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Promoting renewable energy frequently concentrates on the environmental impact of switching from fossil fuels and the associated affects this has on both the climate and weather.* There is another side - if demand for new equipment is high and predictable, manufacturing companies invest and create real jobs. There's news today of exactly that happening - in England.

The German electronics firm Siemens and the UK firm Associated British Ports have announced plans for two sites and a total investment of £316 million (over $500 million) to build and service offshore wind turbines. Siemens already had plans to invest £80m but are to double this to £160m. I should emphasize this cost does not include the actual turbines themselves. This is for the production, assembly and support facilities for wind turbines, likely initially mostly for the North Sea. Siemens produced the turbines for four of the five larges offshore wind farms currently operational.

Siemens will make the turbine blades in a new factory in Paull, North Yorkshire. The nearby new "Green Port" in Hull will be where where the turbines and towers will be assembled prior to being towed out to their operating site. While the two sites are expected to employ 1,000 people directly, more jobs will be opened up as parts are supplied from other companies and, of course, more service jobs in places like restaurants and shops will come to the area.

These facilities are in addition to the work going on sites that previously built oil and gas rigs for the North Sea but are now converting to offshore wind turbine tower construction. Work is also progressing on off-shore wave generation.

The comments by Siemens' spokesman points to how a country can attract such inward investment:

"We invest in markets with reliable conditions that can ensure that factories can work to capacity," said Michael Suess, head of Siemens's energy sector. "The British energy policy creates a favourable framework for the expansion of offshore wind energy. In particular, it recognises the potential of offshore wind energy within the overall portfolio of energy production."
To make it clear, with very, very few exceptions, politicians in the UK and EU are not climate change deniers. There is an all party commitment to reducing CO2 emissions even if the way to achieve this is debated, including whether nuclear should be included in the mix. Which leads me to another piece in the news today.

* You will notice that I included affects on both the climate and weather. Ahead of a meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change next week, the UK's Met Office has for the first time indicated that the weather is definitely being affected.

British winters are likely to become milder and wetter like the last one but cold spells still need to be planned for, says the UK Met Office.

Summers are likely to be hotter and drier, but washouts are still on the cards, it adds.

The assessment of future weather extremes finds the role of human influence is "detectable" in summer heatwaves and in intense rainfall.

In other words, the past few years are demonstrating the changes to the climate predicted by global warming models are coming about and two particular aspects are singled out as resulting from human activity. While the Met Office accepts that more work is needed to confirm the co-relation on these and the other weather changes, it now means we are going through the climate instability long expected.

But the point of the first part of this diary is that alternatives mean more investment, more jobs and more prosperity for countries whose politicians have a sustained view of the need to move to green energy. That's an argument in favor of moving to green generation, regardless of flat earthers' views of climate change.

Originally posted to Lib Dem FoP on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 08:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (17+ / 0-)

    "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 08:50:51 AM PDT

  •  We could do so much with wind here, if the (8+ / 0-)

    congress were not in bed with the oil companies and full of climate change deniers.

    •  Well Big Dirty Energy Is Dragging Government (4+ / 0-)

      to bed. They got Ohio's Lake Erie windfarm killed for lack of access to the grid, they're working in many states to add grid fees for customer renewable generation.

      Government is losing authority to even permit renewable energy generation.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 09:53:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Grid fees will be universal and rise over time (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LinSea, julesrules39, Roger Fox

        Anyone connected to the grid will have to pay a fixed monthly fee that will rise over time. That will be universal in the US as more and more homes install rooftop solar. The utility companies have been guaranteed by the states a return of capital, and a fixed minimum return, for all of their infrastructure investments. If fewer people are using electricity from the grid more of the fees will be paid for being connected to the grid rather than just the actual use of power. This is what is happening in Europe, where many countries have much more distributed power than in the US. The rate payers have to pay for the infrastructure.

        The key for consumers is inexpensive storage and power management systems that would allow a home owner to completely live off the grid. Tesla is using their battery and power management expertise in a pilot home application here in Silicon Valley. It will be interesting to see how well that works and how it is eventually priced.  

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 10:37:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Here in Ct we have a company (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FuelCell Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ: FCEL) is an integrated fuel cell company that designs, manufactures, installs, operates and services stationary fuel cell power plants.
          Clients include hospitals, data centers & universities.

          Another interesting niche is the battery back up: all grown up.

          .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 04:16:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Atlantic Wind Connection (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue jersey mom

      is huge, an offshore 350 mile long HVDC cable to support 1700 4mw turbines. Once the NJ leg is built the US will be taking a very large step forward with offshore wind.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 03:55:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dont forget Scotland (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LinSea, julesrules39
    Scotland’s Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, announced on Wednesday the formal consent for two adjacent offshore wind farm applications to be located in the outer Moray Firth, which will combine to be the world’s third largest offshore wind farm with up to 326 wind turbines.
    The Moray Offshore Renewables Limited (MORL) and the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited (BOWL) will be capable of generating up to 1,866 MW of clean electricity, and are set to be located off the Caithness coast. With enough energy to power over one million Scottish homes, the project is set to be worth £2.5 billion to the Scottish economy.

    “These wind farms alone could generate gross value worth up to £2.5 billion over their lifetime and generate up to 4,600 jobs during peak construction and up to 580 once in operation,” Mr Ewing added.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 10:30:49 AM PDT

    •  Bit cheeky (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roger Fox

      lumping two separate farms together to claim the largest in the world, though it's a good race. The combination of the London Array (currently the world's largest operating although phase 2 is on hold following concerns about migratory birds), Thanet and Greater Gabbard (which is due to add a further 503Kw to double production) all of which are in or just off the Thames estuary would be a larger "collective farm".

      I did not entirely forget to mention Scotland in the diary although I did not elucidate. Much of the development work and production of offshore wave generating units is being done there and promises to be an exciting technology in terms of constancy of output - there are some waves even if the wind is down in that particular area. What is interesting is the choice of an English city to base this production when there is already experience and expertise in tower production already exists in Scotland in places like Aberdeen.

      As well as the North Sea, offshore farms are proposed for the Irish Sea and the quickest, if much rougher, route would be round the top of Scotland. This avoids having to go through the extremely crowded Channel where already shipping is controlled like planes approaching airports are by air traffic control. I am starting to speculate whether the choice of country by Siemens was, in a small part, influenced by worries over future financing if the independence referendum passes. So the timing of Ewing's claim might not be entirely coincidental.

      "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

      by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 02:28:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  North Sea HVDC projects (0+ / 0-)

        have doubled in size over 4 years, now a 1 billion dollar marine grid project is common. That area is about to undergo a transition.... 1000+ turbines are about to be installed in the near future.

        Same for the US, the Atlantic Wind Connection (when built) is going to unleash 1000+ turbines, 10-20 miles offshore, 350 miles NJ to Virginia. The Port that gets the work will do very well jobs wise.

        .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 04:34:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for posting. I just commented about this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roger Fox, Calamity Jean

    in another diary this morning.  The US is falling behind in clean energy technology and production when we should be  investing and creating jobs.

    •  Thanks (3+ / 0-)

      That is the idea - with offshore turbines you need the combination of old fashioned "metal bashing", heavy engineering, electronics and modern technologies like aircraft production for the turbine blades. They are also the sort of constructions which are most profitably made near their final delivery point.

      Other renewable energy generators need other skills but are also best produced near to the final location. If I can take an example that is popular in southern Europe, that of tower solar thermal generation. That's where a field of mirrors focus the sun onto a "boiler" located at the top of a tower. The steam finally generated is used by exactly the same installations you see at any thermal or nuclear power station - the steam drives turbines that generate the electricity. The medium heated by the sun is usually not water but salt like solutions which can be stored and the heat used to generate steam long after the sun has set.

      With a program of building a number of such power stations, it becomes important to make some elements within easy access. The most obvious are the glass panels used to reflect the sun. These are simply flat - the number means the whole field acts as a moveable parabolic mirror. The stands on which they are installed of course can be manufactured at a distance and use technologies common to the aircraft and truck making industries.

      The desirability of making the glass relatively locally in terms of transport problems for a start is one of the mechanisms for local industry generation proposed by the Desertec team's EUMENA project. Here solar power stations would be built in desert areas in the Middle East and North Africa to generate power mainly for export to the EU. Glass making is a fairly simple and extremely widely known technology and is ideal for developing countries like Egypt where unemployment among the young is one of the causes of social discontent. Other elements of the power station would be made in EU factories using those aircraft and truck skills. This by the way is only part of EUMENA as there would be European and West African offshore wind, onshore wind, sustainable biomass, hydro, power from waste and other forms of green(er) generation would all feed into a grid for the whole region.

      I've expanded somewhat to give an idea of how whole programs of several stations can be promoted. If you deconstruct the skills needed to make the different types of  renewable plants, you can show how it would regenerate industries in decline - Cornings might need a new glass making plant; the workers from a threatened Caterpillar factory have the skills to make those mirror movers; GE might need more workers to produce the steam turbine generators or Pratt and Whitney aeroengine designers could rework the turbines to produce more power. It's an argument I think might be more powerful in political circles than simple trying to counter the climate change deniers.

      "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

      by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 03:19:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  About 480k solar jobs, 400k wind (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    300k grid work. Fairly conservative estimates looking a decade or 2 ahead. Offshore wind jobs will pay very well, like offshore oil platform jobs, expect skilled positions starting at 90-100k.

    Utility scale storage systems 150k to 250k jobs?


    .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 04:47:23 PM PDT

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