100% Renewables

A few astonishing facts about Uruguay and its quiet renewable energy revolution: currently 95% electricity and 55% primary energy from renewables, chapeau! All potential for hydro-power has already been exhausted, now wind, solar and biomass are next.

Deep resource 16th June 2018 read more »

Posted: 21 March 2019

Renewables – Hydro

Councillors have approved proposals for three small-scale hydro-electric schemes in a Highlands glen following a review of an earlier decision on them. The three projects in Glen Etive, near Glen Coe, were among seven that were approved by members of a Highland Council planning committee last month. But one committee member, Andrew Baxter, secured enough support for the review of last month’s consent. There is both support and opposition to the three schemes. Councillors voted on the individual schemes. The campaign Save Glen Etive, landscape charity the John Muir Trust and Mountaineering Scotland, a body representing the interests of hillwalkers, climbers and skiers, are among those opposing them.

BBC 20th March 2019 read more »

Scotsman 20th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 21 March 2019

Renewables – offshore wind

As communities across the county prepare for the impact of the infrastructure for three of the world’s largest offshore wind farms being built off the Norfolk coast, campaigners say there is a solution to reduce the problems it would bring. Campaigners in Necton, between Swaffham and Dereham, are calling on developers to use an Offshore Ring Main (ORM), which would take away the need for individual substations and cable corridors.

Eastern Daily Press 19th March 2019 read more »

The UK and China will today formally open a new £2m offshore wind research centre in the Chinese city of Yantai City, in a move that seeks to strengthen co-operation between two of the world’s largest offshore renewables markets. The UK government and industry backed Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult has teamed up with Beijing’s TUS Wind Technology Co Ltd and TUS Mingshi Science and Innovation Co Ltd, which is based in Yantai, to form TUS-ORE Catapult Research Centre (TORC) – a joint venture company that will run the new centre.

Business Green 21st March 2019 read more »

Posted: 21 March 2019

Renewables – solar

Eden Sustainable and AMP Clean Energy have partnered on a new, multi-million-pound post-subsidy solar fund. The duo are to develop and finance a number of post-subsidy solar projects and have already amassed a pipeline of around 30MW, around half of which is pegged as being at an advanced stage. The pipeline is representative of investment totalling around £10 million and includes projects on behalf of SMEs, academies, industrial and provident societies and listed companies.

Solar Power Portal 20th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 21 March 2019

Decarbonising Heat

The Ofgem chief has expressed concerns over the decarbonisation of heat, warning there could be a backlash from consumers if they are forced to adopt new technologies such as hydrogen boilers. Speaking at the annual spring forum of Aurora Energy Research, chief executive of the energy regulator Dermot Nolan said he is relatively “sanguine” about the decarbonisation of power and transport but admitted he is “far more nervous about the issue of heat”. Nolan noted there are two main options for decarbonising heat – either electrification or converting gas networks to run on low-carbon hydrogen. He said a hydrogen grid “would be great” but has not been demonstrated at scale and would require “huge” regulatory changes. He was recently shown a hydrogen boiler and was “quite impressed”. But given the “reluctance” some people have shown to welcome smart meters into their homes, Nolan worried that consumers would “react” badly if they are compelled to install a new type of heating system. At the same time, the electrification of heat would mean abandoning £40 billion of existing gas infrastructure.

Utility Week 20th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 21 March 2019

Island Energy

A £709 million subsea electricity link to help Shetland export renewable energy to the mainland has moved a step closer. Ofgem said that it is likely to approve the project and will make a final decision this year. However, the regulator indicated it is likely to reject a £663 million link between the Western Isles and the mainland. The infrastructure projects are regarded as key to allowing more wind farms on the islands. The links are needed to ensure new projects can export the energy produced to the mainland grid as well as improving the security of supply to the islands. Both developments are being brought forward by Scottish and Southern Energy Networks. Ofgem said it is likely to approve the 600 megawatt Shetland-to-Caithness link if the Viking Energy wind farm, which will have a capacity of up to 457 megawatts, wins a subsidy through the UK government’s contracts for difference regime — the main mechanism for supporting low-carbon electricity generation.

Times 20th March 2019 read more »

Plans to lay a £709m subsea electricity cable from Shetland to the Scottish mainland have been provisionally approved by Ofgem. The energy regulator said it was minded to give the go-ahead for SSE Networks’ (SSEN) 600MW transmission link. It would allow new wind farms on Shetland to export electricity to the rest of the UK. However, Ofgem has rejected current proposals for a 600MW cable linking the Western Isles to the mainland. The energy regulator said it had concerns about the cost to consumers of having the cable constructed based on the link serving just two wind farm projects on the isles. Ofgem said it would instead support alternative proposals for a 450MW cable, or even a 600MW link but at a reduced cost. The regulator said the alternative projects would need to “more appropriately” protect consumers from additional costs of funding “a potentially significantly underutilised link”. SEN said it had managed to reduce the estimated costs of its proposed 600MW link from £662.9m to £623.8m, and the 450MW cable from £616.8m to about £596m. It had proposed having the Western Isles link laid by 2023.

BBC 19th March 2019 read more »

Scotsman 19th March 2019 read more »

The National 20th March 2019 read more »

SHETLAND is preparing for a second energy boom after regulators signalled approval for a £709 million subsea electricity cable linking the islands to the mainland, aimed at unlocking the power of wind. Ofgem said it is minded to green-light the Scottish and Southern Energy Networks (SSEN) 600 megawatt link, which would allow new wind farms on Shetland to export renewable electricity to the rest of the UK and help ensure security of supply on the islands. But critics hit out after the regulator indicated it will reject similar plans in the Western Isles. It instead suggested a smaller, 450MW cable would better protect consumers than paying for a “significantly underutilised link” which would connect to two wind farms on Lewis. SNP MP Angus MacNeil, who represents the Outer Hebrides, said he was dismayed by the decision, adding: “It would be a mistake to build 450MW instead of 600MW. This would mean that the project would be unlikely to go ahead in an area which has the strongest wind resource in Europe.”

Herald 19th March 2019 read more »

SSE fury at expected ruling on Western Isles energy link.

Energy Voice 20th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 20 March 2019

Decarbonising Heat

There is no obvious answer to the “hugely difficult” challenge of reducing Britain’s dependence on carbon-emitting heating systems, the energy regulator has warned. Dermot Nolan, chief executive of Ofgem, questioned whether households would be willing to accept green alternatives to gas boilers because some had proved reluctant to have smart meters installed. The bosses of two of Britain’s Big Six energy groups also questioned how the country would turn its heating system green. Iain Conn, chief executive of Centrica, the owner of British Gas, said the option of switching from natural gas to pure hydrogen was “highly unlikely” to work, while Keith Anderson, chief executive of Scottish Power, said technology to solve the challenge had yet to be invented. Burning natural gas for heating and cooking emits carbon dioxide, which causes global warming. About 80 per cent of British homes are heated by gas, and heating accounts for about a third of the country’s carbon emissions. Finding a way to decarbonise the heating system represents one of the biggest policy challenges facing any government if it is to hit climate change targets. The UK has committed to reducing carbon emissions by at least 80 per cent from 1990 levels by 2050. The two main options that have been proposed are the electrification of heating or the conversion of the gas grid to run on cleaner-burning gases such as hydrogen. Yesterday, Mr Nolan, 52, told the Aurora Spring Forum, a gathering in Oxford of key figures from the European energy industry, that he was “far more worried” about cutting emissions from heating than from the electricity or transport sectors. Mr Nolan said “significant and difficult decisions” lay ahead and that hydrogen-based technology “doesn’t potentially really exist at the moment” and would require huge changes such as the installation of new boilers in every home. Mr Conn, 56, said that he did not believe in the “mass use of pure hydrogen” because it was “highly unlikely to be practical”, although he suggested that lower amounts of the gas could be blended into the system. He said three years ago that the idea of electrifying all heating was “mad”. Yesterday, however, Mr Conn proposed that electric heat pumps would have a role to play and that British Gas would eventually end up installing them.

Times 20th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 20 March 2019

Renewable Heat

ETI releases new report to support the UK’s transition to low carbon do The Journey to Smarter Heat, written by the ETI with support from the Energy Systems Catapult, tackles three interconnected areas: heating needs and controls within the home; heating infrastructure and building retrofit at a local level; and the operation and governance of the whole system. The report highlights that for the UK to transition to a low carbon heating system it must understand consumer needs and behaviours, while connecting this with the development and integration of technologies and new business models. Decarbonising heat means supplying homes with something other than natural gas. The report identifies the options available including, electrifying heat in individual homes, connecting neighbourhoods to new district heat networks, repurposing the natural gas grid to transport hydrogen or biogas and improving the fabric efficiencies of homes domestic heating, completing Phase 1 of its Smart System and Heat programme.

ETI 19th March 2019 read more »

A new programme has been launched by the government’s Energy Systems Catapult centre to assist small and medium sized businesses (SME) develop low carbon heating and cooling. The package, dubbed Incubator and Accelerator, offers SMEs support to secure investment for smart energy systems with expertise from the Catapult offered alongside a network of partners to help with business growth. Applications for the programme are open until 5 April, and the government centre has said that help with modelling services, consumer insights, digital and data services, system integration, business model innovation, market analysis, funding, and technical expertise can all be provided. The support follows the Government’s announcement last year of a £320m package to accelerate the adoption of low carbon heat technologies across the UK. Called the Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP), it offers grants and loans to businesses, hospitals, schools and local authorities with a heat network of two or more buildings. The scheme is being operated by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which claims that a switch to heat networks could “significantly” reduce the UK’s carbon emissions, if the transition is carried out at scale.

Edie 19th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 20 March 2019

Hydrogen

A New South Wales-based effort to develop renewable hydrogen storage solutions – including a 5kW home solar storage system – has received $3.5 million in backing from green investment outfit Providence Asset Group. Tamworth-based company H2Store is working on the technology in partnership with the University of New South Wales, which promises to overcome one of the key barriers to realising the potential of green hydrogen in Australia – storage and transportation.

One Step Off the Grid 20th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 20 March 2019

Renewables – Hydro

Councillors are to review proposals for three small-scale hydro-electric schemes in a Highlands glen. The three projects in Glen Etive, near Glen Coe, are among seven that were approved by members of a Highland Council planning committee last month. But one committee member, Andew Baxter, secured enough support for the review, which will take place at a meeting on Wednesday. There is both support and opposition to the three schemes. The campaign Save Glen Etive and Mountaineering Scotland, a body representing the interests of hillwalkers, climbers and skiers, are among those opposing them. However, Glencoe and Glen Etive Community Council supports the overall hydro project, which could produce enough electricity for up to 8,000 properties and raise community benefit funding. The developer Dickins Hydro said it appreciated the glen was a special area and would do everything in its power to reduce any impact on the environment.

BBC 20th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 20 March 2019