Renew On Line (UK) 63

Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 163 Sept-Oct 2006
   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. The Energy Review - more of everything 

2. Reactions to Energy Review-  not all happy

3. Submissions to the Energy Review- more inputs 

4.Yet more reviews.- from the Tories, the Carbon Trust and Stern

5. Around the UK- marine projects in Scotland

6. Energy Efficiency - Lords get tough

7. FoE: Waste burn ‘not green’

8. Biomass- will it ever grow? 

9. EU Developments -  more from Germany

10. US Developments-  ethanol and wind boom

11. World developments- Planet warms, G8 not so hot 

12. Nuclear News- Chernobyl still with us

3. Submissions to the Energy Review 

Your choice  

The governments summary of views submitted to the Review included data (p.37) on the choices of technology by respondents. The totals were: 

Solar HW: 380

Solar PV: 420

Biofuels: 410

Wind: 430

Tidal: 390

Micropower: 385

Nuclear : 8 for, 10 against, so overall-2

We have covered some of the main submissions  in Renew 162,  and some are covered in the Reviews section of Renew 163, but here are some other interesting inputs.

Environment Agency on energy 

In its evidence to the Energy Review, the UK Environment Agency says that it’s ‘neutral’ on nuclear power but points out that before any new nuclear reactors were built ‘the Government and the nuclear industry must design a waste management strategy that meets the tests of sustainability and public acceptability’.

It says it is also concerned ‘about the displacement effect that a large programme of investment in one capital-intensive technology like nuclear may have on energy efficiency, CHP and renewable technologies’. It added that ‘there is a danger that an excessive focus on nuclear power and electricity supply will mean an insufficiently robust approach to all primary energy, including heat and transport’.  It went on: ‘Nuclear power accounts for 8% of the UK’s primary energy. The success of the energy review will depend on developing a strategy for the other 92%’.

It also noted that ‘the management of flood risks is an important factor that we would advise on for any applications for new nuclear stations.  Flood risk assessments would be on a site by site basis and would take into account the growing scientific knowledge of risks of climate change on coastal sites, where most existing nuclear power stations are located.’  (see the Technology section in Renew 163).

It was much more positive about renewables, CHP and energy efficiency. It sees renewables as ‘a key component of the carbon-constrained 21st Century energy economy’. It says carbon capture and storage has ‘the potential to significantly cut emissions during the production and use of fossil fuels’, but adds that ‘effort and investment in energy efficiency and renewables should not be diverted’ in order to develop this option.

WWF: Nuclear ‘not needed’  

WWF submission to the Energy Review

The UK can meet its future energy needs and reduce climate polluting emissions, without resorting to nuclear power, according to a new report,  ‘The Balance of Power’, commissioned by WWF, from independent consultants ILEX. It claims that by increasing renewable energy and cutting energy waste the power sector could actually reduce emissions by 55% by 2025.

ILEX explores three scenarios to 2025, including two ‘Power Switch’ scenarios which assume modest extensions to existing policies and targets to promote energy efficiency and renewables. They found that a ‘renewed focus on reducing demand for electricity, and promoting renewable energy and microgeneration, could ensure that the claimed ‘energy gap’ arising from the loss of nuclear and coal-fired capacity is much less of a problem than many have claimed’. Although the use of natural gas to generate electricity is relatively high by 2025, due to the closure of most coal and nuclear capacity, subsequently the use of gas ‘could be expected to decline through further development in renewables, reductions in energy demand and technological innovation’, and ‘as old nuclear power stations are decommissioned and the aging coal power fleet is shut down, it is quite possible to replace them with renewables and limited new gas-fired capacity’.

It says the government ‘must introduce policies to ensure that renewables deliver 20% of the UK’s electricity by 2020, and 25% by 2025,’ and ‘must do more to support a diversified portfolio of renewable energy technologies, including biomass, solar, wave & tidal technologies’.

Keith Allott, Head of Climate Change at WWF said: ‘The much talked about ‘energy gap’ is simply a myth which has been perpetuated to justify the resurgence of nuclear power. This report shows that a renewed focus on reducing demand for electricity and increasing the use of renewable energy and microgeneration would make new nuclear power redundant. We can not only meet energy demand without resorting to new nuclear power but with the right measures we can reduce emissions from electricity generation too.’

* WWF submitted the report to the Energy Review, and is calling on the government to introduce a Carbon Budget that would set year-on-year limits on pollution from the power sector through the second phase of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. 

Severn Barrage?  

In its submission to the Governments energy review the Welsh Assembly called for support for the Severn Tidal Barrage as an alternative to investing in nuclear power. Wales Energy Minister Andrew Davies, said ‘The barrage would be equivalent to around two nuclear power stations operating continuously, lasting not 40 to 50 years with a problematic legacy but operating for 150 years plus. Throughout its life the barrage would produce zero-carbon electricity on a totally predictable, low-cost and reliable basis, which could also have considerable long-term financial investment attractions. While the construction of any barrage would require dealing with some significant environmental and engineering challenges, the Assembly Government and the South West England Regional Assembly now consider it appropriate to re-examine the Severn barrage proposals in depth.’

The Assembly also called for new technologies to extract energy from underground coal reserves, with carbon capture and storage,  and for more support for energy efficiency and micro-generation.

* Roger Hull, of the Severn Tidal Power Group, the industrial consortium that has been pushing the 10 mile long barrage idea for many years, said the barrage would take six years to build and could be generating power as early as 2017. Friends of the Earth Cymru however are against it- they have been campaigning instead for tidal lagoons which they see as having less environmental impact. The same is true of tidal current turbines. By contrast barrages do seem large, invasive and inflexible. But as Dave Elliott  from the OU EERU noted in a BBC Radio 4 ‘You & Yours’ interview, if the electricity produced was used to generate hydrogen, which can be stored and used when needed to generate power, that could compensate for the fact that, due to tidal cycles, the barrage would sometimes produce large amounts of power (8.6 GW at peak) when none was needed, and sometimes, when demand was high, none at all. But, as noted earlier, the Energy Review says the Barrage idea will be looked at again.

In addition, there was this submission to the parallel EAC Review 

Carbon capture, not wind capture 

In evidence to the Environmental Audit Committees’ ‘Keeping the Lights on’ review (see Renew 162) Air Products plc commented: ‘The programme of investment in wind energy should be reviewed and its costs, characteristics and performance put on a competitive basis with carbon capture and storage (‘CCS’) using fossil fuel electrical generation systems. The share of future R&D for wind should be appropriate to wind’s objectively determined potential to contribute to the UK’s future energy sourcing. The subsidies currently available for wind should be made available for CCS projects, and the lowest-cost solutions will then be naturally identified and pursued. Wind power and other projected renewable energy solutions certainly have their proper place in the UK energy scenario serving markets remote from large base load power generation, but their suitability for provision of large proportions of our current and future power demand must be validated.’

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