Renew On Line (UK) 58

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue 158 Nov-Dec 2005

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. Decentral power:
Greenpeace  proposals

2. Farm Power:
Biofuels delays

CHP to backup wind

4. Welsh Renewables: 
Wind plan

5.  BETTA hurts Scotland:
but H2 CCS project emerges 

 6. Going for Micro power:
the Low Carbon programme

7. UK Energy Roundup:
getting there slowly

8. UK Climate Policy:
Blair changes tune?

9. UK Energy Policy Developments:
How not the cut carbon

10. News  from around the world:
US beats EU?

11.World Policy Roundup:
G8 on Climate change

12. Nuclear News:
US, UK, Australia and Russia

11.World Policy Roundup

G8 and Climate Change

While holding the Chair of the G8 groups of industrial countries this year, the UK tried to put climate change firmly on the agenda- at the Environment Ministers Roundtable in March (see Renew 157) and at the G8 Summit in Gleneagles in July. One focus was the arrangements for limiting emissions after 2012-  when the existing Kyoto protocol runs out.  And a key issue is the position of the USA. It is unlikely to back any scheme that does not involve China (and India), while China may well be relying on continued US intransigence so as to avoid having to sign up to a new scheme.  But the issue cannot be ducked, although the emphasis seems to be shifting from emission caps to technology as a the way head- something the US is happier with. Over the next 25 years the International Energy Agency says that the world will need 60% more energy than is consumed today and it estimates that the cost of building new plants to provide it will be $16 trillion- £8,500bn. With this in mind, the UK Energy Research Centre hosted a technical workshop in Oxford in May, at which 100 researchers from the G8 countries (UK, US, Canada, Japan, Russia, Italy, France, Germany) as well as China, S. Africa, Brazil, Mexico & India, exchanged ideas. The aim was to ‘link programmes and priorities’ on sustainable energy, and to feed ideas into the G8 meeting.

The UK’s position was outlined publicly in press commentary by John Loughhead, director of the UKERC, who said that total UK public investment in new technologies, other than nuclear, was about £300m, while direct funding of academic research into new forms of energy was £20-£25m, although that would, he said, double. In addition, £16m was being spent on nuclear fusion, which was to increase to £20m. But Sir David King, the government’s chief scientific adviser, ruled out an immediate return to nuclear power: ‘This is an issue we will have to re-examine, but not yet’,  (Guardian 12 May), while Loughhead, noted the potential for micropower: “We have the technology for people to produce electricity in their own homes but the problem is getting the regulatory and technical issues right so that they get a fair price and the grid continues to function properly”. 

The positions of some other countries are of course very different, while WEC (who had an input to the meeting) has some hard line views on subsidies (see below). So, in the end, perhaps unsurprisingly, what emerged publicly from Oxford was a call for more dialogue and collaboration: see

And then, despite a lot of lobbying, similarly anodyne recommendations  emerged from the subsequent G8 gathering in Scotland- some good words, adjusted to suit the USA, but  no hard targets.  A bit of a missed opportunity...

WEC wants costs to be faced 

In its 2005 policy statement, the World Energy Council is bullish on costs, which is says consumers must accept: ‘Delivering sustainable energy to meet expanding global demand for energy services will require increased investment in energy infrastructure to replace capacity being retired, to expand supply where needed, and to cover the cost of cleaner energy systems... To achieve this, cost-reflective energy prices, including appropriate returns for investors, are essential. Energy systems which do not cover their costs over the medium to long-term are not sustainable, and long periods of low prices may jeopardise future energy availability’   It adds “It simply will not work to try to protect the consumer from the cost of environmental sustainability.”

Climate Pact

Australia is hosting the inaugural ministerial meeting of the new  technology-led Asian Pacific Climate Change pact in Adelaide in Nov.  Although, unlike Kyoto, it has no targets, it’s created quite a stir - not least since Bush didn’t mention it at the G8 meeting at Glenagles!  More in Renew 159.  Also see  the Forum section of Renew 158.

Plenty of Renewables  for

Developing Countries

A $10 million resource assessment coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has found that developing nations have the potential to install several 1000 megawatts of renewable  energy capacity. The Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment (SWERA), looked at 13 developing countries, and used satellites and ground-based instruments to assess the potential for wind and solar powered renewable energy. The Executive Director of UNEP, Klaus Toepfer, said: “In developing countries all over the world we have removed some of the uncertainty about the size and intensity of the solar and wind resource”.

It has already had some practical results. The SWERA assessment showed that there was much more potential for wind energy production in Nicaragua than was previously thought. As a result, the Nicaraguan National Assembly passed a decree in 2004 giving wind energy priority over other forms of energy when feeding into the electricity grid. In Guatemala, estimates that renewable energies could yield 7,000MW of generation capacity prompted the Ministry of Energy to create the Centre for Renewable Energy and Investment, to help identify sites for wind development.  According to previous UNEP estimates, Africa needs 40GW of electricity to power its industrialisation. An initial SWERA assessment in Ghana suggests that it could generate over 2GW from wind.

Source: Pro Enviro Newsletter <>

World Energy

Global energy consumption is at its highest level for 20 years, due in part to increased demand from China & India, according to BP’s latest annual energy statistics, though it says that the world has enough oil & gas for 40 years. But BP has been criticised by US eco groups for its alleged negativity on the McCain-Lieberman Bill (Independent 12/5/05), while  ExxonMobil faced pressure from big investors on its renewables policy at its annual shareholder meeting in Denver. Meanwhile, the World Bank has approved a loan of US$87m to China to promote renewables, which will be supplemented by a grant of US$40 m from the Global Environment Facility.

Nearer to home, at the regional World Renewable Energy Congress meeting in Aberdeen in May, which attracted 300 delegates, Jim Wallace from the Scottish Executive announced that Scotlands newly established the Intermediary Technology Institute of Energy was investing £1 m in a project to investigate the use of hydrogen as an energy store. The next major international  WREC meeting with be in Florence 19-25th August 2006.

NATTA/Renew Subscription Details

Renew is the bi-monthly 30 plus page newsletter of NATTA, the Network for Alternative Technology and Technology Assessment. NATTA members gets Renew free. NATTA membership cost £18 pa (waged) £12pa (unwaged), £6 pa airmail supplement (Please make cheques payable to 'The Open University', NOT to 'NATTA')

Details from NATTA , c/o EERU,
The Open University,
Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
Tel: 01908 65 4638 (24 hrs)

The full 32 (plus) page journal can be obtained on subscription
The extracts here only represent about 25% of it.

This material can be freely used as long as it is not for commercial purposes and full credit is given to its source.

The views expressed should not be taken to necessarily reflect the views of all NATTA members, EERU or the Open University.

We are now offering to e-mail subscribers a PDF version of the complete Renew, instead  of sending them the printed version, should they wish.