Monthly Archives: June 2014

New wind turbines generate back the energy it took to make them in just six months say new study


Joe Romm of Think Progress reports A New Wind Turbine Generates Back The Energy It Takes To Build It In Just 6 Months, based on a study just published by The European Photovoltaic Industry Association which says, “(d)epending on the type of PV system and the location of the installation, the EPBT at present is between 0.5 and 1.4 years.”

After doing a comprehensive study of the full life-cycle of 2 megawatt wind turbines researchers at Oregon State found their energy payback time comparable to solar photovoltaic systems which have fallen from 40 year to half a year to a year and half from 1970 to 2010.

A new study finds that wind turbines have an energy payback of 6 months, which is comparable to the best solar photovoltaic systems. In other words, in their first six months of operation, large wind turbines produce the same total amount of energy that was needed to produce and install them. …

The myth that wind and solar power are bad investments from an energy-payback perspective has been around for years. It even turned up in the error-riddled 2009 book “Superfreakonomics,” repeated by Nathan Myhrvold, former CTO of Microsoft.
It’s difficult to compare this to the energy payback time for fossil fuel plants, because not only do they require a great deal of energy to construct and fuel, they also cause climate change and mooch off of millions of years and heat and pressure provided by the earth.
Of course, decades ago, when manufacturers had not yet applied mass-production techniques to those then-nascent technologies, the energy payback time (EPBT) of renewables was considerably worse. That’s clear from this chart in “PE Magazine,” the lead publication of the National Society of Professional Engineers.

In general, the more sunlight at a solar installation the faster the energy payback. In the future, we can expect a continued improvement in energy payback. Year after year, renewable energy becomes a better and better investment.

via New wind turbines generate back the energy it took to make them in just six months say new study.


Clive Palmer says his carbon tax repeal amendment will help industry too


Clive Palmer says the amendment he is demanding in return for his party’s Senate votes to repeal the carbon tax will include price reductions for large industrial power users that have direct contracts with generators, as well as for households.

He also suggested it could apply to businesses that put up prices due to the carbon tax, other than the electricity and gas companies covered by the competition watchdog’s price exploitation powers.

The government believes the additional powers it has given the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will ensure power price reductions are passed on to households when the carbon price is repealed, and that Palmer’s demands – while not necessary – will be easily met.

But Palmer insists his amendment to the carbon repeal bills will force companies to pass on savings. In an interview with Guardian Australia at the weekend, he suggested it would also apply to electricity contracts entered into by large industrial users, and possibly to companies other than electricity and gas providers.

“Our amendment makes it a requirement that people will have to pass on the power cost savings … not a voluntary situation, it doesn’t leave it up to the ACCC to decide at its discretion whether or not it wants to enforce this,” he said.

“It will apply to every Australian company … everybody under our jurisdiction … you don’t have to worry, it will apply to everyone,” he said, confirming it would apply to industrial contracts for power supply such as those signed by aluminium smelters.

Palmer said he was acting because as a businessman he knew businesses would be inclined not to pass on the savings, and would just “play around” with the regulator.

via Clive Palmer says his carbon tax repeal amendment will help industry too | World news |


News UK and Germany break solar power records


energybillBritain and Germany have broken records for generating solar electricity in the last few weeks, according to new industry figures.

Germany generated over half its electricity demand from solar for the first time ever on 9 June, and the UK, basking in the sunniest weather of summer during the longest days of the year, nearly doubled its 2013 peak solar power output at the solstice weekend.

France, Italy, Denmark and other countries are also believed to have generated record amounts in June.

According to UK trade body the Solar Trade association (STA), the total UK installed solar capacity generated from homes, buildings and solar farms is now about 4.7 gigawatts compared to 2.7GW in July last year.

It is not possible to tell exactly how much solar power was generated in Britain because electricity from small-scale household units is not centrally measured, but the STA estimated on Monday that 3.9% of the UK’s electricity demand was met by solar photovoltaic systems (PV) over the 24 hours of Saturday.

This means solar’s contribution peaked at a record 7.8% of daytime electricity, on 21 June, said the association.

“Britain has virtually doubled its capacity in the last year, with 80,000 more installations, including several thousand larger scale commercial ones,” said Ray Noble, a consultant at the UK National Solar Centre.

“There are now 530,000 installations in the UK, of which 510,000 are domestic small scale ones. Last weekend we estimate they generated about 8% of daytime electricity in total,” said Noble.

“We think that this is likely to double again within a year. There is nothing to stop it getting to 30-40% of UK electricity at this time of year,” he said.

The figures were welcomed by UK energy minister Greg Barker, who was criticised in May for removing subsidies for large-scale solar farms. “We have put ourselves among the world leaders on solar and this ambitious strategy will place us right at the cutting edge.

“There is massive potential to turn our large buildings into power stations and we must seize the opportunity this offers to boost our economy as part of our long term economic plan.

“Solar not only benefits the environment, it will see British job creation and deliver the clean and reliable energy supplies that the country needs at the lowest possible cost to consumers.”

via News UK and Germany break solar power records |™.


UK faces yearly £100bn bill for large-scale projects


UK spending on large-scale projects is expected to increase by 60% in the next ten years, rising from £70bn to £106bn, according to a report by Big Four firm PwC

Spending on power and water is predicted to more than double, from a current £11bn to £27bn per year; spending on transportation will see similar increases, rising from £12bn to £23bn annually.

Richard Abadie, PwC’s global leader of capital projects and infrastructure (CP&I) said the spending would be critical to maintain the UK’s global edge.

Abadie said, “It is telling that social infrastructure spending accounts for about a third of total spending currently despite the perception of cutbacks in this area.

“Nevertheless, we expect transport and power to be the growth sectors up to 2025 with transport doubling and power generation nearly tripling. This spending will be critical to ensuring economic growth in the UK and global competitiveness.”

via UK faces yearly £100bn bill for large-scale projects | Economia.


Ofgem Commits to Biggest Ever Energy Investigation


Commercial energy watchdog Ofgem will unveil plans for the largest ever investigation into the energy market next week, with potentially huge knock-on effects. Public anger over increasing bills and complicated invoicing has led Ofgem to lay out plans for an eighteen-month long inquiry into claims of profiteering and coordination between suppliers to decrease competition.

via Ofgem Commits to Biggest Ever Energy Investigation.


UK Power Prices: Low demand, weak NBP gas weigh on UK prompt prices


121203_wind-turbine-picture-300x200UK baseload and peakload prompt power prices slumped Monday to a fresh four-year low as NBP spot gas prices fell further on comfortable supply, a market source said.

On the OTC market, day-ahead baseload dropped to the lowest value since April 2010 at GBP35.20/MWh, while the peakload next day power price fell to GBP38.85/MWh before the Platts 11:00 BST close on Monday, both shedding more than one pound from Friday’s assessment.

UK spot power prices on the base and peak reached a new four year low on Monday, the weakest since April 6, 2010 when the contracts were assessed at GBP34.50/MWh and GBP38.50/MWh respectively, according to Platts data.

via UK POWER: Low demand, weak NBP gas weigh on UK prompt prices – Electric Power | Platts News Article & Story.


UK solar firms facing audits as part of import duty dodging crackdown


The UK solar sector could be set for a round of audits as part of an enforcement effort of the EU-China price undertaking, according to a senior industry figure.The agreement currently calls on Chinese modules to be sold into the EU for no less than €0.53/W. Stories of various workarounds to the rules have circulated widely in the industry since the undertaking came into force at the turn of the year.Writing for Solar Power Portal, Jerry Hamilton, director of renewables and energy solutions, Rexel Energy Solutions warned that impending enforcement efforts could mean hefty penalties for those circumventing the rules.“Suggestions are strong that audits will commence as early as next month to establish where any breaches in the anti-dumping agreement have occurred,” he said in his Renewable Jerry blog.

via UK solar firms facing audits as part of import duty dodging crackdown | Solar Power Portal.


BAE Systems to submit 13-acre solar farm plan


A site the size of almost nine football pitches could be turned into a huge solar farm at a major Lancashire business zone.BAE Systems is set to submit plans to install 10,000 solar panels on part of a disused runway at its Samlesbury site, near Preston.The project will involve more than 13 acres of panels on its land, expected to supply up to 25 per cent of the electricity demand for the aerospace giant.BAE will submit the proposal to South Ribble Council this week to install the panels at its military aircraft manufacturing site.The panels will cover 13.30 acres – equivalent to about nine football pitches – and generate 2MW of peak electrical output.The 2.5m high solar panels will be located on an area of the site which includes a portion of the old runway.BAE chiefs said woodland on either side of the runway would provide natural screening from most locations in the area.

via BAE Systems to submit 13-acre solar farm plan – Lancashire Evening Post.


British Gas Help Twitter account hacked


It appears that British Gas’s support team suffered a social media hack earlier today, which saw their Twitter account compromised by online criminals.The account @BritishGasHelp is normally busy helping people with boiler breakdowns, so it was curious to see some strange tweets coming from the company:

via British Gas Help Twitter account hacked.


UK Energy Broker Utilitywise staff and directors sell 10 million shares


Staff and directors at energy management specialists Utilitywise are in for a £30m payout after selling off up to 10 million shares as part of an incentive scheme.The South Shields based business, which employs around 800 staff including 640 in the North East, has run a Long Term Incentive Plan, which has now matured.As a result, the firm said certain directors and employees and a former director, intend to sell up to 10,350,525 ordinary shares of 0.1p in the company.With a share price of 290.87p in early trading yesterday, that placing would deliver a £30m return.The company said: “The completion of the placing and the resulting directors shareholdings will be announced as soon as practicable.”The announcement on the AIM stock exchange came as it emerged the British Chambers of Commerce BCC and Utilitywise have agreed to partner on a pilot programme in response to business concerns over volatile energy prices.

via Utilitywise staff and directors sell 10 million shares – The Journal.