UK on the ‘Cusp of Energy Renaissance’
With the unveiling of UK’s long awaited Energy Bill, UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey says that the bill brings the nation on the “cusp of a renaissance in British energy”. Supporting the construction of diverse mix of renewable, new nuclear and gas should protect the economy from energy shortfalls and should significantly de-carbonize the electricity supply by 2030. The Energy Secretary also says that the Energy Bill will attract investments to bring about a once-in-a-generation transformation of the electricity industry, moving from fossil fuel to a diverse low-carbon generation mix.
Solar Leasing, A Step Closer in Georgia
The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) took a big step to encourage more solar power in the state. The PSC passed a motion encouraging Georgia Solar Utilities Inc., a solar company which hopes to generate solar energy on a utility scale, to appeal for the amendment of the “Georgia Territorial Electric Service Act of 1973”. This law gives Georgia Power exclusive right to provide power to all homes and business to Georgia and any other major power provider would be in direct contention with the Act. If the Act is amended, it will open up the power generation business to competition, specifically green energy.
Nova Scotia Calls for Hearings on Tidal Power Feed-in Tariffs
Nova Scotia’s Utility and Review Board (UARB) held its first technical session outlining the schedule of submissions for the hearings regarding feed- in tariffs for tidal power plants in the Bay of Fundy. Currently, Nova Scotia is the only jurisdiction in North America that has a specific tariff for tidal power generation. The government says that the use of feed-in tariffs will enable it to attract private capital to the province with the promise of financial “certainty”. The government has instructed the UARB to design a program that would limit rate increases to 1-2% by controlling the amount of electricity that would be generated under the tariff. The hearings begin on 19 March 2013.
Offshore Partnership to bring Cargo Container Battery Storage to UK’s Orkney Islands
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has announced a partnership with SSC plc., an electric utility based in Scotland, for a project that will use two 40-foot storage containers full of lithium ion batteries to store clean energy for an output capacity of up to 2 MW of power. The storage system is set to be installed at the Kirkwall Power Station in the UK’s Orkney Islands. A third cargo container will house the power conditioning system that converts direct current to alternating current. Power will be transmitted to and from the mainland using a submarine cable anytime there is a shortage of power or surplus of power. The idea behind this project is that the batteries will store surplus power whenever the supply exceeds demand, offering an increased level of reliability for later power delivery. It is believed that island power systems will benefit far better from energy storage because islands have often have weak transmission systems and inflexible power plants.
Protecting the Climate like a German
The Doha Climate Change Conference presents the opportune time to read Global Cooling: Strategies for Climate Protection by Hans- Josef Fell. Fell is one of the father’s of Germany’s Renewable Energy Law. Fell refutes the tired line that fighting climate change requires vast riches, huge sacrifices and endless red tape. He points out the benefits of clean energy rather than focusing on the cost. Numbers illustrate clearly just how lucrative Germany’s boom in renewables created a growing industry that employs 382,000 people and has an annual turnover of $16.9 billion. Fell also claims that the energy transition has helped Germany weather the recent economic crisis and the key to its success is not government subsidies but rather a small surcharge tacked into consumer’s energy bills. Since the production of wind and solar power is largely free once initial investments have been made, Germany will one day have rock-bottom prices compared to economies still addicted to fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Fell also questions the need for more expensive and futuristic technologies when renewables productions, re-forestration, sustainable bioenergy and bio-agriculture are already here for us.