A follow up article to yesterday’s report about UK’s wind energy output.
The annual Climate Change Performance Index is published by Germanwatch, a Germany-based policy institute focusing on public policy areas such as, climate change, agriculture, and sustainable development. The UK’s rise up the rankings over recent years is due to it’s investment in renewable technology.
The Climate Change Performance Index for 2017 [shown in full below] reports that the UK dropped from 2nd place to third place. Oddly the index does not award positions from 1 to 3, meaning that the UK drops from 5th to 6th in their 2017 Index. The index surveys the performance of 58 countries, where Germany lies in 29th place, USA in 43rd, and China 48th. You can view recent previous Index reports for 2016, and 2015. Click to expand images.
I see the increasing use of renewable power as encouraging. Here’s a couple of screen captures Gridwatch over Christmas [firstly from 24th, and then 26th December] that shows wind power generating almost one quarter of the UK’s power needs. There are days when wind power generation is negligible, I am, therefore, a believer in the need for nuclear power to generate the base load of UK power needs.
I’m pleased to see the UK’s investment in wind power starting to payoff. The offshore London Array wind farm in the Thames Estuary is currently the largest in the world, with 630 turbines. It’s disappointing that the UK has little involvement in ownership, manufacturing, or research and development of wind power turbines. One market where, as a nation, we can make up for that lack of expertise is in battery technology – see Giant UK battery launch, and HERE, and with Dyson.
While travelling along Red Road, if for a moment you were able to avert you eyes from the road – difficult I know, you might have seen construction machinery in Folly Bog. Here’s the info.
The work was associated with the Esso pipeline that runs through Folly Bog. It carries jet fuel from the Fawley Oil Refinery to Heathrow and Gatwick. What exactly the work involved I’n not sure. It did involve digging to uncover the pipeline, just as it did for similar work at Colony Gate.
I wasn’t able to visit the work while it was being done – annoyingly, life just got in the way. I’ve visited the site of the digging twice since they completed the work. Once while the protective track was in place and some equipment remained, and then yesterday after all the equipment, and protective track was removed.
Before I show my pictures of the work. You might like to know more about the pipeline and the pipeline markers. HERE all is explained.
Sometimes you come across a website that truly surprises. Gridwatch is one of those. In one real-time screen Gridwatch provides the information on where the UK’s electricity comes from – coal, nuclear, gas, wind, and from interconnectors. I’ll not witter on about it, but let you marvel at the dashboard of gauges and monitors.
From just a little inspection of the gauges and monitors I’ve deduced that,
- So little of our electricity is generated from wind is a poor return on the £billions we’ve invested
- Coal-fired power generation is a reducing element of our power spectrum, with the use of gas increasing
- I’d imagined that nuclear generated electricity would be higher. I guess it’s a result of our aging nuclear power stations being off-line for maintenance, or even closed.
- Some sources of power generation are held in reserve, such as oil and hydro
- Pumped hydro-electric power generation sources amount to just 1.5% – such as Dinorwig
- Through the interconnectors, we’re a supplier of electricity to Ireland, and importer from France and Netherlands
If you click on the same dashboard view for France [by clicking on the French icon in the top left hand corner] it shows that 100% of electricity demand can be generated from nuclear power stations, with a small % from Hydro. [Click on image to enlarge].
Amazing to think that the explosion in reactor number four at the Chernobyl nuclear power station occurred 28 years ago, on Saturday, April 26, 1986.
A recent article in December’s edition of the Nautilus magazine – Chernobyl’s Hot Mess, “the Elephant’s Foot,” Is Still Lethal, describes the fascination with the lava at the base of the reactor.
The fascination for scientists is to study the materials created in the explosion and to understand the way they are decaying.
The timeline of the Chernobyl disaster can be viewed in all its disturbing, and in some cases heroic human actions in The Chernobyl Gallery.
The story of Chernobyl is one of incredible human stupidity, contrasted by amazing individual heroism and ultimate sacrifice of scientists, firemen and ‘liquidators’.
I’m no seer into oil prices or geo-political forces affecting them. I do however, happen to think the doom-mongering descriptions of the collapse of the North Sea oil industry is somewhat overdone.
I worked on a Southern North Sea gas platform [not offshore I should add] project in the early 1980’s. My contract, like many others, was terminated with speed, when the price for Brent Crude dropped, and caused Shell Expro to cancel the expensive Gannet Northern North Sea oil platform, which was the next project for many of us.
I wrote about the price per barrel of Brent Crude ages ago HERE, and attached this chart [click to expand]. Note, that the oil industry in the North Sea didn’t collapse – even when the price dropped to just over $10 a barrel. What happened was frantic innovation, as described in Wikipedia,
“The exploration of the North Sea has been a story of continually pushing the edges of the technology of exploitation (in terms of what can be produced) and later the technologies of discovery and evaluation (2-D seismic, followed by 3-D and 4-D seismic; sub-salt seismic; immersive display and analysis suites and supercomputing to handle the flood of computation required).”
Sure, there’ll be project cancellations and layoffs, which will spur exploration companies to find new ways to exploit the oil and gas reserves.
How interesting, a table in The Economist – Volts for Volks, [click to enlarge] shows that the price per kilowatt/hour in Britain is considerably cheaper than other key economies in Europe.
Britain’s electricity is cheaper than Germany, Italy, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, Sweden and Spain. Who’d have thought it. Not us from reading or listening to our media. Even more surprising is that Britain has by far the lowest tax element in the price. Good job by The Economist for presenting the data.