News

Hunterston

A £324 MILLION initiative which will create around 13,000 jobs and help transform an area of Scotland hit by the decline of manufacturing is expected to be announced on the anniversary of Robert Burns’s birth this week. The Ayrshire Growth Deal is poised to be officially signed off on Friday after two years of talks involving a number of public bodies including the Scottish and UK governments and the three local authorities in the area. It is estimated it will boost a range of developments in the area and lead to £2 billion of additional private-sector investment over the next 15 years.

The National 20th Jan 2019 read more »

Not Ayrshire but interesting; It’s the thing most towns dread – a Plook On The Plinth nomination as the most dismal town in Scotland. Yet when Lochgelly attracted the critical eye of the Carbuncle Awards judges in 2010, something important happened. Firstly, the former mining town in Fife didn’t win. Secondly, a group of three women, who’d been working in the community since 1998, resolved to step up their efforts and transform their town. In 2016, their hard work was finally rewarded, when Lochgelly won the title of Scotland’s Most Improved Town in the annual Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum Awards.

The National 20th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 21 January 2019

Energy Policy

As the UK strives to meet legally binding carbon targets, businesses must help policymakers create a low-carbon economy that does not exclude working-class people or rural regions, Energy Minister Claire Perry has claimed. Speaking at an Aldersgate Group event in central London on Thursday (17 January), Perry was asked to explain how her involvement with last month’s COP24 conference would help the UK to bolster its decarbonisation ambitions, particularly in light of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) landmark report on global warming. In the wake of the report, which laid bare the stark differences between an average global temperature increase of 1.5C and 2C, the UK Government has asked the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) for advice on how best to bolster its carbon reduction targets and create a net-zero economy. Delivering the keynote speech at Thursday’s event, Perry said that policymakers would only follow advice which would not exclude entire regions or social classes from the transition to carbon neutrality.

Edie 18th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 21 January 2019

Radwaste

It has been pointed out that Cumbria Trust regularly uses acronyms in its posts and that there are readers who may be unfamiliar with them. The government appears to be particularly adept at changing the names of or merging departments at the drop of a hat, so with that in mind, we are publishing the following list, with links where appropriate, to assist in understanding who’s who and who is responsible for what.

Cumbria Trust 21st Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 21 January 2019

National Grid

National Grid, the British utility firm, is powering new tech start-ups in the United States through a $250m (£193.9m) venture capital fund based in Silicon Valley. National Grid Partners has invested in six US energy start-ups in two months since the FTSE 100 network ­giant launched a development fund in California towards the end of last year. It is expected to build on the company’s move into the US energy market by spending a quarter of a billion dollars over the next two to three years on fresh energy technology start-ups. To date, the investments have spanned smart energy grids, solar power systems and next-generation weather forecasting technologies, which can help predict household ­energy use. The move deepens National Grid’s commitment to the growing US market as political tensions ratchet higher in the UK. The firm is pouring more than half of its spending into the US, where it operates around 9,000 miles of electricity transmission cables across five north-eastern states. Its decision to invest in the US is already paying off in higher dividends for its largely ­UK-based shareholders, as most National Grid profits flow into the business from across the Atlantic.

Telegraph 20th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 21 January 2019

Utilities

Consumers are increasingly switching to small and medium sized energy providers and shunning the “Big Six”, according to new figures.

Energy Voice 21st Jan 2019 read more »

Small energy suppliers have beaten the so-called Big Six in a customer satisfaction survey by Which? The consumer group surveyed 8,000 UK energy users about their provider and issues such as value for money, customer service and accurate billing. The top five were small suppliers: Octopus Energy, Robin Hood Energy, So Energy, Ebico and Tonik Energy. The Big Six – British Gas, EDF Energy, Eon, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE – were in the bottom third of the table.

BBC 21st Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 21 January 2019

Energy Demand

The fall in UK electricity generation to its lowest level since 1994, as reported on the Carbon Brief website earlier this month, reflects a trend in the energy market that is too often ignored. The decline in consumption is not limited to the UK or to electricity. Over the past decade, both total energy demand and electricity use have fallen across the developed world. Since 2010 demand has declined in 18 of the 30 countries that are members of the International Energy Agency. There are several different reasons for the decline in consumption. Technical advances have improved the efficiency of products ranging from washing machines and fridges to computer servers have been underpinned by regulatory changes such as the introduction of LED lighting. Economies have deindustrialised to differing degrees, while in some countries a proportion of the fall has been caused by low economic growth. Although analysts and policymakers frequently assert that electricity will lead the shift to a low-carbon economy, there is so far only limited evidence of a real change. Electricity has only marginally expanded its share of final energy consumption since 2000 despite the growth of computers, telecommunications and the proliferation of domestic appliances. A small number of electric cars and the rising use of electricity in other parts of the transport sector starting with the railways have not yet made a material difference. By 2017, electricity contributed less than 1 per cent of final energy consumption in the transport sector, according to the IEA. As consumers upgrade equipment to ever more efficient models and as regulations force standards to rise, electricity consumption is likely to drop. A revolution in battery technology would in theory stimulate demand for electricity. But any growth in the use of batteries (and other forms of energy storage) will also serve to eliminate waste and the loss of electric power, which as of now can only be used as soon as it is produced. Smart meters and grids will also improve efficiency rather than increasing demand. Falling demand makes it harder to justify substantial long-term investments in new capacity. Higher cost producers – for instance of new nuclear power – are finding themselves squeezed out.

FT 21st Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 21 January 2019

Flamanville

French state-owned power company EDF said it would make further tests next month on faulty weldings at its Flamanville nuclear reactor plant, which has been plagued by technical problems. “EDF actively continues to implement the action plan on welds of the main secondary system announced on 25 July 2018. The ‘hot tests’ are now scheduled to commence during the second half of February,” EDF said in a statement. EDF said it would keep the targeted construction costs for Flamanville at 10.9 billion euros ($12.4 billion).

Reuters 21st Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 21 January 2019

US

New York has embraced the campaign for a ‘Green New Deal’, with Governor Andrew Cuomo declaring last week he will launch a major programme to build a zero carbon economy for the state. New York’s Green New Deal was hailed as a “nation-leading clean energy and jobs agenda” by the Governor’s office, as it pledged to “aggressively put New York State on a path to economy-wide carbon neutrality”. The plan includes doubling the state’s solar capacity by 2025 and quadrupling its offshore wind capacity by 2035, as part of a legally binding goal to deliver 100 per cent zero-carbon power for the state by 2040.

Business Green 21st Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 21 January 2019

Malawi

The project has helped businesses in Malawi to generate electricity from solar power. A solar power project to connect villages in Malawi has had a “life-changing” impact for rural communities. The initiative, led by Strathclyde University researchers, has seen affordable energy supply businesses set up in four villages. The partnership, which has been backed by a £600,000 grant from the Scottish government, ensures locals own and operate the equipment. It includes battery chargers and power connections for other small businesses. Only 12% of Malawi’s 18 million population is connected to the main electricity grid, which dips to 2% in rural areas. For the vast majority the main energy source is open fires, which puts pressure on the country’s forests.

BBC 21st Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 21 January 2019

Island Energy

A tech revolution – and an abundance of wind and waves – mean that the people of Orkney now produce more electricity than they can use. It seems the stuff of fantasy. Giant ships sail the seas burning fuel that has been extracted from water using energy provided by the winds, waves and tides. A dramatic but implausible notion, surely. Yet this grand green vision could soon be realised thanks to a remarkable technological transformation that is now under way in Orkney. Perched 10 miles beyond the northern edge of the British mainland, this archipelago of around 20 populated islands – as well as a smattering of uninhabited reefs and islets – has become the centre of a revolution in the way electricity is generated. Orkney was once utterly dependent on power that was produced by burning coal and gas on the Scottish mainland and then transmitted th rough an undersea cable. Today the islands are so festooned with wind turbines, they cannot find enough uses for the emission-free power they create on their own. Community-owned wind turbines generate power for local villages; islanders drive non-polluting cars that run on electricity; devices that can turn the energy of the waves and the tides into electricity are being tested in the islands’ waters and seabed; and – in the near future – car and passenger ferries here will be fuelled not by diesel but by hydrogen, created from water that has been electrolysed using power from Orkney’s wind, wave and tide generators.

Observer 20th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 21 January 2019