Tidal wave energy installations are nothing new, but installing it on a scale that can power 42,000 homes is. The other day, the Scottish government gave the go ahead for starting a wave-powered energy installation.
“This is a major step forward for Scotland’s marine renewable energy industry. When fully operational, the 86 megawatt array could generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 42,000 homes – around 40% of homes in the Highlands. This … is just the first phase for a site that could eventually yield up to 398 megawatts.”
Speaking at the Scottish renewables marine conference, Ewing also announced that developers Aquamarine Power Limited and Pelamis Wave Power are to share a slice of a £13m wave “first array” support programme, part of the Scottish government’s marine renewables commercialisation fund.
Ewing said the tide is turning for the wave sector.
Read more at The Guardian.
Coral reefs are under threat. Recreational boating and increased shipping have increased the risk to coral reefs from humanity, and increased temperatures have caused coral acidification. There are scientists and biologists around the world trying to help protect coral reefs and revive some of their lost areas. A team in Florida is growing coral on PVC piping then transplanting the coral to endangered areas.
It shows little branches of staghorn coral growing on a “tree” made of PVC pipes. Harvested from wild coral colonies when they’re only 5 cm long, these samples will double in size every two months while attached to the tree. Once they’ve put on enough heft, they’re transplanted to new homes on damaged coral reefs, where they grow into the surrounding environment and help to restore ecosystems that could otherwise be lost. I’d heard about coral restoration before, but had never seen pictures of the process. At the RJD website, you can see a series of photos that take you through it step-by-step. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it looks a lot like underwater gardening — similar to grafting fruit trees.
More at the RJD website.
Earlier this year, Toronto suffered some severe flooding and city planner Jennifer Keesmat composed this great tweet:
One of those programs she is referring to is the tower renewal program which helped energy conservation, local ecologies, and improve housing conditions. Toronto’s mayor ensures these programs don’t get funding.
Here in Toronto where we have a druggy mayor who hates the environment who also sat in an idling SUV during the flooding (idling is illegal in the city). The mayor has gone out of his way to ensure that Toronto treats the local environment worse than it did the year before. I mention this as a contrast to what is happening in England’s biggest city.
In London, they have a mayor who actually knows that climate change is happening and the city is doing something about it. London is no stranger to threat of flooding, indeed the Thames barrier’s lifetime has been reduced due to the increased pace of climate change. With most usable space already consumed, what is the city to do?
London has turned to constructing green walls! The walls absorb water that would otherwise contribute to flooding within the city by soaking up rainwater.
The wall captures rainwater from the roof of the hotel in dedicated storage tanks; the rainwater is then channeled slowly through the wall to nourish plants, simultaneously reducing surface water on the streets below. “The plants themselves will take up rain too, so the rain doesn’t fall on the street below,” says Beamont.
During the design process, Grant picked out native ferns, English ivy, geraniums, strawberry and primroses for the living wall, using the Royal Horticultural Society’s pollinators list as a guide. “My approach is to use native species in natural associations, however sometimes it’s not practicable because of problems with availability or a lack of visual interest or late flowering,” he says. “It’s still necessary to choose plants that are known to thrive in living walls, or are likely to thrive in living walls, and are suited to the aspect and microclimate.”
Read more at Co.Exist.
More countries than ever before now have policies that support renewable energy production. This is obviously a good thing as we are seeing the impact of climate change (like the recent tornados in Japan). We are now a seeing a global effort to slow climate change via policy over the last couple years with Asian and South American countries enacting polices, previously it was primarily only European nations.
The economic diversity of countries enacting support policies for renewable energy has also greatly expanded. High-income economies accounted for 69 percent of all policy support by mid-2005, but by early 2013 this had declined to 30 percent. The other economic groups each increased their share by more than 10 percent.
“As the renewable energy sector continues to mature, policymakers face a host of new challenges,” said Evan Musolino, trend author. “While the pace of countries adopting new renewable energy support policies has slowed somewhat in recent years, the sector has experienced a flurry of activity centered on revising existing policy mechanisms. Policy changes have been driven by a variety of factors, both positive and negative.”
Rapidly changing market conditions for technologies such as solar photovoltaics, where module costs declined by 80 percent since 2008 and by 20 percent in 2012 alone, have dramatically reduced the level of support needed to make projects attractive to investors and feasible for project developers. Simultaneously, the global economic slowdown left many countries with continuously tight national budgets, which has threatened support for the renewable energy sector. The combination of factors has led to a number of cuts to existing incentive programs.
Read more at Worldwatch.
Germany has been so effective in tranisitioning from unsustianble (econmically and environemntally) energy sources to renewable ones that it is uncompetitive to burn fossil fuels for power!
“Due to the continuing boom in solar energy, many power stations throughout the sector and across Europe are no longer profitable to operate,” RWE said in a statement.
“During the first half of 2013, the conventional power generation division’s operating result fell by almost two-thirds. The massive reduction in power station margins is a major factor in this development.”
On Tuesday, E.On said it had shut down or left idle 6,500 megawatts of generating capacity.
It had previously announced plans to close a total of 11,000 megawatts, but now says it may close more.
Read more at the BBC.