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Greg Barker: 4m homes will be solar-powered by 2020 | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Nearly 4m homes across the UK will be powered by the sun within eight years, the government said on Thursday, in a dramatic increase of ambition for the fledgling solar power industry.

But the estimate comes on the back of a cut in the subsidies available for solar energy generation, to take effect from April, which will greatly reduce the amount of money households with solar panels will receive. Ministers said the cut was needed because the costs of solar panels have plummeted in recent months, and the new rules follow an unsuccessful attempt to impose cuts last year that was judged unlawful in the courts.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Feb 9th, 2012 at 02:19:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and there's no reason why it couldn't be 40 million, how much does trident cost?

panels getting cheaper should be an endorsement of intelligent use of government and a success on all levels.

panels getting cheaper should encourage more rollout, which will bring prices down more, and lower risks of foreign occupations and terrorism.

something administration does that does deserve praise and they can't cut it quick enough.

wtf?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Feb 9th, 2012 at 10:31:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but solar energy is associated with DFHs while nuclear, gas and oil are all about corporate profits. Guess which side the Conservatives favour

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:37:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Yes, but solar energy is associated with DFHs while nuclear, gas and oil are all about corporate profits."

Yet, somehow, the country with the highest nuclear penetration has its entire park state-owned.
Funny how that works.

As for the UK, solar energy benefitted from absolutely huge subsidies that were actually a direct transfer to big houses owners. Not a policy likely to displease the right of course.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 03:47:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but isn't Areva a privately owned company?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 06:17:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it's 90% state-owned : mostly through the CEA (Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique), founded by De Gaulle in 1945.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 08:35:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure the plan was to put on a show of supporting the cute green but hopelessly noncompetitive technology and then explain to the voters that, although the government wanted to do the right thing, there just wasn't enough money for it. But then everything went willy-nilly and prices came down, and installations worked, etc etc. What a disaster.
How are they going to justify building nuclear reactors with the attendant blight on the landscape and environment with wind and solar doing so well?
by Andhakari on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 03:16:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Errr... because no single technology would allow you to have a functional grid. They serve different purposes.

Plus, you are a LOOONNNGGG way from having solar and wind producing anywhere near the required electricity in the UK -and solar remains a rather silly choice at those latitudes and with this cloud cover.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 03:44:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Renewable power advocates of necessity have had to focus on their industries, but have never claimed anything but a fully integrated sustainable grid. Addressing both generation and demand.

So these are just strong steps toward achieving that goal. Using PV in cloudy northern climes will prove to be a useful benefit, and certainly can't hurt during the transition period which is now decades overdue.

The integrated renewable grid is coming. Germany's 10 gigawatts of midday peak power the past weeks during the deep cold front had a strong positive effect, but of course only in a mature integrated grid is the long term security of supply served.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 04:34:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK is an ideal area for wind development, and it can be built much faster than nuclear, at comparable costs, without the pollution and waste baggage. And the waste issue for nuclear is always deferred. It's hard for me to take this persistent deus ex machina seriously.
I wouldn't suggest shutting down all UK nukes tomorrow, but I believe approximately half the capacity is due for retirement before long. Let it go. It's just an expensive dirty blighting method of boiling water.
by Andhakari on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 04:50:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me take this a step farther, incorporating Cyrille's comment that no single technology can make a reliable grid, and

Plus, you are a LOOONNNGGG way from having solar and wind producing anywhere near the required electricity in the UK

Repeat, no one on the renewable side wants anything less than the viable mix of technologies creating a smart, sustainable grid. Many of the necessary technologies commercially exist, remaining are in various stages of likely. Given that we are using what's already built until retirement time, there is a time window long enough to incorporate all which needs to be accomplished.

LOOOONNNGGG way? Sorry, not at all true. When Romania alone this year installed 2/3 of the UK onshore wind capacity, and when 5 European countries are ALREADY between 10% and 25% of electrical demand, then what you mean by long is a short.

The complete maturity of the onshore windpower supply chain in Europe has already proven how quickly modular wind can scale up. In the UK this hasn't happened because of anemic governmental policy and will, poor and unworkable neo-lib financing methods, and an organized anti-wind effort underwritten by the usual suspects.

Given that we're discussing the premier wind resource in Europe, with ONSHORE capacity factors reaching from the low 30's in the worst areas to the low 40's in the best, the UK program is a travesty.

With normal supply chain growth, the UK could go from 2 gigs/yr to 6 gigs a year by 2015 EASILY, the equivalent of several giant nukes a year, long before the first nuke is even permitted, much less financed and under a decade of construction.

The existing fossil plants can handle that for generation, and the grid itself can be modernized within the same time frame.

The UK would supplant Denmark's percentage before 2020, while creating an actual industry for itself. Scotland will could equal that sooner.

The only LOOONNNGGG in the equation are the noses of the lying opposition.


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 07:33:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
SHORTER VERSION:

The UK is a very sick puppy.

Portugal already has 2/3 the wind capacity as the entire UK, including UK offshore. France (not wind friendly) and Italy already surpass the UK totals.

REminder: we're discussing the most powerful onshore resource in Yurp.

Googlize Renewable Obligation Certificates if you want to learn the madness. Or Fox hunting.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 07:47:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
don't we know it

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 09:54:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Sorry, not at all true. When Romania alone this year installed 2/3 of the UK onshore wind capacity"

Absolutely irrelevant. What matters is not how high the ratio of too weak an existing capacity in a different country. It's how long would be a realistic schedule for having a grid with only wind and PV in the UK.

That would take a long while. Yes, I do include the fact that British law makes it harder to deliver quick large scale projects. And remember that to have 100% from wind and PV would need other adjustments than just having the new plants online.

Of course, a new nuclear plant would have major issues too, I'm not saying it should be built, just that PV costs falling does not make it obvious that any other energy source should be scrapped immediately. And I dispute "Given that we are using what's already built until retirement time". If it's coal, it's got to go. If it's oil or gas, to be reduced if possible.

Nobody here disputes that the UK has a lot of wind potential and could do a lot more. Pointing that out does not refute that the country is a very long way from having a grid that uses no other energy source than wind and PV. I find it quite insulting that you gave the impression that it did.

Now the point about nuclear waste actually is an incentive to build a plant -provided it is a fast reactor, using the waste as fuel. Hitachi offered to do it for free if they did not manage to build it within 5 years. How about letting them prove their point while building all the wind turbines that we can in the meantime?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 10:20:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did not mean to be insulting, in fact, wasn't. First I am not arguing for an all wind and PV grid, as i've stated over and over.

But to have wind a very high penetration in the grid, i also stated is now  EASY to do FAST in a mature industry, which wind has already proven. I stated the UK could ramp up to 6 gigs a year within 3 years, that's huge. Wind's current capacity total in the UK is 6.5 gigs, equal to 4.5% of annual demand. So i claim 4.5% of new demand met each year by 2015.

Further, it could be even higher, AND it all begins with using already existing under capacity "shovel-ready."

Yes coal must go away fast, and fossils as well. But it's a huge step forward to just use them as old-style base load, and some others for spinning reserve or cold start reserve.

As for Hitachi saving us from coal, that's another discussion. Of course i understand that introducing new technology in our civilization is problem free, with the very first plants working flawlessly over their lifetime, but i can't seem to name another technology of such a scale which hasn't had any number of whoops.

including wind, with regular whoops.... though our whoops ain't all that bad.

Airbus wing cracks anyone?

Fazit: a renewable powered grid is completely feasible, and the 15 year aggressive time frame is more than long enough to make the proper changes.

Yes, and doing it actually comes with real jobs. And the power comes from the energy source that gave us life, which could have some additional benefits for a sick civilization. Without the Hubris of thinking your civilization is capable of building miniature suns yet.

And i mentioned Romania to show that a far less industrialized area has already done it, so perhaps the UK might also be capable of following Romania's lead.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 11:11:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Did not mean to be insulting, in fact, wasn't."

Maybe it was the wrong word -I meant to say that I felt insulted at the idea that I would have said something so dumb.

Anyway, I take your word that you did not imply that.

"First I am not arguing for an all wind and PV grid, as i've stated over and over."

Well, then we're agreed -I must admit that I had read some (not all) of your posts as arguing for that. I must have misunderstood them.

"But to have wind a very high penetration in the grid, i also stated is now  EASY to do FAST in a mature industry, which wind has already proven. I stated the UK could ramp up to 6 gigs a year within 3 years, that's huge. Wind's current capacity total in the UK is 6.5 gigs, equal to 4.5% of annual demand. So i claim 4.5% of new demand met each year by 2015."

I don't dispute that as far as the supply chain is concerned. I'm less sanguine about that happening in the UK because of British law. But even if it were on a slightly smaller scale, I'm a big supporter of ramping up thick and fast. Please read anything I ever write about energy with that in mind: I am fully convinced of the possibility and opportunity (from an energetic, environmental and economic perspective) of strongly ramping up renewables.

"Of course i understand that introducing new technology in our civilization is problem free"

Well, I did not say that. But we will have to do something about nuclear waste. Using it as fuel is not the dumbest idea a priori. It may be that we should not do it, but then we need to show how the alternatives are better.

"Without the Hubris of thinking your civilization is capable of building miniature suns yet."

Let's not go there though, please. This kind of arguments have been used against many a scientific progress, especially IVF, without which my first son would not have been born.
Let's discuss scientific endeavours on their merits, rather than introducing this kind of moral taboo. Renewables don't need that to sound good -I mean, the name alone is inspiring.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 03:45:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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