Archive for March, 2016


18
MAR

Vince Adams says:
Time for us all to face the truth and do something about it


Category: Climate Change, Wind Power
Tags: ,


Keith Wheaton Green speaks with such personal understanding and eloquence regarding our continued Denial of the most obvious. Is it really just total selfishness by a few who hold back everyone of us and generations to come after us ??

 

Someone in denial obviously can’t see the truth even when the evidence is all around them. I believe I have only been in denial once in my lifetime to date – when a loved one was dying but I refused to believe it even though everyone around me understood the truth. Obviously, denial has no impact on the inevitable. And so it is with climate change. It can be difficult to accept the truth when it affects cosy lives or  world views. Change, or the perception that things will change can be uncomfortable.

I saw this discomfort last week when – yet again – I attended a planning determination for a wind farm in Dorset, this time on the outskirts of Dorchester. The proposed six large (giant?) turbines would produce the annual equivalent of Dorchester’s electrical consumption. That British paranoia with wind was on show yet again. Fifty three of us speakers (for and against) were each given a firm maximum of three minutes. Everything and everyone was polite and professional. The surprise for me was the fact there appeared to be more speakers in support than against the turbines. I haven’t seen this before. Again and again, speakers were passionate and eloquent. People of all ages – even several living in sight of the turbines – expressed a desire to see beautiful turbines. Comments included “turbine installation is reversible, climate change is not, our selfishness is leaving a poisonous legacy to our children, this is the last turbine application in Dorset and our last opportunity to do the right thing, landscape impact of the turbines is dwarfed by the new residential developments of Poundbury and Charlton Down.”

I think the floods of the last three years, the fact that the 15 hottest years on record were during the last 16 years and the uncharacteristically warm, daffodil blooming December 2015 has led to the penny having dropped. Dorchester seems to have a surprising wealth of well-informed people.

However, the planning establishment are wedded to the concept of “landscape harm” and their professional (?!) opinion was that this outweighed the benefit of renewable energy generation. The case officer spent most of his presentation time explaining that harm, with only a passing mention of the schemes benefits. I would say he was in denial of the benefits and the degree of public support. He was not alone. One speaker erroneously stated that there had been no global warming since 2000 and that wind turbine saved no carbon emissions because of the back-up generation required. There were many other statements made that were simply not true. Denial of reality to keep themselves in the cosy zone of their imagined reality.

Councillors had evidently already made up their minds and voted 6 to 3 to reject the application with little discussion. There is no prospect of an appeal to our wind turbine hating government.

Our government is also evidently in denial. Despite David Cameron speaking with apparent passion in support of the firm targets to reduce carbon emissions in Paris, and his statement that Britain was “already leading the way in work to cut emissions,”  the current trajectory to reduce UK emissions is dire. Thanks to previous DECC ministers, Eds Milliband and Davey, we did indeed show leadership up until election of our current government. The introduction of the feed in tariff in 2009 and the renewable heat incentive in 2011 led to impressive expansion in renewables. Wind now regularly supplies around 14% of electrical demand (and is not as intermittent as you might think) and photovoltaics show up as a significant reduction of midday demand. (If you don’t believe me, have a look at the excellent gridwatch.templar website where you will find up to the minute and historical easy to understand data.) However, our current government cannot claim responsibility.

Here is a list of what they have done to halt our progress;

  • Closed the Renewables Obligations 12 months early
  • Closed the ‘Contracts for Difference’ (CfDs) to onshore wind (which aimed to support new investment in all forms of low-carbon generation and to offer price stabilization.)
  • Removed Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) pre-accreditation and implemented a wholesale review of FiT with expectation that it could be scrapped entirely.
  • Changed  planning laws for Renewable Energy, making the rules significantly different from shale gas
  • Removed renewable electricity from the Climate Change Levy (CCL) exemption
  • Accepted that the whole of South West England has no grid access for renewable energy
  • Removed tax breaks for small community-led projects.

And no one can deny that.


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Vince Adams comments:
    "David Saunders long term guru of renewable energy comments on Keith’s article “Nice article, lovely to see your passion, and worrying of course to know it’s against the stream of government thinking. I attended a public economics lecture at Bristol University last night, on ’the one thing that would change everything’. Beautifully and clearly arguing that if polluters pay the real costs of pollution, rather than externalise them, it would put everything right – meaning climate change. He dismissed 4 or 5 other approaches including a magic techno fix, and said he’d expect to get questions on the alternatives, which gave me the chance to ask one… And I was fresh from Regen SW’s much-smaller-than-last-year-because-of-the-cuts Smart Energy day in Exeter. I’d been practicing my future-of-energy-in-two-diagrams on various of the attendees and exhibitors, while picking up ideas for the shared renewable energy systems that we want to be planning for our bale-build-community-led-hopefully-very-affordable-cohousing projects. So I framed the question by saying that I’m actually rather skeptical (based on long experience, plus observation of the Thatcher and Cameron governments) about us being able to persuade the government to legislate to tell us to do the right thing, even post-Paris, and especially in light of recent moves – like the elimination of the petroleum production tax in the budget which is hardly aimed at reducing emissions. So can I ask a question about a technology solution? Given permission, I pointed out my thesis that solar was following a Moore’s law curve (and at Exeter yesterday, people were agreeing, and no longer putting up the ‘but the energy companies will fight it all the way’ argument, if only because they already have been fighting it all the way, and what we’ve achieved is in spite of that opposition). And it is significant – solar has grown by a factor of ten three times in the last 21 years, in roughly eight, then seven, and then six years respectively. Halving its cost each time, to the point where – in 2014 – it supplied one percent of world electricity, and is lowering grid prices for energy, with or without subsidies. Given this, I said that doing all you can to reduce pollution, or charge people for making it, is a fine ambition. But what if you replace pollution with something that ACTUALLY COSTS LESS and does not pollute? And what if that replacement, whether it’s a techno fix or not, and whatever timescales they may have been talking about in Paris around 2030, 2040 or 2050, is on target to produce ten percent of our electrical energy in 6 years or less, and then
    one hundred percent in a few years more? Because it will have shut down a whole bunch of the polluting energy sources, and replaced our current electricity supply with something far cheaper? Wouldn’t that be alright? He said “I have just two words for you – ‘I agree.’ “. And then slipped into a kind of precautionary ‘do both’ reply, with which I have no problem whatsoever – though as you are pointing out Keith, the likelihood of our present government legislating to promote the right things seems both microscopic, and receding. He was helpful enough to mention the issue of storage being something we’d have to work on for solar, giving me the opportunity come back and say something about that. Fortunately I had already discussed the issue of storage in the gas grid earlier in the day with a Wales and West Energy guy. Rather than shutting down the gas grid to stop methane emissions – which they recognise has to happen some time – they are already thinking about switching it to hydrogen instead of methane, made from hydrolysis using excess summer solar energy. In Germany, the gas grid has three months worth of national energy demand in storage capacity – so it is already a massive, low cost storage solution. I summarised and shared this information at the lecture, and got another ‘I agree’ from the lecturer, and was shortly afterwards surrounded by students as the questioning ended and the lecture started to disperse, and had a fun chat with some of them. It was very sweet, actually, to find that an old geezer who had been a bit of a nerd for most of his life, could find lots of common ground with today’s young people. And my point is?… Whatever our governments are doing or saying, it is a truism that politicians are at best generalists, and not in touch with real trends and or solutions in areas in which they are supposed to be expert. (And only a truism, not the fiull truth – there are smart politicians, and politicians who aren’t in the pockets of vested interests). But it does make it uphill work talking with politicians. If it’s around getting permission for wind farms, that becomes a problem. But if it’s around putting solar on most roofs that can take it, there’s no need to have that conversation, and eventually they come round to your point of view, because it’s so obviously working, and there’s no way for them to stop you. Except, of course, that by virtually removing feed in tariffs, they have done their utmost to stop solar dead in its tracks, and stop the next tenfold increase in the UK. Which would, incidentally, take us from 8Gw, to 80Gw, which is quite a lot more than our peak daytime electricity demand, and takes us well into the territory where nuclear is long dead (whatever the cleanup cost) and storage has become the issue, and by which time, switching the gas grid from methane to hydrogen will have become a well-discussed and understood topic, and we’ll be working towards it – hopefully. It’s the least cost solution so it should be a no brainer for people owning gas grids to switch to hydrogen. Renewables have already demonstrably caused a lowering of grid wholesale prices, and only solar has the ability to halve its cost again, and then one more time again. Meaning a wholesale price for energy around 1p to 2p per unit? That would be cool, wouldn’t it? Whether we manage to get this to reduce prices for energy end users is up to us – communities have to own the solar generation, and distribution as well, for this to happen There’s no reason why not – or, rather, there’s every reason why not, as it will go against vested interests, and the need for corporations to continually increase profits in a growth economy. SO. In just two diagrams and far less time than it took me to write this, and even less time than it took you to read this (if you’ve been kind enough to do so) we have a complete solution to our energy problems. Abundant, cheap, secure, 100% renewable year-round energy. There’s plenty that could be said to flesh it out, and fill in the evidence base to support the logic, as well as fill in the steps that get us from here to there. But the bottom line is it’s pretty simple, and almost absolutely unstoppable – as with Moore’s law in electronics, it did not need government legislation to get super powerful smartphones in everyone hands, and reduce the cost of storage from £600 for 40 megabytes (my first hard disk drive in or around 1992) to £199 for 8 terabytes (my latest, which would have cost £120,000,000 at 1992 prices). Similarly, government can’t stop the growth of the solar economy, because economics itself drives the change – but government could help the development of the solar hydrogen economy. Once Hinckley C is dead (or, rather, once it is recognised as dead) there’s no reason for government not to go for this. Discuss? Tough about the wind, and cost of nuclear cleanup, but no worries about the long term renewable future. And the ‘long term’ is a lot sooner than governments imagine – see above…” "

    March 18, 2016 a 4:40 pm


18
MAR

Vince Adams says:
Renault Electric Cars in smart deal with Utrecht


Category: Electric Transport, Electric Transport, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized
Tags: ,


Fleet of 150 Renault ZOE for smart solar charging project
March 11, 2016 | ID: 76330
Fleet of 150 Renault ZOE for smart solar charging project
Renault has signed a letter of intent with the Dutch Utrecht City Council, ElaadNL and LomboXnet on Smart Solar Charging for electric vehicles.
The signature took place during the state visit to Paris of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, under the schedule of Franco-Dutch Economic Year 2015-2016.
THE SMART SOLAR CHARGING NETWORK PROJECT

Renault, Europe’s leading electric vehicles manufacturer, and its Dutch economic partners Utrecht City Council, ElaadNL and LomboXnet signed a letter of intent in Paris on 11 March 2016 to develop a Franco-Dutch framework of smart solar charging solutions for electric vehicles.

The signature ceremony was attended by Renault’s Laurens van den Acker, SVP Corporate Design and Guillaume Berthier, EV sales Director; in presence of the king and queen of the Netherlands, the Dutch minister of trade, Lilianne Ploumen and the French Foreign Affairs Ministry’s secretary of state for European affairs, Harlem Désir.

SMART-CHARGE SYSTEMS FOR ELECTRIC TRANSPORT

According to the letter of intent, the city of Utrecht could be the testing ground for the solar smart-charge project. Renault, Europe’s leader in electric vehicles, would supply a fleet of 150 Renault ZOE models through 2017 to the city. ElaadNL would handle management of infrastructures and the smart-charge standard, and LomboXnet would take charge of installing the network of unique public charging terminals powered by a 44 kW grid connection. Grid operator Stedin would be involved to balance supply and demand of the grid.

Phase one of the project would involve setting up 1,000 smart solar-charge stations, powered by 10,000 photovoltaic panels in the Utrecht region. Infrastructure installation would run side by side with development of a car-share service of electric cars, powered by renewable energy, for Utrecht residents. The Renault ZOE R.Access connectivity and 22 kW charging make it ideal for car-share and smart charging applications.

Phase two of the project would proceed with the partners developing a vehicle-to-grid ecosystem, with the network of solar chargers capable of both charging the electric cars and of feeding energy stored in the batteries of parked cars onto the grid to meet demand peaks. This could be the starting point for a new system storing renewably sourced energy.

STEPPING UP THE ENERGY TRANSITION

Through its pioneering work on EVs and their batteries, Renault contributes to the energy transition in the automotive industry by reducing the use of fossil fuels. Renault, through smart charging experiments, increases the proportion of renewable energy EVs use. One of the goals of the Smart Solar Charging Project developed by Renault, ElaadNL, LomboXnet and the Utrecht City Council is to make a substantial contribution to reducing the carbon footprint not only of the auto industry but of all sectors consuming electricity.

ElaadNL researches and tests the possibilities for smart charging on behalf of the dutch grid operators. With innovative techniques ElaadNL can charge electric cars in a smart way, exactly at the right moment. With Smart Charging, the abundance of electricity from the sun and wind is used to charge our cars. Live off the wind and drive on the sun!

In June 2015, LomboXnet introduced in Utrecht a world-wide scoop: a charging station making Smart Solar Charging accessible worldwide. This charging station can charge and discharge (vehicle-to-grid, V2G), establishing the foundation for a new local energy system based on local energy sources and local storage. The unique charging station is developed in a consortium of GE, Stedin, Vidyn, Last Mile Solutions, Utrecht Municipality and led by LomboXnet.

By implementing the vehicle-to-grid project on a regional scale, the region of Utrecht creates – together with partners like Renault – a large living lab for innovative smart grid solutions. This show case implements not only green power, but ensures also clean air zero emissions in the city and region of Utrecht. Thus, Utrecht makes way with Healthy Urban living. Not only to continuously improve its leading position as the most competitive region of the EU (according to Eurostat) but also to inspire other metropolitan regions as well.

Renault has been making cars since 1898. Today it is an international multi-brand group, selling more than 2.8 million vehicles in 125 countries in 2015, with 36 manufacturing sites, and employing more than 117,000 people. To meet the major technological challenges of the future and continue its strategy of profitable growth, the Group is harnessing its international development and the complementary fit of its three brands, Renault, Dacia and Renault Samsung Motors, together with electric vehicles, the Alliance with Nissan, and its partnerships with AVTOVAZ and Daimler.

More information on the Franco-Dutch Economic Year 2015-2016: www.economieFRNL.com #economieFRNL

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Eric van Kaathoven
ElaadNL
06-81400683
eric.van.kaathoven@elaad.nl

Herman van Vuren
Gemeente Utrecht
030 286 37 92
h.van.vuren@utrecht.nl

Robin Berg
LomboXnet
06 41 412 222
robin@lomboxnet.nl



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