North Sea Supergrid Declaration

The declaration: 1. The Ministers of the North Seas Countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom Considering, 2. The crucial role which offshore wind energy is bound to play in order for Europe to meet the EU’s 20-20-20 targets. The major part of offshore wind energy development in […]

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What happens to wind power when there is no wind? Why it makes perfect sense that old, polluting and inefficient coal fired power stations should be retained and receive a capacity payment

This note argues that environmentalists will have to recognise that part (and a small price) of the price we pay for creating significant additional capacity of intermittent / variable renewables is the continued existence of coal fired plant, operating at a very low capacity factor. (And of course it will make us less vulnerable to […]

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European hydro capacity compared to the demand for electricity

Hydro Capacity in the EU-15 and Norway 22 days the energy storage capacity of hydro across Western Europe, (the EU15 countries plus Norway and Iceland),  expressed in terms of average daily electricity demand 177 TWh the storage capacity, put another way. That’s the same as 0.604 quads, 22MTCe, 15 MTOe, 152Pcal,  637PJ, or 465kWh per person across […]

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From Dr John Constable. Note on the Renewable Energy Foundation

Dear Mr Andrews:

I posted the following response re. REF yesterday, but it seems stuck in the moderation queue. Could you please accelerate this.
John Constable.
Note on the Renewable Energy Foundation

The postings concerning REF on the Claverton list have been drawn to my attention, and since there is a good deal of confusion in some of the remarks I thought it might be helpful if I, John Constable, Director of Policy and Research for REF, were to post a response. [More…]

1. Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) is a UK registered charity, and has been since 2004. It has no political affiliation, and publishes data and analysis on the renewable sector, as well as engaging in educational activities.

2. When first created Noel Edmonds kindly agreed to be chairman, and he remains in that role.

3. REF is guided by its board of Trustees, and advised by the Technical Advisory Group (see Those listed on TAG are not members of REF, but independent experts who have agreed to advise the Foundation on policy and the conduct of research.

4. REF does not, now, have members; it has Friends of the Foundation, and the charity is supported by private donation only. The identity of these donors is public information, though they are numerous and cannot all be listed here. Some of the largest charitable trust making donations to charities have given money, including the Rausing, and the Cadogan trusts. In addition, the entrepreneur Vincent Tchenguiz gave generously to support the creation of the Renewable Energy Data files, described in more detail below.
5. Renewable Energy Forum Ltd is the charity’s not-for-profit sister company, and was created at the same time as the charity.

6. The organisation has not recently divided, though in the last two weeks Renewable Energy Foundation has moved to a new web site,, while Renewable Energy Forum has taken over For the time being the latter website will host the archive of the charity, while material is gradually transferred.

7. REF aims to improve understanding of the renewable sector by supporting and in some cases publishing technical research.

8. For example, in 2005 we supported two articles on Danish wind power in Proceedings of the ICE, both by Hugh Sharman.

‘Why Wind Power Works for Denmark’, Proceedings of ICE: Civil Engineering, 158 (May 2005), 66-72

‘Why the UK should build no more than 10 GW of Wind Capacity’, Proceedings of the ICE: Civil Engineering, 158 (November 2005), 161-169.

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Using standby diesel generators for short term reserve to support main power grids – potentially good news from National Grid


Hi Dave

Firstly apologies for not getting back to you about Bernard’s note sooner. I read the attached email above with interest as it’s always good to see that there is interest out there in providing Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR, previously known as “Standing Reserve”) from new sources, whether someone is interested in approaching us directly or through an aggregator. I did note that in your last line you said that if contracts could be made available for a longer period of time then this might elicit more interest from parties. On that front there is potentially good news, the changes that we introduced to the STOR contract form a year or two back, allow users to tender for a contract of up to 10 years duration, and as part of the STOR review that my colleague Craig Maloney is undertaking at the moment we may potentially be looking to extend that capability to even longer term contracts.

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Hydrogen – the green currency of the future

All governments have pledged to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions; this effectively means that the world must move to:

Electricity from nuclear, renewable or decarbonised sources
Hydrogen from renewable or decarbonised sources
biomass derived methane gas or hydrocarbon liquids or
heat as a by-product, or from biomass, solar or geothermal sources.

Of these electricity and hydrogen are purely manufactured energy vectors competing as intermediaries between energy sources and final consumers. In recent years the tide seems to have moved to electricity as the ultimate solution, but this article will take issue with this. This is principally because of the severe cost implications associated with either electricity storage or its corollary – demand side management.

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