REVOLT News 157


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1. Well, somebody's making a start in the UK. The only sensible use of wind power, which is necessarily highly intermittent and unreliable, is to start on a small scale in the Orkneys. It is, of course, to generate storable clean energy, namely in the form of hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuel cells, to make a self-sufficient system. That can genuinely power x-number of homes, whereas simple wind farms can not power even one home without 100% conventional back-up. Details passed on by Country Guardian are at Appendix 1.

2. Elizabeth Mann led the successful campaign to stop a large wind farm development at Barningham Moor beside Teesdale. Her book "Force 10" tells how and advises protest groups more widely. It can be obtained for 10 (at cost, includes P&P) from ME Mann at 26 Milbank Court DARLINGTON DL39PF. See Appendix 2.

3. A Times front-page article (Appendix 3) describes impending government changes to the planning control system and objections from CPRE and other groups. The government's Planning Bill is due to enter the crucial House of Lords stage this month. CPRE asks people to write to the Rt Hon Keith Hill MP, Minister for Housing and Planning, ODPM, 26 Whitehall, London SW1A 2AA urging him to support amendments in favour of a strong role for County Councils and better enforcement of controls.

4. The MD of the Irish company ESB National Grid has written a personal view "Wind Power is not a Quick Fix" in the Times (Appendix 4). The Irish regulator recently called a halt to wind farm development on the advice of ESB-NG in view of the problems of grid stability and security with intermittent wind power, and with reference to the major blackouts in USA and Italy. The UK government, if it won't listen to concerned independent professionals, would do well to take note of this industrial view.

5. Selected from Fuel Cell Technology Update - January 2004 (from Angela Ovenston): STATIONARY POWER Yale Fuel Cell Dedicated. FuelCell Energy, Inc., the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund and Yale University dedicated a high-efficiency Direct FuelCell(r) power plant at the Environmental Science Center (ESC) near Yale University's Peabody Museum. The 250 kilowatt fuel cell will provide approximately 25 percent of the building's electricity needs, with the heat being used primarily to maintain tight temperature and humidity controls at the ESC. 

6. The American industry body Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has issued a report about charged particles from powerlines. It says little but acknowledges the potential problem and need for further work. (Appendix 5)

7. Angela Ovenston spotted an article in the Independent back in 20.10.03 about a new approach to power generation by Drs Kostiuk and Kwok at University of Alberta, Canada. It uses a very thin "electric double layer" bearing a charge difference, created as water moves over a glass surface, and may be useful in very small batteries for electronics, but the researchers say large scale power generation might be possible in the longer term. Their work appears in the Institute of Physics journal Micromechanics and Microengineering. For details see,g/jm3620.pdf 

8. It looks like John Rennilson, former planning officer at North Yorkshire, is rising to the challenge in the Scottish Highlands, where windfarms and pylons pose a threat. (Appendix 6).

9. The Irish moratorium on wind farms continues (from news@all-energy, see Appendix 7). Also at Appendix 7: roof-top turbines in England and bio-fuels at Drax power station.


APPENDIX 1 Unst energy project gets green light

By Pete Bevington 23rd December 2003

A GROUND breaking renewable energy project is to go ahead in Britain?s most northerly isle next year after the final piece of the funding jigsaw was put in place yesterday (Monday). The PURE project is designed to set up a demonstration of how a remote community could make itself almost completely self sufficient in electricity through a combination of wind power and hydrogen fuel cells. The 300,000 project is to take place at the Hagdale Industrial Estate, on Unst, where a wind generator will be erected in the first few months of next year. Some of the power generated by the windmill will be used to produce hydrogen through as process of electrolysing water. This hydrogen will then be available for use directly as a fuel, or after being stored in the form of a battery, or fuel cell. The Unst Partnership, a local development agency based on the Hagdale estate, has spent the last two years preparing for the PURE project. Yesterday saw the final tranche of money released from the European Regional Development Fund, who are investing 135,000 into the project. Other cash is coming from the HIE Community Energy Unit, (80,000), Shetland Enterprise (50,000) and Shetland Islands Council (12,000). Sandy Macaulay, of the Unst Partnership, said he was delighted that the money had been finally agreed after such a lot of hard work. But he said that the PURE project was merely the first stage of a far more ambitious concept which would see Unst becoming the main centre of excellence for the development of hydrogen energy in the UK. ?We now need to push for a hydrogen study centre because there isn?t one in Britain, and we want to secure it for Shetland and Unst on the back of the PURE project,? Mr Macaulay said. ?Here in Unst we will be producing hydrogen, the fuel of the future, from renewable sources. We can then start to demonstrate its actual applications, ranging from transport, to heating, cooking and fuel cells.? Work on putting the hardware of the PURE project in place is likely to begin around about Easter time, he added.


APPENDIX 2 Note on Force 10 by Elizabeth Mann

FORCE 10 by Elizabeth Mann THE DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT The Wind Industry, young and ambitious, appears determined to be the leading renewable energy source in the UK. In its haste to achieve this end it seems to be taking short cuts, many of which appear to raise serious issues of governance. Some examples of these are to be found in the book

As I see it they are:

1) Listing names of 'objectors' on their web site and CD Rom under the title 'We know where you live'.

2) Apparently misreading public opinion to claim substantial support for a specific project

3) Deploying misleading concepts such as: 'Annual requirements of x thousand homes' ' Installed capacity' ' Saving y tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions'

4) Government itself has contributed to this democratic deficit by allowing developments in excess of 50 MW installed capacity to be determined by the Secretary of State for Industry; so side stepping the planning process.

5) Is not a serious governance issue raised by DTI's appointment of such a large proportion of wind enthusiasts to the supposedly objective Renewables Advisory Board?

Please take time to read this book and share with me my concerns. I have written this to help protect our valued landscapes from unnecessary destruction and to preserve my sanity. These facts I can no longer live with without sharing them with those I believe care about our countryside. Thank you ELIZABETH MANN 26 Milbank Court DARLINGTON DL39PF


APPENDIX 3 Front page Times article.

Times online January 05, 2004

Labour plans to build on countryside By Valerie Elliott, Countryside Editor

Need for jobs outweighs Nimby concerns, says rural affairs minister

JOHN PRESCOTT plans to strip local councils of their power to block building on greenfield sites as part of a policy to create more rural jobs.

He will target the Nimby (not in my backyard) mentality of shire councils who can halt any development by designating an area worthy of conservation. He wants to reduce the grounds on which they can reject new building.

The plan to create industrial jobs and the conversion of agricultural buildings into new homes was denounced last night by rural campaigners as a "pox on the countryside".

Critics fear that Mr Prescott's vision for rural Britain will simply create unsightly new buildings and conversions as villages are allowed to spread into the green belt.

Ministers hope that the move will bring more jobs and prosperity to some of the most deprived rural areas.

For the first time, building projects will be given the go-ahead in the remotest rural villages, which have been strictly protected in planning laws.

Projects most likely to be approved will be those encouraging tourism and renewable energy, such as wind farms and biofuel refineries. Local authorities will be unable to reject developments "for the sake of the countryside" but instead must consider specific tests such as impact on character or beauty or the diversity of landscape or wildlife.

The plan for change is being finalised by Mr Prescott"s Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Ministers believe that it signals that the Government is intent on securing a future for rural areas, especially after reform of the Common Agriculture Policy.

The right for councils to designate local places with a special conservation status, such as the Aylesbury Vale, is to be scrapped. In future, greenfield development may also be allowed if there are "wider benefits" from farm diversification.

Planning controls will also encourage people who wish to develop horse riding, breeding or livery facilities and new homes for people who need to protect farm animals or crops.

Barn conversions may be allowed to create homes for low- income or key workers; otherwise, there will be tighter controls on "standalone" homes.

The final vision is expected to be announced at Labour"s rural affairs conference in Manchester this spring but ministers have already sent out draft guidance for consultation. Ministers have been swayed by complaints from rural entrepreneurs, farmers and land owners about negative planning decisions which stifle new business ventures and prevent job creation.

The Countryside Agency, the Government's leading adviser on rural matters, broadly supports the need for change. But the Campaign to Protect Rural England said that the planning bonanza will bring "a pox on the countryside".

Tom Oliver, head of rural policy, said: "The Government has made the fundamental mistake of failing to value the ordinary, everyday countryside for its own sake. The landscape between our rural towns and villages, its beauty, tranquillity, biodiversity and heritage, appears to be regarded as a blank sheet of paper on the developer's drawing board."

Alun Michael, the Rural Affairs Minister, defended the planning shake- up. He told The Times: "We don't want rural Britain to become a museum of the landscape. Planning rules must make rural communities fit for the 21st century. Otherwise we could just make it impossible for people to do business in our rural villages and that would be tragic. There is a need to diversify the rural economy because the numbers of jobs in farming and land- related business are just not there anymore."

David Curry, the Shadow Secretary of State for Local and Devolved Government, said: "If these reports are true, it would appear the Government is planning to ride roughshod over the feelings of local people."


APPENDIX 4 From Times on-line, personal article by ESB chief.

Times online January 04, 2004

Personal View: Wind power is not a quick fix THERE has been much furore over the recent decision of the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), acting on the advice of ESB National Grid (ESBNG), to impose a moratorium on connecting new wind generators to the grid. There are reasonable minds who ask why, when Ireland has one of the best wind power resources in Europe and urgently needs to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, we are preventing new wind farms from supplying us.

ESBNG has been accused of losing the plot, of having an "agenda", and of being difficult. None of these allegations holds up to analysis. The moratorium is not caused by any shortage of transmission infrastructure. By and large the grid can be expanded to deal with new wind generators.

NI_MPU('middle'); Nor is it a matter of cost, at least not for ESBNG. The expense of expanding wind generation must be offset against the environmental benefits. This is a job for policymakers and regulators.

No, the immediate problems posed by a rapid expansion in wind power generation in Ireland relate to the security and stability of the power system.

Creating a power system is one thing, creating a reliable and robust system that continues to operate under all conditions is something else entirely. This lesson was learnt expensively in America and Italy over the past few months.

All power systems are afflicted by sudden unanticipated events (faults): lightning strikes, the failure of a transformer, or a generator suddenly stopping are all examples of such disturbances. It is important that, in the fraction of a second after such a fault, all generators respond appropriately and continue to provide energy and other technical support to the system.

This is so important that the standards of performance are carefully defined in a document called the "grid code" with which all generators connected to the transmission system must comply. It is an unfortunate fact that, due to the current technical design of wind turbines, wind generators find it almost impossible to adhere to these standards.

This is not just an Irish problem. Transmission system operators in Germany, Spain, Denmark and Britain are all seeking a higher level of dynamic performance from wind generators. ESBNG participates in several forums with these operators in order to advance a solution to the reliability problems as quickly as possible.

Excluding Iceland, there are four power systems in Europe. We in Ireland (the whole island is the power system) are the smallest by far and face the biggest technical challenge in accommodating the planned amount of wind generation.

ESBNG has been working with the industry for several months to develop a "grid code" that has been specially adapted for wind generation.

A lot of wind generation has so far been connected to the distribution (low voltage) system rather than to the transmission system. It is necessary to harmonise codes between the distribution system operator and the transmission system operator. Work has begun on this.

As well as seeking solutions to our immediate problems, it is vital that all parties consider the long-term issues and that we plan for the type of power system that we want, and which we are prepared to pay for in five, 10 and 20 years' time.

Kieran O'Brien, managing director ESB National Grid


APPENDIX 5 Report from EPRI on charged particles from powerlines.

Charging and Transport of Aerosols near AC Transmission Lines: A Literature Review

Report: 000000000001008148 Date Published: Dec 2003 Details: 1008148, Interim Report - Available Online

Abstract It has been hypothesized that the charging of airborne pollutant particles by alternating current (AC) transmission lines results in enhanced deposition and retention of these particles in the respiratory tract. This report provides an overview of the effect of AC transmission line corona on ion formation and the transfer of charge to aerosols. A literature review identified gaps in the information required to model the charging of aerosols by AC transmission lines and their dispersal downwind, so that exposures predicted by hypothesis can be quantitatively evaluated.

Background Concerns have recently been raised that alterations in the electrical environment by high-voltage AC transmission lines may potentially impact health by increasing exposure to inhaled pollutants. The hypothesis is that high-voltage lines produce corona around the conductors. The corona process generates small air ions, and a fraction of these small air ions attach to aerosols near the conductors or escape the region around the conductors. Those that are carried downwind also attach to aerosols. The aerosols have longer resident times in the atmosphere than ions. This allows the charged aerosols to be carried beyond the immediate vicinity of the transmission line by the wind. Researchers also postulated that increased charge on fine aerosol particles could increase their deposition in the lungs if inhaled. The hypothesis that describes the above chain of events represents a series of assumptions, each of which requires confirmation. Certain portions of this chain of events have been studied and discussed in the literature (such as AC line corona, ion-to-aerosol charging, and drift of space charge in the atmosphere). However, all of these have not been quantitatively linked together to produce a complete picture of the hypothesis leading from AC line corona to increased deposition of pollutant aerosols in the lungs. EPRI and National Grid Transco PLC cosponsored this literature review to provide as complete a picture as possible concerning the early stages of this chain of events occurring in the atmosphere.

Objective To perform a literature review relevant to AC corona charging of aerosols and the potential for increased concentrations of charged aerosols downwind of AC transmission lines.

Approach Investigators reviewed literature sources-including technical papers, journal articles, and reports-for their relevance to mechanisms of aerosol charging by AC transmission line corona and to migration of charged aerosols away from such sources.

Results This review evaluated detailed information on the creation and fate of ions, and ion-to-aerosol charging and discharging due to AC corona. While information on the transport and expansion of space charge-and the resulting ground-level-charged aerosol level downwind of AC transmission lines-is limited, important characteristics of these processes were described by reference to more extensive measurements and modeling reported for DC transmission lines. This report provides an explanation for variability in the polarity of electric fields and space charge downwind of AC lines.

The results of studies of DC transmission lines can be considered as extreme limiting cases for the analysis of AC transmission lines. The literature suggests that it will be difficult to achieve sustained levels of space charge associated with electric fields greater than 10 kV/m because of opposite polarity space charge produced by corona on vegetation at ground level. The older studies of DC electric fields measured near lower voltage AC transmission lines point to the need to consider insulators and hardware as a possible source of corona- generated space charge. Peter Fews, et al., in "Atmospheric Research," made the assumption that space charge from transmission lines would not rise above the height of the conductors. Measurements of the vertical dispersion of space charge from DC sources indicate that this assumption may not describe typical conditions and, in fact, leads to overestimation of space charge values at ground level. No information is available on how AC transmission-line corona affects the distribution of charge on aerosols of different sizes, which would affect the respiratory tract exposure of populations downwind of AC transmission lines.

EPRI Perspective This review provides a better understanding of the physical processes involved in the formation of space charge downwind of AC transmission lines. The existing literature has focused largely on DC sources, and the review indicates how analyses of data on these sources can be used to estimate exposures near AC transmission lines. The insights from this review will provide a basis for modeling the creation and transfer of charge to aerosols near AC transmission lines. Such modeling, together with measurements of the distribution of charges on aerosols by size, are needed to quantitatively evaluate the exposures. In addition, the review has identified several assumptions about the dispersion of charged aerosols that may lead to overestimates of charge densities downwind. Information on dispersion of charged aerosols in this review underscores the need to directly measure the charge on aerosols instead of drawing inferences from indirect estimates based on measurements of DC electric fields at ground level.

Program: 2003 Program 060.0 EMF Health Assessment

Keywords: Transmission Lines, Literature Reviews, Corona Discharges, Charged Particles, Overhead AC Transmission, Health Effects

Other Keywords: Space Charge, Aerosols, Ions

Note: EPRI Members: EPRI Publications are available from your company libraries, your manager for EPRI Technology Transfer, or the EPRI Order and Conference Center at the address listed below:

EPRI Order and Conference Center 1355 Willow Way Suite 278 Concord, CA 94520-5728 U.S.A.

Phone (800) 313-3774 press 2 Phone (925) 609-9169


APPENDIX 6. John Rennilson and the Scottish Highlands.

Press and Journal:


09:00 - 16 January 2004

Highland Council has called on the Scottish Executive to set out a national strategy for developing renewable energy to prevent the North losing out on the benefits to be gained.

Councillors have warned that the emerging fabrication industry in the Highlands and Islands could be overrun by established fabrication yards in Denmark and Germany, without Executive intervention.

In its reply to the Scottish Parliament's enterprise and culture committee's inquiry into developing renewable energy, the council's director of planning and development John Rennilson said that the Highland area should play a major role in future renewables development.

"Over 1000MW of windfarm capacity is already at various stages, from scoping to planning approval. The area already produces more renewable energy than it needs and most of the new development will go to meeting Scottish and UK renewables targets and to help compliance with the Kyoto agreement.

"We need a Scottish energy policy paper, which must include energy conservation. The current perceived dash for onshore wind in Scotland is taking place in a strategic policy vacuum.

"There are no sensible local targets set for each area, which would allow a sensible roll-out of development in the most appropriate locations.

"We also need to know what the relationship of renewables, which won't give constant power, is to nuclear, coal, oil and gas generation, which will provide the base load."

Councillor Bill Fulton said: "We need to look at all aspects of energy. We should be offering discounts for using less energy and not for using more. We need to promote the use of solar power and palletized waste paper to create heat and power.

"We don't need the power up here, and it's unlikely we will get the benefits. A few people will get wealthy, but many will be disadvantaged by the scars the windfarms, the pylons and cables will leave on the landscape. It is also unlikely that we will get much of the work associated with these developments."

Mr. Rennilson said that planning guidance needed to be updated urgently. Wind turbines were now larger, higher and more intrusive in the landscape, with cumulative impacts in areas where more than one windfarm could be seen. They could also be visible from National Parks and National Scenic Areas and, according to John Rennilson, "commercial renewable energy schemes put national objectives of achieving targets against local considerations for the landscape impact."

He said that the impact this could have on the emerging industry in using locations for films and commercials and on tourism must also be assessed.

The Highland area also had a large number of low-flying zones and other sites belonging to the Ministry of Defence. The council would like to see these areas clarified and minimized. They would also like to examine undergrounding of cables for the proposed upgrade of the National Grid to carry the additional energy to the south.

Mr Rennilson said: "The higher cost should be balanced against the long term nature of the investment and the environmental costs of a large pylon overground route which has implications for sensitive areas such as the Corrieyairack Pass and the Cairngorms National Park. The council would expect local community benefit to be offered to affected communities."

The council also wants the size of project which means an automatic planning application referral to the Executive for determination to be increased. It suggests a level of 200MW for windfarms and 5MW for hydro schemes. Mr. Rennilson also pointed out that the Scottish Executive should give clear guidance on community benefit, because its lack of support for communities was hindering negotiations with renewable energy companies.

Councillor Jimmy Gray, a former oil yard worker, said: "It is dangerous to assume that renewables will result in a manufacturing industry in the Highlands and Islands.

"There doesn't seem to be any direction coming from the Department of Trade and Industry about placing contracts, and companies from Denmark and Germany are winning fabrication contracts. They have a long history in manufacturing and relationships with the companies making the turbines and operating the windfarms. They even take heavy- lift equipment from Denmark and Germany to install the towers and turbines rather than use equipment in the Highlands."


APPENDIX 7 from news@all-energy

3.7.Moratorium continues in Ireland

Ireland's moratorium on new national grid connection offers for wind farms for another three months continues 

The Times looks at the reasons behind the decision,,2095-950412,00.html 

4.13.BT to test rooftop turbine

BT is to test a new form of power generation by installing a wind turbine from Wind Dam on top of one of its exchanges in a trial that could be extended across the country 

7.4.Power station takes its first bio-fuel

The Drax power station in Yorkshire will soon take delivery of its first consignment of home grown bio-fuel made up of more than 160 tonnes of short rotation willow coppice t/news/NEWS8.html 



Mike O'Carroll


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