Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Potential for micro-generation

By 2050, we could be seeing 30-40% of UK power coming from tiny turbines and roof-top PV and thermal solar panels, says a report commissioned by the DTI, and there could be a significant uptake within just ten years. A revolution of renewables could also bring significant benefits to the carbon economy and help the UK meet its commitments in reducing emissions.

The report, Potential for Microgeneration - study and analysis, has been published by the Energy Saving Trust and was carried out to feed into the DTI's Low Carbon Building programme as well as wider policy for microgeneration.

It looks at the perceived barriers that stop 'alternative' energy sources being embraced as mainstream and when various technologies might become more cost effective and thus attractive to the wider public.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Wave energy

Wave EnergyApart from providing renewable electrical energy, wave energy is also seen as an opportunity to develop products with a worldwide exportation potential and a technology branch with applications in other marine resources exploitation.

After an initial phase (1974-1983) of great investment and development, but also of great expectation, wave energy entered a phase of some stagnation and loss recovered in the mid-nineties.

In recent years, the increased maturity of wave energy technology gave rise to a number of mainly SME-driven industrial activities that show strong commitment in bringing this technology to the market:

    Teamwork Technology/The Netherlands and Oceanergia/Portugal are developing the Archimedes Wave Swing (AWS);

    SPOK ApS/Denmark is developing the Wavedragon;

    Wavegen/UK developed the Oscillating Water Column (OWC) LIMPET plant;

    Ocean Power Delivery (OPD)/UK is developing the Pelamis;

    Energetech/Australia is developing the parabolic entry OWC;

    Ramboll/Denmark and Aquaenergy/USA are developing the Aquabuoy;

    Enerwave/Portugal is developing an overtopping breakwater - integrated shoreline plant;

    Electricidade de Portugal and Electricidade dos Açores and Efacec participated in the development of the OWC Pico plant in the Azores.

As a result of this involvement, four pilot plants of three different technologies are, or have been, under testing at the sea:

    Two shoreline Oscillating Water Column (OWC) plants built in the Azores (Pico 400 kW) and Islay in Scotland (Limpet 500 kW)

    Two MW offshore AWS pilot plant ( tested offshore Póvoa de Varzim, Portugal, 2004),

    1:4.5th scale Wavedragon plant (under testing in the Baltic Sea) and

    Pelamis (to be tested offshore Póvoa de Varzim).

The next two years will show how these pilot plants perform in real seas and how much we can expect from the corresponding technology.

Feedback on Wave energy:

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Wind power charm

WIND power has been praised as a resource that can help family farms to survive and make Wales a leader in generating clean electricity.

But farmers at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair last week were told that the debate about generating electricity on the hills of Wales is in danger of being lost.

Former MP and AM Cynog Dafis told a breakfast meeting organised by Renewable Energy Systems that public opinion polls continued to show a majority in favour of wind farms.

"But that's not the feeling I get when I speak to people," said Mr Dafis.

"Opposition to wind farms is on the increase, and it's not just coming from certain credulous uninformed people. Increasingly I find people that I like, admire and want to be on the same side of, telling me that they are against it."

On the day Tony Blair held out the prospect of new nuclear power stations, Mr Dafis attacked the Prime Minister and other politicians for failing to back wind energy.

"I am fed up with political parties saying in public that they want to have renewable energy and as soon as a proposal arises at a local level they rush to oppose it," he said.

And he lamented what he called the "complete failure" by organisations like the British Wind Energy Association "to counter the drip-drip of hostile letters about wind power in the Press".

He called for a serious PR initiative by the wind power industry and political leadership at all levels, particularly the National Assembly with its target of generating 800MW of electricity from wind power by 2010 - which requires 400 new turbines.

Mr Dafis also criticised the Welsh Assembly Government's TAN8 document, which earmarks seven areas of the Welsh countryside for wind farms, as "flawed" because it excludes some of the most suitable parts of Wales. These are the Ministry of Defence's strategic low-flying areas, where warplanes exercise at very low levels and would be at risk from turbines 100-metres high.

"The Assembly Government has bowed to the will of the MoD without even asking them in advance," he said. In addition the Forestry Commission should be encouraged to utilise the "ecological deserts" created by large conifer plantations.

Montgomeryshire farmer and AM Mick Bates, chairing the meeting, said "I hope we end up with a strong economy again based on energy."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

UN Climate Conference in Montreal: Kyoto operational

Beginning this week and continuing through December 9, representatives from nations around the world are meeting in Montreal to discuss plans for an environmental treaty that would succeed the Kyoto Protocol, albeit with some resistance from the United States.

Kyoto protocol became operational yesterday after final rules were adopted. Not FULLY operational, as the 34 signatory countries do not include the United States or Australia...

Harlan Watson, head of the US delegation, said Americans did not want an approach that includes objectives or a timetable to reduce emissions.

More on the topic: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Website