Posts by: Dave Elliott

Down on solar farms

By Dave Elliott

Solar, wave and tidal farms represent new ventures, adding to the renewable energy repertoire. But they are facing problems, in terms of finance and government support priorities, as I report in this two-part review of the UK situation, looking first at solar PV.

The good news is that PV solar overall is doing well in the UK, with more than 5GW in place, including roof-mounted arrays on private houses and the first wave of solar farms in fields. DECC says 10GW may be possible by 2020, perhaps even 20GW: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-solar-pv-strategy-part-1-roadmap-to-a-brighter-future  But DECC- and DEFRA -are  less keen on solar farms. (more…)

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Capacity Market – the first UK auction

By Dave Elliott

In a fully free-market energy supply system there is no direct commercial incentive for generation companies to ensure that the lights stay on long term, by investing in new and/or backup capacity. Given that some old plants are scheduled for closure and more reliance on sometimes variable renewables is planned, the UK government has stepped in to create a new ‘capacity market’ to try to fill the potential gap in terms of reserve capacity and grid balancing capacity. (more…)

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Nuclear – not the answer to climate change

By Dave Elliott

Although there are exceptions, as I noted in my last post, the UK being one, nuclear power seems to be in decline globally and this has led to what some might see as last ditch attempts to revive its fortunes. One such is the recent Open Letter to environmentalists, originating in Australia and backed by over 70 academics globally, though nearly half from Australia: http://bravenewclimate.com/2014/12/15/an-open-letter-to-environmentalists-on-nuclear-energy/   (more…)

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New year, new nuclear: Hinkley fallout

A special extended bumper New Year edition

By Dave Elliott

The UK starts 2015 with a big new year headache- the Hinkley nuclear project. It is a huge uncertain project, and it is far from clear, if goes ahead, whether  it will prove to be a wise investment, given the fall in energy costs and the emergence of cheaper renewable alternatives. (more…)

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Facts and fiction

By Dave Elliott

Is the truth out there? An extended Xmas Whimsy

It’s usual for there to be a spread of viewpoints on most issues, and it’s always worth looking at a range views, including ‘outlier’ ones! On that, this is fun: www.xonitek.com/press-room/company-news/the-stone-age-didnt-end-because-they-ran-out-of-stones/

However at times you can get weary of obsessive time wasters and yearn for clarity! Sadly that may not be easy to achieve.

(more…)

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Renewable Impacts

By Dave Elliott

It has been an eventful year for renewables. While progress continues apace, with renewables now supplying around 15% of electricity in the UK and 22% of global electricity, in this pre- Xmas post, rather than spelling out all the good news, I will look at some of the less good stories from the year- concerning wind power and CSP. (more…)

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WREC in London

By Dave Elliott

Some continue to portray renewables as marginal, with for example, ExxonMobil claiming that their potential is limited by ‘scalability, geographic dispersion,intermittency (in the case of solar and wind), and cost relative to other sources’, and renewables are only likely to make up about 5% of the global energy mix by 2040: www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5a2356a4-f58e-11e3-afd3-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=uk#axzz33albsQ2B

Most however see renewables as booming, with IRENA looking to 30% or more of primary energy coming from renewables globally by 2030 (www.irena.org/remap). That is the sort of future envisaged, on the way to maybe near 100% of power by 2050, by most who attended the 13th biannual World Renewable Energy Congress, this one at Kingston University, London, in August.

(more…)

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Balancing variable renewables

By Dave Elliott

There is now a range of books looking at the technical and policy options available for managing the use of variable energy resources such as wind and solar energy. The pioneering text in this area was Earthscan’s “Renewable Electricity and the Grid” from 2007, edited by Godfrey Boyle , with contributions from many of the UK top experts. But the field has since expanded with, for example, a lot of new work being done in the US. (more…)

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Distributed energy: from supply to demand

By Dave Elliott

Energy networks and distributed energy resources in Great Britain”

The context for this IGov paper from Matthew Lockwood at Exeter University, UK, is the desirability of a fundamental shift in the underlying design of the energy system from the supply side to the demand side. It starts by quoting the words of Professor Strbac ‘The whole culture and philosophy of the system is based on a predict-and-provide mentality’. (more…)

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More green jobs – or better jobs?

By Dave Elliott

Green sector employment accounts for as many as 3.4 million jobs in the EU, or 1.7% of all paid employment, more than car manufacturing or pharmaceuticals. Will that expand?

A new UKERC report, “Low Carbon Jobs”, asks if policy-driven expansion of green energy actually creates jobs, taking account both of jobs created and jobs displaced, particularly when the policies in question require subsidies that are paid for through consumer bills or taxes. www.ukerc.ac.uk/support/Low+Carbon+Jobs

(more…)

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