Renewable power critic is chosen to head energy price review

Guardian Energy

An academic who is a vocal critic of the price of renewable power is the government's preferred choice to head a review of the financial cost of energy in the UK. Dieter Helm, an economist at the University of Oxford, has been chosen by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to carry out the review, the Guardian has learned. The Conservative manifesto promised that the resulting report would be the first step towards "competitive and affordable energy costs". Theresa May is among those in the government taking an interest in the cost-of-energy review, which will examine how power prices can be kept down while meeting the UK's carbon targets and keeping the lights on. But the choice of Helm, author of a new book on the slow demise of oil companies in the face of energy trends, will be controversial in some quarters because of his criticism of wind and solar power.

National Grid exploring the potential of Artificial Intelligence to optimise renewables


The National Grid has confirmed that it is in the "earliest stages" of discussions exploring the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which could potentially maximise the use of renewable energy by predicting peaks in demand across the UK. The National Grid, which operates and owns the infrastructure that transports electricity across the UK, has seen its ability in balancing and stabilising the grid challenged in recent years as intermittent renewables such as solar and wind have been fed into the energy mix. While the introduction of renewables into the mix forms a key role in both national and European legislation to decarbonise the grid, concerns have been raised as to the National Grid's ability to deal with fluctuating wind and solar resources, which can sometimes produce more energy than the system can cope with. Energy storage and demand response initiatives, whereby businesses either store surplus energy or increase or reduce energy consumption based on demand, are being incorporated by the National Grid, which is now "exploring what opportunities" AI could offer to balance the situation. The National Grid revealed that it is in discussions with the UK-based AI company DeepMind about introducing new technologies to help balance the grid and improve the use of renewables.

Facebook grounds Aquila, its solar-powered internet drone project

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

A photo of the first Aquila high altitude aircraft being built by Facebook in England. Facebook said Tuesday it was shutting down the project, four years after its start. SAN FRANCISCO -- Facebook has grounded its Aquila internet drone project after four years. The project, aimed at building a drone that could fly over an isolated area and provide internet coverage, will shut down, the social media company announced Tuesday in a blog post. Facebook is abandoning efforts to build its own aircraft and will close the British facility involved in the project.

Eco-friendly internet: Microsoft sinks data centre off Scottish coast in 'crazy experiment'

The Independent - Tech

The I.F.O. is fuelled by eight electric engines, which is able to push the flying object to an estimated top speed of about 120mph. The giant human-like robot bears a striking resemblance to the military robots starring in the movie'Avatar' and is claimed as a world first by its creators from a South Korean robotic company Waseda University's saxophonist robot WAS-5, developed by professor Atsuo Takanishi and Kaptain Rock playing one string light saber guitar perform jam session A man looks at an exhibit entitled'Mimus' a giant industrial robot which has been reprogrammed to interact with humans during a photocall at the new Design Museum in South Kensington, London Electrification Guru Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart talks about the electric Jaguar I-PACE concept SUV before it was unveiled before the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S The Jaguar I-PACE Concept car is the start of a new era for Jaguar.

Tim Peake's next challenge: Driving a rover from space

Christian Science Monitor | Science

The International Space Station (ISS) astronauts may soon have a new duty – driving rovers on distant planets. Tim Peake, the popular European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut who ran a marathon in space earlier this week, will have to steady himself in a seat aboard the ISS as he pilots a rover on Earth on Friday. The driving is part of a project simulation program, called Meteron, in which a Mars rover will be driven around a faux-Mars landscape in England. The end goal, however, will be for an astronaut orbiting outside a distant world to help direct a rover in dangerous maneuvers. "Space is such a harsh place for humans and machines that future exploration of our Solar System will most likely involve sending robotic explorers to'test the waters' on uncharted planets before sending humans," the ESA says on a Meteron website.