Archive for 'April 2011'

    Tilting at windmills in Scotland

    April 29, 2011 1:18 PM by Eric Watkins
    The Scotsman newspaper reports that opposition to the Scottish government's pledge to produce 100% of the country's electricity from renewable sources by 2020 is growing.

    Mountain walker and broadcaster Cameron McNeish is the latest name to be added to the growing list of experts who believe the plans to create more green energy are unsustainable - and could ruin Scotland's much-loved landscape.

    To meet the new target, Scotland would need to create hundreds more wind turbines and also bring wave and tidal energy technology to commercialization - a feat which some engineers believe is impossible within the next decade.

    McNeish told the paper that the creation of more wind farms would "erode the bonnie aspect of Bonnie Scotland" and could devastate the tourism industry, which is heavily reliant on visitors drawn to Scotland's remote mountains and lochs.

    Scottish Engineering chief executive Peter Hughes has claimed that the target is unattainable - while conservation group the John Muir Trust has also hit out at plans for more onshore wind developments on Scottish wild land.

    McNeish warned that the development of onshore wind farms would blight the Scottish landscape and urged voters to select members of the Scottish Parliament focused on channeling money into wave, tidal and offshore wind developments.

    "I support the quest for renewable energy. But what really concerns me is the proliferation of these giant turbines on our hills and wild places. I know the number of people who come to Scotland to enjoy these wild places and I have a great fear that they will stop coming as we lose more and more of these areas to this form of industrialization."

    But Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said less than 1% of Scotland's landmass is occupied by turbines.

    "Onshore wind is the most readily deployed, cost efficient and effective form of renewable energy in Scotland, which is already providing more than 10% of our electricity needs," he said, adding that Whitelee windfarm is one of Scotland's most popular visitor attractions.

    Maybe it’s a new breed of tourist.

    Zion Oil & Gas wins onshore exploration license in Israel

    April 18, 2011 2:38 PM by Eric Watkins
    The Israeli Petroleum Commissioner's Office has notified Zion Oil & Gas Inc that it will be awarded a new petroleum onshore exploration license on land in the Issachar-Zebulun Permit area. The Jordan Valley License area is to the east of Zion's Joseph license area and Zion's Asher-Menashe license area and to the south of the Sea of Galilee. It traverses south along the western Jordan River Valley. “In 2011, we intend to acquire additional seismic and other geological and geophysical data in our new license area, as we endeavor to refine our potential drilling prospects in this area,” said Zion's Chief Executive Officer, Richard Rinberg. Drilling operations at the firm’s Ma'anit-Joseph #3 well continue, according to Rinberg, who said Zion is aiming for its primary target in deep Permian age rock, expected at a depth of more than 5,790 m. The Ma'anit-Joseph #3 well is already one of the deepest wells ever drilled onshore Israel, Rinberg said. In addition to the new permit, Delaware-based Zion Oil & Gas, which explores for oil and gas in Israel in areas located on-shore between Haifa and Tel Aviv, holds the Joseph License and the Asher-Menashe License covering 162,000 acres. Zion’s announcement coincided with a report by the official MENA news agency that Egypt's prime minister has asked for the revision off all contracts to supply gas abroad, including to Israel. Egypt supplies an estimated 40% of Israel's gas under an agreement that has been controversial with Egyptians since its framing in 2005. MENA said that Prime Minister Essam Sharraf "has directed the revision and review of all gas contracts Egypt agreed to with all countries, including Jordan and Israel" in an effort to achieve “the highest returns for Egypt.” Egypt resumed shipments of gas to Israel last month after they were interrupted in a Feb 5 attack on a pipeline across the Sinai Peninsula. In December, four Israeli firms signed agreements to import gas from the Israeli-Egyptian East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) under a 20-year contract valued at $5-$10 billion, boosting imports to six billion cubic meters (bcm). The decision to review the gas deals is the latest in a year-old battle over Egypt's natural gas exports to Israel — agreements that critics say gave the Jewish state with sharply discounted gas. Under the original 2005 agreement, Cairo-based EMG agreed to sell 1.7 bcm of natural gas to Israel at a price critics say is set at $1.50 per million British thermal units, sharply down from current rates. Natural gas futures were trading at $4.15 per million BTU on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Apr. 13. Israel meanwhile has been touting its own prospects as a potential exporter of natural gas after Noble Energy Inc. reported an apparently major natural gas discovery with its Leviathan exploration prospect it operates off Israel. "This discovery has the potential to position Israel as a natural gas exporting nation," said Nobel Pres. and Chief Operating Officer David L. Stover (OGJ, Jan. 10, 2011). Eric Watkins at
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