Surge in UK hydropower schemes

The number of small-scale hydropower schemes to generate energy from rivers in England and Wales has surged in the last decade, according to figures from the Environment Agency. The number of new licences issued by the Government agency for hydropower schemes has increased by a factor of six since 2000.

Thirty-one new licences for energy  schemes in rivers were granted in 2009, compared to just five in 2000. The EA has already issued 29 licences this year and is considering a further 166 applications, as businesses and communities attempt to cash in on a new Government incentive which pays people for generating electricity from small-scale renewables.

In total, there are around 400 hydropower schemes in England and Wales and the EA estimates the number could rise to 1,200 by 2020. Small-scale hydropower currently produces enough electricity to power 120,000 homes in the UK, but could produce significantly more.

Earlier this year, the agency identified thousands of hotspots for hydropower schemes which could each provide clean energy for dozens of homes and benefit from ‘feed-in tariffs’, which pay people for generating electricity from small-scale renewable technology. The feed-in tariffs scheme, which came into force in April, could pay around GBP25,000 a year for a medium-sized hydropower project which would cost around GBP100,000 to GBP150,000 to install, the Environment Agency said. (more…)


06/07/2010 at 10:34 am Leave a comment

Renewable Energy Initiatives Save Wisconsin $319 Million In 2009

Governor Jim Doyle has announced that Wisconsin residents, farms and businesses saved more than $319 million in energy costs in 2009 through energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives with assistance from the Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program.

This is compared to $239 million in 2008 For every dollar invested in the Focus on Energy program last year, residents, farms, and businesses in Wisconsin saved $2.20 in energy costs.

“These energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives translate into real economic and environmental benefits for people and businesses in Wisconsin,” Governor Doyle said.  “We are working hard to make Wisconsin a national leader in clean energy initiatives and projects that will help create jobs and protect our environment for generations to come.”

Focus on Energy works with Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.  They provide information, resources and financial incentives help to help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs and protect the environment. (more…)

06/07/2010 at 10:23 am Leave a comment

Hydropower in the United States has potential to quadruple capacity, Navigant Consulting director says

Hydropower’s total capacity has potential to reach four times its current amount in the United States, with job creation expanding exponentially as well, research from Navigant Consulting Inc. suggests.

Navigant Consulting Managing Director Lisa Frantzis discussed these research findings during a interview at the recent Renewable Energy World Conference and Expo North America 2010 in Austin, Texas.

Currently, hydropower represents about 7 percent of U.S. electricity generation, with about 100,000 megawatts of capacity. However, Navigant Consulting research suggests hydropower’s technical potential is around 400,000 megawatts of capacity, Frantzis said.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity, and I think it is sort of an unknown secret,” she said.

With increased hydro capacity comes increased hydro industry employment, Frantzis said, noting that up to 700,000 jobs could be directly or indirectly related to hydropower by 2025 if potential industry growth is met. Those jobs, she said, would reach all corners of the United States. Currently, the U.S. supports 200,000 to 300,000 hydropower-related jobs.

The job creation projections are based on a 25 percent renewable energy standard by 2025.

Frantzis said: “There is a tremendous opportunity in the hydropower sector, not only with jobs, but in terms of megawatts of installations. And I think the other exciting thing is that the opportunity would create jobs across the U.S., which is also a real benefit.”

17/06/2010 at 3:58 pm Leave a comment

Democrats May Aid Renewable Energy in Oil Spill Bill

Author: Simon Lomax

Senate Democrats will debate today whether a bill that responds to BP Plc’s oil spill should benefit renewable energy sources and limit greenhouse gases.

The closed-door meeting will gauge Democratic support for these proposals before President Barack Obama brings Republicans into talks on energy legislation next week at the White House.

Obama said this week that the spill, caused by a fatal April 20 explosion on a BP-leased rig in the Gulf of Mexico, should spur new laws to “change how we produce and use energy.” He didn’t insist that the Senate approve legislation passed by the House last year that uses a cap-and-trade system to limit emissions, saying he was open to “other ideas.”

While support for “clean energy” may be growing in the wake of the spill, “we need a different approach than cap-and- trade,” Senator Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from Louisiana, a Gulf state whose beaches and marshes are being fouled by the BP spill, told reporters.

Landrieu, who said the spill shouldn’t be used to “shut down the oil and gas industry,” said she hasn’t decided which clean-energy measures to support.

“Any thinking American, even Americans like myself who are pro-drilling, think that there’s got to be a better way forward,” she said. (more…)

17/06/2010 at 3:51 pm Leave a comment

Green Firms From China Get an Index

Author: Shai Oster

BEIJING—Silicon Valley venture-capital firm VantagePoint Venture Partners sifted through about 2,500 Chinese companies in everything from nuclear power to batteries to create an index of publicly traded Chinese companies in the low-carbon sector to raise the profile of the burgeoning segment.

VantagePoint, which is a major shareholder in electric-vehicle maker Tesla Motors Inc. among other alternative-energy and technology start-ups, launched the 35-company China Low Carbon Index on Saturday. Its partner, China Beijing Environmental Exchange, a city-government-backed financial institution seeking to become a trading platform for environmental stocks, will publish the index on its website, VantagePoint said.

Depending on how much attention the index gets, it could help the companies attract investors, though it isn’t clear what the interest will be.

VantagePoint managing director Melissa Guzy said the index was created to fill a gap because Western investors tend to overlook China’s green companies. Existing green indexes skew heavily in favor of U.S. or European companies, even though last year nearly half of the initial public offerings in alternative energy were Chinese, and they accounted for 75% of IPO proceeds, she said.


07/06/2010 at 10:29 pm Leave a comment

Not Dead, Only Resting? The Climate Bill

Author: John M. Broder

A popular parlor game in Washington is trying to figure out whether the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has helped or hurt chances for passage of comprehensive energy and climate change legislation. President Obama tried to bolster its prospects in his news conference on Thursday, saying the crisis highlights the need to find alternatives to the deadly and dirty fossil fuels oil and coal.

“More than anything else,” he said in his opening remarks, “this economic and environmental tragedy — and it is a tragedy — underscores the urgent need for this nation to develop clean, renewable sources of energy.”

Mr. Obama noted that the House had already passed a broad bill putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions and providing large incentives for conservation and new forms of energy. He said the Senate should act on a measure that was introduced earlier this month by Senators John F. Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut.

“If nothing else, this disaster should serve as a wake-up call that it’s time to move forward on this legislation,” the president said. “It’s time to accelerate the competition with countries like China who’ve already realized the future lies in renewable energy. And it’s time to seize that future ourselves.”


03/06/2010 at 6:39 am Leave a comment

Let’s look at facts, not hot air, about wind power

Author: Dot Sulock

The on-again off-again nature of electricity from wind is a very solvable problem, contrary to the claims of the very misinformed opinion piece titled “Wind power has appeal, but it’s foiled by facts,” (AC-T, May 19).

The U.S. Department of Energy released a report on May 21, 2010 saying that if the western U.S. power grid included 27 percent renewable power, “it would lower carbon emissions by 25 to 45 percent. It would also decrease fuel and emissions costs by 40 percent.” The report said that up to 30 percent wind power would be easy to handle. The link to that report is the first link below.

A National Renewable Energy Lab spokesperson said, “If key changes can be made to standard operating procedures, our research shows that large amounts of wind and solar can be incorporated onto the grid. When you coordinate the operations between utilities across a large geographic area, you decrease the effect of the variability of wind and solar energy sources, mitigating the unpredictability of Mother Nature.” So much for the alleged intermittency problem.


28/05/2010 at 6:43 am Leave a comment

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