A new paper in the respected science publication Nature analyses just how much of our fossil fuel reserves cannot be exploited if we are to have a chance of preventing more than 2 deg C of global warming.
By assuming the cheapest fuels will be used first the authors have been able to calculate the percentages of each fuel type that has to be left unburned for individual countries. The overall figures are 82% for coal, 49% for gas and 33% for oil. The figures for counties are given in this excellent summary. The original Nature article was the result of research carried out at London’s UCL.
Meanwhile the big oil and gas producers are investing billions in searching for new reserves, banking on the world never committing to a reduction in CO2 emissions. When the world does come to its senses and investors realise there is no future in fossil fuels, share prices of these companies will tumble with huge implications for the world economy. Interestingly the Bank of England and Goldman Sachs are taking this seriously and investing the implications of these changes.
In another sign of movement E.ON has decided to spin off its fossil fuel interests into a new company and concentrate on renewables, distribution networks, and energy efficiency services.
The campaign to raise £10,000 for solar PV panels for Christow School exceeded expectations. Thanks to hard work from parents, pupils, governors and the community, with guidance and inspiration from Solar Schools (10:10 campaign) almost £15, 000 was raised putting 10KWp set of panels on the roof and with digital displays in the school showing the amount of energy being generated and carbon being saved, allowing the topic of sustainability to be taught in the classroom in new ways.
With digital displays in the school showing the amount of energy being generated and carbon being saved, the 10KWp set of panels will also allow the topic of sustainability to be taught in the classroom in new ways. The solar panels, on the Hedgemoor classroom, are expected to generate 7.8 megawatt hours of electricity per year, saving over three tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.
Sustainable South Brent spent 5 years planning this project for a 225 kW turbine which is producing 200,0000 kWh per year, enough for 100 homes. They raised the £420,000 needed for the project via a community share offer and the turbine was installed in June 2013. Full details here.
Thought about changing to a sustainable electricity supplier?
We have reviewed the options and recommend ECOTRICITY as our favourite green supplier. This is because:
Of all the electricity suppliers, they have the highest spend on investment in renewable electricity generation (£265 per customer p.a.). Ecotricity operates a not-for-dividend model so all profits are invested in wind farms etc.
From 1st August 2013, 100% of its electricity is generated from renewables. The UK average is 11.3% (2012/13).
Investment has been primarily in wind but ecotricity are now constructing their first solar PV farm and are building anerobic digesters for green gas.
There is no premium for being green – the tariff is lower than the local supplier, EDF.
Green gas is available as well, currently imported from Holland.
Whilst there are companies that supply 100% green electricity (Good Energy, Green Energy for example) they invest little or nothing in generation but buy in their electricity from others.
Ecotricity now have a dual-fuel tarrif which is lower than BG and it’s guaranteed to be using “frack-free” gas, as well as being entirely green.
They also have the lowest number of complaints per customer of any supplier which has to be good. In addition they have electric car charging points in nearly all motorway service stations and are looking a developing wave power.
A bonus for Greener Teign is that we receive £20 for every household that switches to Ecotricity.
To switch, go to Ecotricity and click on the ‘switch’ link under the Greener Teign logo, bottom right, or call 08000 302 302 and quote Greener Teign.
Switching is easy and doesn’t cause supply problems.
FITs apply to microgeneration projects for the following technologies: wind, hydro, solar photo-voltaic, anerobic digestion and microCHP. The rates were originally set to produce a very generous 5-8% return on capital and run for 20 or 25 years from the date of installation. In spite of the bad press that the recent drop in FITs has produced, solar PV installers are still claiming that returns of 14% can be acheived.
RHIs are similar to FITs but apply to microgeneration technologies producing heat rather than electricity. The commercial and community scheme started first and is generous. The domestic scheme started in the spring of 2014 and is different from the commercial one. The priniciple used is for the RHI to allow householders to recover the capital cost over a seven year period. It includes solar thermal (hot water) systems, biomass boilers, biomass stoves using pellets and ground source heat pumps. Details of the scheme are here.
This is a government scheme to provide loans for energy efficiency measures (insulation etc) and microgeneration systems (solar thermal, solar PV, heat pumps, biomass etc). The loans are repaid though electricity bills, the key feature being that the savings generated by the new additions will be not be less than the loan repayments (the Golden Rule) so there will be no net cost to the homeowner. The loan is lodged against the property and repayments are made by whoever pays the electricity bill, be they the owner, tenant or subsequent owner (where the property is sold). More details can be found here.
Game over if we exploit the Canadian tar sands? For those with a scientific bent, the website for climate scientists report on an analysis of how much further CO2 we can emit and still remain within the critical 2 degC of global warming (Nov 11). Answer: if we extract all the oil from these sands we are pretty much on the limit without any other increases in CO2 emissions.
Met Office Hadley Centre has produced a fascinating 4 degree map showing the massive environmental impacts of an increase in average global temperature of 4 deg C.
This project was set up by Prof Richard Muller in the wake of the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU) email disclosures to take a fresh look at the historical temperature data using independent scientists of a high calibre. Essentially Muller took a sceptical view of global warming claims so was somewhat chastened to have to report that there was no discernible difference between the new results and those of CRU (and 2 US studies). Full story is on the BBC website.