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Topic: A Monster Wind Turbine Is Upending an Industry
Twirling above a strip of land at the mouth of Rotterdam’s harbor is a wind turbine so large it is difficult to photograph. The turning diameter of its rotor is longer than two American football fields end to end. Later models will be taller than any building on the mainland of Western Europe.
Packed with sensors gathering data on wind speeds, electricity output and stresses on its components, the giant whirling machine in the Netherlands is a test model for a new series of giant offshore wind turbines planned by General Electric. When assembled in arrays, the wind machines have the potential to power cities, supplanting the emissions-spewing coal- or natural gas-fired plants that form the backbones of many electric systems today.
GE has yet to install one of these machines in ocean water. As a relative newcomer to the offshore wind business, the company faces questions about how quickly and efficiently it can scale up production to build and install hundreds of the turbines.
But already the giant turbines have turned heads in the industry. A top executive at the world’s leading wind farm developer called it a “bit of a leapfrog over the latest technology.” And an analyst said the machine’s size and advance sales had “shaken the industry.”
The prototype is the first of a generation of new machines that are about a third more powerful than the largest already in commercial service. As such, it is changing the business calculations of wind equipment makers, developers and investors.
The GE machines will have a generating capacity that would have been almost unimaginable a decade ago. A single one will be able to turn out 13 megawatts of power, enough to light up a town of roughly 12,000 homes.
The turbine is capable of producing as much thrust as the four engines of a Boeing 747 jet, according to GE, and will be deployed at sea, where developers have learned that they can plant larger and more numerous turbines than on land to capture breezes that are stronger and more reliable.
The race to build bigger turbines has moved faster than many industry figures foresaw. GE’s Haliade-X generates almost 30 times more electricity than the first offshore machines installed off Denmark in 1991.
In coming years, customers are likely to demand even bigger machines, industry executives say. On the other hand, they predict that turbines will reach a point at which greater size no longer makes economic sense.
Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5180307
Topic: A Scary Energy Winter Is Coming. Don’t Blame the Greens.
Every so often the tectonic geopolitical plates that hold up the world economy suddenly shift in ways that can rattle and destabilize everything on the surface. That’s happening right now in the energy sphere.
Several forces are coming together that could make Vladimir Putin the king of Europe, enable Iran to thumb its nose at America and build an atomic bomb, and disrupt European power markets enough that the upcoming United Nations climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, could suffer blackouts owing to too little clean energy.
Yes, this is a big one.
Natural gas and coal prices in Europe and Asia just hit their highest levels on record, oil prices in America hit a seven-year high and U.S. gasoline prices are up $1 a gallon from last year. If this winter is as bad as some experts predict — with some in the poor and middle classes unable to heat their homes — I fear we’ll see a populist backlash to the whole climate/green movement. You can already smell that coming in Britain.
How did we get here? In truth, it’s a good-news-bad-news story.
The good news is that every major economy has signed onto reducing its carbon footprint by phasing out dirtier fuels like coal to heat homes and to power industries. The bad news is that most nations are doing it in totally uncoordinated ways, from the top down, and before the market has produced sufficient clean renewables like wind, solar and hydro.
But how did the bad-news side of this story emerge so fast?
Blame COVID-19. First, the pandemic erupted and signaled to every major economy that we were headed for a deep recession. This sent prices of all kinds of commodities, including oil and gas, into downward spirals.
This, in turn, led banks to choke off investment in new natural gas capacity and crude wells after seven years of already declining investments in these hydrocarbons because of lousy returns.
As Bill Gates points out in his smart book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” the only way to reach our climate targets is to shift production of all the big heavy industries, like steel, cement and automobiles, as well as how we heat our homes and power our cars, to electricity generated from clean energy. Safe and affordable nuclear power has to be part of our mix because, Gates argues, “it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day.”
就像微軟創辦人蓋茲在他那本睿智的書「如何避免氣候災難」指出的，達成氣候目標的唯一方法是，改變所有重工業如鋼鐵、水泥、汽車業等的生產方式，以及我們在家取暖和為愛車提供動力的方式，轉而用潔淨能源發電。蓋茲主張必須接納安全可負擔的核能，因為「這是唯一不產生二氧化碳又能擴增的能源來源，每天24小時供應」。Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5820545
Topic: Londoners are better off returning to the office as bills soar
City of London workers looking to save money may want to embrace the office over winter as the cost of working from home soars alongside energy bills.
Those prepared to go into the office every day could save about €50 (US$60) per week in January 2023 if they can walk, run or cycle into their workplace. That’s thanks to the money they’ve saved by not heating a home for the whole day, according to estimates by price comparison site Uswitch.
Those working from home in January could expect to pay around €175 a week in energy costs and other incidentals included in Bloomberg’s calculations such as buying in your own coffee, a freebie in many offices. The combined cost of energy bills — factoring in the lower consumption expected — and five return trips on the Tube from London’s Zone 4 would be about €160 a week in January 2023, a €15 saving.
For those taking the bus, the total cost is about €140, a €35 weekly saving. In both cases, any rise in the cost of the commute will eat into those savings.
Uswitch estimates that the average monthly energy bill could hit €683 in January for home workers, compared to €492 for those heading to the office. It assumes remote workers use 25 percent more electricity and 75 percent more gas per day including from central heating.
“People are going to be really struggling to heat their own homes and they are going to look for warmth in other places — we know that is a coping mechanism that people use, whether that is going to a public space, such as a library or a church maybe, or whether it’s going to work when you usually would work from home” Matt Copeland, policy officer at National Energy Action said. “Those are the options people will consider and people will take to actually find warmth.”
The incentive to come into the office is likely to be welcomed by some in the City of London, where finance bosses have been pushing for a return to the office. Right now less than half of workers in the UK’s banking sector go into the office on an average day, and just 18 percent of insurance sector employees do so, according to a survey by consultancy Advanced Workplace Associates.準備每天去辦
對於這進辦公室的動機，倫敦城某些人可能會樂見其成。這些金融業老闆一直在推動員工重返辦公室。根據諮詢公司Advanced Workplace Associates的一項調查，目前英國銀行業平均只有不到一半的員工進辦公室上班，而保險業只有百分之十八的員工這麼做。source article: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2022/08/23/2003783959
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