week ending 27 December 2013
PV in Scotland
Scotland might not be the sunniest place to put a solar panel, but its renewable energy industry is celebrating today after hitting the 100MW milestone of installed photovoltaic capacity. Analysis of Ofgem figures for December reveal Scotland now has 106MW of solar PV, an increase of 36 per cent since this time last year. The figures also reveal that 465 businesses, more than 28,000 homes, 56 communities, and 22 industrial sites have fitted solar arrays in the country. The numbers are in stark contrast to 2010, when 429 solar installations were recorded, offering just 2MW of capacity. Now the Scottish Solar Energy Group, Energy Technology Partnership, and WWF Scotland are calling on the Scottish governme nt to ensure its policies deliver even more solar.
Business Green 27th Dec 2013 more >>
Herald 27th Dec 2013 more >>
AS Hull holds its breath over an investment decision by Siemens, the UK’S first micro urban wind farm is already up and running in the city. The German engineering giant is being tipped to make an announcement early in the New Year giving long-awaited confirmation of proposals to open an offshore own turbine assembly facility at Alexandra Dock in east Hull. Meanwhile, across the city onshore wind power is now being generated at a pilot site on Priory Park. The micro wind farm is a joint venture between Hull-based commercial design company Inter Tech and turbine manufacturers Quiet Revolution.
Hull Daily Mail 27th Dec 2013 more >>
FOUR water treatment works around Scotland are now producing more energy than they use as a result of hydro power. Scottish Water, which uses a large amount of electricity to provide its essential services, has cut energy costs by installing a range of renewable technologies such as solar panels, hydro and wind turbines to generate enough electricity to power as many of its sites as possible. Water treatment works at Turret in Perthshire, Lintrathen in Angus and Castle Moffat in East Lothian, along with the waste water treatment works at Tannadice in Angus, are now considered self-sufficient. This is because, due to the amount of electricity created on-site from hydro power, they generate more energy than they consume over the year.
Herald 26th Dec 2013 more >>
There were celebrations at Galson Trust Estate earlier this month when the community owned turbine was switched on. Agnes Rennie, Chair of the Trust said: “The energising of the first turbine is a great boost to the Urras and shows it is delivering on its ambition to create a long term sustainable estate in the north west of Lewis. “We are entering another exciting phase of progress for this community and are committed to building on this momentum.”
Stornoway Gazette 24th Dec 2013 more >>
Thames Water is upping its green credentials and adding a £5 million wind turbine at its Crossness sewage treatment works (pictured) in London. The facility, which treats the waste from 2.5 million people, is already partially powered by solar panels and an energy from waste plant.
Energy Live News 23rd Dec 2013 more >>
Renewable energy supplier, Good Energy has been granted provisional planning permission for a 49.9MW solar plant – the largest in the UK following the cannon of announcements for a 40MW and 41MW solar park in recent weeks. The proposed 91.1-hectare site used to be an RAF airfield but has been disused for 20 years. The site is in West Raynham near Fakenham in Norfolk.
Solar Portal 23rd Dec 2013 more >>
A community-owned wind turbine looks set to be the gift that keeps on giving for a rural Aberdeenshire village when it is powered up tomorrow. Electricity generated by the 77-metre tall turbine is expected to bring in £75,000 a year for the Buchan village of Fetterangus, known locally as Fishie and home to around 350 people. The money, which will come from feed-in tariffs earned by supplying energy to the national grid, will be spent on regenerating the local community and encouraging youngsters to stay in the area. Pioneered by the Fetterangus Community Association and inspired by similar schemes on the islands of Gigha, Tiree and Lewis, the £1.5 million project has taken nine years to come to fruition.
Scotsman 23rd Dec 2013 more >>
Hydro in Scotland
While much of the recent focus in renewable energy has focused around wind and solar, one key source that continues to offer Scotland significant energy capacity for the future is hydro. There are around 120 hydro schemes of various sizes operating in Scotland. These produce around 5TWh of electricity each year which represents roughly 12 per cent of our current demand. The Scottish Government recently reported potential for up to 7,000 hydro developments across the nation which could generate carbon-free electricity for a million homes. These new schemes could produce around 3TWh of additional electricity per year, more than a 50 per cent rise on current output levels. Because many of these would be micro-site developments there is great potential to deliver real benefits to local communities across Scotland.
Scotsman 23rd Dec 2013 more >>
A renewable energy company based in Harrogate has completed one of the country’s largest school solar panel installations. Clean Energy Yorkshire, based at Pannal Business Park, had originally installed 200 solar panels to Harrogate Grammar School back in December 2011. Now, 22 months later, the company returned to add phase two of the project – another 200 solar panels on the roof of the school’s newly finished Sixth Form Centre extension.
Harrogate News 23rd Dec 2013 more >>
It’s the shortest day of the winter, but the bright blue morning means the UK’s biggest solar farm is powering away. The 120,000 matt-black panels laid out in long, neat rows above sheep-shorn grass are running at about three-quarters of their peak capacity. A few miles west, the giant chimney of the Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station is pumping smoke into the sky. “It’s a nice contrast between the new and the old,” says Jonathan Selwyn, chief executive of Lark Energy, which developed the solar farm on a disused second world war airfield at Wymeswold in Leicestershire. The panels sit between the old runways, now used as racetracks, and were erected in just seven weeks in the spring. But the burgeoning industry has seen its sparkle dulled by a series of recent attacks from Conservative ministers, with planning supremo Eric Pickles overturning permission for another old airfield solar farm at Ellough in Suffolk, Greg Barker at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) signalling a crackdown on “monster solar farms”, and his colleague Michael Fallon deriding subsidies for large solar farms as immoral.
Guardian 22nd Dec 2013 more >>
A community-owned wind turbine looks set to be the gift that keeps on giving for a rural Aberdeenshire village when it is powered up tomorrow. Electricity generated by the 77-metre tall turbine is expected to bring in £75,000 a year for the Buchan village of Fetterangus, known locally as Fishie and home to around 350 people.
Scotsman 22nd Dec 2013 more >>
The Solar Trade Association says it wants to reach one million installations in 2015. This is, of course, entirely a disaster. For that half million installed, that million that will be, are entirely uneconomic and must be subsidised through those feed in tariffs. And the thing is it’s all so unnecessary. For as the industry itself, all those assembled greenies, tells us, solar PV will be grid compatible by 2016, 2017 at the latest. That is, it will be just as cheap to get our power from solar then as it will be from coal or natural gas. At which point, of course, we’ll all start using the technology and no subsidies needed. So we’ve actually a disaster on our hands as we’ve been paying massive susidies, will continue to pay massive subsidies for the next 25 years, for the privilege of having brought adoption forward by perhaps two years. This is insane.
Adam Smith Institute 21st Dec 2013 more >>
AN ENERGY co-operative based in Shoreham Harbour is offering investment opportunities in phase two of its solar energy project. The first phase of the Brighton Energy Coop (BEC) scheme, a large solar array of 214kWp on Shed 10 at Shoreham Port, is being completed this week and the solar panels are due to be switched on in January. Phase two of the project, which is almost exactly the same size, will be installed on Shed 3a at Shoreham Port next year. The solar panels being placed on roofs in Shoreham Harbour are part of a three-phase project which will become the county’s largest community-owned solar energy scheme.
Shoreham Herald 21st Dec 2013 more >>
Established policy in HM Treasury and DECC is based on outdated thinking and needs to be revisited to reduce the cost to consumers of hitting the 2020 targets. It has been argued that offshore wind is the only way to generate sufficient TWh for the UK. The EMR delivery plan suggests that only 2.4-4GW of large scale solar will be deployed. However, the 2009 Element Energy Report suggested the technical resource for solar is much greater: 22 TWhpa for domestic roofs; 30 TWhpa for commercial & industrial roofs. Even in Britain, with 1MWp DC of solar requiring two hectares of land, generating 500MWh pa/Ha, (ie it’s up to 25 times better than the next best crop). If you put solar farms just on the land currently planted with biofuels (around 1.1m acres) then you could generate 190TWh pa and displace no food production. Farmers Weekly suggests two-thirds of the biofuel land will be cut by new EU biofuels regulations. DECC’s own 2020 pathway calculator puts rooftop output potential from south-facing domestic roofs alone at 140TWh of power per annum, and an equivalent number from solar farms. There is clearly some work to do to reconcile these numbers, but even if you’re massively conservative, solar (balanced with gas) can still do the heavy lifting that offshore wind can do (balanced with gas), and at a cheaper cost. Arguably, the roll out of solar is faster and also less risky than offshore wind, so more likely to deliver in time.
Solar Portal 20th Dec 2013 more >>
Leonie Greene says the bottom-up solar revolution is a global story but worries DECC is still ignoring its potential. When the government unveiled its electricity market reform (EMR) delivery plan yesterday to drive billions of pounds of investment in low carbon power generation, it was shocking to discover it foresees a future with little utility solar power capacity installed for the next 16 years. As 2013 draws to a close the UK sits on the fringes of the global top 10 for solar power production. In just three years half a million British homes (or other small roofs) have gone solar. However, conspicuous by its absence in the UK is the mid/large solar roof market covering schemes upwards of 100kW right up to 5MW - the size of the Bentley car factory scheme, which is currently the largest roof scheme in the UK. Climate Change Minister Greg Barker often says we could deliver his entire 22GW solar aspiration from a fraction of commercial and industrial roof space and the industry was delighted when last week he announced that 2014 would be the year to unlock this market.
Business Green 20th Dec 2013 more >>
Will 2013 be remembered as the year that crowd funding and community ownership of renewable energy in the UK finally began to go mainstream? There are a lot of reasons to think it will. In autumn Climate Minister Greg Barker called for a decentralised energy revolution, arguing the Big Six energy firms could be replaced by the ‘Big 60,000’. A few weeks later, a company announced that it had raised £400,000 for a rooftop solar scheme in just one month. All over the country energy co-ops established over the last couple of years have been finding their feet and expanding their membership. The media has begun to take notice, with articles and blogs on the subject of community or crowd-funded renewables proliferating as fast as rooftop solar panels.
Business Green 20th Dec 2013 more >>
Energy companies are set to be offered further incentives and weakened insulation targets to dissuade them from downing tools after government changes to national energy efficiency schemes. Government officials feared George Osborne’s decision to water down by a third the carbon saving element of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme to insulate vulnerable households would result in the Big Six energy companies simply halting work until the changes were confirmed in April 2014.
Business Green 20th Dec 2013 more >>
2014 – year of the sun?
Cuts to feed-in tariffs and hostility to large-scale farms have undermined the UK’s solar energy sector. But changes are under way in the heart of government. Could 2014 be the UK’s ‘year of the sun’?
Ecologist 20th Dec 2013 more >>