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Thursday, 28 April 2016

Scurrilous Propaganda

The American Right is one of the nastiest, and arguably stupidest, communities in the political world. Here is one example.

On 26th April, the Facebook Page 'Conservative Country' tried to smear the electric vehicle (EV) industry by examining how the sector obtains its supplies of lithium for lithium ion batteries.

I guess they figured noone would bother to check the image for accuracy. But I did.

The image you can see in the lower half of the picture is actually not a lithium mine at all. It is in fact the open cast mine at Escondida in Chile, which mines copper, not lithium. You can see the picture of this mine at the 911 Metalurgist site here where it is featured as mine No 14 on the sites list.

That said, lithium-ion batteries do use small amounts of copper and other metals in addition to lithium, but lithium itself is MOSTLY (there is a reason for the caps here), found beneath briny salt ponds such as this:

Once the water is removed, the lithium may be extracted like so

I decided to check via Google images whether there is any open cast lithium mines in the world, and at first I thought I had found one. A mine at Soquimich, operated by SQM. However, I confess I failed to notice that actually many of the resulting images are incorrectly labelled, and so for that reason there are a number of pictures that are labelled as representing Soquimich which actually show the Russian diamond mine at Mirny (below)

In reality, the vast majority, if not all, lithium mines, consist of brine fields, as this blog from Amusing Planet makes clear.

So in essence, although there is an environmental issue, it is not actually as bad as the Conservative Country Facebook Page is trying to portray. The main issue is about supply, not environmental destruction. Fortunately, lithium is very recyclable and so future supplies may come from redundant electrical devices and scrapped EV batteries. There is indeed a problem with lithium, but Conservative Country is only going to make itself look completely stupid if it tries to suggest that lithium mines are open cast, when in fact they are not.

Climeon wins heat power order for Fincantieri cruise ships

Swedish technology company Climeon has won an order from shipbuilding group Fincantieri to supply its cruise ships with heat power solution Climeon Ocean

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Understanding Energy Customer Engagement: An interview with Hunter Albright of Tendril

Tendril is an energy services management solutions provider that applies behavioural energy efficiency programs, utility customer engagement initiatives and customer acquisition for things like community solar. The company is now using that model to create a library of energy-related content for markets where data access is limited or previously was not being harnessed to improve customer experience.

Taking the lead on renewables: An interview with Councillor Arron Wood from Australia’s Melbourne Renewable Energy Project

Taking the lead on renewables: An interview with Councillor Arron Wood from Australia’s Melbourne Renewable Energy Project

Melbourne Renewable Energy Project is a pioneering Australian project which is gathering momentum with a new tender for renewable energy advertised recently across the country. It has successfully united a group of large-scale energy consumers, inspiring them to invest in a long-term electricity contract spanning at least 10 years and which is about creating the jobs of the future, supporting innovation while diversifying Melbourne’s energy supply

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Australia could go 100 percent renewable finds new report

A new report published by the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at the University of Technology in Sydney has found that Australia could provide all electricity, heating and fuel needs with renewable energy

US DOE SunShot Initiative launches ‘Orange Button’ scheme to slash solar costs

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has launched a new ‘Orange Button’ scheme which will create unified data standards in order to help the solar industry reduce market inefficiencies and lower costs for consumers

National Audit Office confirms failure of Green Deal energy efficiency scheme

The UK National Audit Office (NAO) has concluded that the Green Deal energy efficiency scheme introduced by the Coalition Government did not achieve value for money

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Minesto orders turbine prototype from Schottel Hydro

Marine energy technology company Minesto, together with German tidal turbine manufacturer Schottel Hydro, has completed the turbine design of Minesto’s Deep Green tidal power plant

Midsummer receives funding from Mistra for lightweight solar on vehicles

Swedish solar energy experts Midsummer have received funding from Mistra for the development of lightweight solar modules on vehicles

Cycling has become far too macho for my liking

Asolutely agree with this article in The Guardian. Road cycling (i.e. racing) is the new cycling orthodoxy. From a journalist's point of view, pick up cycling magazine and its mostly racing, racing, racing. The cyclist who just wants to potter along gently through the countryside as a sightseeing adventure, stopping to take the odd picture of some interesting building or whatever, is barely represented in the cycling media. Instead we constantly get a long train of lycra-crad racers, macho discussions about gear and training and whatnot. Stuff that crap. That to me is not cycling, not proper cycling anyway....

Monday, 11 April 2016

Masdar hits halfway milestone in Morocco electrification project

Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar has installed 50 percent of the solar homes systems in its innovative project to electrify rural Morocco

Majority of residents believe London should be a leading solar city

A vast majority of residents believe London should become a leading solar according to the results of new research conducted by Greenpeace UK

North Sea Oil's time is over - let the lame duck die!

North Sea Oil is a dying duck - and TNW won't change that. Let the damn thing die.

In September last year, oil industry trade association Oil & Gas UK warned that production in the North Sea has been in a state of long-term decline and that low oil prices may very well push investment off a cliff. Its report projected a fall in capital investment of £2 to £4 billion in each of the next three years, down from £14.8 billion invested in North Sea oil in 2014.

One of the reasons for this is that operating costs have increased by 12 percent on a CAGR between 2004 and 2013 while supply chain costs have also climbed. Furthermore, the North Sea has only achieved an average production of 55 million barrels of oil equivalent from newly discovered recoverable reserves over the past three years, the lowest level since the UK first opened its continental shelf decades ago.

Interest in the North Sea is disappearing, as indicated by the lack of success experienced by Russian billionnaire Mikhail Fridman to unload his North Sea assets. Oil production from the North Sea is now below 1 million barrels per day and there simply isn't enough new discoveries being made for the region to recover substantially.

More recently, Oil & Gas UK has noted a slight recovery, in that up to 590 million barrels of oil and gas may have been extracted last year. However, this is likely due to the 'lag effect' in investment, according to Brendan Warn, senior oil and gas analyst BMO Capital Markets, meaning that the new wells, such as the Taqa 10,000-barrel-a-day Cladhan field off Shetland, would have been approved back when oil was above $100. On this basis, Mr Warn predicts that news from the North Sea over the period 2017-20 will be "horrendous".

Statoil has scrapped the equivalent of four years of drilling by one rig over the past 18 months, according to data from its company filings, and in November 2015, Nordea Markets said that before too long there will be a "rig graveyeard" in the area.

So how on earth does The New Way (TNW) thinks it can turn the North Sea around? Well intervention is costly, heavy intervention for example requires the construction of a new rig in order to remove and reinstall the wellhead, that in turn incurs costs of manning and maintaining a high spec rig. However, it could use riserless light well intervention and it is considering the use of a Mini Coil.

Even so, only 10 percent of the oil already being produced was discovered in new fields between 2012-2014. In other words, the North Sea is a dying duck as far as oil is concerned. In fact, the North Sea oil crisis is so bad it is starting to adversely affect the UK economy (along with all the other factors we already know about such as having a moronic Tory government that refuses to recognise that austerity doesn't work).

So why bother at all? In fact, there is a greater issue to tackle anyway - climate change. At present, we are on course for 5 degrees C global average temperature by the end of the century, which is insane given that 2 degrees C is bad enough already (the maximum temperature recommended as a means of avoiding truly calamitous global warming).

It would make much more sense to plough even more investment into renewables, which has already overtaken investment in North Sea oil with £15.2 billion invested in renewable energy last year, according to Bloomberg North Sea Finance (BNEF). The sensible thing to do would therefore be to start decommissioning the North Sea, so that the UK can concentrate on developing renewable energy.  We have the chance now to start doing that, and we can prepare for it by transitioning oil workers over to employment in clean energy.

In other words, forget it - let the damn thing die, as indeed it should. If not, well to those who are concerned about climate change (rather than those who obviously don't give a monkeys) there is an old saying:

Need I really say more?

CRS and Google partner to advance Asian markets

The non-profit Centre for Resource Solutions (CRS) has announced that Google is to provide foundational support for expansion of renewable energy in Asia

Gamesa to install 82 MW of wind power in China

Wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa has received two new orders in China for the supply of 82 MW of wind power including one project at an altitude of 3,200 metres

Friday, 8 April 2016

EC action plan bodes well for solar VAT reduction

The European Commission has published an Action Plan on value added tax (VAT) which the solar industry hopes will support Ministers intentions to reduce VAT on solar panels

Big brands signed for more than half of new wind contracts in 2015

Major brands and other emerging non-utility customers signed 52 percent of the wind power capacity contracted through power purchase agreements (PPA) in 2015

Ingeteam installs a mobile energy storage lab for the European Commission

Ingeteam has established an energy storage system including a mobile renewable energy storage laboratory at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) at Petten in The Netherlands

White Rock wind farm construction encourages optimism in Australian wind sector says CEC

An announcement by Goldwind and CECEP Wind Power Corporation that White Rock Wind Farm in New South Wales is proceeding to construction is a cause for optimism in the sector says the Clean Energy Council (CEC)

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

BOEM approves Virginia’s offshore wind research plan

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced its approval of the first wind energy Research Activities Plan (RAP) for a facility to be located in US federal waters off the coast of Virginia

GE brings revolutionary wind energy technology to India

GE has announced the launch of its Digital Wind Farm solution in India – a dynamic connected and adaptable wind energy system that matches data, analytics and turbines with a digital infrastructure

Energy costs and the steel crisis.

Typical of The Spectator, use the steel crisis to attack green taxation. Well it is a conservative rag after all so I guess it's hardly surprising. What am I talking about? This.

Unfortunately The Spectator is subscription only, which means I can only read a sample of the article (why on earth would I pay to read constant rubbish from Tory supporters attacking climate action and clean energy?), but here's an excerpt from the bit that's visible:

"Crusaders like Ms Leadsom have, over the years, made sure that our manufacturers feel the force of green levies, unlike Germany, which exempts its own industry. The idea is that by making energy more expensive, people are encouraged to use less of it." 

There are several phases that come to mind to describe this rubbish - hogwash, utter tripe, balloney, etc etc. So let's get the matter straight, seeing as The Spectator is pushing anti-green propaganda on this issue.

The manufacturers organisation EEF, according to Kiran Stacey writing in the FT, estimate energy costs as being about 20 percent of the production cost of steel while the government's own advisory committee believes it to be about 6 percent. Energy costs are therefore a very minor part of the argument, greatly outweighed by concerns about the price of steel.

In other words, climate change deniers and renewable energy critics are jumping on this as an opportunity to try and attack clean energy and environmental taxes, and thus through the latter, pretty much most action on environmental issues if they were allowed to get away with it.

According to environmental consultancy Sandbag, the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has actually helped steel by giving the industry so many carbon permits that it now has a surplus of about 1.1 billion euros. In October 2015, Sandbag made this quite clear in its blog on the issue Green Taxes Are Not Killing Steel, which argues convincingly that it is the slowdown of construction in China that is to blame.

And as for Tata, the main reason why they are attacking energy costs is because it is politically easier to shut down green taxes than it is to do something about the global cost of steel.

So Mr Spectator Editor, there's a simple word to describe this article of yours - Balls!!

Monday, 4 April 2016

An Indian Office for OST: An interview with Bihag Mehta of OST Energy

Technical advisor for wind, solar and storage initiatives, OST Energy, recently announced it had opened an office in New Delhi, India, to support its work in the Indian renewable development market. Solar energy in particular has been identified as a leading technology in the ongoing programme of bringing power to 300 million people across India who do not currently have access to electricity. This will also enable the country to meet a number of its ambitious clean energy targets. Consequently, OST has hired a new country manager, Bihag Mehta, to lead its operations in India, supporting the country’s attempts to increase its solar deployment and bolstering technical advisory and due diligence services to cater for demand in the region.

REM talked to Bihag Mehta to find out more.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Enel Green Power inaugurates triple renewable hybrid plant in the US

The global energy generation company Enel Green Power (EGP) has officially opened its new geothermal, solar PV and solar thermal plant at Fallon, Nevada

Daily Mail hypocrisy

Is this hypocrisy or what? The Daily Mail often moans about renewable energy, but then it publishes articles about the fall in greenhouse gas emissions. So where actually do you stand DM? Oh and another fact worth mentioning, even with the fall in emissions, we still have a major problem with atmospheric greenhouse gases, the stuff that's already up in the air. In order to clear the sinks that clear all that carbon, we need to ensure zero GHG emissions by 2100. That means changes in how all of us travel (shifting to EVs or public transport or bikes for example, or less flying), eat, work, heat and power our homes, shop, dispose of waste etc etc

Import tariffs on Chinese steel - the time is now

It's easy to blame high energy costs for the British steel crisis, but the fact is that we need to drive greenhouse gas emissions down to zero by 2100. That means taxes on high energy use must stay. However, there is another option, and that is to impose import tariffs on Chinese steel in order to protect our own industry. The Chinese are trying to dominate the market in a range of things, they tried to do it with solar panels, so the US and EU slapped import tariffs on them to punish them. That is exactly what we must do with regard to steel. Yes, it might spark off a trade war, but the Chinese, while its important to work with them, also have to be given a sharp rap on the knuckles now and then. It's time to put an end to Tory psycophants bowing down to China, now is the time to get tough with them.

Energy & Environment Dates 2012