Category Archives: Energy industry

UK is running out of gas, National Grid warns

Perfect storm of freezing weather and supply problems prompts rare call for more fuel immediately

National Grid has issued a warning that the UK will not have enough gas to meet demand on Thursday, as temperatures plummeted and imports were hit by outages.

It is thought unlikely that the situation will affect supply to households, but if enough extra gas supplies by pipeline or ship are not forthcoming, it could affect industrial users.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

How a small town reclaimed its grid and sparked a community revolution | Aditya Chakrabortty

The latest article in our new economics series looks at what happened when a German utilities contract expired, and one man thought his neighbours could take over

• Listen to Aditya Chakrabortty talking about game-changing economic models on The Alternatives podcast

Martin Rühl never imagined this fight would define the rest of his life. Not for a moment did he reckon it would become so epic in length, in scale, in consequences. He just thought his speck of a town should run its own electricity supply.

A modest proposal, but in the Germany of 2003 it was highly unusual. Gerhard Schröder was still chancellor and, although a social democrat, was pushing through more privatisations of public assets than any other leader in German history. This was in a Europe that had learned from Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan to stop worrying and start loving the private sector. Now here, swimming against history’s current, was one orderly, slightly anxious engineer.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

After the 'sunrush': what comes next for solar power?

The fall in costs that has driven solar’s rapid growth is slowing – but scientists are exploring the next generation of materials that can harness more energy from the sun

Some people call it the “sunrush”: a 25-year period in which solar power has grown exponentially, transforming the technology from rarefied oddity to the world’s fastest-growing energy source.

This surge, which saw 100MW of capacity in 1992 rocket to more than 300GW in 2016, has been largely driven by falling costs, which plunged 86% between 2009 and 2017.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

Fracking – the reality, the risksand what the future holds

Fracking has been hailed as an energy miracle in the US, yet globally it faces blocks and even bans. Adam Vaughan explains what it is and why it is so controversial

What is fracking?
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as it is better known, is a method of extracting oil and gas trapped in shale and other rock formations.

The modern version involves pumping large amounts of water down a well at high pressure, along with sand and chemicals that make up a tiny fraction of the volume. Together, this “stimulation fluid” fractures the rock and releases the gas or oil, which flows to the surface. The hole drilled for a well is about the size of a manhole cover.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

EDF UK profits hit by fall in sterling and nuclear prices

Pound’s decline against euro costs French firm €608m as home energy usage also drops

French state-owned energy firm EDF reported falling profits, including a downturn in the UK due to falling prices for nuclear power, improved energy efficiency among its household customers and the slide in the value of sterling since the Brexit vote.

Profits in the UK division, which includes EDF Energy, slumped by a third to €1.035 (£920m) as sales dwindled by €579m to €8.68bn, partly because UK customers pay their bills in pounds but the company reports its results in euros.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

‘Like thunder in the ground’: Texans fear link between quakes and fracking waste

Wastewater injection, a byproduct of fracking, is the likely culprit behind a surge of earthquakes in northern Texas – and residents want accountability

An earthquake, Cathy Wallace says, feels like “a rumble – it’s like thunder in the ground coming towards your house like a train and you can hear it and feel it coming”.

Wallace is not based in California, or in any of the US’s well-known seismic hot-spots. She lives in north Texas, historically one of the country’s least earthquake-prone regions – until the drillers came.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

Is this the future? Dutch plan vast windfarm island in North Sea

Advanced plans by Dutch power grid aims to build power hub possibly at Dogger Bank whose scale would dwarf current offshore sites

Britain’s homes could be lit and powered by windfarms surrounding an artificial island deep out in the North Sea, under advanced plans by a Dutch energy network.

The radical proposal envisages an island being built to act as a hub for vast offshore windfarms that would eclipse today’s facilities in scale. Dogger Bank, 125km (78 miles) off the East Yorkshire coast, has been identified as a potentially windy and shallow site.

Continue reading…
Source: gad