Renew On Line (UK) 66

Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 166 March-April 2007
   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. Energy Policy: White paper delay, EAC blown away

2.Wind power : Micro-wind doubts, Offshore wind boom

3. Carbon Policy: Zero Carbon Houses, Carbon rationing

4. NCC: Green power reality check

5. Regional policy: Wales and Scotland

6. FoE say no to Severn Barrage: it could crowd out alternatives

7. News Roundup: Biofuels, Planning, Solar Fine, Clean Coal plant

8. Global Climate Worsens: IPCCC 4th report

9. European Roundup: EC on Energy Efficiency

10. USA: Bush unmoved on Climate

11. Around the world: Australia, China, Asia-Pacific Climate Pact

12. Nuclear News: UK, US, Germany and Bulgaria

News Roundup

More for Biofuels

The House of Lords European Union select committee says that Britain will not meet the EU target for the use of biofuels in road transport- it noted a statement by Environment Minister, Lord Rooker, that Britain is “miles behind” its target for 2010, whereas France, Germany and Sweden are on course to meet theirs. But the Committee did commend the Government for its decision to introduce a national Road Transport Fuel Obligation, which will require fuel suppliers to ensure that 5% of their UK sales are from renewable sources and urged the European Commission to follow suit and to amend the Biofuels Directive to require all Member States to introduce similar measures in order to help meet biofuels targets. The committee also called for an EU certification process to ensure that imported biofuels have not consumed more greenhouse gases in their production than they save when they are used. In addition, the Committee suggests that, if biofuel use in road transport is to expand, Government intervention will be necessary in at least the short term in order to provide assurance to investors that production will continue to be financially viable.

The Committees chair, Lord Renton said: ' some of our European partners offer significant tax concessions to stimulate investment in biofuels. We ask the Government to consider whether more should be done in this area here.'

He added ' Already advances in technology are pointing to new biofuels, more efficient production methods and wider applications, including in the aviation industry. We believe that the EU can add real value here by promoting research, facilitating good practice and encouraging the market.'

The EU Strategy on Biofuels: From Field to Fuel, House of Lords EU Committee (Sub-committee on Environment and Agriculture), 47th report 2005/06,

New Planning rules

The Department of Trade and Industry has published proposals for the reforms to energy planning system that were prefigured in last years Energy Review. Planning inquiries for large-scale electricity projects will be overhauled, with ' common sense changes' to reduce delays, costs and uncertainty, which the DTI says have have ' too frequently held back major projects' . It adds that ' the reforms will streamline the planning system' and will be ' introduced swiftly to deliver the new infrastructure we need' .

Measures will include setting specific timeframes for local authorities to object; power to Inspectors to insist only summaries of evidence be read out, to cut inquiry length; and holding inquiries in concurrent sessions with a number of Inspectors. The DTI consultation report

' Updating electricity generating stations and overhead lines inquiry procedure rules' is available at

Solar Fine

A solar company in Dorset has been fined £40,000 plus £27,000 court costs for making false claims about how much customers could save by switching to its solar heating system. Simplee Solar circulated pamphlets which it seems said homeowners could save 70% of their energy bills, but Bournemouth Crown Court heard Dorset Trading Standards quote experts that solar panels could provide 3% of the energy needed for a domestic central heating system [a bit low? More like 30% over the year? -ed]. A jury convicted the company on two counts of supplying and five counts of offering to supply goods to which false trade descriptions had been applied. Source: RefocusWeekly

Clean Coal plant

Centrica has acquired an option in the proposed £1bn ' clean coal' plant being developed by Progressive Energy, via Coastal Energy Limited, on Teesside. If it goes ahead, the 800MW project would be the first to combine Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) capabilities. It could use British coal to supply electricity for British Gas customers, and, subject to further financing, it would capture the CO2 emissions and dispose of them via a pipeline to the North Sea .

Sam Laidlaw, Chief Executive of Centrica, said: ' This landmark agreement gives Centrica the option to take advantage of the environmental and economic benefits offered by emerging clean coal technology and could lead to the development of the UK' s first complete clean coal plant. It offers the potential to increase the diversity of our power generation, while underpinning our commitment to source low carbon and competitively priced electricity for our British Gas customers.'

Evidently it would produce electricity at a third of the CO2 emissions of a gas-fired plant. The Guardian Nov.9, reported that it would ' produce 0.15 tonnes of carbon [dioxide] per MW/hour compared with 0.9 for a traditional power plant and 0.45 for a traditional gas-fired facility' and noted that the company claimed new clean coal stations planned by the rival utilities E.ON and RWE would generate 0.7 tonnes per MWhour and that its own plant was suited to run on British-mined coal, unlike those of its competitors. But sadly there was no mention of using the waste heat- which seems a pity given the nearby large heat load in Teeside. Operating in CHP mode, for heat & power, would increase its energy conversion efficiency dramatically, and reduced the CO2/MWh of total useful energy supplied even further.

Lobby fodder

*A opinion survey carried out for the engineering company Mitsui Babcock found that 71% the UK' s leading energy experts believed that last years energy review proposals will not help the UK to meet its 2012 Kyoto targets, while nearly 80% believed the UK needed a new generation of nuclear plants to reduce C02 emissions, although 57% did not believe the government would follow this through.

*The Coal Forum, a group of leading industry figures set up last summer as part of the Energy Review, has claimed that since new nuclear reactors cannot be built in time to fill a 20GW shortfall they say will emerge in electricity generating capacity a decade from now, support should be given for the construction of a new generation of clean coal plants with CCS.

* A Carbon Trust study shows that nearly three quarters of UK consumers are concerned about climate change and their own carbon footprint and two thirds want to know the carbon footprint of the products and services they buy. Environmental concerns are factored by consumers into more than 50% of buying decisions when purchasing cars, electronic goods, fast moving consumer goods and food and drink products.

* British Gas found that Tudor buildings, built with stout wooden beams and walls filled in with “wattle and daub”, and stones used to fill the spaces and make them airtight, wasted less heat than many buildings constructed since the 1960s. Modern low energy houses should be able to do somewhat better, and we can refurbish older houses.

However, Yvette Cooper, minister for housing commented: ' Stuffing our cavity walls and lofts won' t be enough to deliver a 60% reduction in emissions by 2050. We will need radical changes to the way we heat and power our existing homes as well as new ones. Whether it be turf on the roof, wind turbines in the garden, heat pumps below the basement, or micro CHP boilers, the homes of the future will need to be powered in a completely different way.'

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