Please scroll down for lots of useful information. There are links to industry and environmental journals, relevant dates in the environmental and renewable energy calendar, current debates, a solar PV Feed-in Tariff calculator, green products websites, campaign groups and more. Some of this might be a bit outdated given time considerations and the fact that I don't get paid for doing this, but I do try and keep it as fresh and new as I can so it's still worth checking out.
Tuesday, 29 September 2015
Ballard Power Systems has agreed a new long-term license and supply agreement in support of the deployment of 300 fuel-cell powered buses in China.
Monday, 28 September 2015
Scientists at Brunel University London have designed a new hybrid roofing system which could halve energy bills in new homes.
Solar panel manufacturer Yingli Solar has announced the signature of several agreements with Qingdao New Energy Solutions Inc (NESI) for 130 MW of high quality solar panels.
Friday, 25 September 2015
Jono Williams is an enterprising Graphics Designer and Plastics Engineer in New Zealand. He's just built a comfortable and innovative dwelling with solar power and facilities run by mobile phone apps positioned on top of an iron column. It's an idea that's catching on....
Tidal turbine manufacturer Tocardo Tidal Turbines and manufacturing company Huisman have installed five tidal turbines in the Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier to generate clean energy.
Thursday, 24 September 2015
Several months ago Kepler Energy announced it was bringing forward plans for a 30 megawatt (MW) tidal energy fence which will ultimately be located in the Bristol Channel. The plan is for it to be deployed in the stretch of water between Aberthaw and Minehead and it could be operational by 2021, subject to planning approval and financing.
Wednesday, 23 September 2015
By Oliver Tickell
The UK government and its Chancellor George Osborne are grossly misleading the public over the relative costs of renewable energy and nuclear power, writes Oliver Tickell. Osborne's claim that nuclear is the 'cheapest low carbon technology' is the very reverse of the truth. He and his nuclear plans must be stopped.
There's no doubt about it. The Government is spreading untruths about the price of renewable energy.
Is it deliberate? One can only assume so owing to the consistency of the pattern and the equally consistent refusal to explain or correct its misleading statements.
The context is also significant: it's always in the context of supporting nuclear power over renewable energy sources.
One example came a few weeks ago when the Chancellor told the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee in their 'annual evidence session' that the agreed 'strike price' of £92.50 per MWh (in 2012 money, RPI indexed) is "substantially cheaper than other low-carbon technology like offshore wind or onshore wind."
This statement is palpably untrue. After RPI indexation £92.50 is actually £96.24 today's money. Onshore wind and ground-based solar projects have bid for 'contracts for difference' (the main current support mechanism) and been awarded them at a price of around £80 per MWh.
Hello?? Is anyone at home?
Pressed on the justification for the claim the Treasury issued a statement: "Nuclear energy is an important part of the UK's energy mix as we move towards a low carbon future. It is also the cheapest low carbon technology that can reliably generate electricity at such a large scale."
Was this a genuine retraction or correction? No. Did the Treasury contact the Lords Commitee to correct any false impression given to its noble members? We asked, but received no reply. Did anyone care? Apparently not.
Because on Monday George Osborne made a very similar claim when accouncing a £2 billion finance guarantee for planned Hinkley C nuclear plant: "Nuclear power is cost competitive with other low carbon technology and is a crucial part of our energy mix, along with new sources of power such as shale gas."
Come again? "Nuclear power is cost competitive with other low carbon technology". Alright, so it might be cost-competitive with some low carbon technologies - but only the more expensive ones like offshore wind. But it clearly is not competitive with either onshore wind or field scale solar PV.
So back to the Treasury. What is the justification for the claim? Another statement: "A new generation of nuclear power stations is a key part of our future low carbon energy mix providing safe, reliable and affordable energy for the future. As one of the cheaper forms of low carbon electricity, new nuclear will have a key role meeting our goal to cut carbon emissions."
So now nuclear is "one of the the cheaper forms of low carbon electricity" - a somewhat weaker claim. But equally untrue. It is no such thing.
It's a whole lot worse than you think
Take that figure of £80 per MWh for the bids to build onshore wind farms in the UK earlier this year. It's actually a whole lot higher than it should be, for reasons set out in June by Andrew ZP Smith of UCL.
In Germany, wind farms are being built for between £36 and £79 per MWh, although the UK is much windier, providing - in principle - much cheaper power. So why does it cost more here? Because the UK's unfavourable policy environment is putting off investors and forcing them to seek higher returns:
"Many years of policy uncertainty and persistent meddling with the revenue schemes presents higher risks to investors. Planning regulations in England and Wales have created further uncertainty, with unpredictable local decisions. Often, rulings will be reversed on appeal, only for the energy secretary to step and reject the application. Investors, faced with higher risk, will require higher rewards ...
"Even more significantly, investors in wind farm supply chains can choose to locate instead in jurisdictions which offer far greater long-term clarity and security. This is why both Denmark and Germany have strong wind supply chains, and Britain's is still nascent."
With a committed and supportive government, onshore wind prices should drop well below the German level - in the region of £30 to £60 per MWh - making the lowest cost wind directly competitive in the wholesale power market, where current prices average just below £40.
This is broadly in line with the findings of IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency, whose UK-specific calculation (page 42) indicates a raw cost of about £55 per MWh for UK wind. That rises to £80 with the additional costs of managing intermittency and grid integration at a penetration level of 30-40%. "For lower shares", IRENA notes, "integration costs would be much less."
Nuclear power, by contrast, 'socialises' its considerable integration costs onto the grid as a whole. For Hinkley C this will require the commissioning of a full 3.2GW of spinning reserve in case the whole power station suddenly drops out - something nuclear stations are prone to do.
The forgotten dimension: time
But the biggest fiddle the Treasury is trying to pull on us is in the fourth dimension - time. EDF recently announced that it will be unable to complete Hinkley C in 2023 as planned, and has given no new target date. Let's assume a completion year of 2025 - bearing in mind that it could well take until 2030 given the abysmal example of other EPR sites in France and Finland.
So we should not be comparing Hinkley C's £96.28 per MWh cost in today's money against today's renewable power prices. We should be looking at renewables prices in 2025 and through the full 35 years of its CFD period to 2060.
As far as solar power is concerned, the UK's Solar Trade Association believes that UK solar generation can be fully cost competitive with fossil fuels, with no subsidy at all, by 2020.
According to its Solar Independence Plan, domestic rooftop solar installations could, by 2020, be as cheap as buying power off the grid, while large solar farms will compete directly on wholesale power markets. All with no subsidy at all. And after 2020 as the scale of worldwide solar deployment keeps on increasing, the cost will only continue to plummet.
With onshore wind, prices will also continue to fall, but less dramatically. For example BVG Associates estimate a 5-6% price fall from 2014 levels by 2025.
As for offshore wind, BVG estimate that prices will drop to about 73% of current levels by 2025. Offshore wind prices in the last CFD auction in February were between £114 and £120 per MWh. And 73% of that means prices of £83.22 to £87.60 by 2025 - considerably less than Hinkley C's £96.24.
The way is renewable!
So the four main sources of renewable energy that the UK can quickly bring on stream - onshore and offshore wind, domestic and field-scale solar - are all going to be much cheaper than nuclear power by 2025, and some will even be undercutting fossil fuels as well. While Hinkley C - if it is ever built - will be forcing its overpriced power on UK energy consumers for another 35 years.
Nuclear power benefits from government largesse in another ways too. Hinkley C is being promised a 35-year CFD contract when renewable technologies get just 15 years. It's also getting £17 billion in Treasury guarantees for bondholders in the project. Renewable energy financiers get none.
What does all this add up to? The government, its Treasury department, its Chancellor George Osborne and its energy department, DECC, are grossly and presumably knowingly misrepresenting the relative costs of renewable energy and nuclear power.
And it's all part of plan to force upon us a new generation of hyper-expensive nuclear power plants that will cost energy users through the nose until 2060 and beyond, putting the country on a 'back to the future' path to the 1950's, while wiser nations reap the benefits of cheap, clean renewable energy.
They must be stopped. And shame upon them!
Tuesday, 22 September 2015
Lord Deben (John Selwyn Gummer MP), the Chair of the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC), has demanded the government provide urgent clarification of its policy on climate change following recent subsidy cuts.
Friday, 18 September 2015
Silicor Materials Inc has announced it has secured $105 million in equity capital agreements to finance the construction of its first commercial-scale manufacturing operation in Grundartangi, Iceland.
Thursday, 17 September 2015
The really interesting thing about the Leaf Sheep, and certain other sea slugs, is that it has the ability to steal photosynthesizing chloroplasts from the algae it eats in order to generate energy, a process called kleptoplasty.
Independent power producer Mytrah Energy was formed in 2010 with its main focus specifically on India, aiming to develop 5000 MW of renewable power. It is already enjoying a competitive advantage in the country with 120 wind turbines already in operation and a large ‘shovel ready’ project pipeline.
Latin American and European cities are the least reliant on fossil fuels to power their electricity, new analysis of major cities around the world by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and AECOM has found.
Wednesday, 16 September 2015
Twenty-seven world-leading scientists, executives, academics and politicians have called on nations to adopt the Global Apollo Programme (GAP) by the time of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December.
Tuesday, 15 September 2015
Aquamarine Power and the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM) have together secured an 800,000 euro (£580,000) EU Horizon 2020 grant to improve the performance of the Oyster wave energy converter.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced the award of $999,720 worth of funding to Clarkson University to develop advanced resilient microgrid technology to improve disaster response capability.
Monday, 14 September 2015
Active Energy Group PLC and Biomass Energy Enhancements LLC (BEE) have recently announced the creation of a joint venture to commercialise a revolutionary new clean energy biomass fuel manufacturing process.
Jeremy Corbyn MP, the new left-wing leader of the UK Labour Party, is expected to announce new green roles for the shadow cabinet shortly, but what about his policies?
Friday, 11 September 2015
HD-Wave Technology will significantly decrease inverter size and weight enabling much greater efficiency.
Leading US concentrating solar power technology (CSP) company BrightSource Energy has teamed up with the Shanghai Electric Group Ltd (SEC) to form a joint venture for the construction of CSP plants in China.
Thursday, 10 September 2015
It’s a popular tale, regularly pounced upon by critics of renewable energy, and it goes something like this: Germany is having to construct more coal-fuelled power stations in order to balance power as the country’s ‘energy transition’ (energiewende) advances. However, is this entirely accurate?
Pod Idladla is a modular, prefabricated nano-home designed and manufactured in South Africa by architect Clara da Cruz Almeida (concept and architectural design) and product design company Dokter and Misses (interior and product design).
Wednesday, 9 September 2015
The UK Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) will invest up to £5 million in a two-year project led by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) aiming to encourage uptake of electric vehicles (EVs).
Tuesday, 8 September 2015
The New Climate Economy has just published new research finding that investing in low emission, energy efficiency and waste management measures in cities could generate $17 trillion of savings by 2050.
Monday, 7 September 2015
The first large-scale anaerobic digester in the New York City Metropolitan Area to process food waste into clean energy has been announced by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Romax Technology has announced it is to support Eurus Energy America (EEA) with a large wind turbine gearbox re-engineering and refurbishment project.
The Heliotrope is a rotating solar home which gave rise to the Sonnenschiff Solar Development and also the German solar sector as it is today. It was designed and developed by architect Ralph Disch in 1994 and is able to generate five times the energy it consumes.
Friday, 4 September 2015
Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have developed an online tool to help fleet operators calculate the conditions under which the use of electric vehicles will be worthwhile.
Thursday, 3 September 2015
“The RET was working brilliantly until Tony Abbott realised renewables were undermining the profits of the coal-fired generators and that’s why he decided to smash it. He’s removed all certainty from the renewable energy sector and handed it over to his mates in the fossil fuel sector.”
- Australian Green Party Leader, Senator Christine Milne
In an article for Eco-Business this week, the Group Chief Executive for Sindicatum Sustainable Resources, Assaad Razzouk, argued that the recent proposed cuts in solar energy subsidies announced by the UK government would in fact speed up the clean energy revolution, rather than destroying it. In an invigorating and very thought-provoking interview, Renewable Energy Magazine (REM) talked to Mr Razzouk via Skype to hear what he had to say.
Assaad Razzouk is the Group Chief Executive Officer of Sindicatum Sustainable Resources . He is also an award-winning developer, owner and operator of clean energy projects worldwide and a producer of sustainable resources from natural products and waste. Mr Razzouk additionally founded the Sana Gallery in Singapore, the first Middle Eastern contemporary art gallery in South East Asia, is affiliated with the Middle East Institute in Washington DC as an Expert at the Middle East-Asia Project, serves on the Advisory Board of the Hong Kong-based Association for Sustainable & Responsible Investment in Asia (ASrIA), is a Board Member of the Climate Markets & Investment Association and is an independent Board Member of Cedrus Invest Bank s.a.l.
Mr Razzouk was also an investment banker at Nomura International PLC in London from 1993 to 2002, where he was successively Head of the Middle East Group (1993-1997), Head of Corporate Finance – Emerging Markets (1997-1999), Head of Corporate Finance – Financial Institutions, Communications and Technology (1999-2001) and Deputy Head, Global Corporate Finance (2001-2002)
Wednesday, 2 September 2015
In his captivating talk Assaad, a clean energy entrepreneur, evaluates climate change as a movement, and suggests why risks associated with climate change needs to be incorporated into asset pricing.
Assaad is the Chief Executive of a global sustainable resource developer and operator, Sindicatum Sustainable Resources and a leading international voice on climate change policy. Believing the current climate change movement to have failed, he has become a leading campaigner for decarbonisation and international responsibility for the environment, proposing new ways to tackle the critical issues we face.
Tuesday, 1 September 2015
Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and CENSIS will collaborate on the development of a new type of sensor to monitor interactions between marine energy devices and marine life.
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)
Should the US government waive the Renewable Fuel Standard?
Should the US government waive the Renewable Fuel Standard?
Journals and Environmental Information
- Air Quality England
- American Journal of Environmental Sciences
- Anals of Environmental Science
- Cities and the Environment
- Climate Central
- Conservation Evidence
- Ecology and Society
- Environmental Research Letters
- Grantham Research Institute (LSE) policy briefs
- Green Building Bible
- Green Building Magazine
- Green Theory and Praxis
- International Energy Agency publications
- The Green Guide environmental directory
- Windpower Monthly