Renewables – solar

In light of Scotland’s reputation for bad weather, relying on the sun to produce green energy might seem optimistic. However, Europe’s most northerly solar farm is poised to be built on an abandoned airfield in the Highlands. Ministers have given their blessing to a 50 megawatt (MW) project in Elgin, Moray, that could power 15,000 homes or 19,000 electric cars for a year. It will be almost four times bigger than the 13MW Errol solar farm in Perth, currently the largest of its kind in Scotland. Details of the project have been disclosed by developers Elgin Energy after it became the first solar farm to win approval from the Scottish government’s energy consents unit, which rules on large-scale projects. As many as 300,000 solar panels are planned on Milltown airfield, a former RAF base owned by the Tennant family, which owns Innes House. It i s estimated the solar farm could generate revenues of more than £40,000 a day. The family said some of the profits will be reinvested into maintaining Innes House, one of the area’s most important historic houses. While Scotland is often regarded as bearing the brunt of the worst UK weather, solar irradiance is similar to Germany, which is home to the largest photovoltaic market in the world. Data published by the Met Office shows that north Scotland was bless ed with 158.8 hours of sunshine last month, the highest recorded in the UK.

Times 27th May 2018 read more »

This huge seacraft is developed by Swiss company PlanetSolar, who wanted to create a vessel which was environmentally friendly and produced zero-emissions. Developed in 2010, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is the largest solar-powered boat ever built. Its 500 solar panels can provide 120 kilowatts of energy, allowing the ship to travel around 5 knots.

Business Insider 26th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 27 May 2018

Biomass

Dominic Lawson: Subsidies for burning biomass – better known as wood – never made sense. ‘Please could you reassure your readers,” said the charming young man from the environment department, “that we have not banned wood-burning stoves? No one will have them taken away.” His anxiety was understandable. There is a mutinous stirring in the countryside, following the strictures issued by his boss, Michael Gove. In his Clean Air Strategy, launched last week, the environment secretary indicated that various types of stove would have to be taken off the market because the amount of soot they produce sends too many of us choking into an unnecessarily early grave. It’s all very confusing. For years we have been actively encouraged by government to switch our domestic fuel supply to wood, on the grounds that it is much less damaging “to the planet” than burning fossil fuels. My family hom e, unconnected to the gas grid, is fuelled by oil brought in by small tankers. But we have woodland; and I have often been tempted by the leaflets that get posted to us, advertising the subsidies we could enjoy if we switched to a wood-burning stove. These are not just from companies flogging the things (“Not only do you get the benefit of installing a stunning wood pellet boiler, but you also earn money from it – up to £11,900 over the next seven years starting from the moment it is fitted”). The hard sells come from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, too. “Welcome to the domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI) payment calculator,” it cheerily told us a couple of years ago, with the additional happy news that there would be an increase of almost 70% in the domestic RHI biomass subsidy.

Times 27th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 27 May 2018

Renewables

Corporate demand for renewables is continuing to grow rapidly, with companies in 75 countries having actively sourced 465TWh of renewable energy in 2017. That is the headline finding of a new a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) published at this week’s Clean Energy Ministerial meeting in Copenhagen. The report predicted the continued decline in the costs of renewables means corporate demand is expected to continue to increase as companies seek to reduce electricity bills, hedge against future price spikes, and address sustainability concerns. Entitled Corporate Sourcing of Renewables: Market and Industry Trends, the report is the first attempt to quantify the scale of the corporate renewables market, which is widely seen as a major driver of global clean energy investment.

Business Green 25th May 2018 read more »

Nordic firms press EU over 35% renewable energy target. Orsted, Vestas Wind Systems and Ikea penned an open letter to the EU urging it to be “ambitious” in terms of energy efficiency and climate neutrality. The letter has been forwarded to EU energy ministers ahead of the Clean Energy Ministerial summit in Malmo and Copenhagen at the end of May. The letter said: “We believe that the adoption of a strong Clean Energy Package with a high level of ambition of the energy efficiency directive, renewable energy directive and governance regulation, is crucial for greenhouse gas emission reductions. “Ambitious climate and clean energy targets also drive economic development with increased competitiveness, job creation and improved health as well as lower dependency on energy imports.”

Energy Voice 23rd May 2018 read more »

Posted: 26 May 2018

Renewables – solar

A history of solar century on its 20th anniversary.

Jeremy Leggett 26th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 26 May 2018

Renewables – offshore wind

Consultancy group Ecofys’s report, Marine Biodiversity and the Development of a North Sea offshore Powerhouse, claims greater collaboration is needed for North Sea users to unlock a potential boom in offshore wind. The report said that by keeping to the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement, North Sea offshore wind could grow to almost 180 gigawatts by 2050 – 10 times current capacity. However, the white paper found that a “clear vision and plan is required” for the implementation of large-scale offshore wind.

Energy Voice 23rd May 2018 read more »

Posted: 26 May 2018

Biomass

Millions of households with open fires and wood-burning stoves could face curbs on their use after the government unveiled plans to clean up the UK’s air quality. Although this week’s announcement was short on detail, the environment secretary, Michael Gove, said he was ready to legislate to ensure only the “cleanest” domestic fuels would be available for sale. About 10% of UK homes (2.5 million) have an open fire or wood-burning stove. The consultation – part of the government’s 25-year plan to improve air quality – will almost certainly focus on wood burners and fires, not least because Gove says they account for 38% of damaging particulate matter in the UK. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has already asked for powers to curb their use and other councils are understood to be looking at them. So what does it all mean for those who love cuddling up in front of their open fire or stove? Experts say the burning of wet or unseasoned wood and smoky solid fuels is the main problem. Wet wood contains moisture that creates smoke and harmful particulates when burned. Properly seasoned wood should have a moisture content of 20% or less. One politically easy measure would be to ban the sale of wood that does not have the “ready to burn” logo. This would outlaw poor-quality logs bought from garage forecourts and DIY outlets. It would also force small log providers to become “Woodsure approved”, at a cost of £300-£400. Similarly, basic coal also faces being replaced with smokeless varieties that are approved by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and produce fewer particulates. Briquettes or heat logs that have a moisture content of about 6% are likely to be more in demand. Between a quarter and a third of all of London’s particulate pollution comes from domestic fires. Although many of the headlines focused on-wood burning stoves, Bruce Allen, chief executive of Hetas, the not-for-profit body that approves fuel and install standards, says open fires produce the bigger problem. One of the newest models of stoves used to burn dry wood will produce a fraction of the particulates of an open fire burning wet logs, he says. The government has also noted this in documents, meaning open fires are most at risk. Plenty of people will not take kindly to being told they can’t use their wood burners, which, some say, may explain why Gove plans to shift any ban on to local authorities. London residents look most at risk: the mayor has already asked for extra powers to improve air quality, including measures to tackle wood/solid fuel burning. It is estimated that between a quarter and a third of all of London’s particulate pollution comes from domestic fires. In January, during a period of high air pollution, it contributed half such emissions in some areas of the capital, according to King’s College London research. Those whose stove has been approved for use in smoke control areas by Defra, or who have a clean-burning “ecodesign ready” model, would still be able to use it. About 10% of existing stoves in homes conform, it is thought.

Guardian 26th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 26 May 2018

Local Energy

Local authorities have key role to play in energy transition. Local Authorities have the power to act as positive disruptors and have a key role to play in the energy transition which some may find surprising. That was the message Matthew Rhodes, chairman of Energy Capital had for an audience at Utility Week Live. The more focused mature of local economics sensitive to culture geography and community and added ability of local energy solutions to integrate with transport construction digital and health structures far outstrips that of national government. In being more locally-focused he argued decentralised energy propositions had greater scope for customer engagement: “being local makes it so much more possible to build tailored bespoke markets as opposed to relying on finite government grants.”

Utility Week 24th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 25 May 2018

Renewables – wind

Berwickshire’s innovative and award-winning wind farm, The Fishermen Three, has exceeded all expectations in its first year of operation. The Berwickshire Housing Association (BHA) wind farm at Hoprigshiels, near Cockburnspath, has generated 24,052MWh during the past year and the project has also provided an initial community benefit payment of £37,500 which will go to the communities closest to the wind farm site, to be spent on whatever they identify as their priorities. The three-turbine scheme was the first wind farm in the UK to be developed by a housing association as a means of funding new homes for social rental and is a joint venture between BHA and Community Energy Scotland (CES). By supplying energy to the National Grid, the wind farm will create revenue for BHA of around £20 million over the next 25 years – enough to allow them to build 500 new homes over that period.

Berwickshire News 25th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 25 May 2018

Renewables – offshore wind

Large-scale, interconnected offshore windfarms in the North Sea can form the basis of an ‘energy highway’ along which countries can trade green energy. That is the vision of the North Sea Wind Power Hub Consortium, communicated to energy ministers from many of the world’s leading economies at this year’s Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) in Denmark. The chairman of the board at Energinet, Lars Barfoed, said the members of the consortium share a vision that is bold, but simple. “We want to connect large-scale offshore wind power to a central hub and create new energy highways and trade corridors between North Sea countries.” European states have been examining the potential to transmit power produced by renewable energy sources from one country to another using so-called ‘interconnectors’ for some time. In order to achieve the Paris agreement’s climate and energy goals efficiently and with limited costs, international cooperation and innovation are necessary, said members of the consortium, speaking on 24 May 2018 at the CEM. By 2040, North Sea offshore wind power capacity could reach 70-150 GW, the consortium said, corresponding to around one fifth of the EU’s power consumption. That is about 7-15 times more wind energy capacity than has been installed so far in the North Sea.

Offshore Wind Journal 25th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 25 May 2018

Renewables – solar

Energy UK, the domestic energy industry trade body, has urged the government to reinstate Contracts for Difference (CfDs) auctions for established low carbon technologies like solar PV. The call comes within Energy UK’s five year review of the Electricity Market Reform policy package, which in 2013 sought to trigger an evolution of the UK’s energy markets. The full review is due to start next year but Energy UK, having consulted with its members, has put forward its opinion on some of the key policies. And central to that is a call for CfDs to not only continue, but for established low carbon technologies to be reinstated. So-called ‘Pot One’ technologies, which includes just solar and onshore wind, have effectively been restricted from the CfD process since the first auction took place in 2015. Auctions have since then been limited to Pot Two – less established technologies such as offshore wind – which has resulted in significant cost reductions. But Energy UK has now called for this exclusion to end and for Pot One technologies to be allowed to compete for ‘revenue stabilisation’ CfDs. It says these contracts would remove some of the inherent merchant risk of wholesale price fluctuations most commonly caused by volatility in the fossil fuel markets.

Solar Portal 24th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 25 May 2018