Renewables

Britain has shifted 30 per cent of its electricity away from fossil fuels in just nine years. The UK is in the midst of a remarkable energy industry transformation, the full scale and pace of which is rarely understood. Nine years ago, Britain generated nearly 75 per cent of its electricity using natural gas and coal. In 2018, this dropped to under 45 per cent – a remarkable transition away from fossil fuels in under a decade. As energy efficiency improved, demand fell, and the UK generated less electricity than at any point since 1994. Our own analysis below looks at the past year, using similar data for Great Britain (as Northern Ireland has a separate power system), and we include net imports from France, the Netherlands and Ireland as an overall part of electrical generation. Here are a few things we found: Our analysis shows that annual renewable generation has increased by 27 terawatt hours (TWh) over the three years since 2015. This is particularly impressive considering the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant will produce a similar annual amount of electricity but will take three times as long to build (from contract signing). Could Britain repeat its success since 2010 and reduce its coal and natural gas generation by a further 30 percentage points? Under this scenario, the country would then generate just a sixth of its electricity from fossil fuels. It’s definitely possible, but the next decade will be more challenging for two main reasons: the demand for electricity is expected to rise rather than fall, and incorporating ever greater levels of variable renewable generation will need additional flexibility. To achieve this, new renewable generation – new solar panels, new turbines, new hydro, tidal, marine and biomass generation – will have to replace an estimated 100 TWh per year (about four Hinkley Point Cs) from fossil fuels. That would require a build programme that was broadly 50 per cent greater than the previous nine years. Given the continued development of offshore wind in particular, this seems challenging but achievable. Solar and wind prices keep falling, which will help. Indeed, the UK’s business and energy secretary Greg Clarke recently said that “it is looking likely that by the mid 2020s, green power will be the cheapest power. It can be zero subsidy”.

Business Green 15th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 15 January 2019

Biomass

More than one million British family homes warm their cockles with a wood-burning stove during the winter months. This year, however, they will face a crackdown, after the Government announced plans to outlaw all but the cleanest stoves by 2022 as part of its wider Clean Air Strategy. The Government will ban the sale of stoves that don’t meet environmental standards, encourage the sale of cleaner wood and ask those who own older, less green stoves to consider upgrading. It could also introduce “no-burn notices” that give councils the power to block people from using their stoves on days when air quality is particularly low. Stoves available on the market now release 90 per cent fewer emissions than open fires and 80 per cent fewer than the stoves of 10 years ago, he adds. Newly designed stoves are also 80 per cent efficient, increased from 60 per cent in 2008, meaning new owners get more heat for their money. Unfortunately, it is difficult to make older stoves cleaner, according to Milligan: “You can retrofit filters, but they’re very expensive and not really proven technology.” “The best thing to do if you have a stove is to ensure you’re burning dry wood,” says Milligan. “It will cut the emissions and give you more heat.” Garage forecourts, garden centres and DIY stores have started selling Government-approved “ready-to-burn” wood, which contains just 20 per cent moisture. Soon, this could be the only wood available. For those who burn wood they have chopped themselves, Milligan recommends letting it dry for two years before putting it on the stove.

Telegraph 14th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 15 January 2019

Renewables – solar

UK government opens consultation on large scale PV-plus-storage rules. In the U.K., systems bigger than 50 MW fall under the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime and require special permitting. With the aim of optimizing the market for higher storage penetration, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is holding a consultation until March 25 to determine whether to retain the 50 MW threshold. The consultation opened today considers two areas that have proved contentious while reviewing the energy flexibility plan. One is: “Whether the level and unit of the 50 MW capacity threshold for non-wind onshore generating stations in the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) regime is appropriate for electricity storage.” The other concerns “clarification of how composite projects, consisting of storage and another form of generation, should be treated with regards to the NSIP capacity threshold”.

PV Magazine 14th Jan 2019 read more »

We’re seeking views on proposals for amending the treatment of electricity storage within the planning system.

BEIS 14th Jan 2019 read more »

The government is seeking to remove a significant hurdle for utility-scale co-located storage sites, enabling projects with combined capacities in excess of 50MW to proceed without requiring government consent.

Solar Power Portal 14th Jan 2019 read more »

Business Green 15th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 15 January 2019

Renewables – tidal

Abundance has raised £7million for Orbital Marine Power and the world’s most powerful tidal stream turbine. This year looks set to be a top year for green and social investment as the UK’s leading peer-to-peer ethical investment company Abundance starts the year closing its largest fund raise to date, raising £7 million for innovative Scottish tidal energy company Orbital Marine Power (Orkney). Orbital Marine Power (formerly Scotrenewables Tidal Power) will use the funds raised to build its first production model Orbital O2 2MW turbine, an innovative floating tidal turbine platform that can be towed, installed and easily maintained. The project already has secured a number of supporting grants as well as equity funding, including from the Scottish Government.

Ecologist 15th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 15 January 2019

Local Energy

Almost £2 million in new European funding is to support the development of a “new wave” of energy projects in the South West. Bristol City Council, in partnership with Devon and Plymouth councils, has secured a €1.9 million (£1.7 million) grant from the European Investment Bank and the European Commission to fund the deployment of new renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport and heat networks project in the region. The support originates from the European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) funding facility, which was also the source of an initial £50 million fund awarded to Bristol in 2014 to support a range of energy and sustainability projects. Since then, Bristol has emerged as one of the UK’s leading destinations for clean energy and sustainability projects, culminating in the launch of Bristol Energy, a council-owned utility supplying locally-sourced power to Bristolians. Around 8MW of solar PV generating capacity has been installed by Bristol City Council and that figure stands to swell further underneath the new programme. Devon County Council cabinet member for the environment Roger Croad said that the funding would help the county kick start a range of clean energy projects, and it is expected that it will trigger at least £16 million of investment into low carbon initiatives in Devon alone.

Solar Power Portal 15th Jan 2019 read more »

Introduction to IGov Roundtable on Local Governance From: Catherine Mitchell. Presentation to: Local governance & energy system change IGov roundtable, Energy Systems Catapult, Birmingham, 28th November 2018.

IGov 14th Jan 2019 read more »

Local Energy Governance. From: Jess Britton. Presentation to: Local governance & energy system change IGov roundtable, Energy Systems Catapult, Birmingham, 28th November 2018. Context and introduction; Increasing focus on ‘local energy’; More than just an economic opportunity; Next 2 to 4 years a key period? Governing local energy systems.

IGov 14th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 15 January 2019

Energy Storage

In a world increasingly anxious about climate change, the surge in the generation of renewable energy over the past 20 years offers a sliver of hope. But the variable nature of wind and solar power means that storing energy until consumers need it has become the next big challenge. And so, large-scale battery installations are springing up across electricity grids around the world, to make them more flexible. In 2017, more than 1GW of energy storage capacity was added around the world – a record, yes, but still a drop in the ocean of global energy demand. There is around 500MW of large-scale battery capacity installed around the UK, a figure that is expected to double within three years, according to the analysts Aurora Energy Research. Almost all capacity uses lithium-ion. Globally installed capacity is expected to top 50GW by 2020 – and surge to almost 1,000GW by 2040, according to Bloomberg NEF. That would equate to about 7% of the world’s energy capacity.

Guardian 14th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 15 January 2019

Renewables

Smaller companies that want to go greener may be worried about the additional costs of renewable energy compared to ‘normal’ energy, particularly if on a budget. However, there are ways that you can move towards renewable energy that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Energy Voice 14th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 14 January 2019

Biomass

The most polluting log burners will be banned within three years while coal could be outlawed under the Government’s new air pollution strategy. Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, has announced a crackdown on emissions from the home as part of a wider push to reduce people’s exposure to particulate matter which is considered the most damaging pollutant. The proposals, outlined in the Government’s Clean Air Strategy, include plans to outlaw the sale of the most polluting fuels and to ensure only the cleanest stoves are sold by 2022. A recent surge in popularity means domestic burning on stoves and open fires is now the single biggest source of particulate matter emissions. As a result the Government is planning to restrict the sale of wet wood for domestic burning and apply sulphur and smoke emission limits to all solid fuels to improve air quality.

Telegraph 14th Jan 2019 read more »

Government plans to tackle toxic air pollution have been described by green campaigners as a “missed opportunity” to tackle the problem of traffic emissions. Lauded by ministers as a strategy that places the UK above the rest of the world in the fight for cleaner air, the strategy does not address the car fumes that have repeatedly landed the government in court. Despite this omission, the plan does float severe crackdowns on wood-burning stoves and pollution from farms to cut harmful particulates and ammonia gas from the air. Air pollution is one of the nation’s biggest public health threats, and has been linked to everything from breathing difficulties to dementia. The new targets, which were published in draft form for consultation last May, are intended to cut billions from the economic losses arising every year as a result of costs to the NHS and sick days triggered by filthy air. Environment secretary Michael Gove said tackling emissions from car exhausts was “only one part of the story”, emphasising the focus on all forms of air pollution. Under the new plans, the most polluting wood burners and coal for open fires will be banned, and farming reforms will be introduced to cut huge quantities of ammonia the industry pumps out.

Independent 14th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 14 January 2019

Renewables – tidal

The UK’s first floating tidal stream turbine is set to be deployed off the coast of Scotland in 2020, after £7m of funding to build the device was secured earlier this month. Developed by Orkney-based renewable energy innovation firm Orbital Marine Power, the 2MW device will comprise a 73-metre-long floating superstructure with a 1MW turbine attached to each side. The development team behind the innovation claim this design makes it easy to install, maintain and tow. Production of the technology, called the O2 Turbine, will begin in Orkney this year, Orbital Marine Power confirmed this week, after £7m of investment was raised by peer-to-peer ethical investment company Abundance. The project is being partially funded by the Scottish Government, which has pledged £2m, with the remainder of the investment having been crowdfunded among the investor community and the general public. In total, around 2,300 individuals have invested in the scheme.

Edie 11th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 14 January 2019

Renewables – solar

A British solar panel manufacturer has raised $31m (£24.1m) to expand in Rwanda, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. London-based Bboxx has already deployed more than 150,000 solar systems, helping nearly 1m people in 35 countries. It offers pay-as-you-go solar power that is cheaper and cleaner than kerosene to people previously off grid, and made more than £20m in sales in 2017. Africa Infrastructure Investment Managers, a private equity fund manager, has taken a minority stake in Bboxx’s operations in the three countries.

Times 13th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 13 January 2019