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donald-trump-wind_sWhile the U.S. wind market surged and GE Wind was the top producer last year, nations across the pond are finding success with wind turbines as well.

Over the last 20 years in Ireland:
•More than 2,200 jobs have been created in developing wind power.
•The wind sector has contributed a total €83m to councils, money which has been ploughed into the development of regional economies. Last year alone, up to €11.5m was delivered to local county councils through rates.
•A total of €2.8bn has been invested in wind farms, a staggering sum by any standards. In 2011 alone the investment figure was €372m. A further €4bn is expected over the next eight years to meet domestic targets alone.
•Wind is now no longer a niche product across Europe where wind capacity 23 times the national demand of Ireland has been installed. Last year wind energy accounted for more than 15pc of our electricity demand. Wind energy also has the capability to supply 1.3 million homes in Ireland.

In the UK, wind power has topped 5 gigawatts per day and is sufficient to power 10% of total electricity demand. This rough guide to the geology and geography of offshore wind shows that the British Isles have an enormous amount of potential in the North Sea.

In 2012, Scotland’s wind power generation totals increased 19 percent, to comprise 39 percent of the region’s needs. It will only get stronger as a wind farm offshore from a golf course moves forward despite the tweeted protestations of Donald Trump.

This week, the government of Scotland decided to go ahead with a large scale offshore wind farm. Scotland, which has been reffered to as the ‘Silicon Valley’ for wind energy, makes this move in spite of personal and business motivated pleas from Donald Trump.

Nevertheless, Trump vowed to bring a lawsuit to stop the $349 million (USD) development, which consists of 11 wind turbines planned off the coast near Aberdeen in northeastern Scotland. Trump declared: “We will spend whatever monies are necessary to see to it that these huge and unsightly industrial wind turbines are never constructed”, and frequently refers to wind turbines as ‘monstrosities’.

The wind farm, owned by Swedish energy company Vattenfall and a local business consortium, still needs to obtain a marine license and approval for an onshore substation.

And in this piece, EarthTechling notes that wind power is becoming more and more reliable, even during a cold snap:

Wind power is intermittent, and from this fact people assume that it fluctuates wildly from minute to minute. That’s not really the way it works, generally.

Take the period from 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, until that same time the following night in Great Britain. For that 24-hour period, wind was sending at least 5 gigawatts of power to the grid.

Not 1 GW, then 6 GW, then 3 GW. At least 5 GW, the entire time.

“This means that for this 24 hour period wind was generating enough to power the equivalent of nearly 4 out of every 10 UK homes and consistently over 10% of GB’s overall electricity needs,” the trade group RenewableUK said in a statement.

In fact, wind production was in a pretty narrow range the whole time, sustaining at least 5 gigawatts and reaching a peak – and a record for the U.K. – for a half-hour period at 3:30 p.m., at 5.296 GW.

“What this shows is that wind is a stable and reliable source of power generation on the scale we need, when we need it most,” RenewableUK chief executive Maria McCaffery said.

RenewableUK pointed out some other interesting facts about this remarkable date in U.K. wind power history.

First, it came during a period of cold weather, when demand on gas was high – and the price was high as well (many people in the U.S. forget that our natural gas market is uniquely buyer-friendly right now).

“This then counters the idea that wind does not generate power during cold snaps and comes at the same time as reports that the UK has only 36 hours of gas supplies in reserve, and on the day that the wholesale price of gas in the UK reached a seven year high,” McCaffery said.

By Ryan Koronowski
Think Progress Website (USA)

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398166_10151271441078661_1480080228_nWind farms have long been characterised as being harmful to wildlife, but thanks to a pioneering new partnership between the RSPB and one of the UK’s leading wind farm developers they could soon become established as valuable wild life habitats.

The charity has this week officially launched a partnership with Ecotricity that will see the two organisations work together on selecting new wind farm locations, establishing new wildlife habitats at renewable energy projects, and reducing the environmental impact of RSPB offices and visitor centres.

Specifically, the two organisations will work together to create what Ecotricity describes as “Britain’s first energy and nature projects that will integrate wildlife habitats into wind, wave, solar, and green gas generation projects”.

Meanwhile, the energy company will also build on its plans to install a wind turbine at RSPB’s headquarters in Bedfordshire with work to improve the energy efficiency at visitor centres and install electric car charging points across the charity’s estate.

“We’re already making green energy to cut the carbon emissions that cause climate change, which in turn impacts habitats and wildlife,” said Ecotricity founder Dale Vince in a statement. “This partnership takes that one step further, making closer links between nature and green energy.

“This is a long-term strategic partnership that will not only protect wildlife, but develop new habitat creation, and make the RSPB a more integral part of the process of our green energy projects.”

The RSPB has in the past opposed a number of proposed wind farm developments, but Harry Huyton, head of energy and climate at the group, reiterated that it remained fully supportive of well-located renewable energy projects.

“Switching to a low carbon economy is one of the defining challenges of our generation,” he said. “Failure would mean devastation for the world’s wildlife – but equally we must ensure that when we develop renewable energy projects we do our best to ensure they do not harm wild species in our countryside. That’s why the RSPB has committed to working with Ecotricity in a partnership that will unite us behind our common mission of a renewables revolution in harmony with nature.”

A spokesman for Ecotricity told BusinessGreen that the company already worked closely with the RSPB when considering planning applications, but would now consult with the group even earlier in the project development process in order to ensure the most appropriate locations are selected.

He also confirmed that the company was on track to lodge a planning application for the RSPB’s new turbine next month and revealed that meetings were scheduled between the organisations to explore how new habitats could be created alongside renewable energy projects.

A number of studies have suggested renewable energy projects could provide effective habitats for a range of species, given that they tend to be located in remote sites away from human settlements. For example, some scientists have predicted that offshore wind farms could provide valuable artificial reefs and protection from over-fishing that would benefit some species.

SOURCE – BusinessGreen

Bacton Gas terminal in Norfolk, UK.British wholesale gas prices hit a record high on Friday after the failure of a vital import pipeline demonstrated the vulnerability of the nation’s energy supply to external shocks.

The breakdown and price rise followed the revelation that Britain’s gas stores could run out in a few weeks if expensive overseas supplies are not piped in quickly amid unexpected demand due to unseasonal weather. Downing Street intervened to reassure households; the prime minister’s spokesman expressed confidence supplies were not running out.

Normally Britain can store up to 15 days’ gas supply, but that has run down to a few days amid freezing weather. While that is not an immediate problem because Britain is constantly importing gas and is also producing some gas from the North Sea, fears of a fuel crunch were heightened on Friday morning when a pump failure caused the temporary shutdown of the UK-Belgium pipeline. The gas was flowing again by noon but not before the British wholesale gas price soared by more than 50% to 150p a therm, with the price stabilising to about 100p when the pipeline reopened.

However, the looming storage crisis and the pipeline incident raised fears that Britain was becoming over-reliant on a single source of fuel for heating and electricity. It came on the heels of warnings this week by the chief of one of the big six energy suppliers that there could be blackouts within three years unless there is drastic government action.

David Cameron’s spokesman said the prime minister was “absolutely confident” that gas supplies were sufficient. “The gas market is how we source our supplies and that market continues to function well. The prime minister’s key concern is that gas supplies continue. It is absolutely clear that supplies are not running out.”

The owner of the terminal where the pipeline failure occurred acknowledged the seriousness of the technical glitch. Sean Waring, managing director of Interconnector Ltd, said: “We understand the seriousness of a disruption like this in the current tight energy markets. To date, Interconnector has demonstrated a high level of reliability, but operational upsets do occur from time to time in a complex process plant. Our immediate response enabled us to restore flow to full capacity quickly.”

The incident demonstrated how dependent Britain is on imports of gas, now that North Sea reserves are depleting, and expensive supplies must be piped in from sources such as Norway and Russia.

It also raised questions over the government’s strategy of hugely increasing the share of electricity generation that comes from gas. Chancellor George Osborne has championed a new “dash for gas” that could see the fuel account for more than two-thirds of Britain’s supplies.

Andrew Pendleton, head of campaigns at Friends of the Earth, said: “This is a glimpse of a miserable and worrying UK energy future and shows the folly of depending on gas for so much of our electricity generation. Increases in the wholesale gas price are the main reason that our energy bills have rocketed in recent years and this latest concern shows Osborne’s judgment in backing gas to provide the bulk of our power for the next generation is seriously flawed.”

The gas market ructions came as RES, a wind generation company, forecast that about 15% of electricity this weekend would be supplied from wind, compared with about 10% from renewables on average last year.

David Handley, chief economist at RES, told the Guardian: “With gas supplies continuing to dwindle and expensive imports spluttering through pipelines, it will be the nation’s wind that helps to bridge the gap.”

The UK can normally store up to 15 days’ gas supply, which many regard as an insufficient margin. In recent weeks, the unseasonable March freeze has caused storage to run down dramatically, to as little as a few days if more gas was not piped in from abroad or diverted from the North Sea. Any problems with the technology and pipelines used for the imports are thus magnified, as was dramatically demonstrated when traders pushed the price of gas to record levels on news of the Interconnector failure.

The gas spike also bolstered proponents of fracking, the controversial method of blasting apart dense rocks at high pressure to retrieve natural gas. Fracking has suffered several setbacks in the UK: operations at the only company that has yet fracked for gas, Cuadrilla, are currently stalled, and the government admits it could be more than a decade before fracking produces much gas supply.

However, Ken Cronin, of the UK Onshore Operators group, said: “Consumers, whether they are industrial companies or home owners, have to have the assurance that constant light, heat and reserves of energy are available . Onshore oil and gas will contribute to a more secure and competitively priced energy supply for the UK.”

Green campaigners said more renewable energy was a better long term answer. Doug Parr Chief Scientist at Greenpeace said: “As shortages drive up prices for consumers, George Osborne must be the only man in Britain who thinks the answer is a gamble on gas power. Fracking won’t lower prices and significant production is more than a decade away. North Sea gas production may be falling, but offshore wind is already helping to fill the gap. The government must act to stabilise bills, secure supplies and create jobs by supporting clean, renewable technologies like offshore wind and a European super grid.”

Source – The Guardian

DSCF1216_editedNew figures released by Ofgem yesterday show that wind energy costs as little as 2.67p per household per day.
The news that the cost of wind is so low comes as the energy regulator revealed that together onshore and offshore wind accounted for nearly 59% of renewable energy generation in the UK in 2011-2012, which was key in taking renewable energy over the 10% landmark of electricity consumed for the first time:

•Ofgem figures for 2011-2012 show proportion of renewables obligation spent on onshore and offshore wind costs 2.67p per household
•Renewables as a whole provide 10% of electricity consumed for first time
•Comes at the same time as reports that UK’s short term gas supply is running low

The report is published in the same week as warnings were made that the UK’s gas supplies were low, raising the danger that the UK will be left further dependent on expensive imports, the major reason for recent bill rises.

RenewableUK’s Director of Policy Dr Gordon Edge said: “These figures from Ofgem show that while wind energy continues to grow, providing more and more British homes with clean energy, the costs remain low. Anyone who cares about stabilising consumer bills should support investment in clean energy and getting us off the hook of imported fossil fuels.”

“Wind energy is the UK’s most abundant and inexhaustible asset and these results affirm that the industry is on track to generate at least 20% of the UK’s electricity needs by 2020. In the context of rising energy costs as a whole, it is imperative that we continue to harness this plentiful and natural resource and take control of our energy future.”

Notes

•More details on public support for wind energy can be found here: http://www.renewableuk.com/en/news/press-releases.cfm/2012-10-22-new-poll-shows-majority-people-want-more-wind-farms
•Ofgem’s annual report on the Renewables Obligation can be found here: http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Sustainability/Environment/RenewablObl/Documents1/RO%20annual%20report%20%202011-12_WEB.pdf
•The 2.67p per day figure is based on the following calculation:

o ROC value = £1.45bn
o Domestic amount of supply = 30% in 2011 from DUKES Ch 5 in 2011 page 119 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/65818/5955-dukes-2012-chapter-5-electricity.pdf
o Value of domestic proportion = 1.45/0.3 = 0.435bn/435 mn
o 26.4 million households http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/family-demography/families-and-households/2012/index.html
o 435million divided by 26.4 = £16.48 on the household bill to RO support, and £9.72 to wind per year (based off wind providing 59%). This is 18.7p a week and 2.67p a day.

•Ofgem and DECC have both previously stated the bulk of bill rises have been due to gas http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Media/FactSheets/Documents1/Why%20are%20energy%20prices%20rising_factsheet_108.pdf

Source

http://www.renewableuk.com/en/news/press-releases.cfm/fair-wind-for-renewables-as-new-figures-show-cost-of-wind-is-just-2-67p-per-household also https://www.gov.uk/policy-impacts-on-prices-and-bills

thCALQO5ECSickness being attributed to wind turbines is more likely to have been caused by people getting alarmed at the health warnings circulated by activists, an Australian study has found.

Complaints of illness were far more prevalent in communities targeted by anti-windfarm groups, said the report’s author, Simon Chapman, professor of public health at Sydney University. His report concludes that illnesses being blamed on windfarms are more than likely caused by the psychological effect of suggestions that the turbines make people ill, rather than by the turbines themselves.

“If windfarms were intrinsically unhealthy or dangerous in some way, we would expect to see complaints applying to all of them, but in fact there is a large number where there have been no complaints at all,” Chapman said.

The report, which is the first study of the history of complaints about windfarms in Australia, found that 63% had never been subject to noise or health complaints. In the state of Western Australia, where there are 13 windfarms, there have been no complaints.

The study shows that the majority of complaints (68%) have come from residents near five windfarms that have been heavily targeted by opponent groups. The report says more than 80% of complaints about health and noise began after 2009 when the groups “began to add health concerns to their wider opposition”.

“In the preceding years health or noise complaints were rare despite large and small turbined wind farms having operated for many years,” it says.

According to Chapman, when windfarms started being built in Australia about 20 years ago some of the anti-wind lobby was driven by people who simply did not like the look of them.

“Then in about 2009 things started ramping up and these people discovered if you started saying it was a health problem, a lot more people would sit up and pay attention. It’s essentially a sociological phenomenon,” he said.

Giving the illness a name like “wind turbine syndrome” and “vibro-acoustic disease” had been a key feature in its spread, Chapman said. He accepted that some people genuinely felt ill but “where you set up an expectation in people that something in their environment is noxious, that can translate into an expression of symptoms”.

The findings run against the claims of the Waubra Foundation, a national group that opposes windfarms and says serious medical conditions have been identified in people living, working or visiting within six miles (10km) of wind turbine developments. The group says the onset of conditions including sleep deprivation, hypertension, heart attacks and depression correspond directly with the operation of the windfarms.

Waubra’s chief executive, Sarah Laurie, said illnesses resulting from exposure to windfarms were “an inconvenient truth”.

“There’s been an attitude that the people who are getting sick are collateral damage,” she said.

“People are not getting sick because someone tells them they’re going to become unwell. They’re waking up in the middle of the night and suffering from sleep deprivation because something is waking them up.”

Laurie, who trained as a rural GP, said it was important that more research was done so we have a better understanding of exactly what’s going on.

“No evidence doesn’t mean no problem. It means the evidence hasn’t been collected because the research hasn’t been done,” she said.

Chapman said that if wind farms did genuinely make people ill there would by now be a large body of medical evidence that would preclude putting them near inhabited areas. Eighteen reviews of the research literature on wind turbines and health published since 2003 had all reached the broad conclusion that there was very little evidence they were directly harmful to health.

Chapman cited a recent New Zealand study that exposed 60 healthy volunteers to both real and fake low-frequency noise, similar to what is produced by wind turbines and is sometimes known as infrasound. Half of the volunteers were shown television documentaries about health problems associated with wind turbines before they listened to the low-frequency noise; the other half were not. They were then played a mixture of noises. Those who had seen the videos about the adverse affects reported higher levels of symptoms whether exposed to the genuine or fake audio samples.

In spite of results like this, complaints from some living near wind turbines persist. David Mortimer is a beef and cattle farmer in Millicent, South Australia, 400km south-east of Adelaide. Wind turbines were built on his farm in 2004.

“Mostly I’ve had sleep-related problems,” he said. “At night I get a deep rumbling sensation in my head which makes it hard to get to sleep. I also get a pulsing in my heat that does not correlate to my heartbeat. It gives me an acute sense of anxiety and arrhythmia that goes on for days.”

Mortimer said he sleeps well when he’s away from the farm, when the silence in his head at night is “absolutely profound”.

“As soon as we come back the symptoms reappear,” he said. “A lot of people like me are complaining but politicians and wind farm companies are not listening.”

An application for 160 new turbines has been approved to be built on his neighbour’s property. Seventeen of them will be visible from Mortimer’s house and within 3.5km of his home.

 

Source – The Guardian

416138_347722131972086_1739595764_oThe proposal, for a 3.05MW photovoltaic park on agricultural land east of Banbury Lane to the north east of Thorpe Mandeville, was refused by South Northamptonshire District Council in June 2011.

Applicants Mr CER and Mrs S Buckley lodged an appeal, which was recovered for the secretary of state’s determination because it involves proposals of major significance for the delivery of the government’s climate change programme and energy policies.

Pickles has now granted planning permission for the scheme, which would comprise up to 21,000 square metres of solar panels, in line with recommendations from his planning inspector.

A decision letter issued on behalf of Pickles by the Department of Communities and Local Government, dated yesterday, acknowledged that the proposed development would result in some harm to the local landscape and to the amenity of walkers using the local footpaths.

But Pickles concluded the support in the National Planning Policy Framework for renewable energy is “sufficient in this case to outweigh any harm to the intrinsic character and beauty of this part of the countryside”.

He said that the scheme would make a significant contribution to meeting targets for renewable energy, contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases and provide energy security benefits.

The decision letter (DCS Number 200-000-082) can be purchased from DCS Ltd, call 01452 835 820 or email dcs@haymarket.com