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Energy and Climate News

This page is of external news items, with comments by Gordon Taylor
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2018-10-30 UK Floating Wind Could Support 17,000 Jobs & Generate £33.6 Billion In Value By 2050

Hywind Scotland, the world’s first floating offshore wind farm - click for full size image
Hywind Scotland, the world’s first floating offshore wind farm
A new report commissioned by the Crown Estate Scotland has found that not only does floating offshore wind have an important role to play in the UK’s plans to generate 50 gigawatts (GW) from offshore wind by 2050 but that it could support up to 17,000 jobs and provide £33.6 billion in added value.
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2018-10-23 The EU has spent nearly $500 million on technology to fight climate change—with little to show for it

Shutterstock/evantravels - click for full size image
Shutterstock/evantravels
Akshat Rathi

In a report to be published later today, the European Court of Auditors will say that the EU spent more than €424 million ($486 million) over the past decade decade fruitlessly trying to establish carbon-capture technology. The EU considers the technology crucial to hit its climate goals, which will require the union’s member states to reach net-zero emissions within decades.
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2018-10-22 ‘Electrofuels’ that increase plane ticket price by 60% only way to clean up air travel, report finds

Aviation is currently on track to use a quarter of the planet’s annual carbon budget by 2050 ( AFP/Getty Images ) - click for full size image
Aviation is currently on track to use a quarter of the planet’s annual carbon budget by 2050 ( AFP/Getty Images )
Josh Gabbatiss

New fuels and accompanying hikes in ticket prices will be essential to clean up air travel and avoid the worst effects of climate change, according to a new report.
Aviation is responsible for 5 per cent of global warming, and it is on track to power through a quarter of the planet’s annual carbon budget by 2050.
Despite some fledgling efforts to develop electric aircraft for short-haul flights, air travel is proving one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonise.In its analysis, European green transport group Transport and Environment (T&E) found that replacing fossil fuels in planes with “electrofuels” is the “only technically viable solution that would allow aviation to exist in a world that avoids catastrophic climate change”.
This will present a challenge to consumers as well as the industry, as the expense of these fuels means the cost of a plane ticket is projected to rise 58 per cent if they replace kerosene in all aircraft.

“The good news is that radically cleaner aviation is possible even with today’s technology,” said Andrew Murphy, aviation manager at T&E.
“Getting to zero starts with properly pricing flying and progressively increasing the use of sustainable synthetic fuels.
“There is a cost to this, but in light of how cheap subsidised air travel has become, and the incalculable cost of runaway climate change, it’s a price worth paying.”

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2018-10-12 The New Danish Climate Plan — Together For A Greener Future

Together for a greener future - click for full size image
Together for a greener future
As I noted in earlier posts about the Danish government’s plan to phase out diesel and gas cars by 2030, a full plan for emission reductions over the next 12 years would be revealed this week. And indeed it was. The plan is called “Together for a greener future.” This plan is the second of two parts. The first part was the “Energy — for a green Denmark” which was boosted considerably in the rare consensus by all parties in parliament in July where for instance the plans for adding 8 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power was tripled to 24 GW.

While Denmark is a pretty insignificant country in the scale of things, it was actually quite an achievement to reach bipartisan agreements on upping the game as opposed to the more common dismantling. I remember that Thomas L. Friedman played with an idea in his 2008 book “Hot, Flat and Crowded” where he imagined the US being China for just one day and how that could make so many rules come into effect, fast. Well, the current president is trying to do just that, but unfortunately he has yet to push rules on avoiding catastrophic climate change. My point is that it was very refreshing to witness this consensus in July, and it should serve as an example to countries with much bigger impact.
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2018-10-12 Japan To Add 17 Gigawatts Of New Solar By End Of 2020

Floating solar in Japan - click for full size image
Floating solar in Japan



Growth in Japan’s solar power sector is predicted to slow over the coming decade, according to a new analysis from the Fitch Group, but not before the industry adds 17 gigawatts (GW) worth of new solar capacity between the end of 2017 and the end of 2020.

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2018-10-08 We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN

A firefighter battles a fire in California. The world is currently 1C warmer than preindustrial levels. Photograph: Ringo HW Chiu/AP - click for full size image
A firefighter battles a fire in California. The world is currently 1C warmer than preindustrial levels. Photograph: Ringo HW Chiu/AP

Urgent changes needed to cut risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty, says IPCC

The world’s leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

The authors of the landmark report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on Monday say urgent and unprecedented changes are needed to reach the target, which they say is affordable and feasible although it lies at the most ambitious end of the Paris agreement pledge to keep temperatures between 1.5C and 2C.

The half-degree difference could also prevent corals from being completely eradicated and ease pressure on the Arctic, according to the 1.5C study, which was launched after approval at a final plenary of all 195 countries in Incheon in South Korea that saw delegates hugging one another, with some in tears.

“It’s a line in the sand and what it says to our species is that this is the moment and we must act now,” said Debra Roberts, a co-chair of the working group on impacts. “This is the largest clarion bell from the science community and I hope it mobilises people and dents the mood of complacency.”
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2018-09-26 While economic growth continues we’ll never kick our fossil fuels habit

 Illustration: Sébastien Thibault - click for full size image


We’re getting there, aren’t we? We’re making the transition towards an all-electric future. We can now leave fossil fuels in the ground and thwart climate breakdown. Or so you might imagine, if you follow the technology news.

So how come oil production, for the first time in history, is about to hit 100m barrels a day? How come the oil industry expects demand to climb until the 2030s? How is it that in Germany, whose energy transition (Energiewende) was supposed to be a model for the world, protesters are being beaten up by police as they try to defend the 12,000-year-old Hambacher forest from an opencast mine extracting lignite – the dirtiest form of coal? Why have investments in Canadian tar sands – the dirtiest source of oil – doubled in a year?

The answer is, growth. There may be more electric vehicles on the world’s roads, but there are also more internal combustion engines. There be more bicycles, but there are also more planes. It doesn’t matter how many good things we do: preventing climate breakdown means ceasing to do bad things. Given that economic growth, in nations that are already rich enough to meet the needs of all, requires an increase in pointless consumption, it is hard to see how it can ever be decoupled from the assault on the living planet.

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2018-09-26 MHI Vestas Launches World’s First* 10 Megawatt Wind Turbine

 - click for full size image



Offshore wind turbine giant MHI Vestas unveiled on Tuesday the world’s first commercially-available 10 megawatt (MW), marking the first time a “commercially-available” wind turbine has broken the double-digit barrier.

The offshore wind turbine capacity arms race has been driven into overdrive of late, with MHI Vestas breaking its own records, one after another, while GE Renewable Energy sits on the sidelines, safe in the knowledge that, when its 12 MW Haliade-X is installed in demonstration form sometime next year, it will have the world’s largest feet-wet offshore wind turbine.

MHI Vestas has been leading the way through 2018, however. The world’s most powerful currently operational wind turbines are the 8.8 MW v164 turbines installed at the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen, Scotland, which was officially opened earlier this month. MHI Vestas has also been the owner of the world’s most powerful commercially available wind turbine thanks to its V164-9.5 MW turbines that passed their final certifications in June and have already been ordered and are expected to be installed by the end of 2019.

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2017-11-23 No subsidies for green power projects before 2025, says UK Treasury

Companies hoping to build new windfarms, solar plants and tidal lagoons, have been dealt a blow after the government said there would be no new subsidies for clean power projects until 2025 at the earliest.
The Treasury said it had taken the decision to “protect” consumers, because households and businesses were facing an annual cost of about £9bn on their energy bills to pay for wind, solar and nuclear subsidies to which it had already committed.
The revelation that there will be no more money for projects before 2025 could dash hopes for pioneering projects such as the proposed £1.3bn tidal lagoon in Swansea, which has a mooted launch date of 2022.
In a Treasury document on carbon levies published on Wednesday, officials said: “On the basis of the current forecast, there will be no new low-carbon electricity levies until 2025.

Environmental groups criticised the Treasury move. The WWF said it was a huge disappointment, while Greenpeace claimed Wednesday’s budget was one of the least green ever.
Business groups also reacted with dismay. The pro-environment Aldersgate Group, whose members include BT, Ikea and Marks & Spencer, said the lack of clarity on low-carbon power investments was disappointing.
James Court, head of policy at the Renewable Energy Association, said: “The UK government seem to be turning their back on renewables by announcing no new support for projects post-2020 and a freeze on carbon taxes.”

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