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Thursday, 26 May 2016

The Next ‘Green President’ – Which US Presidential Candidate Is the Best for Clean Energy?

The US presidential race is gaining pace, with only three candidates left in the running – two Democrats and the infamous Donald Trump. It’s fairly certain that Trump would be an absolute disaster for US clean energy and action on climate change, but just how bad would he be? However, if a Democrat won, which candidate, out of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders would be the most promising with regard to US renewables? Here’s where we find out.

Heat recovery from wastewater: An Interview with Lynn Mueller of International Wastewater

According to the US Department of Energy, 400 billion kilowatts of hot water goes down the drain annually in the US, roughly $40 billion worth of energy at an average cost of ten cents per kilowatt. Wastewater heat recovery is a process that can recover the heat energy from all that hot water and use it to heat buildings, and also to cool them. Such systems are currently being commercialised throughout the USA, Canada and the UK and one company that is actively engaged in installing them is International Wastewater Systems.  In a recent installation, in a 172-unit condominium complex, an installation now provides hot water for all the units with an efficiency of about 550 percent – saving the residents about 70 percent on their hot water heating bills. In addition, there is an estimated emissions reduction of 100 tonnes per year.

REM talked to the company’s founder and CEO, Lynn Mueller, to find out more about the technology, its future potential and how the company is taking advantage of the sizeable opportunities available.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Windpower 2016 opens in New Orleans

Thousands of wind power developers, manufacturers, workers, executives, and more have arrived from around the world to New Orleans for a four-day conference and exhibition

Monday, 23 May 2016

The potential impacts of Brexit on energy: An interview with Vladimir Parail of Oxera

The looming EU referendum has caused sweeping uncertainty across Britain, and one sector facing significant disruption from a ‘yes’ vote in June is the energy market. Today differences in carbon taxation and charges levied on generators between Britain and other EU markets amount to a subsidy on electricity imports into Britain. This creates a situation in which British electricity generators are not on a level playing field with regard to competition to their EU counterparts and creates distortions in trade in electricity. In light of this, Britain may choose to mitigate such distortions by imposing tariffs on imported electricity in the event of a Brexit, although this in turn would make any agreement on trade with the EU much more difficult to realise.

REM talked to Vladimir Parail of global economics consultancy, Oxera to find out more about the potential impacts of each of the two possible outcomes on energy in Britain, including potential impact on renewables and climate change.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Largest electric vehicle project in the world now underway in the UK

CarConnect, a pioneering project to help the electricity industry better understand how plug-in electric vehicles (PIVs) charge at home in harmony with the electricity grid, is now underway in the UK

Friday, 13 May 2016

German Renewables Provide 95 Percent of Electricity Demand

German think tank Agora Energiewende announced this week that renewable energy has been responsible for providing 95 percent of the country’s electricity demand, achieving this on Sunday May 8th.

Nissan reveals 50,000th Nissan LEAF produced in the UK

Three years after Nissan introduced electric vehicles (EVs) and battery manufacturing to Europe, the 50,000th European-built Nissan LEAF has rolled off the production line in Sunderland, UK

Scotrenewables Tidal Power launches world’s largest tidal turbine

Scotrenewables Tidal Power has launched its 2 MW SR2000, the world’s largest tidal turbine

STA and PwC launch online survey to assess UK solar industry

The Solar Trade Assocation (STC) have got together with PwC to launch an online survey aimed at assessing the status of the UK solar industry following major changes to the policy framework

Thursday, 12 May 2016

How Effective Could Willow be for Biomass Energy Generation?

Nearly half of European space heating could be renewable within 20 years says IHS

Renewable energy could provide nearly half of the energy used to heat Europe’s homes by 2040 according to a new study by IHS Energy

Faradion and AGM Batteries win government funding for sodium-ion EV batteries

The innovator of sodium-ion battery technology, Faradion, in partnership with AGM Batteries, has been awarded funding to develop its pioneering battery technology for electric vehicles

Above Surveying enter the solar inspection market

Push Energy and Buzzflyer have joined forces to form Above Surveying Ltd, a brand new aerial thermographic inspection service company specialising in solar PV

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Congratulations Mr Bristol Mayor!! Now, what happens next?

 So, congratulations to the new Bristol Mayor, Marvin Rees. Now lets have a look at some of what Mr Rees intends for Bristol in the way of green policies and effective, sustainable transport.

According to his website, this includes an integrated travel scheme, investment in local rail, tackling congestion and improving air quality. All that is pretty admirable, but how is he going to set about achieving it?

"I have a positive plan to ease congestion, continue to promote cycling and make travelling by bus and rail more viable. I will make the city truly accessible to everyone, whether they are travelling by car, on foot, bicycle, bus or train.”

Promoting cycling? So, if he is honest about that, for a start that means he is likely to attract some of the same flack from Bristolian anti-cycling petrolheads that was flung at Mr Ferguson.

This is what he said to Lifecycle about Bristol Cycling City:

"It was a good title, it captured something of what we are , what we want to be and there were genuine efforts made to make conditions better for cyclists. But I think it was a missed opportunity to launch the scale of infrastructural and cultural change we needed. We have faced challenges in the past in that we approach our city’s future as a series of projects, sometimes connected and sometimes not. I can’t help but feel this fell into that trap."

And how would he actually improve cycling in Bristol, Lifecycle asked him:

"Build it into every planning decision – housing, transport and public health. As I said, it can’t be a project by project approach. It has to be natural outworking of a long term plan."

So again, if he remains true to that, he's likely to get some stick.

According to a Bristol 24/7 article published in February, he also wants to return Bristol's buses to public ownership. That would be great if he can actually achieve easy task.

On clean energy, Mr Rees would pledge...

" make Bristol a carbon neutral city by 2050 as well as running all Bristol City Council offices on renewable energy by 2020."

Great stuff!! The Labour group have also pledged to take action on air pollution. Thing is though, how are you going to do that unless you try and curtail the amount of cars coming into the city, or make them cleaner (by promoting green motoring such as EVs and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for instance)?

On energy poverty, Mr Rees would attempt to resolve this issue by:

" offering a switching service to help people save money by finding the cheapest energy tariffs."

Other promising green promises include:

"...maintaining a frack-free Bristol, stop using harmful pesticides, protect green space and promote sustainable food networks."

All good stuff, but let's see if the promises actually get converted into deeds. And it will also be interesting to see how much vitriol Mr Rees attracts.

So Mr Mayor, enjoy the glow for now. It's probably going to get a bit rougher though before too long.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

UK clean energy industry responds to comments by the late Sir David Mackay on wind and solar

Prior to his death on 14th April, the celebrated British energy expert Professor Sir David Mackay commented that renewable energy technologies like solar and wind could not meet UK energy needs. However, the industry has now issued a cautious and sensitive response.

Minesto orders modified bottom joint system for Deep Green

Wave and tidal energy company Minesto has ordered a modified version of Subsea Riser Products (SRP) Rocksteady for the Deep Green tidal energy power plant

George Ferguson and fracking? I think not...

Bristol local politics can often get incredibly tiresome and vicious, no more so perhaps than the last few days in the run-up to the Mayoral election. There's been an assertion that Ferguson was somehow trying to cover up an attempt by Bristol Port Company (BPC), which runs Avonmouth, to apply for a Petroleum Exploitation Development Licence (PEDL) for potential fracking. Actually, BPC did apply for a PEDL but then agreed with Bristol City Council to withdraw it. This is quite clearly shown in available documents. However, there is also a question of whether or not the Mayor mentioned this fact to the BCC cabinet. And so its all blown up now into the usual round of sniping.

The important fact is really, now, that BPC can't legally get involved in fracking at Avonmouth. This isn't unduly surprising because Ferguson has been dead set against fracking right from the start of his term of office, and has said so quite clearly and openly. Whether third parties can or not is another issue, not helped by UK government moves to stop local authorities from resisting fracking in their own areas.

At the end of the day, any attempt to frack anywhere near Bristol will be ferociously resisted, given that the area has one of the hottest communities of young activists, as well as plenty of clean energy company's, in the country.

All the rest is politics as they say....

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

No way will cyclists accept forced compulsory insurance

George Ferguson, current Bristol Mayor, seems to be swinging towards the anti-cycling camp. Compulsory insurance for cyclists? No damn way!!! For a start it will price new cyclists off the road, secondly, all the evidence shows that its motorists, not cyclists, who are primarily responsible for cyclist-motorist accidents. Third, cyclists don't damage the road surface, heavy transport does. Fourth, cyclists don't help to devastate the planet, fossil-fuel spewing heavy traffic does. I am sure I could think of a few more reasons, given a bit more time.

Energy & Environment Dates 2012