Thursday, 18 March 2010

Electric cars and 40 new nuclear power stations to meet climate change targets

Every car on the road will need to be electric and there will be solar panels on every home, 10,000 wind turbines onshore and 40 new nuclear power stations if the Government is to stand a chance of meeting strict climate change targets, engineers have warned.

By Louise GrayPublished: 7:00AM GMT 18 Mar 2010
The Royal Academy of Engineering set out how the UK will meet its target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
Even if demand for electricity is reduced from current levels, the Government will still have to engage in "the biggest programme of investment and social change the UK has ever seen" over the next four decades.

The report assumed that the maximum level of renewable electricity will be installed including 9,600 wind turbines on land and a further 10,000 turbines at sea. The Severn Barrage will have to go ahead as well as 1,000 miles of wave machines and further installations for tidal power. Most of the country's 25 million households will have to install solar panels and scrap boilers in favour of heat pumps that take heat out of the air or the ground.
On top of this it will be necessary to build 40 new low carbon power stations such as nuclear or coal with carbon capture and storage (CCS) that stores carbon dioxide under ground.
The transport sector will have to be run on electricity from renewables or low carbon energy such as nuclear, meaning a network of charging points across the country.
The authors of the report compared the scale of the challenge to the Victorians building the sewage system or the manufacture of spitfires in the Second World War and warned of blackouts if a massive infrastructure programme does not start immediately.
:: Meanwhile the Royal Society has launched a study into "geo-engineering". The body of top scientists are concerned that measures to stop climate change such as launching mirrors into space to reflect the heat of the sun or fertilising the oceans in order to grow algae and absorb more CO2 could damage the wider environment. The report will suggest guidelines and international agreements to control controversial experiments in future.

Nissan electric car to boost jobs in Sunderland

Nissan has announced plans to build new zero emissions electric car, the Nissan Leaf, in Sunderland

Press association
The Guardian, Thursday 18 March 2010
Nissan announced today it will build its new electric car, the Nissan Leaf, in Sunderland. Production will begin in 2013 and forms part of a £420m investment in electric cars by the Japanese firm.
The manufacturer said the Leaf would be the world's first mass-produced zero-emission car, and around 50,000 a year will be made in Sunderland. The investment will be supported by a £20.7m government grant and a proposed finance package from the European Investment Bank of up to £197.3m.
Sunderland had been tipped as favourite for European production of the Leaf since the Nissan sited its electric car battery plant nearby.
Founded in 1984, Nissan's Sunderland factory employs around 4,000 people and built its five-millionth vehicle in June 2008.
The business secretary, Peter Mandelson, said: "This investment is a fantastic vote of confidence in the Sunderland plant and its excellent workforce."
Nissan's Andy Palmer added: "Thanks to the UK's firm commitment to a low carbon future in terms of infrastructure, customer incentives and educational programmes, Nissan Leaf will be built at Sunderland, making the UK the third country in the world to produce this revolutionary car."
The news comes amid fears that the recession will force Britain's manufacturers to shift production to cheaper plants overseas. Concerns were heightened after Manganese Bronze, the black-cab manufacturer, agreed to sell a majority stake to the Chinese Geely group and move more of its production to China.
Manganese Bronze, which assembles the TX4 cab – used widely in London and nationwide – at its factory in Coventry, said it had suffered a 30% collapse in sales since the start of the recession, provoking a slump in profits.
Chief executive John Russell said many cab owners had spent the past two years holding back from upgrading their vehicles. "This is a bit of a turning point for us," Russell said after the group posted a pretax loss for 2009 of £7.3m.
He said the company was considering offering Geely shares at 70p to give the Chinese group a controlling stake; shares in Manganese Bronze have been trading at about 85p since the end of January.
Russell also said plans to source bodies and chassis for the TX4 from Shanghai rather than the Coventry area, where its chief supplier is due to close.
Analysts at Collins Stewart suggested Geely was coming to the rescue of Manganese Bronze, which has struggled with recalls and falling market share. Geely is expected to inject £14m of cash and reduce MB's dependency on loans.

UK must transform to meet future energy needs, warn top engineers

The changes include a transformation of draughty homes, plus vast expansion of renewable and nuclear power

Damian Carrington, Thursday 18 March 2010 07.00 GMT
The UK's most eminent engineers have warned that the biggest set of investments and social changes ever seen in peacetime are needed to meet the country's energy needs in the coming decades, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
The changes include a transformation of the nation's draughty homes and cuts in how far people commute to work, as well as a vast expansion of wind and solar power and dozens of new nuclear or "clean coal" power plants.
The authors of the Royal Academy of Engineering report, published today , say the existing level of political will and the market-led approach to energy planning cannot deliver the fundamental restructuring needed.
"We are nowhere near having a plan," said Prof Sue Ion, who led the report. "These are massive projects. It requires a huge exercise all through government, and needs to come from the very top and go down through all departments such as transport and local government."
"What we are talking about is making sure our children and grandchildren have an energy infrastructure that is fit for purpose."
Another author, Prof Roger Kemp, from Lancaster University, said: "It needs the political enthusiasm that was behind the war on terror after 9/11."
The team devised scenarios for the UK in 2050, starting with achievable cuts in energy usage and the maximum possible amount of renewable energy. Next they calculated how much fossil fuel could then be used while still meeting the UK's planned action on climate change, an 80% cut in carbon emissions by 2050. In all scenarios, that left an energy gap that was filled by dozens of new nuclear power stations and coal stations fitted with technology to prevent carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere.
In the two scenarios identified by the engineers as most probable, fossil fuel use fell by 75%, renewable energy rose 20-fold and about 40 new nuclear or clean coal plants were needed (see details below). The remaining fossil fuel has to be split between heating homes or powering transport, with social consequences for both.
If home heating is to be decarbonised by the use of electric heat pumps, said the authors, gas boilers would have to be all but banned and community heating schemes built. If cars are to be electrified, then a vast new charging infrastructure is needed, said Kemp, including a smart, interactive grid that charges vehicles when renewable energy from wind and the sun is most available.
Kemp suggested the long commutes to work common today could not continue: "We have to think about constraints on where we live. Car mileage has been going up since 1950s and shows no sign of slowing." But he said: "One of the problems of transport is that it is a very emotional issue."
A critical factor was cutting demand for energy, said the author Prof Roland Clift, from the University of Surrey, primarily by increasing the energy efficiency of homes. "The UK has notoriously inefficient buildings. We need to put huge effort into the unsexy business of retrofitting. It is a frustration to me that this was said 10 years ago, but very little has happened since."
The transformation needed is so substantial that they said it would "inevitably involve significant rises in energy costs to end users"' said Ion. But the report notes that the renewal of the UK's energy infrastructure, mostly built in the 1970s, is required regardless of the need to cut emissions to tackle global warming.
Prof Nick Cumsty used another war analogy: "It's like going to war with Hitler: it is not what it costs but what you have to do or you will be overwhelmed." In October, the government's adviser, the Committee on Climate Change, said a "step change" was needed in the rate of carbon emissions cuts.
A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "Large parts of the report are very much in tune with our thinking." Last month, the energy secretary, Ed Miliband, said in a statement: "For the longer term [beyond 2020], Britain will need a more interventionist energy policy. The scale and upfront nature of the low-carbon investment needed is likely to require significant reform of our market arrangements."
John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: "The government has been too slow and too hesitant in the past, but next week's budget offers them a chance to fire the starting gun for a low-carbon economy. Britain has faced up to massive challenges before and has emerged stronger and more prosperous because of them. The decades ahead will improve our energy security and generate thousands of new jobs."
What the UK needs in 2050 to keep the lights on and fight global warming
Renewable energy:
• More than 20,000 wind turbines, on and off onshore
• 36m² of solar panels on each house, or equivalent
• 1,000 miles of Pelamis "sea-snake" wave power machines
• A tidal power barrage across the Severn and 2,300 tidal turbines elsewhere
• The burning of farm, forest and food waste for electricity, and transport biofuels, equivalent to 26 large coal-powered stations
Low-carbon energy:
• About 40 new power stations using either nuclear or "clean coal" technology
Fossil fuels:
• Use cut by 75% compared with today and used largely for transport or home heating, but not both
Energy efficiency
• 20% cut in energy use by white goods and gadgets, and a 40% cut in home heating

Carbon capture storage will 'generate 100,000 jobs and £6.5bn a year'

Ed Miliband unveils strategy to encourage growth of unproven technology for next generation of coal-fired power stations
Press Association, Wednesday 17 March 2010 10.56 GMT
The UK's carbon capture and storage (CCS) sector will be able to sustain 100,000 jobs by 2030 and generate up to £6.5bn a year, the government claimed today.
Unveiling a new strategy to encourage the growth of CCS, the energy and climate change secretary, Ed Miliband, said it represents a "massive industrial growth opportunity".
The government also announced that Yorkshire and Humber had been chosen as the UK's first low-carbon economic area for CCS.
The region has been chosen because it combines the UK's largest cluster of industrial CO2 emitters, academic expertise and proximity to potential storage sites.
Yorkshire and Humber is well placed to benefit from jobs and investment that expansion in the CO2 storage industry will bring, Miliband said.
Announcing the new plan, the he said: "CCS presents a massive growth opportunity for the UK. We have a strong, established and skilled workforce in precisely the sectors needed to get CCS deployed at scale. And we have some of the best potential sites in Europe for CO2 storage under the North Sea."
Miliband added: "For the UK economy as a whole these benefits could be worth up to £6.5bn a year, sustaining jobs for up to 100,000 people, by 2030."
The launch of the strategy comes after two power companies were awarded funding last week to develop designs for power plants with CCS technology.
E.ON and Scottish Power are competing for government backing to build the UK's first CCS coal-fired power plant at either Kingsnorth, Kent or Longannet, Clackmannanshire, Scotland. The undisclosed amount of funding for each company, which is drawn from a £90m pot, will support detailed engineering and design work for the projects over the next 12 months.
After that, the government will announce the winner of the competition. Climate activists have predicted a planned coal station with carbon capture in Ayrshire will become the "new Kingsnorth" if it goes ahead, a reference reference to E.ON's controversial coal-fired plant in Kent that sparked battles between protesters and police before E.ON finally shelved it.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has said four coal-fired power stations which demonstrate commercial-scale CCS on a section of the plant will be built, including the winner of the competition.
The development of the CCS plants will potentially be funded by a fossil fuel levy on energy companies.
The government has pledged no new coal-fired power stations will get the go-ahead without the technology, which could potentially reduce emissions by up to 90%.
But climate campaigners are concerned the scheme permits construction of coal-power stations which have the technology on only part of the plant, while the rest will continue to pollute.

IEA calls for biofuel revolution

Published: March. 17, 2010 at 10:15 AM
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, March 17 (UPI) -- The economic recovery under way means energy usage will rise, creating the need for a revolution in the use of biofuels, officials said in the Netherlands.
Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of International Energy Agency, told an audience at a biofuels conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands, that biofuels were part of a long-term strategy to mitigate potential oil and gas supply risks.
Tanaka said data show energy demand could increase by 40 percent by 2030 under a business-as-usual scenario. Electricity demand, he said, would increase at a rate of 2.5 percent each year during the same period.
This scenario made it clear that the global community must work together to safeguard energy security, he said.
"And we must work hard to find alternative forms of energy, including biofuels," he added.
A renewable energy directive outlined by the European Union calls on member states to derive 20 percent of their energy through renewable resources, including biofuels, by 2020.
European leaders said the use of biomass crops could lead to deforestation and cause increases in greenhouse gas production, however.
Tanaka said the IEA was in the process of developing a road map for developing so-called second-generation biofuels that would mitigate the risks to forests and food crops. The road map is expected by the end of this year.
An "energy technology revolution" was under way in the transport sector, he said. "Let's make that revolutionary future a reality together, including by ensuring that biofuels realize their full potential."

Weatherization: Energy efficiency hits home

From the federal stimulus to 'cash for caulkers,' home weatherization has never been hotter. But can it really save the environment and the economy?
By Russell McLendon
Wed, Mar 17 2010 at 11:40 AM EST

Drafty doors, floors, walls and windows are slowly letting air out of the U.S. economy, as consumers pay rising prices to wrangle warmth that freely escapes and invades their homes. This HVAC crisis has been simmering for decades, but as Congress now struggles to cut U.S. energy costs, carbon emissions and unemployment all at once, the fight against outdoor climate change is increasingly focusing on indoor climate control.

President Obama made that clear earlier this month when he proposed his $6 billion Home Star program, aka "cash for caulkers," the latest in a string of federal efforts to both shrink the country's carbon footprint and revive its economy. Following last summer's $3 billion "cash for clunkers" and the $300 million "cash for appliances," Home Star would offer consumers cash rebates from $1,000 up to $8,000 for making certain energy-saving home renovations. The recession may have crushed the construction industry and stalled efforts to curb climate change, but supporters say Home Star could give both a boost — and without touching political pitfalls like coal mining or cap-and-trade.

"Cap-and-trade is kind of like health care, in that you have lots of people with diametrically opposed viewpoints," says Larry Zarker, CEO of the nonprofit Building Performance Institute and a member of the Home Star Coalition. "But if you look at energy efficiency itself, there are very strong Republican and Democratic arguments for doing this. There's very strong support across the political spectrum, and I think there's a strong likelihood it will pass."

But if Congress does pass Home Star — it was the subject of a Senate committee hearing last week, and the House is working on its own version — what would happen? What are the chances the $6 billion investment would actually create jobs and save money? The proposal is likely to change as it winds around Capitol Hill, but here's a quick look at its basic ideas:

What is weatherization?
Nearly a quarter of all energy used in the United States is used in people's homes, and about half of that is dedicated to heating and cooling. It already takes a lot of energy to keep houses cool during an Arizona summer, for example, or warm during a Minnesota winter, but much of that energy is also wasted as warm air enters or escapes through hidden air leaks. "Weatherization" is the process of sealing cracks and insulating walls and windows to stop air and heat from getting through.

Home energy audits and large-scale overhauls — which require skilled workers, therefore creating jobs — could qualify a project for the Home Star program's more lucrative Gold Star rebates, but there is still cash to be had for DIY caulkers, too. A variety of simple efficiency upgrades would not only qualify for Silver Star rebates, but also for already-existing tax credits. The trick is often locating the leaks in the first place — much harder to do with air than with water.

How does air escape?
The simplest way to trace air leaks is to close all windows and doors in the house, then light a candle or incense stick and walk from room to room. If the stream of smoke is blown toward or away from any windows, door frames or walls, there's probably some air getting through. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the most common sources of leaking air are floors, walls and ceilings, which account for nearly a third of all leaks, followed by air ducts (15 percent), fireplaces (14 percent), plumbing penetrations (13 percent), doors (11 percent) and windows (10 percent). Fans, vents and electrical outlets make up the other 6 percent.

How can it be stopped?
A home's "heat flow," or the natural movement of heat from warmer to cooler spaces, is the basic problem that weatherization services aim to solve. During summer, solar heat flows in from outside, either directly through openings or by heating up walls and radiating through. In the winter, warm air doesn't have to flow outside to be wasted — it often just seeps into unheated attics or crawlspaces, or its warmth moves indirectly through walls and windows, radiating out on the other side. Of course, leaky doorways and windows are still always prime places for heat to escape, too (see the two photos below, which use infrared imaging to show where the house loses heat.)

The leading weapon against heat flow is thermal insulation, which can take many different forms, each assigned an "R value" based on how well it stops heat. Since walls, floors and ceilings are usually a house's main heat transmitters, they're often in greatest need of insulation, but attics, air ducts, basements, crawlspaces and any other unheated areas may also contribute to heat loss. "Blanket insulation" is the most common and widely available type, and while it's typically made of fiberglass or plastic fibers, it also comes in eco-friendly materials like cotton or sheep's wool. Other insulation types include concrete blocks, spray foam, reflective materials and straw bales.

It often takes an energy audit to know what needs renovating, but weatherization can involve anything from caulking and weather stripping to installing new windows and doors to closing a fireplace damper and tightening an electrical-outlet cover. While such upgrades are widely seen as wise, they can introduce a potential health risk: radon gas. The naturally occurring, radioactive gas seeps up from soil and can be trapped inside houses, especially when windows and doors are kept closed for winter. But in a truly weatherized house, radon can't penetrate the foundation in the first place — one benefit of doing a whole-home energy audit rather than piecemeal projects.

What is 'cash for caulkers'?
Formally known as Home Star, the proposal was named after the DOE's and EPA's popular Energy Star program. The idea is similar to "cash for clunkers" and "cash for appliances": Give consumers immediate cash rebates that encourage energy-efficiency. While "clunkers" paid people to trade in their gas guzzlers for fuel sippers, Home Star would pay them for making energy-saving renovations to their homes, supporting both the retailers that sell the materials and the contractors who install them. That's especially appealing to the construction industry, which is still reeling from the housing crash.

"You hear about us being in a recession, but the construction industry is in a depression right now," says Matt Golden, a co-creator of the Home Star proposal and president of Recurve, a San Francisco-based contracting company. The U.S. construction industry's unemployment rate rose to 27 percent in February — meaning one in four American construction workers is out of work — and in the insulation industry specifically, it's closer to 40 percent.

Home Star would create 168,000 jobs, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a weatherization advocacy group, although Golden calls that "a very conservative number." The Home Star Coalition also predicts the program could retrofit 3.3 million homes in two years — saving homeowners $9.4 billion over the next decade, and cutting carbon emissions by as much as 615,000 cars, or four 300-megawatt power plants. According to the White House, consumers could expect to save $200-$500 annually in energy costs, while "improving the comfort and value of their homes." And to ensure they meet those standards, Home Star would require contractors to be certified, and quality inspectors would conduct field audits of finished renovations.

In its current form, Home Star allows for rebates ranging from $1,000 as high as $8,000, depending on the scale of each renovation project, which it divides into two categories — Silver Star and Gold Star.

Silver Star: Many simple renovations would be eligible for 50 percent rebates up to $1,500 with the Silver Star track, including insulation, duct sealing, water heaters, HVAC units, windows, roofing and doors. Under Silver Star, consumers could choose a combination of upgrades for a maximum rebate of $3,000 per home, with only the most energy-efficient categories of products covered. The Home Star Coalition says 2.9 million homes would take part in these rebates.

Gold Star: More comprehensive projects could pursue the Gold Star track, in which whole-home energy audits and retrofits would be eligible for a $3,000 rebate if they're designed to achieve energy savings of 20 percent or more. Consumers could also get an extra $1,000 for every additional 5 percent boost in their home's energy efficiency, up to a total of $8,000 per household. Gold Star would build on existing whole-home retrofit programs like the EPA's Home Performance with Energy Star, and about 500,000 homeowners are expected to participate.

While Home Star's proposed $6 billion investment is big news, the federal government has supported weatherization for decades. The DOE's Weatherization Assistance Program has retrofitted some 6.4 million low-income homes since it began in 1976, helping those residents save 30.5 million British thermal units (Btu) of energy annually, according to government data. And in 2009, the federal stimulus package invested an extra $4.73 billion in the weatherization program, up from $450 million the previous year.

Yet even with an existing system in place, the stimulus-funded weatherization has been slow to pan out, according to a report published by the DOE's inspector general last month. In fact, only 8 percent of the money had been distributed as of Feb. 16 — a full year after the stimulus bill was signed into law. These delays are mainly due to local furloughs and hiring freezes, the report found, but while it praises the government's "proactive steps" to spend stimulus funds, it does call the lack of progress so far "alarming." Six states hadn't completed any of their planned projects by Feb. 16, and only two — Delaware and Mississippi — had finished more than 25 percent.

Ultimately, the stimulus weatherization effort may have been slowed down by the very system that was supposed to speed it along, the report concludes: "The results of our review confirmed that as straightforward as the program may have seemed, and despite the best efforts of the [Energy] Department, any program with so many moving parts was extraordinarily difficult to synchronize."

Under Home Star, however, the federal government would work more directly with retailers and contractors, reimbursing them for the rebates they give their customers. That's why supporters argue it can begin creating jobs quickly, potentially having a more immediate impact than the stimulus money has, although it may still not take off quickly as "cash for clunkers" or "cash for appliances." While those programs offered rebates for pre-made products, many of the Home Star rebates would be for complex services — services that take time to complete, and that require workers to be trained before performing them.

Although training time might hurt some Home Star projects' shovel-readiness, advocates say it also creates steadier, better-paying jobs in the long run. And combined with weatherization's ability to cut energy bills as well as carbon emissions, many say Home Star's job-creation potential gives it a shot at bipartisan support in Congress. "From the left and from the right, the rationale is actually consistent," says BPI's Larry Zarker. "What we should be doing is working on our existing housing stock." There are 128 million housing units across the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which collectively use 10 quadrillion Btu of energy annually, costing their occupants more than $200 billion a year.

Despite his optimism about Home Star, Zarker admits the delays in weatherization projects so far have been discouraging. "I was just in Wyoming doing a talk, and they have 250,000 housing units," he says. "So if they're going to do this in 10 years, they need to do roughly 25,000 units a year, and if they're doing it in 100 years, they need to do 2,500 a year.

"But in Wyoming right now, they're on a 10,000-year plan," he says. "And that's pretty common across the country."

River Lea pollution 'caused illness', residents say

By Anna Cavell BBC London

Chemicals entered the river from Thames Water's works in Hertfordshire
Almost 100 people have reported feeling ill to Thames Water after the contamination of the River Lea in north-east London last month, it has emerged.
BBC London has learned that chemicals entered the river at the utility company's own sewage treatment works at Rye Meads in Hertfordshire.
The contamination is being investigated by the Drinking Water Inspectorate, the regulator of public water supplies, and any conviction would carry a fine.
In total, more than two million people were affected when the water supply to this area of London was contaminated with the chemicals 2-EDD and 2-EMD.
About 1,000 people contacted Thames Water to report foul-smelling and foul-tasting water but were told that there was no significant threat to health.
Local resident Michelle Mifka is convinced that it made her ill after she drank a glass of water on 8 February.

Michelle Mifka said she was sick within half an hour of drinking water
"I'd just gotten up, I hadn't had breakfast, I wasn't ill and I had the water," she said.
"Within half an hour I was sick, so it couldn't really have been anything else."
Thames Water said there was no evidence to suggest that pollution led to the illnesses.
In a statement, Thames Water said: "The Health Protection Agency has confirmed that the minute traces of these substances found in water from our Walthamstow works during February did not present any significant threat to the health of our customers."
Rotten eggs
This was not the first the first time these two chemicals have found their way into drinking water in England.
In April 1994 customers of Severn Trent Water reported their water as smelling like paraffin, or rotten eggs.
After receiving a number of calls from customers, Severn Trent Water decided to bring in water bowsers from elsewhere in the country, advising people not to use the water until it had identified the contaminant.
One of the district managers told a TV interviewer at the time: "The advice from the health authority is that the water is not safe to drink and we are therefore advising everybody not to drink the water at all.
"However, if people have drunk the water this morning, they may suffer an upset tummy but that's all."
Following the incident in 1994, Severn Trent Water was found guilty of supplying water unfit for human consumption in court and fined.
As a gesture of goodwill the company paid customers £25.

The Green Movement and Custom Installation

Published March 16, 2010 by:
Recommendations from Prominent Movement Spokespeople Poised to Cause ProblemsAlthough well-meaning in their advice, many prominent spokespeople from the Green movement are advocating courses of action in handling electronics that may cause as influx of service calls and general product issues. Since the late 90s, Energy Star-rated gear is responsible for cutting down on a large percentage of wasted (or "phantom") electricity, by cutting down the amount of power required for electronics to consume while in standby. Admonitions from the Green movement to completely remove potentially high-consumption devices from all power unless in use can and will cause issues unless treated correctly. Although many devices are unaffected by this, the Green movement does not supply a comprehensive list of which electronic devices will and won't be affected by this advice. Unfortunately, the ones calling for the complete disconnection of devices are not fully educated on the complex programming and ramifications associated with random power
Standby mode is important for a number of reasons, most notably that standby is designed to supply a small amount of power to the device, so that memory remains unaffected. Additionally, complex systems that rely on a constant stream of power to supply data to other devices downstream will suffer from environmentally-conscious but not electronics-educated individuals, seeking to save a little consumption through this course of action. Ironically, these automated systems are the very ones designed to be programmable, controlling lights, appliances, security, and even landscaping systems. Improper power management in these conditions creates a scenario where custom installers are forced on service calls, costing owners of businesses and systems alike needlessly. Many systems (such as larger Crestron automation networks) operate much like PCs; proper shutdown and startup protocols must be observed in order to maintain expected operation. For the past few years, manufacturers have attempted to exploit the Green market by creating innovative solutions for resource management. Additionally, these same innovators are well aware of the cost and manpower issues presented when ad-hoc "solutions" for power management are improperly deployed.Simpler systems, such as small home theaters, suffer from this philosophy as well. Many television and audio/video receivers "forget" input assignments and settings when unexpectedly removed from all current. Complex and detailed settings (especially for calibrated televisions) are at risk when disconnected from power for a length of time, causing unnecessary headaches for system owners and employees of retailers, pressed into troubleshooting service. Calibration of a high-end television can cost anywhere from $200, all the way up to over $1,000, with many of the best, most well-known calibrators flying hundreds of miles to do their work. Saving a few dollars in lost electricity is commonly spent in system downtime, and additional expense by getting the equipment back to a functional state.The Green movement has laudable goals, none of which intend to create hardship for owners of customized media systems. However, unintended consequences for systems and their owners are based on a widespread misunderstanding of power-conservation features and programmability already present on better gear. It remains to be seen if the consumer electronics industry will successfully reach out to the preachers of power consumption, creating an educational environment for consumers

Suntech Selected to Power Taiwan's Largest Solar Power Plant

Posted on: Wed, 17 Mar 2010 00:30:00 EDT

WUXI, China, March 17, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --
Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP Quote Chart News PowerRating), the world's largest producer of crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules, will supply solar panels for what will be the biggest solar power plant in Taiwan. Owned and operated by the Taiwan Power Company, and developed by Fortune Electric Co., Ltd., the new 4.7MW solar plant in Young'an, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, will nearly double the island's current installed solar capacity of about 5MW.
"We chose Suntech modules for superior performance and reliability, as seen in utility-scale installations across Asia, Europe, and the Americas," said Liao Wen Sing, Vice President of Fortune Electric Co., Ltd. "We look forward to working with Suntech on this momentous project - hopefully the first of many large-scale solar plants in Taiwan."
Delivery of the 16,640 advanced polycrystalline modules, each with a peak power output of up to 280 watts, will begin in June 2010. The system is scheduled to start supplying decades of clean power in early 2011. The project is a milestone in Taiwan's efforts to raise renewable energy production capacity by more than 10GW in the next 20 years, diminish its reliance on imported fossil fuels, and to reduce carbon emissions to year-2000 levels by 2025. Given the island's abundant sunlight, solar is expected to comprise a substantial share of Taiwan's future energy portfolio.
"We have great expectations for the entire region. Asia and the Pacific already account for about one-third of the world's total energy demand, although its per-capita consumption is far less than the world's average," said Roger Ye, Suntech's President of Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa (APMEA). "The region's booming populations, strong economic growth engines, and abundant sunlight represent an exciting opportunity for solar and for Suntech." According to a November 2009 report by the Asian Development Bank, energy demand in Asia and the Pacific will grow by an estimated 2.4 percent annually for the next twenty years, a cumulative 80% increase between 2005 and 2030.
Suntech's industry-leading products have already been utilized all around the region, including in Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, Korea, Thailand and mainland China, among others. Around the world, Suntech has delivered products to thousands of customers in more than 80 countries. This global track record is a key differentiator for the brand in both established and emerging solar markets, according to Suntech executives.
"The global nature of our operations and experience provides a unique competitive advantage as we grow in emerging Asian markets and around the world," said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Chairman and CEO of Suntech. "We are working across borders and regions to power sustainable economic growth everywhere under the sun."
About Suntech Power
Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP) is the world's leading solar energy company as measured by production output of crystalline silicon solar modules. Suntech designs, develops, manufactures, and markets premium quality, high-output, cost-effective and environmentally friendly solar products for electric power applications in the residential, commercial, industrial, and public utility sectors. Suntech offers an extensive range of customer-centric innovations, including its patent-pending Pluto technology for crystalline silicon solar cells, which improves power output by up to 12% compared to conventional production methods, its Reliathon(TM) module and platform, the industry's first fully integrated utility-scale solar platform, and its broad range of building-integrated solar products.
Suntech designs and delivers residential, commercial and utility-scale solar power systems in China and the United States. With regional headquarters in China, Switzerland and San Francisco and sales offices worldwide, Suntech is passionate about improving the environment we live in and dedicated to developing advanced solar solutions that enable sustainable development. For more information, please visit .

100,000 carbon capture jobs likely

The UK's carbon capture and storage (CCS) sector will be able to sustain 100,000 jobs by 2030 and generate up to £6.5 billion a year, the Government has claimed.
Unveiling a new strategy to encourage the growth of CCS, energy secretary Ed Miliband said it represents a "massive industrial growth opportunity".
The Government also announced that Yorkshire and Humber had been chosen as the UK's first low carbon economic area for CCS.
The region has been chosen because it combines the UK's largest cluster of industrial CO2 emitters, academic expertise and proximity to potential storage sites.
Yorkshire and Humber is well placed to benefit from jobs and investment that expansion in the CO2 storage industry will bring, Mr Miliband said.
Announcing the new plan, the Energy Secretary said: "CCS presents a massive growth opportunity for the UK. We have a strong, established and skilled workforce in precisely the sectors needed to get CCS deployed at scale. And we have some of the best potential sites in Europe for CO2 storage under the North Sea."
Mr Miliband added: "For the UK economy as a whole these benefits could be worth up to £6.5 billion a year, sustaining jobs for up to 100,000 people, by 2030."
The launch of the strategy comes after two power companies were awarded funding last week to develop designs for power plants with CCS technology. E.ON and ScottishPower are competing for Government backing to build the UK's first CCS coal-fired power plant at either Kingsnorth, Kent or Longannet, Clackmannanshire, Scotland.
The undisclosed amount of funding for each company, which is drawn from a £90 million pot, will support detailed engineering and design work for the projects over the next 12 months. After that, the Government will announce the winner of the competition.
The Government has pledged no new coal-fired power stations will get the go-ahead without the technology, which could potentially reduce emissions by up to 90%. But climate campaigners are concerned the scheme permits construction of coal-power stations which have the technology on only part of the plant, while the rest will continue to pollute.