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UK: Coldest winter for decade could spark energy crisis
Angela Jameson, The Sunday Times
THE Government has summoned industrialists and generating companies to an emergency meeting next month amid fears of an energy crisis if Britain suffers a harsh winter.
Long-distance forecasters are predicting that the country is facing its coldest weather for a decade, putting lives at risk and forcing businesses to lay off workers.
The CBI said that there were only 11 days’ gas held in reserve. In comparison, other European countries keep an average of 55 days in reserve. The Met Office has already put the energy industry, the NHS and the Government on high alert. Now there are fears that Britain could run out of fuel.
Sir Digby Jones, the Director-General of the CBI, said: “If we have a cold winter, we are going to throw the switch; businesses will shut down.”
The National Grid has identified emergency measures to ensure that power is maintained to homeowners. Under the plans, manufacturers who use large amounts of gas for industrial processes would be required to shut down factories on very cold days.
Britain has not had a particularly cold winter for ten years, but some experts believe that temperatures over the coming months could plummet as low as the winters of the 1970s.
(10 October 2005)
UK Energy Part 1: The Winter Outlook
Chris Vernon, Vital Trivia
Two interesting reports have been published recently, Energy Trends from the DTI updated with 2005 Quarter 2 data and Winter Outlook Report 2005/06 from Ofgem.
These two reports contain a wealth of data on the UK energy market past, present and looking forward to the winter. However I am less impressed with the analysis and conclusions drawn from the data. In part one of this article I discuss the Winter Outlook Report, part two discusses the Energy Trends report here: UK Energy Part 2: 2005 Quarter 2 Update.
(9 October 2005)
This is a clear and in depth look at the issues described in the previous article. -AF
A pellet heating champion
Christian Garrelts, Pellet-heating.com (Denmark)
Pellet heating can save up to 60% on your heating bill, depending on your local tax policy.
The REAL alternative to heat with oil or gas for private homes, scools, factories, everybody.
The advantages for changing to wood pellet heating
-You will save up to 60 % on your heating bill (depending on your local conditions). These savings are tax free
-Your investment in most cases, will be the least in ratio with your savings.
-You have invested in a solution which is eko friendly, that means you are doing your bit to lessen the pollution on Earth.
-With the development of the fully automated pellet heating, you will be getting closer to the comfort you have enjoyed with oil and gas.
The most important disadvantages
-You have to pay for the installation of the pellet burner.
-You are moving into something new and unknown.
-You might your self have to install the system in your house, so that it hardly shows, that you fuel is wood pellets.
-You would have to stockpile the wood pellets on your property.
-You would have to fill your feeding silo from bags, for the most economical solution.
-You would have to empty you kettle of ach.
-You can hear the pellets, when they land in the oven.
The first point I can’t do anything about, but for all the others points, there are things we can do, and it is for this reason I have made the web page www.pellet-heating.com to inspire you, and make life as comfortable as possible, when you choose to heat up with the wood pellets.
I sell neither the pellet burners or the wood pellets. I am an ordinary bloke, and rather excited user, who missed an impartial and understandable web page, when I myself wanted to find out, if pellet heating was something for me. I will encourage you to look closer on the web page, which has lots of tips and ideas, in how to first get started on heating with wooden pellets.
(12 October 2005)
An apparently public spirited initiative aiming to spread knowledge of this infrequently mentioned fuel. Obviously early days for content on Mr Garrelts site, but I for one can see only good coming of such efforts at the transperant husbanding of information.-LJ
Pessimism surrounds falling oil production in Iraq
Rick Jervis, USA TODAY
BASRA — Iraq’s oil production has fallen below prewar levels to its lowest point in a decade, depriving the country’s fledgling government of badly needed income and preventing the United States from achieving one of its main reconstruction goals.
Iraq’s oil wells — beset by equipment problems and saboteurs — are producing about 1.9 million barrels a day in net production, lower than the 2.6 million it was producing just before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, according to the London-based Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES)
(11 October 2005)
An Energy-Emitting . . . Backpack?
Just strap on your little power plant and go.
That is what scientists are hoping soldiers, emergency workers and others will soon be able to do, eliminating their need to carry pounds of extra batteries for devices like flashlights and global positioning equipment. A group at the University of Pennsylvania has developed a backpack that emits an electric current through the bouncing motion of the pack. The power produced is enough to run a cell-phone, a flashlight, an MP3 player, a handheld G.P.S. device and other gadgets.
“The concept only took about 15 minutes to come up with,” said Larry Rome, the backpack’s creator.
Details like finding volunteers to test the pack — which involved walking on a treadmill for up to an hour, carrying as much as 80 pounds — proved more difficult.
(11 October 2005)
MP’s clean coal energy solution
Unmined coal in Wales could be the answer to Britain’s energy crisis, an MP told the Commons on Wednesday. Ogmore MP Huw Irranca-Davies also argued that “clean coal” technology could make the fuel eco-friendly.
A 1979 survey found 250m tonnes of good quality coal in Wales, but only 20m has been mined because of the pit closure programme during the 1980s. The reserves could provide fuel for power generation for 50 years or more, Mr Irranca-Davies told fellow MPs.
He told the BBC Wales’s Good Morning Wales programme that he was not backing a “wholesale reopening” of the Welsh pits but said a solution to Britain’s energy crisis was urgently needed. By 2020 the 32% of electricity generation in the UK provided by coal will disappear.
“Clean coal technology with zero emissions from these new generating plants is one of the ways forward and I’m optimistic the government will look at this quite favourably,” the Labour MP said.
He added that the technology had been in place for a number of years now – particularly in the United States where emissions are treated to reduce their polluting effect.
(12 October 2005)
Big oil getting desperate: Making oil with nuclear energy
Jerome a Paris, Daily Kos
French oil giant Total SA, amid rising oil and natural-gas prices, is considering building a nuclear power plant to extract ultraheavy oil from the vast oil-sand fields of western Canada. …
Getting oil sands into something usable is a very messy process, which requires a lot of industrial treatment of the oil sands, and a lot of energy. So you need oil sands AND natural gas or some other power source to make oil, which, as energy prices increase, will make the resulting oil quite expensive.
(22 September 2005)