Posts Tagged ‘energy policy’


Decision time looks to be nearing on this issue, as Phys.org reports. Place your bets.

US compliance with its commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change would be “crippling” to growth, the White House said Friday.

During his election campaign, avowed climate sceptic Donald Trump promised to exit the 2015 UN pact on limiting global warming.

But Trump has now said he will make a decision after returning to Washington following the G7 summit in Sicily which starts Friday, at the end of his international tour.

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Holding vast stockpiles does seem outdated when you can produce your own at an increasingly rapid rate, thanks to new discoveries and modern techniques like fracking.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

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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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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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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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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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Credit: dragonproductsltd.com


H/T GWPF / RealClearEnergy

The author notes that ‘the rigs are getting roughly twice as productive every three years. No other energy technology is improving that quickly.’

Wind and solar are now experiencing a declining rate of improvement as those technologies start to approach their limits in terms of what physics permits. Shale technology is a long way from its physics limits. In fact, the shale industry is at the beginning of what I’ve earlier termed Shale 2.0.

The Promethean task of supplying energy to the U.S. economy and the rest of the world involves scales that are truly difficult to visualize. Many options appear to make sense until you crunch the numbers. That’s why Bill Gates said that people need to bring “math skills to the problem.”

Consider petroleum alone, which accounts for about one-third of global energy use.
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Credit: globalccsinstitute.com


There goes another £2 billion or so. The long-term aim is ‘de-carbonising the UK gas networks through conversion to 100 per cent hydrogen’ – just as UK shale gas drilling is about to start.

Plans to convert the gas grid in Leeds to run entirely on hydrogen have moved a step closer to becoming reality says Utility Week, after Northern Gas Networks opened an office in the city dedicated to the endeavour.

The office has been tasked with delivering innovative projects which prove the case for conversion to hydrogen, not just for Leeds but for the whole of the UK.

Northern Gas Networks (NGN) opened the site with the help of Leeds City Council to further examine, and build the foundations to deliver, the conversion strategy outlined in its H21 Leeds City Gate study.  

The research project, which was funded through the Network Innovation Allowance and conducted alongside Wales and West Utilities, concluded last year that substituting natural gas with hydrogen in UK networks would be “technically possible and economically viable”.
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Enthusiasm fading for renewables targets?


This could put a bit of sanity back into UK electricity generation policy, if it happens.

Britain is preparing to scrap EU green energy targets which will add more than £100 to the average energy bill as part of a bonfire of red tape after Brexit, says the GWPF.
 
Government sources told The Daily Telegraph that the target, under the EU Renewable Energy Directive, is likely to be scrapped after Brexit.

The UK is currently committed to getting 15 per cent of all energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2020. Ministers have long been critical of the targets because they exclude nuclear power, carbon capture or gains from energy efficiency.

The UK is currently on course to miss the target and incur millions of pounds in fines from the European Union.
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Booker describes how fortunes are being wasted on so-called ‘green’ schemes, while achieving little except loss of reliability in the national electricity supply.

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-4392220/Green-initiatives-disasters-says-Christopher-Booker.html

Booker with a hard hitting piece about the Climate Change Act in the Mail:

What a parable for our times the great diesel scandal has been, as councils vie to see which can devise the heaviest taxes on nearly half the cars in Britain because they are powered by nasty, polluting diesel.

This week, it was announced many diesel drivers will soon have to pay fully £24 a day to drive into Central London, while 35 towns across the country are thinking of following suit. Already some councils charge up to £90 more for a permit to park a diesel car.

The roots of this debacle go back to the heyday of Tony Blair’s government, when his chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, became obsessed with the need to fight global warming.

Although he was an expert in ‘surface chemistry’ — roughly speaking, the study…

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You couldn’t make it up. Insisting on spending a fortune when much cheaper and better options are available makes no sense, but climate obsessives plough on regardless.

STOP THESE THINGS

If what Australia’s political brains trust has done to its once reliable and affordable power supply had been done by external agents, it would have been branded an act of terrorism.

The so-called ‘wind power capital’ of Australia, South Australia has become an international laughing stock: statewide blackouts, routine load shedding and rocketing power prices might be enough, you would think, to make its Labor government see sense.

Far from it, it is now looking to spend $150 million on a giant battery that will return power to the grid and ‘power’ SA for all of four minutes and to set up somewhere between 200 and 250 MW of diesel generation capacity to keep the lights on, whenever the wind stops blowing.

The absurdity of throwing $550 million at a perfectly avoidable problem, when Jay Weatherill had the option of paying a mere $30 million to Alinta to keep its…

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Credit: wheels.ca


But where will the hydrogen come from? As the report says: ‘Questions remain over how to supply hydrogen in a low-carbon cost-effective manner’. The trouble is these questions have been around for ever and show no sign of going away. Producing electricity, converting it into hydrogen then back to electricity seems unlikely ever to be a cheap process.

The UK government has revealed plans to pump £23 million into “cutting edge” infrastructure to accelerate the uptake of hydrogen powered vehicles, reports Utility Week.

The Department for Transport has invited hydrogen fuel providers to bid for match funding from the government for high-tech infrastructure projects, including fuelling stations, in a competition launching over the summer.
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UK taxpayers paid a high price to ensure the government didn’t get egg on its face over its agenda-driven electricity generation policies, as Utility Week reports.

The supplemental balancing reserve (SBR) cost a total of £180 million over the three years it was in operation but was “never once used”, a new report by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit has found. 

The think tank raised concerns that “fearmongering” about the “overblown” risk of blackouts led ministers to purchase an expensive insurance policy that was not needed. It has urged them not to spend “billions” more to bolster the UK’s capacity margin.

“The clear message from this report is that paying to boost spare capacity in Britain’s electricity system can be very expensive, and potentially unnecessary,” said Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) energy analyst Jonathan Marshall.
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Artist’s impression of Dogger Bank island [credit: The Independent]


The construction agreement is planned to be signed on 23 March 2017, reports The Independent.

A vast artificial island is to be built at Dogger Bank in the North Sea, complete with a harbour, airstrip and homes, to help provide a vast new supply of renewable energy, under plans drawn up by two companies with the blessing of the European Union.

The North Sea Wind Power Hub would act as a hub for offshore wind turbines and a new place to put solar panels, according to the German and Dutch arms of electricity firm TenneT and Danish company Energinet. The firms will sign a deal creating a consortium to develop the plan further in Brussels on 23 March in the presence of European Energy Union Commissioner, Maos Sefcovic.

Torben Glar Nielsen, Energinet’s Danish technical director, said: “Maybe it sounds a bit crazy and science fiction-like, but an island on Dogger Bank could make the wind power of the future a lot cheaper and more effective.”
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Could UK electricity supply follow the postage model?


This looks more than a little like a warm-up act to the unveiling of the true role of smartmeters, preparing us to be ‘flexible and squeezed’. First or second class electricity? Just tick the box, thank you. That kind of thing.

A senior figure at Ofgem has called for a public debate on how consumers pay for and make use of the UK’s electricity networks, Utility Week reports.

Moves to increase flexibility and squeeze the most out of existing infrastructure could otherwise allow “one group of customers to outbid another group of customers for access”.

“When we consider that capacity may be at a premium – it is increasingly expensive to provide on a marginal basis,” said Ofgem senior partner Andrew Wright, “allowing everyone to charge their vehicles and power their heat pumps without constraint could turn out to be prohibitively expensive for everyone and increasingly difficult to manage on the system.
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The UK is struggling to get any reliable power generation built under its existing energy policies, as Utility Week explains. Meanwhile subsidies to renewables, and old coal-fired plants (as emergency back-up) roll on, making the future uncertain.

The capacity market has failed to deliver flexibility and reliable new-build generation, a new report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) has argued.  Existing generation should be exiled from the mechanism and support reserved for flexible new-build capacity, according to the think tank.

“While the goal of the capacity market was to drive investment in reliable new generation, the scheme—with £3.4 billion in awarded contracts to date—has yet to incentivise a single large new power plant,” the report said.

“This support for existing generation is distorting energy markets and has subsidized outdated investment, including more than £450 million for existing coal-fired power plants.” This was despite government intervention to increase the volume of new generation contracted by increasing the procurement target in the most recent four-year-ahead (T-4) auction.

“The enlarged T4 auction took place in December 2016, but achieved only a tiny increase in new generation as a proportion of the total contracted capacity, from four per cent to seven per cent,” the report said. It noted that the only new build combined-cycle gas turbine to secure a contract was a 370MW replanting of an existing power station in King’s Lynn.

The government should instead “repurpose” the capacity market and hold “smaller, targeted capacity auctions solely for flexible, new-build generation, including gas peakers, demand-side response and storage”.

The report continues here.

River Amazon in the Peruvian rainforest

River Amazon in the Peruvian rainforest


The UK is importing from halfway round the world what could be produced by its own workforce within the country.

A tanker docking in the UK is transporting a controversial cargo of gas from the Peruvian Amazon, says BBC News. It is thought to be the first shipment to the UK from the Camisea project in rainforest 60 miles from Machu Picchu.

Supporters of fracking say the UK should frack its own gas, rather than importing from sensitive regions like the Amazon. But opponents of fracking say the practice creates disturbance and pollution and fuels climate change.

The tanker Gallina, owned by Shell, is scheduled to arrive at the Isle of Grain in Kent. The gas project at Camisea field has been hugely contentious.
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Reality is catching up with wind power dreamers in South Australia as the public wake up to the truth – via power failures.

STOP THESE THINGS

alice_in_wonderland17 Fantastic in theory, but reality is another place.

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It’s been barely 5 months since South Australia experienced a state wide blackout on 28 September, when a typically vigorous spring storm delivered wind speeds in excess of 90km/h, causing the majority of turbines operating at its 18 wind farms to automatically shutdown to avoid self-destruction. The ensuing collapse in wind power output overloaded the interconnectors with Victoria, which tripped automatically; and thereafter South Australia suffered what is now known as a ‘system black’ (see our post here).

With a string of blackouts during December (see our post here) and mass load shedding during a heat wave when, yet again, wind power output plummeted (see our post here), humour among South Australians is now a rare and treasured commodity.

Inversely related to South Australians’ fury at their power pricing and supply calamity, is the battle that the wind…

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Channel Tunnel [image credit: BBC]

Channel Tunnel [image credit: BBC]


The project is described as ‘vital’, which may raise questions about the present state of these two national grid systems. The idea that it will help support increased electric car use – that’s one of its claims – is a bit weak as so few people want them.

A major new project to install an interconnector linking the electricity markets of Britain and France via the Channel Tunnel has just put down its foundations, reports PEI.

The foundation stone of the Folkestone Converter Station was laid on Thursday by Jesse Norman, UK Minister for Industry and Energy. The ElecLink 1 GW Direct Current link is expected to cost around £580m.

The project will generate approximately 300 new jobs during the construction phase together with ongoing jobs needed for the operations and maintenance throughout the life of the project.
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