Local Energy

Stirling and Glasgow councils have been highlighted by the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) in a series of reports which considers how local authorities are continuing to progress various aspects of decentralised energy. It comes at a time when concerns over increasing carbon emissions remains, and it supports the important role in energy policy local government can provide. The report notes that local authorities across the globe are showing an increasing interest in energy. The NFLA report focuses on how councils can promote local energy projects in a challenging financial environment. It notes research and advice by the Association of Public Sector Excellence and the Solar Trade Association on how to unlock finance to fund renewable energy, district heating and energy efficiency projects.

Scottish Energy News 22nd May 2017 read more »

Posted: 22 May 2017

AD

A wind turbine manufacturer is advising that heat-only anaerobic digestion (AD) technology may present a more viable opportunity for some landowners and rural industries than designs incorporating combined heat and power (CHP) systems to produce electricity. Amid the revision of Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs, would-be independent power producers will need to reconsider their options as the market has seen heat-based tariffs rise and feed-in tariffs for farm-scale electricity generation become increasingly limited.

Scottish Energy News 22nd May 2017 read more »

Posted: 22 May 2017

Biomass

As innovative waste coffee recycling firm bio-beans expands its collection service across the University of Birmingham, the UK Government has revealed that Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants using poultry litter will receive the highest tariffs under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). Both the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) confirmed that combusting poultry litter – a combination of manure and wood shavings from poultry barns – was a “uniquely sustainable” method for farms to power their operations.

Farmers using CHP stations to power their operations using the poultry litter will now apply for the highest tariff reliefs under the announcement. Farms using CHP biomass plants with poultry litter are saving on average 90% on carbon emissions compared to using liquid petroleum gas.

Edie 19th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 22 May 2017

Renewables – offshore wind

A UK wind farm using the world’s most powerful offshore wind turbines to generate power will generate power for 230,000 homes. Dong Energy’s Burbo Bank Extension wind farm, off Liverpool Bay, is the first time the huge MHI Vestas turbines have been deployed commercially. Each 8mw (megawatt) turbine is 195 metres tall, higher than London’s Gherkin tower, with blades that are 80 metres long, and one rotation produces enough electricity to power a home for 29 hours. The scheme’s backers say the project has helped develop the UK supply chain, with blades designed and made in the Isle of Wight and transition pieces that link turbine towers to foundations made in Teesside, while assembly took place in Belfast. Dong Energy said just one of the turbines produces more energy than the whole of Vindeby, the world’s first offshore wind farm which the company constructed 25 years ago in Denmark.

Independent 21st May 2017 read more »

Posted: 22 May 2017

100% Renewables

The LEGO group now says it is running entirely on renewable energy after reaching its 100 per cent target three years ahead of schedule. The company achieved its ambitious goal due to the completion of a 258 megawatt offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea, building a giant wind turbine made entirely of LEGO to celebrate.

Independent 21st May 2017 read more »

Posted: 22 May 2017

Energy Storage

Nestling alongside rows of conifers and wind turbines in a Welsh valley, a pioneering project will materialise this summer that could prove a blueprint for unlocking Britain’s renewable energy potential. The Upper Afan Valley near Swansea is already home to the biggest windfarm in England and Wales, but in July work will begin there on one of the UK’s largest battery storage schemes. Built by Swedish energy company Vattenfall, the facility will involve six shipping containers stuffed with lithium-ion batteries made by BMW’s electric car division. The project is seen as a crucial part of the jigsaw for helping wind, solar and other renewable sources go from the 25% of UK power they provide today, to the much greater share the government needs to hit its climate change targets.

Guardian 21st May 2017 read more »

Posted: 22 May 2017

Renewables

You might think that a charity that looks after stately homes, a brewery company, and a harbour traffic management group in the Scottish port of Oban have little in common. However, they have a significant link: all are installing heat pumps that use seawater, to cut fossil fuel use and keep the heating bills down, helping the planet to avoid overheating. The organisations are members of the growing Fit for the Future Network, a UK-based group of 500 people from 81 organisations who share ideas on the best ways to cut energy use and save money at the same time. The unlikely alliance includes the National Trust, the charity responsible for the care of historic houses and countryside across England, Wales and Northern Ireland (a separate body does the work in Scotland), and several partners. The partnership with Adnams Brewery in the Suffolk town of Southwold in eastern England, began with a thermal-imaging camera. It was being used by the National Trust in Wales to detect areas that required insulation and sealing in their mansions and holiday cottages, saving the charity large sums of money.

Climate News Network 20th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 21 May 2017

Renewables – offshore wind

For anyone who has concerns about our environment and about humanity’s future in a rapidly heating world, the proposed construction of massive offshore windfarms in Scotland’s Firths of Forth and Tay poses a dilemma of some magnitude. On one hand, the four projects – Inch Cape, Neart na Gaoithe and Seagreen Alpha and Bravo – offer the prospect of generating enough electricity to power 1.4m homes without burning fossil fuel or producing carbon emissions. At the same time, between £314m and £1.2bn could be generated for the Scottish economy. Such prospects – claimed by the Scottish government and local industry – are powerful inducements to proceed with the farms’ construction. But some environmentalists point to the cost. Every year, the windfarms’ 335 giant turbines could kill thousands of Scotland’s seabirds – puffins, gannets and kittiwakes – when they stray into the giant blades that have been erected in their feeding areas. Hence the RSPB’s dismay at last week’s decision by Scotland’s most senior judge, Lord Carloway, to reverse previous legal bans on the projects. As we report, environmentalists are now locked in opposing camps. One side claims the windfarms will help make Scotland the green energy leader of Europe. Others point out that the country’s nesting seabirds make a crucial contribution to Scotland’s highly lucrative tourism industry. Their slaughter could have serious financial consequences. More importantly, the nation has a duty of care to its wildlife. The Scottish government therefore faces a delicate balancing act. It has grounds to proceed with the windfarms but must do so in a manner that reflects its obligation to its native animals. It needs to launch renewed and re-energised talks with nature conservation groups such as the RSPB and declare it is committed to reshaping the Firth of Forth and Firth of Tay windfarms so they that produce electricity in a way that is less destructive to wildlife and is more environmentally responsible.

Observer 20th May 2017 read more »

In the waters of the North Sea a few miles off Scotland’s east coast, a nine-year battle has been raging that threatens a fragile and unique environmental equilibrium. The struggle has made mortal enemies of two huge lobbies that share a passionate commitment to the environment. On one side are the developers of four vast windfarms comprising 335 turbines, which are planned for the waters of the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay. The windfarms are backed by the Scottish government, which regards renewable wind energy as key to the economic future. Pitched against them is the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which claims the scale of the developments threatens the existence of some of Scotland’s best-loved species of seabird.

Observer 21st May 2017 read more »

Scottish Power is heading west to stake its claim in the US offshore wind rush after scooping up the right to build two mammoth wind farms off the east coast. The energy giant has quietly broken into the burgeoning market by successfully bidding for two major offshore wind projects, each the size of its entire UK portfolio. “We’ve probably got the biggest offshore development pipeline of any company in America,” said Keith Anderson, the company’s global boss. Scottish Power Renewables is already developing projects in Germany and France but its move beyond European borders fires the starting gun on UK offshore wind exports into the global market. “We as a country are seen to be the leaders in this type of technology. It’s great to be creating opportunities and developing skills in the UK, but also to see these being exported,” Mr Anderson said. Emma Pinchbeck of RenewableUK, the industry’s trade body, said the US is emerging as an important export destination for the UK wind industry.

Telegraph 20th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 21 May 2017

Energy Transformation

“Fossil fuels have lost,” argues Eddie O’Connor, chief executive of Irelands’s Mainstream Renewable Power company, before adding: “The rest of the world just doesn’t know it yet.”

O’Connor was speaking to the influential business newspaper, the Financial Times, in a must-read 4000 word article about the rapid energy transition that is taking place right now from cars to power plants, from solar roofs to wind turbines, affecting how we drive and power our homes and industry. Change is coming much faster than people think says the article: “The Big Green Bang: how renewable energy became unstoppable”. As the paper states: “After years of hype and false starts, the shift to clean power has begun to accelerate at a pace that has taken the most experienced experts by surprise. Even leaders in the oil and gas sector have been forced to confront an existential question: will the 21st century be the last one for fossil fuels?” Earlier this week, I blogged on a new Stanford University report which warned “We are on the cusp of the fastest, deepest, most consequential disruption of transportation in history. Within ten years, we may witness a radical technological shake up in the way we drive as people switch from petrol and diesel engines to self-drive electric vehicles . And as people switch in droves to electric, the internal combustion engine could soon be consigned to the history books.”

Price of Oil 19th May 2017 read more »

Traditional energy companies and mainstream financial publications are finally waking up to the new reality: The shift to renewable energy, electric cars, and a low-carbon economy is now unstoppable. The details of this transition are spelled out in a new, must-read, 4000-word article in the Financial Times, “The Big Green Bang: how renewable energy became unstoppable.” What is most remarkable about the article is that it appears in the Financial Times. The free-market oriented paper is the “most important business read” for the world’s top financial decision makers and “the most credible publication in reporting financial and economic issues” for global professional investors, according to surveys. The CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s largest company, declared in a recent speech that the transition to a low-carbon economy is not just “unstoppable.” It is a necessity that “must be embraced” if an oil company like Shell is to survive and thrive. The low-carbon future, he explained, will be built around renewable electricity and electric cars. One key reason the clean energy revolution is unstoppable is the dramatic and ongoing improvements in battery cost and performance. Advanced batteries are game-changing not only for the electrification of transportation, but also for the continued rapid penetration of renewables.

Think Progress 19th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 May 2017

Local Energy

Energy firm SSE is to deliver solar and a host of other technologies to Calderdale Council as part of a multi-million-pound bid to deliver carbon emission savings. SSE has entered into an energy performance contract with the Yorkshire-based council as it bids to reduce its carbon emissions from council buildings by 20% every year. The first phase of the contract, estimated to see between £1.5 – £2 million worth of improvements, will commence later this year and take several months to complete. The cost of the work is claimed to be covered by reductions in energy bills and SSE is guaranteeing a reduction of energy and carbon emissions by at least 20% under the contract. A total of 14 buildings will be improved with the range of measures including solar PV, new efficient boilers, optimised ventilation and air condition equipment, building energy management systems and water saving technologies. SSE will also seek to involve the local supply chain of Calderdale, Leeds and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority regions, opening up the opportunity for installers and suppliers based in the area to receive work under the contract.

Solar Power Portal 16th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 May 2017