The December round up includes the following:
Electric cars are coming to a show-room near you and will offer motorists emission-free motoring. Some cars are paid for outright, like buying anyother car, whilst some are leased on a monthly basis. The Guardian gives an overview of the cars available and the aproximate costs. See this Guardian Link for further details. This development may lead to many new electric chraging points around the country. Some cities have been rather more pro-active in this area than others. London and Brighton have several but Bristol and others in the South West are very much lagging behind the trend-setting cities. Look out for the “Elektrobays” arriving at a city near you. Tesco have announced a trial of charging points on their website. They can be mapped in OpenStreetMap for transition mapping projects.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) company Powerfuel has been placed into administration. The full story may be seen in this Greenwise link. It appears a large funding gap could not be filled thus putting to an end the first plant for the pioneering carbon capture project. It seems that this technology is very expensive and Powerfuel was the only company awarded a licence in the UK. It will be interesting to see if this expensive and ambitious technology is followed up in the future.
OpenStreetMap’s Potlatch 2 now enables mapping from it’s aerial imagery. This is a great bonus even if the imagery is quite old. I have used this to capture building outlines, trees and hedgerow details that would not be easy to capture using GPS. Having said that, about a year ago, I had captured the Devon Records Office building in Exeter from GPS traces and sketches and found it to be fairly accurate to within a couple of metres of the newly available imagery. The Bing imagery has allowed validation of the traditional GPS techniques that are used in OpenStreetMap. This particular building has public access on three sides so was easy to map but most buildings on industrial estates are not as easy to access.
Peak Oil. An overview of the situation is given in this 2009 paper (PDF) from the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) Global Oil Depletion – An assessment of the evidence for a near-term peak in global oil production. Given that oil is used for about 95% of transport requirements and accounts for many other products what will happen when we can no longer afford it or supplies are not available. Other information may be found here on the Peak Oil Primer. Oil prices are set to rise and have recently hit new highs in price in the UK. The BBC has the news story here about the high petrol prices.