Burning Pylon logo

Revolt News 127


Text Version 

Revolt News 127

1. Teesside Power Station and gas processing site has been sold to a management buyout from the Administrators. The new company is called px limited. ( Professional Engineering - Sept 2002)

2. Fuel cell news from Angela Ovenston: Allied Business Intelligence (ABI) released a report predicting the wide-scale adoption of commercial stationary fuel cell (FC) technology in the near future. The study, titled "Global Stationary Fuel Cell Markets - A Detailed Analysis of an Emerging Industry," indicates that FC generation capacity will increase to nearly 16,000 MW by 2012, from its current level of about 45 MW.  http://www.alliedworld.com 

3. The Royal Academy of Engineering submitted an interesting response to the government consultation on energy policy. Their press release is at Appendix 1 below.

4. My Chairman's Report for 2002 is at Appendix 2 below.

5. The Gills of Alne report their gate is again locked to NG contractors as bio-security has been violated again. It will stay locked until a site meeting next Tuesday. John Gill says his normal routine is to visit the site at 7.00 a.m. each day to check fences and to take samples of the disinfectant, which he stores as a record of their quality. He is paid by NG for this work. Contract staff sign in and out and wear white dispensable boiler suits. Wayleave officers who fail to comply are banned from the site. He says thorough bio-security arrangements are necessary for insurance purposes, and other farmers should require NG to follow them.


APPENDIX 1 Press release from Royal Academy of Engineering


NEWS RELEASE 30 August 2002

Government energy policy unrealistic, says Academy

The Governmentıs energy policy is hopelessly unrealistic, expecting far too much from renewable energy sources and ignoring serious concerns about reliable gas supplies, the Royal Academy of Engineering has told Energy Minister Brian Wilson MP in a report published today (30 August). The Academyıs engineering assessment is highly critical of the Energy Review published by the Cabinet Office Performance and Innovation Unit on 15 February.

The Academyıs most immediate concern is about security of gas supplies, which the Energy Review assumes will continue to be plentiful and relatively cheap. However, the DTIıs own figures indicate that by 2020 the UK might need to import up to 90 per cent of its gas requirements. We could experience gas shortages as soon as 2004/5 in a severe winter. While Russia is expected to double its gas exports to the EU by 2010 the Government must address the planning, funding and operation questions involved in expanding the pan-European gas transmission network so that we can access imported gas.

We will also need to build new storage facilities as we become a gas importer. The Academy estimates this could cost the Government up to £13 billion by 2020, as the market is not likely to bear the cost. The Energy Review sets a target of generating 20 per cent of our energy from renewable sources by 2020. While this is a laudable aim it is over-optimistic and fails to address the fundamental problem with all renewable sources ­ they are intermittent. ³Experience on the Continent, especially in Denmark, has shown that grid stability can be adversely affected when the penetration of intermittent renewables reaches about 15 per cent,² says the Academyıs report.

As yet the UK electricity grid is isolated, except for one interconnector to France ­ further interconnectors to Norway and the Netherlands are being investigated to help share electricity. As more renewable sources are connected to the grid electricity storage will become essential ­ our only current storage capacity is through hydroelectric storage schemes.

The Energy Review places great faith in wind energy and proposes installing 22,000 MW of turbine capacity by 2020. However, Met Office data shows that the countryıs wind record is not dependable ­ the most likely power output in real life is less than 7,000 MW. To ensure the supply it would have to be backed up by 16-19,000 MW of conventional generation plant, adding an extra £1 billion to the cost.

Biomass is another promising power source for the future but it needs more research to make it practical ­ the whole of Kent would have to be covered in coppiced willow to replace the output of Dungeness B power station.

In order to meet our commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions we must replace the nuclear reactors coming to the end of their lives with non-carbon emitting energy sources.The Energy Review conceded that the nuclear option should be kept open in case we cannot find alternative sources. But it takes so long to build new power stations that we need to commission them in the next few years if they are to be on stream in time to prevent supply shortages. Skilled people are also retiring so rapidly from the nuclear industry that we will soon be totally reliant on the nuclear expertise of other countries.

Nuclear waste disposal is clearly a problem but we have to deal with it irrespective of any decision on new build. ³Replacing the whole of the current UK nuclear capacity with new units would add only around 10 per cent to the existing volumes of waste over the 40-year lifetimes of the reactors,² says the Academyıs report.

The Academy is also very concerned about the Governmentıs lack of attention to transport issues ­ 42 per cent of UK energy consumption goes on transport. Major support for research to develop the hydrogen economy is urgently needed. ³The Energy Review appears to accept fuel switching, probably to hydrogen, as inevitable in the long term,² says the Academyıs report. ³But it is unwilling to recommend early action or signal that this is the Governmentıs preferred solution. Sustainable mobility is fast becoming a key political issue.²


Chairman's Report, September 2002

After the year of FMD, we now have the year of construction!

In the course of this year, Revolt has met with Energy Minister Brian Wilson, through Anne McIntosh MP, and pressed key issues about (lack of) need for the Picton - Shipton line, NG conduct, health effects and energy policy. In a follow-up meeting we were able to persuade DTI and DOH officials to look into the implications of precautionary policy, which they had not previously done. We have also responded to the government's consultations on its planning green paper and its energy policy review.

But pylons are going up and for the time being we will have to bear it. We have practically exhausted the legal means of stopping them, having taken senior counsel's opinion on access and human rights issues. We gave evidence to the last of the formal proceedings, for the amended wayleaves at Rounton Gates and the appeal against refusal of the Kirby Sigston accesses, which were finally resolved in NG's favour.

There is one remaining challenge, bravely championed by Mrs Rosalind Craven at Huby, who has researched constitutional rights in depth. We are jointly seeking legal advice on constitutional rights matters, and in a confrontation on 24 September Mrs Craven successfully turned away the National Grid party intent upon entering her land. It remains to see if NG go to court or give her the written answers which reasonableness would require.

NG did threaten court action in extracting draconian undertakings from the Gill brothers at Alne, following the incident there in February when NG were turned back after gaining entry over a locked gate. In the following months the Gills report withdrawing the undertakings as NG failed to keep its agreements. By again locking the gate and refusing access, on a number of occasions, the Gills were able to enforce proper bio-security arrangements to the standards of government agencies, though they doubt that the standards are generally followed elsewhere.

In July a meeting was held for landowners, chaired by Peter Edmonds of the NFU, to discuss the implications of the legal advice received. A public information statement in July set out Revolt's updated position; both short and long versions are on www.revolt.co.uk 

The huge scandal of Enron and its corporate misconduct and devastating effect on world stock markets has reverberated throughout the year, highlighting the dubious role of Lord Wakeham in consenting the Enron power station on Teesside which precipitated this whole pylons project. Taken with our experience of NG's corporate conduct, and serious criticism of it by OFFER and the High Court, the Enron scandal confirms the sinister corporate climate in which this project has been pursued. The public is left with a deep sense of grievance.

Mike O'Carroll, Chairman www.revolt.co.uk 

Mike O'Carroll

Text Version