Power & Energy Solutions

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Despite calls for more investment in renewables and clean energy, UK business minister John Hutton has pledged ‘maximum support' for new nuclear power stations in the UK.At the first meeting of the Government's new Nuclear Development Forum Mr Hutton said that energy from new nuclear generators is indispensable for keeping the UK's lights on, reducing dependency on foreign oil and gas, and cutting carbon emissions.{pagebreak}Hutton said: "I'm determined to press all the buttons to get nuclear built in this country at the earliest opportunity - not only because it's a no-brainer for our energy security, but also because it's good for jobs and our economy."We're facing stiff competition for this investment and for the equipment we'll need to build these power stations which is why I'm determined to ensure Britain remains a competitive environment for nuclear investment."I know many manufacturers across the country already have the skills and expertise needed to build power stations - but more needs to be done to create and support a globally competitive UK supply chain, focussing on high value added activities to take advantage of the UK and global nuclear renaissance."On the same day as Hutton's call, the UK government was due to publish

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The European wind power industry could replace the automotive sector as the biggest user of steel by 2020, a Green MEP has claimed.Luxemburg MEP Claude Turmes, who helped a report calling for massive investment in renewables reach almost unanimous backing by the industry committee of the European Parliament, said the legislation would lead to massive growth of the renewables industry.{pagebreak}The committee agreed to commit to increasing the share of renewables in energy consumption to 20 per cent by 2020.MEPs in the committee voted for the final report, which included support for a supergrid, by 50 votes to two.Among the 35 amendments was the proposal to ban the installation of windfarms on peat land.Scottish MEP Alyn Smith, who sits on the industry committee, said that the grid proposal would benefit Scotland massively but was dismissive of the ban on peat land amendment proposed by Scottish MEP Conservative Struan Stevenson.Mr Smith said: "Scotland stands to benefit massively from the increased capacity for renewables this grid will enable." 

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Finland is the latest country to approve the development for wind farm parks in key catchment areas close to coastlines and the sea.The Finnish Government has agreed to build a number of wind power plants over the next ten years with the aim of generating about 2000 megawatts of wind power by 2020. In principle about 1,000 wind turbines would be needed to produce that much power.{pagebreak}The proposal calls for development of wind parks in key catchment areas such as coastlines and near the sea, to accommodate the large numbers of turbines needed. The proposal is part of government's climate and energy strategy that is currently being hammered out.Boosting wind power requires other supporting programmes, such as so-called input tariffs, which are expected to be approved in principle during the autumn.Government's climate and energy strategy working group has been divided on the question of Finland's future wind power needs.The amount currently agreed on has failed to meet the expectations of the Green League, but is also more than the quantity proposed by the National Coalition Party.The working group has failed to reach agreement on amping up nuclear-generated power in Finland. 

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A plan by the British government to buy its way out of half its CO2 reduction targets weakens efforts to reverse climate change, a top scientist has claimed.Dr Keith Allott, head of the WWF-UK's climate change programme, said a leaked report which suggested EU nations should be allowed to trade away 50 per cent of their emissions was ‘appalling'.{pagebreak}European nations are currently expected to make around 70 per cent of their carbon reductions on home turf, leaving 30 per cent available for trade. Defra said the details need finalising but the deal would help clean energy projects in developing countries.But reducing that domestic obligation to 50 per cent could allow an extra billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, according to WWF.Dr Allott, head of WWF-UK's climate change programme, said: "This is an appalling proposal from the UK. Already the CO2 targets aren't nearly strict enough to avoid the risk of dangerous climate change as defined by scientists. This would weaken the effort even more."The difference between what the EU are proposing and the UK are proposing is equivalent to 34 extra coal-fired power stations in Europe."The dispute centres on the credibility of the system used for trading international carbon

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A plan to create a government office to give a leg-up to the UK's renewables industry has been welcomed by the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA).Secretary of State John Hutton has announced a proposed Office for Renewable Energy Deployment. The office, which should be up and running in the spring of 2009, pending the outcome of the Renewable Energy Strategy consultation, will address 'barriers to renewables deployment including helping to develop the UK supply chain'. {pagebreak}Launched as part of Government's new framework for UK manufacturers, the initiative will help UK firms take advantage of "opportunities opened up by the move towards a low carbon economy" with the express aim of helping UK's renewables industries 'to become world-leaders in green technologies'.Maria McCaffery, BWEA Chief Executive said: "When it comes to R&D, the UK has been leading the world in areas such as wave and tidal, large turbine testing and small systems. But we have seen delays on deployment and this is where we hope the Government's new initiative will make a difference. We are pleased that the Secretary of State has firmly backed a dedicated task force which will take a lead on this issue."However, in welcoming the initiative BWEA also

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The EU has chosen a more efficient, sustainable and affordable future through its policies to use renewable energy and fight climate change, says a new report.The International Energy Agency says the EU is a world leader in beginning to mitigate the effects of global warming through ambitious proposals on climate change and energy policies. {pagebreak}IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said the way the EU produces and uses energy will be transformed if the proposed regulations are successfully implemented.The European Wind Energy Association has welcomed the IEA's comments and believes they show how non-polluting, renewable energy sources such as wind power can be an important part of that transformation.Tanaka said the EU must greatly increase its overall R&D funding in order to effectively deal with the environmental and energy problems the world is facing. He called for R&D funding for non-nuclear energy, which includes wind power, to be increased significantly.EWEA says it is pleased that Tanaka fully supports efforts to liberalise energy markets by making access to existing transmission grids easier, more transparent and cheaper for wind-farm operators. Tanaka noted that the European Council has agreed to adopt the proposals by the end of the year. 

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A slice of California's rich cinematic history will soon be undergoing the solar treatment, the first cinema of its kind in the United States to do so.The Fairfax 5 Theatres complex in the town of Fairfax will install a PV system, resulting in savings of more than $600,000 over its 30-year life span.The complex is the first of its kind in America to go solar. Dave Corkill, founder of Cinema West, a leading California major motion cinema chain, has owned and operated the Fairfax 5 Theatres for more than13 years.{pagebreak}"I wanted a sustainable and renewable energy solution for the Fairfax Theatre," he said. "Solar energy will not only help us offset our electricity costs, but will also reduce greenhouse emissions and propagate the environmental ideals of this progressive community. The Fairfax Theatre's marquis is one of the first things you see when entering Fairfax. Now we are proud that it also represents clean energy."Ted Walsh, sales manager for SPG Solar, the company which manufactures the PV system, said: "Over its 30-year life, the PV system at Fairfax Theatre is expected to offset nearly 1,000 tons of greenhouse gases, including over 2 million pounds of carbon dioxide, equivalent to removing 180

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Renewable energy consumers in Germany are celebrating after the government said it would scale back the feed-in tariff by only 9-10 per cent each year until 2011.The news is a huge boost for renewables in Germany, as it was expected that a 30 per cent scale back would be implemented. {pagebreak}In 1999, the extra costs to consumers were €19 million; in 2005, €506 million; and in 2008, the cost is expected to €1 billion. The costs could grow even higher in the coming decade because households with solar panels are guaranteed a fixed income for 20 years for surplus electricity sold to the national grid.Solar power in Germany is set to generate 4.134 gigawatt-hours (GWh) or 0.83 percent of the country's total electricity consumption in 2008; wind power generates 41.143 GWh or 8.26 percent of the country's electricity.Employing around 60,000 people, mainly in eastern Germany, the country's solar industry is set to have a turnover of around €7 billion in 2008.Though PV electricity will continue to cost between €0.40 to 0.50 per KW/h even after the feed-in tariffs are lowered, experts from the German solar industry association, Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft (BSW), predict that the cost will fall to grid parity

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The need to recruit people with the right skills is causing worries in the renewables sector as demand for good employees far outstrips supply.With the cost of energy rising rapidly, the need for alternative supplies and people with relevant skills to produce it is producing challenges says Stuart Brown, Practice Head of Energy and Natural Resources at UK recruitment consultants Ellis Fairbank.{pagebreak}"The recent controversy over the rising costs of fuel within the UK only highlights the increasing importance placed on the renewable energy market, to get it right," he said. "With prices for gas and electricity continuing to increase people are starting to think about the alternatives available.""It is both an exciting and tumultuous time to work in the energy industry as prices soar and reserves are reportedly reduced. The increasing demand from consumers has further highlighted the need to find alternatives and manage the reserves which we still have available. As a result of this is there is a growing demand for energy professionals at all levels of the industry, especially those with specific sector skills."Recruiting into roles with such high demands is never easy and both the client and candidate need to ensure the job is carried out

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Pioneering UK green electricity firm Ecotricity has been highly commended in a national awards ceremony that honours green business.The company, which introduced green electricity as a consumer choice for the first time when it was launched in 1995 was praised for its efforts at the 2008 Barclays Commercial Bank Green Leaders in Business Awards.{pagebreak}Green Leaders in Business was open to all UK & Irish companies, and had three separate categories - companies with a turnover below £1m; between £1m and £20m; and above £20m.The awards recognised those companies who are using pioneering processes or new sustainable technology, products or services to help beat climate change and boost their own profits.Ecotricity designs, plans, finances, builds, owns and operates wind energy projects and supplies 35,000 homes and 3,000 businesses in the UK - saving the emission of more than 100,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.Barclays Marketing Director for Local Business, John Davis, said: "We are delighted to recognise inspiring examples of forward thinking companies whose ecological conscience will improve the way we treat our increasingly fragile planet." 

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