Blind as a Bat – Daft as a Brush

Ask most people what they think of renewable energy and generally they will respond positively.
Most people however also confuse the terminology with environmentally friendly or sustainable energy which can be something quite different.
The looming shortage of electricty generation, together with a UK commitment to produce 25% of energy from renenewable energy sources by 2025 has helped drive up domestic energy prices as the government subsidises and incentivises private renewable energy production.

What most people want is sensitive exploitation of renewable energy sources which are sustainable.

The use of biofuels causes problems in many areas of the world. Land clearance has caused many issues in the developing world. One clearance fire resulted in more CO2 emissions than the UK would produce in a single year. People lose their homes, their land their lives.
Food crops are replaced with energy crops and prices anre driven higher, leaving people to starve. Its a global economy, driven by supply and demand – where the rich win and the poor die.
Swaithes of rainforests are being deforested to grow palm oil – for burning. Increasing global CO2 production.
Are biofiels and renewable energy a good thing ?

Hydro electric power accounts for nearly 20% of China’s power production. Recently Chinese officials staged a sudden about-face, acknowledging for the first time that the massive Three Georges hydroelectric dam, the world’s largest, sandwiched between breathtaking cliffs on the Yangtze River in central China, may be triggering landslides, altering entire ecosystems and causing other serious environmental problems—and, by extension, endangering the millions who live in its shadow. Three Georges Dam Is hydro electric a good thing ?

Last year, the world’s largest wood fueled biomass plant was approved – in the UK. If built it will use an estimated 60 million tonnes of wood a year – six times the UKs average wood production. The sad thing is that the wood that will be burned does not have to be replaced with new trees. Guess we will be importing even more wood and adding more to world CO2 levels. !The biggest threat to the Mountain Gorillas in the Congo – is the clearance of forest for charcoal production – a renewable energy source. Is renewable energy a good thing ?

Not all renewable energy projects are bad – to the contrary, but nor are they all good. The plan to use solar power, harnessed in the dessert, to supply 15% of Europes power by 2050 . That seems a much better idea than covering arable farmland with solar panels in the UK Desert power.
Admirably the UK leads the way with off shore wind farms but falls behind the curve in small scale domestic renewable energy projects – although these are now starting to have a benefit in the UK.

The UK government is encouraging small scale energy production, solar PV, wind power etc. Bolton’s core startegy encourages the use of CHP (Combined heat and Power) which can be over 90%efficient.
The largest biomass CHP for district heating plant is in Japan – 2MWe.
In Blackrod a plant twice this size has been approved at the Douglas Valley Golf Course, for district heating. It is estimated the plant will burn approximately 5% of the total wooded are in the North West of England each year – and produce enough electric for 11,000 houses and enough heat energy to heat the whole of Blackrod. Unfortunately the plant will only actually heat six houses, and it is likely the rest of the thermal energy will be wasted – possibly making it one of the least efficient CHP plants in the world – estimated at below 20% – wasting valuable energy resources.

The same site has also applied for two industrial wind turbines – despite guidance to the contrary unfortunately the proposed turbine tips will be within 50m of hedgerows and linear field structures. (In fact they are within a few meters). Why is this important ?
Some of Europe’s most endangered species – bats – use these linear structures as highways – they will virtually never fly accross an open field. Turbine blades have been responsible for many bat kills -it is unlawful to deliberately kill a bat – and contributory negligence by ignoring the guidelines is unlikely to provide a defence .

For those who would wish renewable energy at any cost – be careful what you wish for – dont be daft – think – sensitive exploitation of renewable energy sources which are sustainable.

Blind as Bat – Daft as a Brush

Energy efficiency is probably the best way we, as individuals can reduce the demand for energy and help achieve the 25% target. Many domestic energy suppliers now provide free roof insulation and free cavity wall insulation. If you havent yet gone down this route – or at least had a free consultation you to may be commiting an environmental crime. Please help Save the Planet – without costing the Earth.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>