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    Mongabay, a leading resource for news and perspectives on environmental and conservation issues related to the tropics, has launched Tropical Conservation Science - a new, open access academic e-journal. It will cover a wide variety of scientific and social studies on tropical ecosystems, their biodiversity and the threats posed to them. Tropical Conservation Science - March 8, 2008.

    At the 148th Meeting of the OPEC Conference, the oil exporting cartel decided to leave its production level unchanged, sending crude prices spiralling to new records (above $104). OPEC "observed that the market is well-supplied, with current commercial oil stocks standing above their five-year average. The Conference further noted, with concern, that the current price environment does not reflect market fundamentals, as crude oil prices are being strongly influenced by the weakness in the US dollar, rising inflation and significant flow of funds into the commodities market." OPEC - March 5, 2008.

    Kyushu University (Japan) is establishing what it says will be the world’s first graduate program in hydrogen energy technologies. The new master’s program for hydrogen engineering is to be offered at the university’s new Ito campus in Fukuoka Prefecture. Lectures will cover such topics as hydrogen energy and developing the fuel cells needed to convert hydrogen into heat or electricity. Of all the renewable pathways to produce hydrogen, bio-hydrogen based on the gasification of biomass is by far both the most efficient, cost-effective and cleanest. Fuel Cell Works - March 3, 2008.

    An entrepreneur in Ivory Coast has developed a project to establish a network of Miscanthus giganteus farms aimed at producing biomass for use in power generation. In a first phase, the goal is to grow the crop on 200 hectares, after which expansion will start. The project is in an advanced stage, but the entrepreneur still seeks partners and investors. The plantation is to be located in an agro-ecological zone qualified as highly suitable for the grass species. Contact us - March 3, 2008.

    A 7.1MW biomass power plant to be built on the Haiwaiian island of Kaua‘i has received approval from the local Planning Commission. The plant, owned and operated by Green Energy Hawaii, will use albizia trees, a hardy species that grows in poor soil on rainfall alone. The renewable power plant will meet 10 percent of the island's energy needs. Kauai World - February 27, 2008.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

E.ON to invest £300 million into 150MW biomass power plant at Port of Bristol

E.ON, one of the UK's largest energy generators, has announced plans to invest around £300 million (€380/US$558 million) in a biomass power station at the Port of Bristol. It is the company's third large investment in biomass power in the UK, a country where bioenergy has the second largest potential amongst the renewables, after wind energy. E.ON has also been co-firing biomass in existing facilities.

At 150MW, the proposed Portbury Dock Renewable Energy Plant would generate enough power for more than 200,000 homes by burning wood that would largely be brought to the plant by boat. Transporing biomass fuels in bulk by boat is highly energy efficient.
This scheme would be one of the largest biomass power stations ever built in the UK and would make a considerable contribution to helping the Government meet its renewable energy targets. Schemes such as this, together with cleaner coal, gas and new nuclear, will help us to keep the UK's lights on, while also reducing carbon emissions and ensuring energy is as affordable as possible for our customers. - Dr Paul Golby, Chief Executive of E.ON UK
E.ON has issued a scoping statement to North Somerset Council, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) and other interested parties outlining the company's plans and hopes to submit a full application to BERR in the middle of next year.

If the project gets the green light, construction is expected to start in 2010, with the first power being produced in 2013 and full operation would be reached in 2014.

Portbury Dock is the third of E.ON's biomass developments in the UK. The company already operates Scotland's largest dedicated biomass power station at Steven's Croft near Lockerbie and, earlier this year, received permission for a 25MW biomass station in Sheffield (previous post):
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As part of a multi-billion pound investment programme E.ON is:
  • Currently building one of the world's largest gas-fired CHP power stations (1,275MW) at the Isle of Grain in Kent at a cost of around £500m;
  • Working on the early stages of building the 1,200MW Drakelow CCGT in Derbyshire;
  • Currently investing approximately £350m building the 180MW Robin Rigg offshore wind farm in the Solway Firth;
  • Applying to build the 300MW Humber Gateway offshore wind farm with an investment cost of approximately £700M;
  • Investigating two major marine projects, a wave power scheme off north Cornwall and a tidal stream project off Pembrokeshire;
  • Partner in consortium looking to build the world's largest offshore wind farm, the 1,000MW London Array, in the Thames approaches;
  • Looking at the possibility of building at least two nuclear power stations, and is working with AREVA and Siemens, and Westinghouse on designs;
  • Investigating a green development portfolio that could supply around a million homes and displace the emission of two million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
However, despite these initiatives, environmentalists have been protesting against E.ON's plans to build a new coal power plant. The company has applied to build a 1,600MW 'cleaner' coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent at a cost of at least £1.5 billion. The company has also entered the project into the British government's carbon capture and storage competition.


E.ON: E.ON announces plans to build one of UK’s largest biomass power stations at Port of Bristol - August 19, 2008.

Biopact: E.ON UK submits application for 25MW biomass plant - July 20, 2007

Biopact: UK's largest biomass plant approved, biomass task force created - June 16, 2007


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