1. Attila Muhi manager of TeLoRay Systems, Sweden, <http://www.teloray.se> writes to say they produce low-emf phones and telephone filters, will be in Glasgow on Wednesday May 5th and can easily arrange a demonstration of phones and filter equipment. Office: +46 241 216 00, Fax: +46 241 216 02, Mobile +46 241 10 262 47 87.
2. Ofgem's Electricity Distribution Price Control Review (EDPCR) has issued a 128-page Policy Document of March 2004 to add to a string of other consultation documents for this exercise. Details from <www.ofgem.gov.uk>, responses by 5 May to <email@example.com> . My response is at Appendix 1.
3. Snips from news@all-energy issues 36 and 37, April & May 2004, are at Appendices 2 and 3. Note the increased estimate of grid reinforcement needed mainly for wind farms, now 3 billion pounds (item 3.4 of issue 37).
4. Members have observed that some of NG's road accesses (verge crossings etc.) for building the Lackenby-Picton-Shipton line appear not to have been reinstated as expected. In response to enquiries, Maurice Cann of Hambleton District Council replies: "I am waiting for final confirmation from NGC on this. However, I believe that all temporary accesses have been reinstated, together with landscaping, either to original condition or as modified by further planning applications, of which there have been quite a number."
5. In a reply 19.4.04 to Anne McIntosh MP, the energy minister Stephen Timms writes "The cost of grid reinforcement for transmission and distribution for the major expansion of renewable energy envisaged in the years ahead is currently estimated at £2.1 billion. This investment, spread over at least 6 years from 2006, would allow the connection of at least 12 GW of new renewable energy projects. The investment would be recovered from use-of-system charges over the 40 year life of the new assets. These system charges would be in the region of £200 million per year. There is no need for significant extra backup capacity by 2010, and by 2020, with 20% of electricity from renewables, the system balancing costs charged to renewable generators (which includes the cost of backup generation capacity) would not exceed £2.80/MWh. There are no estimates of the number of overhead pylons required. The likelihood is that existing transmission lines are upgraded rather than major new lines built. Individual renewable energy projects are normally connected to the transmission grid system by wooden pole lines. All new renewable energy projects are subject to full Environmental Impact Assessment and the extent of any effects assessed at that stage, including that of connections."
6. Prof Denis Henshaw is to give an invited paper (see Appendix 4) to a WHO meeting on EMF and children, in Istanbul 9-11 June this year. He will talk about the melatonin hypothesis, based on his wide-ranging reviews of the scientific literature on the effects of EMF in suppressing melatonin and the therapeutic effects of melatonin. He is joined by Russell Reiter, a well known leading researcher in the melatonin hypothesis, as co-author. This paper will fit in with the UK stakeholder group meeting 29 June and the Children with leukaemia conference in London in September. Gradually things are moving towards recognition of the rational concerns about potential harm from EMFs and a precautionary response.
7. From <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,176-1102439,00.html>: "Blackouts loom as chaos halts investment plans" By Lucinda Kemeny Demand for energy is rising but power firms are paralysed by a lack of clarity over regulation. ... Those blackouts [last year] shocked the industry as much as consumers, a point highlighted by a report to be published tomorrow by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC). After talking to 148 utility firms in 47 countries, PWC found that security of supply had become the energy industry's biggest worry. Yet, as recently as a year ago, it barely registered as a concern. ... The PWC report, called Supply Essentials, suggests that the industry is facing an immense challenge. World demand for energy is expected to rise by two-thirds between now and 2030. Yet utility companies are reluctant to invest the amounts needed for new generating capacity. They feel paralysed by the lack of clarity from governments and regulators, hemmed in by the increasing scarcity of natural resources. ...
8. Snips from Defra mag Energy & Environmental Management May/June 2004: (a) A leading article on climate change starts "The potential impacts of climate change are probably the most serious issues facing the world today." Oh dear! Such hyperbole only undermines the credibility of its author. What about religious conflict, abuse of power, resistance to antibiotics, and chemical pollution? Climate change is surely important, and efforts to reduce pollution of any kind to be encouraged, but most of it is probably natural anyway so action will only have a very limited effect. Therefore effectiveness and collateral damage should be carefully considered in moderation of the excessive schemes (like remote wind farms). (b) In the same vein, Helen Woolston of the Engineering Employers' Federation says "I try to explain to our members what things will be like if we don't take action". Does she know what things will be like if we DO take action? (c) Phil Jones of Building Energy Solutions says "Where applicable, CHP is the single biggest hit we can make on building running costs and CO2 emissions". (d) Nice small scale example in the village of Llanwddyn, Powys: a renewable local woodchip scheme provides heat to a school, community centre and 19 homes, put together with grants. (e) Nice balance on a larger scale: London's Energy Plan launched in March includes 7,250 photovoltaic installations, 6 large wind turbines, 500 small wind generators, 27,000 solar water heating schemes and more biomass CHP, all by 2010. (f) Professor Jim Skea, Director of the Policy Studies Institute, is the research director designate of the new UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), the government advisory body announced in the 2003 Energy White Paper. (Also much reported in the press.)
9. Anne McIntosh MP has been appointed to the Energy Bill Committee. I am suggesting she may like to raise the question of distributed nuclear generation (news156.7 as repeated below): "Now here's an interesting idea. My former colleague Tom Thomas, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, describes the idea circulating among nuclear engineers that the small-scale nuclear power units used in nuclear submarines could be mass-produced for distributed electricity generation. See Appendix 6. Possible locations might be at electricity distribution substations. Revolt has no position on nuclear energy, but any government serious about tackling the greenhouse gas problem, knowing the limits of renewable (and especially of intermittent wind) generation, surely should at least examine this idea? Has there been a feasibility study, and if not why not?"
APPENDIX 1. Response to EDPCR Policy Document.
With reference to 5.35 - 5.38 on incentives for Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) to facilitate distributed generation (DG) and in particular microgeneration, the incentive should indeed apply to microgenerators for the following reasons. Microgenerators will be an important feature in improved efficiency and government CHP targets, as well as potentially relieving pressure on network capacity and stability arising from intermittent renewables.
Given the general acceptance (in 4.69) of the broader environmental responsibilities of DNOs, reporting requirements should be strong enough to ensure transparency of environmental impacts and of the effectiveness (or not) of measures and controls. Therefore I support the Ofgem proposals in 4.71. Stakeholder dialogue is a further helpful device to make the Schedule 9 Statements more meaningful and effective.
With reference to 4.72, it will be important to find appropriate financial incentives for environmental performance, and I hope this will not be unduly delayed. To leave it until after the period of the next price control would be too long and without a stated justification. At the very least, Ofgem should set out the pros and cons and put its justification in writing.
With reference to 4.76 on undergrounding, Ofgem should consider the full range of costs and benefits, not merely the costs. The public benefits can include matters of amenity, quality of life, property value, perceived and scientifically possible harm to health, and network security (not least in an age of terrorist threats, though these might apply more to transmission).
Further on undergrounding, by way of encouraging innovation (section 5 and 5.43), Ofgem should assess the state of the art for high temperature superconducting cables (HSC) and in particular very low impedance (VLI) cable configurations, and take into account their potential economic and other benefits. A "white paper" of Aug 2003 from the American Superconductor Company (and others) sets out "concepts, operational implications and financial benefits".
APPENDIX 2 Snips from news@all-energy issue 36 April 2004
3.3.Defeats in Lords for energy plans
The Government was defeated in the Lords 30 March during debate on the Energy Bill when Peers voted first to require consultation before ministers introduced any adjustments of transmission charges for renewable energy; and then that any such adjustment scheme should be subject to approval by both Houses of Parliament http://news.scotsman.co m/latest.cfm?id=2718805
3.4.Barriers swept away
Ofgem and the DTI have published the second annual report of the Distributed Generation Co-ordination Group (DGCG). The report for 2003 shows that already at least half of the 24 barriers to the development of small scale distributed generators identified by the DGCG when it was founded have been removed www.ofgem.gov.uk/temp/ofgem/cache/cmsattach/6 622_r2704_30march.pdf
7.3.From coal to willow
Scottish Coal is pioneering a drive into renewable energy by planting 500,000 willow trees at a new nursery in Midlothian. With UK coal stocks rapidly depleting, willow is fast becoming an eco-friendly alternative fuel source. http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=413352004
9.1.A world first for Norway
The hydrogen plant on Utsira on Norway's west coast has started producing electricity. From the summer, 10 of the households on the island will get all their electricity in the form of renewable energy. This is the world's first full-scale autonomous renewable energy system based on wind power and hydrogen www.hydro.com/en/press_room/news/archiv e/2004_04/utsira_power_en.html
9.2.Using atomic energy to produce hydrogen
South Korea and China have opened a joint research centre at Qinghua University in Beijing to produce hydrogen energy by making use of atomic energy www.fuelcelltoday.com/FuelCellToday/IndustryInformation/IndustryI nformationExternal/NewsDisplayArticle/0,1602,4271,00.html
11.1.Irish industry urged to use CHP
Sustainable Energy Ireland is urging Irish industry to consider alternative and more efficient means of electricity generation and energy use such as CHP as a way of reducing national energy consumption www.irish-energy.ie/content/content.asp?section_id=1050&language_id=1&pu blication_id=1383
APPENDIX 3 Snips from news@all-energy issue 37 May 2004
1.1.Annual Report on the Energy White Paper
Trade Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, and Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett published the first annual report of the Energy White Paper as part of the work of the Sustainable Energy Policy Network. Monday 10 May, incidentally, sees the Second Reading of the Energy Bill in Parliament. The Bill will go into Committee on 18 May. www.gnn.gov.uk/gn n/national.nsf/TI/6F7975BFE60C024980256E82004C2DCD?opendocument
1.9.Carbon storage and nuclear on the agenda
The cuts the world will have to make in emissions of carbon dioxide are so huge it will have to find other ways to deal with the gas, says Prof John Shepherd of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. Carbon storage and possibly new nuclear power figure on his list http://news.bb c.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3667979.stm
1.10.Build new nuclear plants, says Institute of Physics
The IoP supports the drive to increase renewable capacity, but also believes that the UK's nuclear capacity needs to be maintained by replacing current nuclear reactors when they are decommissioned with a new generation of nuclear technology. www.iop.org/news/740
1.11.The politics of power and 'What to use when the oil runs out'
Nuclear, dash for gas, level playing field, renewable energy, wind power +++. BBC Online looks at them all. "UK energy policy, for so long a relatively uncontroversial area, looks set to climb back up the political agenda in the years ahead." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_pol itics/3581637.stm and renewable options are at
3.1.Good news from Ofgem
Ofgem has confirmed its intention to develop proposals to allow additional investment in the electricity transmission network as demand for renewable generation increases www.ofgem.gov.uk/temp/ofgem/cache/cms attach/7025_r3604_7may.pdf
3.2.Dearer gas and electricity on the cards
Gas and electricity bills will rocket by 20per cent over the next six years as a direct result of the UK's move towards 'green' energy, consumers will be warned by the Institute of Public Policy Research http://news.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=528872004
3.4.Major grid investment needed
Investment of £3 billion is needed in the electricity grid to help the Government meet its target of generating 10 per cent of power by renewable energy by the year 2010, according to a report. Research by the DTI and the Carbon Trust found there was more than enough wind energy development in place for the target to be achieved. Plans already in place would deliver 70 per cent of the target by 2006 http://news.sco tsman.com/latest.cfm?id=2817442
5.3.Work in Ireland begins again
Work on the 60 million Euro windfarm project at Derrybrien in Ireland, suspended following a massive landslide in October, is set to recommence www.renewables-club.com/news/article.asp?newsID=43
APPENDIX 4 Henshaw and Reiter's paper to WHO workshop June 2004
World Health Organisation International EMF Project Workshop on Sensitivity of Children to EMF 9th - 11th June 2004, Crown Plaza Istanbul, Turkey
Do magnetic fields cause increased risk of childhood leukaemia via melatonin disruption?
Denis L Henshaw1 & Russel J Reiter2
1H H Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol, BS8 1TL, UK 2Department of Cellular & Structural Biology, MC7762, The University of Texas Health Science Centre, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX78229-3900, USA
Contact: D L Henshaw, H H Wills Physics Laboratory, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol, BS8 1TL, UK Tel: + 44 (0) 117 9260353; fax: +44 (0) 117 9251723; E-mail: ? HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" ??email@example.com?; www.electric-fields.bris.ac.uk
Introduction. We present the hypothesis that exposure to power frequency magnetic fields causes increased risk of childhood leukaemia via the disruption of the nocturnal production of melatonin in the pineal gland. Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytrptamine) has been identified in a wide range of organisms from bacteria to human beings. Its principal source in man is as the chief secretory product of the pineal gland. This follows a marked circadian rhythm, the majority production occurring at night regulated by non-rod, non-cone receptors in the eye sensing the absence of light. Melatonin is remarkably non-toxic and has been found to be a radical scavenger and antioxidant, more effective than either vitamins C or E. The hormone has been found to protect cells, tissues and organs against oxidative damage induced by a variety of free radical generating agents and processes, e.g. the carcinogen safrole, lipopolysaccharide, kainic acid, Fenton reagents, potassium cyanide, ischemia-reperfusion and ionising radiation (Reiter et al. 1997). Melatonin is an antioxidant effective in protecting nuclear DNA, membrane lipids and possibly cytosolic proteins from oxidative damage. It has been reported to alter the activities of enzymes which improve the total antioxidative defence capacity of the organism.
The melatonin hypothesis. Stevens (1987) noted that breast cancer was a disease of modern life associated with industrialisation. He proposed that the use of electric power may increase the risk of breast cancer. The risk arose from reduced production of nocturnal melatonin brought about by exposure to two principal agents, namely light-at-night, LAN from domestic as well as street lighting and magnetic fields associated with the electricity supply. Strong support for LAN affecting breast cancer risk has come from experiments in animals. Support in humans comes from the observation of reduced hormone-related cancer rates in the blind and partially sighted and increased breast cancer rates in nightshift workers (e.g. Hahn 1991, Feychting et al. 1998, Hansen 2001).
Magnetic field suppression of melatonin. There are now at least 12 studies in human populations examining whether exposure to power frequency magnetic fields reduces or otherwise disrupts the nocturnal production of pineal melatonin. One study does not support this notion, although the study sample was small. For the remaining 11 studies, while some show a weak effect of melatonin disruption, others show clear effects including a dose response relationship for magnetic field exposures as low as 0.2 Î¼T or lower (e.g. Davies et al. 2001, Burch et al. 2002). Of particular interest are those studies reporting melatonin disruption in relation to 3-phase EMF sources (e.g. Burch et al. 2000). Such sources set up elliptically or circularly polarised fields which induce higher currents in the body compared with linearly polarised (plane wave) fields and which have been reported to be more effective in suppressing pineal melatonin in rats (Kato and Shigemitsu 1997). We have noted that some degree of polarisation is the norm for magnetic fields associated with the electricity supply (Ainsbury 2004). The effect of magnetic fields on breast cancer risk, however, is not well established and pooled analyses of studies suggest only a small increase in risk (Erren 2001).
Childhood leukaemia and melatonin. The potential importance of melatonin suppression to leukaemia risk arises from the observation that the hormone is highly protective of oxidative damage to the human haemopoietic system. Vijayalaxmi et al. (1996) administered 300 mg of melatonin to four healthy volunteers. Immediately, and one and two hours later, blood samples were taken and irradiated with 1.5 Gy 137Cs gamma radiation. Compared with blood samples taken immediately, those taken at two hours had significantly decreased (50 - 70%) chromosome aberrations and micronuclei. The authors concluded that the observations may have important implications for the protection of human lymphocytes from genetic damage induced by free radical-producing mutagens and carcinogens. The authors investigated the mechanism of melatonin protectiveness in terms of both direct scavenging in the cell nucleus of radiation-induced free radicals, including the hydroxyl radical and action at the cell membrane and in the cytosol to trigger activation of existing DNA repair enzymes and/or activation of a set of genes that lead to de novo protein synthesis associated with DNA repair (Vijayalaxmi et al. 1998). In a further experiment, Vijayalaxmi et al. (1999) irradiated mice with 8.15 Gy gamma radiation untreated and pre- treated with 125 and 250 mg melatonin. In the untreated mice, 45% were alive after 30 days, but 85% were still alive in those pre-treated with 250 mg melatonin. Melatonin has also been shown to be highly protective of oxidative damage to the fetus in animals and there is a sizeable literature on this subject (e.g. Wakatsuki et al. 1999, 2001). In women, Okatani et al. (1998) showed the efficient maternal-fetal transfer of melatonin near term. The relevance to childhood leukaemia stems from compelling evidence that the initiating event(s) in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) appear to take place in utero (Greaves 2002).
Epidemiological and experimental tests of this hypothesis. The seven- fold increase in childhood leukaemia aged 1- 4 last century in England and Wales (ONS 2004) may implicate in its aetiology LAN, and melatonin disruption and therefore magnetic fields. The protectiveness of melatonin to the haemopoietic system could be examined in the presence of magnetic fields.
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-- Mike O'Carroll