Tag Archives: renewable energy

#UK’s new #energy and #environment #ministers opposed #green energy

Matthew Hancock called for cuts to wind power subsidies while Liz Truss claimed renewable power was damaging the economy.

Britain's new minister for energy, business and enterprise, Matthew Hancock, at 10 Downing Street.Britain’s new minister for energy, business and enterprise, Matthew Hancock, at 10 Downing Street. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

The new set of Conservative environment and energy ministers announced on Tuesday bring a track record of opposing renewable energy, having fought against wind and solar farms, enthusiastically backed fracking and argued that green subsidies damage the economy.

New energy minister, Matthew Hancock, signed a letter to David Cameron in 2012 demanding that subsidies for onshore windfarms were slashed. “I support renewable energy but we need to do it in a way that gives the most value for money and that does not destroy our natural environment,” he said at the time.

Hancock, who takes over from Michael Fallon, also opposed new turbines in his Suffolk constituency, arguing: “The visual and other impact of the proposed turbines is completely unacceptable in this attractive rural corner of Suffolk.”

New environment secretary and former Shell employee, Liz Truss, dismissed clean renewable energy as “extremely expensive” and said it was damaging the economy during an appearance on BBC Question Time last October.

“We do need to look at the green taxes because at the moment they are incentivising particular forms of energy that are extremely expensive,” she said. “I would like to see the rolling back of green taxes because it is wrong that we are implementing green taxes faster than other countries. We may be potentially exporting jobs out of the country as our energy is so expensive.”

In 2009, as deputy director of the free-market thinktank Reform, Truss said energy infrastructure in Britain was being damaged by politicians’ obsession with green technology: “Vast amounts of taxpayers’ money are being spent subsidising uneconomic activity,” she said. Research from the London School of Economics recently concluded that green policies were not harming economic growth. Continue reading

Wind and other renewables generated a fifth of Britain’s electricity in early 2014

New windfarms, strong winds and a good winter for hydropower plants sent renewable energy generation surging to 19.4% of all electricity from January to March.

Wind and other renewables generated a fifth of Britain's electricity in early 2014A ship passes the windfarm just off the beach at Crosby, Merseyside. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

One fifth of all electricity was generated in Britain by windfarms or other green technologies in the first three months of the year, according to new statistics released by the Department of Energy and Climate change (DECC).

New windfarms coming online, strong winds and a good winter for hydropower plants sent renewable energy generation surging to 19.4% of all electricity from January to March 2014, up from about 12% for the same period last year. The power produced was enough for about 15m homes during the quarter. It was hailed as a breakthrough by the wind industry, which alone provided 12% of the overall power produced, and a rebuff to critics who have said that renewables would never account for such a large proportion of the energy mix.

However, the DECC data could stoke a new price row with energy suppliers because it shows gas prices to domestic customers rising in the first quarter with prices to businesses in decline at the same time.

The cost of gas to householders, including VAT, rose by 4.8% in real terms between the first quarter of 2013 and the same period of this year, while average gas prices to business customers, including the climate change levy, were 5.2% lower.  Continue reading

Tesla Motors accused of bullying to grab key car charging sites in the UK

British utility firm Ecotricity claims US electric car maker is trying to take over its motorway sites

A Tesla Model S outside the electric car company's factory in Fremont, California.A Tesla Model S outside the electric car company’s factory in Fremont, California. Photograph: Paul Sakuma/AP

Tesla Motors, the luxury electric car maker, has been accused of bullying a UK green energy company and attempting to take over several of its charging stations at crucial sites on the UK motorway network.

The US company, owned by billionaire Elon Musk who was appointed as an electric vehicle tsar to the government by Nick Clegg last year, is planning to open the first part of its ‘supercharger’ network next month, to tie in with customer deliveries of the right-hand drive version of its latest car, the Model S which costs upwards of £50,000.

But Ecotricity, a UK utility company which builds windfarms and opened an ‘electric highway’ network of charging points at motorway service stations in 2011, has alleged that Tesla is trying to “smash and grab” around six of its best-located sites.

The utility said that it had entered into a partnership with Tesla three months ago under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to help the US company build a charging network across UK motorways.

Tesla’s aim is for its customers to be able to drive its cars – some of which are capable of running up to 300 miles on one charge, much further than most electric cars – across the entire country without running out of power.

Environment web editor Adam Vaughan road tests the Tesla Model S around London, one of the most environmentally friendly cars on the road and marketed as a genuine alternative to a combustion engine.  Continue reading

Fracking could cost thousands of votes, warns Lord Howell

Balcombe Fracking Camp

Trying to “bribe and cajole” countryside communities into accepting fracking will lose votes on a major scale, a senior Tory peer has warned.

Lord Howell, who caused a furore last year when he suggested fracking could go ahead in the “desolate” North East, said starting shale exploration in southern England, the home counties or in rural areas would cause longer delays, more hostility and higher costs.

When ministers said fracking should go ahead across Britain, not just in remote and derelict areas, they lost thousands of Tory votes, the peer, who is chancellor George Osborne’s father-in-law, said.

In an article for the US-based Journal of Energy Security, the former energy secretary also warned that the view on the unconventional fossil fuel source from ministers was much too optimistic.

The coalition has said it is going all out for shale, in a bid to cash in on the kind of benefits seen in the US where a shale gas boom has created jobs and pushed down gas prices.

As part of efforts to get local people to accept the controversial hydraulic fracturing drilling technique, communities are being offered incentives to host shale gas wells.

But drilling in the UK has faced opposition from people concerned about the impact of traffic and development on their local areas as well as potential water pollution, minor earthquakes and the impact on efforts to cut climate change emissions.

Lord Howell said he backed moves to get a shale gas industry going, but warned against “starting in the wrong places and with misleading statements about timing and effect”.

“I dearly want to see economically viable shale gas and oil production go ahead as soon a possible in Britain, but we are going about the task the wrong way. A change of direction is urgently required,” he said.

“Spending time and money trying to bribe and cajole rural communities is a complete waste, as well as putting backs up and losing rural votes on a major scale.

“Villages and their environs where homes are worth a million will be unimpressed by £100k offers, and by assurances that ‘only’ two years of heavy truck traffic will disturb them,” he wrote.  Continue reading

​Illegal ‘fracking-like’ oil drilling halted in ecologically-sensitive Everglades

Florida Everglades

Editors Note: It would seem that america is finally waking up to the dangers of fracking but is it too little, too late! Checkout the links within this post if you are still for fracking in the UK and maybe you will change your mind!.

Florida officials have ordered an oil-drilling company to halt its illegal fracking-like operations near the Everglades, raising the ire of area citizens already concerned about the harm of energy exploration to humans and the region’s delicate ecosystem.

Early this month, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection ordered the Dan A. Hughes Company to stop all drilling in five exploratory wells in Collier County, near the western area of the Everglades, until further notice. In addition, US Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida has called on federal officials to investigate.

One month prior to the order, the state had cited the Texas company for extra-legal operations, levying the maximum civil penalties under Florida law. The $25,000 fine was assessed for an “enhanced extraction procedure” similar to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, without a permit.

The state has also demanded independent reviews of the company’s fracking-like practices and the groundwater near the drilling sites, which could last until December, according to the Sun Sentinel.

The fracking process entails blasting fissures in rocks thousands of meters under the earth with water and sand to release trapped deposits of oil and gas. Injection wells used to dispose of highly-toxic fracking wastewater have contributed to heightened earthquake activity across the nation. The wastewater – riddled with hazardous and often undisclosed chemicals and contaminants – has been linked to a host of human and environmental health concerns. Continue reading