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

edited 9 October 2018 at 10:41AM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
5.1K replies 413.1K views
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  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    Piddles wrote: »
    Great article, thanks. For me, it does emphasise that this is ALL about getting the cost of electricity from renewables (and particularly storage and/or global grid/time zone shifted solar) to out compete fossil fuels globally on price.

    A couple of related questions for you Mart:
    • what do you think is happening with the government's carbon neutral new build plan? It seems like a no-brainer from a distance and from the current climate change direction. As far as I can tell, it adds 1-2% to the costs of a new build and I would have thought also to the value of that property, plus all the energy savings over time.
    • where are we with distributed micro wind generation? Domestic solar at our latitude seems at the total opposite of the demand/supply equation when it comes to home heating.

    Not sure what's happening with build standards now. As part of the post election slaughter in 2015, the government scrapped the very last stage of the increased building standards, I think they pulled it 8yrs into the 9yrs plan, and developers said they had already planned for it, so such a waste.

    Then we had the Green Deal with its high interest rates killing off most of the upgrades.

    Article yesterday explains that deployments have collapsed:

    UK energy-saving efforts collapse after government subsidy cuts


    Regarding micro-wind, it just doesn't seem to work. The idea is fantastic, and I'd absolutely love some, but the systems just don't seem to work.

    Lots of comments on another forum (Navitron) from those with wind, typically off-gridders. They explain how running wind is a love/hate situation due to the maintenance and problems, and I've noticed one poster in particular, whose been off-grid for decades* singing the praises of PV which he started to build out a few years back as costs fell. He no longer needs to lower the WT before a storm, or switch on dump loads to waste/consume excess generation to protect batts, as the PV charge controllers can simply reduce output from the PV as the batts charge up.

    *He built his house, and whilst doing that ran power off generators, ready to connect to the mains in the street on completion, but slowly got the bug for self generation with WT's and old fork lift truck batts.

    Main problem with micro-wind is that the WT has to be around 10m up, and have 100m+ of unobstructed ground between it and the direction the wind mainly comes from. Otherwise objects like trees, bushes etc cause turbulence, and the wind won't be smooth when it hits the WT, so the WT will 'hunt' trying to line up, and in doing so generate very little.

    From there, imagine how much worse the problem gets in suburban and urban areas as the WT is surrounded by rooftops all causing turbulence. Generation tends towards naff all.

    Oft touted solutions come up all the time in the shape of VAWTS, vertical axis WT's (most WT's are HAWT's as the blades rotate around a horizontal shaft). They are always reported as solving turbulence issues, but most seem to be little more than crowdfunding exercises, and also tend to be pretty small, which goes against physics, since the smaller the WT (VAWT or blades) the smaller the wind energy that can be hitting it.

    But keep those fingers crossed for a micro solution as even something tiny, say generating 50-100W on average, would still work out at 1 to 2kWh's per day, which would seriously boost PV at night and winter.


    Slight aside, but this highlights the critical difference between PV and wind. PV will work anywhere, there are of course better (sunnier) locations, but it really doesn't care if it's on a house roof or a giant solar farm. Whereas WT's need careful placement, taking into account topography and wind history.

    Also, and this may seem controversial but I'm pretty sure it's a fact not an opinion, PV isn't impacted by economies of scale*. It is a two dimensional product (not true, but for descriptive purposes), so to generate more you have to go bigger taking up twice the land area, roof area etc to generate twice as much, whereas almost all other technologies are three dimensional, so to make a more powerful diesel engine, you can double all three dimensions and make it 8x bigger. This applies to WT's where going bigger makes them cheaper - 1,000 1kW WT's will cost more than 1 1MW WT and take up more area, and generate less. Plus of course the simple act of going bigger, means higher, and higher means stronger winds, more constant winds and less turbulence.

    *Not to be confused with economies of bulk purchasing. Buying 16,000 PV panels will mean a lower unit cost than buying 16 panels, but each panel will still do the same.
    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.
  • silverwhistlesilverwhistle Forumite
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    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    But keep those fingers crossed for a micro solution as even something tiny, say generating 50-100W on average, would still work out at 1 to 2kWh's per day, which would seriously boost PV at night and winter.


    My base load is 52 watts (although once saw it down to 37?), so those sorts of generation would indeed be useful, particularly in winter.


    The issue I have at the moment is a hot tank of water, a load of washing done and I'm exporting! No complaints of course, and as my total energy bill for the last quarter was £52 I'm very pleased that the return on my investment also includes a bit of peace of mind over fuel bills.
  • GreatApeGreatApe
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    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    Two stories, both experimental, but with great potential.

    A New Kind Of Geothermal Energy And Faster Charging Batteries Are Coming

    Regarding the 'low' temperature geothermal - opening up an additional source of clean generation, with predictability, would certainly help strengthen the RE package as a whole.


    There are lots of 'hot springs' in the form of the waste heat at nuclear power stations

    These could potentially be used as 'free' heat if distributed heating grids existed


    In a different universe where Europe went nuclear rather than windy, we could have used nuclear heat to solve the biggest problem which is seasonal heating. Or rather than using the waste heat we could have built dedicated heat only reactors. Something the size of a single EPR could yield 10GW of heat sufficient easily for 5 million homes and working at 100% efficiency (90% when District heating losses are taken into account). And smaller and simpler than an EPR as you don't have two thirds of the bits necessary when generating low temp heat only rather than high temp heat to generate electricity

    It would also be a semi permanent way to store waste in a useful way
    Store it in the pools and they will contribute heat to the heating grids for decades
    As long as homes need heating they would be usefully stored
  • GreatApeGreatApe
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    Piddles wrote: »
    Great article, thanks. For me, it does emphasise that this is ALL about getting the cost of electricity from renewables (and particularly storage and/or global grid/time zone shifted solar) to out compete fossil fuels globally on price.

    A couple of related questions for you Mart:
    • what do you think is happening with the government's carbon neutral new build plan? It seems like a no-brainer from a distance and from the current climate change direction. As far as I can tell, it adds 1-2% to the costs of a new build and I would have thought also to the value of that property, plus all the energy savings over time.
    • where are we with distributed micro wind generation? Domestic solar at our latitude seems at the total opposite of the demand/supply equation when it comes to home heating.



    A low fossil fuel world is already baked in
    It just takes time to build and deploy things

    The real star of the show is high capacity factor wind turbines especially in high wind areas (like offshore or some onshore areas)

    Likewise EVs will replace combustion engines for all land transport and most low and medium distance sea transport. A lot of flying will be done by high speed ground EVs

    It's just heating remaining.
    That will be costly but it's heat pumps and resistance heaters

    2050 targets of -80% to -100% are achievable
  • PiddlesPiddles Forumite
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    Air travellers to be hit by carbon charge on all tickets

    Misleading headline, but a step in the right direction to make it easier for consumers to make climate informed buying decisions.
    Payments would be voluntary but could work on an “opt-out” system. Similar measures could also be applied to trains, buses and ferries.
  • edited 22 July 2019 at 9:17AM
    PiddlesPiddles Forumite
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    edited 22 July 2019 at 9:17AM
    Thought this was encouraging: End onshore windfarm ban, Tories urge
    The survey, carried out by Survation, for the Conservative Environment Network, showed that 74% of people who voted Conservative in the last election support onshore wind farms.

    With a money saving expert spin:
    The analysis undertaken by Vivid Economics shows that growing onshore wind from 13GW today to 35GW by 2035 would reduce the cost of electricity by 7%.

    But it's also in our interests to prove to the high growth economies like China, India and Africa that it makes economic sense to build all their new energy generation capacity with renewables (currently 40% of new capacity is fossil fuel). As the second highest historical emitter, we kinda have a moral responsibility too.

    On a related subject. could Ireland be the EU's energy producer of cheap electricity with the highest wind and rain figures in Europe? Onshore wind and combined hydro and pumped hydro and a few HVDC interconnectors to the EU's emerging grid. Average-annual-wind-capacity-factor-mapped-across-Europe_.jpg
  • GreatApeGreatApe
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    Piddles wrote: »
    Thought this was encouraging: End onshore windfarm ban, Tories urge

    With a money saving expert spin:

    But it's also in our interests to prove to the high growth economies like China, India and Africa that it makes economic sense to build all their new energy generation capacity with renewables (currently 40% of new capacity is fossil fuel). As the second highest historical emitter, we kinda have a moral responsibility too.

    On a related subject. could Ireland be the EU's energy producer of cheap electricity with the highest wind and rain figures in Europe? Onshore wind and combined hydro and pumped hydro and a few HVDC interconnectors to the EU's emerging grid. Average-annual-wind-capacity-factor-mapped-across-Europe_.jpg

    There is a small link from Ireland to France planned it's mostly to import French nuclear to fill in gaps in Ireland

    There is no need to go to Ireland to import wind power it is too far and too small a grid plus the locals will complain plus they aren't anywhere near 100% renewables for their own needs at this point

    The UK doesn't need Irish wind energy it has sufficient quantities of its own
    France is the next closest country and it too doesn't need wind power it has nukes and hydropower
    The next big user is Germany but it has an excess on its north coast while it's demand is on its south. After that it's Spain but that's really far away

    The North sea is better place to deploy large scale wind farms
    Close to 7 EU nations which themselves have a lot of existing links to the other EU nations

    300GW offshore in the north sea by 2050 would generate 1,200TWh which is 30% of the roughly 4,000 TWh of demand by 2050 the remaining 70% would be onshore wind hydropower nuclear solar biomass and natural gas perhaps on that order
  • silverwhistlesilverwhistle Forumite
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    Is that map available with any more granularity? I'd be interested to see if more Mediterranean coastal regions had a resource based on onshore/offshore breezes. Also, in my experience some Alpine valleys have very regular resources due to adiabatic winds.



    Couple of interesting points: the Rhone valley stands out very distinctly and, as you say, Ireland has an embarrassment of riches. What explains the patchwork in Finland - the lakes? - and what mechanism would explain that.
  • PiddlesPiddles Forumite
    123 posts
    GreatApe wrote: »
    A low fossil fuel world is already baked in
    Really? This suggests otherwise:
    d41586-018-07666-6_16319564.jpg

    Beyond betting on the right developing technologies that can help the world decarbonise, what happens in the UK is pretty irrelevant compared to the growth elsewhere in the world, isn't it?
  • Reed_RichardsReed_Richards Forumite
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    It's blowing a gale outside where I am at the moment. Conventional wisdom is that domestic wind turbines don't work, economically at least. And yet on small boats they seem to be very common; those ones must be "sub-micro" I suppose.
    Reed
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