Saturday, 9 January 2010

UK Renewable Energy Government Funding


by L. Berney

The Sunday Times of 3 Jan 2010 reports:

Brown unveils £100bn wind farm gamble

Gordon Brown will this week announce a raft of development contracts worth £100 Billion to build a new generation of off-shore wind farms to produce a third of the UK's energy. This is the most ambitious wind project in the world involving 9 enormous off-shore wind farms. Each farm will be bigger than any operating today. The biggest will be the Dogger Bank farm located 100Km off the east generate 10GW of power -- more than 10 times the capacity of total global off-shore wind power in operation today worldwide.

Yet big questions remain over the wisdom of betting so heavily on an intermittent and largely untested power source located in one of the harshest operating environments at sea. Companies will have to lay hundreds of miles of undersea cable to connect them to the grid and the electricity network will have to be substantially upgraded to handle the inconsistency of wind supply.

This £100bn contrasts with the comparatively paltry amount the UK government is investing in Geothermal Energy. As announced in the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan, published on 15 July 2009, £6 million in capital grant funding is being made available over the next two financial years to explore the potential for deep geothermal power in the UK, helping companies carry out exploratory work needed to identify viable sites.

According to estimates, an EGS plant consisting of 9 boreholes and a generating station could produce a continuous supply of 50 MW. Probably 1,000 of such plants would be required to supply ALL the electrical power required by Britain -- that is to replace ALL the fossil fuel and ALL the nuclear plants. At say £50 million each, 1,000 such plants would cost £50bn.