The natural gas industry has scored a success in persuading the Environmental Audit Committee to back its plans for using hydrogen to substitute for natural gas in domestic heating. But this spells disaster! Even if the hydrogen came from renewable energy this would still be a colossal waste of renewable energy resources. But the reality is much worse!
BP’s decision to cut oil production by 40 per cent and shift to renewables big time by 2030 is likely to last about as long as oil prices stay fairly low, which might not be as long as people think. BP’s green programme announcement is obviously a good move to reverse the slide in its share prices. Indeed BP’s previous ‘green’ rebranding as ‘Beyond Petroleum‘ in 1998 produced good trading results and put it in a position to scrap a lot of its investments in renewables a few years later and continue to invest in new oilfields. The same is likely to happen again.
As different types of corrupt pro-nuclear handouts in the USA unravel the British Government is expected to support bringing in a legalised version of bankrupt US nuclear financing practices to fund Sizewell C nuclear power plant.
The US nuclear power industry is in danger of implosion as corrupt practices used to maintain its old power plant and pay for new plant are the subject of prosecutions. In Ohio the Speaker of the House of Representatives has been arrested on account of charges that he was bribed to ensure that nuclear power and coal plant in Ohio were given bailouts whilst policies supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency were cut back. Continue reading full article…
A massive plant that will produce ammonia from renewable energy is scheduled to be operating in Saudi Arabia in 2025. This will enable renewable energy to be stored long term and thus dispenses with any need for so-called ‘baseload power’ from fossil fuels or nuclear power.
The Government has just announced a £40 million research programme into so-called advanced modular reactor technology that is highly unlikely ever to see any practical use. That is because the so-called small modular reactors (SMRs) are much too expensive for civilian use.
In an important sense it is nonsense to talk about research to develop SMRs as a ‘new’ technology simply because they already exist. They power military submarines and also US aircraft carriers. Their design is simply a smaller version of the Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) design that dominates the world nuclear power industry. Indeed PWRs began as small projects housed in submarines which were then developed up in scale so that they could produce electricity more cheaply.
David Toke writes: Jonathon Porritt is, in my opinion, the most influential British green political thinker. Here I’m interviewing him about his new book ‘Hope in Hell – A decade to confront the climate emergency’, published by Simon and Shuster.
The UK Government could be poised to scrap commitments for a programme of energy efficiency and, alongside this, postpone programmes being proposed to boost energy efficiency of buildings. Instead the gas lobby will be given full rein. A range of Government departments and agencies trying to implement democratic comitments are being eclipsed in influence by a sinister ‘deep state’ that claims to really know popular will.
In a report in the Financial Times the Government, advised by Dominic Cummings, is said to be sidelining the £9.2 billion Conservative manifesto commitment for ‘energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals’ (page 55) because it is ‘boring’.
One striking fact quoted by the Committee on Climate Change in its newly published Progress Report is that: ‘while the public are generally supportive of action to tackle climate change,
and 75% of people are concerned about climate change, just 35% of people report having heard of ‘Net Zero’ as a concept, and only half of people are aware that their gas boiler causes emissions’ (page 188).
So, barely a third of people have heard of the net zero target. But people will much better understand the concept of achieving their energy requirements from 100 per cent renewable energy. This resonates with popular ideas of being self-sufficient in energy that does not run out. Of course we need to keep the net zero target, but the target of 100 per cent renewable energy should be the headline pathway to meet that target.
With world oil prices barely touching $40 a barrel and BP announcing major cutbacks in oil exploration you may be thinking this is an odd moment to talk about needing to head off an oil price spike. But the fact that oil companies are scrapping plans for oil exploration is itself a warning sign that as and when the world economy recovers there is not going to be enough production to meet demand.
Work is now underway on an energy storage scheme which could be the most significant energy breakthrough project in the last quarter of a century. It is the 50 MW liquid air storage plant in Manchester led by the company Highview. This (as yet small step) has a very good chance to pave the way for 100 per cent renewable energy systems in which sceptics who cite so-called intermittency from solar and wind as a barrier to providing total renewable energy supply are just blown away.
I talked to one of the inventors of renewable energy to liquid air storage systems – known technically as cryogenic freezing of air into a stored liquid – Yulong Ding (whose picture is featured here), about the technology.
Solar pv expert says domestic solar is nearly as cheap as large scale solar
RACHEL LEE, who has worked extensively in the solar and also wind industry discusses how the battery and solar industry is coming together in Australia and how this compares with the UK
South Australia (SA) does have some incentives in place for batteries – I doubt they would yet be economic without support. However, SA is different to here (UK)- the PV capacity factor is 50% more than southern England/Northern Europe for a start! SA in particular also had very high electricity prices for a while – that was blamed on a big shift to renewables (there is actually lots of wind resource in SA too), but, having worked for the market regulator in Australia for a while, I doubt that had much to do with economics – more likely to do with Victoria/NSW(New South Wales)/Queensland Government ownership of ancient inefficient coal plants.
The announcement by the German Government that their hydrogen strategy will include support for so-called blue hydrogen as a transitional measure must be regarded as a huge setback for a sustainable energy transition. Essentally what is being proposed is the propping up of oil and gas rather than the alternative – an energy efficient decentralised system based on renewable energy.
Here we publish a summary of our new, first, report:
How nuclear power is switching off windfarms in Scotland – The truth about wind power compensation payments
This report investigates the extent to which the operation of nuclear power plant in Scotland can be blamed for the large amounts spent on compensating windfarms for being asked by the National Grid to shut down production. These shutdowns are done in order to stop the electricity network from being overloaded and the payments to windfarms are called ‘constraint payments’. This is an important issue as these constraint sums are large and are borne by electricity consumers.
Unfortunately, compensation payments paid to windfarm operators are regularly highlighted in anti-windfarm media reports. The practice of paying windfarms to cut back their energy production exists for several reasons. These are principally because of the inability of nuclear facilities to operate flexibly, because the electricity network in Scotland is currently unable to support rapidly increasing amounts of wind power, and because enhancements of electricity interconnections with other countries have not kept pace with these developments or have broken down. Continue reading full article…
Blue Hydrogen – an implausible alternative to renewable energy
Blue hydrogen, that is hydrogen produced from fossil fuels (in practice usually natural gas), is hydrogen produced in circumstances where the carbon in the fossil fuel feedstock is captured and stored (carbon capture and storage, or ccs).
But this is not a substitute for energy from renewable energy, for a number of reasons. It is inferior to hydrogen produced from renewable electricity through hydrolysis. It is even more inferior to renewable energy used directly to power heat pumps to heat energy efficient buildings (see the section on heat pumps). Indeed the gas industry would love to scrap the Government’s commitment to end gas heating in new buildings by 2025 and instead carry on fossil fuel business in a new ‘blue hydrogen’ guise.Continue reading full article…
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