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…)
There was further worrying news about the Arctic at the AGU Meeting this
morning. Igor Semiletov of the University of Alaska Fairbanks detailed results from a 12,000 nautical mile long survey of the
entire Eurasian Arctic continental shelf for International Polar Year.
Worryingly, the International Siberian Shelf Study (ISSS-08) found that methane is emerging from the East
Siberian Arctic Shelf, as evidenced by bubble clouds of methane in the sea and
methane bubbles trapped in sea ice in the winter. It looks like the sub-sea
permafrost is failing due to warmer ocean temperatures and allowing methane to
escape; because the Siberian Sea is very shallow the methane isn’t oxidized as it travels to the
surface. “We didn’t know that the huge carbon pool there is extremely
vulnerable,” said Semiletov. Some have predicted that a 6 ppm increase in
atmospheric methane concentrations could induce abrupt climate change –
Semiletov says that would require the release of only 1-2% of the methane
stored under the East Siberian Arctic Shelf.