National Grid

This is what happens when countries confront the real costs of nuclear and fossil fuels.

by The Science Blog, with Dr Beau Webber Monday, November 18 2013

Well they made my little digital camera, but this is their latest piece of light sensitive kit :

Japan :

"The Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega Solar Power Plant, built by the electronics manufacturer Kyocera, boasts postcard views of Kagoshima Bay and Sakurajima volcano. It’s also Japan’s largest, with a capacity of 70 megawatts. That’s enough to power some 22,000 Japanese homes. The $280 million project is part of a national effort to invest in clean, renewable energy as the country continues to grapple with the fallout of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The country’s new feed-in tariffs have made it one of the world’s fastest-growing solar markets." 

But America is also going full ahead, building solar powered electricity generating plants, to help reduce CO2 induced global warming :

USA - Arizona :

APS - 750 MW installed solar power by the end of 2013 :

"With as much sunshine as we enjoy in Arizona, we believe solar power can and should have a bright, long future in our state. APS is spending $1 billion on solar projects statewide. By the end of 2013, APS will have enough solar capacity to power more than 185,000 homes."

But there are a number more, such as :

USA - Mojave Solar Project, California :

"Abengoa Solar received a federal loan guarantee from the U.S Government to the amount of $1.2 billion.

The Mojave Solar Project will produce 28O MW gross,  the equivalent of energy needed to serve 54,000 households and will prevent 350,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year, as compared to a natural gas plant."

In Kent, we have a more modest installation, but we are not left out of the CO2 reduction picture :

UK - Kent :

"Ebbsfleet Solar Farm is situated on the site of the former Richborough Power Station. It has a capacity of 4.9 MWp and became operational in August 2011. The solar farm is part of a larger ongoing project, Richborough Energy Park.""

"3 Aug 2011 - The first large-scale solar park in the South East began supplying electricity to local homes and businesses."

The cooling towers from the old coal-fired power station were demolished in 2012

"The £13m project, is capable of supplying 1,300 homes. It is likely to be the only solar farm of its kind in the region, following a reduction in government subsidies for such projects."

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Categories: Economy | National Grid | Regeneration | Energy | Solar | CO2 Reduction

2012: My Year In Music

by Kent music reviews and teenage views, with Nick Tompkins Tuesday, January 15 2013

So we’re at the very beginning of our new year, 2013, so I think it’s important to look back on what turned out to be such an exciting year (for me) in terms of Indie music.

I’m going to start the year all the way over in May because that’s when the hangover of 2011 had truly lifted and the real magic started to happen. On May 21st, The Enemy released their third full-length album, Streets In The Sky, which after the heavy criticism of album number two (still a great record in my view), had plenty to answer to. Luckily, these guys knew just what to do, and they came out with an album stripped right back to the raw power we heard from The Enemy in their debut, but with a far more optimistic message behind the album as a whole. The sound was aggressive, guitar dominant, as well as being simple and brilliantly catchy which is what can only be expected from a songwriter like Tom Clarke who prefers to throw music snobbery aside for a decent tune. Tracks such as This Is Real, Gimme The Sign and Bigger Cages Longer Chains give us the raw power we crave while Two Kids and Get Up and Dance show us the sensitive side of the Coventry trio.

While we’re on the subject of glorious comebacks, let’s talk about Lex Hives, the fifth album from Sweden’s greatest Rock’n’Roll band (as they have modestly dubbed themselves) after an agonising five year wait- FIVE YEARS! This self-produced record was released internationally on June 4th, and like a hungry lion on an unsuspecting gazelle, I pounced on it. In the process of bringing it home for my first listen, the fears of “what if I hate it? Maybe I should just never listen to it to avoid disappointment…” kicked in. Of course this was all ridiculous because The Hives produced one of their best records to date. It’s so hard to find consistency in modern music- it’s hard to find a band that shows the same genius for more than two albums; however, much like a modern Stones, The Hives have so far come out with five consecutive albums jam packed with sheer awesomeness. With the addition of a brass section, tracks like Go Right Ahead and UK bonus track, Midnight Shifter were an exciting new element but if it ain’t broke, The Hives won’t fix it, so for the remainder of the album these music legends stuck to what they’re best at: fast paced, no nonsense Rock music. For the record, The Hives put on the best live show of any band I’ve ever seen, so if you ever have the rare chance to catch them in the UK, for goodness sake take it!

As the sun was setting from the UK’s wettest summer on record, all was not lost for on August 13th, Indie newbies, Spector released their debut album, Enjoy It While It Lasts, after a string of singles including Chevy Thunder which was to shake Britain. Spector produced a record where every single song, even the slower ones, like an exceptionally vigilant koala bear, clings to your brain for the rest of the day- sometimes even longer. What makes Enjoy It While It Lasts such a marvel is its shameless simplicity, its lyrical charm and, of course, Fred Macpherson’s smooth vocal throughout. If you haven’t experienced Spector, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

The very next week, on August 19th, a band I think we’ll hear a lot more of pretty soon, Life In Film, released their first five-track EP entitled Needles And Pins. With a sound that’s both slightly melancholic in a Morrissey kind of way, whilst also being summery with a beautiful trebly guitar tone, the EP is so understated, often leaving me to question whether there is any justice left in this world. Title track Needles And Pins is sad and beautiful in its melody, while Until It’s Over, with its clever guitar riff, and perfectly placed bass drum during chorus giving it some real power behind it. I had the pleasure of interviewing lead vocalist Sam, and not that it makes a difference to the music, but he was extremely pleasant! Anyway, keep a close eye out for these guys because I think once they get an album out there will be no stopping them.

September 3rd marked both the release of The Vaccines’ second album, and The Milk’s debut album. Let’s start with The Milk- Tales From The Thames Delta: I watched this band in the summer of 2011 and thought they were absolutely great- they were energetic, musically flawless and all in all gave memorable performance. This still didn’t prepare me for the impact their first album would have on me. I was completely blown away by the record. I’d forgotten how R’n’B influenced it was, and just how strong singer Clarie Robin’s vocals were. The album is instrumentally excellent; featuring irresistibly dance-worthy drum beats working perfectly with the guitar. Stand out songs would have to be Broke Up The Family, B-Roads, Chip The Kids and my personal favourite (All I Wanted Was) Danger, but album closer, Lay The Pain On Me, is fragile, as well as soulful and is a testimony to Robin’s vocal range.

The Vaccines second album, Come Of Age was surprisingly different to NME golden boys’ first album. The style was essentially the same: still very much a guitar band, still very much Indie music, but this second taste of The Vaccines gave the feeling they’d gone deeper into music than before, experimenting with more unusual melodies, seen in Aftershave Ocean and Weirdo. The album probably doesn’t quite match its predecessor but is nonetheless a great set of tracks.

Late September saw the long awaited return of Mumford and Sons who managed to find a place in most of the world’s hearts in 2009 with Sigh No More. Their follow-up release, could never be anything other than a great album- the reasons for this being it is too darn similar to their first album to be classed differently! So, yes, Babel, is full of beautiful harmonies, the rustic sound of a banjo and a double bass, which is all great- in all fairness it is a great album! It has to be said, however, that it could easily be mistaken for the first album, in the strumming patterns of the songs, particularly the likes of I Will Wait and the undulation of Marcus Mumford’s melodies in tracks such as Holland Road do seem slightly similar to previous Mumford songs. However back-handed this may seem, I do genuinely love the album, it’s an easy listen, it’s full of beautiful harmonies, and if Sigh No More had never existed I am confident this would boost Mumford to stardom all the same, I just think the third album needs to catch us off guard slightly.

By October the 8th, Nottingham’s new boys, Dog Is Dead, released their debut full-length album, All Our Favourite Stories. I have already raved about this in a review but just to reiterate- the album, to me, is more or less perfect. Dog Is Dead have found a sound so unique to them and with such credibility: refreshingly, each of the five members can sing, and in turn their harmonies are phenomenal; Indie music seems to have gone crazy for harmonies lately but these guys really know how to do it. All Our Favourite Stories is a great summer soundtrack (despite it’s October release), with tunes like their self-confessed “American douchebag song”, Talk Through The Night as well as the classic Glockenspiel Song. Dog Is Dead convey real emotion and meaning in their songs without being pretentious and are definitely only going to get bigger and bigger from here on out.

My final two albums were released the very next week on October 15th. Firstly: Little Comets’ follow up to In Search Of Elusive Little Comets, named, Life Is Elsewhere, is an interesting one. While the band’s debut was pretty straight forward, generally speaking, with some brilliant guitar parts and extremely impressive vocals due to Robert Coles’ impossible vocal range. With the latest album, the Comets have produced material far more complex than before, with unusual, almost mathematical timing in several tracks. This, on the one hand makes it a great listen while by yourself because you get to listen to every fragment of every song and think “how are they doing that?!” but it also means the second album is far less dancy than the first. It depends what you’re into really, but I’ve found the second album has some extraordinary tracks on, such as Bayonne, Worry and an unusual and vulnerable number, Violence Out Tonight.

Finally, although he’s been given enough attention by most of the music world just recently, I have to mention Jake Bugg’s self-title debut. With a retro sound and a simple approach, Bugg at just eighteen years old has done exceptionally well for himself. The album is filled with part Cash, part Dylan-esque tunes, delivered with a kind of teenage aggression, evident in Two Fingers and Lightning Bolt. I don’t really need to say much else on the album because it’s been plastered all over NME for months but Jake Bugg is an album with great integrity, sung by someone far beyond his years, that simply does not get old.

So that’s been my 2012 in music- a year I feel has been one of the most exciting I’ve encountered and one I feel is leading somewhere really special, that I can only hope to follow just as closely. 2013 promises much from bands such as Haim and Swim Deep as well as a supposed comeback from Kings Of Leon. All in all I think this will be a good year.

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Categories: Medway | National Grid

Going all directions to see One Direction

by Tuned In, with kmfm DJ Andy Walker Friday, March 23 2012

McFly have recently completed two nights in Kent – at the Margate Winter Gardens and the Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone.

Their fans were out in force. Some had queued from the morning and others had flown over from Canada and Germany.

I was asking on kmfm Drivetime if you had seen the same concert more than twice in a row after one mum of a McFly fan told me that her daughter was seeing the boys on both of their nights in the county.

One kmfm listener texted into the studio to tell me she has booked to see One Direction for four consecutive nights next year. Now that is a super fan – probably an addiction.

There is not just music worth seeing. Comedian Stewart Francis comes to the Tunbridge Wells’ Assembly Hall Theatre on Thursday, April 19 and the Winter Gardens on Saturday, September 22.

He performed at an event for me a while back and is a professional with a dry sense of humour. You may have heard Harley from the Rizzle Kicks on kmfm Drivetime with me last week.

Those guys know how to produce a catchy tune. Mama Do The Hump still has everyone singing. It is such a sing-a-long tune.

The boys are on at the Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone on Monday, May 7. Good luck this week as it is the last week of our Live in Boston competition. By Friday I could be sending you to see Coldplay!

You will fly there with Virgin, stay for four nights at the Omi Parker House which is amazing – search for it on the internet.

The hotel is in Downtown Boston and is rich in colour, décor and history. kmfm will give you $500 spending money and two tickets to see one of the world’s greatest rock bands. They are performing at TD Gardens, which is home to the Boston Celtics basketball team.

You can find out more about the competition and how to win online at www.kmfm.co.uk 

Good luck!

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Categories: kmfm | National Grid

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