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Links for May 20th through May 25th

by Mel Starrs on May 26, 2011

in News

These are my links for May 20th through May 25th:

  • Wind power better managed as National Grid upgrades forecasting – 25 May 2011 – News from BusinessGreen – “Under an old system dubbed Windy Miller, after the windmill owner from children’s TV series Camberwick Green, the grid company could predict with 85% reliability. The new system, in the works since 2008, will be accurate 87% of the time.
    While it does not sound like much of a difference, consider that the UK’s peak electricity generation is about 60GW. That means that a two percentage point improvement in forecasting could result in 1.5GW saved, which means three medium sized coal-fired power stations could be turned off. National Grid declined to be specific on the likely cost and carbon savings, but said they would be significant.”
  • Is this the end of the car? – Features, Motoring – The Independent – Great article: “”There was a period of about 20 years when the population of London declined as people moved out to the country, to market towns,” says Metz, “but that trend has gone into reverse over the past 20 years and you’ve got fashionable inner city areas, such as Hoxton and Shoreditch, the heart of digital enterprises. That is all quite helpful in terms of becoming less car-dependent, making more use of public transport, walking and cycling. There is some evidence that this is happening in Leeds and Manchester, which experienced inner-city decline, leading to low-rent property, then occupied by artists and entrepreneurs. As mentioned before, fewer young people are learning to drive, possibly because of the cost of learning and the steep cost of motor insurance in that age group.”
  • Inside Masdar City: a modern mirage | Art and design | guardian.co.uk – I’m slightly obsessed with Masdar: “The driverless sci-fi pods bumble around the undercrofts of the first phase of Masdar City and it is a wonder that none of them bump into each other. But they move so slowly it may well be quicker to walk. …Walking here is a pleasure. Streets and squares are shielded from the sun, desert winds, sandstorms and heat by thick-walled buildings that provide shade and funnel the breeze between them. Although modern in appearance, these streets and buildings are essentially old-fashioned. With its narrow alleys, deep shadows and wind towers, Masdar follows in the tried and tested footsteps of traditional Arabic towns, where keeping the sun at bay was both a science and an art practised over many generations.”
  • Matt Ridley on Inconvenient Truths About ‘Renewable’ Energy | Mind & Matter – WSJ.com – Controversial article questioning the wisdom of renewables: “One of the greatest threats to rain forests is the cutting of wood for fuel by impoverished people. Haiti meets about 60% of its energy needs with charcoal produced from forests. Even bakeries, laundries, sugar refineries and rum distilleries run on the stuff. Full marks to renewable Haiti, the harbinger of a sustainable future! Or maybe not: Haiti has felled 98% of its tree cover and counting; it’s an ecological disaster compared with its fossil-fuel burning neighbor, the Dominican Republic, whose forest cover is 41% and stable. Haitians are now burning tree roots to make charcoal.”
  • ACE – Some targets are more equal than others – “It is vital this is resolved positively. Continuing with binding targets solely for carbon and for renewables is skewing policy to be less than cost-optimal. If the European Union is serious about meeting its policy objectives – be they ecological or energy security – at the lowest possible costs, energy efficiency must be granted the same binding legal status. The present arrangement is simply not sustainable. In any sense.”
  • The Society of Light and Lighting – Your chance to influence the future of Part L – Act NOW! – CIBSE needs you – influence Part L wrt lighting: “The universal thinking across the industry seems to be that we must move to a systems-based measure that fully reflects the use of controls. We already have a measurement tool at our disposal in LENI (Lighting Energy Numeric Indicator) which allows us to predict and benchmark energy efficiency of lighting installations.”
  • Reports on research into low-carbon refurbishment for the current UK building stock – “The £1.4m research project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Carbon Trust, carried out technical, social and economic analyses of a wide range of refurbishments for different building types in the domestic and non-domestic sector, with a broad aim of exceeding 50% carbon savings by the year 2030. The main outputs of the non-domestic sector of this work are now available in a report entitled Reducing CO2 emissions in existing buildings.”
  • Evidence for submission to Building Regulations Compliance group – airtightness compliance – “From this we can conclude that around 20% of all buildings tested fail the airtightness test and pass into use unmodified.”