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Green, ethical, energy issues in the news (last 2 weeks)

edited 9 October 2018 at 9:41AM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
5.3K replies 417K views
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  • michaelsmichaels Forumite
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    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    Interesting development in French off-shore wind.

    Their earliest contracts still haven't arrived and costs have fallen so much since that they are looking at re-negotiating the costs. the costs were to be €150-180/MWh and also include grid connection costs, so similar to the earliest UK contracts of about £150/MWh.

    But they are to be delivered around 2023, when the latest UK CfD's are to arrive at £64/MWh.

    So it looks like a smart move by the French.

    France mulls offshore rethink

    Disagree - successful bids may well have been followed up by putting agreed supply contracts in place etc - when govts try and move the goal posts post hoc it just leads to people being extremely wary in dealing with them in future and thus demanding huge risk premia. Suppose you had done 20 days work for the govt at an agreed rate of £500 per day but when you go to bill the govt tells you that as contractor rates have fallen since the rate was agreed and should only have been £100 per day so that is all they are going to pay you, you would be pretty miffed, particularly if you had already incurred travel/hotel costs of £150 per day....
    I think....
  • edited 13 May 2018 at 6:12AM
    Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    edited 13 May 2018 at 6:12AM
    michaels wrote: »
    Disagree - successful bids may well have been followed up by putting agreed supply contracts in place etc - when govts try and move the goal posts post hoc it just leads to people being extremely wary in dealing with them in future and thus demanding huge risk premia. Suppose you had done 20 days work for the govt at an agreed rate of £500 per day but when you go to bill the govt tells you that as contractor rates have fallen since the rate was agreed and should only have been £100 per day so that is all they are going to pay you, you would be pretty miffed, particularly if you had already incurred travel/hotel costs of £150 per day....

    This situation is quite exceptional, with the contracts for round 1 and round 2 not having broken ground yet, and round 3 expected to be commissioned first.

    Given those conditions and the fact that the cost of installing the piles has fallen massively, the cost of WT's has fallen massively, and that less but larger WT's can now do the job for far less, sticking with the original contract would result in an eye watering profit for the contract winners as their costs would now be a fraction of what they expected to spend originally in order to receive the higher CfD's.

    Think of it like this, what if you decided to install PV before Mch 2012 on the highest FiT rate, but due to planning permission issues the install didn't start till today, should you still get the highest FiT despite incurring an install cost of say 1/3rd?

    I would however think that costs incurred by the early French off-shore winners should be taken into account as they had to bear the burden of the early and un-prepared planning issues from the unexpectedly high opposition from some local residents.

    With regard to your example of having done the agreed work for an agreed amount - here we have a situation where the agreed work hasn't been done yet and you would now do it for a fraction of the cost.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    Bigger mortgages for greener homes? Yep, that's right
    Welsh scheme will factor in home’s energy efficiency into lenders’ affordability calculations

    Borrowers will be able to take out a bigger mortgage when buying greener properties for the first time, under a pioneering scheme to encourage energy efficiency.

    Research has found that factoring in the efficiency of a home into lenders’ affordability calculations could allow them to increase loans by £11,500 because buyers’ electricity and gas bills will be lower.

    That theory will become reality from June, when Welsh help-to-buy loans will take into account the energy rating of new-build homes worth up to £300,000.

    The move is one of several innovations being mooted to overcome householders’ inertia on energy efficiency, alongside tax cuts for greener homes.

    The Welsh government said the change should open up the housing ladder to more people and encourage buyers to consider energy ratings.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    A couple of items from this weeks Carbon Commentary newsletter:
    1, Power to gas. Uniper (the separated fossil fuel part of E.ON) has been using surplus wind power to create hydrogen at its Falkenhagen site in northern Germany and then injecting it into the gas grid. Now it is taking CO2 from a nearby bioethanol plant and reacting it with the hydrogen to produce methane, the main constituent of natural gas. For a trial period of two years this process will take 1 MW of power and turn it into about 600 kW of gas. Why convert a large quantity of valuable electricity into a smaller amount of less expensive natural gas? The reason is that for increasing numbers of hours each year German electricity is valueless because of renewables oversupply. On May 1st, for example, prices were below zero most of the day, meaning that it would have made clear economic sense to convert negative cost power to natural gas.

    4, Indian stranded assets. A senior government official said that about 40 GW of Indian coal power capacity, or about 20% of the total, was now ‘stranded’ and unable to pay its way. The total bad debt amounts to around $15bn and may never be repaid. The reason is that these old power stations need a much higher electricity price than required by new wind or solar farms. One article about this is entitled ‘Cheap solar and wind energy prices are killing India’s coal power plants’
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • CoastalwatchCoastalwatch Forumite
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    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    That's cool news, I missed it completely. I know the Cardiff Lagoon and others are expected to be half the cost (per MWh) than Swansea as Swansea is a small proof of concept, but if there are alternatives that skip the Swansea stage, then all the better.

    The predictability of tidal means it does a lot of damage to the 'what happens when the wind doesn't blow / sun doesn't shine' arguments. The more tools in the toolbox the better it becomes.

    Other than harnessing the eonormous power of the tide I hadn't given much further thought to it. But given that power is generated when the tide comes in and goes out and with two tides a day that amounts to four peaks, at roughly six hourly intervals. Naturally there are also four slack periods when nothing is produced. Just checking the tide tables I notice that Solway is timed about two and a half hours offset to Swansea/Cardiff. So by harnessing the tide at both locations one almost compensates for the other!
    Noticing Mart's post about negative electricity prices in Germany due to over supply of renewables, then perhaps development of both schemes could be considered above those of further solar and/or wind before we arrive at the same situation!
    East coast, lat 51.97. 8.26kw SSE, 23° pitch + 0.59kw WSW vertical. Nissan Leaf plus Zappi charger and 2 x ASHP's. Still waiting for V2H and home storage to become available at sensible cost.
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  • edited 13 May 2018 at 2:44PM
    Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    edited 13 May 2018 at 2:44PM
    Other than harnessing the eonormous power of the tide I hadn't given much further thought to it. But given that power is generated when the tide comes in and goes out and with two tides a day that amounts to four peaks, at roughly six hourly intervals. Naturally there are also four slack periods when nothing is produced. Just checking the tide tables I notice that Solway is timed about two and a half hours offset to Swansea/Cardiff. So by harnessing the tide at both locations one almost compensates for the other!
    Noticing Mart's post about negative electricity prices in Germany due to over supply of renewables, then perhaps development of both schemes could be considered above those of further solar and/or wind before we arrive at the same situation!

    The tidal lagoons (and I suspect the off-shore ones will be similar) will have 4 generating periods of 3.5hrs each separated by slack tide periods of 2.5hrs each, so that gives a great predictable source of generation.

    They can also shift a bit to help out with peaks, so not release the water at lowest tide, or not fill the lagoons at highest tide. But doing that will mean less generation during that period, but great for the peak.

    Germany is a special case, they have a lot of coal and lignite generation that needs to operate 24/7, so that's why you get the low prices. The UK isn't quite as bad as gas can be ramped down.

    Some of the German generators have asked for permission to close or mothball some of the older coal/lignite but the government refused - this is all a bit weird and I only understand about half the story - so Germany's exports of leccy have shot up lately as their European neighbours enjoy the cheap exports. France takes a lot of 'dirty' German generation. [Edit - actually that's a bit unfair, they do use a lot of German exports to balance their nuclear grid as it's not very flexible, but on a whole I think France is a net exporter to Germany. M.]

    I'd suspect that here (and Germany too) we won't have a problem in the medium term as EV's will probably roll out rapidly now, and smart charging that takes advantage of cheap leccy will gladly gobble up loads during the daytime when cars are plugged in when folk are at work.

    Alternatively, measures could be put into place to encourage non south facing 30d pitch PV. Perhaps E/W or steep pitched for winter optimisation. The vast unsubsidised PV farm suggested for Kent will be 5x bigger than anything installed so far, and that has plans for E/W panels.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    Australian renewables have crossed tipping points and the rollout of RE for commercial interests is rising rapidly.

    Almost half of Australian big business moving to renewables
    Almost half of Australia’s large businesses are actively transitioning to cheaper renewable energy, including many going off the grid by building their own generators and battery storage, as power bills threaten their bottom line.

    A new report by the Climate Council details the increased speed of a business-led transition to renewables as power bills have increased.

    The average household and small-business energy bill is more than 80% higher than a decade ago. Gas prices have increased threefold in five years.

    Many businesses – including 46% of large operations – have responded by seeking green alternatives. The Climate Council report, released on Tuesday, said the capacity of Australian businesses to generate their own solar power had doubled in less than two years.

    Business owners report making their investment back through cost savings in less than five years.

    The general manager of AustChilli at Bundaberg, Ian Gaffel, said the decision to invest in solar panels was a “no-brainer”.

    AustChilli employs more than 100 people in the agriculture and food manufacturing process. The business initially built a 100kW solar system and about 18 months ago added an additional 200kW.

    Solar now accounts for about a quarter of the business’s power usage.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    Wind generation in Q1 2018 was greater than nuclear, that's a pretty impressive result for a technology that's only been supported (properly) for about 10yrs.

    Even more impressive when compared to new nuclear in the last 10yrs = HPC finally broke ground then immediately announced it was 18 months behind schedule?

    Wind power overtakes nuclear for first time in UK across a quarter
    Britain’s windfarms provided more electricity than its eight nuclear power stations in the first three months of 2018, marking the first time wind has overtaken nuclear across a quarter.

    The renewable energy industry hailed the milestone as a sign the UK was well on its way to an electricity system powered by cheap, domestic green energy.

    Across the first quarter, wind power produced 18.8% of electricity, second only to gas, said a report by researchers at Imperial College London.
    Dr Rob Gross, one of the authors of the Drax Electric Insights report, said: “There’s no sign of a limit to what we’re able to do with wind in the near future.”

    The opening in December of a new power cable between Scotland and north Wales also helped unlock electricity from Scottish windfarms, some of which would normally be turned off to help National Grid cope.

    The Western Link connection has drastically cut the amount of money paid by National Grid to windfarm owners for that curtailment. The company paid £100m in 2017 for curtailment. This year payments are already down by two-thirds.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • edited 16 May 2018 at 4:13PM
    Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    edited 16 May 2018 at 4:13PM
    Bad news day for baseload FF generators.

    Elon Musk Harpooned Baseload Power
    In the article, Godart van Gendt, a McKinsey & Company partner, is quoted as telling the Australian Energy Week conference in Melbourne, "In the first four months of operations of the Hornsdale Power Reserve..., the frequency ancillary services prices went down by 90 per cent, so that's 9-0 per cent." Van Gendt added, "And the 100-MW battery has achieved over 55 per cent of the [frequency control ancillary service] revenues in South Australia."

    The article goes on to say that South Australia put up $50 million (Australian dollar is about $0.76 US) for the battery, but it saved $35 million in the first four months of its operation.


    20% Of Global Power Plant Capacity At Risk Of Becoming Stranded If World Is To Meet Climate Targets
    A new study from researchers at the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford has warned that a fifth of current global power plant capacity is at risk of becoming stranded assets under a scenario in which the planet reaches its climate goals of halting warming at 1.5 to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
    In the end, even if the entire pipeline of planned power plants was cancelled, around 20% of the current global capacity of power plants would still become stranded in order to meet the climate goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

    "Companies and investors need urgently to reassess their investments in fossil-fuel power plants, and government policies need to be strengthened to avoid further carbon lock-in," Pfeiffer said.
    "Emissions are going to have to decrease rapidly if climate targets are to be met," Pfeiffer added. "But the current substantial plans for new fossil-fuel powered generators suggests the risk of asset stranding isn't being sufficiently considered. This is likely to prove extremely costly in the long-run, to both the industry and its investors."


    Edit - and in a similar vein to the above, this article looks at Australia's R&D into stabilising/operating a high RE grid.

    Australian Renewable Energy Agency Launches $7 Million Initiative For Renewable Grid Stability
    The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has this week launched a $7 million funding initiative that is designed to test and prove how renewable energy technologies can better provide grid stability and security services.

    Over the past few years, the share of electricity generation in Australia has seen a marked sea change, steadily moving away from the country's traditional reliance on coal-powered generation and natural gas. States like South Australia and Victoria have begun ramping up their renewable energy capacity, but this has in turn shifted the balance away from synchronous generators towards variable energy sources like wind and solar.
    The new AUD$7 million (USD$5.23) in funding from Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which was announced on Wednesday, seeks to further develop new technologies which can also provide grid stability and security services - and will support projects such as system strength provision, frequency control ancillary services (FCAS), fast frequency response (FFR), inertia provision and measurement, and other services that may enhance system security.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    Not sure where the line is drawn between national pride and spamming, but I think this deserves a mention:

    Wales cleans up with 47 Blue Flag beaches
    Forty-seven Welsh beaches were awarded Blue Flag status in this year’s awards, which are given to beaches that comply with a number of criteria, including water quality, environmental management, safety and services. Wales has also received 83 Seaside Awards, which recognise beaches that achieve the highest standard of beach management and, for bathing beaches, also meet the required standards for water quality.

    ....and the Severn Bridge tolls are finally being reduced making it cheaper to enter Wales ...... it's free to leave!
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
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