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."

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

HS2 - forget the pain, think of the gain

by The Business Blog, with Trevor Sturgess Friday, January 6 2012

Hooray for the business people who have called for the HS2 to go ahead.

At long last, a real-world case is made for a project that would - albeit belatedly - put the UK on the right track in the new era of international high-speed rail travel.

We know all too well in Kent about the disruption and damage that construction causes. It was horrible while it lasted. There were ugly scars on the landscape.

But engineers did a great job. The wounds have healed. For all the protests about HS1 many years ago - similar to those we hear along the proposed HS2 - Kent now has a superb high-speed service, even though some of the advantages have come at the expense of old-style train performance.

Okay, fares are high but increased prosperity brings more wealth.

High-speed rail is slowly transforming the economy, with house prices leaping in towns like Ashford, Gravesend and Folkestone which are well plugged into the service.

It’s not just about people travelling to London, it also encourages people to commute into Kent, adding to the county’s skill base.

The same scenario will apply to Thanet when Manston, for example, has a Parkway station and journey times to London fall to an hour.

As for the feared landscape damage, few people now complain about the environmental impact of high-speed trains. It now blends into the landscape.

Initial Kent protests succeeded, forcing the then Government to abandon the initial route through South Darenth in favour of a northerly route. But thank goodness the principle of high-speed to the Continent was retained.

No doubt there were protests from residents between Settle and Carlisle about a “damaging” new line in Victorian times, but it is now cherished as a scenic and engineering wonder.

HS2 to Birmingham and beyond promises economic growth on the back of faster journey times.  It should help bridge the widening North-South divide.

The Chilterns are a precious asset but skilful - and no expense spared - engineering can mitigate the impact.

The French have led the way on Les Grands Projets while the UK is usually late into the big idea, frightened off by cost or public protest.

HS2 is a bold initiative that should be welcomed. OK, there will be pain, and plenty of fury from affected locals. But as we have found in Kent, both are temporary. The longer-term economic gain for the UK will be immense – and it should not be just business people who can see this light at the end of the tunnel.

Tags: , ,
Categories: HS-1 | Regeneration | Thames Gateway | Transport

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