Renewables’ share of UK electricity generation increased by more than 2 per cent in the third quarter of 2012.
Renewable electricity generation was 9.5 TWh in the third quarter of 2012, an increase of 25.2 per cent on the 7.6 TWh in the third quarter of 2011.
According to the latest UK Energy statistics, offshore wind generation rose by 54.2 per cent, while onshore wind generation rose by 38.2 per cent, due to increased capacity.
Generation from hydro fell by 16.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2012 compared with a year earlier, due to lower rainfall in North Scotland.
Renewable electricity capacity was 14.9 GW at the end of the third quarter of 2012, a rise of 42.1 per cent (4.4 GW) on a year earlier, and 4.4 per cent (0.6 GW) on the previous quarter.
Due to high gas prices, gas’s share of generation in 2011 in each of England, Scotland and Wales fell in 2011, to a record low for each country in the 2004 to 2011 period covered.
Nuclear’s share of generation in 2011 increased in England, Scotland and Wales, due to increased availability, after extensive outages in 2010.
The share of renewables increased in all four countries in 2011, as a result of increased capacity and higher rainfall and wind speeds.
Stronger action is needed to ensure energy customers get a fair deal, a committee of MPs has told the regulator Ofgem.
The MPs have called on it to be less timid in dealing with “anti-competitive” behaviour by suppliers.
They also warned that recent plans by Ofgem and the government might still fail to help customers make meaningful price comparisons “at a glance”.
Ofgem said it would analyse the details of the report before responding.
The report of the Energy and Climate Change Committee said: “We find it unsatisfactory that Ofgem should be so hesitant about launching preliminary investigations into potentially anti-competitive behaviour.
“We understand that Ofgem plans to reduce barriers to competition… but we believe that a more proactive approach should be adopted.”
The spoils of a bankrupt company funded with a $249 million grant from President Barack Obama’s stimulus package for alternative energy will go to a Chinese business if the federal government approves the deal.
The Wanxiang Corporation successfully bid last week for the assets of the failed A123 Systems, prompting warnings from both sides of the political aisle that the sale poses a risk to national security.
Lawmakers say that A123’s core intellectual property is used in several contracts worth millions of dollars with the Defense Department to build unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles, power grids, unmanned ground and portable power systems, high-energy lasers and advanced armor.
“That gives us pause and it does concern us,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), incoming vice chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “I just think that this is something we don’t want in China’s hands.”
Wanxiang’s purchase price of $256 million does not include the research and development contracts with the military or the sensitive technology that A123 manufactured—lithium-ion batteries for military vehicles and renewable energy. That end of the business has already been sold to Massachusetts-based Navitas Systems for $2.25 million.
But Blackburn says that only a bookkeeping process separated the commercial and government contracting side of the business. “The core technology was used in all of their applications,” Blackburn said.
However, a new innovation from Princeton University in the United States could well be the piece of news the solar industry has been waiting for.
Dubbed Plasmonic Cavity with Subwavelength Hole array or ‘PlaCSH’, scientists at the Ivy League university have created a nano-mesh that works with existing solar panels to boost efficiency.
Currently, industry-standard silicon and indium-tin-oxide-based solar cells are approaching the theoretical limit of 33.7% efficiency, however nanomesh reduces reflectivity and boosts efficiency of light capture to create a panel that is more than three-times more effective.