Il-bidla fil-klima: mill-kliem għall-fatti

Fit-tmiem ta’ attivita’ dwar il-bidla fil-klima organizzata minn Alternattiva Demokratika Żgħażagħ (ADŻ), dalgħodu jiena u Mina Tolu (flimkien miegħi u ma Arnold kandidat għall-Parlament Ewropew) indirizzajt konfernza stampa dwar il-bidla fil-klima.
Tajjeb li Alternattiva Demokratika Żgħażagħ ħadet din l-inizjattiva għax hemm ħtieġa li insemmgħu leħinna anke dwar dan.

Il-bidla għall-ġenerazzjoni tal-enerġija mill-heavy fuel oil għall-gass kien pass tajjeb. Il-gass iżda, jitqies bħala fjuwil ta’ tranżizzjoni għal enerġija rinnovabbli. Neħtieġu iktar energija mix-xemx u mir-riħ kif ukoll li naraw li jkun hemm użu tal-energija mill-mewġ li bħala gżira aħna mdawwrin bih is-sena kollha. L-applikazzjoni tat-teknoloġija li qegħda dejjem tiżviluppa twasslu għal tipi ta’ xogħol ġdid u sostenibbli u fl-istess ħin jikkontribwixxu lejn kwalita’ ta’ ħajja aħjar għal kulħadd.

It-trasport għadu problema kbira u jidher li l-problema se tkompli tikber minħabba żieda astronomika fin-numru ta’ karozzi fit-toroq Maltin u Għawdxin. Sfortunatament l-Gvern minflok jinvesti f’trasport sostenibbli u nadif qiegħed għaddej fuq programm qawwi ta’ xogħol infrastrutturali li qed iservi biex jinkoraġġixxi iktar użu tal-karozzi u per konsegwenza qiegħed iħassar il-progress li qed jinkiseb biż-żieda fl-użu tat-trasport pubbliku. Irridu investiment serju f’infrastruttura għar-roti u r-roti elettriċi, kif ukoll fl-użu ta’ mezzi alternattivi għat-trasport li jinkludu dawk bil-baħar.

Il-mina proposta għal bejn Malta u Ghawdex hi essenzjalment mina għall-karozzi u mhux mina għan-nies. Fil-fatt huwa stmat li fi żmien 15-il sena l-ammont ta’ movimenti ta’ karozzi bejn il-gżejjer ser jiżdied minn 3000 għal 9000 karozza kuljum. Servizz għan-nies ifisser servizzi ta’ fast-ferry minn Għawdex sal-qalba ta’ Malta. Il-mina tinkoragixxi l-uzu tal-karozzi għax il-ħlas li jinġabar minn dawk li ser jinvestu fil-mina ser jiddependi esklussivament fuq in-numru ta’ karozzi li jgħaddu mill-mina.

Huwa essenzjali li n-numru ta’ karozzi fit-toroq tagħna jonqos. Dan wara kollox hu ukoll wiehħed mill-iskopijiet ewlenin tal-istrateġija Nazzjonali tat-Trasport approvata mill-Gvern Malti fl-2015. Il-Gvern Malti ma jistax jibqa’ għaddej kif inhu. Bħalissa qed jagħti messaġġi konfliġġenti kontinwament.

Jekk irridu nindirizzaw il-bidla fil-klima bis-serjetà huwa essenzjali li nindirizzaw l-impatti ikkawżati mit-trasport. Żmien il-paroli għadda. Għandna ngħaddu mill-kliem għal fatti.

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From toxic waste to iGaming

housecardsfall

 

It is a well known fact that the underworld on the Italian peninsula controls vast stretches of the Italian economy.

Some readers would remember the underworld’s waste-management activity that ended in the sinking of some 42 ships laden with toxic and/or hazardous waste throughout the Mediterranean. This was well known to environmentalists but confirmed during the Palermo maxi-processo, when Mafia turncoat Francesco Fonti gave evidence identifying the location of one such sunken ship, the Kunsky, loaded with 120 barrels of toxic waste, just off the Calabrian coast.

This network of organised environmental crime is so vast that, at one time, it also dumped toxic, hazardous and nuclear waste in Somalia. The warlords in the Somalia civil war were partly financed by the Italian underworld, which supplied them with arms in return for their consent to the dumping of the toxic, hazardous and nuclear waste in Somalia. Rai Tre’s investigative journalist Ilaria Alpi and her cameraman Miran Hrovatin were murdered in Mogadishu after having successfully tracked down the toxic shipments.

In early 2008 it was identified that buffalo mozzarella originating from some 83 dairy farms in an area near Naples was tainted with dioxin. The buffalo were grazing in an area where the Mafia was controlling the dumping of toxic waste  containing dioxin. When ingested through food dioxin can cause birth defects and organ failure in mammals. Large quantities of buffalo mozzarella tainted with dioxin were withdrawn from the market.

Carmine Schiavone, another Mafia turncoat, spilled the beans on more dumping of toxic and hazardous waste by the Mafia in the Naples area, in particular in the area around Casale di Principe. It has been reported that the incidence of cancer in these areas has skyrocketed as a result of the dumping contaminating the water table.

It is estimated that the underworld has garnered some €20 billion a year in the last few years from its illicit dealings in waste. Add to this the billions from its drug dealings, estimated at another €20 billion annually and you can clearly understand the Mafia’s need to launder huge sums of money.

Two specific areas seem to have been selected for this purpose. One such area was an investment in wind-farms in Sicily. Wheeling and dealing in the Sicilian wind farms was a certain Gaetano Buglisi who, for a time, made use of Malta’s fiduciary services by hiding behind their corporate veil. Last February the Italian Courts sentenced him to three years in jail as well as a substantial fine on finding him guilty of tax evasion.

It is within this context that one should try to understand the iGaming saga in Malta.

In the last few days the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has suspended the operating licences of a number of iGaming operators. Until the time of writing, six operators have been suspended, namely : Uniq Group Limited (Betuniq), Betsolution4U Limited, Alibaba Casino Limited, Soft Casino Limited,   Fenplay Limited and Soft Bet Limited . The MGA did not act on its own initiative but at the request of Italian law enforcement agencies.

In a press release, the MGA stated these licences had been suspended “further to investigations and arrests carried out by the Italian law enforcement authorities in collaboration with the Maltese police. The MGA is providing full support to the relevant authorities so that Malta’s reputation as a gaming jurisdiction of excellence is kept free from crime and money laundering. The MGA is also alerting counterpart regulators in other EU jurisdictions about this case.”

In a further press release issued on 25 July it was stated  “At the time of application (according to the MGA’s records), in line with standard procedures, all directors, shareholders, senior managers and ultimate beneficiary owners of these companies have been screened through MGA’s systems and protocols, using probity tools and national and international contacts and organisations. This forms part of the probity checks conducted at pre-licensing stage and before the actual business model of the gaming operation in question is screened and other control systems are checked and approved. The licensing process also includes independent audits, such as system and compliance audits which are carried out by approved external auditors.”

It seems that the due diligence carried out in Malta is no match for the underworld. It is possibly a case of amateurs trying to keep professionals in check.

On Thursday, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna stated that a review of due diligence procedures will be undertaken and changes will be put in place if  required. As a start, he should consider embedding complete transparency in iGaming. Hiding the identity of iGaming operators should be discontinued by emending legislation and discontinuing fiduciary services. This corporate veil is unfortunately being used as a tool by the underworld. As a nation we could do better if we make an effort to keep organised crime as far away from Malta’s economic activities as possible. It is pertinent to ask: how many iGaming jobs in Malta depend on Mafia linked operators.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday, 2 August 2015

On this blog on the same subject one can view the following :

2009 The eco-threat of the Italian Mafia.

2013 On Malta’s Northern doorstep: the Mafia contaminates Southern Italy with millions of tonnes of toxic and nuclear waste.

2013 Ecocide in the Mediterranean. The known consequences so far.

2013 Schiavone’s secrets on eco-mafia operations: when will Malta’s government speak up.

It is time to ride the waves

Continue reading

L-Imtieħen tar-Riħ

 feature_wind5

Huwa tajjeb li fl-aħħar il-Gvern beda jiċċaqlaq biex ikun possibli li f’Malta ukoll niġġeneraw l-enerġija mir-riħ.

Fl-aħħar.

Beda jiċċaqlaq għax l-Unjoni Ewropea qed tagħfas. Mill-bqija m’hemm l-ebda entużjażmu.

Ħarsa lejn ir-rapport ta’ Mott MacDonald imħejji f’Jannar 2009 w intitolat Feasibility Study for Increasing Renewable Energy Credentials fil-paġna 2-3 hemm kumment dwar in-nuqqas ta’ informazzjoni fuq l-irjieħat.

Jingħad mill-konsulenti li billi l-informazzjoni li kellhom kienet dwar ir-riħ f’Ħal-Luqa, 18-il kilometru mis-Sikka l-Bajda ma tantx setgħu jkunu preċiżi f’dak li jgħidu. L-argument għaldaqstant hu dwar kif tista’ tibda tikkunsidra siti differenti biex fihom tqiegħed imtieħen tar-riħ jekk qabel ma tkunx analizzajt bir-reqqa l-qawwa tar-riħ madwar il-gżejjer Maltin u b’hekk tkun tista’ tibda bl-aħjar siti.

Dan jidher li ma sarx, kemm mir-rapport li jissemma iktar il-fuq (dak ta’ Mott MacDonald) kif ukoll mir-rapport tal-Kummissjoni Deidun intitolat “An Offshore Windfarm at Is-Sikka l-Bajda. An Evaluation of Concerns from Government Stakeholders.” datat Lulju 2008. Ir-rapport Deidun jitkellem biss dwar Is-Sikka l-Bajda, ma kellux għażla. Ma setax jikkonsidra options oħra.

Issa jiena m’għandi xejn kontra li jkun hemm l-imtieħen tar-riħ fis-Sikka l-Bajda. Imma xtaqt li nkun naf fuq liema kriterju ġie deċiż li dan ikun sit biex fih jitqegħdu l-imtieħen. Hemm min qed jgħid li din hi xi ħaġa li wieħed jaraha fl-istadju tal-analiżi tal-impatti ambjentali. Le. Qabel ma intagħżel is-sit kellu jkun hemm ġustifikazzjoni għal dan. Parti minn dak magħruf bħala Strategic Site Selection Exercise. Din setgħet issir biss a bażi ta’ kemm hu qawwi r-riħ fl-inħawi. Minn hemm imbagħad wieħed jgħaddi biex jeżamina l-impatti ambjentali, u kif dawn jistgħu jkunu mitigati.

Wara li sar ir-rapport Deidun, għax jidher li hemm problemi dwar is-sit tas-Sikka l-Bajda, l-Gvern identifika żewġ siti oħra addizzjonali : Ħal-Far u Wied Rini limiti tal-Baħrija. Araw ftit x’jingħad dwar il-qawwa tar-rih f’dawn l-inħawi fil-Project Description Statement tal-proposti għas-Sikka l-Bajda, Ħal-Far u Wied Rini.

F’kull wieħed minn dawn ir-rapporti jidher ċar li ma sar l-ebda studju iżda intuża l-kejl tar-riħ f’Ħal-Luqa. Dan iwassal għall-konlużjoni illi jista’ jkun li hemm siti oħra li huma iktar addattati biex fihom jitqegħdu l-imtieħen tar-rih. Għax tant hemm x’jgħin jew itellef li bil-kalkulazzjonijiet biss ma mhux biżżejjed.

Sfortunatament għal darba oħra l-Gvern mexa b’mod dilettantesk : l-ewwel ħa d-deċiżjoni dwar fejn irid l-imtieħen tar-riħ u issa qed jara kif jiġġustifika din id-deċiżjoni.

Nittama biss li ma jkomplix jgħaffeġ. Forsi xi darba mhux il-bogħod nibdew bħala pajjiż niġġeneraw l-enerġija mir-rih, imma dan nagħmluh b’effiċjenza.

Paroli biss

 

 

 

L-Iskozja ħabbret il-proġett tal-Clyde wind farm.

 

Bi spiża stmata ta’ £600 miljun (€866.50 miljun) il-proġett jinvolvi 152 turbina b’kapaċita ta’ 456MW. Biżżejjed għal 250,000 dar.

 

L-Iskozja qed tippjana li sal-2011 tiġġenera 31% tal-enerġija elettrika li għandha bżonn minn sorsi rinovibbli. Sal-2020 qed timmira għal 50%.

 

U aħna : għandna Gvern li jlablab ħafna u r-riżultati ma jidhru imkien !

Addressing Our Environmental Deficit

published on Sunday 27 July 2008

by Carmel Cacopardo

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 In his address to Parliament last May, the President had stated: “The government’s plans and actions are to be underpinned by the notion of sustainable development of the economy, of society and of the environment. When making decisions today, serious consideration will be given to the generations of tomorrow.”

In December 2006, the National Sustainability Commission had drawn up the National Sustainable Development Strategy. Having been approved by Cabinet, it is appropriate that the pre-budget document just published ignites the debate on its implementation. The strategy is a blueprint for action representing a holistic perspective as to how this country should be administered. Its eventual handling will in due course give a clear indication of the government’s real views on sustainable development.

Malta’s energy policy is undoubtedly up for an upheaval. Due to the absence of strategic planning over the years, Malta is one of the few countries without any significant alternative energy generated. Other countries identified their vulnerability because of fuel oil dependency years ago and took action. Denmark has since built up its wind energy industry from scratch since the oil crises in the 1970s and is now a world leader. In 2005 Denmark generated 18.5 per cent of its electrical energy needs through wind.

The pre-budget document identifies near shore wind technology as the next step forward, contributing 95MW of wind energy or seven per cent of Malta’s projected electricity demand in 2010. The shortfall in meeting the EU target of having 10 per cent of electricity demand met by alternative energy is planned to be met with wind turbines at other exposed land sites and industrial estates, including those to be identified within the framework of the eco-Gozo project.

The pre-budget document focuses on macro-generation and does not give sufficient weight to micro-generation of energy, both with small wind turbines as well as with photovoltaic panels. It must be borne in mind that micro-generation if adequately motivated could add up to a substantial amount of energy generated through alternative technology. In addition to residential application (not flats or maisonettes!), schools and public buildings could be ideal sites for the micro-generation of energy. Moreover, one can consider fitting micro-turbines to the structures of the hundreds of disused windmills (water pumps) that pepper the countryside. These windmills were strategically located by our ancestors in wind-prone areas and are now an integral part of the Maltese countryside.

The pre-budget document rightly refers to energy generated through waste. It speaks of the generation of electricity using animal waste through biogas in a facility to be constructed in the north of the island. This is a long overdue initiative. However, I believe that it is badly conceived. The lessons that should have been learnt following the Sant’ Antnin debacle seem to have been forgotten.

The point at issue is whether one facility covering the whole island is sufficient or desirable. Would it be a good idea to transport animal manure across the whole island to a facility in the north?

One point resulting from the public debate relative to the Sant’ Antnin waste recycling plant was the applicability of the proximity principle. The required plant should be sited as close as possible to the source of the waste being processed. This had led to the Sant ‘Antnin projected operation itself being scaled down to deal with one third of the islands’ waste. The rest, it was stated, should be processed on other sites (possibly two) that have not yet been identified! These other sites should be used for the production of biogas too and they should be identified in a location as close as possible to those areas that have the largest number of animal farms in order to minimise the movement of animal waste. Knowing that a number of these farms are sited very close to each other should make matters easier for our waste management planners.

Bad planning brings out another sore point, which was not discussed in the pre-budget document: namely the management of our water resources. Groundwater (a ‘free’ source of freshwater) still accounts for 40 per cent of our potable water supply. Groundwater accounts for the greater part of the water used by agriculture, the construction sector, landscaping activities and various other industrial and commercial concerns, including some hotels which are supplied by bowsers. However, as a result of over-extraction, the quality of the water in the aquifer is becoming saltier by the day and will become useless within our lifetime.

Yet, illegal extraction of ground water continues unabated and the authority responsible for the sustainable use of this precious resource (the Malta Resources Authority) persists in not taking any concrete action. The recent increase in the surcharge on mains water will inevitably result in a rush to drill more boreholes and extract more groundwater, with the consequence that our aquifer will die an earlier death.

Within this context, the construction of wastewater treatment plants treating urban wastewater and discharging it directly into the sea assumes an alarming relevance. A country whose natural water resources are not sufficient for its use ought to manage its water resources in a much better way. It certainly ought not to permit the illegal extraction of water or the discharge of treated water into the sea. The siting of the wastewater treatment plants in Malta and Gozo is such that discharging treated water into the sea is a foregone conclusion. This decision, undoubtedly arrived at based on the original siting of the sewage outfalls, ignores the possibilities to reuse the treated water, either as a second-class source or (with additional treatment) as potable water. Other developed countries, notably Singapore, produce an ever-increasing percentage of their potable water in this manner. This issue is ignored in the pre-budget report.

All this could easily have been prevented with a proper water management planning strategy, which, instead of large-scale plants for wastewater treatment, could have identified a number of smaller sites along the sewer route on the islands for the construction of small packaged wastewater treatment plants. These would have provided ample treated effluent where and when required for agricultural use, landscaping and other uses not requiring water of potable quality – at little or no distribution costs. The widespread availability of this water would have substituted the need to extract groundwater and facilitated the required enforcement action on its illegal extraction.

The total costs would have been substantially less. By costs I do not just mean economic ones but also the ecological cost of losing a strategic resource (the aquifer), which loss will have to be borne by future generations.

As indicated in the public hearings carried out by Minister Tonio Fenech, the pre-budget document deals with the sustainability of localities, rightly linking this issue to the proposed reform of local councils. It refers to the need for localities to draw up a Local Sustainable Development Strategy. In environmental management, we normally consider this within the Local Agenda 21 process currently espoused by thousands of localities around the globe: think global act local.

The sustainable localities proposal is undoubtedly well intentioned, and if adequately planned and applied can lead to positive results. The difficulty that will arise is that of economies of scale. Our localities vary substantially in size: from the largest – Birkirkara, to the smallest – San Lawrenz in Gozo. I believe that the best manner to apply Local Agenda 21 in Malta would be on a regional level. It would entail the setting up an additional level of local government that could be made up of all the local councils in the region. One possibility for the identification of regions would be to follow the boundaries of the seven local plans. These regions could be the channel for drawing up a Local Agenda 21 in conformity with national policy and strategies, which allow ample room for adequate planning. The proposed Conference on Local Sustainable Development would be a good start.

The basic point at issue in all deliberations is to view the economy as a tool at the service of the eco-system rather than as master of all. Adopting sustainable development as a policy instrument is no easy task. It entails taking a holistic view of public administration and its consequences. It signifies that national policy and administrative action need to have a continuous long-term view.

Economic policy generally takes on board social policy. It now needs to ensure that it is subservient to the eco-system because at the end of the day the eco-system is the source of our being. It is only at this point that we will be in a position to settle our country’s accumulated environmental deficit!

Inħarsu l-Ambjent : għax hekk tajjeb u għax jaqblilna !

 

 

 

Il-messaġġ kontinwu li qed twassal AD f’dawn il-jiem huwa li l-ħarsien tal-ambjent hu stument biex intejbu l-kwalita’ tal-ħajja tagħna lkoll.

 

Li nifhmu illi huwa meħtieġ illi ma naħlux elettriku u ilma huwa biss wieħed mill-issues. Nisħqu fuq illum iktar mill-bieraħ għax is-suġġett huwa attwali minħabba fiż-żieda fil-prezzijiet kif ukoll minħabba fiż-żieda fis-surcharge.

 

L-AD qed tinsisti li min ma jaħlix ikun ippremjat u min jaħli għandu jħallas sakemm jirrealizza li jaqbillu hu ukoll li juża r-risorsi bil-galbu.

 

Kif nistgħu ma naħlux ?

 

L-ewwel nistennew li jagħti eżempju l-Gvern. Għidna f’waħda mill-istqarrijiet tal-AD illi ma jistax ikun li l-impjanti tat-tisfija tad-drenaġġ wara li jkunu ppurifikaw l-ilma jarmu kollox il-baħar. Dan x’sens fih ? Veru li l-ilma ma jkunx għadu tajjeb. Imma veru ukoll li bi ftit investiment ieħor (ħdejn il-miljuni ġja investiti) jkun tajjeb ta’ l-inqas bħala ilma għat-tisqija. Il-Gvern fi ftit kliem qed jagħti eżempju ħażin.

 

It-tieni nistennew li min jimxi sewwa u juża r-risorsi bil-galbu jkun ippremjat mis-sistema.  Għalhekk qed nipproponu li min ikollu konsum baxx kemm tal-elettriku kif ukoll tal-ilma ikollu rati tas-surcharge (inkella t-tariffi meta dawn jinbidlu f’Ottubru li ġej) li jvarjaw skond l-użu. Min juża ftit ikollu rati baxxi ta’ surcharge u min juża ħafna jkollu rati għoljin. Mhux biss għar-residenzi iżda ukoll għall-użu kummerċjali.

 

Biex dan isir hemm bżonn li jkunu stabiliti benchmarks raġjonevoli permezz ta’ audits dwar l-użu tal-ilma u l-elettriku.

 

Hemm bżonn li min jiġġenera l-elettriku huwa permezz tal-pannelli fotovoltajci jew mtieħen żgħar tar-riħ jitħallas b’rata iktar għolja mill-Enemalta. Hekk jiġri f’pajjiżi oħra biex jinkuraġixxu lil min jagħti sehmu.

 

Hemm bżonn li min juża l-ilma tax-xita ikun eżentat mis-surcharge. Tafu għaliex ? Għax lill-pajjiż jiffrankalu :

1.      il-ħtieġa tal-produzzjoni ta’ l-ilma, inkluż l-elettriku li jintuża fl-impjanti tar-Reverse Osmosis,

2.      inaqqas l-ilma tax-xita mit-triq jew mid-drenaġġ, għax dan ikun qiegħed jinġabar fil-bir,

3.      jiffranka kwantita’ ta’ ilma li għalxejn jispiċċa fl-impjant tat-tisfija tad-drenaġġ, u allura l-elettriku meħtieġ biex dan jissaffa.

 

Jekk iktar nies jaħżnu l-ilma tax-xita fil-bir u jużawħ flok l-ilma li tipprovdi l-Korporazzjoni għas-Serviżżi tal-Ilma l-effett ikun enormi : għall-pajjiż u għall-but tiegħek. Il-pajjiż jiffranka l-miljuni u inti tiffranka l-mijiet.

 

 

Inħarsu l-ambjent ifisser kwalita’ tal-ħajja aħjar. Bil-flus iffrankati minn użu bil-għaqal tar-riżorsi jistgħu jsiru affarijiet oħra li bħalissa m’għandniex mezzi biżżejjed għalihom.

Norway considers floating windmills

Reuters

UTSIRA, Norway — Giant turbines the size of jumbo jets bobbing on the North Sea may soon become as common off Norway as oil and gas platforms.
At least that is the ambition of Norwegian authorities and industry, eager to splash some green on their oily image and use their offshore expertise to corner a potentially lucrative new market – floating wind farms in deep sea waters.
Norway’s government is contemplating licensing “blocks” for offshore wind generation, and Norwegian oil company StatoilHydro aims to start work next year on a floating turbine project near the site of the first North Sea oil discovery 40 years ago.
“We are the best place in Norway if you love wind,” Mayor Jarle Nilsen said of Utsira, a North Sea island of just six square kilometres and home to 210 people who already get most of their power from two onshore turbines.

With Europe’s second-longest coastline after Greece, Norway is hard hit by winds blowing off the Atlantic and, along with Britain, well placed for wind=energy projects.
Offshore turbines can be twice as powerful as land-based units because of stronger, more sustained winds at sea.
Out of sight from the coast, such wind farms could use modified, more efficient turbines that do not limit noise, a key concern for land-based wind farms.
The technology is not tested and costly offshore repairs could quickly drive up costs, analysts say.
The price of wind electricity produced will also probably stay above that of conventional fossil fuel-based power for years to come, meaning that state subsidies play a major role.
“We have been very clear in saying that there are exciting prospects in offshore wind and indeed floating wind,” Deputy Energy and Petroleum Minister Liv Monica Stubholt said.
“But we also acknowledge that experts advise us to ‘hurry slowly’ because there are still considerable technological hurdles that need to be hopped.”
Further, deeper
The use of the wind is growing around the world – it is set to top 100 gigawatts in installed capacity in 2008 in a push for alternatives to coal- or gas-powered plants, which emit heat-trapping gasses. Still, wind accounts for only 1 per cent of the global power mix.
About 98 per cent of that capacity is at land-based turbines, but new technology and the benefits of pushing wind farms away from populated areas are strengthening the offshore market – currently led by Britain and Denmark.
The Brussels-based Global Wind Energy Council has forecast that the world’s wind market will reach 240 gigawatts by 2012, with a growing share coming from offshore.
Britain has an ambitious goal for 35 GW in installed offshore wind capacity by 2020.
The floating turbine concept allows wind farms to wade farther out to sea. Anchored to the seabed, they can be built in deeper waters where the sea floor would be too soft for standing turbines.
StatoilHydro’s project, expected to get an official go-ahead soon, will be a 2.3 megawatt turbine, with a diameter of 107 metres and jutting nearly 80 metres above the water. A further 120 metres of the floating concrete hull will be submerged.
The “Hywind” project, which includes German Siemens AG’s wind-power unit, will test the technology and look for ways to cut operating and maintenance costs for the giant turbines to be located in water depths of up to 700 metres.
 
If the demonstration project succeeds, more may come early next decade to provide supplemental electricity for places such as some North Sea platforms or coastal Norwegian towns.
“It also has global potential in places with the proper sea and wind conditions, a suitable market size and the right price incentives,” said Jan-Fredrik Stadaas, head of wind energy project development at StatoilHydro.
Such markets could include the United States, Canada, Spain and Portugal, France, Japan and Britain, Mr. Stadaas said.
Tilting into the wind
Another project, led by Norwegian utilities Statkraft and Lyse and including StatoilHydro and Shell, seeks to build wind turbine towers that tilt against the wind to withstand severe North Sea conditions. A full-scale 5 MW prototype of the “Sway” turbine is planned in 2010.
The Norwegian government is providing cash to both projects but the real test of its resolve will come in its offshore wind regulations, which may mimic the country’s oil and gas rules.
Ms. Stubholt, the deputy minister, said Norway may offer offshore wind power licences in specific blocks, along with incentives.
She said Norway was slow to embrace wind energy because most of its electricity already comes from clean hydropower, limiting demand for more renewable energy.
Industry officials hope the state aid plans include investment-based subsidies or feed-in tariffs, where offshore generators would be given a steady price for their electricity, as well as link-ups to existing grids.
“Given concerns about reliability of untested technology and a virtually non-existent market for offshore wind installation and maintenance, these projects require an active role by the state to lower some of the risks,” one industry official said.

Dilemma

L-Independent (UK) f’artiklu ippubblikat il-bierah jikkummenta dwar deciżjoni diffiċli ta’ ippjanar fejn id-deċiżjoni li kellha tittieħed ma kienitx bejn xi ħaġa tajba jew oħra ħażina, iżda bejn żewġ materji li t-tnejn huma tajba.

 

Id-dilemma kienet jekk jingħatax permess għal onshore wind farm fl-Isle of Lewis. Din il-wind farm li kieku ngħatat il-permess kienet ser toħloq mijiet ta’ impiegi f’żona remota kif ukoll kienet ser tikkontribwixxi mhux ftit biex jintlaħqu l-miri ta’ ġenerazzjoni ta’ enerġija alternattiva.

 

Imma kien hemm ukoll ħdax-il elf oġġezzjoni minn residenti li emfasizzaw il-ħtieġa u l-importanza tal-biodiversita’. Għax l-inħawi huma protetti (Special Protection Area) magħrufa għal għasafar rari li l-esistenza tagħhom hi mhedda.

 

Dilemma kbira li mhux il-MEPA biss ikollha minnhom !

Ara ukoll dawn l-Scotsman u l-Guardian.

Island generates sustainable future

Published in The Financial Times 15 April 2008

By Andrew Bolger, Scotland Correspondent

 

Cutting edge initiatives may not generally be associated with the Orkney Islands, whose sleepy pace of life tends to attract more holiday makers than policy makers.

But Westray, the largest of Orkney’s northern isles, is attempting something never before tried in the UK. In just four years it aims to become the first community to produce the equivalent of all of its energy needs from renewable sources.

Developing renewable energy is a key object of the Westray Development Trust, which was created in 1998 in an attempt to stem the brain drain from the island.

Now, while its population still stands at a meagre 600, the number is rising and the trust feels the island “has turned the corner”, according to William McEwen, one of the trust’s founders.

Sandy McEwen, who with her husband has refurbished several historic buildings on the island, is in no doubt that the commitment to sustainability is luring newcomers and helping to safeguard Westray’s future. “We are attracting creative people – painters and jewellery makers – and protection of the environment is very important to them,” she said.

A maths teacher at the island’s high school, Mr McEwen has created Orkney Bio-Fuels, which makes bio-diesel from used cooking oil collected from hotels, pubs, restaurants and chip shops. As well as supplying the islanders with cheap green fuel, the venture makes a modest income for the trust – enough, it is hoped, to hire a full-time employee.

Another idea of Mr Mc-Ewen’s is an electric taxi for Westray’s elderly and disabled residents. It is about to enter service after receiving funding from ScottishPower and the government. Wind turbines will charge the pollution-free vehicle’s battery.

A care centre for the island’s elderly has wind turbines and a ground source heat pump. A youth centre is partly heated by a 2.5kilowatt wind turbine since it opened eight years ago.

Lorna Brown, a youth development worker, said: “It’s great that our young people use electricity generated from the wind at their own youth centre. They are growing up with renewables and that can only be good for the long-term future of our island.”

Westray-based company Heat and Power aims to be the first company in Scotland to turn cattle slurry into fuel for cars. Colin Risbridger, the chartered engineer behind the initiative, is working on using silage and cattle waste. “Who knows? We could see every farm becoming either a filling station or a power station in the future,” he said.