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Greener power to the people: the real energy alternative?
Geoffrey Lean, The Independent on Sunday
Ministers could avoid building nuclear reactors by encouraging families to fit solar panels and other renewable energy equipment to their homes, a startling official report concludes.
The government-backed report, to be published tomorrow, says that, with changed policies, the number of British homes producing their own clean energy could multiply to one million – about one in every three – within 12 years.
These would produce enough power to replace five large nuclear power stations, tellingly at about the same time as the first of the much-touted new generation of reactors is likely to come on stream.
And, it adds, by 2030, such "microgeneration" would save the same amount of emissions of carbon dioxide – the main cause of global warming – as taking all Britain's lorries and buses off the road.
(1 June 2008)
Green energy firm moves up the field with bid to power London Olympics
Tricia Holly Davis, The Independent on Sunday
Lord Coe , the chairman of the London Olympics organising committee, is in talks with the National Grid over a deal intended to make the London 2012 games carbon neutral.
Blue-ng, a joint venture between National Grid and the Bath-based clean-energy company 2oc, has developed a technology to exploit the unused energy created when natural gas pressure is reduced at various stations around the gas grid. The energy is then captured and used to generate electricity and provide heat.
Under the plan, a new combined heat and power plant (CHP) would be built adjacent to the Olympic Park in east London and would run on sustainably sourced biofuels. If given planning permission, the first implementation of Blue-ng's technology would be at the nearby Beckton pressure-reduction station..
In a letter to Lord Coe ob-tained by The Independent on Sunday, Blue-ng contends that using the electricity and heat generated by the new plant could make a substantial contribution to the goal of making the 2012 Olympics carbon neutral. In addition, the plant could provide enough energy to heat 50,000 local homes.
(1 Jun 2008)
Germany Slashes Solar Subsidies, Threatening Industry
Jeremy van Loon, Bloomberg
Germany is slashing the subsidies that built its solar industry up to $8.8 billion in sales and made the country the world's biggest market for panels that capture the sun's energy.
Homes and businesses earn a government-guaranteed price of as much as 47 euro cents ($0.74) for each kilowatt-hour of solar power they generate, enough to run a vacuum cleaner for 60 minutes and double the market rate. Spain and France are copying Germany's model as a way to nurture clean-energy industries that can reduce reliance on fossil fuels and cut gas emissions blamed for global warming.
Almost nine years of subsidized prices have made Germany the largest market for photovoltaic panels with 17 publicly traded solar companies, and about 40,000 employees, 13 times more than in 2000. While the government says it wants to keep the industry from growing too fast, manufacturers Q-Cells AG and Solarworld AG say that reducing the guaranteed prices will hurt profits and stall the technology's emergence.
"Pressure on margins would be very high," said Anton Milner, chief executive officer of Q-Cells, the world's largest maker of solar cells, in a May 14 interview. "Many smaller German companies would be squeezed out of the market. It's definitely too early for the proposed cuts."
(2 Jun 2008)