Energy Democracy = Free Energy

Energy democracy is almost here

Energy democracy is a new term. We have seen the growth of local municipal energy generation projects. Roof top solar on your house is growing in popularity. Universities and schools are now effective sites for generating energy. All this means we are entering a new age.

Energy Democracy is the new age. For over 125 years we have been sold to, told to, and generally treated as ignorant energy buy-bots. Energy consumers are still treated this way by an industry that is scrambling to find ways to deal with renewable energy. Wind and solar PV are killing the existing model for energy generation. The old paradigm of centralized energy production is dying along with their gross profit margins. The oil and gas sector is suffering a similar fate.  More on that later. For now how is this change of energy generation and consumption effecting your bill?

Energy democracy means free energy?

Free energy may be coming to a house near you soon. How is this possible, you ask. Good question. With a simple answer.

If you have enough solar PV generation on your roof AND enough battery storage you can get free energy. Not totally free as you do need to pay for all the kit and installation, Or do you???

There are many offers in the marketplace for buying your energy at a discount from a supplier who fits solar to your roof. there are also other offers making the rounds in trials here in the UK for energy storage installed in your home. The cost can be offset by selling energy to the grid using a process called aggregation. This may pay for the storage. Now you have energy generation on your roof which cost you nothing, and saves you energy on your bill. Added to this is a battery system offered with an income potential to offset the cost of installation. Very close to free.

Energy democracy in action

One of many Community Windpower projects


The bigger picture of energy production is changing as well. The growth of local, community, and county owned generation projects is increasing energy owned locally.

No more are we tied to a corporate giant producing our energy with no regard to our environment. Owning the means of energy production will help US save our planet. It will also move us closer to free energy for all.


Amber Rudd is the Fossil Fuel Energy Secritary!

Amber Rudd is the Fossil Fuel Energy Secritary!

Amber Rudd gives a new twist to David Cameron’s administration, outright support of fossil fuels! Amber Rudd has been misrepresenting our best interests for some time! She has, on several occasions, not told the truth to the people and to Parliament. This is proof that we can not trust our current government. We should request an investigation, criminal charges against Amber Rudd, and the end of Cameron’s government.

Here is the complete article from The Ecologist:

Leaked letter: Rudd admits 25% green energy undershoot, misled Parliament

Oliver Tickell 9th November 2015

A letter from Energy Secretary Amber Rudd leaked to The Ecologist shows that she misled Parliament by promising the UK was ‘on course’ to deliver on its renewable energy targets – when in fact there is a delivery shortfall in 2020 of almost 25%. Her plan to fill the gap relies on more biofuels, buying in green power and ‘credits’ from abroad – everything but wind and solar.

Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Photo: Association for Decentralised Energy via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

A letter from Energy Secretary Amber Rudd leaked to The Ecologist shows that the UK is on track to miss its legally binding obligation to achieve strict EU targets on renewable energy by an estimated 50TWh (terawatt hours), or 3.5% of its 15% obligation – that is a shortfall of almost 25%.

This stands in stark contrast to her public position. On 17th September she told the House of Commons: “When it became apparent that we were way in excess of [spending limits on renewables], but  were still meeting our renewables targets, it was right to limit the  amount of money we were spending.”

As Rudd warns, this impending failure to meet EU renewables targets puts the UK at a double risk – of legal action taken in the UK, which the government would probably lose; and of enormous fines imposed by the European Court of Justice:

“The absence of a credible plan to meet the target carries the risk of successful judicial review, and failing to meet the overall target in 2020 could lead to on-going fines imposed by the EU Court of Justice (which could take into account avoided costs) until the UK reaches the target level.”

But by misleading the House of Commons in her statement, she is now certain to have a more immediate problem on her hands – demands for her resignation and a full-blown Parliamentary investigation.

Her first test will come tomorrow before the Energy and Climate Change Committee tomorrow (Tuesday 10th November) when its members grill her on her department’s annual report and accounts.

Speaking in advance of the meeting, Labour’s shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy said: “At the very same  time the energy secretary is telling her colleagues in private we’re not  on course to meet our legal target on clean energy, she is cutting wind  and solar schemes that could help us to meet it. It beggars belief.”

The grisly detail of Rudd’s smoke-and-mirrors

The letter, to Cabinet colleagues Philip Hammond (Foreign Secretary), Oliver Letwin (Cabinet Office), Greg Hands (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) and Patrick McLoughlin (Transport Secretary) begins by setting out the scale of what the UK has to achieve:

“The target sets a legally binding obligation on HMG to deliver 15% of the UK’s final energy consumption across electricity, heat and transport from renewable sources in 2020, with a binding sub-target for 10% of transport fuels to be from renewable sources in 2020.
“Beyond a flat rate of renewables for each member state, the effort share for meeting the EU-wide 20% target was based on GDP. As a result of this, and the fact that the UK started from a very low base of renewables deployment, our target requires amongst the most significant annual growth in renewables deployment (16% average annual growth from 2011 to 2020) of any member state.”

And although the UK’s current trajectory is on course for a massive miss of 32-66 TWh (terawatt hours) per year by 2020, with a central estimate of a 50TWh shortfall, the UK’s public position is that there is no problem meeting the target.

Yet her public statements all indicate that everything is on track. As noted above, on 17th September she told the House of Commons: “We had a commitment to limit the levy control framework to £7.6 billion  by 2020. When it became apparent that we were way in excess of that, but  were still meeting our renewables targets, it was right to limit the  amount of money we were spending. That is why we took action quickly to  do so.”

A consistent pattern of concealing the truth

Or as she told Parliament on 22nd June 2015 – ironically in her statement termination subsidies for onshore wind: “This Government is committed to meeting objectives on cutting carbon  emissions and to continue to make progress towards the UK’s 2020  renewable energy targets.

“The renewable electricity programme aims to deliver at least 30%  of the UK’s electricity demand from renewables by 2020. We are on course  to achieve this objective. Renewables already make up  almost 20% of  our electricity generation and there is a strong pipeline  to deliver  the rest.”

Note the subtle switch from ‘energy’ to ‘electricity’ in her second sentence. A DECC spokesman commented: “We do not comment on leaked documents. As the Secretary of  State has set out clearly in the House, renewables made up almost 20%  of our electricity generation in 2014 and there is a strong pipeline to  deliver our ambition of reaching 30% by 2020.  We continue to make progress to meet our overall renewable energy  target.”

However Rudd had also told Parliament a few days before on 18th June, again in the context of the early closure of support for onshore wind, that deployment was set to deliver on the 2020 renewable energy targets: “The Government are committed to meeting objectives on cutting carbon emissions and the UK’s 2020 renewable energy targets …

“My Department’s analysis indicates that, after taking into account an  early closure, onshore wind deployment under the RO [Renewables Obligation] will be in the  region of 11.6 GW … this puts us above the middle of the range set out in the  EMR [Electricity Market Reform] delivery plan, our best estimate of what we would need to meet our  2020 targets. It is therefore appropriate to curtail further deployment  of onshore wind, balancing the interests of onshore wind developers with  those of the wider public.”

The message is clear, in statement after statement, she told Parliament that everything was going to plan towards meeting renewable energy targets. But she sets out the truth in her leaked letter. Until 2017 / 2018 the UK will be achieving its milestones, she writes, but after that

“The trajectory then increases substantially, and currently leads to a shortfall against the target in 2020 of around 50 TWh (with a range of 32 – 67TWh) or 3.5% points (with a range of 2.1 – 4.5% points) in our internal central forecasts (which are not public). Publically we are clear that the UK continues to make progress to meet the target.”


The cuts that are destroying a once booming British industry

Since its election to power in May 2015, the Conservative government has unleashed an astonishing series of attacks on the UK’s renewable energy sector which has included:

The government’s claim is that this has been motivated by the need to save money allocated under the ‘Levy Control Framework’ which allocates funds for renewable energy, however the depth and extent of the cuts betrays a strong ideological agenda to destroy the UK renewables industry.

Following her re-election in May, Rudd promised: “I want to unleash a new solar  revolution – we have a million people  living under roofs with solar  panels and that number needs to  increase.” However in office she has done the precise reverse. This letter now shows the desperate position those cuts have put the UK into.

Rudd’s plan to meet target without new wind and solar

The first element in Rudd’s plan to meet the UK’s target is by “Maintaining and improving existing policy performance towards the target”, she writes. “This would require us:

  • “to maintain our commitment to achieving at least 30% of electricity generation from renewables;
  • “to meet the 10% sub-target for renewable fuels in transport;
  • “and to continue support for the deployment of new renewable heating installations after the current funding settlement ends in 2015/16.”

Spot the lack of mention of anything to do with new wind and solar power? Her plan is based entirely on other means of achieving the target – even though wind is by far the lowest cost form of renewable energy, and solar is likely to become cheaper by 2020 with continued support to the point where it competes directly against fossil fuel generation.

The renewable heat incentive alone, Rudd writes, could deliver 20TWh (with a range of 15 – 32TWh), leaving a ‘central shortfall’ of around 30TWh. However she adds that “These forecasts are subject to significant uncertainty as the market for renewable heat is at an early stage and as a result of market and technical performance factors relating to renewable electricity.”

The next element is “Additional UK renewables deployment”, she writes. “Officials across Whitehall are reviewing policy options open to us to address this c.30TWh shortfall through additional deployment of renewables in heat, electricity and transport.”

Current levels of ‘renewable fuels’ derived from crops are already set to be doubled between 2017 and 2020, adding around 2 pence per litre on pump prices, but Rudd suggests that a further increase would be possible.

“An additional 12.9TWh or 0.9% points could theoretically be delivered above the sub target, at an estimated cost of £850m/year (adding a further 2.1 pence per litre on pump prices).”

But she warns that the move would be counter-productive in climate terms: “Due to limited availability of sustainable feedstocks, supply beyond the sub target appears likely to increase carbon emissions by increasing deforestation through new demand for agricultural land.”

There’s also potential to increase additional bio-methane production produced from organic wastes and some specially grown crops, however two thirds of the 6TWh this could produce have already been counted:

“The highest potential for additional renewable heat is from bio-methane injection into the gas grid, which could deliver up to 6TWh (or 0.4% points) by 2020. However a significant proportion of this (up to 4TWh) is already included in the proposals for continuing support for renewable heat post 2015/16.”

The ‘third way’ – buy it in from Norway

Rudd’s third step is certain to cause huge anger in the UK’s renewable energy industry as it involves simply buying it in from abroad, specifically from Norway’s hydroelectric dams. But it comes with one big problem – the required electrical connection to Norway won’t be ready on time:

“Additional deployment of electricity focuses on importing renewable electricity from Norway via the planned interconnector. This could deliver a maximum of 10TWh, depending on market forces. However, my officials do not expect the interconnector to be in operation until late 2021 at the earliest, and therefore would not strictly help the UK to reach its 2020 target.”

But that’s not the only problem: if the renewable power is generated in Norway then how can it be made to count as British just be importing it?

“Should this change, we believe that an intergovernmental agreement would be necessary, under which the UK would be required to make payment(s) to the Norwegian government (on top of that which would be paid for the electricity supplied through normal market mechanisms).”

Which is all very well, but it will cost the Uk money that should be going into our own renewables programme., Moreover there’s no guarantee that the arrangement would be considered valid by the European Commission or by the European Court.

So why not just buy in ‘statistical credits’ from other countries?

Nonetheless Rudd goers on to consider further “Use of co-operation mechanisms” that would allow the UK to finance renewable energy projects in other EU states.

Which raises the question: when the UK has Europe’s richest wind power resource, why would we want to do that? In the process exporting the jobs, expertise and industrial investment to other countries?

“In the absence of other measures to increase renewable energy consumption in the UK, a strategy to meet the target (and to ensure that the target is met in the most cost-effective way) would need to involve the UK purchasing renewables deployment later in the decade from other EU Member States which have over-achieved their target.

“There are two ways to do this The first would see HMG directly support a specific renewables project in another EU or European Economic Area Member State or third country, with an agreed proportion of the renewable energy generated being transmitted to the EU where the project occurs in a third country.”

And another problem then strikes: “However, at this stage there are no projects we have identified with the potential to deploy in the right time frames.” Which leads Rudd to attempt to invent a whole new market mechanism in ‘statistical credits’ for renewable energy from other EU countries.

“The alternative is to reach an agreement with an EU or EEA Member  State, which is likely to over-achieve on its target, to buy  ‘statistical credits’ from it in 2020. The market for such transactions  does not yet exist, and there is a low likelihood that sufficient  credits will be available to meet the total UK shortfall of 50TWh.”

Just one small problem there: there is currently no such thing as a  ‘statistical credit’ that the Commission or the European Court would recognise. In addition, adds Rudd,

“We believe there is a medium – low likelihood that sufficient credits will be available to meet a shortfall of 30TWh. Costs are, however, also highly uncertain. Nevertheless, trading has the potential to make a cost effective contribution towards meeting the target alongside a package of domestic action.”

Next step – try to win over other EU states

Which makes it all the more important to get other EU states on side. Not that the time is propitious – just as UK Prime Minister David Cameron is trying to win concessions from them on a host of other issues.

“In tandem with this emerging strategy, officials will seek to build a consensus with other EU Member States which we believe to be in a similar position to the UK, in particular in relation to their renewables target but also to other 2020 targets for greenhouse gas emissions or energy efficiency. This may allow us to negotiate some flexibility in meeting the target.”

The other EU countries Rudd refers to include Germany, France, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands and Ireland who are also “currently off track to meet the target to varying degrees.”

However Rudd clearly has little confidence that these negotiations will be fruitful: “entrenched positions in Brussels and the need to defend broader HMG policy objectives mean that we cannot rely on this to deliver anything to significantly improve UK progress against the target.”

Nor is there ‘strength in numbers’ with other EU target-missers: “Whilst it may be tempting from a UK perspective to take comfort from  this list, it should be noted that Germany in particular sees the target  as a cornerstone of the EU’s climate agenda and has a strong domestic  policy framework in place which may well allow it to make up any  shortfall.

“In addition, the failure of other Member States to meet their  target would not provide the UK with a formal defence in legal  proceedings.”

Transport Minister warns – biofuels costly, unsustainable

In another problem for Amber Rudd’s plan Andrew Jones, minister at the Transport Department in charge of environment and innovation, wrote to Amber  Rudd in a second leaked letter, warning against further increases in biofuel use in transport on cost, food security and ecological grounds:

“I concur with you, however, that meeting the 10% sub-target for renewable energy in 2020 is  challenging. It requires a doubling of current biofuel inclusion rates  right up to the limits allowed for by fuel standards in regular petrol  and diesel in just a few years, and it will also require great care to  secure sustainable sources of biomass supply and avoid consumer  opposition …

“I should highlight that I do not consider it appropriate to go  beyond the transport sub target. As you point out, we understand that  demand at such levels appears likely to cause deforestation through new  demand for agricultural land, and it could also increase food as well as  fuel prices.

“This is why the UK Government argued strongly for the  introduction of recently adopted measures to limit food based biofuels  at EU level. As a consequence, environmental and social NGOs would be  expected to campaign strongly against it.

“I believe such campaigning would be likely to win public support,  not least given the estimated total increase of around 3 pence per  litre on fuel costs that could result.”

Between a rock and a hard place

This all leaves Amber Rudd in an increasingly untenable position. First, she has effectively admitted to having deceived Parliament. That’s something she will surely struggle to justify to the Energy and Climate Change Committee tomorrow.

Second, she has revealed the disastrous outcome of her policy to destroy the UK’s renewable energy industry. The fact that the UK is seriously considering buying in actual power and non-existent ‘statistical credits’ for renewable energy from other European countries also speaks volumes for her policy failure.

As for the idea of supporting renewable energy projects abroad instead of here in the UK, it’s not hard to imagine how that will go down with the UK’s renewable industry. The solar industry alone is set to lose 27,000 jobs as a result of cuts to solar power subsidies.

And her idea to increase the volume of biofuels in petrol and diesel has rightly been shot out of the water by transport minister Andrew Jones.

There is of course one eminently sensible and achievable solution – to restore sustainable levels of support for wind and solar energy and roll it out in bulk for 2020 at ever diminishing cost.

Rudd, clearly, has lost all credibity at this stage, both politically and with the renewable energy industry that ultimately has to deliver the UK’s targets. The obvious choice for Cameron is to bring back Greg Barker, who as an MP was a respected energy minister from 2010 to 2014, and remains honorary president of the British Photovoltaic Association. He now sits in the House of Lords.

Loss of face before Paris climate talks

​Greenpeace Head of Energy, Daisy Sands commented: “This letter shows us the dark side of the government’s incoherent  energy policy in full technicolour. For the first time, we learn that  the government is expecting to miss the EU’s legally binding renewables  target. This is hugely shocking.

“More deplorably, it is wilfully  hiding this from public scrutiny. The government is planning on cutting  support for the solar and wind subsidies in the name of affordability.  But perversely, we see that the government  believes investing in  renewable energy projects involving buying power from abroad is more  desirable than supporting home grown renewable energy industries.

“Even  more worryingly, it seems the government is seeking to haggle with the  EU to revise down our legal commitments. This policy makes no  environmental or economic sense as the UK is losing jobs and affordable  clean, renewable energy sources.

“The government’s claim to leadership in  the Paris climate negotiations requires us to have targets, but we must  meet them too.”

Green MEP Molly Scott Cato told the Guardian that Rudd had “serious questions  to answer about why she has reported something to parliament which  appears inconsistent with what she has been telling other ministers.

“The UK’s energy policy is bound by European law which Rudd appears  to be flouting. I have already raised with the European Commission my concerns about the fact that the government’s changes to  energy policy make it unlikely we will meet our renewables target.

“The  evidence in this letter shows the secretary of state is aware of this  serious situation and I will now be following this up with further  questions as a matter of urgency.”

My thanks to The Ecologist for outing this important information.

Council blocks Little Plumpton fracking application

Council blocks Little Plumpton fracking application

The people have spoke again! The Lancashire Council blocks Cuadrilla’s fracking application for Little Plumpton. This is  another success in the UK peoples movement to ban fracking forever. Here is a photo from the BBC’s article about the victory:

Council blocks Little Plumpton fracking application

Victory In Little Plumpton


Fracking banned again!


It is encouraging to see the will of the people taking precedence over the greed of corporations. Our work is not over yet though. We need to keep a clear focus on the real prize – a total ban on fracking in the UK forever.


Here is a link to, and the entirety of, the BBC article:

An application to start fracking at a site on the Fylde coast in Lancashire has been rejected by councillors.

Energy firm Cuadrilla wanted to extract shale gas at the Little Plumpton site between Preston and Blackpool.

Lancashire County Council rejected the bid on the grounds of “unacceptable noise impact” and the “adverse urbanising effect on the landscape”.

Cuadrilla said it was “surprised and disappointed” and would consider its “options” regarding an appeal.

A spokesman added: “We remain committed to the responsible exploration of the huge quantity of natural gas locked up in the shale rock deep underneath Lancashire.”

    ‘Triumph for democracy’

Council blocks Little Plumpton fracking application

Anti-fracking campaigners celebrated outside Lancashire County Hall in Preston

The Little Plumpton bid had been recommended for approval by the county council’s planning officials, subject to working hours, noise control and highway matters.

But councillors rejected the advice and voted 10-4 to refuse the application.

Councillor Marcus Johnstone described the deliberation as “one of the biggest planning decisions ever” for the council.

He said the committee had rejected the application after “listening carefully to many hours of evidence”.

A legal adviser had said any attempt to block fracking at the site on environmental grounds would be “unreasonable” and costly.

Dr Adam Marshall, from the British Chambers of Commerce, said the decision was “perverse, short-sighted and timid” and said “the government now needs to step in”.

A related application for a monitoring array, to study seismic activity and water quality, was also rejected.

An application to start a fracking operation at Roseacre Wood was also rejected on Thursday.

Anti-fracking protests were held outside the hearing in Preston, which began on 23 June.

Fracking – or hydraulic fracturing – was suspended in the UK in 2011 following earth tremors in Blackpool where Cuadrilla previously drilled.

It is a technique in which water and chemicals are pumped into shale rock at high pressure to extract gas.

Helen Carter, BBC News reporter

For a moment, there was silence as the planning committee voted on a motion to turn down the Little Plumpton planning application.

That was followed by a huge roar of approval and a boo as two councillors had abstained.

People wept openly but they were tears of joy, not disappointment.

A chorus of “Frack free Lancashire” sounded outside County Hall. Then “Frack free world.”

Fylde deputy mayor Heather Speak said she felt like she had won the lottery.

Jamie Peters of Friends of the Earth wept and said it “shows people power has worked.” He said it had been grassroots campaigning. “The councillors have listened to what people want,” he said.

Chris Riley from Kirkham said it was brilliant they had overturned both decisions, adding: “We were hoping they would, but they couldn’t possibly go ahead with the damage it would cause.”

Council blocks Little Plumpton fracking application

Anti-fracking signs were put up in the village of Little Plumpton

Another protester said: “It is brilliant. But this is just round one.”

The jubilant anti-fracking campaigners marched through Preston for a spontaneous rally outside Lloyds Bank in Fishergate.

They were told: “Keep up the fight,” amid cheers.

Katherine Seary, from Bipsham, with her dog Molly, who was wearing an anti-fracking T-shirt feels “ecstatic.”

She said: “[I] couldn’t believe my ears” initially, “It took me a second listen to take it in.”

“I am sure Cuadrilla will appeal, but it is a good start.”

Although there was a strong police presence, one said: “Well done, ladies,” to a group of protesters.

Greenpeace UK energy and climate campaigner Daisy Sands said the decision was “a Waterloo for the fracking industry” and a “triumph for local democracy”.

She said: “Their decision sends a powerful signal to other councils that the fracking juggernaut can indeed be stopped.”

Furqan Naeem, from Friends of the Earth North West, said campaigners will “breathe a sigh of relief – safe in the knowledge that this dirty industry… has been stopped in its tracks once again”.

“The stakes for local people, for democracy and for the environment could not be higher. The fight against fracking and dirty energy is far from over.”


Plant Closures =/= Energy Deficit

Plant Closures =/= Energy Deficit

The UK government and DECC have decided that the best way to prop up the Big 6 energy companies is to give them billions to build more polluting fossil fuel plants.

Plant Closures =/= Energy Deficit

Billions in new subsidies for failing energy companies

The reprint of a PV Magazine article:

UK auctions capacity, sparks controversy

A capacity market auction last week led to the procurement of 49.26 GW of new capacity, mainly from fossil and nuclear fuels, at a clearing price which will cost U.K. households nearly £1 billion. The government said the capacity market is necessary to ensure the lights stay on, specifically as power from renewables increases, but the policy has sparked controversy.

National Grid, the company that owns and manages the United Kingdom’s electricity grids, has been commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to run the country’s first capacity market auction. The auction ran for four days last week, leading to the procurement of 49.26 GW of fossil fuels-based capacity at a clearing price of £19.40 per kilowatt a year a day ahead of schedule. The auction’s gross cost is £990 million and will need to be paid after 2018, according to the DECC.

U.K. capacity market: The first round

According to the Department of Energy, the purpose of last week’s auction was to estimate how much capacity will be needed in 2018/19, which is the first year the Capacity Market will be running. “Electricity providers have then bid into this capacity auction, promising if they win a contract that they will be available to provide electricity when needed. In return, they will receive a steady payment on top of the electricity that they sell”, the DECC said.

Referring to the price bids, DECC Secretary of State Ed Davey said, “This is fantastic news for bill-payers and businesses. We are guaranteeing security at the lowest cost for consumers. We’ve done this by ensuring that we get the best out of our existing power stations and unlocking new investment in flexible plant.”

Not everyone is equally optimistic though. Last week’s auction price is near the lower end of the range of prices DECC’s financial modelling had predicted could prevail under a rolling auction scheme that aims to ensure the U.K.’s lights stay on after 2018 to 2030 and beyond. However, the billions of subsidies expected to flow to power groups in the coming years could also rise.Furthermore, the list of new investments triggered by the capacity market mechanism disappoints. The main bulk of winners in the auction are existing gas (22.3 GW), coal/biomass (9.2 GW) and nuclear (7.9 GW) power plants, while new installations will only form 2.6 GW or 5% of the capacity auctioned, including a new 1.8 GW gas plant in Trafford Park, Greater Manchester, by independent supplier Carlton Power under a 15-year contract.The DECC notes that auction results are provisional until confirmed by an independent auction monitor. Publication of confirmed results are expected on January 2, and approved bidders will need to have refurbished or built the auctioned capacity in three years. Should successful bidders not make their capacity available when needed, they will be penalized.

Capacity market: An excuse for fossil fuels?

Internationally, capacity markets have sprung out of the need to compensate utilities for the loss of their power market share due to the dynamic increase of renewable energies. Traditional power market incumbents have argued their income has been severely cut, leaving them unable to build new power plants or keep operational ones alive. Responding to this, some governments have introduced capacity markets aiming to encourage new, mainly fossil-based plants that guarantee reliability of the power system when renewable plants do not generate adequate capacity.

The U.K. is the first European country to run such a market. DECC’s main argument in favor of a capacity market is that the country is facing a looming energy supply gap as old nuclear power plants and many of its polluting coal-fired stations are due to close by the end of the decade and a capacity market will make it affordable to replace them. Otherwise, DECC argues, the country risks black-outs by as soon as 2018.

However, Michael Pollitt, professor of business economics and assistant director of the Energy Policy Research Group (EPRG) at the University of Cambridge, told pv magazine that “the whole idea of a capacity market for Great Britain was based on scare mongering about electricity supply shortages, which would not have materialized. There was no serious evidence of capacity shortages developing in the light of the anticipated evolution of supply and demand. Given the actual evolution of supply (where, if anything, renewables have been added quite quickly) and demand, which has remained flat, there would have been even less of a problem that might have been anticipated.”

Asked about the anticipated closure of large nuclear and coal power plants, Pollitt said that “large power plants are built on a replacement cycle. The fact that old
plants are due to close as planned can easily be handled by the market. This
process has been going on for nearly 25 years, since liberalization [of the British energy market in 1980s].”

Therefore, Pollitt argued, “papers which show the planned closures of power plants leading to a projected deficit in capacity are economically illiterate, because they ignore how this would lead to incentives to build new plants if these are needed.”

Renewables Energy Association (REA) Chief Executive Nina Skorupska told the audience at October’s Solar Energy UK event in England that the U.K. government is planning to auction 50 GW of fossil fuel capacity via the capacity payments mechanism, while it could have plugged the capacity gap with all kinds of renewable energy and energy storage technology that replaces fossil fuels.

Instead, the British government has chosen to devise a policy that clearly intervenes in the market. Paradoxically, this is the country that first among Europeans liberalized its domestic energy market 30 years ago and — many would say rightly — pushed Europe towards an open energy market.

Arizona is the definition of Insanity

Arizona is the definition of insanity

Arizona shares a rare and enviable place in the USA list of  ‘states with highest insolation.’   Arizona is also a state with few water resources. These two facts combined make Arizona the perfect candidate state for solar PV energy generation. Arizona is also the perfect place for concentrated solar energy production. This idea as described in DeserTec’s outline will help the world to move away from oil and nuclear power.

So why has Arizona passing laws that discourage solar PV on houses?

Why has Arizona just passed a law that calls nuclear energy renewable?

The full article from Clean Technica is here. Re-posted below:

February 6th, 2015 by

Who would ever consider nuclear power to be a “renewable” means of power generation?

Well, the Arizona Senate Committee on Water and Energy, for one — there might be someone else, but off the top of my head, I can’t think of any other person or entity….

Arizona is the definition of insanity

Not a solar panel in sight!

The aforementioned bill that the Senate Committee on Water and Energy just passed (narrowly) is SB 1134 — a bill classifying “nuclear energy from sources fueled by uranium fuel rods that include 80% or more of recycled nuclear fuel, and natural thorium reactor resources under development” as renewable energy sources.

The approval is especially funny considering the fact that Arizona is fast approaching some serious water-sourcing issues, and nuclear power plants require huge quantities of water in order to function.

Someplace like coastal Texas or California, you could kind of understand (despite the other issues with nuclear — such as very long-lived, hard to clean up pollution), but Arizona? Right in the middle of a desert, and almost completely reliant on just a few small river systems and fossil groundwater laid down during the last ice age? Hmm…

Regardless of the water issues, though, how does one go about classifying nuclear power as a renewable energy source anyway?

This difficulty in conceptualizing nuclear power as a renewable power source was actually shared by many of the senators on the committee, though — which is why the bill passed by only one vote. One vote — that right there sums up one of the primary issues with democracy (to my eyes). All that it takes is a one-vote disparity to discount the opinions of the losing half of a near 50–50 split…

As far as the senators’ comments, here you go (Phoenix New Times):
Senator Lynne Pancrazi said she considers nuclear an “alternative energy,” but “can’t agree that nuclear is renewable;” Senator David Bradley said he “(appreciates) the fact that technology is allowing us to use rods a few times, but that doesn’t make it a renewable;” and Senator Sylvia Allen said they could argue back and forth about the definitions of renewable and recyclable, but that it isn’t the point of the bill.”

The senator behind the bill, Senator Steve Smith, didn’t really address these issues, having merely stated (while referencing “recycling” fuel rods): “Basically we just want to burn that energy twice.”

“Burn the energy twice” doesn’t sound to me like someone talking about a renewable energy resource. Perhaps that’s just me, though.

While the bill was passed by the committee, it still has to make its way through: the rules committee, the Senate, and the House of Representatives — which a similar bill last year was unable to do.

One last comment from the bill’s backer, Senator Smith, before ending this article: when asked about the differences between nuclear and renewables, he stated that when it comes to nuclear material, “we have so much that can be reused that it’s almost renewable.”

What? Do the bill’s supporters/backers really not have a better argument than that?

Image Credit: Public Domain

New Tax For Coal Is Not On

New Tax For Coal Announced

A new tax for cal fired plants is in parliament right now. David Cameron wants to give up to £2 billion to energy companies to fund future coal burning. Is Cameron serious? He campaigned on a promise to create the greenest government ever. Has he done this?  Not hardly!

Today I received an email from Greenpeace about this plan. I am shocked and amazed that this government can be so ignorant about the nature of our energy crisis.

The UN has made the problem of climate change abundantly clear. I covered this report in a previous blog post. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) clearly states that we must act now before it is too late to stop global warming.

New tax for coal

Since 1979, the size of the summer polar ice cap has shrunk more than 20 percent. (Illustration from NASA)

David Cameron has cut the FIT payment for solar energy by more than half.

David Cameron has supported fracking even though the UK people do not want this.

Cameron wants a new nuclear power station at Hinkley that will cost billions to build and cost you too much in electricity bills.

 New tax for coal is a disaster

Now Cameron wants to give the big energy companies billions more to keep aging coal power stations open longer. This is just insane! Cameron could be putting this money towards building the renewable energy systems we desperately need. Instead he is helping his friends in the energy industry by giving them more money.

You can help stop this now.

Greenpeace has a petition to stop this new tax. Sign this petition now please.


‘Fracking unsafe in Kent’ says EU Commission adviser

Fracking unsafe


Fracking is unsafe. This is a well known fact. There are many reports and studies that prove this.

There was a meeting in Canterbury on the 19th of November 2014. This meeting was attended by many local citizens. The panel of speakers were from both sides of the fracking issue.

One panel member was Mr Michael Hill. Mr Hill is an expert adviser to the EU Commission on Shale Gas. Mr Hill said quit clearly that “Fracking in Kent is unsafe.”

Here is the article from the Canterbury Times:

fracking is unsafe

From left to right: Nick Riley, David Smythe and Michael Hill


Fracking is unsafe

The whole article here:

“Fracking in Kent is unsafe,” said Michael Hill, an Expert Adviser to the EU Commission on Shale Gas, to hundreds at a heated fracking debate last night.

Mr Hill, who was part of the Royal Society team that made 10 recommendations on fracking in 2012, was one of a 7-member panel at the debate which was organised by Canterbury Christ Church University’s Sociology department as part of their new Engaging Sociology series.

According to Mr Hill, the proximity of the drilling sites to water basins means shale fracking, which is designed to extract gas and oil from shale rock, in Kent is likely to be unsafe.

“A 30% rise in birth defects and 38% rise in cancer mortality has been documented in areas where fracking took place,” he said, pointing out that it’s usually possible to extract only around 4% of the gas in the ground.

“So the question that needs to be asked is: how many birth defects should we have to carry out the drilling? If you say none then you’ve just banned fracking.”

“We do not have the same level of regulation that exists in the US in the UK,” he added. “We have not learned from the mistakes they had in the US.”

One of the pro-fracking participants, Director of Carboniferous Limited Nick Riley, blamed the media for what he called “scaremongering”.

“You need to go on the Environment Agency’s website and look at the facts,” he said.

Fracking Unsafe

Ian Driver leaves the meeting for good reason.

The debate saw Ian Driver, Green Party Councillor at Thanet District Council and a prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Thanet South, walk off of the podium after accusing the Dean of the Sociology Faculty and the event’s chairwoman, Professor Janet Haddock-Fraser, of poor chairmanship.

“I’ve never seen such poor chairmanship,” he said. “You did not let us answer one question.”

Professor Haddock-Fraser explained that the questions were technical and asked Mr Driver to return to the stage but he refused.

Another important pro-fracking participant was Gerwyn Llewellyn Williams, chairman of Coastal Oil and Gas which holds fracking licenses for east Kent, who was booed by the crowd after explaining why it is important to go through with the plans.

“In South Wales we see libraries closing, schools are struggling, many people out of work, something has to be done,” he said.

He added: “Fracking has been done, is done and will be done in the UK.”

Other panel members include: Distinguished Fellow at The Royal Institute of International Affairs, Paul Stevens, Former Vice Chair of East Kent Against Fracking and campaigner, Julie Wassmer, and Emeritus Professor of Geophysics University of Glasgow, David Smythe.

The event was part of Christ Church University’s Engaging Sociology series which promotes debates on key issues that have an impact on society.

Article Ends…

Two points here that show the biased nature of the Fracking debate.

The first point involves the refusal of the chairwoman to allow audience questions to be answered by the panel.

From the above article again:

The debate saw Ian Driver, Green Party Councillor at Thanet District Council and a prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Thanet South, walk off of the podium after accusing the Dean of the Sociology Faculty and the event’s chairwoman, Professor Janet Haddock-Fraser, of poor chairmanship.

“I’ve never seen such poor chairmanship,” he said. “You did not let us answer one question.”

Professor Haddock-Fraser explained that the questions were technical and asked Mr Driver to return to the stage but he refused.

End of excerpt..

So because the audience is educated enough to ask a technical question about  fracking, the panel should not be allowed to answer? That makes no sense at all.

The audience are deeply concerned and against fracking due to the environmental damage caused. This usually is labeled by the media and pro-fracking pundits as emotional tree hugger syndrome or similar.

In fact the anti-fracking public are well educated and from a very diverse set of fields. Homeowners, engineers, laborers, and others come together to oppose fracking. We all oppose fracking for the same reasons.

Fracking damages the environment. Fracking pollutes ground water tables forever. Fracking is a method to extract more fossil fuels from the ground.

We must stop using fossil fuels or our planet’s climate will be rendered unfit for humans. We can not live on a planet where temperatures are spiraling out of control.

The second point concerns the ridiculous comments made by the oil and gas representative on the panel, Gerwyn Llewellyn Williams.

Fracking unsafe

Gerwyn Llewellyn Williams, left, has some very stupid things to say.

Excerpt from the article:

Gerwyn Llewellyn Williams, chairman of Coastal Oil and Gas which holds fracking licenses for east Kent, who was booed by the crowd after explaining why it is important to go through with the plans.

“In South Wales we see libraries closing, schools are struggling, many people out of work, something has to be done,” he said.


Wait just a minute Gerwyn. You think that if you can frack wherever you want without restriction you can help keep libraries open? Fund struggling schools? or increase employment? You are wrong.

The money promised is nothing short of a bribe to local cash strapped councils to look the other way. ‘Don’t worry about the environmental disaster, here is some cash.’

Gerwyn added: “Fracking has been done, is done and will be done in the UK.”

You do not have the right to tell the UK public what will happen in their own local communities. We have the right to deny you access to drill. We will exercise this right. You will not frack here.

FYI:  France has BANNED FRACKING FOREVER! They are not the only country to do this. The UK WILL do the same.

A better Deal

A Better Deal

A better deal is available. Energy storage is a way to capture electricity generated from renewable sources. Here in the UK we have an abundance of renewable energy generation. Wind energy is abundant. Solar energy generation is a daytime only method.

A Better Deal = Energy Storage

Storage of electricity is the key to unlocking the many benefits of renewable energy. When the sun shines we can to store any energy that we don’t need. When the wind blows we can to store the excess energy produced.


The issue for power plants is flexibility. “Large amounts of wind energy are being reliably and cost-effectively integrated onto the power system today,” said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), who added “Energy storage can be a valuable resource for the power system in maximizing the efficient use of this resource, and add flexibility for electric utilities.”

Here is a bit of an article at the Guardian article about grid storage:

Across the world, efforts are underway to improve the way we store and distribute energy, as we move towards more sustainable but intermittent forms of energy generation, such as wind and solar power.

A better Deal

Solar energy storage is the Key

Improving the way we store energy is important for the UK’s energy security, as it will allow us to decouple energy generation and its usage. If we can find a better way to store energy it will allow us to save it when it’s generated and use it when it’s required, replacing our current awkward system where generation has to match demand in real time.

Storage of electricity is not a new concept. There are many storage methods employed by the National Grid to save energy for a rainy day. There are many new ways to store energy too. I have written about several of these here on this blog.

From free energy generation created by school girls, to British energy companies that actually like the environment, we do have a green way forward. We can create all the energy we need without destroying the planet or building new nuclear power plants.

The key to making all this work is energy storage.

Bad Deal

Bad Deal for us all

A Bad Deal? The EU recently approved the UK plan to subsidise a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley. Brussels gave the go ahead to the state subsidy scheme. The plan will offers EDF Energy a set price for 35 years. This clears another hurdle on the way to the  first nuclear reactors to be built in Britain for almost 20 years. This is a big backward step for renewable energy. This is a giant step back for the EU commission that only in January this year was highly critical of the plan.

Bad Deal – Critical beginnings

In January Greenpeace published an article on the EU Commission. Here is a bit of that article: “The European Commission (EC) has delivered a fiercely skeptical initial take on the UK Government’s deal with French state owned EDF to build the first new nuclear reactor in the UK for a generation, concluding the measures definitely categorise as state aid.

The government of David Cameron has always thought this is a great idea. He helps out his friends and you and I get saddled with the debt for 35 years.

The government report looks like this:

From The .gov website: “The State aid case included both the proposed Contract for Difference, which provides the developer with an increased price certainty for the electricity generated by the plant, and the proposed UK Guarantee for the project, which will help unlock debt finance.”

Now the EU commission has approved a plant they first thought was barmy. Fortunately the NAO – National Audit Office will also look into planed subsidies for Hinkley.

From  “The National Audit Office (NAO) has begun an investigation into UK Government plans to subsidise the proposed new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. The NAO is the financial watchdog which scrutinises public spending on behalf of parliament.”


A Bad Deal

Hinkley C will bankrupt us

Hinkley A is shut down and full of contaminated material with no place to go. The costs to remove all the radioactive material and dispose of it is in the billions. There is no place to put the radioactive material. That is why it is still there.

Sellafield is worse – Mirror – “The fluid is being kept in rotting containers which are open to the elements, according to a worker who leaked images of the 70-year-old plant. Crumbling containers of toxic waste abandoned 40 years ago at “rundown” Sellafield are putting Britain at risk of a nuclear disaster, it is claimed.”

Hinkley B is still operating even though many cracks to the core insulating material have been found. Many cracks in the carbon insulating material weaken the integrity of the reactor safety. If just one of these insulators gives way it could start a chain reaction.

Hinkley C will bankrupt us all due to excessive costs. The build price was £14bil, then £16Bil, and now the EU approved a state sponsored £20bil. The government is promising the operator twice the current price for electricity produced for 35 years. Here is the governments own spin.

Lets stop it now Sign the petitions. Ban building new Nuclear Power Stations

More about the crazy new Hinkley design here ->

Fracking Mess

Fracking mess for YOU! K?

A fracking mess awaits us all. David Cameron is pushing fracking on our green and pleasant land. You and I and the whole country will pay the price.

The fracking mess, the damage done.

The damage is already done at many fracking sites. Fracking has stopped but the environmental damage is done.  The damage is irreversible and long term. Drinking water is polluted for future generations.

fracking mess

Fracking destroying water supplies

Excerpt from

Nearly 3 billion gallons of waste water were illegally injected into central California aquifers. Half of the water samples collected have high levels of dangerous chemicals. Arsenic, a known carcinogen that can also weaken the human immune system was found.  Thallium, a toxin used in rat poison was also found in the water.

Timothy Krantz is a professor of environmental studies at the University of Redlands. He says these chemicals could pose a serious risk to public health. “The fact that high concentrations are showing up in multiple water wells close to wastewater injection sites raises major concerns about the health and safety of nearby residents.”

MORE DAMAGE – A video we all need to see:

4 Mile Long eruption of Liquid Sand + stored CO2 @ Fracking operation in Colorado.


From sumofus website:

fracking mess

Cameron close to fracking firms

A massive 40,000 people formally objected to proposals to change trespass laws so that fracking companies can extract oil and gas from under people’s land without permission. Showing utter disdain for democracy, the government has decided to ignore this outpouring of public opposition, and go ahead with changing the law in favour of the frack-happy 1%.

All this to get gas from the ground we do not need and must stop using.


In the UK wind, sun, bio-mass, heat from the earth, and tidal and wave forces can each provide a vast and constantly replenished energy  supply. These diverse sources of renewable energy have the technical potential to provide the electricity nation needs.

The Union of Concerned Scientists website has a nice article about this.

Write your mp now!