Posts Tagged ‘wind power’


29
JUL

Vince Adams says:
Is this PR or a real time to re-think energy policy


Category: Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, Energy News for UK, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,


We have an amazing opportunity to say No to Nuclear and Hinkley Point B and focus on a future that embraces renewable energy and builds a sustainable future for us all.

Please read on:

 

LEADING ARTICLE
july 29 2016, 12:01am, the times
No Point in Hinkley
Alternatives to the large-scale nuclear power station planned for Somerset are now so numerous that the government should cut its losses and start again

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Hours after the French energy giant EDF gave final approval for its investment in the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station last night, the government put the project under review. It was right to do so. The EDF decision is the wrong one for British consumers, Britain’s energy infrastructure and for the company itself. As part of a sensible overhaul of this country’s energy strategy for the next half-century, taking into account fast-changing renewable technologies that could render fossil fuels obsolete within a generation, Hinkley Point needs to be scrapped.
The twin reactors planned for the Somerset site would constitute the biggest and most expensive nuclear power station in the world. Their combined capacity would power five million homes and help to make up a shortfall that the National Grid already has to remedy by paying inflated prices to existing power producers. But EDF’s design is unproven and unaffordable. The project as a whole is too dependent on Chinese investment. Even EDF is not wholly behind it. Last year its chief financial officer resigned rather than support it. Yesterday a board member quit for the same reason.

Hinkley Point C was supposed to produce electricity from next year. The earliest date now envisaged is 2025. If that were plausible the project might still be worth considering. In reality two plants of the same design now under construction in Finland and France are years behind schedule and billions over budget after a series of technical problems. Two more in China have been built faster and more cheaply but have yet to enter service.

EDF has modified the design for France’s own modernisation plans. It is absurd to persist with the discredited version at Hinkley Point, especially when there are so many alternatives.

The US, Japan and Britain’s own Rolls-Royce produce smaller nuclear reactors that could fit more flexibly and much less expensively into our future energy mix. Gas-powered stations can be built in as few as two years once planning requirements have been met, and are the cleanest, most efficient bridge to a low-carbon supply as Britain’s last coal-powered plants are phased out.

Most auspiciously, recent advances in artificial photosynthesis offer the prospect of a solar power revolution that is likely to pull renewables from the fringe to the centre of the energy industry within the lifetime of any nuclear plant under construction today. Last month a team from Harvard announced a breakthrough towards “artificial leaves” that can produce liquid fuel from sunlight, water and carbon dioxide — as plants do, but with up to ten times the efficiency. A second project, at the University of Illinois, has achieved the same trick with low-cost catalysts built into solar panels producing burnable gas rather than electricity. The process solves the energy storage problem that conventional solar power can only address with batteries.

Artificial photosynthesis has long been seen as a holy grail of energy science because its output is carbon-neutral and its input, the sun, is limitless. Its commercialisation will take time, but that of traditional solar panels is far advanced. Falling in price by an average of 10 per cent a year, they are expected to produce a fifth of the planet’s power within a decade.

Energy planners must be nimble enough to embrace these new technologies. To proceed with Hinkley Point C instead is to be held hostage to a design that is outdated before it is built and will never be commercially viable. The strike price agreed by Britain for EDF is twice the current wholesale price for electricity. The evidence suggests that Britain and France are pressing ahead with Hinkley Point C to save the blushes of successive governments that put their faith in it without paying enough attention to its many flaws. Shame on them.



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


31
JAN

Vince Adams says:
Is this the final nail in the coffin for Wind Energy in Dorset


Category: Dorset Energized News, Renewable Energy, Uncategorized, Wind Power
Tags: ,


Last week opponents of Wind Energy won yet another victory in stopping the Slyers Lane proposal.
This was indeed a sad day for Dorset whose target for clean energy is now in tatters.
This horrendous not in my backyard approach of a minority of Dorset’s people will no doubt comeback to haunt them one day soon when Fracking becomes the goto alternative for our County.
If anyone thinks that WT’s are a threat compared with the ravages of Fracking then they are nuts.
So to the next generation I say sorry, sorry we could not win the argument for you.
Remember its our Country and when its your time to vote next think about how the current Government have decimated the renewable energy industry.
Come forward Mr Corbin and The Green Party we want and need alternative thinking !!



13
JAN

Vince Adams says:
Time to get off the fence


Category: Renewable Energy, Uncategorized, Wind Power
Tags: ,


The future of our Planet and what our kids will inherit is now of crucial importance. Renewable Energy is clearly the key energy solution going forward and Wind specifically on-shore wind energy is the most productive source.

It harms almost no-one, it even has aesthetic beauty and it delivers energy directly to the people who need it.

So its time to ask your MP’s, Local Councillors etc why they don’t give it their 100% backing and to help you support this campaign the Pro Wind Group have produced the following letter.

Its extremely well crafted and if you agree with its points I urge you to print it and send it as soon as possible to your local representatives.

Its time that the majority had their say !!

Thankyou for subscribing to LGE.com

 

Open Letter to WDDC Councillors about Renewable Energy in Dorset

17th May 2015

Dear

Congratulations on your recent election to West Dorset District Council.

You and the other newly constituted local councils around the country are now in the hugely responsible position of facing a wide range of decisions that can make or break national aspirations for climate change mitigation.
The United Nations Development Programme estimates that over 70% of climate reduction measures are undertaken by local government.

Climate change is the issue of our times. Indecisiveness now will result in huge costs later.
The UK Committee on Climate Change states in its progress report for 2014 that ‘urgent and intensive action before 2020’ would save £100 billion, reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels from politically unstable countries and have a positive impact on energy prices.

Economic Benefits of Renewable Energy to Dorset 

There is considerable merit in embracing the move to renewable energy purely on economic grounds.
According to Regen SW there are already 10,000 jobs in the renewable sector in the SW and this is expected to rise to 34,000 by 2020.

Currently about £30 million enters the local economy in the form of feed-in tariffs earned by households and there is potential for more.
There are increasing opportunities for people to invest in solar panels on their local school or village hall through organisations such as Dorset Community Energy, a not-for-profit community benefit society.
Standard practice for wind farms is to offer an annual community benefit of £5,000 per MW and solar farms £1000 per MW for the lifetime of the project. Existing solar farms across 11 Dorset parishes have already agreed a community benefit spend of £2 million.

Opponents tend to exaggerate the level of subsidy. Government figures calculate the total subsidy for UK renewable energy to be £38 per household per annum. The costs of the established technologies of solar and wind are dropping even faster than expected and it is highly likely that by 2020 they will be cheaper than other forms of energy and will need no subsidy.

The move to renewables in the UK will come. The only question is whether Dorset politicians will assist Dorset in benefiting fully from its huge natural resources of sun and wind.

Making Progress towards Renewable Energy in Dorset

There are already some great success stories in Dorset:

  • The Piddle Valley community of 2500 homes is supplied with 100% renewable energy from solar and biogas
  • The largest solar farm in the UK is the 60MW farm near Bournemouth airport that is so well screened that most people are unaware of its existence.
  • Corbin Industries in Bridport employs 70 people to make frames for solar panels.

However there is still a mountain to climb during your tenure as councillor.

Much of the low-hanging fruit has been picked and the challenge is becoming clearer.

The Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole Renewable Energy (BDPRE) Strategy sets a 7.5% target for renewable energy generation for 2020. The strategy has been produced by the Dorset Energy Partnership that includes Dorset County Council, all the district and borough councils and a wide range of community groups. The latest figures (March 2015) indicate that 3.4% of total energy consumption can be covered by projects that have been built or are in construction.

So we still need to double the capacity in the next 5 years. This really is a minimum since further national targets beyond 2020 are increasingly ambitious.

The Dorset Energy Partnership, which includes WDDC, has clearly rejected widely circulated claims by some groups that targets have almost been reached.

/continued…

Protecting Landscape, Wildlife and Heritage Assets

Last month no lesser person than the director general of the National Trust, Dame Helen Ghosh, made an unequivocal statement that climate change poses ‘the biggest threat’ to the land and houses in the care of the National Trust. She cited loss of biodiversity and wildlife on the land and the already substantially increased flood, stormwater, subsidence and gale damage to properties. She promised that the trust would lead by example in moving to renewable energy generation.

The Government’s ‘UK 2012 Climate Change Risk Assessment’ examines threats to the built environment and concludes that the risks posed by sea level rise and higher average temperatures will have a substantial impact by mid-century and that extreme weather events resulting from climate change are already causing substantial damage.

It is important to protect our landscape, wildlife and heritage assets for the current generation, but the only way to secure their long-term future is to tackle climate change.

Local Government Decisions

You are the tier of government best placed to show leadership and to bring businesses and communities along with you. You are in a position to turn good ideas into tangible results – cooperatives for local energy production are a good example.

You will face planning decisions that must be guided by key statements in the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) – ‘all communities should play their part in contributing to renewable energy generation’ and ‘local government should design policies to maximise renewable energy’.
The BDPRE Strategy is clear that to achieve the 2020 target the full range of renewable technologies will need to be exploited in the form of both small and large scale projects. In particular there will have to be some larger scale, appropriately sited, solar and wind farms in the mix.
Developers are aware that the number of suitable sites in Dorset is very limited, in particular because of the extent of the designated AONBs (Areas of outstanding Natural Beauty) and other environmental designations. Most developers consider site selection carefully before committing large sums of money to a project.

Councillors need to be clear that if they reject the projects coming into planning in the immediate future they are prepared to accept that Dorset will not reach its target. Dorset people will be refused the opportunity to play their fair part in the national endeavour to decarbonise electricity.

The next 5 years offer an exciting opportunity for councillors to make a real difference to our social, environmental and economic future by ensuring that initiatives and planning decisions are firmly focused on the achievement by 2020 of the targets we have set ourselves in Dorset for all the reasons we have outlined above.

The following groups are signatories to this letter:

Transition Town Dorchester

Dorset Community Action

Dorchester Churches Together (Ecology Group)

West Dorset Friends of the Earth

Dorset Energised

Charminster Clean Energy Group

Dorchester Quaker Meeting

West Dorset Pro Wind

Bridport Renewable Energy Group

Weymouth Environmental Action Centre

Transition Town Bridport



13
JUL

Keith Wheaton-Green says:
Wind Turbines in Dorset? Planning Committee says NO


Category: Community Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Uncategorized, Wind Power
Tags: , , ,


Wind Turbines in Dorset? Planning Committee says NO

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I recently attended a wind turbine planning determination in a crowded village hall when the planning committee (well 6 of the 11 members attended) decided the fate of an application for 4 large wind turbines. We all listened to officers of the council and AONB explain the landscape and heritage sensitivities (the turbines would be seen in the setting of listed buildings and the beautiful Dorset landscape) followed by numerous speakers against and for the application.

Those opposed to the application made the point that our landscape must be preserved, that the turbines would be seen from village houses and gardens and even that wind turbines damage people’s health. The CPRE claimed that renewable energy targets in Dorset had been exceeded so no new installations were needed. Each speaker received rapturous applause.

I have witnessed a few campaigns to oppose wind turbine applications in Somerset and Dorset. There is usually assistance from outside organisations. Meetings, leaflets and doorstep petitions are arranged. The purpose – of course – is to raise anxiety levels. Misinformation is spread such as; bird and bat populations are put at risk; infra sound prevents people sleeping and gives them headaches; house prices will fall and tourists will stay away. Wind turbines are inefficient and generate hardly anything. Sometimes photographs that exaggerate the scale are published.

In reality, the choice to approve or not – as the officers and members present acknowledged –is justified on the basis of a subjective view of landscape and visual aesthetics.

About seven of us spoke up in favour of the application. It was explained that climate change is an issue that needs to be dealt with so urgently we need to move to 100% of our electricity from renewables ASAP, that wind turbines are the cheapest technology but that there are very sites suitable for their installation in Dorset.

When I spoke, looking out onto the big audience of grey haired baby boomers while younger people were at work, I realised just where the divide in opinion lay. The majority of the audience – many retired to timeless Hardy’s Dorset – would not sacrifice their views from around the village to give the younger generation a better future. Yet just think what the generation before the baby boomers sacrificed in the 30s, 40s and 50s!

Anyone wanting to live in Hardy’s Dorset should stop using electricity, swap their car for a horse and cart, live in a very small draughty house and campaign to take out pylons and large roads. If we walk backwards into the future, we will suffer because we can’t see where we are going.

I spoke up for farmers. They may be sitting on land and property worth millions with large sums flowing through their business but their disposable income can be modest. They work very long hours as standard and consider themselves guardians of the land (and landscape) which they expect to pass on to their children rather than realize paper wealth.

I was once told by a farmer – only half-jokingly – that I shouldn’t expect him to take my opinions on local matters seriously because my family had not been in Dorset since Saxon times. Despite that comment, farmers are usually quiet, self-effacing, not prone to voicing their opinions and actually can be intimidated.

Wind turbines make sense to farmers because they give resource efficient future financial security. The opposing camp are very ably led by people some of which, have moved into the area to retire. They put high value on the landscape the farming community have created and look after, but look to the past rather than the constant change and planning for the future they may have experienced in their own working lives.

The media are underestimating the connection between peoples voting intentions and their views on climate change. The Green surge is largely due to younger people with a strong sense of injustice against their generation. Baby boomers have had it good with their jetting around the world on holiday, big cars and houses by mortgaging their children’s and grandchildren’s futures (the deficit.) This put the carbon in the atmosphere that puts future generations in jeopardy.



18
JUN

Vince Adams says:
Dorset Renewable Energy Co


Category: Community Energy, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Wind Power
Tags: ,


Dorset Renewable Energy Co

Could we create our own local Power Co with a win for the people, win for the investors and of course a win for the Planet. See what you think ! 

The socio-economic power of wind energy in remote areas

Wind projects with a socio-economic slant need not be charity cases. More examples of wind power projects in emerging markets and remote areas are showing the wider economic benefits of this natural resource from Africa to Chile. We learn which companies…

Companies making tracks in emerging wind power markets, such as Chile, include Acciona. President Michelle Bachelet attended this month’s opening ceremony for Punta Palmeras, a wind farm equipped with 3 MW Acciona Windpower turbines, the machines…

By Katherine Steiner-Dicks

In November of last year, delegates at a South African Wind Energy Association talk heard that wind energy is now set to make a contribution of more than ZAR 7bn to communities and socio-economic development over the next 20 years in South Africa. With five wind farms in full operation, 22 large-scale wind farms currently under construction and another 700 MW expected to be awarded imminently, the total capacity amounts to 2684MW set to be installed. Each of these developments has committed significant financial investment to nearby communities, according to the Association.

“Utility scale wind energy is already boosting economic development in South Africa. Industry and government are committed to ensuring that these benefits are realised by small business and local communities across the country,” explains Dipolelo Elford, Chairperson of the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA).

Local benefits factored in

As per the design of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), each utility-scale wind farm invests a percentage of its revenue towards socio-economic development; and in some cases enterprise development in the areas surrounding the farm. Additionally, shares in the wind farm project company are allocated to an entity representing local residents within a 50km radius.

“The revenue percentage and dividends from the shares in the farm will benefit the local economies and residents over the full lifetime of the wind farms: 20 years. The amounts invested will be substantial – more than ZAR 7bn based just on current allocations, with more large scale development expected through to 2030. This figure compares favourably to that of direct investments made into communities in more mature wind energy markets in Europe and the United States,” said the SAWEA.

Direct, indirect and induced employment opportunities are created during all stages of the development, implementation and operations and maintenance of the wind farms, yet only a fraction of direct jobs are accounted for in the REIPPPP.

With the current awarded installed capacity and future IRP2010 allocation, a conservative figure of 77,700 cumulative jobs (person-years) may be created by 2030, 54,400 in the 20 year O&M period. This results in a minimum of 3,600 direct long-term and sustainable jobs, predominantly for semi-skilled and skilled individuals in local communities.

All about connections

Today, more than 1.3 billion people across the globe lack access to affordable and reliable electricity – with dramatic consequences for human health, education, and economic well-being. But more than 50 million of those live in areas with abundant wind resources.

A pioneering project called, Wind for Prosperity, started in 2011, when Vestas’ CMO, Morten Albæk, had the idea to connect two data sets; wind data and areas with the highest level of child mortality.

Two companies that are harnessing their know-how for “wind empowerment” are ABB and Vestas. According to the partnership, many such communities rely on diesel generators to supply what power they have, which is an expensive, polluting and potentially uncertain power source.

The Wind for Prosperity initiative is based on a hybrid wind-diesel electricity generating system made up of ABB microgrid power stabilization solutions and factory-refurbished Vestas wind turbines with advanced diesel power generation capability.

The system combines ABB’s grid modelling, integration engineering and electrical system specification process with Vestas’ leading hybrid wind-diesel turbine technology to create a stable, reliable power source and electrical infrastructure for remote, energy-poor areas not linked to a power grid.

Powering remote places and “new opportunities”

Wind for Prosperity will aim to create a world of “new opportunities” by accelerating access to clean water, healthcare, irrigation, education, communications infrastructure, and other social and economic benefits. It is different to most other corporate initiatives to alleviate poverty. The concept is commercially-based and is more scalable and sustainable than efforts purely reliant on philanthropy and donations.

Designed to increase capacity and reduce the cost and environmental impact of electrical generation in remote places, the initiative is an opportunity for business, government, and financial institutions to join forces and improve lives while generating risk-adjusted returns for private investors, say the partnering companies.

“A typical microgrid power system is made up of many parts, which must be integrated to work together,” says Massimo Danieli, Head of ABB’s Power Generation business, a part of the company’s Power Systems division.

ABB says interest in decentralised or off-grid electricity generation is growing as developing countries grapple with the challenges of delivering electricity to rural and remote locations. However, extending the existing grid is often challenging in terms of transmission extension costs, power quality and limited demand in isolated areas and sparsely populated zones. This has been experienced even in burgeoning wind power markets, such as South Africa.

Fuel-powered microgrids play a key role in bringing electricity to these areas, but are also vulnerable to fuel price increases and the logistical challenge of delivering fuel to remote places. This has given rise to the development of renewable energies as an additional or main source of generation in fuel-powered microgrids.

Kenya focus

The Wind for Prosperity initiative is focusing on rural Kenya to start, where 13 communities – home to more than 200,000 people – have been identified as potential project areas, in coordination with Kenyan government agencies. The scheme is expected to supply electricity at significant lower cost than diesel-only power production.

In addition to Africa, Wind for Prosperity partners are also exploring potential projects in other geographical areas with similar needs. The initiative plans to install hybrid power generation systems reaching at least one million people in the coming years.

For these projects, ABB is providing its PowerStoreTM technology, microgrid controller and other equipment on a site-to-site basis to keep the hybrid wind systems stable and provide grid-quality electrical power, in addition to related electrical infrastructure and localised service solutions.

ABB’s microgrid technology is designed to manage renewable energy generation in isolated grids and ensure utility-grade power quality and grid stability, as well as very high levels of wind and solar power penetration, helping to reduce both emissions and dependency on fossil fuel. ABB has more than 80 microgrid project references worldwide, including consulting, key products in microgrid systems, and relentless project execution.

Vestas is supplying factory refurbished Vestas wind turbines, wind simulation studies for site selection and site designs, and EPC services for wind turbines, including foundations, power cables and transformers, as well as localised wind turbine service solutions.

Reactivating the other America

Another region with vast potential for wind power and remote area grid access is Latin America, notably Chile. In 2014 the country proudly announced the completion of El Arrayan farm, located on a coastal hillside 400km (250 miles) north of the capital city of Santiago. The project, the largest of its kind in the region, was built at a cost of $300m (£180m), according to news reports, and includes 50 turbines with an installed capacity of 115MW.

Some 70% of the energy the farm generates will be used to power a large copper mine, Los Pelambres, in the Chilean Andes. The rest will be sold on the open market, said a BBC report.

But despite its size, it represents less than 1% of Chile’s total electricity generating capacity.
Jointly owned by US company Pattern Energy and Chilean mining giant Antofagasta Minerals, El Arrayan will provide Los Pelambres with 20% of its energy needs.

Chile President Michelle Bachelet said as she inaugurated the farm: “I hope this project acts as a powerful stimulus for other companies in the mining sector to start opting for this kind of energy.”

It was reported by FC Business Intelligence in April 2014 that Jorge Rosenblut, President of Endesa Chile, one of the largest utilities in the country, said that there is an urgent need for Chile to “reactivate” the electricity sector.

Rosenblut said in a speech at the Enersis annual convention (Enersis is part of the Endesa Group) that the new government must focus on the development of local sources of energy that are both sustainable and competitive.

Chile is historically known for lacking internal conventional energy resources. This situation has made the country import the fuels needed for electricity generation, and thus making them dependent on their partners’ economy fluctuations. And that is not a sustainable option for any country.

According to Rosenblut, the import of fuels represents between 4% and 5% of the overall imports that arrive in Chile. To overturn this situation he stated the need to invest in local energies that would reduce the energy dependence of the country.

Sign of things to come

Seasoned wind players are putting more of their executives on the ground in South America. Wind Energy Update recently reported that José Antonio Miranda has been appointed as Gamesa’s chief executive officer for the entire Latin American region. He has been chosen for this role after leading Gamesa China for four years.

Miranda, who joined Gamesa in 2007 as managing director of the Electric Components Division, was appointed in 2011 CEO of China, a region that has become a key global production and supply hub of Gamesa. The company is present in China in its capacity as OEM and wind farm developer where it won orders for the supply of 450 MW in 2014.

Other companies making tracks in the country include Acciona. President Michelle Bachelet attended this month’s opening ceremony for Punta Palmeras, a wind farm equipped with 3 MW Acciona Windpower turbines, the machines with the widest power range installed in Chile.

The farm is the first of its kind that Acciona has installed in the country. This will be followed by the construction of wind and photovoltaic plants in Chile up to an overall capacity of 255 MW, with an estimated investment of EUR400m.

In his speech, Acciona President José Manuel Entrecanales highlighted the attractiveness of Chile for international investors.

“You have a stable economy with infrastructure needs, talented businesspeople and human resources, political and social stability, enormous quantities of natural resources, and above all, a long and solid tradition of legal certainty and stability. This set of values is not easy to find, and I would even go as far as to say that your ability to attract international investment is practically unlimited.”

The Punta Palmeras wind farm, located in the municipality of Canela (Coquimbo region) has a capacity of 45MW. It consists of fifteen 3-megwatt AW 116/3000 turbines of Acciona Windpower technology, with the biggest power range of any turbine in service in Chile. The 116-meter-diameter rotors and the nacelles are mounted on 92-meter-high steel towers.

The electric power produced by the wind farm – around 124 GWh per year – will be sold to Colbún in the Central Interconnected System (SIC) of Chile under a 12-year contract. The contract has the potential to be extended if the customer wishes.

President Bachelet said, “It is already a fact, not a promise: Chile is taking firm steps towards diversifying its energy matrix” and pointed out that the investment made by Acciona confirms that “the energy sector is a very important source of dynamism for our economy, and we should take advantage of it”.

The President added that, through the Energy Agenda set up by her government, “we have emerged from the state of slumber from which investments in energy suffered, and we have been able to drive many changes that our economy and society urgently needed in the field of energy.”

This report is from the Wind Energy Update.



26
MAY

Lets Get Energized says:
News from Regen SW


Category: Community Energy, Energy News for UK, Green Electricity & Gas, Renewable Energy, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,


News from Regen SW

regen logo

Community and localised energy supply can benefit consumers, renewable generators and network operators. However, there are still many commercial and regulatory barriers to selling the energy you generate directly to your local community. In the context of increasing grid constraints, we need to look at how local supply can help overcome this barrier. So where do we go from here?

Sign the 10:10 petition to buy your power direct from local wind, solar and hydro here.

Join us for the Community Energy Markets Conference, 25 June, Bristol.

This conference will address the next steps for community energy markets. We will examine what local supply projects are currently in place, what issues they have faced and how policy or regulation can help solve these problems.

Sessions include:

  • Policy overview and context
  • Examples of local supply models
  • How local supply can overcome grid constraints
Confirmed speakers:
  • Fiona Booth, head of community energy, DECC
  • Jeff Hardy, sustainable energy policy team, OFGEM
  • Sonya Bedford, partner, Stephens Scown
To book for this conference please click here.Regen are offering community energy groups in our network a discount of £75 off the members rate bringing it to £50 + VAT.Full details and booking are available here.  Use the code ‘discount’ when making your booking.


01
APR

Keith Wheaton-Green says:
Who should you vote for if Climate Change and Renewable Energy are important to you?


Category: Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living, Wind Power
Tags: , , ,


Who should you vote for if Climate Change and Renewable Energy are important to you?

I put party attitudes in two categories. Twentieth century concepts of centralised energy generation, fossil fuel and nuclear technologies and a reluctance to push forward with renewables quickly to avoid the worst effects of a changed climate future, dominate UKIP and Conservative thinking. Decentralisation, strong government incentives for a rapid switch to renewables, lack of sympathy for entrenched fossil fuel dominated companies and a sense that climate change is a fairness issue because the poorest in the country/the world cannot pay to get themselves out of the firing line of flooding, sea level rise and drought characterise the other parties.

Rather surprisingly, considering their appreciation of the need to “be independent and take control of our own destiny” UKIP have not made any link between home grown renewable energy, UK resilience and reduced dependence on energy from “dodgy” countries. Instead, they express intense dislike for wind turbines in particular and “renewable energy subsidies which penalise consumers.” Let’s be honest, generally speaking, UKIPers don’t accept the premise that man-made climate change is a serious threat to our well-being. It’s clear that UKIP MPs will not be voting for any government promotion of renewable energy.

The Greens have an extensive set of policies relating to renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy storage. They want to see “a complete transformation of our energy supply systems to one based on efficient use of energy supplied mainly by electricity from renewable sources, accelerated heat production from renewable sources, improved energy performance of buildings, heat and energy storage, stimulation of research and development, a land and sea framework for development of renewable energy, a diversity of ownership of energy generation and energy democracy. Green MPs would evidently be voting to support renewables, as well as challenging bills that prevent or slow down development of renewables.

Conservatives support the current regime of continually reducing renewables subsidies. They promise to end the on shore wind turbine subsidy (currently the cheapest renewable!) and restrict new solar farms. Eric Pickles has called in nearly all recent planning permissions for on-shore wind turbines and quite a few solar farms. They much prefer on roof PV and would support changes in planning law to encourage this. Conservatives are enthusiastic supporters of fracking and value the contribution fossil fuels make to the economy. One senses their support for renewables is conditional, that they don’t understand the full potential of renewables to growing the economy, and would expect renewables to flourish in spite of, rather than because of, government policies.

A Labour government set up the Feed in tariff, the Renewable heat Incentive and a pathway to zero carbon homes. The coalition have continued these. More recently, Labour have announced policies on energy efficiency, interest free home improvement loans, replacement of Ofgem and freezing energy prices. Labour have a good track record with renewables and have recently stated that they “will support community energy, and explore the huge potential for individuals and communities to create and save energy through community ownership and collective consumer action.” They have not explained the instruments they would use but it seems likely that Labour would provide strong support for renewables.

Liberal Democrat controlled DECC has overseen huge expansion of PV and off-shore wind against Conservative scepticism. Their manifesto includes “doubling renewable electricity and heat generation by 2020, making the UK zero carbon by 2050, a zero carbon bill with a legally binding decarbonisation target for the power sector up to 2030, an office for accelerated low carbon innovation to fast-track new green tech including tidal power, renewable heat, ultra-low emission vehicles and energy storage.” It’s clear that a strong Liberal Democrat presence in parliament is good for the renewables industry.

The economy is the second most important issue for voters so we should focus on the fact that every pound invested in renewables contributes £3.20 to GDP and £1.27 in taxes. The UK could be self-sufficient in renewable energy, thus giving us a more resilient economy. To achieve this, the renewables industry wants stable financial and regulatory support while it matures and drives costs down. I think that’s worth voting for.



04
FEB

Erik Blakeley says:
Reaction to January`s Wind Figures


Category: Renewable Energy, Wind Power
Tags: , ,


Reaction to January`s Wind Figures

Another record month for wind but one with a couple of holes in it. The real achievement of wind power in supplying a new record share of our electrical energy needs in January was of course played down by opponents of renewables pointing to intermittency in the output. If you look at the monthly data from the Grid http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ you do indeed see a couple of days (c. 19th and 21st Jan) that were especially quiet and a couple more that weren’t great. However the striking thing about the graph is actually how steady at between 3 and 5 GW the wind output was for at least 20 of the days in January. If you now look at the data for the other technologies you will see that the slack at the low wind output times was taken up by CCGT or Combined Cycle Gas Turbine generation. This isn’t the inefficient Open Cycle Gas Turbines as is sometimes claimed by those that try to suggest that wind turbines don’t save carbon emissions as these days OCGT are used very rarely and then mostly to deal with the massive spikes in the demand curve or massive fall outs caused by a big failures in centralised coal or nuclear generation or grid problems. Modern CCGT generators are much more flexible than older kit and can deal with pretty much anything the intermittency of wind will throw at them.

So the next issue is whether CCGT necessarily means fossil fuel natural gas. Well no. If we were ever to be lucky enough to get to the point where our wind and other renewables capacity was so high that we had to curtail output because there wasn’t the immediate demand to use the power we could use surplus renewable energy to produce hydrogen and synthetic gaseous fuels. These could be mixed with the normal gas in the gas main to a percentage of in excess of 10% (which I understand would be the maximum percentage for pure hydrogen addition before there were technical issues with burners and other infrastructure). Furthermore stand-alone combinations of wind, solar, hydrogen, syngas and AD/biomass sourced gas feeding to some storage capacity and CCGT dispatchable generation could very conceivably be designed to cope with a much wider range of gas compositions making the use of pure natural gas a thing only of the most urgent crisis in supply.

Currently we are earmarking massive capital investment in Hinkley Point and look set to repeat this several times over in new generation nuclear reactors. If this sort of capital is available it could be being spent on a small number of massive pumped storage facilities on the scale of Dinorwig and a more significant number of small plants such as Glyn Rhonwy http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2013/09/the-time-is-right-for-small-pumped-storage-in-the-uk-developer-says . We do not need to wait for yet to be developed battery storage or smart grid solutions (which do seem set to materialise pretty soon nonetheless) to be increasing our ability to tackle intermittency with storage.

Next is the assumption that Renewables means wind. Wind has to be a major player in any current significant renewable portfolio but, by mixing in a number of smaller players we both increase capacity and reduce overall intermittency. Solar, hydro (not pumped storage), wave and tidal are either already available to deploy in larger amounts or are requiring only limited further development to make them economically viable. Such technological diversity reduces the chances of total renewables unavailability to practically zero even without storage solutions and certainly will reduce the periods of very limited supply to such short timescales that our technological fixes can cope with it.

Next is the Question of better grid links to the Continent. Weather systems track across the continent often West to East so if it is calm here one day it is still windy in Germany and will be calm in Germany tomorrow when it will be windy here. Better and more efficient long distance grid connections such as those based on new generation High Voltage Direct Current technology (HVDC) can make the swapping of surplus renewable energy between countries much easier. The best way forward on this is not entirely clear but “technically there is no big obstacle left to prevent the building of a supergrid. So when could it take place? Actually it is probably already happening. Several of the exisitng HVDC schemes could feasibly form part of a future European supergrid.” http://www.powerengineeringint.com/articles/print/volume-21/issue-6/special-focus-hvdc/how-close-are-we-to-realising-a-european-supergrid.html

Finally there is the question of what we have to do to make using fossil fuels OK to plug the gaps. Although fossil fuels are finite and will run out eventually it is clear that the pressing issue is Green House Gas Emissions so the answer is simple ie Carbon Capture and Storage http://www.ccsassociation.org/what-is-ccs/ . This has been talked about for generations now (ie more than 25 years) but development has been painfully slow because there has been no incentive on those making big money from fossil fuels to invest in it. If those people are made to see that they have to compete with renewables not only in terms of immediate financial cost but also on environmental standards I am pretty confident that they can make it work albeit at a cost and perhaps with limits on the rate of usage of fossil fuels to keep pace with the rate at which we can stuff the CO2 underground or elsewhere. This is fine if fossil fuels are part of a varied portfolio of energy sources including large amounts of renewables instead of being the monster supplier they are now.

Finally finally I must stress that although all these solutions to the intermittency problem are to some degree in the future so is the problem itself except in the minds of the renewables opponents. The variation in demand produced by us all wanting to drink tea during the same commercial break in our favourite soap or the fact that it is cold in winter and warm in summer means that the system will have to cope with intermittent demand whatever our generation strategy and even with a new record being set for wind generation for Jan 2015 we can add plenty more renewables capacity before a calm day will put the lights out!


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Jack Olver comments:
    "A NY Times article of Nov., 2014 points out that at that time wind and solar were cost competitive with fossil fuels in the US. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/24/business/energy-environment/solar-and-wind-energy-start-to-win-on-price-vs-conventional-fuels.html These cost estimates don’t take into consideration the world wide damage done by the extraction, transportation and burning of fossil fuels. The US Academy of Sciences put the cost fossil fuels added to America’s health care alone at $120 billion a year and that doesn’t count the cost of global warming, other untraceable pollution and damage to other parts of the world while extracting and transporting fossil fuels. Fossil fuel companies are currently not held accountable for these hidden costs of the energy they supply. If customers did have to pay those costs or if those costs were deducted from the profits of stockholders and employees renewable energy would seem cheap. "
    February 8, 2015 a 12:27 am


27
JAN

Guest Energizer says:
Wind Turbines in the landscape in Portugal


Category: Wind Power
Tags: , , ,


Wind Turbines in the landscape in Portugal

I stood on a hill in the Eastern Algarve looking at the beautiful landscape towards Spain.

It was too early for Spring Flowers but nevertheless the views were breathtaking.

I could see a multitude of Wind Turbines glowing in the winter sunshine and all turning in the distance – were they in Spain or Portugal ?

Wind turbines in Portugal?

Wind turbines in Portugal?

It didn’t matter- they were a part of the total experience. I knew at once that they must have been creating pure, clean energy and it felt good.

Wind Turbines in Spain?

Wind Turbines in Spain?

No intrusion of the view just enhancing !!

This is a guest post by Lin Adams – while holidaying in Portugal


2Comments | Post your own comment

  • Kathryn Flint comments:
    "I agree, wind turbines are aesthetically pleasing and they don’t take up much room compared to a solar farm producing the same amount of energy. I was on Hambledon Hill very recently and the solar farm really is an eye-saw which detracts from the typical English beauty of its surroundings. "
    May 15, 2015 a 9:57 am

  • vince adams comments:
    "Dorset artist says yes to Wind Turbines they even enhance the landscape and are so important for our future on this planet "
    January 27, 2015 a 10:01 am


19
JAN

Keith Wheaton-Green says:
100% renewable and self sufficient North Dorset in Electricity – here`s how


Category: Dorset Energized News, Green Electricity & Gas, Solar Energy, Uncategorized, Water Power, Wind Power
Tags: , , , , ,


100% renewable and self sufficient North Dorset in Electricity – here`s how

The most recent statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change show that North Dorset consumes 290.8 GWh/yr

The last census shows 30,397 households, only 11% of those being flats. Quite a few of these dwellings already have PV installed on their roofs but that number is likely to increase substantially when PV becomes so cheap that it will make better financial sense to install it than pay for all your electricity from the grid. This grid parity (without subsidy) is expected to come about as early as 2020. More than half of houses have close to south facing roof space and it’s reasonable to assume that 60% or so could accommodate a 4 kW array. These would generate around 65 GWh/yr

There are 3,800 businesses in North Dorset including farms. Not all will have their own roof space but all those steel sheds on industrial estates and agricultural barns have low pitched roofs that are viable for PV whatever their orientation. A quick look at Google Earth shows at least 50 big enough to take around 50 kW in the towns and farm barns would probably double that. So I estimate these could generate 5 GWh/yr.

There are already quite a few large and small ground mounted solar farms installed and enough space to generate the equivalent of the districts needs without impacting food production. A reasonably large solar farm is 10 MW generating 10 GWh/yr so 29 of those would equate to the district’s annual consumption.

There are at least 6 small 20 kW wind turbines (up to 20 m mast and 7 m blades) in North Dorset tucked away virtually un-noticed. The landscape could easily accommodate 50 small turbines without travellers and walkers constantly coming across them. They could generate 0.35 GWh/yr.

The River Stour and its tributaries already has 4 hydro turbines installed at mills and weirs with another 5 to be installed soon and potential for at least 6. They range from 3.7 to 89 kW and in total could generate 1.75 GWh/yr.

Now the elephant in the room, which is big wind power They may be very much out of favour with a vocal minority punching well above their weight but the fact is that a 2.3MW on-shore wind turbine is the cheapest source of renewable electricity. It would require 60 of these to generate the equivalent of all the district’s electricity and that could not be accommodated easily. I would say a maximum of 20 could be found a home and 10 would be more realistic and they could generate 48.5 GWh/yr

So North Dorset could generate equivalent to all its electrical need with;

65 GWh/yr from domestic roof tops

5 GWh/yr from commercial and agricultural roof tops

0.35 GWh/yr from small wind turbines

1.75 GWh/yr from hydropower

That leaves 218.7 GWh/yr to be found from a combination of large solar farms and wind turbines. Personally, I would like to see 10 large wind turbines, some of those to be clearly viewed from my back garden. That would mean 17 x 10 MW solar farms to take up the slack.


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • vince adams comments:
    "Keith gives a cogent and totally understandable summary of how North Dorset with just a number of small steps could create 100% of its energy needs renewably.
    Think what if every district, County did a similar exercise how simple going renewable could be and how we could see the end of coal, gas and nuclear power for ever.
    This is now not in the realms of fairy stories its hard economic sense and will support reductions in climate change temps and give us better air quality all at the sametime. "

    January 19, 2015 a 6:42 pm


12
JAN

Lets Get Energized says:
Good News for Slyers Lane Wind Farm Proposal in Dorset


Category: Dorset Energized News, Wind Power
Tags: , ,


Good News!

Dorchester Town Council and Charminster Parish Council have voted in support of Slyers Lane Wind Farm in Dorset, as consultees. 

Good coverage in Dorset Echo on January 7th of Dorchester 2015’s meeting – even if voting numbers not accurate – 8 (not 6) councillors in favour to 3 opposed.

Next…

Stinsford Parish Council Meeting – Monday 12th January, 7pm at the Old Library at Kingston Maurward College, Stinsford near Dorchester (main building).

If you are a resident in Stinsford, or know someone who is, come along and give your support.

Too busy before Christmas to write in?
It’s not too late to be part of the public consultation!

Online comments and letters received in mid-January will still be included.
Go to: www.westdorsetprowindgroup.org.uk
Two clicks to the planning application and add your comment. Takes 10 minutes.

For Facebook users, join West Dorset Pro Wind Group for up to date wind energy news at: www.facebook.com/groups/1419225865025391


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • vince adams comments:
    "What amazingly good news that the Councils are finally supporting local energy initiatives. The Slyers Lane project is excellent will provide a huge amount of energy and at very little cost to the landscape.
    Come on people wake up, its our future we are fighting for not a silly nimby reaction. "

    January 14, 2015 a 5:35 pm


17
DEC

Erik Blakeley says:
Renewable Energy Salesmen?


Category: Climate Change, Green Electricity & Gas, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Uncategorized, Wind Power
Tags: , , , ,


Renewable Energy Salesmen?

I used to think that the climate change deniers paid for by big fossil firms and anti-renewable  NIMBYs were the worst threats to progress in the fight to cut emissions of GHGs and slow Climate Change but I have recently come across possibly a more sinister and depressing opponent – the Renewable Energy snake oil salesman! These people, either through genuine but misguided enthusiasm or through a malicious wish to fool people into investing in schemes that are about as likely to bear fruit as chocolate teapot manufacture, come up with a way off piste suggestion for a grandiose scheme to solve all of our energy and climate change worries. Now don’t get me wrong I am all in favour of “out of the box” or “blues sky” thinking, but they go straight from some vaguely worked out concept diagram to claims that all further investment in wind or PV or any other low carbon technology are now redundant and pointless. They are one step further into lunacy than the magic bullet salesmen who think that one of the current technologies, be it wind or PV or nuclear, is a one size fits all answer to all our problems.

Why are they so bad? Well at some point they are going to try to persuade people who are concerned about the problems of Climate Change and Energy Security to invest money in these schemes, money that could be invested in home insulation, roof top PV or community wind or hydro projects for example. At least the NIMBYs and climate change deniers are only trying to persuade people to ignore the science and the need for action. The snake oil salesmen nobble the people who have been persuaded to care. They cannot do what is sensible which is to propose an idea for development and try to get universities or industry to make small scale investments to produce trial prototypes or even just to put their ideas out for peer review because they know full well that they will be rejected as deeply flawed or just physically or economically impossible. Instead they launch some small development company and produce a flash looking sales video on U-tube purporting to be a “lecture” on the merits of their scheme and then try to get money out of small investors or crowdfunding. These people are only one step removed from the guy who sold empty plastic boxes with car radio aerials glued to the outside as bomb detectors.

The other really bad thing that they do is to give ammunition to those who oppose wind turbines or PV farms because they suggest that we don’t need to deploy the current crop of well-developed technologies because there is some magic wand solution just around the corner if only the mainstream scientific and industrial cartel will stop suppressing these wonderful inventions. When challenged the snake oil salesman will readily claim to be the victim of conspiracies and prejudice – they can be quite paranoid.

New technologies will come along and in 50 to 100 years we will almost certainly be deploying a markedly different mix of low carbon technologies than we are today but for now we need to deploy as much as possible of the good range of well-developed kit as we possibly can. Universities and big business can pursue the blue sky stuff and take the financial risk. If you have a few hundred or even a few thousand to invest put it into something established and don’t be taken in by the snake oil salesmen!


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Vince Adams comments:
    "I was talking to a friend this week and he said that quietly Countries all over the World were making amazing progress turning from old energy solutions towards Renewables whereas the UK appeared to be dragging its feet.
    This headline caught my eye and I wondered, is that the reason why ? Does UK big business have far to much influence ? “Electricity customers in the U.S. got good news last week. A new report from Accenture highlighted a potential revenue loss for U.S. utilities of $48 billion per year by 2025 due to distributed solar and energy efficiency” How do we ensure that the UK is not left behind ? "

    December 17, 2014 a 6:07 pm


19
NOV

Lets Get Energized says:
West Dorset Pro Wind – New Website


Category: Uncategorized, Wind Power
Tags: , , , ,


West Dorset Pro Wind Group website now live!

You can find this group at www.westdorsetprowind.org.uk as well on Facebook : West Dorset Pro Wind Group

Find out what is happening with Blandford Hill Wind Farm at Winterbourne Whitechurch, West Dorset Wind Farm near Tolpuddle and Slyer’s Lane Wind Farm between Charminster, Charlton Down and Stinsford all of which have submitted planning applications.

There is also information on how you can contact us and how you can help lend your support.

Two things are going on right now

Parish Council Survey on Slyer’s Lane Wind Farm Charminster and Charlton Down residents only.

Public Consultation on Slyer’s Lane Wind Farm Important part of the planning process. Expected to start in the coming week or so

A LOCAL CAMPAIGN BY LOCAL PEOPLE FOR WIND ENERGY IN DORSET

 

UPDATE: Slyer`s Lane public consultation has now started – View Here



29
OCT

Erik Blakeley says:
A word on Intermittency


Category: Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Uncategorized, Wind Power
Tags: , , ,


A word on Intermittency

Those opposed to renewable`s talk about the energy grid as if it would gallop along smoothly using nuclear and fossil fuels all operating at 100% capacity factor with no need for excess capacity or spinning reserves if it weren’t for those pesky wind mills! Now intermittency and the inability to turn up wind power and some other renewable`s (hydro and biomass for example are what we call dispatchable) is an issue but it isn’t anywhere like the issue that the antis make out. Recently Wind set new generation records and so I went on to the gridwatch site and managed to download a week’s worth of figures for wind and some of the important fossil fuels. Here they are:

griddatagrph

So what does this tell us?

  • During the week covered wind did indeed set new records providing more than 5GW pretty much continuously through Saturday and Sunday.
  • There is a marked difference between the wind output during Wed-Friday and that over the weekend and into Monday but the variation within those extended periods is relatively minor and the ramp between them is not especially steep.
  • The Demand curve shows massive changes with huge ramp rates.
  • CCGT is dealing with the changes in demand by changing its output very rapidly and coal is also being made to contribute some balancing changes.
  • OCGT is hardly used at all only coming into use briefly during the Thursday am peak (Just below 500 on the X axis).

What does this mean?

  • Wind is not adding to the problems of peaking and balancing in a significant way. This is dominated by the behaviour of the demand curve.
  • Assuming reasonably accurate 24 hour weather forecasting the output of wind should be predictable to a good level of accuracy sufficiently far in advance to schedule fossil fuel plants to be off-line and therefore genuinely reduce CO2 output. As the size of the wind fleet grows the variation in wind output decreases as the averaging effect of a numerically large fleet spread across the country kicks in – wind never just instantaneously disappears. Minor variations in wind output will be easily accommodated in the balancing flexibility of CCGT already needed to account for variation in demand.
  • Wasteful OCGT is not being used in large quantities undermining wind carbon savings.
  • The curves for CCGT and coal have been effectively lowered by the presence of wind without increasing the ramp rates that they have to follow. This means that a genuine saving in CO2 emissions is the result.


27
OCT

Erik Blakeley says:
Climate Change Deniers


Category: Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, Fuel Poverty & Security, Green Electricity & Gas, Renewable Energy, Wind Power
Tags: , , ,


Climate Change Deniers

So right wingers are calling for us to ditch the Climate Change Act entirely and to stop making progress on decarbonisation unless it is matched by other countries. Sounds good? Sounds reasonable? Well No and No in my opinion.

It’s easy to say let’s not bother, let’s just go for the cheapest quickest option and to hell with the longer term consequences but sticking our heads in the sand won’t make those consequences go away. All these arguments hinge on what is likely to happen regarding Climate Change. We are all sceptical about individual scientific results after so many false scare stories about food or vaccinations etc etc but there is something different about the work of the IPCC. It doesn’t just look at one set of data from one scientist it has been looking at thousands of sets of data from huge numbers of scientists on all sides of the debate and has been returning to the data at regular intervals to incorporate new findings. This iterative process means that it rules out the occasional rogue set of results or biased experimentation. We can rely on the trends that the IPCC reports regarding the likely outcomes.

What the IPCC is saying is that scientists are more and more certain that the effects of Climate Change are real, dangerous and being initiated by human actions that we are in a position to modify and that we should be doing so. Climate Change deniers are on a par with believers in a flat Earth. They just refuse to accept anything that isn’t immediately obvious from their exceptionally limited vantage point or that upsets their preconceived assumptions. They grasp desperately at any individual piece of work that casts the tiniest doubt on the consensus opinion like the measurements that show that the recorded temperature figures over the last 15 years or so haven’t risen appreciably. They ignore all the other data such as the diminishing ice levels in the polar regions, the increasing occurrence of severe or extreme weather conditions, the changing pattern of the jet stream or the changing behaviour of flora and fauna in response to the changes in the timings of season changes. They ignore any logical explanation of their pet data that might still be compatible with the consensus view such as the suggestion that the oceans are acting as more of a buffer to temperature rise than we expected which, whilst it buys us some time to make the changes we need, does not mean that Climate Change and global warming do not exist.

The right wing economists suggesting that we do away with the Climate Change Act are like people who would rather burn all the furniture in their house than go out and chop some firewood in the yard. It’s certainly easier in the short term but doesn’t make much sense when you want to be able to sit down or go to bed in the future or need to pay for replacements for all the stuff you have ruined.

Is it reasonable to say that we shouldn’t do anything until we can get everyone else to agree? I think not for two main reasons. Firstly it is a false claim by the Climate Change deniers that the likes of India, China and the US are doing nothing. They are making significant efforts with renewable energy and new technologies and we actually need to try harder to keep up if we are to remain a country that makes much of its wealth by technical innovation. Secondly it is true China and India are also increasing their use of non-sustainable technologies but only because their per capita wealth and consumption is so much less than ours and they would like a richer and more affluent population. We cannot reasonably say that we will not lead the way on sustainable technologies unless we first get our per capita carbon footprint down to the level of India or China’s which I would suggest we need to do by advancing sustainable tech not by making ourselves poor.

The other thing that is being said is that we need to ditch the Act and reject renewable`s because “The lights might go out!” Well firstly I would argue that it is the anti-renewable campaigns that are stopping us building the scale and quantity of renewable capacity that is the problem here and a quick temporary fix through some dash for gas is not the answer. Secondly there is this unwritten assumption that the lights going out is the end of the world. If there were to be some limited phased outages during the 8pm winter peaks of demand during a couple of winters over the next few years would this really matter so much that we need to tear up our plans for long term improvements in favour of short term measures that will push us ever closer to real catastrophe? So you miss your favourate soap on broadcast TV and have to go to bed early. Hospitals and other vital services now have much better stand by generation due in part to the green incentives favouring CHP plants and old people’s homes are better insulated than they were due to the ECO schemes so a couple of hours without power won’t see the temperature drop excessively and you can always watch the program on your computer tomorrow. It is only the politicians who have made this an election losing issue who might suffer particularly if this were to happen. Lastly what are they suggesting doing that could come on line before these suggested outages in 2016-2020? About all we could do is build a few OCGT power plants of the sort that the anti-renewable lobby say are undoing any good that wind turbines do do because of the intermittency of wind. If we want to do something now we should be pushing ahead with the energy saving side of the “green crap” to keep demand down to the levels we can reach and keep building the sustainable low carbon capacity that we will need in the next decade as we reach the 2020 targets and progress beyond them toward true sustainability.

A relevant and interesting article can be found here: http://www.scoop.it/t/climate-change-science-risk-economics-sustainability


2Comments | Post your own comment

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "Anna has a point but unfortunately the news today is full of further calls by Owen Paterson to ditch the Climate Change Act because the National Grid is mildy concerned that there may be power cuts this winter. Ironically the final straws have been the ongoing problems with several of the nuclear power stations and the fire at Didcot gas powered station. Its hard to see what the logic is as no large scale centralized plant can be built between now and Jan 15 unless it is already under construction. There might be some fossil fuel capacity being underused but using it isn’t illegal it just means buying out a larger proportion of the ROCs so there is no need to scrap the Climate Change Act to get a short term fix like that. There might be time to build a bit more dispersed capacity which gives us a choice of fast tracking some solar and wind or building a few inefficient Open Cycle Gas units or internal combustion gas units both of which would be very polluting, expensive to run and would in all likelihood commit us to widespread fracking if we intend to use them as anything but a few months stopgap. There are people who are only interested in the easiest way to make more money. To some degree we all feel that way and that is why the cliche “Its the Economy Stupid” entered common usage. Short term the cheapest way of dealing with the problems we face are probably the dirtiest. This is why the question of climate change does matter. It is the reason why it is worth paying more for rapid decarbonisation now because it will save us much higher costs and loads of suffering in the future. The big tobacco firms spent ages casting doubt on the links between smoking and cancer and telling young smokers why give up something you enjoy now just because there might be a risk many years in the future and we cannot even be certain that there is a risk. They manipulated and bent the science until it was no sort of truth all in the name of profits. Climate Change deniers are doing the same thing now and they have the added advantage that many of the people with power and influence probably won’t live to see the worst results of climate change. "
    October 28, 2014 a 9:19 am

  • Anna Celeste comments:
    "In a way I personally feel that it almost doesn’t matter whether people believe in climate change or not, or disagree about whether it is a natural phenomena or man-made or a bit of both – what matters is that we should all have the common sense to realise either way, we simply can not go on exhausting our planet of its natural resources like we are currently doing, there will be nothing left very soon, and we have to work in balance with nature which means harnessing energy sustainably i.e., from renewable energy sources – IF we cherish the earth, its animals, our people and the future of our own children and family that is. I think that is what matters and that it is worth fighting for : ) "
    October 27, 2014 a 2:30 pm


24
OCT

Erik Blakeley says:
Challenge Navitus – the movie


Category: Renewable Energy, Sustainable Energy Stories, Wind Power
Tags: , , , ,


Challenge Navitus – the movie

I thought I would have a look at the Challenge Navitus site today and noticed that they have some animations of views from various places of the proposed offshore wind farm Navitus Bay http://www.challengenavitus.org.uk/windfarm-animations.html . Now I have been telling people that the view of the farm would merely be one of a collection of sticks on the horizon with the blades practically invisible and that even those sticks would be invisible in any but ideal viewing conditions.

I expected the Challenge Navitus site to be trying to scare people with distorted views etc but what did I see – EXACTLY what I have been telling people – a collection of sticks on the horizon so far off shore that even the slightest sea mist would obscure them entirely! Yet this will ruin the Jurassic Coast and cost Bournemouth £100M in lost annual revenue according to the antis.

When you consider the huge amount of low carbon electricity that the farm will generate, the short term boost to the economy of the area from the building work and the long term presence of jobs in maintenance and operation tasks, I cannot see that this is anything but a no brainer. Put them another 5km off shore say the antis so that they disappear entirely. It is true that they are so far offshore that they are almost invisible but another 5km means deeper water, longer cables, more loss of energy, longer round trips for maintenance boats and generally significantly more expensive electricity.

The cost of offshore wind and the dangers faced by those working on it are the two most important issues with this otherwise great form of energy and these would be made more of an issue by abandoning this optimized choice of site just because, if you look very carefully you can see a few sticks on the horizon whilst you sit on the beach. This is the purest form of selfish, whingeing NIMBYism I think I have ever come across.

There is nothing wrong with the views that Challenge Navitus present. It won’t ruin anyone’s holiday unlike the increasing and already fatal collapses of the Jurassic  Coast linked to the extreme weather conditions we have seen over the last few years and, whilst one or two extremes cannot be conclusively linked to Global Warming, the pattern of recurring extreme events has long since passed the point where we have to accept that the “normal” climate is changing.

The biggest threat to the tourist industry besides justifiable worries about collapsing cliffs and disappearing footpaths is the negative propaganda by those telling people that holidays in Dorset will be ruined by something as trivial as the views of Navitus as shown in the animations. It doesn’t say much for what Dorset has to offer if Navitus could have a serious detrimental effect. It suggests that sitting zombie-like on the beach staring obsessively out to sea (presumably wishing you were somewhere else – anywhere else) is what holidays in Dorset are all about! Dorset has so much more to offer than this and much of what it does offer is based on the sort of fragile ecosystems and geology that will be badly effected by climate change.

Dorset should be offering eco-friendly holidays powered by clean electricity generated in and around Dorset not forming the King Canute Re-enactment Society!


2Comments | Post your own comment

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "The Daily Echo recently ran a piece http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/yoursay/letterstotheeditor/11547376.Navitus_opposition_seems_to_be_missing_the_point/ in which a writer says that discussions of the visual impact of Navitus are missing the point and what matters is the need for “100% guaranteed electricity supply” implying that a this is impossible with wind power in the mix and b it is possible without wind. No system offers a 100% guarantee. The anti-renewables lobby try to make out that the combined behaviour of thousands of wind turbines and millions of PV panels not to mention dozens of large hydro plants and hundreds of micro hydro schemes is the same a a single wind turbine. Combined they become much more predictable. Their combined variability is much less than that seen in the demand curve and even that produced by failures in large centralised plant as recently seen in both nuclear shut downs and the fire at a large gas powered generator. The antis then make out that back up for renewables must be provided by fossil fuels and imply that no back up is needed for fossil fuels or nuclear. Storage and the manufacture of synthetic fuels and hydrogen using excess renewable capacity at times of low demand, which can be used in the same sort of CCGT gas plant that is used with natural gas, can provide back up and balancing meaning that carbon neutral renewables can be the back up for renewables. If we go down a route dominated by massive nuclear plants we have to provide enough back up to cope with several of them going offline at the same time. Recent history has shown us that the volatility of the gas price leads to wasted effort as a dash for gas means lots of gas plant being built that may then be mothballed because of a rise in the price of gas. Renewables do generate issues but so do all forms of generation and looked at fairly, including issues such as climate change, pollution, nuclear terrorism etc etc renewables deserve to be technologies of choice for this new century. "
    October 27, 2014 a 10:10 am

  • vince adams comments:
    "I really like this, the shots that confirm how unobtrusive Wind Turbines are when properly sited……its amazing how beautiful they can look.
    Plus the idea of attracting tourist is a reality in my view rather than being offset people generally will take very little real notice but when prompted say how wonderful they are. "

    October 26, 2014 a 2:33 pm


29
SEP

Lets Get Energized says:
Yes to Wind – Get Your Signs


Category: Wind Power
Tags: , , ,


Yes to Wind – Get Your Signs

West Dorset Pro Wind Group asked us if we could help spread the word about their new super positive pro wind signs and posters – we are happy to do so.  Words and image below from West Dorset Pro Wind:

Take this opportunity to show your support for Wind Energy

This is a critical time in Dorset with 3 proposals for windfarms at Slyers Lane, Blandford Hill and Tolpuddle being considered. Wouldn’t it be great if councillors and planning officers were to encounter these beautiful pro-wind posters as well as anti posters on their travels?

These posters will serve to remind us that surveys always show the majority are pro-wind.

We should not remain the silent majority!

Yes to Wind signs -ideal in the garden or on a fence. £4  – 60cm x 40cm,  same material as “House for Sale” signs and last months outdoors

Yes to Wind posters- good for windows  A3 quality paper   £1

To order  westdorsetprowind@outlook.com
Ideally picked up or delivered from Dorchester but could discuss options.

Download available to print or to share.  No copyright and with kind permission of the designer

Contact West Dorset Pro Wind Group if you want any & and pass the word

Download .pdf – Yes to Wind_noLogo

Yes to Wind - Poster

Yes to Wind – Poster



24
SEP

Erik Blakeley says:
How much is enough?


Category: Dorset Energized News, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Wind Power
Tags: , , , , ,


How much is enough?

Anti- renewables campaigners have been making much of the suggestion that we have enough or nearly enough Renewable Energy capacity to meet the 2020 target in Dorset. I maintain that this is false on many levels.

To show why I think it is untrue we have to look at what lies behind this sudden shift of tack. After all it is only very recently that these same antis were saying that Renewables are a waste of time because they hardly ever generate much electricity, could never make a real difference and are only about fat cat industrialists milking subsidies. Now they want to make out that the small amounts of renewable capacity we see around our county is enough to meet our targets. It is true that renewables nationally are making a significant impact. With continuing rapid investment and capacity building we might make our targets.

Where is their data coming from? Some of the most comprehensive data they are using has recently been prepared by Dr Peacock of the Dorset CPRE. His data suggests that if 80% or more of the large scale field mounted PV projects in planning (including several in the most tentative early stages of planning) are approved and built before 2020 then we might reach the 2020 target as interpreted in the Dorset Renewable Energy Plan.

Firstly there is a world of difference between having planning applications in the system and having enough renewable energy capacity on the ground so currently we do not have enough capacity to meet any targets and any anti who claims otherwise is either mistaken or lying. Secondly the list of planning applications includes some very large schemes and some on very sensitive land including one of 220 acres and one 100 acre site not only in the AONB but also on an SSSI. It would seem very unlikely that the CPRE or other groups who have opposed renewables applications in the past would support anywhere near the 80% of the capacity mentioned in Dr Peacock’s submission. I’m not entirely convinced that such schemes are the best way forward and would look to see some pretty convincing Environmental Impact Assessments before giving them my automatic support.

Next is the all-important question of what the Dorset Renewable Energy Plan calls for. I have been critical of the plan since I first read it a couple of years ago. I do not believe that it goes anywhere near far enough in setting targets for renewable energy generation in Dorset. I went as far as to state my opinion at the time that is was more of a NIMBY’s charter than a plan for renewable energy! The way it is being used by anti-renewables groups has proved me right. What is wrong with it? It calls for Dorset to generate 7.5% of its primary energy excluding transport from renewable energy sources cited in Dorset by 2020. Not only is this only half of the 15% target set nationally for 2020 but the exclusion of transport makes it in effect even less than that. The authors of the report envisage the other 7.5% and all the corresponding savings in transport emissions to come from “national” measures. I interpret this as meaning “put it in someone else’s back yard” and would point to the antis’ attitude to the most important national measure in our area as evidence for this interpretation. The measure I refer to is Navitus Bay – the lowest impact scheme for Dorset possible who’s only downside is the same as all offshore schemes in that the cost of the electricity it produces is likely to be about the same as that of nuclear – ie fairly high. Even more important is the fact that the Dorset Renewable Energy Plan, like all the thinking of the antis, appears to regard 2020 as the end of the process. We have been hearing in the last few days about the climate marches and pressure on world leaders to set meaningful targets for carbon reduction not just for the next 6 years but for real progress towards proper sustainability and carbon neutrality by the middle of the century.2020 is only a way marker. If we exceed the target for that date, however it is calculated, then that is a good thing not a mistake. We are still taking the low hanging fruit. Any extra progress we make now will only help us keep up the momentum when things get harder in the next few decades. We certainly should not reject any projects just because we may or may not reach the 2020 target without them.

In conclusion, Renewable energy technologies have proved their potential and are making a real impact but we still have a long way to go. Dorset is trailing badly compared with other counties and needs to get on with building as large a capacity of a mixed bag of renewable technologies as possible. Far from being especially unsuitable for renewable energy generation Dorset has excellent resources and limited pressures on space and demand so we should be doing better than other places not worse.


2Comments | Post your own comment


15
SEP

Lets Get Energized says:
Slyers Lane Wind Farm Proposal – Public Exhibition 22nd September


Category: Community Energy, Energy Events in Dorset, Wind Power
Tags: , , , , ,


Slyers Lane Wind Farm Proposal – Public Exhibition 22nd September

The Planning Application for a Wind Farm at Slyer’s Lane, nr Charminster, is going to planning in 1-2 weeks so public consultation will be starting around end of September.

The developer, Broadview, are holding their Final Public Exhibitions next Monday 22nd September at:

Charminster Village Hall: 1.00 – 3:30  DT2 9QL
Herrison Hall , Charlton Down: 5.30 – 8.00  DT2 9UA

They are going to have the visualisations (photomontages) plus their latest images showing what the wind farm will look like from several different sites.

Broadview are also bringing along documents and reports that are be submitted with their application for people to look at. Good chance to know what their final plans really are and a last chance to ask questions.

About the visualisations:

Everyone,whether for, against or undecided, realises that the wind turbines will be seen from some places. Broadview, to satisfy planning requirements for Landscape Assessments, have had to follow strict protocols in producing the visualisations and they have followed the Scottish Natural Heritage guidance. Thus coming to the exhibition is a chance to  get as accurate an idea of what the proposed Wind Turbines will look like in the landscape as can be produced professionally for the planners.

Broadview Energy`s online information (including visualisations) regarding Slyers Lane, can be found – Here


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • vince adams comments:
    "We are now nearing the end of the consultation process and its time for everyone who has a interest to go along to the exhibition, see what is being said and get the facts. I believe that for centuries we have used the wind for our food and for travel and it a natural resource that can bring so much good clean energy to our region. What we have to find is how to bring harmony to local communities for the good of all with WT projects. That’s what Keith and I shall be doing a few miles down the road in Pymore on the someday at 7.30pm where we shall be showing local residents what might be possible with a potential hydro project.
    We want to listen to everyones views and see if there is a consensus to moving forward. We don’t have all the answers, the project is embryonic but with good will and a desire we can achieve success. Why not try going to the Exhibition and Pymore for a truly Renewable evening experience. "

    September 15, 2014 a 9:48 am


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