Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Climate Change Part 17 (UK renewable energy targets).

When will Gordon Brown's luck turn? It seems that documents have been leaked which detail how Gordon Brown will be told that the 20% target for renewable energy by 2020 faces "severe practical difficulties". This obviously translates to "it's not going to happen". The environmentally friendly Labour party have managed to put in place a massive (wait for it) 2% of our energy from renewable sources. If that is not bad enough, what little they have managed put in place is about as much use as an ejector seat on a channel tunnel train.

The government has blown (excuse the pun) half a billion pounds subsidising the wind turbine industry. It is alleged that energy companies are receiving subsidies for wind farms that will never make any money, because they have exaggerated the potential of sites with not enough wind. For a wind farm to be viable it must have a load factor of 30 per cent. But Jim Oswald, an engineering consultant, found that the average across the country was 28 per cent. Michael Jefferson, policies chairman of the World Renewable Energy Network believes that the subsidies are encouraging energy companies to exaggerate the amount of potential wind energy a farm can supply. Mr Jefferson said: "We should be putting our money where the wind is and that is quite often not where the development pressure is." In a previous post about nuclear power’s life-cycle emissions it turned out that the life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions for nuclear plants are lower than that of wind farms.

The real clincher from the leaked document is the advice to Brown to work with governments like Poland who are sceptical about climate change to: "help persuade" Merkel and other leaders to set lower renewable targets.

What a shambles.

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