Posts Tagged ‘electricity’


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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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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Anyone who fondly imagines that wind and solar power are about to become as cheap as chips in some glorious renewable future, should read this tale of Australian woe.

STOP THESE THINGS

No way back from here: Malcolm muddles & Frydenberg fudges.

***

Australia’s energy crisis is a self-inflicted calamity with no apparent end in sight.

The PM, Malcolm Turnbull seems intent on protecting his son, Alex’s investment in Australia’s most notorious wind power outfit, Infigen (see our post here).

While his gormless Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg behaves like a punch-drunk boxer, who cannot land a punch and with absolutely no idea what’s going on around him.

Into that mix strides Alan Finkel; a boffin tasked with trying to rescue Australia’s power grid from imminent collapse, the consequence of loading it up with intermittent, chaotic and erratic wind and solar power.

Some see Finkel as the Great White Hope.

STT will reserve its judgement on that matter: bright and shiny ideas are one thing, implementing them over a pack of rabid, salivating rent-seekers out to prevent you from doing so is…

View original post 1,061 more words

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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One high-altitude nuclear test even managed to create its own artificial aurora. Others knocked out orbiting satellites.

Our Cold War history is now offering scientists a chance to better understand the complex space system that surrounds us, says Phys.org.

Space weather — which can include changes in Earth’s magnetic environment— is usually triggered by the sun’s activity, but recently declassified data on high-altitude nuclear explosion tests have provided a new look at the mechanisms that set off perturbations in that magnetic system.

Such information can help support NASA’s efforts to protect satellites and astronauts from the natural radiation inherent in space. From 1958 to 1962, the U.S. and U.S.S.R. ran high-altitude tests with exotic code names like Starfish, Argus and Teak.

The tests have long since ended, and the goals at the time were military. Today, however, they can provide crucial information on how humans can affect space.

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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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Credit: Wave Swell Energy


It’s essentially an artificial blowhole according to the company CEO. They say the device uses resonance to make the most energy out of the water that washes into it, by operating at the natural frequency of the waves, and claim it’s ‘120% more efficient than a conventional device’.

Wave Swell Energy plans to install a commercial scale wave energy plant in the Bass Strait, off King Island in Tasmania, reports Tidal Energy Today.

Wave Swell’s series of one-megawatt generators will cost up to $7 million to build, and at peak times will provide up to half the power for King Island’s 1,600 residents, according to the Australian Maritime College (AMC).

The Australian-based wave energy developer said it expects the cost of wave power to be less than 10 cents per kilowatt hour when built at scale.

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Bret Stephens at The New York Times delves into the erroneous ‘climate-friendly’ image of biofuels, and questions the claimed success of renewables in general. Not new criticisms, but new for the NYT at least.

A few extracts from the piece:
“Converting biomass feedstocks to biofuels is an environmentally friendly process. So is using biofuels for transportation. When we use bioethanol instead of gasoline, we help reduce atmospheric CO2.”

These confident assurances come from “Biofuels: A Solution for Climate Change,” a paper published in 1999 by the Clinton administration’s Department of Energy. Feels a little dated in its scientific assumptions, doesn’t it?
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World’s hottest borehole, Iceland [credit: BBC]


Not much oil or gas, but plenty of steam available for use in Iceland as Phys.org reports.

It’s named after a Nordic god and drills deep into the heart of a volcano: “Thor” is a rig that symbolises Iceland’s leading-edge efforts to produce powerful clean energy.

If successful, the experimental project could produce up to 10 times more energy than an existing conventional gas or oil well, by generating electricity from the heat stored inside the earth: in this case, volcanic areas.

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H/T Power Engineering International

Reports of the death of coal-fired electricity power plants have been greatly exaggerated, in Asia at least. Maybe they noticed that wind turbines need wind and solar power is a daytime only option, neither offering reliability of supply.

Officials at the Pakistani water and power ministry have said Chinese companies are expected to spend around $15bn over the next 15 years to build close to a dozen coal-fired power plants of varying sizes around the country.

Reuters reports that Mohammed Younus Dagha, the former federal secretary for water and power, who became commerce secretary at the end of March, is emphasising that the coal plants are part of a larger plan.

That is the $54bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which includes spending of about $33bn on a total of 19 energy projects, including coal-fired and renewable power plants, transmission lines, and other infrastructure.

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‘Smart’ meter [image credit: heartland.org]


H/T GWPF

Existing not-so-smart meters could be a big problem in the UK when a new system is introduced later this year, since they can’t handle a change of supplier.

Six million smart electricity and gas meters installed in homes since 2012 may have to be replaced to make them work with a new communications network which was switched on in November but is still not being used, Paul Lewis Money reports.

Despite that, energy companies are busy installing more of them to try to meet a government target to get one in every home by the end of 2020.
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