Renew On- Line 82

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					Renew On- Line 82
Extracts from the News section of Renew 182,
Nov – Dec 2009

The full 36 page journal can be obtained on subscription (details
below). The extracts here only represent about 25% of it.

This material can be freely used as long as it is not for commercial
purposes and full credit is given to its source.
The views expressed should not be taken to necessarily reflect the views
of all NATTA members.

1. Renewable Strategy/FIT Reactions
2. Vestas - the fight for jobs
3. UK roundup
4. Wind news
5. Energy Policy and option debates
6. Other project news
7. EU news
8. Global news
9. Around the world
10. Nuclear News
     11. In the rest of Renew 182
     12. Renew and NATTA subscriptions details

1. Renewable Strategy Reactions
The new UK Renewable Energy Strategy for up to 2020 (see Renew 181) pleased a
lot people. The Renewable Energy Association and the British Wind Energy
Association both welcomed it and the Green Alliance said it was „the biggest
breakthrough we‟ve had yet on the development of renewable energy in the UK‟. But
not everyone liked it. The Telegraph talked darkly of £250 and perhaps even £500 per
head energy bills. DECC however put it much lower, at £77 after 2015, on the
assumption that energy efficiency savings would compensate- and £92 (or 8%) by
2020. George Monbiot in the Guardian pointed out that between Nov 2004 and Nov
2005, the average wholesale price of electricity rose by 71% and in the 12 months to
Feb 2006, the wholesale price of natural gas by 75%. So the cost of new strategy
wouldn‟t really be that significant, especially since it should help the UK to respond
to the climate challenge and create jobs.

Nuclear Transition
A bit less discussed was the nuclear commitment in the parallel Low Carbon
Transition plan, which claimed that the nuclear industry had proposed 12.4 GW of
projects, but didn‟t go into the economics much... Money does seem to be finding its
way into the programme though- see Nuclear section below. And Gordon Brown has
launched a new Nuclear Centre of Excellence in the UK to „promote wider access to
civil nuclear power across the world, to make a reality of the right of all countries-
enshrined in the NPT- to the peaceful use of nuclear power. It will promote the
development of cost effective civil nuclear technology which cannot be diverted for
use in weapons programmes.‟ The Centre will receive initial funding of £20m from
the UK Government. See our Technology section for some advanced nuclear ideas
which might get picked up longer term.
We‟ll review the overall Low Carbon Transition Plan in Renew 183.

Feed-In Tariff Reactions
The Government proposals for the new ‘Clean energy Cashback’ feed-in tariff for
microgeneration from systems like small wind turbines and solar photovoltaics (see
Renew 181 and below) got more mixed reactions. It was seen as welcome and indeed
as ambitious by many, including those seeking to get FITs established elsewhere in
the world. North American FIT activist Paul Gipe commented „If implemented as
proposed, though, the British program will offer some of the highest tariffs for small
wind energy in the world. The tariffs will rival those in Italy, Israel, Switzerland, and
Vermont, possibly reflecting the British government‟s belief that it can encourage
development of a domestic small wind turbine industry. For example, the tariff
proposed for small wind turbines from 1.5 kW to 15 kW is £0.23/kWh ($0.38
USD/kWh, $0.42 CAD/kWh) about that paid in Italy and Israel.‟
He added „Most significantly, program designers have included a mechanism to
encourage homeowners and small businesses to reduce their electricity consumption.
For example, a solar PV generator will be paid for all their generation. However, they
will receive a bonus, currently at £0.05/kWh, for electricity delivered to the grid over
and above their domestic consumption. Thus, if a homeowner is able to cut their
domestic consumption, and sell more electricity to the grid as a result, they are paid
the bonus on top of the posted feed-in tariff.‟
However back in the UK, Friends of the Earth were less sure of its merits: „For
community-scale or larger on-site projects‟, said David Timms, a senior FoE
campaigner, „the rates (tariffs) are inadequate‟. Many of the smaller projects that may
be built under the FIT programme may not be as advantageously sited as commercial
projects under the Renewable Obligation. Consequently, the proposed tariff for wind
projects from 500 kW to 5 MW may be insufficient to drive development. Timms also
added that the „degression for solar PV is quite aggressive‟ at 7% per year, and that
the bonus payment of £0.05/kWh for export to the grid may not be bankable. Because
the bonus payment will fluctuate with the “market price” it won‟t necessarily have a
fixed value and, consequently, it will be discounted by banks providing debt for
projects financed under the feed-in tariff. Then again, the overall programme
expectations were not that high- it was limited to projects under 5MW and in total to
obtaining just 2% of UK electricity (8TWh) by 2020, the Renewables Obligation
being seen as the main mechanism.
The Renewable Energy Association commented. „The 2% figure is really lacking in
ambition. The potential for microgeneration is much, much larger,‟ while Alan
Simpson MP said: „This needs to be welcomed but as the starting point for a
conversation not the end point. There is no way that these tariff levels will drive the
sort of energy transformation that this government is looking for.‟
Jeremy Leggett, from the UK‟s largest solar panel provider Solarcentury, told that the proposed tariffs were insufficient to deliver the kind of
rapid growth experienced by the solar energy sector under similar feed-in tariff
schemes across Europe. „They will accelerate the market a bit, but we will not grow
explosively as has been the case in other countries such as Germany, France and
Spain. If you want to illustrate the difference in mentality, just consider that the
European Photovoltaic Industry Association expects that PV will provide 12% of all
electricity by 2020, while the UK government assumes all six families of micro-
generation will provide just 2% of electricity by the same date.‟ Leggett said that as a
result of “frustratingly slow” progress in the UK market, Solarcentury‟s expansion
plans were focused firmly on the continent. They put the rate of return under the UK
FIT at only about 4%.
      The Solar Trade Association (STA) challenged the Renewable Energy
       Strategy‟s claims that solar heat may deliver less of a contribution to the UK‟s
       renewable heat deployment than was envisaged in last year‟s consultation on
       the strategy. The STA claimed that the basis for the modelling of the UK‟s
       future supply of renewable heat, and the part that solar thermal can play in
       this, is a report that has been „totally discredited‟ by the solar thermal industry.
       The STA say that as a result „this strategy has once again massively
       underestimated the potential of solar thermal technologies and completely
       missed a huge opportunity‟. And it highlighted the difference between the
       target the strategy sets for the UK to get just 5.4 TWh (th) of solar by 2020,
       and the 145TWh p.a. currently produced across Europe. As the debate on the
       Renewable Heat Initiative for 2011 goes on, we‟ll hear more on this! See RHI
       box right.

UK Feed-in Tariffs Design
The rationale behind the design of the proposed new Feed-In Tariff was spelt out in a
report by Poyry and Element Energy for DECC. They look at various options,
including schemes with high and low rates of return and capacity installation targets,
and a more or less diverse range of technologies. They concluded that „a 2%
generation target can be achieved at relatively low cost using mega-watt scale
technologies. The cumulative resource cost by 2020 is £1.0bn higher than business as
usual. Diversifying the technology mix to include domestic-scale PV and wind comes
at a high cost, with the cumulative resource cost in 2020 increasing to £4bn.‟ And
that‟s what DECC apparently settled on for the FIT.
The report says „Banding tariffs by technology can lead to significant reductions in
subsidy costs while maintaining the same overall generation by reducing
overpayments to low-cost generators. The importance of banding increases with
increasing technology diversity, since the differences in costs between technologies
becomes larger than differences within technologies (for example large wind turbines
at different wind-speed sites). Increasing the generation target to 3.5% of the UK
electricity demand significantly increases the cost to the country by 2020, from £1bn
to £4bn for the least cost scenarios.‟ And DECC it seems agreed- there are bands with
different prices.
The report adds „A 3.5% least cost scenario results in significant uptake of small-scale
technologies, with over 3TWh of electricity per year generated from PV and small
wind. This is because for ambitious targets, large-scale technologies cannot be
deployed quickly enough to meet the target by 2020. For technologies whose costs are
expected to decrease over time, reducing tariff levels each year is necessary to avoid
overpayments to investors making investments in the second half of the next decade.
However, matching tariff levels to technology costs from the first year of the policy
results in significantly higher policy costs than setting a flat tariff so that the
technology is only deployed when its costs decrease. In other words, there is a
financial benefit to delaying uptake until technologies are cheaper. The risk of this
approach is that if investor demand is low for the first few years of the policy because
the tariffs are not sufficiently generous, the industry will not make the investments
necessary to deliver large amounts of renewable energy at low cost towards 2020.
Premium tariffs, where tariff payments are made on top of the market electricity price,
carry a higher risk than a fixed tariff with an equivalent total support level, due to
volatility of electricity prices. This additional risk is likely to be reflected in a higher
cost of capital for projects and higher hurdle rates. This means that overall support
must be higher under a premium tariff to encourage a given level of uptake.‟ Which is
no doubt why DECC settled on a 2% by 2020 target.
The report says that they assumed that „tariffs are paid over the lifetime of the
technology. Where investors employ high discount rates and place a low financial
value on revenues received in the distant future, total subsidy costs can be
significantly reduced by paying tariffs over a shorter period. For example, for an
investor with a 10% discount rate, a 10 year tariff that provides the same perceived
value as a 25 year tariff has a 25% lower lifetime subsidy cost (assessed at the social
discount rate of 3.5%). The benefit of paying tariffs over a shorter period is highly
sensitive to the way in which investors value long term benefits. For an early adopter
with a similar discount rate to the social discount rate, there is no benefit to paying
tariffs over a shorter period. For investors with very high discount rates, such as many
domestic consumers, costs can be reduced by paying tariffs up-front at the point of
purchase (capitalisation). The risk of this approach is that the investor has less
incentive to continue to operate the system after the majority of the tariff has been
paid. In addition, capitalisation requires the energy output of each system to be
„deemed‟ (estimated), and would require additional verification that the device
actually delivered the electricity that it was predicted to generate. In addition to
exposing investors to variability in market electricity prices, premium tariff designs
also require that generators participate in the grid balancing and settlement processes.
This can reduce the costs to the grid operator of large amounts of intermittent
renewable generating capacity, but the transaction costs can be high for small
generators.‟ It will be interesting to see how investors actually respond.
Picking winners?
The report notes that „Tariff designs based on setting tariffs to fulfill a certain policy
objective risk „picking winners‟, because the uptake of individual technologies is very
sensitive to the tariff level. For example, in designing a tariff to deliver a significant
quantity of renewable electricity from small-scale PV, the government must „choose‟
to support this technology relative to other, less costly alternatives. A more
transparent method of setting tariffs is to provide an equal rate of return to all
technologies. Setting tariffs to provide an 8% rate of return for all technologies
encourages uptake of small-scale, higher cost technologies but does not stimulate
deployment of large-scale systems. This is because there is a significant proportion of
domestic investors who are willing to accept returns of 8% or less, but the majority of
large-scale investors have hurdle rates above 8%.‟ Banks too, still?!
 „The treatment of electricity from biomass must be considered carefully in the design
of the Feed-in Tariff. A tariff structure that fails to provide additional incentives for
plants utilising waste heat is likely to encourage the construction of electricity-only
plants. This is an inefficient use of biomass compared to CHP plants and co-firing in
gigawatt-scale electricity plants. A heat incentive of £10/MWhth, similar to the
additional 0.5 ROCs per MWhe paid to CHP plants under the RO, is sufficient to
encourage use of waste heat in on-site applications. However, higher support is
required to encourage deployment of plants connected to district heating networks due
to the high additional costs involved. This higher support could be provided through
the Feed-in Tariff, the Renewable Heat Incentive, or other policy support such as low-
cost finance or grants for the construction of the heat distribution networks.‟ DECC
chose to wait until the RHI. But the report noted that „There is a very large potential
for gas-fired CHP available at relatively low cost. A flat tariff of £155/MWh,
equivalent to the market electricity price plus the 2ROCs/MWh currently paid to
renewable micro generators, delivers nearly 22TWh of CHP electricity by 2020. The
annual CO2 savings from gas-fired CHP in that year are over 3 million tonnes.
However, the majority of this potential is from domestic-scale devices which are not
currently available in commercial quantities. As a result there is some uncertainty
over the long term costs of these technologies. A flat tariff of £155/MWh for gas-fired
CHP has significantly lower subsidy costs than an initial tariff of £240/MWh
degressed at 5% per year. This is because uptake is initially constrained by the ability
of the industry to ramp up production capacity. Paying higher initial tariffs results in
overpayments to investors who were willing to invest with lower support levels, while
failing to deliver any additional deployment. This supports holding tariffs at the same
level for the first few years of the policy, before introducing degression to match any
further cost reductions‟.
Lots still to be sorted then on CHP/RHI: for the electricity FIT, DECC chose annual
price degression.

Design of Feed-in Tariffs for Great Britain

NGO support
In a joint statement the CPRE, RSPB, and the National Trust welcomed the new
Renewables Strategy: „We recognise the devastating impacts which climate change
would have on the natural environment and landscapes of the UK, and support rapid
and deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions‟.
Though there had been conflicts in the past over some wind farms, the groups said
that they recognised that „sensitively located‟ onshore & offshore wind had a role to
play in meeting UK renewable energy targets, along with „sustainably sourced‟ bio-
energy, and solar, and also „sustainably designed and located‟ wave and tidal
Ruth Davies, RSPB‟s head of climate change policy, said: „We must harness our
abundant wind, wave and solar energy to avoid the dangerous climate change that
threatens our wildlife. At the same time we must protect the environment from the
blight of bad developments.‟
The Guardian‟s (23/7) rough estimates of FIT yields suggested that a 15kW wind
turbine at a good site could get a 12% p.a. return, but at 7%, solar PV was only a
marginally attractive investment. Well, yes, but banks offer less..

2.Vestas - the fight for jobs
 „The situation at Vestas is a tragedy for the employees, their families and the wider
island community, but it does not represent a failure of wind energy, nor the market
for wind energy in the UK. If anything, it shows that the supply market for onshore
turbines is very competitive.‟ BWEA Chair, Adam Bruce,,
Vestas told the Guardian „There is a strong political will in most countries to favour
local manufacturers‟ e.g. in Spain, but not the UK

The workers occupation of the Vesta wind turbine plant on the Isle of White,
threatened with closure with the loss of over 600 jobs there and nearby, attracted
massive support from green groups and trade unions- and there were calls for the
plant to be nationalised. It was seen as a key struggle for a green future- uniting „reds‟
and „greens‟. As Green MEP Caroline Lucas put it in the Guardian (24/7): „In
microcosm, the situation in the Isle of Wight demonstrates the extent to which
ministers have ignored calls to promote the renewables industry- squandering
opportunity after opportunity to create or protect jobs in fledgling green industries, as
well as to meet the UK‟s greenhouse gas reduction targets‟. Vestas‟ anti/non union
reputation also ensured trade union support for the campaign- which became
increasingly confrontational.
However not everyone was so keen. The Independent pointed out that the plant made
blades for the US market „which are unsuitable for UK wind farms‟, adding that
„Vestas is considering setting up a research and development facility in the area to
help develop and test products suitable for the UK offshore market. If this is the case,
it is easy to see why rash moves by the Government now could ultimately prove
And the European Wind Energy Association told „The solution is
not nationalisation or bail-outs. The wind energy sector itself is much better at
producing wind turbines than the government. It‟s a question of roles. The sector‟s
role is to manufacture wind turbines and the government‟s role is to create a
framework that attracts investment and regulation to ensure targets are met. I don‟t
think we should mix up these roles.‟
Vestas, the world‟s biggest wind energy firm, made pre-tax profits of € 803m last
year, up from € 579m in 2007 and saw a quarterly sales rise of 59%, up to € 1.1bn,
with its UK division also producing rising multi-million pound profits each year. But,
it told that: „Due to the credit crunch, soft currency and lack of
political action in the UK, we have had to cut down capacity... Downing Street is
doing a lot to support green jobs, but in the countryside there is a lot of opposition.
We are being stalled locally. Hardly anything is happening onshore. The offshore
market cannot justify us converting the facility to make products for the UK. The
market is not big enough. We need onshore too.‟
The British Wind Energy Association also backed the company, telling euobserver
that „the market and the sector‟s becoming very, very competitive. A number of new
entrants are coming from India and China, and it could be that the company needs to
cut its costs, producing more cheaply and efficiently. This is to be expected- they
have a clear obligation to shareholders to maximise profits.‟ But talking later to
NewEnergy Focus, the BWEA put a different spin on it: „There is now a direct
correlation between nimbyism and the curtailment of the economic benefits of wind
power. A positive factor of this unfortunate crisis is that the public are now aware of
the fact that the opposition to wind farms is affecting the economic opportunities
available to this country.‟
That was certainly the line adopted by the company and the government- it‟s not our
fault, it‟s the NIMBY‟s, although the company, like the BWEA, also suggested that
the planning system needed improvement: „The local planning process for the
construction of new onshore wind power plants in the UK remains an obstacle to the
development of a more favourable market for onshore wind power‟ ( A
Guardian editorial went further and suggested that what was really the problem was
that Vestas did not believe that the UK governments plans for wind and would really
materialise on the scale hoped for. Sadly the announcement of a grant of £6m for
Vestas for R&D work on offshore wind technology, part of a new £1bn fund for
offshore wind to be organised over the next 3 years by European Investment Bank
(EIB) and 3 UK Banks, did not seem to alter the situation- it was on-land wind that
was the issue for the existing plant. So sadly it closed. The sit-in workers were evicted
in August and 425 workers sacked- 40 others going to the new R&D centre.

3. UK roundup
More Funds             A new £1bn fund for offshore wind is part of the £4bn of EIB
lending to support UK energy projects noted in the Budget. There will be up to £10m
in grants, part of the £120m for offshore wind announced in the new renewables
15% max Anything more than 15% from renewable resources by 2020 is „not
realistic‟- says MP Malcolm Wicks in his global security report- unless we have the
Severn Barrage
Marine push           The new UK Renewable Energy Strategy for 2020 has funds to
accelerate renewables e.g. a new £22m Marine Renewables Proving Fund offering
grants to test and demonstrate pre-commercial wave and tidal stream devices.There‟s
also £6m for geothermal

Renewables at 5.5%
According to DECC‟s Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics 2009
(„DUKES‟), in 2008 renewables generated 5.5% of UK electricity, up from 4.9% in
2007. On the basis of the policy measurement of the contribution of renewables
eligible under the Renewables Obligation to UK electricity sales, 2008 showed
continued growth, increasing from 4.5% in 2006 to 4.8% in 2007, and 5.4% in 2008,
which was „nearly treble the 1.8% achieved in 2002‟. Installed electrical generating
capacity of renewable sources rose by 19% in 2008, mainly due to a 49% rise in
offshore wind capacity, a 38% rise in onshore wind capacity and a 4% rise in the
capacity of sites fuelled by biomass and wastes.
Main trends in 2008 since 2007:
• Overall there was a decrease in indigenous energy production of 5%, a fall in
primary energy consumption of 1% in the UK, and a decrease of 0.5% in final energy
consumption in the UK compared with 2007.
• There was a 0.4% fall in the total supply of electricity in 2008. But domestic
consumption rose by 2.4% while industrial consumption fell by 2.9%.
• Total oil consumption fell 3.1%
 • Coal consumption fell by 7.5%
• Overall gas demand rose by 3.1%. Gas demand for electricity generation rose by
6.2%, with gas accounting for 46% of electricity supplied, up from 43% in 2007.
• The reduced demand for fossil fuels, and switching from coal to gas for electricity
generation, provisionally reduced the emissions of carbon dioxide by 2% in 2008.
• Reduced energy consumption between 2007 and 2008 has helped lower CO2
emissions by 2%, with a 10.3% fall since 1990 .
• Electricity supplied from nuclear has continued to decline in 2008, accounting for
47.7 TWh out of the total electricity supply of 379.0 TWh (13%). DECC noted „This
is its lowest proportion since 1981‟.
Energy Trends
DECC says that transport energy consumption has more than doubled between 1970
and 2008, but two thirds of this rise occurred by 1990- it only rose 2% between 1990
and 2008. The largest rise occurred in air transport, where consumption rose by 83%.
Over the same period, the rail sector‟s consumption rose by 31%, while passenger
road fuel rose by 4%.
It also noted that Domestic energy consumption increased by 12% between 1990 and
2008. But, „despite a 3% increase between 2007 and 2008, domestic energy
consumption has fallen from the high seen in 2004, when consumption was 19%
higher than in 1990. For context, since 1990, the number of households in the UK
increased by 16%, the population by 7% and total household disposable income by
60% in real terms. In 2007, space heating accounted for 56% of all energy consumed
in the domestic sector and it is estimated that over the last thirty years, if savings from
insulation and heating efficiency improvements had not been made, then energy
consumption in homes would be around twice current levels.‟

Zero Carbon Homes
New 70% on site power ruling
The governments Renewable Energy Strategy noted that „the zero carbon home
„carbon compliance‟ requirements alone could result in renewable energy generation
of between 100 and 850 GWh per year by 2020‟. But it seems to have made a bit of a
compromise on the definition of zero carbon houses. They don‟t have to have 100%
on site renewables. Housing Minister John Healey‟s new Planning Policy Statement
confirms the target of having all new homes zero carbon by 2016: they will have to
show zero or negative CO2 emissions from energy use across the year, but they only
needed to meet a minimum „carbon compliance‟ standard for on-site mitigation of
70%. The rest can come from „allowable solutions‟, including off-site carbon
reduction measures. A decision on exactly what were „allowable solutions‟ is
promised by the end of the year, but might include community heat infrastructure and
locally imported/exported renewable heat and maybe power. See

AD biogas goes ahead
DEFRA has announced the five successful projects to receive government grants to
create energy from organic waste, such as food, under its £10 million Anaerobic
Digestion Demonstration Programme. They include plants in Dorset, East Yorks,
Lincolnshire, Manchester and Shropshire. The projects will be expected to show how
to maximise the cost and environmental benefits of the technology, as well as the
potential for anaerobic digestion (AD) to reduce the carbon footprints of the food and
water industries. The programme will also see the demonstration of biogas being
cleaned up for use as a transport fuel, and to be injected into the national gas
pipelines. They should be running by March 2011.
The projects selected for the funding are:
• Biocycle South Shropshire- One of the first municipal waste-fed AD plants in the
UK, this Ludlow-based facility is run by BiogenGreenfinch and will use its funding to
study new ways to improve biogas yields- aiming at a 15% increase.
• Blackmore Vale Dairies, Dorset- A dairy farm developing an AD facility to generate
power and heat from dairy by-products.
• Green Wold Energy Biogas Ltd, East Yorks- A new company set up by two farmers
and property developers, proposing a £5m food waste-fed AD plant in Driffield.
• Staples Vegetables, Lincs- An agriculture group aiming to set up a thermophilic AD
plant (operating at a slightly higher temperature than mesophilic AD plants) on their
vegetable processing site in Wrangle, to generate heat and power from vegetable
trimmings. Heat will be used by a neighbouring retailer and possibly a district heat
• United Utilities/National Grid, Manchester- The water utility is developing a biogas
upgrade facility at its existing eight sewage sludge and food waste digesters at
Davyhulme, near Manchester. It will clean up 250 cubic metres of biogas a year,
producing biomethane to fuel 23 converted sludge tankers, and also to inject into the
gas grid.
For more environment/waste/ad/government.htm

£3.5bn for Energy Efficiency
A total of about £3.5 bn will be available by the end of 2012, mostly drawn down
from energy firms, via the extension of the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target
(CERT) scheme, which requires energy firms to invest in efficiency improvements for
domestic customers, and via the launch of the new Community Energy Saving
Programme. The changes to CERT include:
• 20% increase in carbon emissions reduction target leading to a revised target of 185
million lifetime tonnes of carbon- the average annual savings of the programme are
equivalent to the annual emissions of about 1million homes
• The inclusion of Home Energy Advice, where experts will visit householders and
audit current energy efficiency allowing households to make simple, easy steps to
reduce energy consumption and cut their fuel bills
• An estimated 60% of the total funding available under the enhanced scheme will go
to low-income and elderly householders, who will get free or substantially discounted
energy saving improvements.
• An increase in the amount energy suppliers are able to devote to innovative energy
efficiency methods, such as microgeneration and solid wall insulation- from 6% to up
to 10% of their total target
• Removal of direct mail-outs of low energy light bulbs from1st January 2010 (these
will still be available at discounted prices at retail outlets). So energy firms will no
longer be able to count them towards their Cert obligations.
The new Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP), to begin this Autumn,
helping householders in low-income areas receive „whole house‟ energy makeovers,
will see:
• Up to 100 community schemes benefiting around 90,000 homes and savings of
nearly 2.9m tonnes of CO2 by Dec 2012
• The promotion of partnership working between the energy companies and local
authorities and community groups
• Savings of about £330 per year on the energy bills of householders who receive help
• Energy generators will be obliged to take part.
Let‟s hope they don‟t just pass all the cost on to (other) consumers!

Met Office on Climate
The Meterological Office has produced new Climate Change Projections. Their
„medium emissions‟ scenario suggest that by the 2080s, the UK could be faced with:
• An increase in average summer temperatures of between 2 and 6 C in the SE, with a
central estimate of 4 degrees;
• A 22% decrease in average summer rainfall in the already water stressed SE, and an
increase of 16% in average winter rainfall in the NW, with increases in the amount of
rain on the wettest days leading to a higher risk of flooding; and
•sea level rise of 36cm
DECC has launched a £7.2m competition to encourage firms to develop hydrogen
and fuel cell technology.

Not bothered
 In a Guardian ICM poll in Sept, 79% of those asked would not object to a wind farm
being built within 20 miles of their home- up from 69% in 2005. 67% would accept
one in sight of their home.

Scottish Action Plan
 The Scottish Government has produced an action plan to drive the development of
renewable energy and capitalise on Scotland‟s natural resources to derive maximum
economic benefit. The Renewables Action Plan identifies collective actions by
government, its agencies and partners, to ensure at least a fifth of Scotland‟s energy
comes from renewables by 2020 and also aims to identify milestones to measure how
energy efficiency and sustainable transport can sit alongside carbon reduction targets
of 42% by 2020. In addition to backing marine renewables, the Plan aims to kickstart
a renewable heat industry.
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth John Swinney said: „Offshore
wind, marine energy and renewable heat will now be a key focus due to the potential
to generate clean energy, reduce emissions and the associated manufacturing and
infrastructure opportunities. Scottish Enterprise and HIE will develop a clear
framework for port and land infrastructure to support the manufacturing, construction,
and operation of offshore wind, wave and tidal devices.‟ He added „Heat from
renewables needs to rise tenfold in the next decade and we will investigate all options
to boost the sector, from large scale industrial plants, more energy from biomass and
waste, through to microgeneration. We will support growth in, and diversification
into, the renewable heat sector with further targeted inward investment.‟
The plan outlines a range of ideas consistent with the targets to achieve 50% of
electricity and 11% of heat from renewable sources by 2020.

Scotland doesn’t need new nuclear
A 126-page report „Determining and Delivering on Scotland‟s Energy Future‟, has
also emerged from the Scottish Parliament‟s Economy, Energy and Tourism
Committee. It‟s is the outcome of a year of consultations and enquiries. It says:
“Scotland does not need a new generation of nuclear power stations to be
constructed”. Instead, the committee calls for “markedly” increased investments in
energy efficiency, renewable energy, cleaner fossil fired thermal plants, and if
necessary, the construction of a new generation of larger fossil plants with future
carbon capture.
But since most of its existing coal plants and its two nuclear stations, Hunterston B,
and Torness, are scheduled to close and it will take time for the renewables to catch
up, „there will be a need to extend the operating lifetimes of the current generation of
nuclear power stations in Scotland to allow time for the transition to a new electricity
* The Scottish Government is reportedly planning a “big push” to establish an
offshore grid network in the North Sea. According to New Energy Focus, it saw its
proposal for an undersea network of cables between itself, Norway, Sweden,
Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands as one of its main objectives for the country
in the renewables sector. But one wonders, is it going to preclude the various
supergrid links to England?

4. Wind news
Offshore wind up and downs
 The British Wind Energy Association says the capital cost of offshore wind farms,
currently about £3.1m/MW, could drop by up to 20% by 2014. Meanwhile, DECC
says that UK offshore winds have potential to provide an extra 25GW of new
electricity generation capacity, on top of the existing/planned 8GW, based on the
recent SEA study; and also 70,000 new jobs. But the BWEA annual conference heard
that the marine cable laying industry would do well to install 50% of the links needed:
there was dire shortage of skills and vessels- only 9 in all, whereas 56 could be
needed. And the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage have come out against the
proposed 150 turbine Shetland offshore wind farm.

Wind on grid is fine..
In a new report National Grid says that increased wind generation is manageable and
can be accommodated despite its variability. New network technology could play a
strong role in managing renewable variability instead of back-up generation alone.
Smart meters and grids would allow electricity demand to be actively managed, e.g.
by automatically shifting demand with fridges and freezers in homes and businesses
being turned on and off throughout the day to save energy. Electric vehicles could
also be used as a storage option or as another block of demand that can be moved to
off-peak times. The report cites other new technologies such as batteries and
supercapacitors, which could make it easier to store large quantities of electricity, and
even large flywheels or compressed air. Increasing interconnection with the rest of
Europe could also have advantages by allowing intermittency from wind power to be
balanced over a much larger area. Keith Allott of WWF-UK said „It‟s great that
National Grid has produced a report that shows that variability need not be seen as a
stumbling block in the journey towards a low carbon power sector‟. Maria
McCaffery, BWEA CEO said „It knocks on the head the myth that large amounts of
capacity of “hot” standby is the only way to deal with the variability of wind‟.
We‟ll review it in Renew 183.
NG report:
...oh no it isn’t
A major new study by the Oxford-based UK part of energy analysts Pöyry Energy
Consulting says that electricity markets will be profoundly affected by the growth of
wind energy, not only because of the familiar short term variations in wind
availability, but also since there are annual variations. It looked at the period 2000-
2007 and found that annual levels of wind generation output varied by almost 25% in
the Irish market and 13% in the UK market. As a result there could be significant
economic problems facing fossil fuel back-up capacity: „plant may only operate for a
few hours one year and then hundreds of hours the next year‟, making revenue
planning hard. James Cox, principal consultant at Pöyry commented: „Our worry at
the outset of the study that the very dynamics of variable wind output would
challenge the system operators, has moved to concern that the economic environment
for thermal plant will be highly challenging‟. The report, „Impact of Intermittency‟,
looks at the electricity sector in the UK and Irish Republic up to 2030, both having set
ambitious targets to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, with wind energy
expected to be the main contributor. Estimates of the amount of wind needed to meet
the ESI carbon reduction targets range from 6-8GW for the Ireland and 35-45GW for
Britain by 2030.
On the short term variations, using data from Jan 2000 to model a repeat of conditions
in 2030, what they call „a classic dilemma‟ was illustrated- „electricity demand
rocketed on frosty nights when there was virtually no wind and low output but, when
the temperature rose in strong south-westerlies and there was less need for electricity,
there was almost full wind generation output‟. Given the short and long term
variations, with the level of wind energy envisaged by 2030, the variation in prices
will, it says, be extreme. „There will be periods of negative prices and very short
periods with prices at almost £8000/MWh.‟
Pöyry say its findings have „underlined the critical importance of the Irish market
having interconnection to the British market‟, although they note that the opposite is
not true- Ireland can‟t help the UK much. Stronger interconnection would simply
make British market price spikes become a feature of the Irish market. And, although
they are extremely important, the study suggests that „interconnectors cannot be the
golden bullet to solve the intermittency challenge‟. For example, although
interconnection with the European continent could help, they say „in our experience,
if interconnectors remove price differentials between markets, the commercial case
for building them can be challenging‟. This seems a bit pessimistic- do they mean
that energy utilities don‟t like price competition?
Overall, while useful in warning of key problems ahead, Pöyry‟s main concern is the
economic impact on markets. That‟s important, but it‟s just a market regulation issue,
and as National Grid argue (see left), there are technological adjustments that could
change the situation- not just interconnectors but also pumped storage and load
management techniques like smart metering. Whether that‟s enough however remains
to be seen. Predictably, Pöyry says „additional detailed work needs to be carried out to
properly model the behaviour of the grid systems in both countries‟. What‟s
interesting is that the existing study shows that, given some inter-connection, Ireland
can cope reasonably well without nuclear power- indeed Pöyry note that their
assumption that there would be new EPR nuclear plants in the UK „had the expected
impact of increasing response requirements‟ i.e. from back-up fossil plant, given
expected nuclear plant fault levels. So having nuclear makes it even harder to run the
system ?!
      The one year ~£1m Pöyry project collected hourly statistics for each of the
       years from 2000 to 2007 from observations in 36 locations, totalling more than
       2.5 million pieces of data. A summary is at:

Oh yes it is!
Managing Variability, a report for Greenpeace UK, Friends of the Earth, RSPB and
WWF UK, says there is no technical reason why a significant amount of wind energy
could not be used to supply the National Grid.
Written by consultant David Milborrow, it says that the variations from distributed
wind are usually less than the demand fluctuations regularly met and dealt with by
electricity networks. Balancing 20% from wind would add just 1-2% to annual
domestic bills.
More in Renew 183.

Some Micro wind is ok
Domestic wind turbines could provide 3,500 gigawatt hours of electricity p.a., enough
to power about 870,000 UK homes, according to the Energy Saving Trust (EST).
Previous studies have suggested that small turbines in residential areas fail to generate
enough power to justify their installation. EST agrees that houses in dense urban
areas are poor sites: it said that while some households could generate in excess of
£2,800 worth of electricity a year, but other locations would actually lose money.
Overall though it identifies 450,000 suitable domestic locations across the nation. In
total, it says small-scale wind in domestic properties could supply around 3.1% of the
UK‟s energy demand from homes.
Working in partnership with the DECC, several power companies and the University
of Southampton, EST spent a year monitoring small wind turbines of 500W-6kW, in
57 different urban and rural locations around the UK. The EST study found that a lot
of the turbines had been installed in areas that did not achieve the minimum average
wind speed. Turbines on buildings in urban installations typically generated less than
200kWh (~£26) a year and even those in rural Scottish locations only generated
1MWh (or £127) p.a.. Even the best-performing building-mounted turbines only had
a load factor around 7.5%. The worst performing site, a 1kW turbine attached to a
house in Dagenham, Essex, actually consumed more energy than it generated. The
recorded wind speed was 2.37m/s. But pole-mounted turbines did much better, with
load factors ranging up to 35%, the average being around 19%. While pole monted
turbines in areas with unobstructed flow gave better than expected results, those in the
most exposed rural parts of Scotland gave the best results, generating in excess of
18MWh (or £2,300 of electricity) and saving 7,500kg of carbon dioxide a year.
EST‟s website offers a post code guide to help homeowners see if a turbine will help
them cut their bills. Can-

Wind turbine LF noise
In a book scheduled to be published in Oct, Dr Nina Pierpont, a New York
pediatrician, says she has identified a „wind turbine syndrome‟ („WTS‟) due to the
disruption or abnormal stimulation of the inner ear‟s vestibular system by wind
turbine infrasound and low-frequency noise. According to a report in the Independent
this can cause problems „ranging from internal pulsation, quivering, nervousness,
fear, a compulsion to flee, chest tightness and tachycardia- increased heart rate.
Turbine noise can also trigger nightmares and other disorders in children as well as
harm cognitive development in the young.‟ But, it added, Dr Pierpont made clear that
not all people living close to turbines are susceptible. That may explain why, as the
BWEA noted in response, „an independent study on wind farms and noise in 2007
found only four complaints from about 2,000 turbines in the country, three of which
were resolved by the time the report was published‟.
Nevertheless, it‟s wise to be cautious. While audible noise from wind turbines is
nowadays hardly an issue, low frequency sound might be. Pierpont wants a 2km
safety zone. Despite its pro wind stance the Independent even suggested that „there is
a prudential argument for postponing the commissioning of land-based wind farms
until they are shown to be safe‟ and it talked up the potential of solar and wave
energy. It went on „Pierpont has made an important contribution to a debate about
wind turbines that should be conducted not between champions and opponents of
renewable energy, but within the community of those who want this country to
behave in an environmentally responsible way‟.
The trouble is the anti wind lobby are likely to take fundamentalist positions, while
the pro wind lobby will no doubt ask- why don‟t we worry about other sources of low
frequency noise which effect large populations- vehicular traffic, trains, aircraft and
so on? More subtly, as the nuclear lobby did after Chernobyl, the wind lobby might
say that some of the health complaints may be psychosomatic- or rather the results of
stress and fear caused by negative publicity on wind farms, rather than actual direct
impacts. And of course that may be partly true. But the case studies Pierpoint
provides do seem to suggest that some people have real symptoms. Perhaps it is a bit
like the claimed sensitivity of a small minority of people to the very low level
electromagnetic radiation from public WiFi hub units? We don‟t know. And the NHS
web site noted Pierpoint‟s „study design was weak, the study was small and there was
no comparison group. It is physically and biologically plausible that low frequency
noise generated by wind turbines can affect people‟ but, „this study provides no
conclusive evidence that wind turbines have an effect on health or are causing the set
of symptoms described‟.
The only way to find out for sure is to carry out more research on a large scale- her
sample was tiny, evidently based mostly on interviews with just 10 families living
near wind turbines- 38 people! But that will take time. In 2006 DTI published a study
by Hayes McKenzie which investigated claims that infrasound or low frequency noise
emitted by wind turbine generators was causing health effects. The report concluded
that there was no evidence of health effects arising from infrasound or low frequency
noise generated by wind turbines. But the report noted that a phenomenon known as
Aerodynamic Modulation (AM) was in some isolated circumstances occurring in
ways not anticipated by ETSU-R-972, the report which described the method of
assessing the impact of wind farms locally. So the Government commissioned Salford
University to conduct a further work. This study concluded that AM is not an issue
for the UK‟s wind farm fleet. Based on an assessment of 133 operational wind
projects across Britain the study found that, although the occurrence of AM cannot be
fully predicted, the incidence of it from operational turbines is low. Out of all the
working wind farms at the time of the study, there were four cases where AM
appeared to be a factor. Based on these findings, the Government said it did „not
consider there to be a compelling case for more work into AM‟, but it would keep the
issue under review. Perhaps they will have to change that posture.
 See also:

5. Energy Policy and option debates
Beyond 2020..
The UK Energy Research Centre’s new study of energy by 2050 (see Renew 181,
and Reviews in 182) includes an assessment, based on MARKAL allocation
modelling, of what possibilities there are for accelerating the renewables. If we are to
try to cut emissions by 80% by 2050, as opposed to 60% as originally planned, it can
be done, but it‟s quite a stretch and, UKERC say, also requires contributions from
nuclear and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Of course that‟s only one possible
mix- see our front cover. They say there are mutiple possible pathways. But even if
you push renewables hard, they say you‟ll need CCS or nuclear, more bioenergy or
more imports. Or better demand side measures. Presenting the acceleration scenarios
at the launch conference, Dr Mark Winskel from Edinburgh University commented
that while „accelerated development scenarios feature much greater contributions
from renewables and fuel cells for transport‟ in addition „Coal-CCS has a key role in
power sector decarbonisation after 2020, but long term output limited by residual
emissions‟. He added „Nuclear Power has an important role in 80% scenarios,
especially if CCS is delayed‟. There was a „much larger power sector after 2030 in
80% scenarios, with electrification of energy services and electrolysis for H2‟.
So it‟s electric/H2 cars and electric heating, via heat pumps. Lots to debate there! e.g.
what about bioheat/CHP? Solar?
MacKay Prof. David MacKay from Cambridge University has been making
somewhat similar points to the UKERC:
„If economic constraints and public objections are set aside, it would be possible for
the average European energy consumption of 125kWh/d per person to be provided
from these renewable sources. The two big contributors would be photo-voltaic
panels, which, covering 5% or 10% of the country, would provide 50kWh/d per
person; and offshore wind farms, which, filling a sea area twice the size of Wales,
would provide another 50kWh/d per person on average. Such an immense panelling
of the countryside and filling of British seas with wind farms (having a capacity five
times greater than all the wind turbines in the world today) may be possible according
to the laws of physics, but would the public accept and pay for such
arrangements?[...] If we answer no, we are forced to conclude that current
consumption will never be met by British renewables. We require a radical reduction
in consumption, or significant additional sources of energy- or both.‟ Prof. David
MacKay in The Times 10/5/09.
For discussion of MacKays nicely written and influential book, „Sustainable Energy
without the hot air‟, see the Features in Renew 182. A key difference from UKERC is
the absence of economic modelling.
The British Wind Energy Association seems to have accepted that nuclear will play
a role alongside wind and gas- it‟s published a scenario, developed by Redpoint
Energy, with, at an unspecified date, nuclear providing 31%(19.2GW), gas 29%, wind
30%, bioenergy 9%- the renewables then supplying 120TWh p.a.. Only a small
amount of coal plant with CCS is assumed. This is the starting point for Redpoints
study of the extent to which diversification away from wind to wave and tidal power
could help reduce grid balancing costs and excess wind spillage. Wave energy is in
effect stored/delayed wind energy and so is less sensitive to wind variations, while
tides, though cyclic, are unrelated to wind. The study suggests that to get the best
from these different time correlations, the optimum mix might be around a 70%/30%
wind to wave and tidal current mix, or, if tidal range projects were included along
with tidal current systems, a 60/40 wind/marine mix. The former ratio could reduce
the need for backup by 2.15 GW, the later by 2.3GW and the overall carbon savings
could be increased by up to 6% and wholesale costs reduced by up to 3.3%.
It‟s not surprising then that the BWEA has been keen to take wave and tidal power
under its wing. They and wind can all work together beneficially to help cope with the
variability of each source. As for nuclear, they assume for modelling purposes that
existing plant is basically inflexible, although they accept that new plant designs
might perhaps be able to ramp up and down by around 10% to match wind variations.
 „The Benefits of marine technologies with a diversified renewable mix‟, Redpoint for

Low C Tech: which focus?
In „Focus for success: A new approach to commercialising low carbon technologies‟
the Carbon Trust says that „the time is right for the UK to accelerate the move
towards an innovation policy which is „technology focussed‟, based upon customised,
technology specific support for carefully prioritised Low Carbon Technologies. We
believe this is the most cost effective way to meet climate change related targets and
generate economic benefit for the UK.‟
The report says that such a shift in policy would deliver a £70bn economic boost and
almost a quarter of a million jobs by 2050- see Renew 181. Carbon Trust CEO Tom
Delay said that the government “must prioritise and comprehensively back the
technologies that offer the best chance of securing long-term carbon savings, jobs and
revenue for Britain”.
However, Solar Century‟s Jeremy Leggett was not happy with what he took to be the
implied down-grading of PV solar: “Picking technologies at the expense of others has
the drawback that you miss the benefits of a combination approach. At the moment,
the UK has deployed only one eighth of the solar capacity that Belgium has installed
and the majority of developed countries are years ahead of the UK in solar. Bizarrely,
the Carbon Trust report fails to not only recognise this, but to even consider any other
renewable electricity or heat technology other than offshore wind, wave and fuel-cell
CHP.” He also said the report was out of date on PV: „Solar costs have fallen by up
to 20% this year and… will reach grid parity level by 2013 on current trends in the
UK. The government‟s own consultants suggest the imminent feed-in tariff could
deliver over 18TWh per year from solar power by 2020 from the non-domestic
building sector alone, a greater contribution than the proposed Severn tidal barrage.”
Certainly there has been a lot of lobbying on PV recently. A motion for solar power
recently attracted a record 240 MP signatures. For more on the „We Support Solar
* Paul Arwas, one of the Carbon Trust report authors, said that Leggett‟s criticisms
were based on misconception- six technologies had simply been selected for
illustrative purposes. “We do argue the UK should have a framework for prioritising
some technologies, but we are not saying we have provided that framework.” Source:

CBI plan The CBI wants a more balanced energy mix: the government needs
to reduce the percentage of wind power expected by 2020, to encourageinvestment in
other low-carbon energy sources like nuclear and CCS. It wants 34% from nuclear by

6. Other project news
Under Eden
A 3MW(e) geothermal energy project is planned for the Eden project in Cornwall
which would generate more power and heat than it needed, from „hot rocks‟ 3-4 km
down. If the necessary planning permission and consents are obtained, it could be
delivering energy by 2012, installed in partnership with Penzance-based EGS Energy.
Matt Hastings, the Eden Project‟s Energy Manager said „Cornwall leads the way in
wind and wave energy technology. Now we're trying to do the same in geothermal
power‟. Tim Smit, the chief executive of the Eden Project, said „Powering the Eden
Project site from a renewable source of energy is clearly a priority for us‟. But
evidently wind was seen as less appropriate for the site. The Eden project decided
against a proposed wind turbine earlier this year because of local opposition on the
grounds of visual intrusion. By contrast the geothermal project would have minimal
visual impact, and the technology has already been tested in Cornwall in the 1980s-
though not followed up.
The Eden plant might cost £15m, but, unlike wind or solar, could deliver power
continuously, with surplus electricity exported to the grid, while surplus heat could
be used for a variety of possible applications. Matt Hastings told NewEnergyFocus:
„The plant will generate about 22 GWh of electricity a year- about four to five times
the electricity we need, and it would generate 200GWh of heat, seven to 10 times
more heat than we need. We‟re thinking about what we could do with that heat.
Perhaps we could establish a geothermal spa, or develop some form of aquaculture to
cultivate Cornish caviar. There‟s also the opportunity to grow out-of-season fruit and
vegetables, saving things like tomatoes from being shipped in from Africa.‟
EGS CEO Guy Macpherson-Grant said that discussions are underway with other
partners with hopes of establishing plants elsewhere in the UK following on from the
Cornish project. EGS Energy believes Cornwall alone has enough power potential in
its underground granite to supply 10% of UK power needs. Other suitable granite
rock formations are located in areas like the north of England: „We believe EGS can
be made to industrial scale and controllable, and that there‟s a huge baseload and
peak. The load of energy available- offering both renewable energy and zero
emissions‟. The Eden plant would follow on from the world‟s first commercial
engineered geothermal power plant, the 3.8MW unit at Landau in Germany- see
Technology. Roy Baria, EGS Energy‟s technical director, said that when the
technology moves towards maturity, 25-50MW units would become the norm. Plants
would have lifespans of 25-30 years, before the heat in the local underground granite
reserve becomes depleted. „In America, President Obama has just released $400m for
engineered geothermal systems, while countries like China and Korea are also
looking into the technology- so the race is on to develop this.‟ For more: www.egs-
Enhanced geothermal system (EGS) technology involves creating a reservoir/heat
exchanger up to 5,000 metres underground by pumping high-pressure water down
into the granite to force open cracks in the rock. The water can be circulated down
into the reservoir to be heated up to 150 degrees C, then back up to the surface to
drive a steam turbine to generate power. The remaining heat in the water is used to
warm local buildings. The complete power plant will be „closed loop‟, with the steam
created condensed back to water and pumped back down to the reservoir, so the
environmental impact on the surrounding area will be minimal. However, even with
closed loop systems, some steam may be vented and some trace emissions may occur,
which seem to have presented problems in some locations e.g. with H2S in Iceland:
see Technology. Sources: NewEnergy Focus,, Guardian

Tidal Reef Grief
Hydro/tidal developer Rupert Armstrong-Evans has claimed that his plans for a tidal
reef on the Severn estuary have been stolen. He noted that „the government called on
engineers for proposals to generate large amounts of electricity from the Severn. I
spent 18 months full time devising and developing the idea, and had to raise a
mortgage. This was a totally new concept in tidal power generation. The idea was
entered in good faith into the government‟s competition.‟ The idea was picked up by
the RSPB which commissioned engineering consultant WS Atkins to assess its
technical and economic feasibility, since it looked like a better option in
environmental terms than the large barrage. However, the reef idea was not chosen
by DECC for further work, although DECC evidently did appoint Rolls-Royce and
WS Atkins to deliver what Armstrong- Evans maintains is an exact replica of his
scheme, which has now got support from the new Severn Embryonic Technolgy
scheme (SET), for further assessment. „The Atkins proposal is the same as the one I
put in. It‟s a dead crib. They call it a low head scheme and I call it a reef but it‟s the
same.‟ DECC described the allegation of corporate theft as „groundless nonsense‟ and
insisted the two projects were not linked. See Technology section in Renew 182.

Barrage OK?
While most green groups are convinced it would have a major negative impact, the
£20bn 8.6GW Severn tidal barrage will increase biodiversity in the area, according
to a paper in the Institution of Civil Engineering‟s Maritime Engineering journal,
which also said that a barrage would improve water quality. Based on a study of the
42 year old Rance barrage in Brittany, the researchers were able to „conclude with
certainty‟ that the positive effect experienced there would be mirrored on the Severn.

7. EU news
EU Climate Targets
The UK‟s Budget 2009 in April set what it claimed as the world‟s first carbon budget,
as required by the new Climate Change Act, with a legally binding 34% reduction in
emissions by 2020. It said it will „increase the level of ambition of carbon budgets
once a satisfactory global deal on climate change is reached‟. It added that it aimed to
meet „the first three carbon budgets without purchase of overseas credits outside of
the EU ETS,reserving possible credit purchase as a fallback option‟, though „under a
global deal, the Government would expect purchase of credits to form an important
part of the additional effort needed to meet more challenging carbon budgets,‟ adding
that „this commitment to planned credit purchase will contribute to the Government‟s
efforts to secure a global climate deal and position the UK to influence development
and reform of the international carbon market global deal‟.
The EU has a lower two-target policy: a 20% by 2020 cut, unless a better global
agreement can be reached, when it would be 30%.

EU: offshore wind to beat recession
The European Parliament’s energy committee wants to provide € 565m to offshore
wind projects as part of the EU Economic Recovery plan, which aims to tackle the
financial crisis by encouraging investments in offshore wind, carbon capture and
storage and the electricity and gas infrastructure. Christian Kjaer, CEO European
Wind Energy Association, commented. “The wind energy sector is pleased with the
effort to unlock Europe‟s massive offshore wind energy resource, while encouraging
investments in new electricity grids. Still, I have doubts whether the vast amounts of
money being allocated to coal CCS will contribute to the EU‟s economic recovery,
since the technology will not be commercially viable this side of 2020. EWEA
therefore supports the Parliament‟s proposal to allocate any unspent money to
renewable energy technologies, including onshore wind power, which can be
employed immediately.”
The EU Parliament‟s Economic Recovery plan has an overall value of € 5bn, of
which € 3.98bn is to go to energy projects up to 2010, including the initiation of the
first stage of an offshore supergrid. € 565m is to go to specific offshore wind projects.
The plan has still be be formally agreed. Source: Modern Power Systems

...and CCS
The European Commission has given its approval for the UK Government to fund
two front-end engineering and feasibility studies on two industrial-scale carbon
capture and storage demonstration projects. The projects involve the construction of
a commercial scale coal-fired power plant equipped with post-combustion CCS
technology. The UK has now said that it will support up to 4 CCS projects, including
precombustion at long last. But France has already got there. French oil company
Total has had retrofitted a gas fired plant at Lacq in the South of France with CCS in a
£54m pilot project, with the CO2 being sent down the existing pipeline, back to a
major local gas well at Rousse which used to supply to the plant, for storage at a
depth of 4,500 meters. Germany also has a working 30MW CCS pilot project at
Spremberg-see Renew 177. The UK has a 1MW mobile test rig at Longannet, just for

EU PV at 10GW
In 2008, the European Union more than doubled its newly installed PV solar capacity
relative to 2007. According to preliminary EurObserv‟ER‟s PV Barometer estimates,
capacity installed rose from 1825.6 MWp (in 2007) to 4592.3 MWp in 2008, up
151.6%. This additional capacity means that the total Europe-wide capacity amounts
to 9533.3 MWp, almost doubling the figure for 2007, up 92.9%. www.eurobserv-
Also see the Wind Power Barometer:

German Renewables
Electricity supply in 2020: paths to a modern energy industry, Report by the German
federal Renewable Energy Association (Bundesverband Erneuerbare Energien e.V.)
and Renewable Energy Agency (Agentur für Eneuerbaren Energien), Jan 2009. Here
is a translation (by EERU‟s Steve Plater) of the Executive summary:
Provided that the positive conditions for build-up of renewables in Germany be
maintained and further developed, the installed capacity of renewables and their
electricity generation will approximately triple by 2020, with an average annual
growth rate of 9%. All parts of the renewable energy sector can further dynamically
progress, by increasing technological efficiency, tapping new potential and
modernising existing installations. Forecast total electricity production from
renewables in 2020 is 278 TWh, from installed capacity of 111 GW. If the ambitious
goals of Germany and the EU for enhancing energy efficiency are even only partly
realised in the electricity sector, the predicted share in 2020 of renewables will be
47% of gross electricity consumption.
The German electricity supply system is already more flexible than generally
supposed. 10 GW of capacity stands available in pumped and other storage facilities,
and in standby hydroelectric power stations. That capacity is expected to rise by 2020
to 13 GW. On top of that there is at present 4 GW of adjustable bioenergy capacity,
forecast to increase to 9.3 GW by 2020. Even under conservative assumptions,
sufficient generating capacity will be available in 2020 to meet the annual peak level
of demand. No new fossil fuelled power station will be necessary, beyond those
already under construction at mid 2008, to provide Germany with a secure electricity
supply. Two thirds of electricity from renewables in 2020 (189 TWh) will come from
variable wind and solar energy capacity. How much the remaining fossil and nuclear
capacity will supply to the grid, and the operation of hydroelectric stored capacity,
will increasingly be determined by the level of supply from wind and solar. Full load
operation of all condensation [= steam driven?] power stations will decline. Under
these assumptions and taking into consideration changes in the fossil fuelled power
station fleet, a reduction in output of 37% for lignite, 21% for hard coal and 12% for
natural gas is expected. Nuclear generation is 94% lower than in 2007.
Cost-benefit analysis shows that the build-up of renewables substantially benefits the
economy. CO2 emissions avoided thanks to renewable energy rise from 75m tonnes
in 2007 to over 200m tonnes in 2020. In addition to the partial factoring in of climate
related value through emission certificates, external costs of fossil fuel based
electricity generation (not already internalised in emissions trading) amounting to €
6.3bn will be avoided. Moreover, the requirement for fossil fuels falls considerably,
meaning in 2020 a reduction in imports of € 22.6bn. These economic benefits exceed
by a wide margin the direct economic costs of renewables capacity build-up in the
electricity sector. The cost difference in 2020 runs to € 2.4bn.
Conclusions The build-up of renewably generated electricity will make an important
contribution to achievement of Germany's EU agreed target of 18% share for
renewables in total energy use. Renewables will more and more become the
representative component of the electricity supply system. Flexibilities in the
generating fleet are already sufficient to ensure full integration of renewables without
supply cuts or unreliability. Preferential use of and grid access for renewably
generated electricity, on legal and economic grounds, necessitates a reduction in the
load factor of fossil fuelled power stations. This effect must be taken into account
when considering investment in new capacity.
It is not necessary to prolong the operating life of nuclear power stations. That would
mean, unless electricity exports increased substantially, that nuclear stations could
supply baseload power only if preferential grid access for renewables was drastically
limited. That would massively damage investment security for the renewables sector.
Dynamic build-up of renewables in the electricity sector will continue after 2020 too.
Over the long term, electricity supply must convert completely to renewables. This
demands significantly enhanced flexibility in the supply system.
A priority goal must therefore be to secure energy storage capacity in all suitable
forms, and to improve access to existing storage. This applies not only to electricity
storage but also to storage on the demand side.
Options for energy storage
* Renewable „combi-power stations‟: distributed generation using inherently storable
biomass and hydro capacity, together with other local options, jointly managed. These
would serve both to lessen load on the grid and to increase regional supply security.
* Load management: through making usable the inherent storage capacity on the
demand side (especially in heating and cooling), and in district heating.
* Build new inland storage stations: investigate and utilise new locations and
technological options (e.g. compressed air, underground pumped storage), as well as
repowering existing facilities.
* Expand electricity exchange with Scandinavian and Alpine countries: which have
considerable hyropower storage potential, and with which exchange of electricity
supply should be strongly supported in political and regulatory terms.
* Electromobility: use the storage capacity of electric vehicle batteries for grid
management („vehicle to grid‟).
Lets hope the new coalition government doesn‟t undermine the development of all
8. Global news
 Renewables now at 280 GW
The 2009 REN21 Renewables Global Status Report shows that the fundamental
transition of the world‟s energy markets continues. Global power capacity from new
renewable energy sources (excluding large hydro) reached 280,000 megawatts (MW)
in 2008- a 16% rise from the 240,000 MW in 2007 and nearly three times the capacity
of the United States nuclear sector.
Solar heating capacity increased by 15% to 145 GWth, while biodiesel and ethanol
production both increased by 34%. More renewable than conventional power capacity
was added in both the EU and US for the first time, and China‟s total wind power
capacity doubled in 2008.
• Existing global wind power capacity grew by 29% in 2008 to 121 GW, or more than
double the 59 GW of capacity in place at the end of 2005.
• Grid-connected solar PV continued to be the fastest growing power generation
technology globally, with a 70% increase in existing capacity reaching 13 GW. Spain
became the PV leader, with 2.6 GW of new grid-linked installations.
• Solar hot water saw record growth in 2008 in Germany, with over 200,000 systems
• Geothermal power capacity surpassed 10 GW in 2008, led by the United States.
In 2008, the report says that renewable energy resisted the credit crunch more
successfully than many other sectors for much of the year and new investment
reached $120bn, up 16% over 2007. However, by the end of the year, the impact of
the crisis was beginning to show. Full report is at:

Wind Boom
GlobalData‟s „Global Wind Power Market Analysis and Forecasts to 2020‟ says that
„the global cumulative wind power capacity has increased at a growth rate of 26%,
from 23,900 MW in 2001 to 121,013 MW in 2008. In terms of annual installations,
the year 2008 saw 26,899 MW of new capacity additions, compared with just 6,500
MW in 2001.‟ And some big new projects are emerging. For example a 1,101 turbine
wind farm is being planned in Sweden which would cost about $6.9 billion. It would
be located in the northern part of Sweden, near Markbygden. It would be spread over
an area of 175 square miles, and would generate a total of 8 to 12 terawatt hours of
electricity per year.
Source: ID

100% Renewable electricity by 2020
 In a bold new paper in The Electricity Journal (Vol. 22, No.4, May 2009, pp95-111)
likely to be seen as beyond the pale by David MacKay, Ben Sovacool and
Charmaine Watts ask is „Going Completely Renewable‟ possible and desirable and
say yes, for electricity in both the USA and New Zealand, which they select as case
studies, and also, ultimately, for the world as a whole. „Excluding biomass, and
looking at just solar, wind, geothermal, and hydroelectric, the world has roughly
3,439,685 TWh of potential- about 201 times the amount of electricity the world
consumed in 2007.‟ They admit 100% is a very big stretch from where we are now,
but they suggest policy measures to enable rapid expansion.

Global Targets
The G8 meeting in July backed 50% cuts globally by 2050 and 80% for developed
countries. Reuters, said plans so far outlined by developed nations add up to average
cuts of 9-16% below 1990 levels by 2020. Meanwhile the nuclear lobby is pressing
for nuclear to be included- e.g. in new CDM and JI mechanisms.

Carbon offsets hit by recession
Sales of credits for voluntary carbon offsetting projects plummeted 70% during the
first two months of this year compared with the last two months of 2008, according to
the environmental research firm New Energy Finance. The price of the credits also
fell by 30%. With money tight due to the recession, companies seem to be
abandoning offsets, although they still need to make carbon reductions to meet the
new Carbon Reduction Commitment which comes into force in 2010: „There is an
argument that money might be better spent on cutting energy consumption‟,
according to Paul Dickinson, chief executive of the Carbon Disclosure Project. Neil
Sachdev, commercial director of J Sainsbury, told the Times that offsetting „just
passes the problem to a third party. It makes more sense to focus on energy efficiency,
where there are clear economic and environmental savings.‟
The Times suggested that „the greatest threat is to small projects designed to improve
the living standards of communities in developing nations- replacing cooking stoves
or providing solar panels to rural villages without electricity, for example. In the
boom times, companies were happy to invest in “social good” projects because they
fitted with their broader pledges on corporate social responsibility. But carbon-credit
retailers say feel-good projects could be the most affected by the economic downturn,
as companies concentrate on projects that have the biggest environmental impact.‟
Neil Braun, chief executive of the Carbon Neutral Company, told them “There is
likely to be more demand now to buy credits for large renewable projects such as
wind and hydro, where the cost per tonne of emission reductions is less”. S. Times

CSP grows
There is 1.2 GW of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) capacity under construction
and another 13.9 GW has been announced globally for completion by 2014, according
to Emerging Energy Research. Spain is the epicenter of CSP development with 22
projects for 1,037 MW under construction, all of which are projected to come online
by the end of 2010. The US has 75 MW of CSP under construction, and 8.5 GW
scheduled for installation by 2014. By 2020 there could be 25GW in place globally.
Solar PV will not be able to compete with conventional energy until there is a
technological break-through, said BP‟s CEO, in a further sign of the company‟s move
away from renewables towards oil and gas. But Solarcentury says the costs of PV will
match rising fossil fuel prices at 17-18p/kWh by 2013, and commercial electricity by
2018. 2013 seems a bit optimistic... but maybe not much: the UK‟s REA put it at

CCS A review paper in the RSC journal Energy and Environmental Science
2009, 2, 449–458, suggests that though much still remains to be learned, Carbon
Capture and Storage looks to be a viable option globally- with, interestingly, many
potential storage sites being on land. But there has been local opposition to an
underground CO2 storage project in Germany.

9. Around the world
Change in China
With the all-important Copenhagen Climate Conference imminent, there were
welcome signs that, although outright reductions were not likely, China is at least
willing to make a commitment to the reductions in the growth of its rapidly expanding
carbon emissions.
The Guardian reported that Su Wei, a leading figure in China‟s climate change
negotiating team, said that officials were considering introducing a national target that
would limit emissions relative to economic growth in the country‟s next 5-year plan
from 2011. „China hasn‟t reached the stage where we can reduce overall emissions,
but we can reduce energy intensity and carbon intensity.‟ i.e. carbon emissions/GNP.
Subsequently a policy along these lines was proposed, and there is also talk of being
able to go beyond the current target of getting 15% of all energy from renewables by
2020, to 18% and possibly 20%. But it remains to be seen what will be agreed at

Wind in China
China will have 100 gigawatts of wind power capacity by 2020, more than three
times the 30 GW target the government laid down in an energy strategy drawn up just
18 months ago. That means wind is set to be a bigger source of power than nuclear,
despite a construction boom in nuclear power plants, and far bigger than solar, which
is expected to hit 1.8 GW by 2020, according to the 2007 plan. The original 2020
target for nuclear was set at 40 GW, but China is now aiming for 60 GW and officials
have spoken of 70 GW. China had 9.1 GW of nuclear power capacity at the end of
last year and is building 24 reactors with a further 25.4 GW planned.
 Source: Reuters/NuClearNews 6.
India’s first tidal plant, an $8-$9m 3.6MW project in Durgaduani Creek,
Sundarbans, West Bengal, is likely to be funded by Central and Local Government.
US Targets
The US government now sees greenhouse emissions as a major issue: the
Environmental Protection Agency is now regulating them. But there is a way to go
before the US can hope to achieve the target Obama set in his election run up- of an
80% cut by 2050. He‟s now said as President that the US should aim to get
emissions down to 1990 levels by 2020. That‟s a good start. And it seem to be one
reason why China might now consider joining in more effectively. But there was
opposition to the draft US Clean Energy act, which called for 25%
of electricity to come from renewables by 2025, a 20% cut on 2005 emission levels
by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The fossil lobby wanted just a 6% cut by 2020. A
compromise reached was a 17%cut by 2020 and a 15% target for renewables- 12%
being allowed in some regions with poor resources.

US Marine Renewables
The US Department of Energy has issued a „Funding Opportunity Announcement‟ for
up to $12m to support the research and development of advanced water power
technologies, including marine and hydrokinetic and conventional hydropower.
However, that could be just for starters. The leadership in both the House of
Representatives and Senate have reportedly called on the Dept of Energy to allocate
$250m of the $2.5bn in stimulus funding for renewable energy research and
development to help develop wave, current and tidal energy technologies. But then
came talk of a 25% cut in the marine R&D budget- from $40m to $30m. The Dept. of
Energy however says that marine R&D funding is still going to be 10 times that
under Bush.
Budget battles notwithstanding Sean O‟Neill, president of the Ocean Renewable
Energy Coalition, the US trade association for the marine renewables, said power
captured from such emerging technologies including waves „are poised for
commercial application in the US‟. The potential certainly is vast. A report on the
Marine Energy Potential of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, by the U.S. Department
of the Interior, has indicated that the offshore ocean wave energy resource has a
considerable potential for making a significant contribution, with the total average
wave energy at a depth of 60m off the U.S. coastlines, including Alaska and Hawaii,
being estimated at 2,100 TWh/yr. However it found that tidal energy technology
development appears to be moving more quickly than wave energy technology, which
it attributed to tidal technology‟s characteristics, such as predictable currents and
location in shallow nearshore waters, which make it more accessible to development.
The most viable potential opportunities for ocean current energy development in the
U.S. are located off the southeast coast of Florida, in the Gulf Stream.
The US EPRI has studied many potential U.S. tidal energy sites and, for those sites
examined so far, estimates a potential tidal resource of 115 TWh/y. Alaska has over
90% of the total, at 106 TWh/y: there are sites with extremely high power density and
large surface area in SE Alaska, Cook Inlet, and the Aleutian Islands.
The report is the result of the Secretary of the Interiors‟ directive to Minerals
Management Service (MMS) and United States Geological Survey (USGS), and has
been prepared by the MMS in collaboration with the USGS.,
...and Tidal power in S. Korea
South-East Power, a unit of state-run Korea Electric Power Corp., is to build 960
megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2015, including 460 MW of tidal power
generation, according to AFP. Tidal power is certainly moving ahead in Korea, with
the construction of the Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Plant seen as the front runner,
progressing to completion. A consortium involving the Ministry of Land, Transport
and Maritime Affairs, Korea Ocean Research & Development Institute and Korea
East-West Power Corp., another unit of Korea Electric Power Corp., also plan to
install 50MW of turbine capacity by 2013 in the Jindo area. And Korea East-West
Power Corp. plans to build tidal power generators in two other locations-it‟s signed a
large scale investment agreement with South Jeolla Province for construction of a
tidal plant in Jindoaiming and to build a 50MW tidal plant in Uldolmok by 2012.

...and in Holland
Maria van der Hoeven, the Dutch minister of Economic Affairs, has indicated interest
in a tidal current demonstration project at the Marine Terminal at Total Refinery near
Vlissingen-East. In parallel, Dutch developers Tocardo have secured an investment
from E2 Cleantech. Tocardo‟s Aqua Inshore tidal turbine has been successfully tested
at the Afsluitdijk discharge sluices in the Netherlands, and since summer 2008, a
45kW turbine has been installed permanently there. The new investment will support
Tocardo in further developing its off-shore tidal turbine. Wind-
now 121GW

Icelands Carb Fix
The Carb Fix project in Iceland will take CO2 produced by an Icelandic geothermal
energy plant and dissolve it in water under high pressures. It will then pump the
solution into layers of basalt about 400-700m underground, in the expectation that the
dissolved CO2 will react with calcium in the basalt to form solid calcium carbonate.
The project manager said: „In the lab it takes a few days to a few weeks. We want to
see what happens in the field and whether we can do it on the scale required‟. The
project is a form of carbon capture and storage (CCS). But rather than filling empty
oil or gas wells, or pumping the CO2 into deep saltwater reservoirs, where the high
pressure is expected to keep the gas dissolved and trapped underground, mineral
storage offers a safer bet, Carb-fix says, because there is less chance of leakage.
Source: Guardian 16/4/09 See the Technology section in Renew 182

No need for Baseload
Quoting the chair of the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, who says that
„baseload capacity is going to become an anachronism‟, the American Wind Energy
Association has argued that „A combination of a large amount of renewable energy,
combined with flexible natural gas plants and demand-response and efficiency, can
ensure that our electric system has sufficient energy, capacity, and flexibility, and
operates reliably and cost-effectively and that no new nuclear or coal plants may ever
be needed in the United States‟.

Plug-ins win?
The US Hydrogen fuel cell programme for vehicles, set up under Bush, has been
terminated by the US DoE. Seems plug-in battery-electric hybrids are favoured now,
plus biofuels.

10. Nuclear News
In the swim
Worried about nuclear waste? A message from British Energy: „When used fuel is
removed from Sizewell‟s reactor, it is stored safely in a secure fuel pond on site. The
pond is roughly the area of an Olympic swimming pool and will reach capacity by
2015. Consequently, British Energy is evaluating options for managing spent fuel
after this date. This would be an interim solution until a national repository is built.
There are well-established, proven methods and technologies already in use across the
world for managing used fuel. Thus the experience of 264 pressurised water reactors
worldwide, similar to Sizewell B, provides a robust, proven record of safe, secure
storage upon which to evaluate options. After reviewing worldwide best practice
British Energy has narrowed the process down to four possible options for Sizewell
B. The options are: fuel reprocessing; a new wet storage fuel pond (similar to the
existing ponds at Sizewell B); dry cask storage, and dry vault storage.‟ From a BE
circular on its Sizewell Plans, 3/09

In the money
In response to a Parliamentary question on funding for nuclear fusion in April, it was
reported that the Government provides support for nuclear fusion research in the UK
through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. , In total it was:
£ million
2003-04 19.2
2004-05 22.7
2005-06 20.7
2006-07 26.0
2007-08 26.1
It was noted that „The UK does not fund international fusion research directly,
though it contributes to the Euratom European fusion research programme through its
payments to the EU budget‟.
That would bring it to be about the same as the total allocated for all the UK‟s
renewable R&D (see Renew 181). This despite the UKAEAs admission that fusion
could probably only supply around 20% of global electricity by 2100!

In the House
In a debate on nuclear power on March 31st in the Commons David Heathcoat-
Amory (MP for Wells, Conservative) had this to say: „I agree that Governments of all
complexions have not solved the problem of deep-storing or disposing of nuclear
waste, but I do not think that that is the sole reason for the drift and negligence of
recent years. My point is slightly different. The Government are relying on another
source of energy that is based largely on make-believe- a vast expansion in
renewables. We are now committed to deriving 15% of all our energy requirements-
not just electricity- from renewable sources by 2020, but we currently derive only
about 2%, and we are nowhere near getting to 15% within that time scale. That
commitment is legally binding and will be in treaty law. We know that EU law is
superior to national law, but I do not know who will go to prison when these
commitments are not fulfilled-it will probably be another lot of Ministers in the
future. Today‟s Government are signing up to a specific, legally binding commitment
that is not attainable. Some renewable technologies make sense, such as hydro and,
possibly, tidal power, but the rest are usually small-scale and expensive. The
Government are relying strongly on wind power. The Secretary of State has said that
those who oppose having wind turbines where they live are antisocial- like people
who do not wear a seat belt. Those who have to live next to such noisy, expensive and
unreliable machines are being made to feel socially inferior. That is not a clever way
in which to proceed. Wind turbines are also expensive and increase electricity prices
for everyone else. They create fuel poverty and make industry pay more for its power
costs. At the same time as we are industrialising the landscape, we are de-
industrialising the rest of the economy. That is not a clever policy and it is certainly
not one on which we can rely for many future years.‟
He went on „I want this debate to be about solutions, not just problems, blame and
complaints. The solution both for energy security and the reduction of CO2 emissions
is to replace those nuclear stations, advance further and expand civil nuclear power in
this country. We used to be a world leader in nuclear. We were the first country
successfully to harness atoms for peace and to turn nuclear fission into a technology
for the benefit of mankind. We led the world. The story is not altogether a happy one,
and I am not starry-eyed about the nuclear industry. Mistakes were made and certain
expectations were not fulfilled. However, by and large, it was a British success story.
It is true that we were too slow to switch to water-cooled reactors- the French did that
successfully before us, and all credit to them. We also never hit on a standard design
of reactor to replicate and therefore we did not benefit from the successive production
of a single reactor type. Despite that, our recently built reactors have largely
performed well and safely. The percentage of electricity supplied by nuclear climbed
steadily and reached a peak of 27% in a fateful year- 1997. I do not want to read too
much into that. One could make all sorts of party political points, but it is a fact that
during the past 12 years, there has been a steady decline in the percentage of
electricity derived from nuclear stations. The figure is now down to around 15% At
the same time, Britain has become a net importer of energy. The Government have
now finally woken up, and their policy of drift and neglect is no longer sustainable.‟
In an exchange on 2 April Harriet Harman, the Labour Leader of the Commons,
commented: „The Government are committed to the future of the nuclear industry in
this country as part of a balanced and self-sufficient energy policy. We have increased
the budget- something like £200 million, for example-on projects such as the nuclear
development college at Workington. We are putting in a great deal of investment, and
we will continue to do so.‟ Oops, maybe she meant £20m. Even so the government is
not supposed to be funding the new nuclear programme is it? But then this is just
indirect... and presumably so is the „up to £15m‟ for a Nuclear Advanced
Manufacturing Research Centre, and the £20m for a Nuclear Centre of Excellence,
aiming to „promote wider access to civil nuclear power across the world‟.
Let’s have more plutonium
Gordon Brown says he wants to see 32 new nuclear power stations built every year
around the world to halve global carbon emissions. Massachusetts Institute of
Technology looked at a scenario with 1,000 new reactors by 2050, or 25 every year,
but found it only accounted for 19.2% of the world‟s electricity in 2050 compared
with 16.3% in 2000, due to increases in electricity demand. Not much carbon saving
then. What it could provide though is plutonium for weapons. Separating plutonium
from spent fuel doesn‟t require a large reprocessing facility like Sellafield. A simple
plutonium separation facility could be built in 4-6 months. The diffusion of
knowledge and the increase in global trade of plutonium and enriched uranium would
make it even more difficult to detect clandestine weapons programmes. See:
NuClearnews No.5 April 2009
Meanwhile it has been revealed just what a disaster the MOX fabrication plant at
Sellafield has been- it was meant to make £200m profits but has cost over £1.2 bn so
far and barely worked (Independent 7/4/09). But now we expect more- with new
plants planned. The Office for Nuclear Development has launched a website to enable
the public to have a say on the 11 proposed sites for new nuclear stations, help to
explain the process for choosing sites, and give people the opportunity to comment on
sites once they are nominated.

Nuclear v wind
„As the intermittent renewable capacity approaches the Governmen‟s 32% proposed
target, if wind is not to be constrained (in order to meet the renewable target), it
would be necessary to attempt to constrain nuclear ‟. EDF
EDF’s views on the potential conflict between wind and nuclear (see Box) were
revealed when the Dept. of Energy & Climate Change published the responses to its
consultation on its renewables strategy. EDF says that, with a large wind element, at
times of high wind, output from wind and nuclear could exceed demand, which could
mean the nuclear plant is instructed not to generate. If nuclear plants have to be
regularly turned off, this „damages the economics of these projects, meaning that less
will be built‟. It says that curtailment could be an issue once intermittent sources
provide 20-25% of UK electricity. EDF‟s views are partly supported by Eon, though
they are happy with up to 32% from variable renewables, as a maximum. See
Reviews in Renew 182

35-40% from nuclear after 2030?
See Malcolm Wicks‟ energy security report: change_energy/

11. In the rest of Renew 182
The battle over what the energy mix should look like beyond 2020 continues- and our
Reviews look for the UKERC 2050 analysis and Groups and Features relay some
reactions to David MacKay‟s views.
Geothermal is back on the agenda and our Technology section explores the pros and
cons, but Wind of course still rules the roost, although E.ON has some critical things
to say about wind- and the need for curtailment: as detailed in our Reviews. CSP
solar may soon step in as a new big option- see Groups for the Claverton Energy
Group input. But sadly, there is a bit of a battle between CSP and wind looming- see
our Feature. As ever though, the nuclear lobby is pushing for more, with Malcolm
Wicks MP, the PMs special energy envoy, even recommending that „an aspiration
that nuclear should provide some 35-40% of our electricity beyond 2030 should be
considered by Government‟. It‟s currently at 13%. Who knows what technology that
might use, given that uranium resources may be getting short by then, but we look at
some longer term nuclear prospects in our Technology section- basically, breeders.

12. Renew and NATTA subscription
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