Yeah I know another boring environment entry but this sort of thing gets me all excited. In the last few weeks, though I suspect it’s been in the works for longer than that, it’s become apparent that the UK is showing a willingness to commit to a greener economy in terms of energy and transportation among other things.
Now this is the sort of news I like to read before I head off to sleep. Under a new scheme currently being put in place by Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband, people who generate their own power through renewable methods (normally solar or wind) could be put on a scheme that allows them to get money back, thus countering claims that renewable energies are more expensive to the user than enery from fossil fuels.
Well it’s not much but it’s something. There were apparently obstacles to the UK building more wind farms in order to increase their chances to meet the EU targets of 15% energy supplied from renewable sources by 2020.
The first obstacle was that it was believed the grid could not cope with the irregular nature of the supply from the turbines thus having to invest in coal-powered plants as a backup. That’s now been disproved. Secondly, building wind farms offshore* was believed to be costly and inefficient. That has also been disproved, though there is no link to statements or studies so you’ll just have to take the BBC’s word for it.
There are still some obstacles however, the fact that wind turbines have to be imported brings their cost up due to a poor pound as an example.
* offshore wind farms do produce more power as the winds are stonger offshore but as per an earlier statement, a lot of people prefer wind farms ‘out of sight’…
I should check Digg more often, there tends to be some interesting articles that don’t get picked up anywhere else.
Anyway, this is just a quick post to plug this very interesting article from Time Magazine on line about whether wind power can finally overcome fossil fuels as the main energy supplier, at least in the US.
I’m always wondering if I’m the only one who finds wind farms beautiful and awe inspiring, and would certainly not mind one off in the view of any of my windows…
Another innovative initiative that came up yesterday. The supermarket chain Sainsbury’s will set up an experimental system in one of their branches in Gloucester wereby their tills and refrigeration cabinets will be powered using energy generated by a device powered by shoppers’ cars driven over it. The cars create a rocking motion in the device which could generate up to 30KW per hour according to Sainsbury’s.
While there is some question over the greenness of this initiative, it still relies on cars after all, it’s a step in the right direction for supermarkets to be more self sufficient in generating their own energy. Hopefully more ideas like this will be developped by other chains to reduce energy emissions and be more efficient.