.

The government will later publish its clean air strategy, favouring electric cars, before a High Court deadline.

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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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Whitelee wind farm, Scotland [image credit: Bjmullan / Wikipedia]


Wherever onshore wind turbines are built there will also be networks of electricity pylons to carry the power away. Tourism is big business in windy Scotland.

A survey carried out on behalf of the John Muir Trust (JMT) found that 55% of respondents were “less likely” to venture into areas of the countryside industrialised by giant turbines, electricity pylons and super-quarries, reports The Times (via GWPF).

Just 3% said they were “more likely” to visit such areas, while 26% said such large-scale developments would make “no difference”. The poll has rekindled calls for Scottish ministers to increase protection for wild and scenic areas that, it is argued, will protect rural tourism businesses.

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Volvo to go all electric from 2019

Posted: July 5, 2017 by oldbrew in Emissions, News, Travel
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The internal combustion engine will still be on offer, as autofreaks.com reports, but what the headline means is that there will be at least some element of electric propulsion, including electric-only models, in every Volvo from 2019. Will other car makers follow?

Volvo today announced that every model it launches from 2019 will have an electric motor, marking the historic end of cars that only have an internal combustion engine (ICE) and placing electrification at the core of its future business.

The announcement represents one of the most significant moves by any car maker to embrace electrification and highlights how over a century after the invention of the internal combustion engine electrification is paving the way for a new chapter in automotive history.

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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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Image credit: Eviation


No details of costs in this IB Times report, but Eviation claims that its electric aircraft is made possible by a new aluminum air battery.

As electric cars slowly become commonplace in towns and cities, electric planes are slowly edging their way out of science fiction and into the real world.

At the International Paris Air Show, Israel-based Eviation Aircraft revealed the first prototype of its all-electric airplane, called the Alice Commuter, which is claimed to have a range of up to 600 miles at almost 280mph.

If Eviation can stick to that timeline then the progress in electronic aviation is nothing short of staggering. Just two years ago, Icelandic airline Wow Air ran an April Fool’s day joke about it launching an all-electric.

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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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Image credit: thedrive.com


Yet another supposedly ‘climate-friendly’ policy gets called into question as Phys.org reports. ‘Costs a fortune’ and ‘has little effect’ are two of the criticisms.

Subsidizing the purchase of electric cars in Canada is an inefficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that is not cost effective, according to a Montreal Economic Institute study released Thursday.

“It’s just a waste,” said Germain Belzile, one of the authors of the study, which examined electric vehicle subsidies offered by Canada’s two biggest provinces Ontario and Quebec, which can rise to as much as a third of a vehicle’s purchase price, depending on the model. “Not only do these programs cost taxpayers a fortune, but they also have little effect on GHG emissions,” he said.

The government of Quebec has set a goal of having one million electric and hybrid vehicles on its roads by 2030, up from 6,000 currently. Ontario has the same objective.

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