Monday, 18 October 2010

Eight new nuclear power stations for UK

Chris Huhne, Britain's Energy Secretary, has given the go-ahead for eight new nuclear power stations in Britain - but has not said they will be built, just that companies can build them if they want to.

However, he also said that that there will be no public subsidy for nuclear but that the Government was considering a limit on liability. This, it may be argued, is a for of subsidy because it means that taxpayers take on the risk if there is an accident and for the clean up costs.

"The Government has not ruled out the maintenance of a limit on operator liability set at an appropriate level provided that it is justifiable in the public interest, is the right way of ensuring that risk is appropriately managed, and that, overall, any potential cost or risk to the Government can be justified,..." - Chris Huhne

Other notable developments in the Energy Secretary's announcement were plans to build up to 44,000 wind turbines around the coast, official encouragement for households to put up solar panels, significant investment in developing new carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology and the scrapping of the proposed 10 mile barrage across the River Severn.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Cleantech Investment in the UK

Growth Business UK ezine has an interesting interview with David Gudgin, a partner at Albion Ventures which is active in venture capital for the renewable energy sector. Worth checking out. He thinks the Wind sector is the 'trickiest' but sees long-term growth in the Feed-in-Tariffs scheme.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Solar Panel Cowboys

An undercover investigation by Which? magazine found that 10 out of 14 UK solar panel installation companies surveyed overstated the effectiveness of the systems.

Some companies quoted savings of as much as 50%. One company claimed the test homeowner would save £35,000 over 20 years, which the magazine described as a "massive exaggeration" - with £5,000 being nearer the mark.

Not a single company in the survey identified all the important technical challenges related to providing a quote. Only one, Southern Solar, was adjudged to have provided sensible advice.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Green Month at British Library Business

A mail in our inbox announces that it will be 'Green Month' at the British Library Business IP Centre in May.

"Throughout May we're holding special events that explore green an ethical business, the oppportunities, the practicalities and the reasons to get involved."

More details here.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Renewable Energy - A Warning from Germany

Dr Richard North has picked up on an important report from the Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, entitled: "Economic impacts from the promotion of renewable energies: The German experience" - (don't worry, it's in English).
This paper critically reviews the current centerpiece of this effort, the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), focusing on its costs and the associated implications for job creation and climate protection. We argue that German renewable energy policy, and in particular the adopted feed-in tariff scheme, has failed to harness the market incentives needed to ensure a viable and cost-effective introduction of renewable energies into the country’s energy portfolio. To the contrary, the government’s support mechanisms have in many respects subverted these incentives, resulting in massive expenditures that show little long-term promise for stimulating the economy, protecting the environment, or increasing energy security. In the case of photovoltaics, Germany’s subsidization regime has reached a level that by far exceeds average wages, with per-worker subsidies as high as 175,000 €
(US $ 240,000)

Dr North's own commentary on this report usefully brings in some UK examples:
Yet, this is the scheme (feed-in tariffs) that is to come into force in the UK on 1 April. Predictably, organisations such as the National Trust are leaping on the bandwagon, having already fitted PV to their Dunster Castle in Somerset. They are adding insult to injury by attracting funding from Barclays, the "Big Lottery Fund Bio-Energy Capital Grants Scheme" and the Rural Development Programme. Equally predictably, they do not tell us how much this is going to cost other electricity consumers, concentrating instead on the illusory "carbon" savings.

He ends with:
Forgive me for harping on, but this is so staggeringly stupid – in a land beset with stupidity – that it is difficult to take on board. One can only surmise that they really cannot be that stupid, and it is all a joke. After all, the scheme is set to start on 1 April.

We forgive you Richard. At least you're taking notice and trying to warn us.