Orsted Among Winners as UK Backs Hydrogen Demos

The U.K. is funding what could become the world’s largest electrolyzer—and one that would be linked to an offshore wind farm.

An Orsted offshore wind farm could power the U.K.'s first green hydrogen project. (Credit: Orsted)

An Orsted offshore wind farm could power the U.K.’s first green hydrogen project. (Credit: Orsted)

The U.K. government is looking to get a leg up on its European rivals with a flurry of new funding for hydrogen projects, including one linked to an Ørsted offshore wind farm.

As part of a £90 million ($116 million) funding round announced this week for early-stage low-carbon projects, £28 million was allocated to five hydrogen supply demos. Another £20 million will go toward hydrogen-based industrial fuel swapping projects, covering the glass, cement and lime sectors as well as a Unilever-backed project focused on consumer goods.

The winners cover a diverse mix of hydrogen applications — from floating wind turbines with attached electrolyzers on-deck to low-carbon hydrogen with carbon capture and storage and the country’s first proposed facility for green hydrogen production.

One of the biggest winners is a proposal led by ITM Power to use power from Ørsted’s Hornsea One offshore wind farm to generate the U.K.’s first green hydrogen using 100 megawatts of electrolyzers. The project received £7.5 million in funding.

Green hydrogen uses renewable power to create H2 via electrolysis. Most hydrogen produced today is made by splitting it from methane gas, generating carbon dioxide as a byproduct.

The ITM/Ørsted project would be the largest electrolyzer in the world, according to Wood Mackenzie senior analyst Ben Gallagher.

“The largest-ever project deployed is 10 megawatts, so it’s a huge uptick in terms of scale. This would be record-breaking by several leaps and bounds,” said Gallagher, who characterized the project as the manifestation of the green hydrogen value proposition.

The current problem with electrolyzers is their tiny capacity, both installed and for manufacturing. Only 252 megawatts of electrolyzers were in operation worldwide between 2010-2019, according to WoodMac. But manufacturing capacity is starting to ramp up, buoyed by a pipeline of announced green hydrogen projects that passed 3.2 gigawatts last year.

ITM Power, a manufacturer, gets the keys to a new factory in the U.K. later this year that will be capable of ramping up to 1 gigawatt per year.

Ørsted, the world’s leading offshore wind developer, said hydrogen could soon achieve dramatic cost reductions. “We’ve seen this happen in offshore wind. With industry and government working together, there has been a rapid deployment and a huge cost reduction. This project aims to do the same with hydrogen,” Anders Christian Nordstrøm, Ørsted’s VP for hydrogen, said in a statement.

Germany, France and Belgium are all investing in hydrogen as efforts to decarbonize industry and heat garner greater attention. Both sectors lag far behind power when it comes to lowering their emissions.

Floating electrolyzers

Another winner in the U.K.’s funding round is the Dolphyn project, led by consultancy Environmental Resources Management, which will pair a floating wind turbine structure with an integrated electrolyzer.

Its £3.1 million grant will contribute to the final design work on a 2-megawatt prototype that it hopes to have in the water in 2023, followed by a 10-megawatt commercial prototype in 2026.

Dolphyn’s plans benefited from input from offshore turbine manufacturer MHI Vestas, the aforementioned ITM Power, and Principle Power, the developer of the floating structure used in Engie and EDF’s WindFloat Atlantic trial.

The Dolphyn floating wind turbine with built-in electroyzer and desalination hardware. (Credit: Environmental Resources Management

The system desalinates seawater prior to electrolysis, powered by the turbine, on-board solar panels and standby power supply when required. Hydrogen can be stored onboard or pumped where it’s needed through a pipeline.

Finding demand

In the long run, the success of hydrogen projects depends on finding a stable and sizable source of demand.

One potential use for green hydrogen is as an additive to existing natural-gas systems, effectively allowing gas companies to continue operating as they currently do while partially decarbonizing. Italy’s Snam is doubling its hydrogen injection trials from a 5 percent to a 10 percent mix.

ITM Power began a trial in January to inject a 20 percent mix of hydrogen into the private natural-gas network of Keele University.

Lorna Archer from the energy futures team at Scottish Gas Networks told a recent industry conference that domestic gas boilers in the U.K. could handle a 20 percent mix without the need for a full refit.

But WoodMac’s Gallagher warns that challenges around leaks and safety mean such a fuel swap isn’t as straightforward as it sounds.

“What’s less theoretical is the sort of industrial end users that require hydrogen in their products [that are] looking at displacing carbon-intensive hydrogen with green hydrogen,” he said

SOURCE

UK citizens’ climate assembly to meet for first time

Randomly selected 110-strong panel will try to come up with a plan to tackle global heating

 The assembly will discuss policies such as bringing forward the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Ordinary people from across the UK – potentially including climate deniers – will take part in the first ever citizens’ climate assembly this weekend.

Mirroring the model adopted in France by Emmanuel Macron, 110 people from all walks of life will begin deliberations on Saturday to come up with a plan to tackle global heating and meet the government’s target of net-zero emissions by 2050.

The assembly was selected to be a representative sample of the population after a mailout to 30,000 people chosen at random. About 2,000 people responded saying they wanted to be considered for the assembly, and the 110 members were picked by computer.

They come from all age brackets and their selection reflects a 2019 Ipsos Mori poll of how concerned the general population is by climate change, where responses ranged from not at all to very concerned. Of the assembly members, three people are not at all concerned, 16 not very concerned, 36 fairly concerned, 54 very concerned, and one did not know, organisers said.

The selection process meant those chosen could include climate deniers or sceptics, according to Sarah Allan, the head of engagement at Involve, which is running the assembly along with the Sortition Foundation and the e-democracy project mySociety.

“It is really important that it is representative of the UK population,” said Allen. “Those people, just because they’re sceptical of climate change, they’re going to be affected by the steps the government takes to get to net zero by 2050 too and they shouldn’t have their voice denied in that.”

The UK climate assembly differs from the French model in that it was commissioned by six select committees, rather than by the prime minister. Their views, which will be produced in a report in the spring, will be considered by the select committees but there is no guarantee any of the proposals will be taken up by government.

Jim Watson, a professor of energy policy at University College London, is one of four experts who will guide the members of the public in their decision-making. He acknowledged the scale of the challenges they faced in finding solutions to reaching net zero by 2050, which he said was “a hell of a job”.

As well as four experts to the assembly, a panel of advisers including representatives from the Confederation of British Industry, Trades Union Congress, National Farmers’ Union, environmental NGOs and renewable energy companies have helped provide the questions on which assembly members will be asked to give their views.

The key subjects to be considered will include transport, agriculture, domestic energy, and how consumerism is driving global heating. As well as policies such as bringing forward the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040, the panel will consider technological solutions to cutting carbon emissions. Watson said many technological initiatives were surrounded by hype. “It is really important we get across [to the assembly members] not just that the option is x, but what the status of that option is in the world,” he said.

The assembly will meet for four weekends. On the third weekend they will begin making decisions about ways to meet the net zero target.

A spokeswoman for Extinction Rebellion, which is calling for the government to create and be led by the decisions of a citizens’ assembly on climate, said they welcomed the fact that such assemblies were being used in mainstream politics. “However, because it is not commissioned by the government it is not what we are looking for. We want something with real teeth, that has actual power to influence policy,” she said. SOURCE

A net zero emissions plan for the UK

Photo of footprint made of coal

(Image courtesy: iStock/aykutsevinc)

In its new report, the government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says we should aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. It wants a legislated UK target for a 100% reduction in greenhouse gases from 1990 levels, which should cover all sectors of the economy, including international aviation and shipping, and be in the place this year. It should be met via UK effort, without relying on internationally traded carbon credits. With its higher emissions from agriculture, Wales should set a target for a 95% cut in emissions by 2050. Better-placed Scotland should aim for net-zero emissions by 2045, and in the interim 70% by 2030 and 90% by 2040; the Scottish government has now agreed to that.

However, the CCC says all this will need new policies: “current policy is insufficient for even the existing targets”. Its proposals certainly are quite ambitious. For example, the CCC looks to extensive electrification, particularly of transport. By 2035 at the latest, “all new cars and vans should be electric (or use a low-carbon alternative such as hydrogen)”. Electrification of heating is also backed strongly, with both these policies aided by a major expansion of renewable and other low-carbon power generation, including possibly some nuclear. Their scenarios have around a doubling of electricity demand, with all power produced from zero/low-carbon sources, compared to 50% today. The CCC says that could, for example, “require 75 GW of offshore wind in 2050, compared to 8 GW today and 30 GW targeted by the Government’s sector deal by 2030. 75 GW of offshore wind would require up to 7500 turbines and could fit within 1–2% of the UK seabed, comparable to the area of sites already leased for wind projects by the Crown Estate”.

The CCC also wants to see the development of a hydrogen economy to service demands for some industrial processes, for energy-dense applications in long-distance heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and ships, and for electricity supply and heating in peak periods, topping up the heat provided mainly by electric heat pumps. By 2050 “a new low-carbon industry is needed with UK hydrogen production capacity of comparable size to the UK’s current fleet of gas-fired power stations”. In addition, the CCC sees carbon capture and storage (CCS) expanding in industry especially, and thinks direct air capture may be viable, but it also calls for vast expansion of tree planting and carbon sequestration via revised farming practices, as well as a shift to less meat-eating, to further cut emissions.

Costs not prohibitive

Crucially the CCC says that, despite its ambitious technology programme, the “overall costs are manageable” although they “must be fairly distributed”. There have been rapid cost reductions from mass deployment for key technologies, e.g. the committee says, offshore wind and batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), so “we now expect that a net-zero GHG [greenhouse gas] target can be met at an annual resource cost of up to 1–2% of GDP to 2050, the same cost as the previous expectation for an 80% reduction from 1990”. However, “the transition, including for workers and energy bill payers, must be fair, and perceived to be fair. Government should develop the necessary frameworks to ensure this. An early priority must be to review the plan for funding and the distribution of costs for businesses, households and the Exchequer.”

the CCC adopts a belt and braces approach

Dave Elliott

“Electricity bill payers (households and businesses) currently pay around £7bn a year towards the roll-out of low-carbon power,” the CCC says. “This is expected to rise to around £12bn by 2030 then fall to 2050 as contracts for existing renewable generators come to an end and they are replaced by newer cheaper generation (e.g. our scenarios involve an annual resource cost of around £4bn in 2050). For households, the average costs so far, of £105 per household per year in 2016, have been more than outweighed by savings from improved energy efficiency: energy bills fell £115 in real terms from 2008 to 2016. That balance will continue to 2030 (i.e. overall bills need not rise as a result of climate policy).” And, generally, while the programme would need increased investment, that would be offset by reduced fuel costs: “For example, wind and solar farms are costly to build, but avoid the need to pay for gas and coal; energy efficiency involves an upfront cost followed by reduced energy use.” And by 2050, the CCC says, EV/electrification should “cut the annual costs of UK transport by around £5bn”.

Power-to-gas marginal

A key message underlying this optimism is that most of the technologies will be cheaper and offer cost-saving routes forward, although “CCS and hydrogen are important exceptions requiring both increased upfront spend and higher fuel costs”. Interestingly, in this context, the technical annex downplays the hydrogen “power-to-gas” (P2G) electrolysis route: “The cost of electricity would have to be less than £10/MWh for electrolysis to be the same cost as we expect for gas reforming with CCS in the UK, or energy consumption from electrolysis would have to reduce significantly. While there is some opportunity to utilize some ‘surplus’ electricity (e.g. from renewables generating at times of low demand) for hydrogen production, our modelling shows that the quantity is likely to be small in comparison to the potential scale of hydrogen demand. Producing hydrogen in bulk from electrolysis would be much more expensive and would entail extremely challenging build rates for zero-carbon electricity generation capacity.”

In its net-zero 2050 scenario CCC has a vast 270 TWh of hydrogen production, compared to around 300 TWh of electricity generation currently. Most (225 TWh) of this 270 W is produced from 29 GW of Steam Methane Reformation (SMR) plants using fossil gas, coupled with CCS to make it lower carbon. And only 2 TWh gets used for power-grid balancing. By contrast, there’s only 6–17 GW of renewable-powered electrolyser capacity at max (indeed just 2–7 GW is cited later on), depending on load factors, which the CCC says could range from 30–90%, with 74% efficiency. Running 90% of the time makes better use of the electrolyser, thus reducing costs. But that implies going beyond just using occasional renewable output surpluses (available maybe 30% of the time), so more renewable capacity would be needed, adding to the cost. “Our scenarios assume that hydrogen production at scale is done via gas-reforming with CCS rather than electrolysis,” the CCC says. “If all hydrogen in our scenarios were produced via electrolysis this would increase electricity generation by over 305 TWh.”

On the fossil-gas SMR side, the CCC assumes methane reformation is 80% efficient and that CCS can capture 95% of process carbon dioxide. But it says these estimates “should be considered upper bounds”. They do seem very high. The likely net carbon saving for the proposed Leeds H21 SMR/CCS project has been put at 59% compared to normal gas heating. So P2G still looks worth backing, not least as it avoids curtailment, with some claiming that it will be competitive by 2035.

Renewables to the fore

Although the CCC is cautious on bioenergy, with its estimates of global bioenergy supply potential being “notably lower than assumed in many of the scenarios assessed by the IPCC”, renewables are otherwise pushed hard but, the committee claims, not unrealistically: “Our scenarios are based on existing technologies and make conservative assumptions around their development and take-up of low-carbon behaviours. If mass roll-out of currently niche technologies leads to rapid cost reductions (e.g. as witnessed globally for batteries and solar panels and in Europe for offshore wind), the scenarios will be significantly easier to deliver.”

Overall, the CCC says “while the policy challenge in delivering these scenarios is undeniable, there is good reason to believe that the range of options could be wider and/or cheaper than we have assumed”. For example, it sees nuclear costs falling by 28% by 2050 and it also seems to see nuclear possibly playing a role in grid-balancing. Presumably the CCC is thinking of future small modular reactors, some of which are claimed will be more flexible than the existing, or planned, large plants. That seems some way off.

However, on this and some of the other technology options, the CCC adopts a belt and braces approach: “if the speculative options to reduce UK emissions do not develop sufficiently, or if there is a shortfall in delivery of the other elements of the scenarios, then international carbon units (i.e. credits or offsets) could provide contingency”. For example, it suggests that the UK “could support a net-zero target for aviation, requiring that all emissions are offset by removals”, assuming, presumably, they can’t be cut significantly in other ways, technically or by reducing demand. The latter option, and the prospect that flying will cost more, may be one of the less popular aspects of the plan. However, the CCC analysis also provides ammunition for those who argue that there will be no need for, or indeed room for, nuclear in this future system.

Wind Farm Coming? Here’s What To Expect & How To Help Your Community

Image result for windfarm ontario

Wind farms remain the most environmentally benign form of electrical generation we have ever managed to create, with solar farms a close second. They have the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per MWh, full life cycle. They mix boundary layers of air over fields, drawing moisture and warmth at night down to growing plants, reducing the likelihood of frost and increasing yields. They shade livestock. They take up about 1% of agricultural land in the areas that they spread across, usually the less arable corners, and perhaps 2% when placed on ridgelines. Their few downsides, such as the low bird and bat mortality figures, pale in comparison to the toll of fossil fuels both directly and through global warming.

But that doesn’t mean that they are universally accepted by communities where they are being established. It’s important to provide care and feeding to those communities, to provide them the immunization that they often require from those irrationally or ideologically opposed to wind energy and to assist them in healing breaches that occur. Wind farms bring change, and change is often difficult.

A few years ago I toiled as a volunteer in the trenches of global wind energy social acceptance. I ran a blog used by wind energy advocates globally, Barnard on Wind. I was Senior Fellow – Wind for the Washington-based Energy and Policy Institute think tank, authoring a still-referenced report on global court cases related to wind energy and health (tl;dr: judges almost universally agreed that there are no health impacts). I assisted local groups in Ontario, the United States, Australia and elsewhere to counter disinformation and to find ways to communicate the benefits of wind energy to their communities. I worked to counter the virulence of anti-wind documentaries made in the USA and Canada. I remain connected to the American Wind Energy AssociationGlobal Wind Energy Council, and the Canadian Wind Energy Association by ties of social networks and respect.

This has given me a global perspective on the challenges communities face as wind farms enter their areas. There are real, if slight impacts, but it’s the psychology of your neighbors that is critical to understand. For the purposes of this assessment, let’s break the process into phases: pre-construction, construction, and operation.


Pre-construction

In the run up to a wind farm being constructed in a region, there may be some divisiveness and acrimony in the community. Some of it will be for more rational reasons, some for less. Some people will need to be brought on board, some will be opposed.

First, representatives of the company building the wind farm will be going door to door to the properties that their modeling shows are suitable for a wind turbine. They’ll be offering leases for the use of about a quarter acre of land per turbine for from $6,000 to $18,000 per year in the USA, with an average of around $8,000. Just as rural dwellers want cell towers and microwave repeaters on their properties for the revenue, they want wind turbines. And often the people who have the best land for wind generation are the people who had marginal agricultural land. A few wind turbines on a property can invert long-standing have/have-not status ratios in a neighborhood. That can lead to some acrimony, and it can lead to the former ‘haves’ who don’t get a wind turbine for their property leading the fight against all wind turbines.

Depending on the community and the company, they may negotiate a community investment as well. That might be a new town hall, a new baseball diamond, or an annual stipend into community coffers. The community should negotiate for that kind of investment. Wind farms have a capital cost of about $2 million per MW of capacity, and annual revenue streams in the tens or hundreds of millions for reasonably sized ones so there’s a lot of money to be negotiated for. Don’t be afraid to work hard to get it for your community in general. As always with negotiations, you don’t get what you don’t ask for.

People who live in rural areas where wind farms can exist tend to be more conservative than urban dwellers, and a wind farm is a visible addition to an area. Some people will be opposed solely on the basis that something is changing, much of which can be explained by the same NIMBYism that sees urban neighborhoods oppose condo buildings which will ‘change the character’ of their street.

But the conservatism plays out another way. It’s become fairly common for conservative parties to use renewable energy and global warming as wedges with their base. As a result, there’s been a partisan shift away from acceptance of the reality of global warming and our causing it, and with it a disdain for wind and solar as forms of generation. This is diminishing somewhat as time marches on, global warming becomes even more evident and wind farms spread around the world, but it’s still there.

Then there’s the completely flaky stuff people will believe. There are a few anti-wind organizations and individuals who have spread complete nonsense around the world. Your more credulous neighbors who have a bias against wind farms will find it very easy to get a lot of material full of fear, uncertainty and doubt. As a supporter, you’ll end up seeing lists of mind-bogglingly silly things that are attributed to wind turbines, and some people will believe it. Some will watch one of the three or four anti-wind turbine propaganda documentaries that are out there, or start following one of the two or three common online gathering grounds for anti-wind types. Some will get hysterical. A lot of time will be spent pushing back on the nonsense, slowly and painfully. And a lot of respect will be lost for some members of your community.

Making sure that you have a list of the common anti-wind talking points that are spread with clear and simple debunkings of them helps. The site Wind Power Rocks took the content of the Barnard on Wind blog a few years ago and created a cleaner, simpler and more effective set of material to help with that. Cutting and pasting the rebuttals into social media when the disinformation pops up is a good way to neutrally communicate reality without being confrontational. Similarly, AWEA has an excellent blog, Into the Wind, so checking in there for information is a good idea.

Social media is place where a lot of fear, uncertainty, and doubt will be spread, and there are people who spend all day every day spreading it. Making sure you’ve set up a positive community social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will really help. Unfortunately, as Tigercomm found through a study of US wind farm operators, the companies have mostly ceded this ground to opponents for the past several years, at least in the USA. Spend some time with the company to divide up some responsibilities so that you both can be contributing to social license for wind farm.

Another type of vaccination your community may need is to keep traveling anti-wind propagandists out, or to counter their messages if those in your community who are opposed invite them in. When I was assessing court cases related to the non-issues of wind energy and health, it became apparent that court cases followed anti-wind propagandists such as Sarah Laurie, Carmen Krogh, and Nina Pierpont into areas that they visited. Baseless health fears followed these people, and in some cases led to legal challenges which virtually all failed, at great expense to the community and the legal system.

If those opposed in your community invite someone to speak about wind energy and its impacts, investigate them thoroughly. If they are associated with groups such as Wind Concerns Ontario, The Society for Wind Vigilance, the Waubra Foundation, Stop These Things, or Save the Eagles International, they will be spreading baseless lies that can make it much more difficult for a community to remain intact. As always with this type of fake news, there are two primary strategies. First, make sure that the reality is out there before the propagandists show up. Communicate early and often. Second, ensure that there is at least equal representation at any event to make sure that someone can counter the propagandists. Third, ongoing follow-up with reality-based statements to the disinformation that they spread will be required.

Finally, consider getting professional help. Time and again I’ve seen professional anti-wind PR campaigns from part-time residents of rural areas who have retirement or vacation properties there. They made their money in resource extraction, tobacco, or something with equal challenges, and are used to hiring professional PR flacks for campaigns. A tiny island south of Australia, King Island (great cheese, many lovely people), was considered for a large wind farm and the people who wanted golf courses instead hired the same PR company that was used by very conservative politicians to try to sell coal exports. A wealthy Australian created an entire anti-wind organization just to prevent wind turbines from being barely visible at the end of the valley from his occasional country home. The people opposed to wind are often amoral. They have theirs and are very willing to fight to keep others from getting some too. Suggested North American companies include TigercommRenewCommDavies Public Affairs. (Full disclosure: I am acquainted with the principals of all three companies and have professional relationships with one.)

It’s work, but it’s worth it for your community, your neighbors and your friends. It will pay dividends over the coming years.


Construction

One of the many advantages of wind generation, and one it shares with solar farms, is that it doesn’t take long to build. The entire construction period for an average wind farm will be under two years, and in many cases some turbines will be generating electricity long before the farm itself is finished. Some wind farms are built in stages, but each stage doesn’t take that long and there are usually gaps of a year or two between those stages as we’ve seen with the 4,000 MW wind farm on the St. Laurent River in Quebec or the 20,000 MW Gansu Wind Farm in China reaching completion in 2020.

During construction itself, there will be some short-term impacts. Some new roads will be cut, possibly to get to ridgeline turbine locations. It’s possible some trees will be removed, which will be unfortunate. Ensuring replacement reforestation is a good idea. There might be some temporary turbidity in streams and rivers as the relatively small areas cleared for roads and pads erode a bit until they stabilize.

There will be some big trucks moving through your community with concrete and rebar for the bases. There will be other big trucks moving in the masts, blades, and nacelles. Large crane trucks will show up to assemble turbines. Other trucks will bring the substantial electrical equipment necessary to bridge from turbines to transmission grid. In some cases this will damage local roads and in some cases the equipment might pass across someone’s field or lawn. Repairs will be made, and of course the wind farm firm should be on the hook for these based on prior negotiation with the community so that there is no conflict in rapid resolution and payment.

During construction, there will be jobs for some members of the community. Some will be skilled labor, others will include unskilled labor. There will be multiple, spread-out construction sites for the individual turbines, so there will be lots of work for night security guards for the duration. There will be an uptick in use of local accommodations and local dining and drinking establishments. A fair amount of money will flow into the community during construction.

There will be complaints about the roads, the trees, the noise, any turbidity and the like, but that’s low grade usually, especially if you’ve discussed this with the wind farm company up front and ensured that they will take care of it rapidly and at their expense.

Nonsense opinions and disinformation will continue to fly, and a small subset of your community are likely to work themselves up into a full froth. You’ll get sick of hearing from them. But you’ll need to stay positive and continue to provide factual, neutral information to counter them both in person and on social media.


Operation

After the turbines are in and the wind farm is in operation, a lot of the hue and cry will die down. Almost everyone will discover that the turbines aren’t particularly noisy or visible most of the time, that they are widely spread out, that they are far from homes, and that almost every concern was overstated.

Property values won’t decline. Properties with wind turbine leases often will appreciate in value faster than the average, and that may again cause some resentment about the fiscal benefits. All the credible studies using standard mechanisms for assessing property values statistically find this.

A couple of people with bedrooms closer to a wind turbine might complain. Typically the wind farm company will work with them to find a suitable compromise, which has included companies paying for a row of trees, water features which make a little noise, and soundproofing blinds for bedrooms. Shrewd neighbors of yours will find a way to take advantage of this and get free upgrades to their homes. Companies budget for this. And of course this round of upgrades comes with local economic benefits as mostly it’s local people doing the work and getting the money.

If someone gets sick, it will be because they are making themselves sick. They’ll blame pre-existing conditions on the wind farm. They’ll worry themselves into high blood pressure, and then blame the wind farms for the high-blood pressure. They’ll realize that they have tinnitus, and blame that on the wind farm. Some will have read too much of the nonsense and they’ll make themselves mildly sick through the power of suggestion, something called the nocebo effect, which is the opposite of the placebo effect.

But no one will be being made sick by wind turbines placidly turning in the breeze, just by their own minds. How do I know this? Well, I spent years on the subject, reading all of the peer-reviewed health literature, talking with acousticians and public health professionals and writing about it in material such as the court cases study I published. My writing on the subject has ended up in the journal Noise and Health and in books such as Wind Turbine Syndrome: A Communicated Disease by my colleagues and friends Simon Chapman AO Ph.D. FASSA HonFFPH (UK), Emeritus Professor Public Health, School of Public Health, Sydney University and Fiona Crichton, LLB, MSC Hons, Ph.D. Candidate,University of Auckland. Very bright people have been trying to figure out since the mid-2000s why people are blaming wind farms for health issues that they just aren’t causing, and it’s pretty clear that it’s health scares spread by anti-wind groups creating psychosomatic illnesses.

And the money will be flowing into your community. A 115 MW wind farm with 50 turbines means that leases will be bringing $300,000 to $900,000 into the pockets of people in the community that wasn’t there before. A bunch of that money will trickle into the rest of the community. Any community benefits you negotiated for will still be paying dividends.

The wind turbines in operation mostly just sit there, but they need a minimum amount of security, even if it’s just a weekly security inspection by someone to make sure kids haven’t tried to jimmy the locks on the turbine bases.

There will be operational inspection teams through moderately regularly, often with drones these days to inspect the blades and masts. They’ll need to eat and stay somewhere, so more money into the community.

Every year there will be roughly a week of maintenance on the turbines, and that will mean more skilled maintenance people in eating and drinking at the local water holes and staying in the local accommodations.

Some bright sort will probably figure out that a wind farm actually attracts some tourists, and start a sideline bed-and-breakfast aimed at wind farm tours or the like. Once again, the studies show zero negative impact on tourism, so agritourism opportunities just tick up a notch.


The vast majority of opposition to wind farms occurs before they are built. The majority of NIMBYs give up at a certain point. The majority of people who were worried stop worrying once the turbines are just a feature of the neighborhood. There might be a tiny percentage who remain freaked out.

And some mending of fences will need to occur in the community. Wind farms are often somewhat divisive and harsh words are spoken. Some reconciliation and grudge burying will occur. Some will fester, but if it wasn’t the wind farm, it likely would have been something else. Some people just like holding grudges.

After a few years, no one will remember the region without the wind farm. It will be like the old barn on your neighbor’s property or the duck pond, just a part of the scenery. But all the money will keep flowing into your community regardless. And you’ll be part of the solution to our global warming problem.

Stop Ecocide co-founder Jojo Mehta comments on the UK government’s problem of perception

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The UK government just responded to our petition calling for ecocide to be recognised as a criminal offence in the UK – and the response was sadly inadequate to the ecological crisis we face: “The Government neither recognises the term ‘ecocide’ nor does it intend the suggested concept a criminal offence. There are already strong regulations in place…”

Such regulations are inadequately enforced and the enforcement agencies woefully underfunded, but the problem actually runs far deeper than lack of enforcement of existing environmental regulations. It’s about the inability to understand how intimately not only our health but our survival is linked with a thriving natural world. If environmental regulation was enough we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in.

Stopping the harm is not about enforcing the rules, it’s about changing the rules, at such a fundamental level that it is about morals and survival. This is the arena of CRIMINAL law. Murder is a crime because we recognise that killing another human being is unacceptable on a moral level and because it protects human life. Ecocide should likewise be a crime because large-scale destruction of nature is not only morally unacceptable but unless we protect ALL life, we cannot protect human life for very much longer, as climate and ecological science are telling us very clearly.

As a very simple example, you wouldn’t sit down with a business idea and try to work out how not to kill or seriously harm anybody doing it. There is already an underlying assumption that those are things that have to be avoided and so you don’t even contemplate a business based on them. With environmental harm, we go to the government and get permits for it. Can you imagine saying to a government minister “may I have a permit for my new business? it may well involve beating people up on a regular basis and we may kill a number of people in the course of business but it will be great for job creation…”

And yet you can get a permit for fracking. You can get a permit to rig up a 5G communications system which includes chopping down trees wherever you like. You can get a permit to burn any old waste in one big incinerator and create load of brand new dangerous toxins in the process. I’m not even sure you need a permit to put pesticides on your land that destroy whole complex soil ecosystems.

This is how deeply the disconnect is embedded. That is why people are talking climate negotiations and green new deals and ambition and mitigation and litigation. It’s all mopping the floor with the tap still running – but perhaps more graphically, it’s like arguing over where and how often you can hit a woman without the damage actually preventing her from feeding her children… and how much you have to pay her children if you do. It’s BONKERS. “Let’s try a bit harder not to suffocate this woman…” Really?!?!? How are we even having this discussion?

That’s the level at which we need to be talking. If we get 100,000 signatures on our petition, perhaps we can begin that conversation in parliament. SOURCE

Extinction Rebellion – “This is not the end”

 


The biggest display of civil disobedience on a national scale in decades. What’s next?

…Police officers carry rebels by their arms and legs towards police vans, and with every arrest a cheer erupts, followed by chants of, ‘We love you’. People are playing Christmas songs on the clarinet and singing ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ around a set of drums. A giant inflatable elephant with ‘Ecocide’ printed across it is marched around the crowds. “This isn’t the beginning, this has been building for a really long time.But this splash, this dedication, this passion and what all of us have experienced here is a turning point.”


The inflatable ‘Ecocide’ elephant was marched around crowds at the Marble Arch site

British actress Emma Thompson talks to members of the media from atop the pink boat after police officers surrounded the boat being used as a stage

Behind all of these demonstrations are three demands, laid out on banners, leaflets, direct requests to the government, and even on the pink boat: Tell the Truth, Act Now, and Beyond Politics.

They want the government to declare a climate and ecological emergency, to act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025, and to create a citizen’s assembly to oversee the changes needed to achieve these goals. MORE

 

Corbyn launches bid to declare a national climate emergency

“It is a great first step because it sends a clear signal that we are in a crisis and that the ongoing climate and ecological crises must be our first priority. We can not solve an emergency without treating it like an emergency. I hope the other UK political parties join in and together pass this motion in parliament – and that political parties in other countries will follow their example.” -Greta Thunberg

Labour will attempt to force Commons vote as it is revealed that the government has failed to spend anti-pollution cash


Jeremy Corbyn campaigning with Labour activists for the local elections in Peterborough on 27 April. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

Labour will this week force a vote in parliament to declare a national environmental and climate change emergency as confidential documents show the government has spent only a fraction of a £100m fund allocated in 2015 to support clean air projects.

Jeremy Corbyn’s party will demand on Wednesday that the country wakes up to the threat and acts with urgency to avoid more than 1.5°C of warming, which will require global emissions to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching “net zero” before 2050.

The move will place Conservative MPs under pressure to back the plan, or explain why they refuse to do so, now fears over the combined problems of air pollution and climate change have risen to the top of the political agenda.

On Saturday night Corbyn said the recent wave of protests were “a massive and necessary wake-up call” that demanded “rapid and dramatic action, which only concerted government action and a green industrial revolution can deliver.” He said that if parliament backed the move and became the first national legislature to declare a climate emergency it would “trigger a wave of action from governments around the world”.

The motion was welcomed by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who has criticised the inaction of the world’s politicians. “It is a great first step because it sends a clear signal that we are in a crisis and that the ongoing climate and ecological crises must be our first priority,” she said. “We can not solve an emergency without treating it like an emergency. “I hope the other UK political parties join in and together pass this motion in parliament – and that political parties in other countries will follow their example.” MORE

 

‘Shocking’ failure to cut emissions from biggest-polluting sector in UK as others improve

Concerns lack of progress cutting greenhouse gases from cars will hamper future climate targets even as overall emissions fall

Transport is the sector responsible for most of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions
Transport is the sector responsible for most of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions ( Getty/iStock )

Zero progress has been made in reducing climate-harming emissions from the UK’s most polluting sector, according to new government figures.

In 2017 levels of greenhouse gases from cars and other forms of transport did not fall at all.

Campaigners accused the government of ignoring the “elephant in the room” and investing in new roads at the expense of the nation’s future climate targets.

With more and more electricity coming from renewable sources, transport is now firmly established as the biggest polluter, responsible for over a quarter of the UK’s emissions.

“We could be starting the kind of decline on transport emissions as we’ve done with power but instead both the government and the car industry are idling on the issue.”

Overall the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 42 per cent since 1990, with a 3 per cent drop between 2016 and 2017, the most recent period for which figures are available. However, while most sectors have seen considerable declines of up to two-thirds in the past three decades, transport pollution has fallen by just 2 per cent. MORE

UK LABOUR PARTY PROMISES ‘ECONOMIC REVOLUTION’ TO TACKLE CLIMATE, CREATE GREEN JOBS

An “economic revolution to tackle the climate crisis, using the full power of the state to decarbonize the economy and create hundreds of thousands of green jobs in struggling towns and cities” would be in the offing for the United Kingdom if the opposition Labour party formed a government, The Guardian reports, citing an interview with the party’s shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey.

“It could not be made clearer to us, and people are starting to realize how incredibly dangerous this situation is,” Long-Bailey said in a late December interview. “There is no option but to radically transform our economy.” MORE