News

Community Renewables

Following the creation of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park in 2002, residents of Callander – the area’s largest town – established the Callander Community Development Trust (CCDT). The objective of the trust was to regenerate the town whilst benefiting the community and region. Following consultation with local people, the trust put together a ­community action plan. The trust’s board ­recognised that the area’s ­natural resources could generate ­revenue for the local economy and that hydro ­power was the obvious answer. By generating hydro-electric ­energy for sale to the National Grid, the CCDT could make the town more sustainable and less reliant on external funding. The first step towards creating the hydro-electric scheme was to secure funding. CCDT applied to Social Investment Scotland (SIS) and received £1.9million. Further investment was also secured from Scottish Investment Bank and ­Triodos Bank, in addition to grant funding from EU Leader and the Scottish Government. Callander Community Hydro is now one of the first community-led hydro schemes in Scotland. The ­’run-of-river’ system diverts water from Stank Burn into a turbine house to generate electricity before returning it to the burn further downstream. Electricity was first generated and sold to the National Grid in September 2014, and the scheme is anticipated to produce £3 million of investments over the next 20 years. The people of Callander have already begun to see the benefits. The Trust has so far distributed £80,000 from the Hydro Fund to community projects and part-funds the Callander Town Coordinator who brings ­community groups together and helps manage the fund.

Scotsman 23rd May 2018 read more »

Posted: 23 May 2018

Renewables – solar

The UK’s largest hospitality company, Whitbread, will roll out its onsite solar array scheme to a further 70 of its Premier Inn locations this year to help it meet its “industry-leading” science-based target. The firm, which has pledged to halve its carbon emissions intensity by 50% by 2025 and by 88% by 2050, installed on-site solar on 88 of its hotels between 2013-2015. It estimates that the 70 new Anesco solar panel installations, which are set to be in place by the end of autumn, will raise the combined solar capacity of Premier Inn sites to more than 3MW – enough energy to power 2.9 million washing machine cycles.

Edie 22nd May 2018 read more »

Posted: 23 May 2018

100% Renewables

The ongoing debate around whether it’s feasible to have an electric grid running on 100 percent renewable power in the coming decades often misses a key point: many countries and regions are already at or close to 100 percent now. According to data compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, there are seven countries already at, or very, near 100 percent renewable power: Iceland (100 percent), Paraguay (100), Costa Rica (99), Norway (98.5), Austria (80), Brazil (75), and Denmark (69.4). The main renewables in these countries are hydropower, wind, geothermal, and solar. A new international study, which debunks many myths about renewable energy, notes that many large population regions are “at or above 100%” including Germany’s Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Hostein regions, New Zealand’s South Island, and Denmark’s Samsø island. In Canada, both Quebec and British Columbia are at nearly 100 percent renewable power.

Renew Economy 23rd May 2018 read more »

Posted: 23 May 2018

Energy Storage

E.ON chief executive Michael Lewis has claimed that an energy storage revolution must happen within a decade if the world is to meet the Paris Agreement goals. Lewis was asked whether he believed that energy storage would undergo a revolution on a scale similar to the renewables revolution of the 1990s and early 2000s by 2028. “Well, it will have to,” he answered. “You can’t just keep building more and more solar power and wind farms if you cannot store the energy either overnight or seasonally – this is the big challenge that is now ahead of us.” Lewis, who was appointed to the role of environmental specialist at E.ON, known then as Powergen, 26 years ago, said he was “very optimistic” that the revolution would happen within a decade despite the persistent complications of storing energy seasonally.

Edie 22nd May 2018 read more »

Posted: 23 May 2018

Energy Efficiency

Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to halve the energy use from new buildings by 2030, as part of a speech that championed the role that science and technology will play in delivering the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Appearing at the Jodrell Bank observatory complex in Cheshire on Monday (22 May), the Prime Minister challenged the construction industry to embrace innovation and deliver higher standards to meet the new 2030 target, which will also reduce household energy bills and help with national carbon targets, according to May. “We will use new technologies and modern construction practices to at least halve the energy usage of new buildings by 2030. By making our buildings more energy efficient and embracing smart technologies, we can slash household energy bills, reduce demand for energy, and meet our targets for carbon reduction.” As part of the “clean growth and grand challenge mission”, the UK Government will also aim to halve the energy costs for the existing building stock – both domestically and commercially. Heat and power for buildings currently account for 40% of national energy usage. May noted that the Industrial Strategy would act as a “catalyst for new technologies” that could then be exported to a “global market for clean technologies”. Commenting on the announcement, the UK Green Building Council’s (UKGBC) Julie Hirigoyen said: “Addressing the energy used in new and existing buildings will be central to delivering clean growth and can only be achieved with strong leadership from Government working in close partnership with the industry.

Edie 22nd May 2018 read more »

Posted: 23 May 2018

Fossil Fuels

Fracking on up to half the land the government has approved for shale gas extraction could trigger earthquakes, according to a leading seismologist. Professor Peter Styles, a former Downing Street adviser, said extracting gas from former coal mining areas “dramatically enhances” the risk of seismic activity, prompting calls for an immediate fracking moratorium. A new report authored by Prof Styles outlining the threat comes the week after a government plan to accelerate fracking developments by fast-trac king private companies’ planning applications.

Independent 22nd May 2018 read more »

Posted: 23 May 2018

Electric Vehicles

The geopolitics of electric cars will be messy. A shift to a green energy economy is bringing a new variety of political tensions. The era of fossil fuels will end. Last year, Britain had its first day without burning coal for electricity since the industrial revolution, and even the largest oil companies say it will be impossible to buy a petrol car by the middle of the century. Oil has had a leading role in geopolitics over the past 100 years, sucking western powers into an often disastrous dependence on the Middle East. While black gold, as oil is sometimes known, is not always the overt cause of conflict, it is linked to between one quarter and a half of all interstate conflicts globally between 1973 and 2012, according to a 2013 study by Jeff Colgan of Brown University. But it would be a mistake to assume that geopolitical tensions will miraculously ease in a future in which renewable energy sources dominate. Building wind turbines and creating lithium-ion batteries requires metals and raw materials from those countries which are blessed, or potentially cursed, with them. And for some of these commodities, their high concentration in particular parts of the world sharpens the risks. Take electric car batteries and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The African country accounts for more than half the world’s production of cobalt, essential for most electric car batteries. A clean energy economy will require a staggering volume of metals to be prized from the ground. For example, Olivier Vidal of the University Grenoble Alpes estimates that to build the infrastructure for clean energy the amount of copper needed amounts to almost half the total mined since 1900. There is also the real risk that the age of the electric car will generate corporate monopolies, echoing those of Standard Oil whose founder John D Rockefeller corn ered the oil market more than a century ago as the combustion engine took off. Glencore, the Switzerland-based and London-listed miner, is expanding its production of cobalt which is set to give it a 40 per cent share of global supply by 2020. The production of lithium, a key ingredient for batteries in electric cars as well as smartphones, is controlled by just five companies.

FT 23rd May 2018 read more »

The UK needs a sixfold increase in the number of electric vehicle charging points by 2020 to provide adequate infrastructure for green motorists, new research has found. It estimates there will be more than one million EVs on UK roads within two years, requiring 100,000 charging points. Currently there are just 16,500, according to the report from data company Emu Analytics. Currently only 3 per cent of supermarkets have a charging point, the research found. Asda has the best coverage, with chargers at 19 per cent of its stores, while Tesco has the worst, with chargers at just 0.4 per cent.

Independent 22nd May 2018 read more »

It’s clear that future transport is going to require more electricity – a lot more. Renewable energy advocates need to figure out a response to this – and quick. Given that coal-fired electricity generation has more or less been put out of its suffering, advocates of nuclear and gas are immediately going to pipe up and press forward the case for more of these filthy behemoths, predictably claiming that renewables are not up to the new job of EV charging.So: we need a plan for a faster growth of renewable energy, not simply to replace the dirty energy generators that we have at the moment, but to provide the additional power required by the replacement of petrol and diesel in the transport sector. Electric vehicles solve little if the electricity used to power them is generated by, er, fossil fuels.

Brighton Energy Co-op 22nd May 2018 read more »

It has been an eventful and uplifting few days for the electric vehicle (EV) market. First an electric Jaguar provided a green gloss to the Royal Wedding, then Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) published some of the most bullish sales projections yet for a sector that is already well used to rapid growth, then today a major new EV charging network provider left stealth mode and unveiled plans for the world’s largest fast charger and energy storage network. The latest developments provide yet more evidence that growing business interest in zero emission transport is poised to accelerate, as costs continue to fall and charging infrastructure expands. BusinessGreen takes a look at the reasons behind the growing optimism coursing through the EV industry – and why the oil industry should be concerned.

Business Green 22nd May 2018 read more »

Posted: 23 May 2018

Wylfa

It has been reported in the Japanese press that the struggling nuclear arm of Hitachi is proposing to postpone the Welsh nuclear power station at Wylfa by two years to 2027. The new delay is rumoured to be due to lack ability to raise finance – despite reportedly very generous support from UK government – and the risk of spiralling costs that company is refusing to absorb. The company is due to have a board meeting by the end of May where they decide whether to continue with the project given the UK government’s financial offer. Over the last few weeks, Hitachi has leaked to the Japanese press that the UK government has doubled their offer of public support for their new reactor at Wylfa to around £13 billion, that Hitachi are now also asking for price guarantees for the electricity, that the costs have risen dramatically, and most recently, that the project has been delayed by two years. The UK government states it doesn’t recognise the reports from the Japanese press but is refusing to outline what or whether a financial deal has been offered to the company. Dr Doug Parr, Chief Scientist for Greenpeace UK said: “The financial debacle that was the Hinkley deal is at risk of becoming just a starting point for new deals. Overseas nuclear companies want to build even more expensive plants than Hinkley in the UK, but with additional new demands for taxpayer support. Our government needs to realise that we should not be asked to fund the nuclear industries of other nations who want to build reactors in the UK because the public in their own backyards has rejected them. It makes absolutely no sense to waste billions on expensive and outdated nuclear power stations when technologies like offshore wind can do a similar job faster and cheaper. Nuclear is an energy landline in the age of smartphones, chaining us to a slow, expensive, out-of-date technology while the world moves on to the interconnected, reliable, high tech system that will power our homes for generations to come.”

Greenpeace 21st May 2018 read more »

Posted: 22 May 2018

Hinkley

A new multi-million pound fund has been established by Lloyds Bank to help small to medium sized firms secure supply chain opportunities on the £19.6 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear power station project. The major nuclear power station scheme in Somerset is estimated to create over 25,000 job opportunities for the regional economy, with its construction generating around £200m per year.

Construction.co.uk 21st May 2018 read more »

Posted: 22 May 2018

Brexit

Theresa May says Britain will pay to save links with part of the Euratom nuclear agency after Brexit, triggering accusations of another U-turn. The UK will seek to “fully associate ourselves” with the body’s research arm, she announced – despite the bitter row over the decision to leave Euratom as a whole. That pull-out has triggered warnings that Britain’s nuclear power stations could run out of fuel and hospitals will run short of radioactive isotopes to treat cancer patients.

Independent 21st May 2018 read more »

Posted: 22 May 2018