Renewables – offshore wind

UK offshore wind prices predicted to fall to 25 per cent less than Hinkley C – but it could still be done much cheaper! Offshore wind prices are plunging fast. A leading wind expert says that the next round of UK contracts awarded (next January) for offshore wind projects will undercut the price given to Hinkley C by around 25 per cent. Not only this but the contract length will be only 15 years for the offshore wind projects compared to the 35 years for Hinkley C. In Germany, meanwhile, the latest round of contracts for onshore wind are being issued at under £40 per MWh. The last Danish offshore wind project at Kriegers Flak was awarded a contract last December for under £44 per MWh (no more than £55 per MWh after taking into account grid connection costs). Gordon Edge, who served for over a decade as RenewableUK Policy Officer but who now runs an independent consultancy, is predicting that the ‘strike price’ awarded to wind projects will fall to around £70 per MWh. Not only this, but Edge believes that over 3GW of offshore wind contracts could be issued to fit in with the Government’s ‘budget’ for spending on power from new offshore wind projects. These prices are, however, calculated in 2012 prices as is done with the Hinkley C contract which is worth £92.50 in 2012 prices. This could mean that in this second round of ‘CfD’ (contract for differences) allocation (the first was in early 2015) all of the 3GW+ of offshore wind contracts could be in place by 2022/3. This would generate over 4 per cent of UK electricity supply, possibly as much as close to 5 per cent. Yet, the UK Government’s own method of procuring offshore wind has become the least competitive and most expensive procedure in Europe. Gordon Edge’s analysis reveals that in effect there are only three competitors in the race to pick up contracts under the current CfD round. And even in these cases the companies have been saddled with sorting out planning and site investigation details – details which in other European procurement regimes are dealt with by Government agencies. This process has also led to confrontations with RSPB over some Scottish offshore windfarm projects. On top of this the Uk Government is setting onerous rules about how and when the projects that gain contract should be deployed. All of this is in flagrant contrast to the freedom given to EDF to install Hinkley C. As I commented in my last blog post the Government needs to start the process of identifying new offshore wind sites

Dave Toke’s Blog 17th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 18 August 2017

Renewables – wind

Shares in Vestas fell 7 per cent after the Danish wind turbine manufacturer said delays in delivering projects had hit both profits and revenues in the second quarter. The company is sticking with its guidance for the full year but warned that results could be affected by delays in turbine installation due to bad weather and problems with grid connections. Vestas shares, which are listed on the Danish stock exchange, were 7 per cent lower in early trading at DKr575, having closed on Wednesday at DKr622. Five years ago, Vestas recovered from a brush with financial collapse by cutting costs and jobs. Anders Runevad, who became chief executive in 2013, has since benefited from a surge of demand worldwide as the price of wind power has come down significantly.

FT 17th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 18 August 2017

Renewables – solar

A rare eclipse set to traverse the US on Monday has sparked a tourism bonanza, as people flock to towns in its path to see the sun’s corona encircle the moon. The control rooms of the nation’s electric utilities will be also be watching. That is because thousands of megawatts of solar energy will disappear as skies darken. In California, the grid operator is lining up additional supply from natural gas power plants and hydroelectric dams to accommodate the drop. PJM Interconnection, the grid spanning from Illinois to New Jersey, expects up to 2,500MW of solar power to be lost and will rely on replacement generation.

FT 18th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 18 August 2017

Renewables – Anaerobic Digestion

In 2016, we launched our Green Gas, giving customers – old and new – a completely carbon neutral gas offering for the very first time. We recently paid a visit to Cannington Enterprises, our suppliers of biomethane – which makes up 6% of our gas – to find out how it’s generated and what the future is for increased biomethane in the grid.

Good Energy 16th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 18 August 2017

Smart Grid

The Energy Networks Association (ENA) is seeking views on how best to create new markets to enable distributed energy resources – including solar panels, batteries and electric vehicles – to provide services to the power grid. The consultation will explore how the UK can create a smart electricity grid that enables new markets and opportunities for distributed energy technologies.

Edie 17th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 18 August 2017

Renewables – Floating Turbines

The last turbine has been installed at the world’s first full-scale floating offshore wind farm off the Aberdeenshire coast. Five giant wind turbines make up the Hywind pilot development, about 15 miles (25km) from Peterhead. The Norwegian oil firm Statoil has been working on developing the project for more than 15 years. It allows turbines to be installed in much deeper waters than conventional offshore installations. Their height from the water line is 172m, which is almost four times the height of the Forth Bridge. The company is now hooking up the cables and hopes to generate the first electricity in October.

BBC 16th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 August 2017

Renewables – offshore wind

Almost 1,400 birds will die each year if a controversial offshore wind farm gets the go-ahead, the UK’s leading bird-protection charity has claimed. Anne McCall, director of the RSPB in Scotland, has responded after the charity was criticised by business groups for trying to halt the wind project. As reported in The Times yesterday, 29 companies have come together to call on the RSPB to stop its legal action against the 64-turbine development due to be sited off the east coast of Scotland. The business groups warned that the charity’s efforts to halt the development threatened the livelihoods of hundreds of families and the £2 billion investment due to be spent on the Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm. Writing in The Times today, Ms McCall warns that the number of sea birds likely to be killed by the turbines would damage the bird colonies on Bass Rock. She writes: “According to Scottish ministers’ own estimates, the four projects would kill 1,169 gannets and 1,251 puffins every year, resulting in 21 per cent fewer gannets on the Bass Rock and 25 per cent fewer puffins on other ‘protected’ islands of the Forth.” Mainstream Renewable Power, the wind farm’s developer, claimed that the project would bring £610 million in revenue into the regional economy.

Times 17th Aug 2017 read more »

RSPB Scotland’s decision to challenge the Scottish ministers’ approval of four wind farms in the Firth of Forth aims to strengthen democratic accountability and clearly fulfils our charitable objects. Suggestions that our actions are undemocratic are wide of the mark. Charities like us exist to deliver public benefit, such as protecting wildlife, and have a duty to challenge public bodies’ decisions which threaten to make those charitable objects significantly more difficult to achieve.

Times 17th Aug 2017 read more »

A group of about 30 Scottish supply-chain companies have come together in support of a £2 billion offshore wind farm ready to be built next year off the east coast of Scotland. The organisations supportive of the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) project have written an open letter to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Scotland calling on it to abandon further court action aimed at delaying the project. The firms say they are behind many of the 600 jobs the wind farm will create. It is expected to generate enough green energy to power all the homes in a city the size of Edinburgh. In their view, the Scottish renewables supply chain “can ill afford further delays in the project and appeals to the membership organisation to accept the recent decision of the Scottish courts”, last month dismissing the RSPB’s request for permission to appeal approval of the project. It was originally consented by Scottish ministers in 2014.

Scotsman 16th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 August 2017

Renewables – solar

Planning permission has been granted to build Scotland’s largest solar farm. The multimillion-pound development, about five miles northeast of Elgin in Moray, will have 80,000 photovoltaic panels across a 125-acre (506,000 sq m) site. Once operational it could provide enough power for up to 10,000 homes. Moray council’s planning committee gave unanimous backing to the plan for the Speyslaw area on the Innes estate. It is not yet clear when construction work will begin, but a solar farm of this scale would typically take three or four months to build. A 2.5m-high deer fence will be installed around the site and CCTV cameras will provide remote monitoring. All cabling will be placed underground, meaning sheep will still be able to graze around the panels. The largest operational solar farm in Scotland is the 55,000-panel site at the Errol estate in Perthshire, which powers about 3,500 homes.

Times 17th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 August 2017

Biodiesel

Lurking in darkness under our city’s streets is a silent and growing threat to human health. Cooking fats and grease tipped down the sink in homes and businesses are mixing with solids in our sewers and forming giant lumps of solid fat, sometimes the size of cars, sometimes hundreds of metres long. They cause a media frenzy when photos of them appear online, but in their most extreme form, ‘fatbergs’ can damage or block or sewers, causing serious disruption. Earlier this year a fatberg running the length of an entire sewer was found in Cheltenham, where it took eight hours to unblock. They’re a particular problem in older systems, such as the 1940s-era sewers th at had to be completely replaced when a vast, 10-tonne fatberg the size of a London bus led to the replacement of 100 feet of tunnels, costing Thames Water £400,000. Even that berg was smaller than the 15-tonne Kingston fatberg that resulted in the formation of Thames Water’s crack fatberg hit squad, a team of sewage treatment experts specialised in their removal. In practice, the removal of fat and grease deposits from the capital’s sewers relies on relatively basic techniques, blasting the solid waste with high-pressure hoses, and scraping off the remnants. “We clear a sewer blockage caused by fatbergs every seven-and-a-half minutes and spend more than £1m a month clearing them,” says Lawrence Gosden, head of wastewater at Thames Water. “Annually, there are around 366,000 sewer blockages in the UK,” he adds. “Eight times every hour, a Thames Water customer suffers a blockage caused by sewer abuse. As well as being costly in terms of money, there is also a human cost of these fatbergs, as we often have to close a road to dig down and clear them, often causing delays and inconveniences.” As destructive as they are, utility companies are beginning to take advantage of some surprising opportunities to be found by reprocessing fatbergs. At a site on England’s North-west coast, Argent Energy has started turning fatbergs from wastewater facilities around the country into a biodiesel. In a simplified version of the process the untreated fats, oils and greases – FOG – arrives at the plant, gets heated to separate oil and grease, has excess solids removed and becomes biodiesel with the addition of a few chemicals, polished off with distillation.

Independent 17th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 August 2017

100% Renewables

In this article, Professor Mark Diesendorf, who teaches, researches and consults in sustainable energy, energy policy, sustainable urban transport, ecological economics, among other areas, at the UNSW Sydney, argues that a transition to a 100% renewable energy system is technically feasible and replete with key benefits.

Insurge Intelligence 20th July 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 August 2017