Utility Week

Uberflip 15 11 13

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/209844

Contents of this Issue


Page 30 of 31

Community Disconnector A sunny disposition In the wake of the government's decision to guarantee EDF Energy a rather generous £93/MWh for the output of Hinkley Point C, and for 35 years too, it is understandable that renewables developers are getting a little hot under the collar. Their collective mood will not have been lightened any by David Cameron's subsequent promise to "roll back green levies". Whatever that means, it doesn't sound good. So hats off, then, to Mark Turner, operations director of Lightsource Renewable Energy, "the UK's leading solar generator" (Mr Turner's claim, not Disconnector's). Rather than bewail the fact that nuclear is getting an unfair leg-up, he sent an open letter to David Cameron and the Cabinet declaring that the same capacity as Hinkley Point C could be provided by solar generation, at "a comparable cost" and – and this appears to be the clincher – in "less than two years' time". Hinkley, he points out dismissively, is not going to be ready for at least ten years. Disconnector always applauds a trier, but can't help but observe that Mr Turner does rather ignore the point. The new nuclear plant will be able to provide nearly 10 per cent of the UK's electricity needs in the form of 3.2GW of "alwayson" baseload power. Solar panels run at about 10 per cent efficiency, so you need an instal- Guess who? lation of about 4kW (28 square metres of panels) just to provide power for one home. How many acres of Somerset would have to be plated in photovoltaic cells before you got a steady stream of 3.2GW? On a cloudy day? Hmm. At the time of going to press, there was no news of what Mr Cameron's reply was. How dark is my valley? The townsfolk of Rjukan, Norway, had much more modest ambitions for solar power when they collectively raised £500,000 to harness the power of the sun's rays for their mutual benefit. In fact, they weren't interested in electricity at all – the remote town lies next door to a huge hydroelectric plant, so they have plenty of electricity. As it happens, the town was developed with the express purpose of serving the plant, but it lies at the bottom of a deep valley, and therein lies the problem. What the 1,000-odd citizens of Rjukan wanted from the sun was light. During the six months of winter the surrounding mountains cast a shadow over the town even at midday, so with a mixture of private and public money the funds were found to mount three 17 square-metre mirrors on the top of one of the mountains. The mirrors are computercontrolled to track the sun and provide winter sun to the town square and the immediately surrounding buildings. At the launch ceremony earlier this month, Rjukan's inhabitants gathered in the town square, many of them on sun loungers sipping cocktails, while others even played volleyball on a makeshift sand court brought in for the occasion. The idea of using mirrors to deliver winter sun to the town had first been raised more than 100 years ago but the technology has only recently been available to make it a reality, not to mention the helicopters necessary to land the huge mirrors on the top of a mountain. Bats fly into turbulence Critics of windfarms have long claimed that turbines are a hazard to birds, but except for the odd gruesome video posted online showing one of our feathered friends flying into one, there has been little hard evidence to support the claim. This week more worrying – and apparently reliable – evidence was presented that they present a real danger to bats. A statistical analysis has been carried out on the number of dead bats found close to 21 turbines, which suggests they could be harmful to migratory species. Extrapolating a country-wide total from the figures, the researchers claimed 600,000 bats died in the US last year because of wind turbines. Oh dear. Editor:  Ellen Bennett, t: 01342 332084, e: ellen.bennett@fav-house.com; Energy editor:  Megan Darby, t: 01342 332087, e: megan.darby@fav-house.com; Features editor:  Karma Ockenden, t: 01342 332086, e: karma.ockenden@fav-house. com; Reporter:  Mathew Beech, t: 01342 332082, e: mathew.beech@fav-house.com; Reporter:  Conor McGlone, t: 01342 332083, e: conor.mcglone@fav-house.com; Production editor:  Paul Newton, t: 01342 332085; Business development manager: Ed Roberts, t: 01342 332067, e: ed.roberts@fav-house.com; Sales executive: Nicky Shaw, t: 01342 332070, e: nicky.shaw@fav-house.com; Publisher:  Amanda Barnes, e: amanda.barnes@fav-house.com. General enquiries:  01342 332000; Subscriptions:  UK £543 per year, Overseas £655 per year, t: 01342 332011. ISSN: 1356-5532. Registered as a newspaper at the Post Office. Printed by: Buxton Press, Palace Road, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 6AE. Published by:  Faversham House Ltd, Windsor Court, Wood Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex RH19 1UZ Not so long ago, the "hacktivist" group Anonymous wanted little less than the end of our corrupt capitalist system as we know and love it. Its targets include the US, Israel, Tunisia and Uganda, as well as PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, and Sony in support of WikiLeaks and the Occupy movement. However, the past year has not been a good one for the internet collective, whose best idea was adopting the iconic Guy Fawkes mask donned by the hero of Alan Moore's graphic novel V for Vendetta. Several of its founders and leaders have been arrested, and with them a good deal of the group's hacking wherewithal. This partly explains why they appear to have lowered their sights somewhat and gathered to protest against austerity cuts in Parliament Square on Guy Fawkes Night. Plans for a mass burning of energy bills didn't get very far, however. Police in riot gear quickly doused the flames and 15 were arrested. Subscriptions:  UK £543 per year, Overseas £655 per year fhcustomerservices@ abacusemedia.com 3,580 Average circulation Jan–Dec 2012 UTILITY WEEK | 15th - 21st November 2013 | 31

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Utility Week - Uberflip 15 11 13