21 January 2015
'We're having difficulty trying to find out what support, if any, Greenwich Council is giving to renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in the borough. We're going to draft a freedom of information request soon. What we do know, is that Greenwich Council and the Mayor appear to have their heads in the tar sands as they drag us in exactly the wrong direction. Gas is not a bridging fuel to a cleaner age of energy, it's a gangplank to climate disaster. Locally, it'll increase air pollution and impact the health of residents. Why not contact your councillors and the Leader of the Council about it?'
The Mayor and Greenwich Council are trumpeting the plan to bring back Greenwich Power Station to full use as ‘environmentally friendly’ and are promoting it as a ‘low carbon’ development, fuelled by natural gas. They also claim it will reduce emissions and improve local air quality.
Denise Hyland leader of Greenwich Council says: "What’s important about these proposals is that the power station – currently being vastly under-used – can be brought back into full use in a way which delivers a much more environmentally friendly energy solution for the tube network and the local area.” Sadly it's a lot of hot air.
Why? Because natural gas is still a non-renewable fossil fuel so it's not a clean energy (it’s just cleaner than coal). Worse, is that the main component of natural gas is methane - and that's 84 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Although it's shorter lived, it's still hugely potent and its heat trapping properties lasts for decades.
While Combined Heat and Power technology is a more efficient use of resources, bringing Greenwich Power Station back to capacity on fossil fuels means emissions –of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and other gases will increase overall. This is bad news for residents’ health and bad news for local air quality - especially given that Greenwich has illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution already.
The plan for Greenwich is to install 6 new engines, providing up to 155,000 megawatt hours of electricity. This is basically a large new fossil fuel power plant, which will be a major emitter of CO2, even if it uses more efficient technology and recycles heat for homes. Savings of carbon will be offset because the use of fossil fuels will be locked in at this site for many years to come (including, possibly fracked gas also).
So there it is: a new power station run on fossil fuel for Greenwich, locking in the use of fossil fuel for a generation to come. Not exactly the green vision it seems, is it?
Andrew Cooper, Green Party Energy Spokesperson comments “We need to reduce energy demand significantly through large scale energy efficiency and insulation programmes linked with a much greater emphasis on renewable technology. In the EU only Malta and Luxembourg have a worse record in terms of the percentage of energy generated from renewable sources. We need to change our priorities and invest in the real clean energy technologies.”
Greenwich Green Party is opposed to increasing the use of fossil fuels to power Greenwich, when there needs to be investment in energy efficiency, coupled with support to transition to clean renewable energy. Extending the use of fossil fuels delays the vital switch we need to make to renewables if we are to properly face up to the challenges of climate change mitigation.
2014 was the hottest year on record, and if emissions continue at the same rate the world will probably warm 4 or 5°C by 2100, which according to climate scientists will be catastrophic. For this reason, we need to leave fossil fuels in the ground if we are to decarbonise our energy by 90% to limit warming to a 2 °C increase. Why then, is Greenwich getting a new fossil fuel power station?
And while we're asking questions, how can the Mayor and the Leader of Greenwich Council make such contrary claims about Greenwich Power Station being low carbon and environmentally friendly anyway? It's surely up there with 'work sets you free' and '2 + 2=5'. For that, Boris needs to thank the EU, or rather the dirty energy lobby of the EU, which has actually managed to persuade the EU to rebrand natural gas (included fracked gas) as a clean energy - on par with solar and wind energy. A whole other scandal.
We're having difficulty trying to find out what support, if any, Greenwich Council is giving to renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in the borough. We're going to draft a freedom of information request soon. What we do know, is that Greenwich Council and the Mayor appear to have their heads in the tar sands as they drag us in exactly the wrong direction. Gas is not a bridging fuel to a cleaner age of energy, it's a gangplank to climate disaster. Locally, it'll increase air pollution and impact the health of residents. Why not contact your councillors and the Leader of the Council about it?
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Next Greenwich Events
PLEASE NOTE: The next meeting is on MONDAY 6 February 2017 at 7.30pm at Mycenae House.