Renew On Line (UK) 62

Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 162 July-Aug 2006
   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         
 

Contents

1. Energy Review EAC Review, FoE Scenarios

2. BWEA on offshore wind wind ups and downs

3. Wave & Tidal Power in Scotland and Wales

4. Reactions to the Budget...and the Climate Review

5. Greening London.. but not Devon

6. Energy Statistics RO grows

7. Coal to come back cleaner? Clean coal

8. Building Battles Building regs and codes

9. Policy moves. Tory greening, UKERC query

10. Stern Climate Views doom ahead?

11. Fuel Cells R&D slow progress

12. EU News Wind and biofuels grow

13. US News Wind battles, Bushes plan

14. World News Divisive Climate Pact?

15. Nuclear News US reprocessing

14. World News

Asia-Pacific pact

The members of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate Change- Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and the USA- met in Sydney in January, to discuss collaboration on ‘energy efficiency, clean coal, liquefied natural gas, carbon capture and storage, methane capture and use, civilian nuclear power, rural and village energy systems, advanced transportation, building and home construction and operation, agriculture and forestry, hydropower, wind power, solar power and other renewable energy sources’.
The US and Australia have pledged $128m (US$52m in 2007 and Aus$100m over five years), although ministers said they also expected many private sector companies to participate in the partnership. But this funding was greeted with derision by environmental groups, who saws it as insignificant. The FT (12/12/06) noted that the Kyoto protocol is expected to result in a flow of up to €10bn by 2012 from richer to poorer countries to fund low-carbon projects.
John Howard, the Australian prime minister, said the partnership would result in a 20% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from the six countries by 2050 compared with what they would otherwise be. But they currently generate nearly half of world emissions and WWF pointed out that emissions were expected to rise by 20% globally, so wiping out the saving. Nevertheless, the Pact clearly intends to press ahead. Specific areas for middle-to-long term collaboration are hydrogen, nano technologies, advanced bio-tech, next generation nuclear fission and fusion.
U.S. Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky said the initiative would ‘work from the bottom up, through public-private partnerships to build local capacity, improve efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industrial facilities, power plants, mines and buildings’. James Connaughton, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said that, although it was meant to operate in parallel, the pact was ‘a much more powerful way of engaging’ with the issues than the Kyoto Protocol, ‘because it is tailored to the priorities that each country has set for themselves in accordance with their own national circumstances’. Dobriansky added ‘Countries like India and China are grappling with issues relevant to economic growth and looking for effective and efficient ways to advance their economies and do it in a very environmentally responsible way’. It was claimed that Canada and New Zealand were also interested in joining, as well as members of the EU.
However not everyone saw it as quite so benign, given that, unlike Kyoto, it was a voluntary pact with no mandatory targets. The Environmental News Service (ENS, Jan 11), under the headline ‘Worst Greenhouse Gas Nations Partner for Cleaner Energy’, reported that the meeting met with hundreds of demonstrators protesting outside, and that the Nature Conservation Council, said that ‘The talks are intended to divert attention away from solutions like renewable energy in favor of non-binding targets using technologies that don’t even exist yet’. The Sydney Morning Herald, (Jan12) reported that nuclear power was a key issue for the meeting, and that the USA had ‘called on China to agree to safeguards that would enable Australia to begin exporting some of its vast uranium resources to one of the most power-hungry countries on the planet’, noting that the export of uranium to China ‘depended on the country agreeing to a number of safeguards concerning disposal and weapons proliferation’. It quoted the US Energy Secretary Sam Bodman, who said the main impediment to an expanded nuclear was the threat of terrorists targeting plants. ‘The potential after 9/11 in our country, the threat of terrorists, is something we are taking very seriously and there is concern over the potential access of terrorists to nuclear material’.
More at: www.dfat.gov.au/environment/climate/ap6/

China dumps REFIT

China is not to introduce a fixed price premium wind power tariff, as was initially expected. Instead, it will use a competitive bidding process controlled by the government. Windpower Monthly (Feb) said that wind developers were ‘shocked’ and that China’s Renewable Energy Industries Association said that ‘the zeal for wind development in China is likely to cool down’

India- a solar future?

Solar could provide 42% of India’s total energy supply by 2100, according to a scenario in ‘New & Renewable Energy Policy Statement 2005’, a draft policy produced by the Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources. By 2022, renewables could increase from the current level of 147 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe) to 275mtoe, although, given expected growth in demand and other sources, the renewables’ share of total energy drops from 33.5% to 30.9% over that period.
Biomass is the largest contributor now, at 139mtoe (32% of total energy), while wind is 0.14mtoe (0.03%) but will grow to 2mtoe (0.22%) within 15 years. By 2052 renewables rise to 440-1,220 mtoe with market shares of 29%-48%, while the total by the end of the century could be 1,860 mtoe, which would be 73% of total energy supply. Solar would dominate at 1,070 mtoe (42%) while biomass would provide 700 mtoe (27%) and wind only 10 mtoe (0.4%). The draft says that ‘new and renewable energy sources will dominate the country’s energy scene in the future and the biomass- solar- hydrogen economy should be firmly in place sometime by the second half of the 21st century unless fusion deployment makes a wide appearance’.
Currently, India has 7.2 GW of green generation capacity- 6% of its power capacity. But it also has a nuclear programme, based on the canadian Candu reactor technology which does not require enriched uranium fuel. However, India is looking at the thorium option, presumably since it can’t get access to enough uranium as it’s not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, whereas thorium rich monazite ore is found in beach sands in India.
* The use of thorium may have wider implications. Certainly there is a lot more thorium than uranium in the world. The US Lawrence Berkeley National Labs are developing a small 50MW thorium converter reactor. It could be that if the nuclear option is followed up on a large scale globally, then this and other sources of nuclear fuel will be taken up. Challenging the view that reserves of high grade uranium ore are relatively limited, Bert Metz & Detlef van Vuuren from the Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency, have claimed that ‘new discoveries of uranium resources, use of thorium, more efficient technologies and production of uranium from seawater could, at least in theory, imply that this option is almost without technical limits’.
A bit of a stretch. The concentrations of uranium in sea water are tiny, and you would need a lot of energy to get fuel from it. And thorium based technology is likely to be complex and expensive- it’s not fissile and to sustain a chain reaction you have to use plutonium breeding. See Technology

CCS not renewables?

Australia’s CSIRO research agency is to focus Aus$90m on clean coal/geological carbon sequestration instead of renewable energy. According to ReFocus Weekly (8/2/06) it will ‘increase its energy research by 5% to 10% on low-emission GHG mitigation strategies such as clean coal, and will shed up to 200 jobs over the next three years from its current workforce of 6,500. Opposition science critic Jenny Macklin says CSIRO doesn’t seem to care about renewable energy research, but Geoff Garrett of CSIRO says industry and consumers depend on coal to generate electricity and that is unlikely to change.’
Refocus Weekly reported that 15% of the 10,000 solar PV panels installed by the rural electrification agency ASER in Senegal, West Africa, have been stolen, plus 200 others.

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