More turbines, less view

September 28th, 2005

Isle of Grain refinery

FARM LAND: The Isle of Grain refinery site, above, where BP wants to build a wind farm similar to the one off the Southend shore, top

PLANS for a second wind farm off the Southend coast have sparked fears the famous Thames view could be ruined.

BP aims to create 14 giant wind turbines at its vacant refinery on the Isle of Grain.

If planners back the move, the 160-metre windmills will compliment those already seen at the mouth of the estuary to the east.

A spokesman for BP said the turbines are likely to power 12,500 homes.

Prof Bernard de Neumann, chairman of the Leigh Cliff Association, called on anyone interested to attend a public exhibition at Grain Village Hall, in Chapel Road, on Friday September 20, from 11.00am to 9.00pm.

“This wind farm will affect views over the estuary markedly if it proceeds,” he said.

BP said talks were ongoing with bird and other wildlife groups about the impact of the turbines on the environment.

If approved it will be the first BP backed farm in the UK, although the firm already has two in the Netherlands.

The island refinery closed in the early 1980s and has been used as a fuel storage site ever since.

The BP spokesman said the firm was keen to move into developing its “renewables ” business further. Wind and solar energies are seen as more profitable as fossil fuels continue to become more expensive to recover.

The spokesman added: “If we can produce more renewable power we hope its something we can offer our customers.”

Air travel must be limited

September 21st, 2005

The Government must act now to curb air travel. The current rate of growth in the aviation industry will account for 100% of the CO2 allowable under the Government’s current target of a 60% reduction by 2050, so says the latest report from theTyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. There is a simple solution which could be introduced straight away: close every airport in the UK for 3 days a week.

Businesses want to be regulated, says Monbiot

September 20th, 2005

George Monbiot argues that there are many in business calling for regulation to enforce companies to adopt environmentally-aware policies, but lack of Government action stands in their way. Read GM’s latest article here

On yer bike!

September 11th, 2005

A leading National organisation has recommended that people get out of their cars and instead get on bikes, into buses or onto their own two feet. Who are they? The RAC of course, who have included this advice in their Responsible Driving page. Seriously, it’s full of good advice on how to do less damage with your car.

More on New Orleans

September 2nd, 2005

According to Sidney Blumenthal, New Orleans wasn’t just a disaster waiting to happen. In 2001, Bush received advice from experts that the flooding of New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters to affect the USA. His response? To cut the flood defence funding and build on the nearby wetlands. Read the article in the Guardian. Also see Boston Globe article.

New Orleans

August 30th, 2005

The tragic news about the devastation of New Orleans by hurricane Katrina has, of course, dominated the news this week. One of the USA’s most historic and beautiful cities has been devastated by one of the most violent hurricanes ever recorded. Weren’t last year’s hurricanes also amongst the most violent ever recorded? I wonder how long it will take the Monkey in the White House to make the connection.

EBICO selling carbon credits

August 29th, 2005

EBICO, the energy company whose stance on social justice is mentioned below (19/8/05) have now added an intriguing green aspect to their company profile. You can now buy Carbon Credits. These are tax-deductible charitable donations in which the money is invested in green projects. Large companies who cannot be bothered to reduce their own emissions buy these so that, in effect, they can have a stake in some genuinely environmentally-minded organisation’s attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. EBICO has a calculator that helps you work out, based upon the number of kilowatt/hours of gas and electricity you use, what you would have to pay to offset the effects of this. The advantage is that there are only a limited number of carbon credits available so if you buy some then some other polluter has to get his house in order! It sounds like a nice idea, but you might do better by buying a solar panel…

Cheaper power from EBICO

August 19th, 2005

This morning’s post brought the scarcely unexpected news that Powergen, who supply my gas, was about to raise its prices massively. I read the small print and from 1st September the cost per kilowatt/hour will rise from 2.159p to 2.537p, an increase of 17.5%! A quick bit of shopping around on the internet unearthed EBICO, a not-for-profit company. Their charge will be a flat rate of 1.94p per Kw/h, so Powergen’s charge is more than 30% greater than EBICO’s. British Gas are even more expensive than Powergen (source: UK Power). EBICO was set up by a group of Christians in Oxford with the objective of ensuring that everyone, not just those who are able to pay by Direct Debit, should benefit from the lowest possible energy prices. This is particularly aimed at helping those who pay over the odds because they are forced into using coin-slot meters. It is possible to get both gas and electricity from EBICO, but in my case I am just interested in the gas. EBICO make no particular claims about being “green” (although their electricity comes from Scottish and Southern, who have a fair few hydro-electric plants) but they are interested in social justice. Enviromentalism and social justice go hand-in-hand, hence the entry here. So from my point of view it’s bye-bye, Powergen!

Siberian permafrost starts melting

August 19th, 2005

Scientists have discovered that areas of permafrost in Siberia have begun to melt. See Guardian article for details.

Off-the-shelf wind turbines

August 3rd, 2005

Did you know that you can buy an “off the peg” wind turbine to supplement your domestic electricity? It’s manufactured by Windsave but at the moment there are no grants available. It’s worth waiting because negotiations are going on to sort grants out for buyers, and current legislation is due to be amended so that you don’t have to apply for planning permission. Total cost, according to the company, should be in the region of £1500 and it should pay for itself in about 5 years.