Tag Archive | "renewable energy"

Scotland approves 22-turbine wind farm in Dumfries and Galloway

The Scottish Government has approved a 22-turbine wind farm in Dumfries and Galloway.

The Ewe Hill project represents a £65m investment by developer ScottishPower Renewables and will have a generating capacity of up to 51MW.

The project is expected to create around 80 short-term construction jobs, with further employment opportunities likely to arise during the decommissioning process.

It is estimated that around £20m will be spent for development of civil and electrical infrastructure, with ScottishPower Renewables seeking to encourage contractors to hire from local suppliers, the government said.

Meanwhile, the government has refused an application to construct the 21-turbine Rowantree wind farm near Oxton in the Scottish Borders, citing noise and visual impacts to nearby residents, among other issues.

The Ewe Hill project will provide a community benefits scheme totalling around £6.3m over the lifetime of the development to local projects.

Ewing said, “The Ewe Hill wind farm will create a significant number of jobs, as well as generating power for many thousands of homes.

“It’s encouraging to see that a solution has been found to deal with the aviation radar issues which have held the proposal up.”

“Projects like this provide considerable benefits to the local community, and play an important part in helping Scotland reach its target of 100% of electricity demand generated from renewables.”

“The Scottish Government wants to see the right developments in the right places, and Scottish planning policy is clear that the design and location of renewables projects should reflect the scale and character of the landscape, as well as being considered environmentally acceptable.”

Since May 2007, Scotland has approved 63 renewable energy planning applications, which included 36 onshore wind, one offshore wind, 19 hydro, four wave and tidal and three Renewable Thermal Plants, and 19 non-renewable projects.

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Why New Nuclear Technology Hurts the Case for Renewables

New Hampshire — Does nuclear energy deserve a seat at the table alongside renewable energy technologies in weaning us off of fossil fuels and transitioning into a cleaner energy world? A new report published yesterday suggests not only will newer small modular reactor (SMR) technology be at least as expensive as larger reactors, it won’t fit the needs of a more flexible grid system, and its development will siphon away funding from the truly renewable energy options that need it.

Few debates rile up the renewable energy sector, and our own readership, more than the issue of whether nuclear energy should have a starring role in our energy shift from fossil to clean technologies. Proponents point to its baseload functionality and lack of emissions; opponents rail against enormous costs, high-profile accidents and vast long-term impacts including what to do with the waste. Both sides rely on extensive subsidies to be viable, though at vastly different levels, and renewables (notably solar and wind) are quickly proving viable without them in an increasing number of markets. (At least neither side believes this Spurious Correlation.)

Yet analysis from international economic, climate change, and energy groups all reach the same conclusion: “Nuclear power is among the least attractive climate change policy options and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable [future],” says Dr. Mark Cooper, senior fellow for economic analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School, author of The Economic Failure of Nuclear Power and the Development of a Low-Carbon Electricity Future: Why Small Modular Reactors Are Part of the Problem, Not the Solution (PDF hereaudio summary here). “Worse still, pursuing nuclear power as a focal point of climate policy diverts economic resources and policy development from critically important efforts to accelerate the deployment of solutions that are much more attractive: less costly, less risky, [and] more environmentally benign.”

Here’s why he says SMR nuclear not only isn’t part of the renewable energy equation, it actually undermines it:

  • It won’t be cheaper. Like any significant technology leap SMR involves substantially more costs, from using more material per MW of capacity to establishing the infrastructure to design and build the reactors: up to $90 billion by 2020 to fund just two designs and assembly lines, he predicts. That’s three-quarters of the total projected investment in all electricity generation — and of course it’s far more than renewables’ slice of that pie. And the flip side of this coin is subsidies. For 60 years nuclear has been deeply reliant upon vastly more subsidies than renewables have received, and it’s still dependent upon them — except in the current scrutinous political climate many of the key ones for nuclear aren’t on the table, from liability insurances and waste management to decommissioning, water use, and loan guarantees.
  • The strategy is bad. The aggressive deployment strategy being proposed for dozens of SMRs near population centers is reminiscent of the ‘Great Bandwagon Market’ of the 1960s-1980s when utilities ordered hundreds of reactors and ultimately cancelled more than half of them. That was followed by the ‘nuclear renaissance’ in the 2000s but only 10 percent of those planned reactors are under construction. Now SMR is in the spotlight, five years on and still on the drawing boards, with key developers Westinghouse and Babcock & Wilcox reigning in their SMR efforts (partly blaming low-cost natural gas) as they struggle to find customers and major investors. “It is always possible that nuclear power’s fairy godmother will wave her magic wand over the technology and solve its economic, safety, and environmental problems,” mused Cooper in an e-mail exchange, “but there is nothing in the 50-year history of commercial nuclear power that suggest this is anything but a fairy tale.”
  • Safety is not first. Despite a raft of safety issues that SMR technologies have to overcome, proponents actually want pre-approvals, limited reviews, and reduced safety margins including staff and evacuation zones. With Fukushimastill in the headlines three years later, good luck getting policymakers and regulators to agree to de-emphasize safety — as long as we’re all reminded about it.
  • What’s best for the future? The trend toward a more decentralized energy delivery system is the opposite direction from the passive one-way 24/7 baseload delivery model of a nuclear reactor. “Any resource that is not flexible becomes a burden on the system, rather than a benefit to it,” said Cooper.

Billing SMR nuclear technology as more flexible and cheaper than larger reactors is an even better argument to support non-nuclear renewable energy options unencumbered by the same security, proliferation, and environmental risks, Cooper points out. But giving nuclear power a central role in current climate change policy will “not only drain away resources from the more promising alternatives, it would undermine the effort to create the physical and institutional infrastructure needed to support the emerging electricity systems based on renewables, distributed generation and intensive system and demand management.”

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Proposals to build a new renewable energy plant on Teesside have been lodged with Stockton Borough Council.
Port Clarence Energy Ltd, a new company formed for this project, is seeking permission to build and operate the 45MW biomass plant, which will be powered by burning waste wood, plant on land to the north of the River Tees.
The company was created through a partnership between Eco2 Limited and Temporis Capital LLP, which specialise in the building and operating of renewable energy projects.
The proposed development will be based around three main buildings comprising the turbine hall and boiler house, a fuel reception area and a fuel storage barn, and will be built on industrial land at Clarence Works on the north bank of the River Tees, close to the well-known Transporter Bridge.
The planning application describes how the plan would burn approximately 325,00 tonnes of waste wood per annum, with the fuel mainly sourced from areas to the south of the site and drawn from a variety of sources including construction and demolition sites, civic amenity sites and packaging.
Andrew Toft, director of projects at Eco2 Limited, said: “This is an exciting time for Teesside to increase its contribution to the production of renewable energy and we are delighted to be able to progress the long-held ambition to bring this technology to Port Clarence.”
It is anticipated that the total capital cost of the plant will be around £160 million, with around £40 million being spent on locally sourced good and services.

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Hydroelectric power, other renewables forecast to grow, EIA report says

A report released this week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects national growth amongst renewables — including hydroelectric power — in coming decades.

According to EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014), the increase in kilowatt hours generated by renewables will fall second only to natural gas through 2040, while nuclear, coal, petroleum liquid and other forms will flatline or decrease.

EIA cites the United States’ emphasis on reducing carbon emissions and both state and federal legislation as the biggest contributors to green energy’s growth.

Key amongst these policies are state renewable portfolio standards (RPS) — many of which have been amended in recent years to include eligibility for larger hydropower plants. Tax credit extensions for hydroelectricity and other renewables will also be a significant factor in their development, AEO2014 said.

The development of American hydropower has been a point of emphasis in recent months, with the Department of Energy announcing a plan to set long-term goals for the sector’s growth in April.

The Annual Energy Outlook 2014 report is available via EIA’s website here.

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