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Government Launches Independent UK Tidal Lagoons Review

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Tidal Lagoon

The government acknowledges progress has been made to understand tidal lagoon technology, but says more work needs to be done to determine whether they present value for money. They have commissioned a review of the technology to improve their understanding of how tidal lagoons could contribute to the future of the UK’s energy mix in the most cost effective way.

The review will commence this spring and it will help establish an evidence base to ensure all decisions made regarding tidal lagoon energy are in the best interest of the UK.

Tidal Lagoon Power, the proposed developers of Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, and other industry stakeholders will take part in the review while discussions about Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon continue.

Energy Minister Lord Bourne commented: “Tidal Lagoons on this scale are an exciting, but as yet an untested technology. I want to better understand whether tidal lagoons can be cost effective, and what their impact on bills will be – both today and in the longer term.

“This review will help give us that clarity so we can determine what role tidal lagoons could have as part of our plans to provide secure, clean and affordable energy for families and businesses across the country.”

Commenting on today’s announcement Kepler Energy’s Peter Dixon (Executive Chairman) said: “The opportunity that tidal stream energy offers the UK must not be overshadowed by the hiatus surrounding Tidal Lagoons and Swansea Bay.  Kepler Energy is working hard to bring forward plans for a tidal energy fence that will be located in the Bristol Channel and we have shared our outline plans with a range of stakeholders including the Department of Energy & Climate Change, the Welsh Government, the Crown Estate and the Treasury.

“Our tidal energy technology will use the very latest carbon composite technology, and can be deployed in shallower, lower velocity tidal waters around the UK coastline and also in overseas waters, in countries such as China, Korea, Japan and India. Subject to planning and financing, the Bristol Channel tidal fence, which is likely to be located in the Aberthaw to Minehead stretch of water, could be operational by 2025.”

“Kepler Energy’s technology is regarded as environmentally benign and would be subject to a rigorous environmental impact assessment during the planning process to ensure that it carries no significant risk to marine life and other users of the sea.

Dixon added: “Our Bristol Channel tidal fence has the potential to mobilise the carbon composite industry in the UK, as well as to create new and skilled jobs in Wales and the West Country.

“The opportunity that tidal stream energy offers the UK is very significant. Our tidal stream technology at scale can quickly be cost competitive with nuclear generation and offshore wind, and can be deployed quickly and extensively in UK and overseas waters.”

Mark Shorrock, chief executive of Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, said: “This is a huge step from the UK Government and a clear signal that it sees potential advantage for the UK energy consumer in very long-dated tidal energy infrastructure assets.

“There is vast potential for tidal lagoon power to provide cheap long-term renewable energy at scale and to be taken formally into national policy.

“We welcome the opportunity to put the case for a major programme of cost-effective power. This is a home-grown source of power, the natural way to power our nation. We have built a supply chain which puts UK companies at the forefront of a new world-leading technology.”

Continuing, Mark Shorrock expressed concern about the continuing delay in considering the demonstration first-of-a-kind tidal lagoon for the UK. He said: “It is imperative that we conclude our structuring and commercial negotiation with Government within the next 6 weeks. This is entirely possible; the review should not impact the finalisation of our commercial discussions. To unlock the potential of tidal lagoon power, we need investment in a demonstration project that will grow the supply chain and build investor confidence that an exceptionally long term project can go forward in today’s UK electricity market.

“Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is an appropriately small pilot project that gives rise to large scale projects. Investing in this project could add as little as 10p to householder’s bills. The first large scale lagoon to employ its blueprint could take £5 off householder’s bills

“The project planned for Swansea Bay is ready to go now. We have built a team, secured planning permission, secured equity sponsors, prepared a delivery team and a supply chain. We have received overwhelming support for this project locally, nationally and internationally. If tidal lagoon power at scale is to be a real option for the longer term, we need to start work on Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon now. Otherwise the opportunity will be lost and the review will be all for nothing.

“We want to give birth to a tidal range industry. We want to return steel workers into jobs. We want to make our own turbines and generators here in the UK, we want to bestow a legacy on Great Britain from Wales of 120 year life power. But none of this will be possible if we don’t start now.

“A welcome review should not be. There is a serious and growing gap of electricity generation capacity. We need 16 new large scale power stations. The cheapest new power stations will be tidal lagoons, roof-top solar power and gas fired power stations. We need all three and quickly. And when the nuclear stations are ready, we will probably need them too, but their timescales are more uncertain.

“This country either started or scaled many of the world’s industries, including many of the world’s energy industries. Energy in the UK has become a completely regulated market where all operators and technology forms – from fossil fuel, to nuclear, to renewable – depend on direct or indirect subsidy. All non-hydro low carbon energies – solar, biomass, wind, and especially nuclear – have been conformed to favour foreign providers of the technology. We lose jobs, we lose time. Importantly, we also have lost baseload power.

“The tidal lagoon fleet breaks this unfavourable tradition. We will capitalise on a natural advantage. With speed we will deliver baseload power at a nuclear scale and a lower cost. Today’s review will ensure that we are able to consolidate this understanding in the market.

“We have made a value-for-money proposition to Government. There is no reason not to press on with Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon negotiations.

“Recognising the extremely long asset life of a tidal lagoon enables the overall financing costs to be significantly reduced.

“The world-first tidal lagoon that carries on its shoulders the launch of a global industry now requires a lower level of subsidy support than any offshore wind farm ever built in the UK.

“We have proposed an equivalent CfD strike price for the 320MW Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon below that of offshore wind. Our structure has a subsidy that reduces over time, meaning that for around half of the proposed 90-year contract, the lagoon pays money to Government.

“By linking Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon to the successful delivery of a second, fullscale lagoon, this approach further reduces the required and proposed equivalent CfD strike price of Swansea Bay to under £100/MWh, comparable to the Hinkley C nuclear power station.

“Application of these bespoke support structures to the Cardiff Tidal Lagoon, a 2,700MW capacity project, the equivalent CfD strike price requirement is £68.30/MWh. It is excellent to have an independent review to substantiate how tidal lagoons can bring down electricity bills immediately after demonstration stage while providing Victorian-style infrastructure legacy.

“Our company’s vision is to harness the tides to generate our power, and to establish a new global industry in the UK. Today’s review launch confirms a strong interest from Government in this vision.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Government on the delivery of this vision, including on the most efficient financial support structures for tidal lagoons. But we will be pushing for Government support to demonstrate the potential of tidal lagoon power by giving the go-ahead for the Swansea Bay project, thereby avoiding the still birth of a game-changer for UK energy and UK industry.”

The review will consider:

– An assessment of whether, and in what circumstances, tidal lagoons could play a cost effective role as part of the UK energy mix;

– The potential scale of opportunity in the UK and internationally, including supply chain opportunities;

– A range of possible structures for financing tidal lagoons;

– Different sizes of projects as the first of a kind;

– Whether a competitive framework could be put in place for the delivery of tidal lagoon projects.

This review will take place in consultation with the relevant Government departments – in particular DECC and HMT for financial aspects.

Energy

7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption

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Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

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Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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