The Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) has called on the U.K. government to speed up the development of wind power and encourage a market for cars running on alternate fuels.
In a follow-up to the government's consultation paper on climate change, IMechE backed the government's view that the U.K. should maintain a balanced portfolio of electricity generating fuels, mainly coal, gas, nuclear, and renewables.
Meanwhile, the Wavegen unit of Applied Research & Technology Ltd., Inverness, Scotland, was awarded a contract under the government's Scottish Renewables Order to develop a wave energy scheme.
The U.K. government recently asked for industry views on how it should reform its electricity generating industry but disappointed gas producers by imposing a curb on new gas-fired power schemes (OGJ, Nov. 2, 1998, p. 35).
Renewables backed"The planning framework and time-scale for renewables should be improved," said IMechE, "particularly for wind energy sites. The U.K. has the largest undeveloped wind resource in Europe and is therefore well placed to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
"For proposed onshore wind farm sites outside nationally designated landscape areas," said IMechE, "there should be a clear presumption in favor. A long-term commitment to wind energy will also encourage the creation of turbine design and manufacturing jobs in the U.K. and export opportunities.
"Similarly, offshore wind farming is technically feasible and just requires the government to act quickly to create the appropriate framework. With a long-term commitment from government, the technology costs are likely to fall quickly, making wind energy a viable, clean source of electricity well into the next century."
IMechE added that there are two fundamental problems in the U.K. transport sector: The perceived cost of car travel is low, while the actual cost of public transport is high; and there is not yet a sufficient market for small, lightweight, energy-efficient and low-pollution vehicles. The engineers called on government to "pump-prime" the market for improved vehicles such as gasoline/fuel cell hybrids, liquid petroleum gas vehicles, natural gas vehicles, and electric vehicles.
Wave powerWavegen will build a 500-kw shoreline wave power unit on the Scottish island of Islay, to provide electric power for the island's distribution grid operated by Scottish Hydro-Electric.
The plant will incorporate Wavegen's Limpet design, which utilizes power from waves trapped in seashore cliffs. The unit is expected to be brought into operation this year (OGJ, Oct. 19, 1998, p. 42).
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