zondag 26 april 2009

US power company to tap solar energy in space

San Francisco-based Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) is planning to buy solar power beamed to earth from space, local newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Solaren plans to generate the power using solar panels in earth orbit, and then convert it to radio frequency energy for transmission to a receiving station in California's Fresno County. From there, the energy will be converted to electricity and fed into PG&E's power grid.

Under the purchase agreement, Solaren will deliver 200 megawatts of clean, renewable power starting from 2016. One megawatt of electricity generally is enough to power 750 to 1,000 homes.

According to Gary Spirnak, Solaren's CEO, a group of about 10 former satellite and aerospace engineers, was confident in the technology and timing behind the venture.
He also said that the science behind the orbiting solar farms was little different to that of communications satellites.

Spirnak said he was seeking in the low billions of dollars in investment. So he will face a difficult task raising funds for his project though, especially in this time of global economic recession.

It concerns here about a lot of money. So I think they have to be quite sure that they will produce the amount of green energy that they have put forward in the future. In order to have the investment back after a period of time.

An other aspect of this is to make sure we don’t bring more energy to the planet than it would naturally absorb. Otherwise, we end up with the same global warming problem we have with fossil fuels. And I don’t think that this is the intention!

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/apr/16/solar-energy-farms-space

Dominique Van Huffel

Winds of change blow for offshore power operators

Atmos Consulting did some research about the wind speed in the south of the UK. It is a fact that wind speeds around the coast of East Anglia and Essex have been rising, an unexpected fact of climate change. The consulting agency even said that wind farms over there can generate 50% more electricity than a decade ago due to the wind speed changes.

This is a great opportunity to build new, bigger and profitable wind farms in these areas. There are more than 10GW of offshore wind farms being planned. There are people doubting about wind farms, because of the huge costs. They will have to reconsider their opinion now, because more wind will lead to more money (bigger production of electricity).

There might be a chance that this news rescues the £3bn London Array wind-farm project. This project is in the outer Thames Estuary in the United Kingdom. Of 1 GW capacity, it is expected to become the world's largest offshore wind farm. The project was doomed to be cancelled, but the government will reconsider now.

I think this is a great chance to produce more green energy. The British people have to try to take the benefit of it, as much as they can. They will have to think good about the places of the many wind farms of course, because you can’t just start these projects everywhere you want. It is the first time that I found something positive because of the climate change. This change gives a big advantage and will lead to a greener production of electricity in the United Kingdom.

Robby Lampens

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/apr/26/offshore-wind-power

zaterdag 25 april 2009

Switch to renewable energy could save £13bn a year

A study has revealed that Britain could save £12.6bn a year in importing fossil fuels by 2020 if it joins on a new program of energy efficiency and renewable technologies such as wind power and biomass.

An international Energy Agency has calculated that with the reduce of North Sea oil and gas supplies, the UK will need to import 80% of its gas needs by 2020.

When looking to other countries, Britain lies far behind when it comes to deployment of renewable energy. Britain needs to get 15% of its total energy needs from sustainable sources by 2020. The experts say that this target will be very hard to meet, almost impossible.
The head of the REA stated that the British government is too busy with the cost of the investments of renewable energy. He said that this rapport shows huge and increasing savings for the UK economy, because there is e decrease of imports.

The Guardian revealed yesterday that the chancellor will announce an extra £500m of "green" spending in tomorrow's budget, of which £40m will be used to top up the Low Carbon Buildings Program, a grant system for renewables.
But the REA and opposition politicians say the extra money is too little to kick-start the sort of low-carbon revolution that Lord Stern urged countries to adopt to pull themselves out of the economic slump.

According to me this is a very important issue. I think the British government is afraid to invest in renewable energy because of the high costs. However they should realise that investing in renewable energy is very interesting. They won’t have to spend so much money anymore on imports of fossil fuels, and so they can save a lot of money. I think the return on investment is very important in this situation.

I also find it a little bit dangerous. If the UK has to import 80% of its gas that is needed, they depend on other countries. If for instance there is a war with a country that provides the fuels to the UK, what will they do then? That means that there is only 20% available for the people of the UK, and this is a risky situation.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/apr/21/renewable-energy-savings

Kevin De Pauw

vrijdag 24 april 2009

US offshore energy plan unveiled

On Earth Day, President of the US, Barack Obama announced a plan to allow offshore electricity which is generated from wind, waves and ocean currents.

According to Obama this move will help to reduce the emission of carbon. It will certainly help the combat against global warming too. Another pro is the creation of jobs. Wind could generate as much as 20% of the US electricity demand by 2030. Coastal US States, such as New Jersey and Delaware have already developed plans to build these offshore renewable energy projects.

It’s just a matter of a win-win-situation. It’s not about making a choice between saving our environment and saving our economy, but it’s a choice between prosperity and decline. Obama is really insisting on the fact that his plan for offshore energy will not damage the economy! To approve his meaning: the investment in offshore energy will create 250,000 jobs. In that way, he is tackling the subject of unemployment as well.

Combating climate change is one of the priorities of the administration top. They have also pledged to pass legislation for establishing a "cap and trade" system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Although members of Congress from both parties are likely to block the changes, or water them down.

It’s a good initiative of the US president. I’m quite sure that these measures will not only help us to provide damaging our environment but that investing in new projects for a better environment will also help to stimulate our economies in past-crisis times. All these new projects are certainly leading to a raise of demand for employees. Nevertheless, the discussions about goodness and badness of new projects will never disappear. People have to be convinced about the good of something new before they can believe in it!

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8013494.stm

Posted by Joachim De Zutter

zondag 5 april 2009

Solar loans light up rural India

The UN Environment Programme is leading a big project in India. The main goal of the project is to help families to get a loan for buying home solar power systems. The UN supports Indian bankers who offer cheap loans to the Indian people to purchase a system unit.

The rural Indian people are used to light their homes with kerosene lamps, which are expensive and polluting. These lamps can be a danger for the health of the people in their poorly ventilated houses and produce more than 205 kg of carbon dioxide a year by one family. The UN thought that solar energy could be a solution. There was one disadvantage, the cost. An average solar power system (able of powering two to four small appliances or lights) costs about $300-$500 and that’s too expensive for the most families over there. For this the UN started the project, the Indian Loan Programme helps banks to offer lower interest rates and longer payback periods to the people who want to invest in a solar power system. According to the UN, the project is a success. More than 100,000 people in rural India have benefited from an innovative loan scheme.

I support this project of the UN. The main goal of the project is to make life better for the people, so I think that everybody would support it. It is true that the use of solar energy will be healthier than kerosene lamps and will make energy bills cheaper. Another small advantage is that it will reduce the pollution. There will be more than 100,000 people less who use kerosene lamps. The reduction of pollution will not be that much, but I think that every little thing can help to solve the pollution problem and to stop global warming.

Robby Lampens

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6600213.stm

Plans for energy park submitted

Plans for a £20m renewable energy plant that could provide electricity to 10,800 homes have been submitted to Selby District Council.

Whites Renewable Energy has put forward the proposition to turn the site of an old Tate and Lyle citric acid factory into a renewable energy park.

The new plant would create 120 new jobs.

The plant would use anaerobic digestion technology, which breaks down leftover food into compost and biogas, which can be burned to produce heat and electricity.

Spokesman David Balderson said that Anaerobic digestion is one of the best solutions for disposing of organic waste.

He also said that the site at Selby is ideal as it is well connected to the local motorway network via Selby bypass, it already has an anaerobic digester and a connection to the National Grid.

And according to him, this project will provide a significant boost to the local economy by creating jobs and will also make available a cheap non fossil fuel heat source that will attract businesses to the area.

According to me, one of the most important benefits of renewable energy is the fact that it’s non-polluting. Also the fact that they are going to produce renewable energy from waste is an advantage. Which means more energy and less waste.

It's a large investment, but I think it's worth it. Because the plant is going to produce renewable energy, so after a period of time, they will have the investment back.

The new plant will also create 120 new jobs, which is positive for the local economy.


Dominique Van Huffel

Renewable energy: E.ON looks at £300m investment to build Britain's largest biomass plant

E.ON, a big energy company in the energy sector, has said that it was considering a £300m investment in building one of the biggest biomass power plants in Britain.
The company said that it wants to build a 150 megawatt plant at the port of Bristol as a part big investment program in a range of generating technologies.

The CEO of E.ON stated that this project would be very good for the UK, according to the CEO the project will help the government to meet their renewable energy targets.
"Schemes such as this, together with cleaner coal, gas and new nuclear, will help us to keep the UK's lights on, while reducing carbon emissions and ensuring energy is as affordable as possible for our customers," he said.

E.ON's investment program in Britain exists of large gas-fired power station, a gas-fired plant, an offshore wind farm and plans for the Humber Gateway wind farm. It is also a partner in the London Array wind farm and has invested in marine energy projects.
The proposal to replace the coal-fired power station into a coal plant has attracted fierce controversy.
Environmental protesters have already held its week-long Climate Camp outside the existing Kingsnorth power station as part of the campaign of opposition against the new plant.

A representative of Greenpeace has said that if E.ON wants to have the image of one of the country’s leading green generators it should drop the plans for the new power station.

According to E.ON, the plant would be able to generate enough electricity to supply 250,000 homes. The carbon dioxide emissions will decrease by 500,000 tons a year
If the proposal will be approved anyway , E.ON is hoping to start work in 2010, with the first power produced in 2013 and the plant coming into full operation in 2014.

According to me this article has 2 points of view. First of all this new project of E.ON will provide plenty of new jobs, and will deliver green energy for 250,000 homes. The creation of the jobs is also good for the economy, especially in times of crisis. At the other hand the people of Greenpeace will have their reasons to be against the proposal.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/aug/20/utilities.renewableenergy

Kevin De Pauw