News

Iran

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned the West that his country’s abandoned nuclear programme could be restarted ‘within hours’ if the US imposes new sanctions.

Independent 15th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 16 August 2017

Renewables – floating turbines

The final turbine in the world’s first floating windfarm has been put in place off the north-east coast. The £200million Hywind project, run by Norwegian firm Statoil, is changing the seascape of Peterhead and has been in development for three years. The five goliath 575ft structures, each of which weighs 11,500 tonnes, are now tethered to the seabed, 15 miles of the coast of the Blue Toon. When they are officially turned on later this year they will generate enough power to fully light 20,000 homes.

Energy Voice 16th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 16 August 2017

Renewables – offshore wind

A coalition of businesses has called on one of the UK’s most powerful charities to stop fighting plans for a major off-shore wind farm and warned that the livelihoods of hundreds of families are at stake. Twenty-nine companies claim that the continued legal action by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) could further delay or even kill off the £2 billion renewable energy scheme and the 600 jobs involved in it. An appeal to the Supreme Court in London by the RSPB, announced yesterday, challenges the approval given by Scottish ministers to the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) offshore wind farm off the east coast of Scotland. The charity is to ask the court for leave to appeal against a Court of Session decision earlier this year which gave the green light to one of Scotland’s largest offshore energy projects. Mainstream Renewable Power, the wind farm’s developer, has said that it estimates the project would bring an additional £610 million in revenue into the regional economy. A full-page advertisement in national newspapers today says that the RSPB’s action would further delay a project first planned ten years ago and given consent to by the Scottish government in 2014; it has been dragged through the courts ever since.

Times 16th Aug 2017 read more »

STV 15th Aug 2017 read more »

Herald 16th Aug 2017 read more »

Business Green 15th Aug 2017 read more »

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is stepping outside its charitable brief in mounting a legal challenge to Scottish ministers over their decision to approve the Firth of Forth offshore wind farm. It opposes the development, not because it believes it would kill thousands of seabirds, but because it says the basis on which the government reached its decision is wrong. In effect it is seeking to oppose the rights of parliament in environmental matters and give them to the courts instead. The charity has lost that argument at the Inner House of the Court of Session – the highest court in the land – and now intends taking it to the Supreme Court in London, seeking leave to appeal against the decision. It is likely to receive a dusty answer from judges there but the more serious question is why it is spending thousands of pounds, both of its members’ subscriptions and public funds (for it receives government money as well), to take on a political issue.

Times 16th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 16 August 2017

Renewables – pumped storage

Britain’s first big pumped hydroelectric power station is to undergo a £50 million refurbishment to extend its life by 20 years. The Ffestiniog plant in Snowdonia was built in 1963 and can generate 360 megawatts of electricity, enough to supply north Wales, for up to three and a half hours at a time. It works by releasing water from an upper reservoir down through tunnels in the mountain to turn turbines and generate electricity, before discharging it into a lower reservoir. Water is pumped back up when electricity supplies are plentiful, typically at night. Engie, the facility’s French owner, said that it had awarded a £50 million contract to refurbish two of the four units at the ageing power station, which otherwise would have had to close by around 2020. Updates to the other two units, which can keep running until 2025 without a big refit, could follow. Engie said that the plant was profitable and was expected to play an increasing role as Britain builds more wind and solar plants and needs flexible power to manage intermittent supplies. It is usually called upon by National Grid to generate for between five and twenty minutes at a time to balance short-term drops in supply such as a lull in wind power or clouds passing over a major solar array.

Times 16th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 16 August 2017

Renewables – solar

Moray Council has granted Elgin Energy planning permission for a 20MW project near Urquhart, which could see about 80,000 solar panels installed. The farm will be constructed on the 47-hectare Speyslaw site – the equivalent of about 40 football pitches. The largest Scottish solar farm is currently a 13MW project at Errol Estate in Perthshire, which went live in May last year. Bristol-based Elgin Energy also developed that scheme, which includes 55,000 solar panels capable of generating power for more than 3,500 homes,. Work on the Speyslaw site is expected to start within the next few months. Further progress in the solar sector, however, depends on the level of support provided by the UK government through the Feed-in Tariff and the Contracts for Difference schemes, both of which remain the subject of much uncertainty. Elgin Energy, which has already developed 250MW of solar across 24 projects in the UK and Ireland, is planning an even bigger farm in Moray. It is seeking planning permission for a 50MW project at the former RAF Milltown airfield, a few miles north east of Elgin. A decision on that application is not expected until early next year.

BBC 16th Aug 2017 read more »

A shopping centre in Leeds is now home to the largest solar installation of its kind in the UK, thanks to a partnership between its owners Landsec and clean energy consultancy Syzygy. The two firms teamed up to install 2,900 solar PV panels on the roof of the White Rose shopping centre in Leeds to create the largest solar installation at a retail site in the UK. Unveiled today, the system is expected to meet almost 40 per cent of the shopping centre’s daytime electricity demand in the mall areas. It will also save 250 tonnes of carbon emissions each year for Landsec – the property giant formerly known as Land Securities – the equivalent of more than half a million miles of passenger car emissions.

Business Green 15th Aug 2017 read more »

Last Friday the mayor published his long-awaited environment strategy which included a specific plan to boost the deployment of solar PV in the capital. London has notoriously been somewhat off the pace in its adoption of solar and has been the subject of considerable scrutiny in the past. The solar strategy includes plans to conduct reverse solar auctions for residential installations in London boroughs, new grants for community solar developments and an already-underway tender to install solar on 24 Transport for London-owned buildings. Those measures will allow London to more than double its operational solar capacity to around 200MW by 2030, however Khan said the capital should be able to boast as much as 1GW within that time frame and 2GW by 2050.

Solar Power Portal 15th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 16 August 2017

Renewables – kite power

A kite energy company hopes to extend the period it is allowed to carry out test flying on part of a Scottish military range. Kite Power Systems got approval last year for research and development at West Freugh near Stranraer. However, it was limited to between mid-April and mid-September to protect hen harriers and white-fronted geese. The firm has tabled a bid to have that extended by a month saying it would have no likely significant effect. The project has secured more financial backing since it received planning permission last summer. It recently received a £2m equity investment from the Scottish Investment Bank and now has more than 25 staff between its management base in Glasgow and the test site in Dumfries and Galloway. It said a report on birds in the area had concluded that the species concerned were not present at West Freugh until mid-October.

BBC 16th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 16 August 2017

Renewables – heat pumps

The Scots inventors of the world’s largest zero carbon heat pump have been nominated for an award in Glasgow, where their planned water source heat pump on the River Clyde is set to reduce carbon emissions and cut the Gorbals nitrous oxygen footprint by 100% . Glasgow based Star Renewable Energy has been announced as a finalist in the Global Game Changers Awards. The 2017 winners will be announced next month at the Glasgow Science Centre.

Scottish Energy News 16th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 16 August 2017

Fossil Fuels

The massive increase in wind and solar energy helped prevent the premature deaths of up to 12,700 people over a nine-year period in the US, according to new research which illustrates the wider benefits of ditching fossil fuels beyond limiting global warming. The lower carbon emissions were worth billions of dollars as a result of the avoidance of the range of problems caused by fossil fuels, according to a paper about the study published in the journal, Nature Energy.

Independent 15th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 16 August 2017

Energy Costs

Six ways in which the energy costs review could reduce consumer costs and deliver green energy. The Government’s review of energy costs is obviously a set-up designed to argue against a major emphasis on funding currently commercialised renewables and energy efficiency technologies, so here I critique this viewpoint and suggest some ideas for what a genuinely far-sighted clean energy effort to reduce costs might involve. Ideas which, I suspect, will be comprehensively ignored by the review. The Government has given its review of energy costs to Dieter Helm whose opinions are hostile to promoting ‘current’ generation renewables and who is anyway excluded from considering the Hinkley C contract or other issues such as the smart meter roll-out which are pushing up electricity prices. Six ways that the Government could reduce costs to the consumer, none of which are likely to be recommended by the Helm review. 1. Encourage the French Government to reconsider the Hinkley C project; 2. Instead issue power purchase agreements to onshore wind, offshore wind and solar pv for projects in the £60-£80 range, using 15-20 year contracts by the end of which costs of renewables will have fallen further; 3. Abolish stamp duty for houses which incorporate energy efficiency, solar power and storage technologies which involve buildings which can generate more energy than they consume; 4. Take the disastrously implemented ‘smart energy meter’ rollout out of the hands of the electricity suppliers and put it into the hands of the Distribution Network Operators who are now becoming Distribution System Operators. 5. Abolish price competition in the domestic retail sector and replace it with competition between suppliers to supply energy efficiency; 6. Identify new sites for offshore wind deployment as well as quickly bringing forward the issue of power purchase agreements to existing projects with planning consent.

Dave Toke’s Blog 14th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 August 2017

New Nuclear

It is now commonly accepted that rapid growth in electricity demand will be an important feature of the world energy scene this century. Increasing levels of urbanisation (particularly but not exclusively in the developing countries), the gradual electrification of transportation and the proliferation of devices that rely on secure power supplies seems to guarantee this. Surely then, there must be a future for any technology that can produce large quantities of power reliably, comparatively cheaply and without notable negative environmental impacts? Advocates of nuclear power claim that it does all of these, yet it is seen as likely to play at best a marginal role in meeting electricity requirements. It is increasingly being seen as an irrelevance.

Nuclear Engineering International 4th July 2017 read more »

No Need For Nuclear: The Renewables Are Here. 17 videos from CND Conference in Conway Hall, London, 17th June 2017. Session One. What is wrong with nuclear power? 1. Dr Ian Fairlie: Radiation and radioactivity dangers. 2. Dr David Toke: Nuclear and renewables costs compared. 3. Prof Tim Mousseau: Continuing effects at Chernobyl and Fukushima. 4. Prof Andrew Blowers: The legacy of nuclear power. Session Two: The Politics of Nuclear Power. 5. Prof Steve Thomas: Why Hinkley Point C is unlikely to ever start. 6. Kelvin Hopkins MP: Can Labour change its policy on new nuclear build? 7. Dr Molly Scott Cato MEP: How would the Green Party do it differently? 8. Chris Baugh, PCS: Jobs: the Trade Union perspective. Session Three: UK Energy Demand, Energy Supply. 9. Andrew Warren: Energy Demand; do we really need new nuclear? 10. Dr Tom Burke: Recent changes in UK Energy Policy. 11. Antony Froggatt: Effects of proposed Brexit and Euratom exit on nuclear policies. 12. Dr Doug Parr: UK Energy and Industrial Strategies; Is nuclear an answer to climate change? Session Four: The Renewables. 13. Prof David Elliot: Renewable energy options. 14. Prof Godfrey Boyle: Future renewable scenarios for the world, Europe and the UK. 15. Alasdair Cameron: Winning the renewables argument. 16. Amelia Womack: Where we’ve done well.

CND 7th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 August 2017