Revolt News 104 20/11/2001
TWO DATES TO NOTE: Revolt AGM this Friday 23 Nov 7.30 p.m. at Thirsk Town Hall, Rounton Wayleave Hearings next Thursday 29 Nov 10.00 a.m. at the Sundial Hotel, Northallerton.
1. Enron, the main owner of the TPL power station which is central to NGC's case for the Yorkshire powerline, has been in financial trouble with the collapse of its share prices. BBC Ceefax reports 9.11.01 that the Houston-based parent company faces major trouble after accounting controversies in the US. Ofgem says it is monitoring the situation. Northern Echo reports 12.11.01 that the US parent company has merged with (more like been taken over by) Dynegy. It is to cut European staffing, so puts TPL under a cloud. If TPL were to close, after Blyth closed earlier this year, the case for the line would be in shreds.
2. Energy Minister Brian Wilson announced 12.11.01 a feasibility study in an undersea transmission cable from north-west Scotland past north- west England to Wales and possibly the West Country. The idea is to facilitate windfarms in Scotland. Such a development, costing 400 million pounds for a 400-mile cable, would provide extra reinforcement and security (the main problem cited by NGC) to the north-to-south capability of the grid, thus further undermining the case for the Yorkshire line. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/low/english/uk/scotland/newsid_1651000/1651245.stm
3. Windfarms generally have had a lean time this year, with no new commissions in recent months and plenty of planning refusals and withdrawals. However the government did pledge money for offshore windfarm developments, and Scottish Power just announced a major on- shore proposal at Whitelee Forest south of Glasgow, which would be the largest windfarm in UK. Even so it would be nominally 250MW (and much less in practice) which is small beer compared with TPL's 1845MW. There is a suggestion of a large windfarm on the British Steel site on Teesside. All of these proposals, on- and off-shore, have yet to get planning permission, so remain speculative, and they are not so large as to make a significant difference to the Yorkshire line. For windfarm info see http://www.countryguardian.net/
4. Angela Ovenston notes http://www.fuelcells.org/ - an online fuel cell info centre. SOFCs (solid oxide fuel cells) could be used in generating stations. Siemens Westinghouse has broken ground for a fuel cell manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania, with its SOFC to be in the commercial market by 2003. See also http://www.siemenswestinghouse.com/en/press/pg20012609/index.cfm
5. Balfour Beatty, main contractor for NGC's line, has pulled out of its 200 million pound contract on the contentious Ilisu dam project in Turkey (BBC news online 13.11.01). The reasons were they anticipated substantial extra work, costs and delay.
6. Hambleton District Council's material support to Revolt through occasional copying and mailing may have to end soon. Their cabinet on Thursday this week will consider ending it at the end of the calendar year. Officers stress that this is not a change of heart or of policy, and they remain opposed the National Grid line within their powers. We greatly appreciate the Council's practical help over the years. It was nice to have, though not vital, and its loss will not affect Revolt's future work.