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EGEB: The UK lifts four-year onshore wind-farm ban

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson lifts David Cameron’s UK moratorium on onshore wind farms.
  • Researchers in Scotland discover a new fuel-cell compound that could revolutionize green energy.
  • Germany breaks a green energy usage record in February.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Onshore wind-farm ban lifted in the UK

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has lifted the moratorium on onshore wind farms in the UK. Now, onshore wind farms will be able to compete for subsidies with other green energy sources. Johnson’s decision is part of the UK’s efforts to reach its target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Former prime minister David Cameron halted onshore wind-farm subsidies four years ago. Cameron had called the onshore wind turbines “unsightly,” and they were unpopular with his Conservative Party.

The party has now reversed its ban, as, according to the Financial Times, “Alok Sharma, business secretary, said cutting carbon emissions rapidly would mean ‘making the most of every technology available‘ including onshore wind and solar.” New onshore wind farms could be operating by the mid-2020s. Onshore wind is typically cheaper to build than offshore wind.

The COP26 global climate change talks will be held in Glasgow in November.

New fuel-cell breakthrough in Scotland

Researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland have discovered a new family of chemical compounds that could revolutionize fuel-cell technology: hexagonal perovskites. The scientists call their discovery a “needle in a haystack.”

So what are hexagonal perovskites, and what do they have to do with green energy and reducing emissions?

To put it in layman’s terms, it’s a new chemical compound that exhibits high conductivity at lower temperatures.

It’s an alternative to ceramic fuel cells, which are highly efficient devices that convert chemical energy into electrical energy and produce very low emissions if powered by hydrogen. They can power homes and cars. But the hitch of ceramic fuel cells is that the high temperature of operation results in a short life span.

Professor Abbie McLaughlin, director of research in the chemistry department who led the study, says:

Ceramic fuel cells are highly efficient, but the problem is they operate at really high temperatures, above 800C.

What we have discovered here is a dual proton and oxide ion conductor that will operate successfully at a lower temperature — around 500C — which solves these problems.

With hexagonal perovskites, lowering the working temperature prolongs long-term operation and improves stability, safety, and cost.

Germany breaks monthly green energy record

Germany broke a new monthly record for green energy production in February. Renewables provided 61.2% of the country’s net public electricity generation last month, with wind energy providing nearly half of the country’s electricity.

According to Renew Economy:

Germany’s fleet of wind turbines generated a record 20.80TWh, or 45.8%, of the country’s electricity.

Second in terms of contribution to Germany’s renewables power sector was biomass, which provided 3.74TWh, or 8.3% of total electricity generation, followed by solar with 1.86TWh, or 4.2%.

There were over a dozen days that achieved around or above 70% as well. The previous monthly record of 54% was set in March 2019.

Photo: Peter Cavanagh/Alamy Stock Photo

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Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.