Massive Offshore Wind Turbines Planned in UK and US
Last week, the US and UK announced plans to develop massive floating offshore wind turbines that can be deployed in deep waters further out at sea.
Unlike turbines resting on towers offshore, floating turbines are able to be located in waters several hundred meters deep, increasing the areas of sea and ocean that can be harvested for wind while gaining greater access to faster winds. It would also remove the turbines from the sight of local communities that are not completely enthused about having to look at a wind farm on their scenic coast.
Energy ministers from the world's 23 largest economies met in London at the Clean Energy Ministerial last week, co-chaired by US and UK Energy Secretaries Steven Chu and Edward Davey. Together, they announced that the US and UK would be working together to capitalize on this endeavor.
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The UK's Energy Technology Institute is going to invest $41 million in the project. Selected participants can submit concepts of a floating wind turbine between 5 and 7 megawatts capacity, and the winner will be expected to produce a working prototype by 2016. The US Department of Energy has put forth a $180 million funding opportunity for four offshore wind demonstration projects.
In light of the nuclear reactor meltdown in Fukushima last year, Japan is also getting more involved with offshore wind power. The Japanese government's Fukushima Recovery Floating Wind Farm Pilot Project will initially consist of a 2 megawatt turbine, joined by two 7 megawatt turbines by 2016. By 2020, the Marubeni Corporation plans to add 1 gigawatt of floating wind installations onto that, which would make the country a leader in offshore wind power.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.