Record breaking wind generation output for the UK
3 December 2013
Over 6000 MW of clean electricity was generated by wind power within the UK for the first time on the 29th November 2013 with an average of 6,004 MW produced during a half an hour period from 14:30 – 15:00, supplying 13.5% of the UK’s total electricity demand. This beat the previous record set in September 2013 by 265 MW.
Wind generation is proving to be a vital asset in providing a supply of power which reduces CO₂ emissions, provides energy security and contributes to the local and national economy. Research shows a consistently high supply of energy, often generating over 13% of the UK’s total demand, which in turn contributes to supplying power to more than 3,410,000 homes. This highlights how wind energy is consistently breaking new records, increasing the supply of energy for both homes and businesses. Not only is the production of green, clean energy diverting away from fossil fuels a positive to wind generation, but record breaking generation also helps to develop the wind energy industry, therefore generating more jobs for people within the renewable energy industry.
Within two months, the record for wind generation was beaten by 265 MW, this suggests that if the investment of renewable energy, especially wind generation increases, the level of renewable energy produced and jobs created will increase rapidly by 2020, helping to provide a solution to decrease CO₂ emissions and provide energy security.
You can find more info HERE.
Wind power sustaining British food and farming
29 November 2013
Today a special event involving RenewableUK, energyshare and food campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is taking place to promote the benefits of onshore wind energy. In particular, celebrating the wind industry’s role in sustaining Britain’s farming communities with a meal where the ingredients are from farms and suppliers powered by wind.
Wind power is a thriving, home-grown industry, breathing life into farms and food producers up and down the country. Many farmers and producers in the UK are turning to wind power to bring down their energy costs, lower their carbon footprint and provide an additional source of much-needed income.
64% of small and medium wind turbines in the UK are installed on farms, and 40% of farmers are now using renewable energy, with 30% of those who have renewable energy choosing wind.
This event takes places this afternoon and more information can be found HERE.
Happy 5th Birthday to the Climate Change Act
26 November 2013
The Climate Change Act is the first legally binding national law committing to cutting greenhouse gases. The Act was given Royal Assent in 2008 and marks its 5th anniversary today. It all began in the early Noughties when a Labour government proved to be way off course of meeting its manifesto promises to cut the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions.
In May 2005, Friends of the Earth launched the ‘big ask’ campaign which pushed for public and scientific concern about climate change. Information from this campaign led to the creation of the Climate Change Act.
More details on this topic can be found HERE.
Prince Charles warned that man-made climate change will increase extreme weather events such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines
21 November 2013
Prince Charles said that the facts and science are inescapable when speaking at a meeting on tropical forests and climate change.
Charles urged businesses to do more to reduce deforestation, which increases carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and accounts for about 20 per cent of greenhouse gases causing global warming, according to experts.
More information can be found HERE.
Concentrations of warming gases break record
7 November 2013
The World Meterological Organization (WMO) have found that there were 393.1ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in 2012, an increase of 2.2ppm over 2011.
They have concluded that atmospheric CO2 grew more rapidly last year than its average rise over the past decade. Alongside this levels of methane and nitrous oxide also broke their previous records for levels occurred in the atmosphere. The main consequence of an increase in these gases if the warming of the climate which has increased by almost a third since 1990.
Michel Jarraud from the WMO stated that "The observations highlight yet again how heat-trapping gases from human activities have upset the natural balance of our atmosphere and are a major contribution to climate change," He then goes on to state that "It is a worry. The more we delay action the bigger the risk we cannot stay under the 2 degree Celsius limit that countries have agreed,"
Since 1750 CO2 levels in the atmosphere have increased to 141% of the pre-industrial concentration of 278 parts per million (ppm); this was above the yearly average of 2.02ppm over the past decade.
Read the full story HERE.
Most holidaymakers don't mind wind farms
4 November 2013
Research by Good Energy carried out in Cornwall has found that wind turbines have little to no impact on tourism with 94 % of visitors saying turbines have no impact on their visit whatsoever. The study involved around 200 hours of face-to-face interviews with around 1,007 holidaymakers across Cornwall.
General Manager at Land’s End David Bryans stated that the findings supported his general experiences with him stating that "Our visitors have to travel through Cornwall to reach us, so they pass a number of wind turbines on the way but not once have I had it raised as an issue,"
Furthermore, Merlin Hyman, chief executive of Regen SW, stated that wind and solar energy could securepower, cut bills and create jobs without "any significant impact on tourism".
Read the full article HERE.
Global emissions of carbon dioxide show first sign of permanent slowdown
1 November 2013
A new report has revealed that 2012 emissions increased at less than half the average over the past decade. Factors including the US shifting to shale gas for energy and China upping it’s hydropower by 23% have been key in this emissions slowdown.
The report found that carbon dioxide emissions reached 34.5 billion tonnes in 2012. The rate of increase in CO2 was 1.4% despite the global economy growing by 3.5%.
More can be found on this report HERE.
70% in favour of wind farms near them
28 October 2013
An independent opinion poll commissioned by the Mail on Sunday, has show that 70% of people surveyed backed wind farms being built by them. There was a clear majority in favour across the political spectrum 60.8% of those intending to vote Conservative, 74.6% of Labour voters, 81.1% of Liberal Democrat voters, and 57.8% of those intending to vote for UKIP saying they would be happy to see wind farms near them.
The survey also asked that if forced to choose between fracking and wind farms in their local area which would you support. From this question the majority (68.1%) answered that they would choose wind farms.
Additionally, the poll found that 51% of people think that the Government is right to spend money on encouraging wind power.
See more by clicking this LINK.
Community Windpower Sign Memorandum of Understanding with Wind Towers (Scotland)
21 October 2013
Following our successful 'Buy Scottish' campaign, Community Windpower are delighted to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Wind Towers (Scotland) for the procurement of turbine towers for our forthcoming consented projects.
These projects were consented in March this year and construction is planned to commence in March 2014 until May 2016; they will feature 50 Scottish towers manufactured by Wind Towers in Campbeltown.
This shows our further commitment to Scottish companies which will secure jobs and increase inward investment in
Rod Wood, Community Windpower's Managing Director said "we are delighted to continue our commitment to Scottish Industry. Over the past 12 months we have contracted with a whole host of Scottish Companies namely RJ McLeod, Scottish Power, Kelburne Construction and Hamilton Tarmac at our recently completed Calder Water project. We support the Government’s policy of direct inward investment on the back of renewables and believe that more should be done by the industry to create long term jobs and economic growth."
Over the years we have purchased 66 tower sections from Campbeltown and are delighted to work with Wind Towers on our next 3 projects in Scotland.
The signing ceremony was also attended by Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Member for Argyll and Bute, who welcomed the commitment shown by Community Windpower. He recognised the work SSE and the team at Campbeltown have undertaken over the past 10 months to turn the business around and is delighted that the business is now expanding and taking on more employees.
Dennis Breugelmans, Managing Director of Wind Towers (Scotland) Ltd, was also delighted with the stance taken by Community Windpower and said,"we have greatly improved the facility here at Campbeltown and are working towards delivering over 400 towers by 2017. This commitment by Community Windpower will help us fulfil this target. We are particularly impressed with Community Windpower’s ‘Buy Scottish’ initiative which recognises that Scottish Companies have the skills and resources to compete with imports from the Far East."
Renewables now provide Scotland with 40% of its power
18 October 2013
Scotland now sources 40% of its electricity from renewable energy sources, with technologies such as wind, solar and tidal all being utilised to best effect. All of these technologies have helped reduce the amount of carbon emissions in the atmosphere.
Michael Fallon (British Energy Minister) highlighted this news in Parliamentary Question’s stating that ‘"Renewables now generate the equivalent of 40 percent of the demand for power from every home and business in the country, support thousands of jobs across Scotland and are making a massive dent in carbon emissions. The sector is delivering exactly what government wants – jobs, investment and lower carbon emissions from our economy."
This high renewable energy generation already meets, or exceeds the UK government targets for 2020; with last year the renewable energy industry produced 14,825 gigawatt hours, displacing around 10.3 million tons of CO2 which is the equivalent of removing 99.1% of carbon emissions produced from every car, bus, lorry and train journey in Scotland.
CEO of Scottish Renewables Niall Stuart went on to state that major wind farm development around the Scottish coastline is still ongoing and stated that "the undisputed champion of wave and tidal energy development, with more wave and tidal stream devices installed in Orkney and the Pentland Firth than anywhere else in the world."
The full article can be found here.
Small and Medium Wind energy crucial for the rural economy
17 October 2013
A report published by RenewableUK shows that 2012 saw an ‘all-time high in the number of people installing small and medium sized wind turbines, as people looked to take advantage of the previous feed-in-tariff system before payments levels were reduced’. A large majority of these turbines have been installed on farms and rural properties; showing that small and medium wind projects is helping to revitalise the rural economy.
The report goes on to state that there has been a large increase in ‘exports of UK built turbines: for every turbine installed here one has also been sold abroad to foreign markets, showing that the UK is a leading player in the sector and is building up a world-leading skills base’. The growth and development within this sector creates fantastic employment opportunities for many with jobs in this sector having a ‘fourfold growth between 2010 and 2012’.
The wind industry can dramatically help to fund rural economies especially in the current economic climate and with jobs also being created projects like these can improve the livelihoods of many.
You can find the full article HERE.
Impacts of Climate Change in the UK
9 October 2013
Temperatures in the UK have risen by about one degree since 1970’s and given the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, more warming is inevitable. The Government’s latest climate change risk assessment identifies flooding as one of the main climate threats for the UK, with extremely wet winters becoming up to 5 times more likely over the next century. Estimates show that annual damages from flooding could increase to between £2 billion and £12 billion by 2080s.
Many more impacts of climate change in the UK can be found by clicking this LINK.
Calder Water almost complete!
CWL are happy to announce that their fourth wind farm site at Calder Water is just one rotor lift away from construction works being completed, which began at the end of July 2013. Calder Water Community Wind Farm will soon have all 13 turbines erected with final commissioning due shortly after.
Look out for more updates.
Scotland's renewables sector displaces record amount of CO2
04 October 2013
According to the UK Government, more than 10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions were displaced by renewable electricity generation in Scotland in 2012.
DECC figures show that an output of 14,825 GWh provides the 24% rise in savings from 8.3 million tonnes of CO2 from the previous year. Scottish Renewables chief executive, Niall Stuart explained that "ten million tonnes is the equivalent of removing 99.1% of carbon emissions generated from every car, bus, lorry and train journey in Scotland".
You can find the full article HERE.
IPPC Report States Humans are the 'Dominant Cause' of Global Warming
30th September 2013
A landmark report released this week by the IPPC states that scientists are 95% certain that humans are the "dominant cause" of global warming since the 1950s.
The report baldly states that, since the 1950s, many of the observed changes in the climate system are "unprecedented over decades to millennia".
Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth's surface, and warmer than any period since 1850, and probably warmer than any time in the past 1,400 years.
A link to the full IPPC report can be found HERE.
Big Leap in Total Electricity Generation Coming from Renewable Sources
27th September 2013
New official Government statistics published today by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that the amount of electricity generated from renewable energy sources reached a new record high of 15.5% of total electricity generation in the second quarter of this year. This is a jump of 5.8% compared with the same period in 2012.
Onshore wind generation was up a massive 70% on the same time last year, while offshore showed an increase of 51%. These increases are due to both the increased capacity onshore and offshore and the higher wind speeds.
Nearly half of the total generation from renewables came from wind (48%).
The full article can be read HERE.
IPCC meet in Sweden to Devise Critical Report on Global Warming.
25th September 2013
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is meeting in Sweden to devise a critical report on global warming. Scientists will aim to gather greater certainty of the role that human activity plays in rising temperatures.
Many governments from around the world are demanding clearer explanations of the ‘slowdown in temperature increases since 1998.’
The current state of climate science in determined from these meetings with researchers worldwide providing studies to produce an overall summary report. The final report hopes to focus on the science underlying changes in temperature in the atmosphere, oceans and the poles. Conclusions will be drawn from the findings of the report into clearer estimates on the scale of global warming and the subsequent impacts on sea levels, glaciers and ice sheets.
The full article can be read HERE
No Adverse Health Effect from Wind Turbines
23 September 2013
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has published a new study with a conclusion that wind turbines do not cause any adverse health effects. The sound of a nearby wind farm does not possess such qualities or volume that it would cause physical symptoms to humans.
These conclusions have been drawn up following a comprehensive literature review covering nearly 50 scientific research articles. The full news article can be read HERE.
UK wind power industry has grown by 70% in 3 years
19 September 2013
Full-time employment in the UK wind power industry has grown by 70% in 3 years. Onshore wind farms now employ 9,900 individuals up from 6,600 in 2010 according to independent researchers. Jobs in offshore wind farms have also grown from 3,100 to 6,800.
When indirect employment is included the report shows a total of 34,300 people rely on industries that barely existed a decade ago, which is predicted to increase further in the future.
You can find more on the topic HERE.
Audit Scotland says that renewable electricity pace needs to pick up
16 September 2013
Audit Scotland have highlighted that the rate of green power projects coming online needs to double to meet renewable energy targets. The report from the auditors explains that Scotland has a clear strategy but meeting the 100% of electricity demand from renewable energy by 2020 target will be challenging.
The report also found that renewable energy projects are progressing more slowly than anticipated due to the economy and changes in UK energy policy. However the government expects renewable energy to deliver up to £30 billion investment and 40,000 jobs.
You can find the full article HERE.
New report on community-owned renewables
13 September 2013
ResPublica have recently published a report, ‘The Community Renewables Economy’, which says that local community groups should be given greater opportunities to get more involved in developing and owning local renewable energy projects such as wind and solar farms.
In the report it shows that there has been a fourteen-fold increase in the amount of community-owned renewable energy projects in the past ten years. The total capacity has grown from 4 Megawatts (MW) in 2003 to almost 60 MW in 2013. The report predicts this to increase even further to 550 MW by 2020.
You can find the full press release HERE.
Overwhelming support shown for wind power
10 September 2013
RenewableUK has recently welcomed an opinion poll carried out by ComRes which once again shows huge support towards wind power from the British public. A massive 67% support wind farms being built in the area they live whilst only 33% were supportive of fracking and 31% supportive of nuclear. These statistics highlight wind power as one of the most popular forms of energy generation.
You can find the full press release with supportive links HERE.
Upsurge of wind in the UK renewable energy mix
30 August 2013
In the first quarter of 2013, wind energy earned a 12.3% in the UK’s renewable energy mix, up by 1% from the previous year (DECC). Figures released today showed that both wind and PV rose 29.8% from 5.3TWh to 6.9TWh whilst hydro fell due to low rainfall.
Coal-fired generation fell by 1.2% and gas-fired generation dipped by 2%, hitting it lowest first-quarter level for at least 15 years.
You can find more statistics on this LINK.
Climate change putting coastal wildlife at risk
27 August 2013
UK coastal species could be significantly affected by climate change according to research by the National Trust.
Puffins and Little Terns are some of the species at risk due to global warming through sea level rise and more frequent stormy weather. Changing ocean temperatures have reduced the numbers of fish available to feed on while summer flooding and storm surges have destroyed some habitats.
The research also highlights that new species are entering the waters off the UK coast as sea temperatures rise, including the invasive grey triggerfish. This indicates a potential effect on local coastal species and emphasises the importance of tackling climate change.
The full article can be found here
Extreme heat waves are expected to be the new norm by 2040
16 August 2013
New research published in the journal ‘Environmental Research Letters’ warns that conditions currently regarded as "extreme" is likely to be the "new normal" throughout summer months. The research predicts that "3-sigma" heat waves (where average monthly temperatures significantly exceed the average over the course of the past century) will become more frequent.
The research goes on to warn that climate after 2040 is dependent upon whether or not the world makes significant efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
You can find more on the topic HERE.
Scotland is an energy exporter
12 August 2013
The director of policy at Scottish Renewables has made comment on an article published about Scotland needing electricity from England because of wind farms. Jenny explained that Scotland currently exports more than it imports, with more than 26% being sent to the rest of the UK.
Electricity will soon be a shared resource across many different countries. For example, Scotland is currently working with Norway to build a massive sub-sea inter-connector to join the two countries’ energy networks.
You can find the full article HERE.
Blenheim Palaces 180,000 pound hydropower scheme
08 August 2013
This £180,000 hydropower scheme is to generate clean energy electricity at the stately home of Blenheim Palace. This renewable scheme is expected to power the equivalent of 18 homes as well as cutting carbon emissions and making the palace one of Britain’s greenest.
The proposed technology is estimated to have a lifespan of 40 years and at least £5,760 savings on energy costs each year (based on current rates).
Blenheim has already installed solar electricity (PV) panels and 40 ground and air source heat pumps for heating across its buildings.
You can find the full article HERE.
Scottish fund to help make homes greener
05 July 2013
A new £3 m fund will help hundreds of people living in fuel poverty to get their own green energy supply, according to the Scottish Government. Interest free loans will help people afford the cost of installing renewable heat and electricity systems.
Up to £10,000 can be borrowed by homeowners to help with the cost of installing devices such as solar panels, micro wind turbines or biomass boilers. The strategy will not only help the environment but can cut energy costs for homeowners; with households also being able to receive payments for supplying electricity to the national grid.
Renewable-heat premium payment vouchers - one-off payments to householders to help them buy green heating technologies - are also available.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: "As well as being a huge help in fighting fuel poverty, this investment will help Scotland become greener.
Mike Thornton, director of Energy Saving Trust in Scotland, said the funding will "help many more households benefit from renewables technology".
To find more, click HERE.
01 August 2013
Yesterday Siemens successfully completed the erection of T14 – the first turbine for the construction of Calder Water Community Wind Farm in South Lanarkshire (see picture above). This stamps a huge milestone for the project. Just another 12 turbines to go!
You can find more on the Calder Water scheme by clicking on our projects page.
UK misses 2011/2012 renewable energy target
31 July 2013
Statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have shown that the UK has missed its 2011/2012 energy target of producing 4% of energy from renewable sources. Provisional figures from the ‘Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics’ (DUKES) released this week shows a rise in renewable energy consumption from 2011 to 2012. According to the report, this was due to ‘significant growth in the contribution of renewable electricity, [whilst] the renewable heating contribution remained constant, but the renewable transport contribution fell’.
To find the full story, press HERE.
First section of Beauly to Denny power line goes live
29 July 2013
After given consent by the Scottish Government two and a half years ago, the first section of the Beauly to Denny power line is switched on. The first section is 137 miles however the entire project is due to be completed in 2014 with an estimated cost of £600m.
The 400,000 volt line triples the capacity of the existing system which would allow for more renewable energy projects.
To find more on this story, click HERE.
The economic time bomb of Arctic change
26 July 2013
Unlike the loss of sea ice, the vulnerability of polar bears and the rising human population, the economic impacts of a warming Arctic are being ignored.
The Arctic is thought to be home to 30% of the world’s undiscovered gas and 13% of undiscovered oil, which attracts many businesses however only few grasp the costliness of the environmental damage.
So far, economic modelling of the impacts of Arctic change on the world’s climate has been limited. Gail Whiteman, Chris Hope and Peter Wadhams published a journal online and stated that:
"We calculate that the costs of a melting Arctic will be huge, because the region is pivotal to the functioning of Earth systems such as oceans and the climate. The release of methane from thawing permafrost beneath the East Siberian Sea, off northern Russia, alone comes with an average global price tag of $60 trillion in the absence of mitigating action — a figure comparable to the size of the world economy in 2012 (about $70 trillion). The total cost of Arctic change will be much higher".
Higher methane levels will only accelerate global warming, which will bring extreme weather, disrupted agricultural systems and much more.
If you would like to access the full journal, then please click HERE.
New Government figures show that wind energy leading the way
25 July 2013
Figures taken from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) annual Digest of UK Energy Statistics shows electricity production from renewable increased 19% from 2011 to 2012. This increase was driven mostly by wind power as electricity from onshore wind farms grew by 17% and 46% from offshore wind.
The figures also showed that the load factor for offshore wind was 33.7% which is 3.3% higher than the load factor for Gas this confirming the importance of wind in the electricity mix.
To find all of the statistics in full detail, please click HERE.
Renewable voyage has raised thousands for charity
23 July 2013
A 55 year old man has sailed around Britain using only renewable energy and has raised thousands in aid of five charities. Alan Rankin from Ullapool began the ‘Trade Winds Solo Round Britain Challenge’ on 6th June, travelled 2500 miles and tackled some of the challenging waters in the world and completed his mission this weekend. He also ran 10 km in every port he stopped at.
He undertook this challenge to raise awareness for Parkinson’s UK, Cancer Research UK, MS Society, British Heart Foundation and Ocean Youth Trust Scotland (OYTS) all charities which are all very much close to his heart.
To find the full story, click HERE.
People in the UK show overwhelming support for renewables
17 July 2013
A new survey funded by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) has revealed that 82% of people are worried that the UK is becoming too dependent on energy from other countries. The report showed that around four in five people are worried and that they would like to see a reduction in fossil fuels.
Out of the 2,441 people questioned, 74% claimed they were very or fairly concerned about climate change. Support was shown for both solar and wind technologies as well as reducing their personal energy use. In contrast, over half of the poll said that they would oppose to the building of a new nuclear power station in their area.
The results of the survey suggest that the public are therefore in favour of energy efficiency and protecting the environment. However, both the Government and energy companies are deemed untrustworthy, which could hamper the energy system and the investment needed.
To see the full article, please click HERE.
Nuclear decommissioning – A significant challenge, a golden opportunity
The decommissioning of nuclear plants is a long-term process taking place over a significant time span; this however provides a sustained outsourcing opportunity.
Most of the progress in the UK is being made at the Magnox sites which form part of the original fleet of commercial nuclear reactors. According to the 2012 Magnox Plan, expenditure on preparations for care and maintenance (C&M) of the sites between 2013 and 2020 will total £3.2 billion, averaging £400 million a year. Although relatively small compared with the new-build nuclear programme (valued at £100 billion a year), decommissioning creates employment opportunities.
Early stages of decommissioning are crucial as significant delays and over spending can occur as a result of over-ambitious schedules and inaccurate hazard categorisation. Additionally there is a lot of uncertainty with regards to radioactive waste.
You can find the full article HERE.
UK renewables hit record 12.4 TWh
12 July 2013
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have stated that UK electricity generation in the first quarter of 2013 was up 10% on the same period in 2012; reaching a record of 12 TWh!
More figures released today show that renewables’ contribution to electricity generation is now 12.3%, a rise of 1% from 2012.
Bioenergy claimed the largest share with 34% while onshore wind was a close second with 32% and offshore wind 20%. Onshore wind in particular saw a 13% rise to 4 TWh.
You can find more statistics HERE.
100 Percent Renewable Electricity for Scotland – Ambitious but Achievable
In 2010 Scotland generated almost 50,000 GWh of electricity, 19% of which came from renewable such as large-scale hydro and wind power. This meant that 80% more was needed in just 10 years.
Scotland has some of the highest wind and wave potential in the world; all that is needed is investment and political will.
The real challenge of the target is reducing demand. Between 2008 and 2009 Scotland’s total energy consumption fell by 7.4% however it is likely that demand is falling more slowly. Scotland’s per capita energy consumption has historically been higher than that of the rest of UK due to demand from industry, commerce and Scotland’s poorer-quality housing stock.
To meet the emissions reduction target in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act, the Scottish Government will need to oversee nationwide shift to electric and renewable heating for homes and industry; no small task.
You can find the full article HERE.
Additionally, visit one of our BeGreen Energy Advice Centre’s to see if you can have a more energy efficient home, thus reducing your demand!
A Solar Powered Aircraft Completes a Cross Country Trip
08 July 2013
This Saturday, a solar-powered aircraft landed in New York, completing a history making, cross country trip from California that began in May. The 'Solar Impulse' touched down in the John F Kennedy International Airport at 11.09 pm and was powered by some 11,000 solar cells on its over-sized wings.
Pilot Andre Borschberg said "it was a huge success for renewable energy".
You can find the full story HERE.
Hip Hip Array!
05 July 2013
Prime Minister, David Cameron, makes a speech at the official opening of world’s largest offshore wind farm in London Array. Cameron said:
"This is a great day for Britain and a big win for renewable energy. London Array shows you can build large scale renewable energy projects right here in Britain. This is because when it comes to clean energy, the UK has one of the clearest investment climates globally".
The 175 turbine scheme at London Array, situated in the outer Thames Estuary, became fully operational in April 2013. The installed capacity of the project is 630 megawatts (MW), which is enough clean energy to power nearly half a million homes; the equivalent to two thirds of the homes in Kent. This much green energy production has the potential of saving 900,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.
15 million pounds provided for rural renewable projects
01 July 2013
The UK government has launched a £15 million fund to help fund renewable projects in rural areas of England. The Rural Community Energy Fund will help finance feasibility studies and costs related to submitting a planning application.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have said that the fund could support projects including wind, solar, biomass, heat pumps, anaerobic digestion, gas-combined heat and power, and hydro.
Applications will be considered for areas with a population <10,000 people. DECC said that communities that take a loan and are successful with their renewable project will pay a 45% set premium which will be rolled back into the fund, giving more communities the opportunity to apply.
You can find the full article HERE.
Wind farm operators provide £5 million a year in community benefits
Scottish communities are now receiving £5 million a year from wind farm operators according to the Scottish Government’s register of community benefits.
Scottish Renewables’ Senior Policy Manager Joss Blamire said ‘it’s fantastic to see that onshore wind developers are working directly with communities to provide local causes in Scotland with more than £5 million in voluntary funding every year’. The amount communities receive is likely to increase with the development of new wind farm schemes in Scotland.
The full article can be found HERE
UKs nuclear clean-up programme to cost billions more than expected
24 June 2013
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has been charged with overseeing the dismantling of Britain’s network of atomic power and research stations predict that the lifetime cost of the programme has risen by billions of pounds.
These costs will alarm industry critics at a time the government is trying encourage the construction of a new generation of atomic power plants whilst plans to construct a permanent home for high-level radioactive waste are stalled.
THE NDA estimated a cost of £49 billion to clean up nuclear waste in their 2010 annual report. This figure grew to £53 billion in the 2011 report and is expected to be even higher for the 2012 report.
Many criticisms have been made for example The National Audit Office suggested that the final clean-up cost at Sellafield alone could eventually reach £67.5 billion.
You can find more on this HERE.
Renewable Energy for a Bright Future
Renewable energy is key for a green and economic future according to 76% of the UK public, a report on Attitudes to UK Industry has found. In order to ensure this, many of those surveyed support initiatives and investment plans for the renewable energy industry.
In contrast, only 20% of those who took part in the survey believed that new approaches to fossil fuels will reduce energy prices and push renewables out of the market.
The report also found that 61% of the public support the view that Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) skills should be prioritised in schools and colleges.
The full report can be found HERE
Support for Renewable Energy Projects
51% of the public believe the Government should support further construction of renewable energy projects, a survey by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers has found. The poll also shows 31% of people favour onshore wind farms as a means to increase energy security in the UK, in contrast to 8% favouring gas-fired power stations.
The research also highlights significant public concern regarding energy in the UK. 64% of those surveyed have concerns about possible blackouts and 93% are concerned about higher electricity and gas bills.
Investment in energy also featured in the survey with 33% of the public confirming that they would consider investing in small-scale community renewable energy projects and 25% would consider investing in Energy Bonds to contribute to large scale energy infrastructure projects.
The full article can be found HERE
Scottish targets for climate change missed
10 June 2013
Scotland has failed to meet its climate change targets for the second consecutive year. A greenhouse gas report for 2011 proves that emissions narrowly exceeded the official target.
The Scottish Government explained that statistics were showing that they were on track to reach their target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2020. Provisional figures demonstrated 39% of electricity in Scotland comes from renewable sources.
Scotland’s Climate Change Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said that he was disappointed that Scotland had not reached its target in carbon terms however they had reached it in percentage terms with a 25.7% reduction between 1990 and 2011.
More information can be found HERE.
This article highlights that more needs to be done in order to push towards a low carbon economy.
Turbines to power trains
07 June 2013
ScotRail have been granted planning permission for two turbines to be installedata train depot in West Lothian to help power the trains. The turbines will generate around 14,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity which is enough to power a small train station.
ScotRail’s managing director, Steve Montgomery, said "we are pleased to receive planning approval for these two turbines, which will have a positive impact on the environment and help us save money for use in further exciting eco-friendly projects".
This is a great way to push towards a carbon free economy. If you would like to read more on this article, click HERE.
The UK has signed up to the Renewables Club in order to promote green energy
Greg Barker, the Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change singed the UK up to the new international Renewables Club on Saturday (1st June 2013) with the main aim of promoting renewable energy. The UK has joined the likes of Germany, China, France and India in signing up.
Along with promoting green energy the group will also help the International Renewable Energy Agency in the work they do.
For more informationclick HERE.
UKs huge savings from low carbon
A recent report by the Committee of Climate Change (CCC) claimed that investment during the 2020’s in a portfolio of technologies including renewables would save British consumers up to £45 billion ($68 billion).
For more informationclick HERE.
China soon approaching peak CO2 emissions
China’s National Development and Reform Commission (CNDRC) is currently delving looking at an accelerated timetable which shows the Country’s greenhouse gases will soon peak. One expert source believes this could be as soon as 2025!!
China is in its 13th five year plan which sets out targets for carbon and energy intensity per unit of GDP however the CNDRC are now looking to implement a target for the country’s CO2 emissions for the first time.
China’s State Council set a target of limiting the total annual primary energy consumption to the equivalent of 4 billion tonnes of coal equivalent by 2015. Although there has been major scepticism as to whether this is possible.
To find more information on this, click HERE.
The Committee on Climate Change argue that low-carbon energy costs less than gas!
A report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) which has been published today outlines that investing in low-carbon energy is cheaper than gas, in the long-term. The report makes recommendations to the UK Government to improve conditions for investment in the UK power sector. The report is unique as it looks far beyond 2030 in its forecasting. It argues that investment into low-carbon energy will pay dividends by the next decade and beyond whereas gas is continuously suffering from unpredictable price volatility.
More on this can be found HERE.
Impact of climate change being felt on a global scale
2012 saw over 32 million people displaced worldwide as a result of climate disasters according to the International Displacement Monitoring Center. Climate change displacement from disasters such as floods and earthquakes particularly affected India, west and central Africa as well as parts of Asia. The impact of climate change is also being felt elsewhere with over 1.3 million people being displaced in richer countries such as the USA.
More details can be found HERE.
Scotland Islands could help UK to achieve renewable energy targets
The Scottish Islands Renewable Project, a government-commissioned report unveiled that the Scottish Islands could create more than 10,000 jobs within the renewable energy industry by 2030.
The report highlights that there are serious challenges linked to transmission costs but there are, on the other hand, many benefits such as reducing fuel poverty and halting a declining population in the Western Isles.
Full details on the report can be found HERE.
Climate Change Disrupting Ducks!
Three species of migratory ducks have shifted their wintering grounds northwards in response to increasing temperatures. Numbers of the tufted duck, goosander and golden eye are common in the UK during winter however numbers have shrunk in the last 30 years.
Global Change Biology have found that many species now stop short on their annual journey and remain in their summer grounds for most of the year.
2010 numbers in Sweden and Finland showed 130,000 more in 2010 than in 1980, accounting for a 45-60% decline in Britain. This huge shift is due to the increasingly warmer European winters.
This movement will have implications and designated areas of protection may become redundant.
These findings only add to the importance to tackle climate change as well as international bird and wildlife monitoring.
The full article can be read HERE.
Carbon Dioxide reaches 400 parts per million!
For the first time in human history, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has passed the milestone level of 400 parts per million (ppm). When greenhouse gases were this high several million years ago, the Arctic was ice-free, Savannah spread across the Sahara desert, and sea levels were 40 metres higher than today!
These conditions are expected to return which would result in severe consequences for civilisation unless emissions of CO2 from burning fossil fuels are drastically cut back. The International Energy Agency warned in 2012 that based on current emission trends the world could see a 6oC temperature rise, a level that scientists believe dangerous.
The full article can be found HERE.
Acidification of the Arctic Ocean
According to new studies the Arctic seas are becoming more acidic due to the release of carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide (CO²) is a gas harmful to the earth’s atmosphere and it is now a well-known fact that CO² warms the planet but this gas makes the naturally alkaline seas more acidic through absorption of the gas.
There is a dual effect CO² is having in the Arctic. Through warming of the atmosphere, polar ice is melting at a rate never seen before and the freshwater from the melting ice is dispersing into the Arctic waters. The absorption of CO² occurs at a faster rate in colder, freshwater environments therefore the Arctic Ocean is at increased risk of acidification.
Many ocean dwelling creatures are due to be affected by this acidification, including valuable fish for human use. Scientists have forecast major changes in the marine ecosystems but it is unknown what is due to happen and what any changes may be.
The tipping point has passed for acidification of the Arctic oceans. If the release of CO² was to stop now, acidification would still carry on for thousands of years and CO² emissions will not be stopping anytime soon. It has been estimated that the average acidity of the surface waters across the entire world is now 30% higher than before the industrial revolution started in 1760. The marine ecosystems are due to change as a result. Some species may be harmed by the increased acidity but others may thrive from it. Adult fish may be somewhat resilient to the acidity but the development of fish eggs might be harmed.
Scottish Renewable Energy Targets Ahead of Schedule
Scottish Government targets for community and local ownership of renewable energy projects are ahead of schedule, official figures show. Scotland has a target to generate 500 MW of energy from community renewable technologies by 2020.
40% of this 500 MW target (200 MW) has now been reached with the projects providing power to the National Grid and local communities. The results show over 5000 renewable energy projects in Scotland are under community and local ownership.
The full article can be found HERE.
Public Support for Renewable Energy Continues to Grow
82% of the public support renewable energy sources, a survey by DECC has found. The latest Public Attitudes Tracker results show a rise from 79% in public support since the previous survey. The study also shows strong support for onshore wind power with 68% supporting this form of renewable energy.
The research, however, also highlighted public concern surrounding energy. 88% of the public have concerns regarding energy security with 79% concerned about the UK becoming too dependent on energy imports. An increasing number of people surveyed felt that the UK is also not investing in alternative energy sources fast enough to address energy security issues.
Despite these concerns, there is still strong support for a mix of energy sources in the UK to ensure energy supply reliability.
The full article can be found HERE
Wind farm policy to protect rural areas
Scottish ministers are proposing to protect areas of wilderness land in Scotland under changes to wind farm policy. Under the new proposals, approximately 28% of Scotland’s landscape will be designated as ‘wild land’ using guidance maps from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) including areas in the north and west Highlands and areas of Tayside.
It is expected that these changes to wind farm planning policy will create a better balance between wind turbine approvals and the protection of designated wild land in Scotland.
The full article can be found HERE.
Positive Predictions for Renewable Energy Investment
Investment into renewable energy is predicted to rise significantly by 2030 due to falling costs and more widespread deployment of green technologies according to a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).
BNEF predicts that annual global investment into renewable energy is set to reach £412.6bn by 2030, resulting in a threefold increase on 2012 figures. The report identifies the falling costs of core renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar power as a main factor for the growth of investment into renewables as they increasingly compete with fossil fuels.
The BNEF also predicts that wind power will account for 30% of global new energy generation capacity by 2030 with renewable technologies overall accounting for 69 – 74 % of new capacity.
More information can be found HERE
UK CO₂Emissions Warning
The UKs total CO₂ emissions have increased, according to a new report from the Climate Change Committee (CCC). The rise in emissions is due to the UK importing goods that produce CO₂ in other countries. The report states that the UK is currently second in a list of countries with the highest imported ‘embodied’ emissions.
Carbon emissions produced in the UK, however, continue to fall with 20% less CO₂ being produced over the last two decades. Despite this, the additional imported emissions have led to an overall trend of CO₂ levels rising by 10%. The CCC report recommends that the UK should continue focusing on reducing emissions produced at home and supporting international efforts to reduce CO₂ in order to address the issue of imported emissions.
More information can be found HERE.
Closure of Coal-Fired Power Stations
A report by Carbon Connect, an independent cross-party forum has called for energy generation from coal to be minimised in the UK. Britain’s coal-fired power stations should continue to close in order for the Government to meet its carbon reduction targets.
The report states that gas power stations have less environmental impact than coal-fired ones and should continue to be used to provide additional capacity alongside sustainable electricity supplies as renewable capacity continues to increase.
The report also suggests that the prospects for shale gas are "highly uncertain and unlikely to give the UK cheap gas" and concludes that the Government needs to ensure a diverse energy mix. It recommends that there is greater investment in low carbon and renewable energy capacity towards 2030.
Find the full article HERE.
Back to Black
It has been a bad week for efforts to develop green energy around the world!
The International Energy Agency (IEA) released a new report explaining how progress towards low carbon energy production has stalled. In the report, statistics such reveal that the average unit of energy produced is as dirty as it was 20 years ago.
The agency utilises a complex intensity index which showed that 2.39 tonnes of CO2 was being released for every tonne of oil produced in 1990, which only reduced to 2.37 tonnes in 2010. The main reason for this small reduction being down to the resurgence of coal; coal fired electricity generation rose by 6% from 2010 to 2012 which is faster than any non-fossil energy.
China accounted for 46% of global coal demand in 2011, Europe has seen a return to coal in the last few years and the US has turned to shale gas, meaning there are many players returning to fossil energy.
However, it is not all bad. Renewable technologies such as solar and wind power boomed in 2011 and 2012 accounting for 19% of global electricity generation in 2011. In order to bring carbon emissions down dramatically, countries need to be looking to these technologies as opposed to fossil fuels for electricity.
To see the full article, click HERE.
British Children are worried about Climate Change
A new survey undertaken by UNICEF has shown that three quarters of children aged between 11 and 16 are deeply concerned about the impact climate change and would like the government to do more to tackle the threat. More than two thirds of the children were also worried about how climate change will affect people in developing countries.
This survey has come to light alongside the argument of removing the debate of climate change from the national curriculum for under-14’s geography classes which came about from a 65,000 strong petition to the Department for Education.
Almost 100 environmental figures such as David Attenborough have been interviewed about the removal of climate change from the curriculum. Attenborough states "This is both unfathomable and unacceptable. Today's children are tomorrow's custodians of nature". To view the full article, click HERE.
Climate change is a serious environmental issue that will affect the entire globe. It is therefore very important for children to learn about the matter so that they are informed and prepared for the potential impacts that are likely to become worse in the future.
Ice melt at its highest level for 1000 years!
For the first time, scientists have been able to show that increasing temperatures from 1960’s have caused 10 times more ice melt than in medieval times.
Since 1960’s, the Antarctic Peninsula has seen the most extreme global warming with a temperature rise of approximately 2.5oC, which is five times the global average. The new study found that although the peninsula has been melting since the 1400’s, the area has been more susceptible to warmer climates since 1960’s.
The average increase in temperatures between 1400’s and late 20th century is 1.6oC. Additionally, 0.5% was the annual amount of snow that melted and refroze 600 years ago in comparison to 5% annual snow melt today. These statistics highlight how the effects of climate change are accelerating.
Climate scientists have said that any attempt to predict exactly what climate change will do to the frozen continent will be extremely difficult. They believe that understanding and accuracy can be sourced from learning what has happened in the past.
You can find more information HERE.
Consequences of Climate Change
Earlier this week, it was published how climate change is having an impact upon the jet stream which in turn is causing unpredictable and extreme weather in the UK.
Now scientists warn that the changing characteristics of the jet stream could cause more turbulence for planes. Climate change is not only heating up the earth’s surface but it is also destabilising the winds. Increased turbulence poses the risk of injuring passengers, causing structural damage, costing money, and potentially flight detours which would increase fuel consumption. Chances of experiencing significant turbulence by the middle of the century will increase by between 40% and 170%.
Scientists say that turbulence will be stronger and occur more often if carbon dioxide emissions double by 2050 as the International Energy Agency forecasts.
In order to prevent the consequences of climate change, carbon and renewable energy targets need to be taken seriously. Just one 3 MW wind turbine could displace approximately 3,390 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Technologies such as wind power can make a huge contribution towards a low carbon economy therefore these technologies need to be supported and promoted.
To find the full story, click HERE.
Greenest Government MUST put climate on the G8 agenda
On Wednesday the G8 group will be holding a meeting whereby the threat presented by Iran and North Korea is on the agenda but the danger of climate change is not. David Cameron’s advisor for Europe and global issues has recently blocked moves from Germany and France to make climate change a G8 agenda item.
According to the International Energy Agency, the world has just four years to implement the changes necessary to avoid a temperatures increase above 2oC which scientists have considered "dangerous".
In two and a half years time, world leaders will meet in Paris to generate a global deal to ensure such temperatures increases do not happen.
Countries in every continent are have now launched or are considering a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system. In addition to New Zealand and Japan's systems which are already under way, Russia, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, Chile, Costa Rica and Mexico all announced plans in the last year.
The UK however, has raised concerns due to blocking efforts to introduce a target to decarbonise the UK’s power sector by 2030 and George Osborne opposing a new renewables target to replace the current one which will expire in 2020.
You can find the full article HERE.
In order to stop temperature increases, climate change must be addresses on a local, regional, national and global level. To tackle climate change, low carbon technologies and renewable energy must be continuously pushed.
Coldest Easter Sunday on Record
Last week British weather excelled itself and presented the coldest Easter Sunday ever to be recorded in the UK. Temperatures remained below Zero in many areas which is causing transport disruptions, increasing threats to the survival of animal and bird habitats and climate change. The start of the British summer time last Sunday saw temperatures as low as -11oC.
Our weather is becoming extremely unpredictable with last winter bringing severe drought which triggered the Environment Agency to announce warnings of potential water rationing and hose pipe bans. Meteorologists are pinpointing the changing behaviour of the jet stream as the issue, a narrow band of strong winds travelling between the tropics and the Arctic. In recent years it has been observed that the jet stream is slowing which traps regions of high or low pressure in the same parts of the globe. As to the reason for this change in the jet stream's flow, more and more meteorologists now point to global warming, more precisely the warming of the Arctic.
More and more meteorologists and scientists are explaining how weather in the UK is only predicted to become more unpredictable and extreme as a result of human activities and global warming. It is becoming evidently clear that companies and communities need to be aiming towards a low carbon economy, which can be tackled through renewable energy.
To find the full article, click HERE.
1.5 Billion Renewable Energy Investment in 2012
Investment for renewable energy in 2012 doubled in response to an additional 1GW generated by new projects. This raised the country’s total installed capacity to 5.8GW, while the investments in the industry during 2011 were £575 million. The electricity generated in 2012 was around 14,600GWh, which was enough to power all the homes across the nation.
You can find the full article HERE.
Record Year for Scottish Renewable Energy in 2012
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) released a report which stated that 14,600 Gigawatt hours (GWh) were generated in Scotland from renewables such as wind and hydro. Wind power for 2012 alone was 8,296 GWh which is 19% higher than 2011 and more than four times the level in 2006.
By the end of 2012, there was 5,883 MW of installed renewable electricity capacity which is an increase of 22% from the end of 2011. Overall, Scotland generated 7% more renewable electricity in 2012 than it did in the previous year.
For more on this, please find the full article HERE.
Record Breaking Day for Wind Power!
For the first time on record, UK wind energy has generated over 5 gigawatts of electricity consistently over a 24 hour period (starting on 21ST March 2013 at 21:30). The electricity produced during this 24 period was enough to power the equivalent of 4 out of every 10 British homes and supply 10% of all Great Britain’s overall electricity needs.
On top of this achievement, the record for one-off electricity generation in a half hour period was created. 5.296 gigawatts of wind power was present on the grid at 15:30 on the 22nd March, alongside another anticipated 2 gigawatts from distributed wind.
Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive of RenewableUK summarises "that wind is a stable and reliable source of power generation on the scale we need, when we need it most."
The full article can be read here.
WIND ENERGY CONTINUES TO GROW AND THE COSTS REMAIN LOW
Renewable energy under the Renewables Obligation (RO) provided over 10% of the UK’s power in 2011 to 2012. A new report by Ofgem states that onshore and offshore wind accounted for nearly 59% of renewable generation in 2011-2012 which was fundamental in pushing renewable energy over the 10% milestone for the first time.
The report also reveals that wind costs 2.66p per household per day and less than £10 a year on the average bill. Evidence shows that consumer bills were rising as a result of fluctuations in gas prices, not the cost of renewable energy. Ofgem’s report has been published within the same week as warnings were made that the UK gas supplies are running low, which increases the risk of dependency on expensive imports which is the initial reason for increased consumer bills.
The Director of Policy for RenewableUK, Dr Gordon Edge, highlighted that whilst wind energy continues to grow, the costs remain low. He stated that "Anyone who cares about stabilising consumer bills should support investment in clean energy and getting us off the hook of imported fossil fuels".
Wind energy is therefore helping the UK towards a low carbon economy, stable consumer bills, and increased employment opportunities.
The view the full report by Ofgem, click HERE.
Concerns over climate change targets!!
The Scottish Government has been urged to improve its approach to climate change targets and to promote a "step-change" in public attitudes to climate change by four parliamentary committees. Many committee members pointed out the need for society to work together as behavioural change could play an important role in Scotland achieving future climate change targets.
It was mentioned that carbon emission targets were missed in 2010 which was due to bad weather and the increased energy demand. The UK is currently experiencing bad weather again as well as power station closures which means it is at risk of missing targets once more.
In order for these concerns to be dismissed, more focus on sustainable living is required, from the individual on the domestic level in addition to encouraging the manufacture and operation of more low carbon technologies to source power.
To read the full story, click here.
MANY HAPPY TO HAVE LARGE SCALE WIND FARMS AS A NEIGHBOUR
According to a poll commissioned by Scottish Renewables, almost two thirds (62%) of Scottish people are happy to host large scale wind projects in their local council area. Support for wind power is almost twice as high as the support for nuclear power plants (32%) and significantly higher than support for shale gas drilling (24%).
69% explain how their decision to visit an area within Scotland would not be swayed by the presence of a wind farm and 76% would like to see most of their electricity from low carbon sources.
This poll shows how wind power is being recognised as a reliable low-carbon energy source and more people are happy to have them close by.
You can find the full article here.
Also you can show your support for renewable energy this Saturday by turning your lights off for an hour at 8.30 pm for WWF’s Earth Hour. Find more details on our news page.
2013 SCI-FEST SUCCESS
Community Windpower are delighted to announce that this weekend’s Dunbar Sci-Fest was extremely successful; it was a very well attended event with people of all ages joining in the fun activities. We would like to thank all of you who came along to our stand. We had a fantastic amount of entries to the ‘draw your own turbine’ competition which will be very difficult to judge as they are all very good but the winners will be announced shortly.
Provisionally, the event attracted around 3,575 visitors with more people arriving on the Saturday. This figure does not include the Education Programme numbers which is anticipated to boost the total visitors to over 6,000! Photos taken at the festival can be found in today’s national papers – see page 2 of the Scotsman and hopefully in today’s Edinburgh Evening News.
DONT MISS DUNBAR SCI-FEST 2013 THIS WEEKEND!
Community Windpower Limited (CWL) is delighted to be one of the main sponsors of the Dunbar Science Festival this weekend on Saturday 16th March and Sunday 17th March. CWL is sponsoring the main marquee and will be attending the event on both days. With over 40 exhibitors visiting Dunbar, the festival is hoping to attract over 4,000 visitors.
Come and join in the fun:
It will take place in Dunbar Primary School’s John Muir Campus and also at Dunbar’s recently opened, Bleachingfield Community Centre which is next to the school between 10 am to 5 pm (on both days).
Activities at the Bleachingfield Community Centre are free with the University of Edinburgh’s Scottish Science and Technology Roadshow "SCI-FUN" taking over the two halls for the weekend with 50 interactive science activities. Dunbar library is also supporting SciFest and will open all day Saturday with storytelling and craft activities.
The Gibb Room in Dunbar library will host three evening events for adults:
1. Dunbar conservation
2. Forensic Fiction
3. Cafe scientifique
More activities for under 5s are available this year which will be in the School’s Special Needs Unity, "the Cove" with a soft play area, enclosed garden and storytelling sessions.
It is a year on year event that has been nationally recognised for its success, winning the National Science and Engineering Week Best Community Event in 2012 and being shortlisted with other East Lothian festivals in Creative Scotland’s Creative Places Awards last year.
Prices the same as 2012: £10 for a family (2 adults and up to 5 children from the same family), £15 for a family weekend ticket or £3 for an adult and £2 for a child. Both SCI-FUN and Dunbar library events at the Blechingfield Community Centre are free!
You can find out more on the Dunbar SciFest App or on the website HERE.
So DON’T MISS OUT!
SCOTLAND PRAISED ON EMISSION TARGETS
An independent report, by the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC), points out how well Scotland is doing with reference to emission reduction targets. Scotland’s goal is to cut carbon emissions by 42% by 2020. At present, Scotland is leading the UK on renewable power with 36% of electricity sourced from renewable energy, exceeding the 31% target. The report praises Scotland for numerous green developments such as setting long term decarbonisation targets, doubling insulation rates, Zero Waste policies, tree planting and peat restoration.
On the other hand, the CCC also highlight that the Scottish Government need to do more. Scotland missed its 2012 annual target by 2%; however this could have been a result of the extremely cold winter which triggered higher energy demand within the residential sector. As the UK weather patterns are constantly changing, energy demand will no doubt follow suit therefore it is important that Scotland and the rest of the UK continuously push and achieve renewable and emission reduction targets.
For more information on this story please click HERE.
Community Windpower confirm £1billion investment in Scotland
A £1 billion investment is in store for Scotland through onshore wind farm projects within Community Windpower’s portfolio.
Scottish focused wind farm operator Community Windpower Ltd have today confirmed that through their 7 operational and consented wind farms totalling 276 MW of installed electricity generating capacity and over 700MW which is under development, the UK company will invest £1 billion into the Scottish economy.
The 7 operational and consented wind farms, located in Scotland in North Ayrshire, East Lothian, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway, would in total meet the energy needs of over 158,000 homes providing a carbon saving of over 311,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum which would otherwise be emitted from fossil-fuelled power stations.
Community Windpower Ltd received planning permission for their most two recent sites, Sanquhar Community Wind Farm, in Dumfries and Galloway; and Aikengall II – Wester Dodd Community Wind Farm in East Lothian on 27th February and 1st March respectively. A further 8 wind farms are in the planning pipeline, awaiting consent.
Involvement with local communities is the key focus of Community Windpower Ltd. Since 2006, the Company has donated £1.5million to local communities surrounding their wind farms through various community benefits. This funding will continue for the 25 year lifetime of each project, with community benefit packages tailored to the needs of each local community.
Work to date in the local community has involved the creation and operation of BeGreen Energy Advice Centres – a unique initiative developed Community Windpower Ltd to help local communities to reduce carbon emissions, reduce fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency. In addition to this, emphasis is also paid to education with work placements and apprenticeship provided by the Company, the employment of an Educational Ranger and the creation of working partnership with local schools to provide them with educational and financial support.
Rod Wood, Managing Director of Community Windpower Ltd, said "We’re delighted with the two consents from the Scottish Government and Dumfries & Galloway Council. The renewable industry in Scotland is a key driver to maintain economic growth in unprecedented economic times.
We are championing investment in Scotland, partnering Scottish companies and local communities, delivering the recognised investment of £5,000 per MW per annum. I am pleased that our operating and consented projects will deliver £5million per annum in community benefits and rates in Scotland".
5.5 PER CENT OF UK ENERGY FROM WIND
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have now published the UK Energy Statistics for 2012. The publication shows a significant increase of wind output which was 33% from the previous year. Wind generation contributed 4.0% of the UK’s energy in 2011 which grew to contribute 5.5% in 2012. Wind energy is growing quickly and is making a great impression on the energy mix as the UK push for a low carbon economy. UK wind now has the ability to power more than 4.5 million homes and to displace more than 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year.
This new contribution makes the UK a quarter of the way to reaching its 2020 target of obtaining 20% of its electricity through renewable sources therefore it is important that wind energy continues to grow quickly in order to confirm achievement.
TWO WIND FARMS CONSENTED IN TWO DAYS
Sanquhar Community Wind Farm - 27th February 2013
Aikengall II - Wester Dod Community Wind Farm - 1st March 2013
Community Windpower Ltd are absolutely overjoyed after receiving planning consent for two wind farms, totalling 118.4 Megawatts (MW), in the space of two days.
Sanquhar Community Wind Farm, a 12 turbine scheme located in Dumfries and Galloway, was consented by an unanimous decision on Wednesday 27th February by Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Planning Committee Members. An initial inward investment in the region of £50 million will be reinforced with further annual investment of around £2 million.
Community Windpower are also delighted to announce that the Aikengall II – Wester Dod planning application was granted consent by the Scottish Ministers on Friday 1st March, adding a seventh wind farm to Community Windpower’s portfolio. The 68.4 Megawatt wind farm comprises 19 turbines and will form a natural extension to the existing Aikengall Community Wind Farm, located 11 kilometres south of Dunbar in East Lothian.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:
"The Aikengall II wind farm will create jobs both in its construction and during its lifetime, as well as having the capacity to supply more than 32,000 homes with renewable electricity and displace around 77,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
"The development will lead to £98 million of capital investment, mostly spent in Scotland."
The two wind farms together will deliver substantial generation of clean, green renewable energy, enough to power over 60,000 homes, and will significantly contribute towards the Scottish Government’s 100% renewable energy target by 2020.
Overall, the two projects will provide significant investment in the region of £275 million into the Scottish Economy during their 25 year operation.
Community Windpower are committed to delivering sizeable community benefits for each of the schemes and will provide annual funding of £5,000 per MW of installed capacity to the local communities surrounding the wind farm developments.
Community Windpower now have a total of seven operational and consented wind farms throughout Scotland, comprising 286.4 Megawatts.
BREAKING NEWS: Sanquhar Community Wind Farm granted planning permission by Dumfries & Galloway Council
Community Windpower Limited (CWL) is pleased to announce that we have now been granted planning permission for our 6th wind farm, Sanquhar, on 27th February 2013. With this development, CWL now have a total of 204 megawatts (MW) approved clean, green energy which is the equivalent of 68 turbines. 40% of this total is already operational at our Dalry, Millour Hill and Aikengall wind farms with the remaining 60% consented and/or in construction.
PUBLIC SHOW SUPPORT FOR RENEWABLE POWER
This week it has been reported that British people are enthusiastic towards renewable energy. This clear support shown for green energy helps the Government to understand the opinions of the public before they decide on important plans and policies.
The Government itself conducted the survey through the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the results shows that an overwhelming 79% of participants were in support of green operations.
Wind energy gained 72% of the participant’s approval, proving that wind energy is very much supported in the public eye.
By having public support as well as Governmental backing, renewable energy can really make a difference on the environment as well as the economy.
For more details follow this LINK.
100% RENEWABLE ENERGY - THE NEW NORM
Obtaining 100% renewable energy seems to be the new norm even though it was first considered radical and only a decade ago were cities, regions and businesses aiming for 20%.
· Scotland aiming for 100% renewable energy generation by 2020;
· Denmark has passed laws requiring their entire energy supply to be met by renewable sources;
· Pacific Island of Tokelau, which is at risk of disappearing due to rising sea levels, has already met 100% renewable energy supply;
· Iceland is currently at 81%, with ambitions to reach 100%;
· Whole regions of Germany are surpassing their renewable laws;
· Numerous US cities such as San Francisco have targets of 100% renewable energy in the next 10 years.
So far a total of 8 Countries, 41 Cities, 48 Regions, 8 Utilities and 21 Non-Profit/Educational/Public Institutions have been logged for achieving or at least committing to 100% renewable energy in the next few decades. What once seemed impossible is becoming possible as more and more bodies are aiming and achieving 100% renewable energy supply.
For more information, press HERE.
CO2 EMISSIONS BEING BLOWN AWAY
Scottish Renewables have recently documented that wind generation in Scotland between April 2011 and September 2012 allowed 10.9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions to be saved. This is a huge displacement and it highlights just how successful wind power is to contributing to a low carbon economy.
Find the full article HERE.
PRIME MINISTER AND DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER SHOW SUPPORT TOWARDS WIND ENERGY
Prime Minister, David Cameron has recently taken a trip to India, which is a major investor in clean energy, and stated that "These new green technologies, whether it is waste recycling, wind power, or nuclear power - because there are no carbon emissions - these are growth items, and green tech jobs are growing faster in our economy than many other parts."
Additionally, Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg has requested an increased investment towards sectors such as offshore wind during his annual speech at Mansion House. Clegg was highlighting the need to diversify our economy. During this speech he said "The UK is a world leader in offshore wind – we have more offshore capacity than anywhere else. Those turbines are put up in the North Sea. The gear boxes assembled in Yorkshire. Teesside develop the underwater cabling. Humberside does the maintenance. All helped, of course, by London – a leader in green finance".
Both of these speeches prove just how important wind power is to the Government and highlights the emphasis they are putting on investment towards low carbon technologies such as wind.
GLOBAL WIND POWER CAPACITY GREW 20% IN 2012
Renewable energy experienced a surge in use last year as wind power expanded by almost 20% in 2012 worldwide to reach a new peak of 282 gigawatts (GW) of total installed capacity.
More than 45GW of new wind turbines were installed during 2012, with China and the US leading the way with 13GW each, while the UK, Germany, India were next with about 2GW apiece.
The UK now ranks sixth in the world for installed wind power with a total installed capacity of 8.5GW.
Additionally, the UK is by far the world’s leader in offshore wind deployment, installing 0.85GW in 2012 to bring the total so far to 3GW.
To read the full 'The Guardian' article by Damien Carrington please CLICK HERE
UK RANKED THIRD IN EUROPE FOR INSTALLED WIND POWER
New figures have been published by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) showing that the UK now has 8.4GW of wind energy installed, overtaking Italy and France.
In 2011, the UK was fifth in the European league table for installed capacity, but the nation has now moved up to third in Europe. Germany remains the EU country with the largest installed capacity with 31.3GW and Spain is second with 22.8GW. The UK’s strong performance in the European league table reflects the growing importance of the British wind industry, despite tough global economic conditions.
According to EWEA, in 2012 alone over 11.65 GW of wind power capacity was installed in the EU during 2012. Of this total, the UK installed 1.9 GW, equating to 16% of all new wind capacity in Europe. This puts the UK 2nd in terms of new deployment last year. Only Germany installed more in 2012 (2.4GW - 21% of new capacity).
EWEA also highlighted that renewable energy accounts for 69% of all new power capacity in Europe in 2012, 26% of which were wind power installations. Coal, oil and nuclear capacity has continued to decline as power stations are being decommissioned throughout Europe.
To read the full EWEA report please CLICK HERE.
AMENDMENT TO ENERGY BILL WELCOMED
Community Windpower welcomes the proposed amendment to the Coalition’s Energy Bill to set a decarbonisation target for the power sector in April 2014, governing how many grammes of carbon dioxide could be emitted for every kilowatt-hour of electricity.
The Government previously planned to discuss the issue of setting a decarbonisation after the next General Election in 2016; however Climate Change Select Committee members Tim Yeo and Barry Gardiner have proposed that the date for setting the target should be brought forward.
If the amendment were to be implemented, it would demonstrate the Government’s commitment to the transition to a low-carbon economy beyond 2020 and would reduce the maximum amount of carbon emitted from 2030 onwards.
In addition, it will also help attract long-term investment by boosting the confidence of businesses and investors who need to invest the billions of pounds required to deliver a sustainable future.
INCREASE IN ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING POINTS PROPOSED
The Scottish Government has made plans to establish electric vehicle charging points every 50 miles along major roads to boost green motoring. This also includes free insulation of home charging points and others at car parks, leisure centres, ferry terminals and offices, including for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year!
The Scottish Government’s Transport Agency said this move would "help Scotland remain at the forefront of climate action and meet its ambition of complete decarbonisation of road transport by 2050, in part through the whole scale adoption of low and ultra-low carbon vehicles".
Transport spokesman Patrick Harvie pointed out that "Electric vehicles can only properly cut our transport emissions if we have much more renewable electricity on the grid" therefore it is important to keep pushing forward with renewable technologies such as wind power to make this electric revolution possible.
Find the full story here.
GREAT BRITAIN SETS A NEW RECORD FOR WIND ENERGY
On Sunday 3rd February, the National Grid recorded electricity generation from wind energy at 5058 megawatts (5.085 gigawatts) which is the first time wind energy has contributed in excess of 5 GW in the UK. This amount of generation represents 12% of the country’s electricity supply and is equivalent to more than 10 million homes!
Wind energy is actually having a much larger impact towards electricity generation as a further 2.5 GW is not recorded by the National Grid but it used for local and regional electricity networks.
Wind energy is by far the most mature renewable technology however once other technologies have developed the UK can surely gain 100% renewable electricity and therefore fully achieve a low-carbon economy and energy security.
This demonstrates that the UK is on course for reaching its 2020 target of having 15% of electricity sourced from renewable technologies such as wind. It also proves how crucial wind energy is to our energy mix as we move towards a low-carbon economy and energy security.
Although this is really good news, it is important that wind energy continues to be developed to further contribute towards meeting the Government’s targets.
WEATHER WARNINGS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
More weather warnings have been issued by forecasters as Scotland can expect high winds and blizzard conditions. The Met Office advise the likelihood of heavy, squally wintry showers and have issued amber "be prepared" warning for the Highlands, Western Isles, south Scotland, Lothian, Tayside, Fife and Strathclyde as well as a yellow "be aware" warning has been issued for other parts of Scotland, including the north east and Northern Isles.
Since the extremely wet 2012, the UK has experienced numerous weather warnings for rain, wind and snow so far in 2013. Sub zero temperatures and thick snow are becoming regular winter features. The story is repeated in Europe and Asia, with temperatures falling as much as 10 degrees below the winter average. Records show major freezes across Eurasia in February 2012, January 2010, December 2009, January 2008, and January 2006.
After examining over 8,000 weather stations around the globe, recent studies by the University of Adelaide claim that extreme rains have been intensified the rising global average temperature. Results from the study showed that there is a 7% increase in extreme rainfall intensity for every degree increase in global atmospheric temperature therefore ff global average temperatures continue to increase; this could mean substantial increases in rainfall intensity as a result of climate change.
NEW YEAR NEW TARGETS!
Scotland is continuing to lead the way with environmental policy as they have now set out a new climate change plan which aims to cut greenhouse gases from electricity generation by 50 grams per kilowatt hour by 2030. This is 83% lower than in 2011! This new plan also proposes:
· £50 million towards Warm Homes Fund;
· National Retrofit Programme to make older colder homes more energy efficient; and
· Over £200 million to go to making transport more sustainable.
Considering Scotland’s success in the past, with passing the 2009 Climate Change Act in 2009 faster than any other member state in the European Union and exceeding set targets for electricity generation through renewable sources, this new plan makes for exciting times.
NICHOLAS STERN: 'I GOT IT WRONG ON CLIMATE CHANGE - IT'S FAR, FAR WORSE'
Nicholas Stern, author of the Government Review on Climate Change has this week been voicing his concerns on Climate Change, explaining that the planet is absorbing less carbon than previously thought and is now 'on track' for 4C rise.
Lord Stern now believes he should have been more ‘blunt’ about threat to economies from temperature rises.
Lord Stern, author of the government-commissioned review on climate change that became the reference work for politicians and green campaigners, now says he underestimated the risks, and should have been more "blunt" about the threat posed to the economy by rising temperatures.
Stern explained: "Looking back, I underestimated the risks. The planet and the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected, and emissions are rising pretty strongly. Some of the effects are coming through more quickly than we thought then."
The Stern review, published in 2006, pointed to a 75% chance that global temperatures would rise by between two and three degrees above the long-term average; he now believes we are "on track for something like four ". Had he known the way the situation would evolve, he says, "I think I would have been a bit more blunt. I would have been much more strong about the risks of a four- or five-degree rise."
He said some countries, including China, had now started to grasp the seriousness of the risks, but governments should now act forcefully to shift their economies towards less energy-intensive, more environmentally sustainable technologies.
Stern made his concerns clear: "This is potentially so dangerous that we have to act strongly. Do we want to play Russian roulette with two bullets or one? These risks for many people are existential."
To read the full 'The Guardian' article by Heather Stewart and Larry Elliott, please CLICK HERE.
MASSIVE MELTING OF ANDES GLACIERS
Glaciers in the tropical Andes have shrunk by 30-50% since the 1970s, according to a study.
The glaciers, which provide fresh water for tens of millions in South America, are retreating at their fastest rate in the past 300 years.
The study included data on about half of all Andean glaciers and blamed the melting on an average temperature rise of 0.7C from 1950-1994.
Details appear in the academic journal The Cryosphere.
The authors report that glaciers are retreating everywhere in the tropical Andes, but the melting is more pronounced for small glaciers at low altitudes.
Glaciers at altitudes below 5,400m have lost about 1.35m in ice thickness per year since the late 1970s, twice the rate of the larger, high-altitude glaciers.
"Because the maximum thickness of these small, low-altitude glaciers rarely exceeds 40 metres, with such an annual loss they will probably completely disappear within the coming decades," said lead author Antoine Rabatel, from the Laboratory for Glaciology and Environmental Geophysics in Grenoble, France.
Without changes in rainfall, the region could face water shortages in the future, the scientists say.
The Santa River valley in Peru could be most affected; its hundreds of thousands of inhabitants rely heavily on glacier water for agriculture, domestic consumption, and hydropower.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has pointed to the importance of mountain glaciers as sensitive indicators of climate change.
Some scientists say the Chacaltaya glacier in Bolivia, which used to be the world's highest ski run, has already nearly disappeared.
To read the full BBC News article, please CLICK HERE.
EUROPE 'HAS FAILED TO LEARN FROM ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTERS'
Europe has failed to learn the lessons from many environmental and health disasters like Chernobyl, leaded petrol and DDT insecticides, and is now ignoring warnings about bee deaths, GM food and nanotechnology, according to an 800-page report by the European Environment Agency.
Thousands of lives could have been saved and extensive damage to ecosystems avoided if the "precautionary principle" had been applied on the basis of early warnings, say the authors of the 2013 Late Lessons from Early warnings report published on Wednesday.
They accuse industry of working to corrupt or undermine regulation by spinning and manipulating research and applying pressure on governments for financial benefit. "[It has] deliberately recruited reputable scientists, media experts and politicians to call on if their products were linked to possible hazards. Manufacturing doubt, disregarding scientific evidence of risks and claiming over-regulation appear to be a deliberate strategy for some industry groups and think tanks to undermine precautionary decision-making."
The study says the Fukushima disaster in 2011 may have released twice as much radiation as the Japanese government admitted. The emissions of radioactive caesium-137 from Fukushima are said to have started earlier than the authorities have claimed, to have lasted longer, and to have spread over a wider area of land than previously believed.
The authors say that it is far too early to make any responsible estimate of the potential health impact of the Fukushima disaster.
The report reopens the controversy between pro- and anti- nuclear power advocates about the health damage from in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. While the World Health Organisation has claimed that only 28 people died and there could be a possible 4,000 additional cancer deaths , the EU study states that the numbers of deaths could range from "at least 17,000 to 68,000 over 50 years".
Reactor accidents are said to be by far the single largest risk now facing the nuclear industry. According to the study, the probability of a future major nuclear accident has increased 20-fold since Fukushima
An urgent re-appraisal of the way that nuclear power stations are assessed for safety is long overdue, says the study. "Whatever one's view of the risks and benefits of nuclear energy, it is clear that the possibility of catastrophic accidents must be factored into the policy and regulatory decision-making process. Both the regulation of operating nuclear reactors and the design-base for any proposed reactor will need significant re-evaluation."
To read the full 'The Guardian' article by John Vidal, please CLICK HERE.
RENEWABLEUK PRESENTS KEY EVIDENCE TO ENERGY BILL COMMITTEE
RenewableUK gave key evidence to the parliamentary committee scrutinising the landmark Energy Bill in Westminster last week. The Bill sets out a radical new financial framework for the energy sector for the decades ahead. It aims to provide best value for money for consumers, while also ensuring the UK generates a secure supply of cleaner energy at a stable cost, in which renewables will play an increasingly important role.
RenewableUK supports the Energy Bill and agrees with Government that Electricity Market Reform is needed to attract crucial investment into the sector, to meet legally-binding carbon reduction targets and create tens of thousands of jobs by the end of the decade, with the potential for more than 88,000 jobs in the wind, wave and tidal sectors by 2021.
These issues include clarifying the transition process from the current financial support mechanism – Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) – to Contracts for Difference (CfDs) to ensure there’s no hiatus in much-needed investment.
Another key concern is that the Bill should ensure that small generators are able to sell the power they produce and have access to finance, to improve competition in the market place.
RenewableUK also believes that generators should be guaranteed stronger protection from any future changes in the law which may affect their income, to ensure that they do not lose out unfairly.
Speaking about the massive manufacturing opportunities for the wind energy sector, including the supply chain, Maria McCaffery told MPs:
"Outstanding elements of the Bill need urgent attention. There’s a real sense within the industry of being on the cusp of making final decisions on investments. We’ve seen half a dozen turbine manufacturers committing between half a billion and a billion pounds each to open factories, but the pledges remain pledges. To get them converted into financial commitments, to see the foundations of factories being laid, and begin the recruitment of workers, we need definition and clarity around the Energy Bill."
70% OF EUROPEANS BELIEVE RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES SHOULD BE PRIORITIZED NOW
A survey by the European Commission has carried out a study into attitudes of Europeans towards air quality, published this month. The study has reviled air quality to be a major concern with the majority of Europeans believing that renewable energy sources should be prioritised now.
17% of Europeans say they suffer from respiratory problems.
87% think respiratory diseases are a serious problem, with at least six out of ten respondents in every country holding this opinion.
56% of Europeans think air quality has deteriorated in the last 10 years.
When asked to identify factors having an impact on air quality, emissions from cars and trucks (96%) and emissions from industrial production and fossil fuel power stations (92%) are the most likely to be mentioned as having an impact.
Seven out of ten (70%) Europeans think renewable energy sources should be prioritised now, with energy efficiency a distant second (28%).
In all 27 countries, renewable energy is the most mentioned energy option to be prioritised now with a view to the next 30 years.
Industrial and transport activities are viewed as the main threats to air quality.
70% of Europeans believe renewable energy sources should be prioritised now.
For more information please see the 'Attitudes of Europeans Towards Air Quality' report by the European Commission, 2013.
POLLUTION IN BEIJING REACHES HIGHEST LEVELS EVER RECORDED
When it comes to air pollution, the long-suffering residents of Beijing tend to think they have seen it all. But this weekend, instruments measuring the levels of particulate matter in the city's famously noxious air broke all records.
The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Centre said levels of PM2.5, tiny particulate matter, had reached more than 600 micrograms per square metre in many areas, and Reuters said it may even have hit 900 – its worst-ever reading.
The World Health Organisation considers a safe daily level to be 25.
Children and the elderly were urged to stay indoors and some residents who ventured out wore face masks as the acrid murk entered its third day.
Air quality has long been a problem in the Chinese capital, but this weekend saw levels more than 30 times above the level judged safe by the World Health Organisation.
Breakneck economic growth, reliance on coal, dramatic expansion of car ownership and the widespread flouting of environmental laws have all contributed to China's air pollution problems
Zhou Rong, climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace, said: "This is really the worst on record not only from the official data but also from the monitoring data from the US embassy [which began measurements four years ago] – some areas in Hebei province are even worst than Beijing."
Several other Chinese cities, including Tianjin, just east of Beijing, and Wuhan, have experienced severe pollution in the past few days.
Zhou added: "For Beijing, cleaning up will take a whole generation but other regions don't even have any targets to cut coal burning. I bet the pollution here is mainly from those surrounding regions."
The US embassy said the highest pollution level it recorded was 755, corresponding to a PM2.5 density of 886 micrograms per cubic meter. The US Environmental Protection Agency says passing 300 on its air quality index would trigger a health warning of "emergency conditions".
Beijing remained fairly busy, but some of the masked figures in the centre said they were wearing the devices to protect themselves.
China's citizens and leaders have paid increasing attention to environmental issues in recent years and state media, which has often glossed over the air pollution problem, has stressed the dangers of the current levels.
To read more of the article by Tania Branigan in The Guardian, please CLICK HERE.
The Met Office announced 2012 to be the second wettest year since records began in 1910. For England it was the wettest year on record, for Wales it was their third wettest year and for Scotland their seventeenth. In the whole of the UK, The Environment Agency declared over 80 flood warnings in December with 80 mph winds forecasted on 27th. A link has been made between the wet weather and the shrinking of the Arctic ice cap which reached an all time low in the same year.
An analysis carried out by the Met Office suggests that the weather is only going to get wetter as climate change causes warm air to carry more water. Climate change appears to be having its effect as weather is becoming more extreme across the entire planet and not just in the UK. The US saw temperatures reaching record levels in 2012; North Europe is seeing more wet winters and the ongoing heat wave that has caused highly destructive wildfires in Australia has forced weather forecasters to add new colours to their weather maps as temperatures are rising.
The director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists said "the longer we delay reducing emissions, the more climate change we are going to lock in". Basically, the time to act is now and with stormy wind speeds coming our way, it is perfect timing to utilise the earth’s natural resources to produce power!
SCOTTISH RENEWABLES BIGGER THAN COAL OR GAS FOR THE FIRST TIME
Latest figures from the Department of Energy Climate Change have confirmed that Scotland’s renewable energy industry is now the second largest source of our electricity production, beating both coal and gas for the first time.
While nuclear remains the largest source of electricity production, output from renewables was more than double that of gas-fired generation in Scotland and a quarter more than coal.
Jenny Hogan, Director of Policy for Scottish Renewables, said:
"These figures confirm that Scotland’s renewables industry is making a huge impact on how we meet our energy needs. Not only is our electricity greener than ever before, it is being generated by a home-grown industry with lots of companies investing in Scotland and supporting thousands of jobs too."
The renewables industry in Scotland attracted almost £1bn (£909m) of capital investment in the first six months of 2012 alone and supports more than 11,000 jobs.
Ms Hogan continued: "Renewables are making a significant contribution to our energy mix and are hot on the heels of nuclear, with the gap in generation almost halved in the last year. With 5.7GW (Gigawatts) of renewables in operation and a further 12GW in planning or with consent, we are well on our way to becoming the biggest source of electricity in Scotland.
"These new figures should provide some food for thought for those who have remained unconvinced about the contribution renewable energy is making to delivering our energy needs."
The DECC Energy Trends figures come at the end of what has been another very successful year for the industry.
Scotland has exported 26 per cent of generation in 2011, up from 20 per cent in 2010. The Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee inquiry into renewable energy concluded that the 2020 target of generating the equivalent of 100 per cent of our electricity from renewables was ‘achievable.’
Analysis showed the industry has attracted £909m of capital investment in the first six months of 2012.
A YouGov poll published in March suggested 71 per cent of Scots support wind power as part of our energy mix.
The first comprehensive jobs study for the sector revealed there are more than 11,000 jobs in the Scottish renewables industry.
LAST YEAR'S WET WEATHER CAUSES FARMERS TO RE- EVALUATE
The extreme weather of 2012 has turned British farmers on to genetically modified crops, with calls from farming leaders to start using the technology as a way to help combat the effects of climate change.
England's wettest year on record, and the UK's second wettest, which had begun with one of the worst droughts for decades, has persuaded an increasing number of farmers that the development of crop varieties with engineered resistance to extreme weather conditions is now a priority. Farming groups are in favour of the move, and many individual farmers now want to explore the use of the controversial techniques, according to delegates at the Oxford Farming Conference.
British farmers have encountered severe problems this year with potato and tomato blight, as the wet weather has encouraged the spread of the disease.
Andrew Brown, spoke this week about the growing concern the farming community now has for climate change and the colder, wetter summers that are now becoming more frequent: "If global warming is going to go the way scientists tell us, this is only going to get more important."
But many environmental groups oppose the use of GM technology. Peter Melchett, policy director at the Soil Association, said that there was no evidence, after 20 years of research and development into GM crops, that they could be reliably produced to cope with drought or flood conditions. "Our weather is becoming more unpredictable and more extreme so farming needs crops with general resilience – you can't know when you plant whether the crop will face too much rain or severe drought," he said.
As climate change causes more difficulties in relation to crop growth and millions of pounds of flood damage is encountered each year, tackling the cause of the problem should be at the forefront of government minds this year. Analysis by the Met Office suggests that the UK may be getting increasingly wetter as climate change causes warmer air to carry more water. Days of extreme rainfall – downpours expected once every 100 days – occurred every 70 days in 2012.
WEST ANTARCTIC ICE SHEET WARMING TWICE EARLIER ESTIMATE
A new analysis of temperature records indicates that the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet is warming nearly twice as fast as previously thought.
US researchers say they found the first evidence of warming during the southern hemisphere's summer months.
They are worried that the increased melting of ice as a result of warmer temperatures could contribute to sea-level rise.
The study has been published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
The resultsof the study indicate an increase of 2.4C in average annual temperature between 1958 and 2010.
"What we're seeing is one of the strongest warming signals on Earth," says Andrew Monaghan, a co-author and scientist at the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research.
"This is the first time we've been able to determine that there's warming going on during the summer season." he added.
It might be natural to expect that summers even in Antarctica would be warmer than other times of the year. But the region is so cold, it is extremely rare for temperatures to get above freezing.
Prof David Bromwich Ohio State University stated "This place has very variable weather, some of it is influenced by human acts and some of it isn't ", Bromwich suggests that the area is at a ‘critical threshold’.
"The fact that temperatures are rising in the summer means there's a prospect of WAIS not only being melted from the bottom as we know it is today, but in future it looks probable that it will be melting from the top as well," he said.
Previous research published in Nature indicated that the WAIS is being warmed by the ocean, but this new work suggests that the atmosphere is playing a role as well.
The scientists say that the rise in temperatures has been caused by changes in winds and weather patterns coming from the Pacific Ocean.
"We're seeing a more dynamic impact that's due to climate change that's occurring elsewhere on the globe translating down and increasing the heat transportation to the WAIS." said Dr Monaghan.
To read the full BBC News article by Matt McGrath, please CLICK HERE.