Monthly Archives: February 2012

U.K. #Renewable Energy Push May Prevent #Electricity Crisis

Britain’s policies encouraging renewable-energy use will prevent the country from suffering an electricity crisis leading to blackouts toward the end of the decade, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.

The U.K. will build more than 30 gigawatts of power generation capacity by the end of 2016, two-thirds of it in solar, wind and biomass and the rest largely fired by natural gas, according to forecasts from the research company. That will help the nation cope with closing 19 gigawatts of fossil- fuel and nuclear power stations over this decade.

The findings suggest Prime Minister David Cameron’s government may avoid power shortages that blighted the U.K. during World War II and the 1970s, requiring industry to scale back operations and leaving millions of homes in the dark.

“The U.K. is embarking on an historic shift in its electricity supply, and commentators and critics have continually raised the specter of the lights going out once again,” said Michael Liebreich, chief executive officer of New Energy Finance. “Our analysis shows that, barring unforeseen circumstances, it is not going to happen.”


New Fabric Generates #Electricity Via Your Body Heat

This isn’t your father’s beakers and test tube science.

Scientists and a graduate student, Core Hewitt, at Wake Forest’s Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials say they’ve made a material that can turn heat from your body into an electrical current.

The new material is called Power Felt. Ok, so that’s the name for us regular folks, but it’s really a multi-layered carbon nanotube/polymer composite-based thermoelectric fabric. Power Felt is such a better name.

Power Felt is a promising new thermoelectric fabric. It’s made up of tiny carbon nanotubes locked up in flexible plastic fibers and made to feel like fabric that uses temperature differences to create a charge.


Grassroots green projects ‘are way to low-carbon UK’

Community-owned green energy projects present the best chance of converting the UK to a low-carbon economy and should receive more government support, civil society groups representing 12 million people said on Wednesday.

Giving local people a stake in energy generation often overcomes planning objections to structures such as wind and solar farms, and dozens of communities across the UK have seized the opportunity to create their own power. But the move has not been fast enough, according to the coalition of community groups, which adds that many places are missing out on the chance to produce their own low-carbon and low-cost energy, supported by government subsidies.

The civil society groups include some of the leading non-governmental organisations in the UK, including the Co-operative, the National Trust, the Church of England and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes.

Representatives of all the groups were set to meet Chris Huhne, the energy and climate change secretary, to press their case.


UK Business Secretary unveils location for Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult

The location of a new £50 million centre that will accelerate the commercialisation of green technologies has been announced by the UK’s Business Secretary Vince Cable.

The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult will be headquartered at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow with an operational centre at the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in the North East of England.

The national centre will focus on technologies for offshore wind, wave and tidal power and is designed to bridge the gap between university research and full commercialisation.
It will have a UK wide remit, and build strong links with centres of excellence such as Wave Hub and the marine energy park in the South West of England.

Speaking at the launch of the Catapult in Glasgow, Vince Cable said: “Our offshore renewable sector can compete on a global scale and has huge potential for growth. If we can harness that we will generate billions of pounds for the economy whilst creating thousands of job opportunities at the same time.


Community energy project has to hand back £60k after Feed-in Tariff cuts

A rural Herefordshire solar cooperative is one of just a handful across the UK that managed to successfully install a 49kwp solar PV system before the Government’s snap Feed In Tariff review came into force.

Not only did the Leominster Community Solar Co-Operative (LCSC) reach its target of £150,000 and install its solar system on deadline, it managed to raise 40% more than their target amount, indicating the scale and support for community owned solar initiatives across the UK.

However, the Government’s unlawful slashing of the feed in tariff subsidies available for domestic sized solar power projects has meant that the additional 40% of funding had to be returned to investors, rather than being invested in a second local scheme.

Says Eithne George of LCSC: “The success of the Leominster Community Solar project serves to illustrate how popular community solar initiatives like this are. It addresses issues around planning as well as providing the local community with a source of its own power.

“We hope the Government take note of the fact that other communities are being deprived of such schemes because of the unpredictability of the system, not because of lack of interest.”