Category Archives: Energy

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.

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Source: gad

What Cape Town can learn from Australia’s millennium drought

As Day Zero looms and the South African city gets set to run out of water, experts say lessons learned during Melbourne’s brush with a similar fate may help avert a global crisis

In December 2017, Seona Candy drove through the vineyards of the Franschhoek Valley near Cape Town towards the banks of the Sonderend river. In the late 1970s, the waterway was dammed to create the biggest reservoir in South Africa’s Western Cape. Behind the thick walls of the Theewaterskloof dam lay the capacity to hold 480 million cubic metres of water, nearly half of Cape Town’s water supply.

“When I got there, it was mostly dust,” Candy says.

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Source: gad

How Tesla's big battery is bringing Australia’s gas cartel to heel

South Australia’s big gamble on grid-scale battery storage may pay for itself in just a year if it continues to prevent massive price spikes

• Giles Parkinson is editor of RenewEconomy

On Sunday 14 January something very unusual happened.

The Australian Energy Market Operator called – as it often does – for generators in South Australia to provide a modest amount of network services known as FCAS, or frequency control and ancillary services.

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Source: gadt

Blockchain: so much bigger than bitcoin…

From voting to healthcare, music to energy production, blockchain may just change the way we run our lives

A blockchain allows the authentication of transactions without them needing to be administered or guaranteed by a central authority. Ballot boxes and current online voting platforms are vulnerable to manipulation; now a startup called Follow My Vote is developing a blockchain-based system to ensure security, transparency and mathematically accurate election results.

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Source: gadt

Search restarts for area willing to host highly radioactive UK waste

Right geology and local consent are key in consultation due to be launched this week

The government is expected this week to begin a nationwide search for a community willing to host an underground nuclear waste dump to store highly radioactive material for thousands of years.

Britain has been trying for years to secure a site with the right geology and local communities which would volunteer to host a £12bn geological disposal facility (GDF), as a long-term solution for the most dangerous waste from nuclear power stations.

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Source: gad

'It's a no-brainer': are hydrogen cars the future?

Inventor Hugo Spowers has a dream: to replace today’s cars with his own hydrogen prototype. Is the world ready?

In the mid-1990s, Hugo Spowers ran a Formula Three racing team. At the time, motorsport was in the pocket of big tobacco. Every weekend, Formula One cars emblazoned with cigarette brands – Marlboro, Camel, Silk Cut – raced on TV in front of millions. “It was pretty clear it was killing people,” Spowers says. “Meanwhile, the industry was portraying a link between smoking and winners. It was ludicrous. But nobody was going against it.”

So when, in 1995, Spowers’ team introduced a car decorated with an anti-smoking campaign, it caused a commotion. At a party the night before the car was set to debut at the British Grand Prix, the chairman of the British Racing Drivers’ Club summoned Spowers, outraged. “He bellowed at me for a full five minutes, about how motorsport needed its sponsors, and ‘not pinkos like you’,” Spowers says now, chuckling. But Spowers was unmoved: he knew he was right. Furthermore, he believed it made financial sense: the relationship with tobacco was tainting the sport for businesses that didn’t want to be associated with smoking.

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Source: gadt

China oil spill: warning over seafood contamination

Scientists say consumers should be wary of buying any seafood that may have passed through the area until the toxic impact of the spill has been assessed

Consumers in Japan, China and South Korea should be wary of buying seafood until governments in the region have monitored and released details about the toxic impact of the Sanchi oil spill, scientists have warned.

The worst oil ship disaster in decades has so far produced two visible plumes covering almost 100 square kilometres on the surface of the East China Sea, but maritime disaster experts say this is just the tip of the iceberg and millions of fish are likely to have been contaminated by carcinogens.

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Source: gad

Europe’s microwave ovens emit nearly as much CO2 as 7m cars

The biggest impact comes from electricity used to power the microwaves, but study also highlights rising environmental cost of our throwaway culture

Popping frozen peas into the microwave for a couple of minutes may seem utterly harmless, but Europe’s stock of these quick-cook ovens emit as much carbon as nearly 7m cars, a new study has found.

And the problem is growing: with costs falling and kitchen appliances becoming “status” items, owners are throwing away microwaves after an average of eight years, pushing rising sales.

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Source: gad

Daylight robbery: thieves steal chunk of China’s new solar highway

Panels which lie under transparent concrete are dug up in what is believed to be a case of technology theft

Thieves in China have vandalised a newly opened solar highway, less than a week after the road was christened with much fanfare.

The one-kilometre stretch of road in the eastern city of Jinan consists of solar panels under a layer of transparent concrete, allowing cars to drive over the photovoltaic cells.

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Source: gad

Energy agency rejects Trump plan to prop up coal and nuclear power plants

The unexpected decision by the Republican-controlled body is a blow to the president’s high-profile mission to revive the struggling US coal industry

An independent energy agency on Monday rejected a Trump administration plan to bolster coal-fired and nuclear power plants with subsidies, dealing a blow to the president’s high-profile mission to revive the struggling coal industry.

The decision by the Republican-controlled Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) was unexpected and comes amid repeated promises by Trump to rejuvenate coal as the nation’s top power source. The industry has been besieged by multiple bankruptcies and a steady loss of market share as natural gas and renewable energy have flourished.

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Source: gad