opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development
REVOLT Newsletter 236
Revolt news 29/09/2007
1. Extracts from House of Commons - Written Answers 18.09.07, from Mr Paterson on grid reinforcement costs and wind farms, are at APPENDIX A.
2. An item from wind-watch.org reports E.ON developing a very large battery storage system (APPENDIX B). On the one hand, this type of development would potentially assist wind farms in becoming more viable and less susceptible to the problems of variation. On the other hand, it could encourage even more wind farms impacting on the local environment and countryside.
3. Snips from news@all-energy 97 are at APPENDIX C.
4. News from microwavenews.com of new French Interphone research into health effects is out. See APPENDIX D.
5. A report 18-9-07 from the BBC on the Beauly-Denny inquiry and the pylons issue is at APPENDIX E.
6. An extract from the Scientific Alliance newsletter of 21-9-07 is at APPENDIX F. The decision earlier this year of the then Education Secretary and the then Environment Secretary to send a DVD of Al Gore's film 'An Inconvenient Truth' to all secondary schools in England is now subject to a legal challenge, since the 1996 Education Act prohibits the promotion of partisan political views in school teaching.
7. There is a large body of evidence about the remarkable powers of navigation and detection of magnetic fields by some species. It is part of the overall picture of plausibility of possible biological effect, and possible harm to humans, from exposure to electric and magnetic fields. However, it is a part which seems to bemuse the established authorities who seem unable to take it into account. Here's a new slant from a BBC report: Three homesick crocodiles shock experts by returning hundreds of kilometres to their Australian homes. Full story: http://tinyurl.com/22eopu
8. The Revolt AGM, scheduled for Thursday 18 October, has been rearranged for Friday 19 October at 7.30 p.m. at Sessay, for practical reasons. It would be helpful if members wishing to attend could let me know as soon as possible.
APPENDIX A Extracts from House of Commons - Written Answers 18.09.07
Electricity Generation: Wind Power
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the total cost to energy companies of supplying power lines and other infrastructure to connect wind turbines to the national grid in each of the last 10 years; and what forecast he has made of the equivalent costs over the next 10 years. 
Investment in electricity networks is made by the Transmission Owners and Distribution Network Operators under the regulatory supervision of Ofgem. Investments will in most cases reflect the cumulative effect of a number of generators of all types seeking to connect.
In terms of investment over the next few years, Ofgem have agreed £560 million of investment in the transmission network specifically to connect new renewable generation in Scotland and the North of England. In the Transmission Price Control, which covers the five year period from 1 April 2007, a further £3.8 billion of investment in the transmission network was agreed. This figure includes both refurbishment and the costs of connecting new generators of all types and may increase if warranted by generator demand.
HC Deb 17 September 2007 cc2256W-2257W
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many wind turbines were installed in the United Kingdom in each of the last 10 years; what total installed wind turbine capacity was in each such year; and what forecast he has made of such capacity in each of the next 10 years. 
The Department does not keep statistics on the number of wind turbines installed though we do have figures for the number of wind farm sites for the past eight years and the installed capacity from wind farms for the past 10 years.
These figures are published annually in the Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics (DUKES) and can be found in the following tables:
Sites: Year Onshore Offshore Total
1999 91 0 91 2000 104 0 104 - - - 2005 206 5 211 2006 327 6 333
Installed capacity (MWe), end December each year Wind (onshore) Wind (offshore) Total
1997 321.68 - 322 1998 331.32 - 331 - - - 2005 1,351.2 213.8 1,565 2006 1,650.7 303.8 1,955
BERR does not have forecasts on the capacity of wind turbines over the next 10 years. Based on the Energy White Paper central case, the projected wind capacity figures-for installed capacity-and rounded to the nearest whole number, are:
2010: 5 GW 2015: 11 GW and 2020: 13 GW.
HC Deb 17 September 2007 cc2259W-2260W click here to read online http://tinyurl.com/2b8f4p
Wind Power: Subsidies
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the total subsidy paid to the owners of wind turbines under the Renewables Obligation Certificate Scheme has been in each of the last 10 years; and what forecast he has made of such payments for each of the next 10 years. 
The Renewables Obligation does not pay a direct subsidy to generators but instead places an obligation on licensed electricity suppliers to source a specific and annually increasing proportion of their sales from renewable sources. Suppliers me et their obligation by presenting Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) which are issued to generators for eligible renewable generation; paying a buy-out price; or a combination of both. Money from the buy-out fund is recycled pro-rata to suppliers presenting ROCs.
The ROC price is therefore set by the market but a nominal value of the ROC to the supplier can be calculated by adding the buyout price to the recycled buyout fund attributable to each ROC. Multiplying this by the number of ROCs issued for wind generated renewable electricity gives an indication of the support provided.
The Renewables Obligation came into force for 2002-03 so figures are not available before that date. For 2002-03 to 2004-05 the figures are finalised and for 2005-06 the figures are estimated. The figures going forward are based on estimated wind generation and ROC price as part of a modelling framework developed for us by Oxera Consulting Ltd and published alongside our recent consultation on reform of the Renewables Obligation.
Wind generated renewable electricity (TWh) Equivalent support provided (£ million )
2002-03 1.1 53.5 2003-04 1.3 69.3 2004-05 2.0 96.6 2005-06 2.8 120.4 2006-07 4.2 210.4 2007-08 5.3 257.5 - - - 2010-11 14.5 659.9 - - - 2015-16 29.1 1,299.2 2016-17 30.1 1,337.2 2017-18 30.9 1,371.3
HC Deb 17 September 2007 c2260W
click here to read online http://tinyurl.com/2f7p3d
APPENDIX B E.ON giant battery system.
E.ON UK plans giant battery to store wind power
The British arm of German utility E.ON said on Thursday it was developing a giant battery to store wind and solar power for times of high demand.
The prototype will be the size of four large shipping containers and contain the power of 10 million standard AA batteries - 1MW of electricity for four hours, said E.ON UK.
The battery should be operational by late 2009 and will help solve one of the main problems of wind and solar power, added the power firm, which has around 8.1 million electricity and gas customers.
"Green power is only generated from wind farms when the wind blows, and that might not be when the power's needed by customers," said Bob Taylor, MD of Energy Wholesale and Technology.
"By researching and developing this battery we can store the power generated by wind farms any time and then use it when our customers need it the most. A school with solar panels can store the power generated at weekends and use it when the kids are back in school."
E.ON also announced a 40 million pounds research fund for energy storage and other promising energy technologies.
13 September 2007
APPENDIX C snips from news@all-energy 97
3.GRID 3.1.UK grid connection charges 'discriminatory' Producers of RE in Scotland's islands and north mainland almost certainly face the highest charges in Europe to connect to a national electricity grid, according to a new report commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise http://tinyurl.com/3ctswp
3.2.Offshore transmission plans Responses to the joint Ofgem/BERR document set out their thoughts for the design of a competitive offshore transmission regime http://tinyurl.com/3y68rk
7.1.Severn barrage - Govt to support The government is to undertake a round of diplomatic activity on climate change in the next few weeks, as well as signalling support for a RE drive by backing the Severn barrage, as it tries to counter landmark green proposals issued in the past fortnight by the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives http://tinyurl.com/2opmun
(The Severn Barrage would be a major and very significant electricity generator)
8.3.Changing the face of British countryside Crops grown to provide biofuels will change the face of the British countryside radically by 2020, the British Association Festival of Science in York was told http://tinyurl.com/3afl2e
10.2.E.ON developing 1MW storage battery The British arm of German utility E.ON AG is developing a giant battery using a secret combination of chemicals to store wind and solar power for times of high demand www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4202133a28.html
APPENDIX D extract from microwavenews 19-9-07
September 19... The French Interphone results are out and they are not reassuring.
The French study team, which includes Elisabeth Cardis, who is in charge of the overall Interphone project, has found high rates of brain tumors (gliomas) among heavy cell phone users. It's not a significant result, statistically speaking, but what is noteworthy is that this excess was apparent regardless of the way a heavy user was defined. As the researchers themselves put it: There is a "general tendency" for a greater glioma risk for "long-term users, heavy users [and] users with the largest numbers of telephones."
For example, those who owned more than one cell phone had twice the risk of getting a glioma, as did those who had used a cell phone for the longest period of time (over about four years). Those who were on a cell phone for the longest total amount of time (260 hours or more) had 80% more gliomas, about the same increase as those whose average cell phone call lasted the longest (over five-and-a half minutes). And those who had made the most phone calls (over 5,100) had about 50% more gliomas. In each category, the heaviest user had the highest risk.
APPENDIX E Tuesday, 18 September 2007, 23:56 GMT 00:56 UK
Holyrood debate on pylon inquiry
Map A Scottish Parliament debate is to hear that concerns over controversial plans for a 137-mile (220km) power line are going unheard.
Scotland's biggest public inquiry is currently being held into proposals for a line of pylons from Beauly in the Highlands to Denny near Falkirk.
Deputy Scottish Tory leader Murdo Fraser called for the Holyrood debate
His motion claims the concerns of objectors have been dismissed and many submissions were ruled inadmissible.
More than 17,000 people have submitted objections to the Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) proposals.
The firm said the power line was vital to allow renewable energy projects to connect to the electricity grid.
The motion from Mr Fraser, the Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP, claims that objectors' concerns have been disregarded by inquiry reporters.
He also notes that many protest submissions have been ruled inadmissible and that serious issues have not been fully considered.
"Much of Scotland will be affected by this power line if it is given the go ahead"
Murdo Fraser MSP
The Mid Scotland and Fife MSP believes the handling of the inquiry will impede the democratic process and destroy the confidence of the objectors involved.
"I have a deep concern relating to the approach to, and conduct of, the Beauly to Denny public inquiry," Mr Fraser said.
"That is why it is important that the Scottish Parliament discusses the handling of this public inquiry in order that its conduct can be fully scrutinised."
He added: "These problems must be addressed because the scale of this application is huge and much of Scotland will be affected by this power line if it is given the go-ahead."
The scheme would see 600 pylons up to 65m (213ft) high replacing the existing transmission line.
The inquiry is due to continue until the end of the year.
APPENDIX F extract from Scientific Alliance newsletter 21st September 2007
An Inconvenient Truth or a convenient teaching aid? Readers may recall that the then Education Secretary Alan Johnson, and then Environment Secretary David Milliband sent a DVD of Al Gore's film 'An Inconvenient Truth' to all secondary schools in England as part of the 'sustainable schools' programme (Newsletter 13th April). The government, enthusiastically endorsing the view that the debate over the science of climate change was over, saw this as a good way of getting the message over to the next generation.
But not everyone agrees. Thursday's Daily Telegraph carries a report of a legal challenge by one parent and school governor: Stewart Dimmock, who has two children at a school in Dover. He is asking for a judicial review of the government's action. With Mr Milliband now having moved on to higher things, the challenge is actually to Ed Balls, the current Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. On 27th, there will be an oral hearing. If successful, Mr Dimmock's case will be heard and a decision made by the judge.
The challenge is based on a provision in the 1996 Education Act requiring that local education authorities, school governors and head teachers 'shall forbid... the promotion of partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in the school'. If material of a political nature is presented to children, then the same parties have an obligation to take 'such steps as are reasonably practicable to secure that ... they are offered a balanced presentation of opposing views'.
The success or failure of this challenge rests, therefore, on two decisions: whether or not 'An Inconvenient Truth' does indeed represent a partisan view and, if so, whether sufficient balance is being provided when it is shown to children. In practical terms, it is the first decision which is more important. If a judge rules that the film is indeed partisan and unbalanced, then this would be both highly embarrassing for the government and should give politicians both here and in other countries pause for thought about how certain the science espoused by the IPCC truly is.
It is interesting to contrast the reception given to Al Gore's polemic and the Channel 4 documentary 'The Great Global Warming Swindle'. The latter came in for virulent criticism both for the science on which it was based and its presentation. With such a challenging title, it was bound to court controversy, and some of the criticism was indeed justified. However, it presented a point of view, rather than putting forward incontestable truth. If balance is needed, perhaps the answer is to show both programmes and then debate the points raised.
'An Inconvenient Truth' on the other hand, not only received a rapturous reception (including an Oscar for Gore himself) but valid criticisms have been brushed aside. More worrying than any factual errors is the exaggeration and use of emotional imagery to ram home the points. A viewer is left with the misleading impression that a large rise in sea level is likely to cause major coastal flooding this century, at a time when the IPCC is actually reducing its forecasts, and also that polar bears are immediately threatened, whereas most colonies are thriving. That doesn't strike us as a balanced view, and it will be interesting to see if the judge next week is of the same opinion.
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