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Thursday, 29 November 2012

EU freezes airline emissions policy
The EU has suspended its plan to include airline emissions in the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

New energy strategy
The government is promising a new energy strategy which will save the equivalent of 22 power stations worth of energy by 2020. Five end use energy demand centres will be created with support from UK research councils and £39 million worth of funding. Led by top universities, the strategy will in part look at how behaviour with regard to energy use can be changed.

Study confirms true scale of renewables bad press

Do have a look at this story, published by Business Green today. I wish I could say I am surprised at this, but sadly I am not. The papers concerned are the usual culprits; The Times, The Mirror, The Sun, The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph - all essentially serving a right wing agenda alongside vested interests in favour of the oil and gas industry and avoiding doing anything significant about climate change.

The survey by CCgroup that 51 percent of the articles surveyed were either negative or very negative towards the renewable energy sector. The interesting thing though is that the paper's viewpoints run counter to public opinion which is broadly in favour of renewable energy investment.

So, although it is true that to an extent the industry's voice is not being heard, on the other hand these stories are not representative of readers views. In other words, Telegraph et al, most people in society don't really accept your prejudiced views, which are outdated, unrealistic and unrepresentative. Do the world a favour and move on, as it's getting a little boring now to be honest...

The actual study can be found here:

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

UK government outlines next steps in smart meter rollout

Energy efficiency could help schools to cut energy bills by £70 million

Energy efficiency is the best way to boost UK economy

CSP in India

The current campaign against wind could damage marine renewables
Blog piece by Tory MP Oliver Colville

Wind could be second only to gas by 2020

Onshore wind costs plummet

Low carbon industries appeal to Energy Secretary for decarbonisation target

Wind power is here to stay
Offshore wind turbine manufacturers have been hit with a production freeze, but renewable energy experts predict this is more of a delay than a shutdown.

A guide to grid PV regulations
What regulations do I need to study when designing a grid connected PV system? The answer isn’t completely straightforward, but the following documents are good places to start. By Martin Cotterell on Solar Power Portal

Monday, 12 November 2012

Heseltine calls for energy policy certainty
In No Stone Unturned, his a wide-ranging blueprint for stimulating growth in the UK published today, the former cabinet minister and Tory grandee said that without the “real certainty” of a long-term energy policy, investors will “simply not risk the enormous sums of capital” needed to develop the UK’s energy infrastructure.

10 wind energy facts
1. Wind power is booming - There was 6.9GW of total operational wind farm capacity by the end of June this year, with a further 4.2GW in construction and 5GW with planning consent.
2. Wind is to provide a 10th of UK electricity - If current levels of growth continue, wind energy capacity will reach 13.5GW by the end of 2013, delivering 10 per cent of the UK's electricity needs.
3. Councils are saying 'yes' to onshore wind - Wind farms have finally bucked the downward trend in planning approval rates. For the first time in five years, the amount of UK capacity being approved at a local level has increased instead of decreased.
4. Planning consents are up 15 per cent - UK consents by local councils for projects smaller than 50MW increased by 15 per cent compared to last year, and in England alone approvals rose by 60 per cent.
5. Ministers are rubberstamping wind projects - There was a near 50 per cent leap in approval rates for all onshore wind farms in the UK. This year, 110 schemes delivering 1.7GW were approved, compared to 77 projects and 1.1GW of capacity consented in 2010/11.
6. The pace of planning approvals has increased - Planning decisions taking place more quickly at all levels of government. Local authorities approved projects 10 per cent quicker last year, compared to a year earlier and government approval rates were 19 per cent quicker than the year before.
7. Smaller wind farms are in vogue - Despite the increase in approvals, project capacities have shrunk. The average consented project is 15.5MW for the second year in row - the smallest since 2000/2001. RenewableUK says the trend shows developers are consulting closely with communities to deliver projects that are more acceptable to local decision-makers.
8. The big money is in offshore wind - Businesses invested £1.5bn in offshore wind projects last year, which is 60 per cent more than in the previous year. These projects are expected to bring £150m-£600m into the UK economy.
9. Wind energy jobs are being created all over the UK - The wind energy industry now employs 12,200 people in full-time jobs, compared to 9,756 in 2010. The offshore wind industry alone now employs 45 per cent more people directly than two years ago.
10. The industry is not out of the woods yet - Despite growing optimism, the industry is concerned that the forthcoming Energy Bill and electricity market reforms will fail to deliver the long-term investor confidence the sector needs.

Scottish green energy target set at 50% of demand by 2015
A new target to generate the equivalent of half of Scotland's electricity needs from renewable energy by 2015 has been set by the first minister.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Research into heat transfer fluids

German CSP fights back

Lord Deben confirmed as keynote speaker at LowCVP Low Carbon Champions Awards
John Gummer, Lord Deben, the recently appointed Chair of the Committee on Climate Change, is confirmed as the keynote speaker at the opening of the LowCVP Low Carbon Champions Awards which will be held in central London on the evening of January 29, 2013. The Awards will follow the LowCVP's Tenth Anniversary Reception.

An exciting future for Irish Wind Energy
Kenneth Matthews was appointed as the CEO of the Irish Wind Energy Association in September 2011. He has over 14 years experience in the Irish energy industry and has previously worked with Intel, EirGrid and ESB.
His experience encompasses power system operation and protection and transmission access planning with EirGrid including the technical and commercial aspects of generation and load access to the transmission and distribution system.

He has also held numerous management roles including Production Manager Poolbeg Power Station and Station Manager Ardnacrusha Power Station and has been involved in delivering numerous projects across power generation from safety to power plant overhauls.

As a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol Ireland has been proactive in developing its wind industry and Renewable Energy Magazine was therefore very pleased to have a chance to speak directly to Mr Matthews in order to find out more about the exciting opportunities available to Ireland’s wind sector.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

A Cheaper, Greener Planet for all

A guest post by Eve Pearce

The continuing consumption of fossil fuels is problematic both to society and to the environment. Sources of energy that were derived from an earth that was once fertile and prosperous are being devoured by people’s lust after new technologies, bigger cities and an ever growing population -  the earth has become saturated with consumers and is rapidly failing to meet the demand.

A seemingly valid source of a potential solution are green electricity suppliers; a rapidly growing area of the economy that supplies energy via renewable sources such as: solar, wind, hydraulic, geothermal and biomass. However there are many problems with the ‘green energy’ sector including a major concern over how to store enough of the energy to meet demand from the grid. If the supply is not large enough, and cannot be maintained at an industrial level, the technology will remain more or less redundant. As renewable energy is renowned in many cases for being inconsistent and consequently unreliable, a suitable storage device must be developed that is suitable for grid level storage that is cost effective so it can compete with the current market price whilst being relatively silent and remaining emission free so as not to defeat the purpose of having such an energy resource in the first place.
The Solution 
The resolution to the multitude of problems presented by non-renewable energy sources is quite literally to eradicate their use. The likely hood of the required technology to make good on such a fix is slim to none, but within that slim chance there has been a major recent development that leaves us that bit closer to ‘saving the world’. Donald Sadoway and a team of students are on their way to accomplishing the impossible by attempting to resolve one of the major troubles of the mass use of renewable energy – storage. Together they have developed a battery that has the capacity of 2MWh (two million/mega watt hours) which is the amount required to power 200 households daily. This is available for grid level storage, is silent, cost effective and meets market price.
Renewable Energy 
As renewable energy is generated from an unpredictable natural resource, i.e. solar and wind – the sun does not always shine, nor is it always windy - we needed to develop a safeguard for when the supply of energy did not meet the demand, thus the necessity for a battery fuelled by the resource in question arose. However, both the initial and mass production of the battery proved problematic. The cost that such an invention would incur was supposedly far greater than would be economic and possibly allow a price match to be made with the current grid supply. Sadoway dismissed these initial concerns and took inspiration from the production of aluminium. Before the advent of the aluminium smelter the metal was almost as deer as the more commonly expensive gold, silver and platinum. The invention of the smelter was based on the principle of Dr. Volta’s battery whereby the initial model was no more than alternate coins of zinc and copper divided by cardboard soaked in brine. The difference existed in the components of the smelter being molten and therefore operating at much higher temperatures. Sadoway used this inspiration to begin his journey of constructing a storage unit based on the same principles, he also adopted another of the smelter’s inventers’ traits; their youth. The aluminium smelter was made by none other than twenty two year olds; Sadoway cut his expenditure by employing students within the same age category and trained them to think as he did before setting about designing the battery.

The first problem they resolved as a team was the expense of the necessary metals. They needed to find a metal that was an earth abundant element in order to cut manufacture costs. Magnesium was the answer they came up with and, now working with a small team of twenty students funded by the government, they developed a battery that was comprised of low density molten magnesium on top, a molten salt centre and a high density molten magnesium on the bottom. The temperature of the battery was also self sustaining as the current passing through generated enough heat energy to keep the components at a desired temperature and in a molten medium. With the basic design complete Sadoway’s team felt confident that the product they had come up with could quite literally be the answer to decades of unresolved questioning regarding the appearance of renewable energy resources. To speed up the manufacturing process the team set up a small company whereby they could then employ others to assist in advancing the project more hastily.
Sadoway’s team has broken the mould in terms of the traditional methodologies of inventors that normally consist of hiring highly skilled technicians at vast expense that are often so in tune with previously existing technologies that they prohibit the advent of new expertise. The out of the box thinking that students often embody and the blind ambition of professor Sadoway led to this discovery which is easily set to change the future of our planet.

Eve Pearce can be contacted via this blog. If you wish to contact her email me on

Green transport in Bristol?

My article for AtoB magazine concerning the prospects for green transport in Bristol has just been published:

Virtually everywhere you go in Bristol the city’s transport system is often the subject of complaint. If it isn’t regular mutterings about the First bus network, it’s often comments about cyclists by motorists or about cyclists by pedestrians or about motorists by cyclists, and then there’s the question of the city’s rail network and the need for some kind of central transport hub. Meanwhile, the daily congestion in the centre of the city is horrendous and arguably growing worse....

Energy & Environment Dates 2012