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19 responses to “Green Britain Day – Again”

    • The Ville

      Did they bother showing up in Portsmouth this year after last years farce?

    • Damien Ducourty

      Guys I like you a lot, I’m one of your customers and I’m dual citizen (French and British so I feel European even more like a Global Patriot). I support and promote your ventures and initiatives each time I possibly can. But let’s be frank even if I share your disdain about EDF fake posture I will have fight this battle differently. Not with what I see as an outdated habits. I know you’re more clever than that, why fall in EDF trap?

      I think the tit for tat business as usual attitude should disappear from our business ethics.

      Stick to facts is so much more powerful especially against those who try to cover them up.

      Don’t fall for nationalistic posture yourself, it’s ridiculous, even if it’s popular – that’s not the issue – the issue is elsewhere. And if EDF wants to play this card, shame on them, it’s cheap and easy and they don’t respect their customer but goes to exploit their tribal instinct. But you?

      It’s now time to be rethinking these traditional reflex habits.

      If not, the risk is, that EDF will regain more strength by stigmatising you as being the same sort of animal than they are, ready to take the short cuts of populism for business gain.

      Energy, Waste and climate change are issues that you’ve been constantly taking seriously, please continue, don’t let them drag you where there is no room for progress.

      Once again, I understand your disgust about what EDF is trying to project in term of image and the strategy chosen but I’m sorry I think for once you gave the wrong answer.

    • Jonny Holt

      Hello Dale,

      Slightly off topic but prompted by your words “There’s enough cynicism in the world over green initiatives already …” I thought you might like to comment on this article in the Daily Telegraph

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/7840035/Firms-paid-to-shut-down-wind-farms-when-the-wind-is-blowing.html

      Apparently, the thrust of the argument is that wind power is so intermittent that it cannot be absorbed by the grid and “cannot be stored” – their words.

      From an Ecotricity perspective, can you nail this lie – and can you tell us if there are any plans to build a storage infrastructure, under the Ecotricity umbrella or to service the grid as a whole?

      Best regards,

      Jonny.

        • The Ville

          I think storage is an issue and has some way to go yet, but I don’t believe it is needed quite yet.

          There are two UK projects that interest me:

          1. Compressed air energy bags invented by Prof Seamus Garvey. They are large bags held underwater (500m) and pumped with air, hence under high pressure underwater. The only snag I can see is the heat losses from the compressor and the air motor to turn a generator.

          Video here:
          http://www.youtube.com/user/nottinghamscience#p/u/27/UkY2bmBUito

          I think Prof Garvey gives a somewhat misleading quote for the cost in the video. I actually emailed him after seeing the video and the number he quotes is for bags life time, not per 1Mwhr. The actual cost is very cheap.

          2. Isentropic gravel battery. It’s a neat idea that uses cheap and abundant materials, eg pebbles/gravel and Argon gas.

          http://www.isentropic.co.uk/

            • MW

              We don’t really need storage until renewables are a much larger proportion of the grid.

              Fossil fuels are a storage of energy as well as an energy source, we can ‘store’ energy by not burning gas when its windy and then using it when the wind drops.

              When you start to get 10-20% wind you then have much larger variation in spot prices.

              Windmill Boom Cuts Electricity Prices in Europe

              In these cases electric vehicles and heat pumps would become a very useful way of storing this ‘extra’ electricity.

              Large scale energy storage is only really possible in pumped hydro schemes, but these can be uprated (more MW’s but the same MWh’s)

              Another interesting area is very large HVDC grids connecting existing grids across entire continents. One between the UK and Netherlands is under construction at the moment and will be online by 2011.
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BritNed

                • Jonny Holt

                  Hello MW,

                  Your assertion that we do not need storage until renewables are a much larger proportion of the grid seems to be an argument for inertia and inaction. Given that at some time in the relatively near future we need to invest in significant renewable capacity, should we not also invest, at the same time, in storage capacity? Otherwise the perpetual imbalance between renewably generated power and the smaller amount that actually gets used will persist – giving additional ammunition to the anti-wind lobby.
                  Pumped (hydro) storage is a known and reliable technology. I believe it can be coupled to the eternally reliable tidal flow and the marine energy technologies that are becoming feasible for the near future. Use off peak wind to exacerbate the difference in head of water between the open sea and a fleet of tidal lagoons – many in the Bristol Channel instead of the ham-fisted Severn barrier – then the potential for using 100% of all renewably generated electricity becomes entirely practical.
                  Vehicle to grid storage is great in theory but could be difficult in practice if, after a windless night, too many people expect to commute to work as normal, but find that the batteries in their cars have been depleted by the demands of the nation’s toasters.

                  Best regards,

                  Jonny.

                    • MW

                      Jonny, I think we are on the same page we do need to develop storage or at least improve the way supply and demand are balanced by the grid with an aim to using more wind, but it is not as much of an issue as it is made into.

                      The ‘plan’ for dealing with peak fossil fuels / global warming is as far as I can see is to electrify transport, (trains, bikes and cars) improve the efficiency of buildings, heating (insulation, heat pumps and CHP) and lighting (LED’s) and then generate as much low carbon electricity as possible with wind, nuclear and gas.

                      International agreements can start to build a global HVDC grid connecting areas rich in solar, wind, hydro and geothermal resources will be needed eventually, even if nuclear power is rapidly expanded as some people see happening, it would benefit just as much from a much larger grid system.

                      Low head pumped storage using tidal lagoons is a very interesting option too. Some sort of combined tidal defence, artificial reef and renewable energy generating station. You could have them on the start and end points of international HVDC links

        • Angela

          On the storage issue, of course you can’t tell us the plan, because basically you cannot do it in the UK.
          The wind power is only used as an excuse for government subsidies for the turbines. , and more and more people are getting wise to it.
          You are trying to get a permission through at the moment, holding off till the annual holiday so people are away and can’t object to it. Iwant to object, but of course you will probably conveniently “lose ” my email.
          People should read the real(non-massaged) figures on the “effeciency” of wind farms at the Renewable Energy Foundation. (R.E.F) However I feel sure you will not publicise this.
          Our home, land, horses(and therefore business) will be affected by the size, noise and intrusion of your huge great turbines. The peace of our beautiful area will be ruined.
          There are many people who presently use the airspace who will not be able to – hot air balloonists, paragliders, small planes from the closeby local airfield.
          Wind energy is great – but use extremely high altitude large kites which are less expensive to make, much more eco-friendly,far more effective, constant, unobtrusive ,and noiseless.

            • Jonny Holt

              Hello Angela,

              Storage is quite simple – there are many technologies that lend themselves to use in the UK and much work is being done both in this country and abroad to develop them for grid-scale application. Pumped storage has been used successfully for many years.

              Your assertion, “basically you cannot do it in the UK” is about as misguided as your supplementary point about government subsidy for turbines. Compare the cost of ROCs with the many decades of government subsidy for coal and nuclear generation and wind turbines start to look amazingly good value.

              If you want to object to a wind farm, the planning department of your local council is probably the best place to start. I am sure Ecotricity do not have the leverage to “lose” e-mails properly sent there.

              Massaging figures is what the REF does best – better than anyone else, I believe. Efficiency is a concept they are ill-equipped to embrace, given their narrow reference which does not include such variables as commodity price instability, the likely cost of anthropogenic carbon-induced climate change and the price to some other poor soul’s quality of life, having a hulking great nuclear or coal fired monstrosity nearby – but conveniently far away from their homes.

              Your home and land will be positively affected by its relative proximity to wind turbines, as enlightened house-buyers will pay a premium to move close to such a focus of newly acknowledged responsibility for our shared appetites for energy. Your horses, being intelligent in their own way, won’t give a damn. The noise of the turbines will be insignificant – as can be tested very easily by visiting a wind farm. However, the peace of your home will be greatly increased by the disappearance of the noisy incessant buzzing of small planes from your local airfield.

              Wind energy is great, as you so rightly say. The technology is improving all the time but it is only with continuous investment in the short term – in today’s designs – that the momentum can be maintained to move towards the even more efficient and benign, but investment intensive infrastructure that will be needed to power our low carbon future.

              Best regards,

              Jonny.

                • dan W

                  Agree, having visited a windfarm recently I can concur that the noise argument is a red herring. they are totally silent as far as I could tell. Even when there is a field of them. Quite why anyone would object to them on the way they look is beyond me. They are slender and majestic. Not sure if you have ever visited sellafield but I wouldn’t call it majestic in anyway and the looming uncertainty at the prospect of radiactive catastrophe I’m sure doesn’t fill the locals with a sense of ease.

    • The Ville

      Hmm.

      Just watching the Quest TV channel and the EDF advert promoting the 17th of June ‘Green Britain Day’ came up.

      Yes that is 3 days after the non-event.
      Oops someone got the timing wrong.

    • john wilson

      all churches in the country face east to west so the longest roof side faces south wouldit be possible for solar power to be generated using redundant churches ect?

    • eric nueman

      As I read your introduction, I thought of good ol’ English clarity in formulating your vision & goals but especially your company’s enthusiasm and vision towards solving automotive alternatives now instead of later!
      The oil cutoff point in this world’s energy situation is fast running out. Something must be done.
      I believe there will be a Godless AC government established already operating behind the scenes. This form of government will try to control freedom as we know it & individualism.
      Their power will be based on weapons. Their desire to rule globally is set in stone but will ultimately fail in a short time.
      They will have oil based fuel while others will not. The stage is set! How we handle future events will depend on use of what little freedom to do so is left!
      Thanks for the inspiring progress reports to provide positive alternatives for an oil free environment which one day will be totally free of Carbon! — eric in Lux.

    • Jenny

      Hi Dale – im going slightly off topic here but I wanted to know that you would read this.

      We (Save & Generate) are working on behalf of the New Engineering Foundation, a charitable organisation with a mission to improve vocational education.
      As part of the NEF’s programme for providing the educational material required to close the skills gap in order to deliver the Government’s low carbon agenda, we are currently putting together a series of educational events on various sustainable energy topics, aimed at the further education sector. These include, among other things,
      one-day CPD masterclasses for curriculum developers and lecturers in the further and higher education sectors, and these events are held at industrial sites or research centres where delegates can experience current technology and practices used by industry leading companies.

      Knowing Ecotricity’s progressive approach to sustainable energy, and that the next generation of engineers are bound to be important to you, we were wondering if you might like to help us out with the Wind Power part of the series? We have already spoken with Ian Gough of Green Education about this, who has very kindly offered his services and the Green Park turbine as a potential site for the masterclass. However the thing is that the main learning points for engineers about wind turbines focus around their installation and maintenance, and while seeing the Green Park turbine in operation would be a fine demonstration of wind power, to really get an insight into the more technical details of wind turbines, ideally the masterclass should be held at an industrially active site with multiple turbines, where it could be possible to see some maintenance taking place and get a better grasp of the engineering ins and outs.

      We were wondering therefore if Ecotricity might like to be one of our industry partners on this series, and if there is any chance we might hold the Wind Power masterclass at one of your active sites (for example the Bristol Port turbines?). It would be really useful for the participants to get a site tour in the morning and see some points of particular interest, and then the class could go elsewhere, to a nearby conference centre or similar, for the afternoon discussions and presentations.
      Hoping very much to hear from you on this one,
      Jenny