week ending 20 August 2010
The tough environment being faced by many companies in the green energy field was highlighted again today when a British solar power company reported a huge downturn in profits for the first half of the year. A 40% slump in the global price of silicon wafers sent Oxford-based PV Crystalox Solar earnings spinning downwards to 12.4m (£10.2m) compared to 35.2m in the opening six months of 2009. Shares in the company plunged 10% and spread further gloom in a renewable power sector still digesting a 270m first half loss from Vestas, the world’s biggest wind turbine manufacturer, announced on Wednesday.
Guardian 20th Aug 2010 more >>
Green Deal Launch
A so-called Green Deal has been announced by the government to lend householders and companies cash to insulate their buildings. Millions of households will save anything up to £550 every year if they implement the energy-saving measure, according to deputy prime minister Nick Clegg. Legislation on the finance will be drafted this year, he added. Clegg said: “Green Deal finance will allow householders to make their homes more energy-efficient, saving on their bills, without the need for them to provide up-front finance.
New Civil Engineer 20th Aug 2010 more >>
Low Carbon Networks Fund
Energy regulator Ofgem has announced that 11 “innovative” projects that could speed up the development of the low carbon energy sector are eligible to compete for a share of an annual £64 million fund.
New Energy Focus 19th Aug 2010 more >>
AROUND 50 council homes are to be fitted with solar panels as part of a pilot scheme to improve energy efficiency and cut electricity bills for tenants. Homes in Chell and Packmoor with south-facing roofs will be the first to test the technology converting sunlight into power before it is rolled out to 1,000 suitable homes in deprived areas of Stoke-on-Trent.
This is Staffordshire 19th Aug 2010 more >>
Cornish Solar Rush
Cornish landowners are being warned to take care as they lead the charge to make the county a world leader in solar energy. Increasing numbers within the rural community are diversifying in an effort to take advantage of the potentially lucrative incentives associated with sustainable energy production. Many farmers have reported having their land and small holdings coveted by energy companies and developers eager to strike a deal, offering solar-power technology capable of providing energy to the National Grid, in exchange for a share of the profits.
Western Morning News 19th Aug 2010 more >>
Berkshire-based project developer 35 Degrees has reached an agreement with solar module and systems maker Solon to build a 1.3MWp solar power plant near Bissoe in Cornwall. Once the necessary planning permits for the energy park have been approved, it could be the first ground-mounted solar power plant ever built in the UK.
The Engineer 19th Aug 2001 more >>
PLANS are in the pipeline to make parts of Workington eco-neighbourhoods to reduce fuel bills and make them greener. The scheme would encourage residents to recycle, put solar panels on their roofs and grow their own food.
West Cumberland Times & Star 19th Aug 2010 more >>
A WIND energy firm which has projects in Cumbria has announced a new set of financial incentives for landowners who allow their land to be used for development. West Coast Energy, which was behind the failed Berrier Wind Farm plans, and is now plotting a new scheme near Wigton, have offered partners its project development expertise and financial strength, as well as a guaranteed income stream or discounted energy, in return for rights to erect turbines on their property.
Carlisle News & Star 19th Aug 2010 more >>
Solar Thermal in Ireland
Solar Water Thermal systems are becoming increasingly popular to heat water in our homes in particular since grants are now available under the Greener Homes scheme which is now in its 3rd phase. Currently over 750 systems have been installed in County Tipperary.
Tipperary Star 19th Aug 2010 more >>
Micro vs Macro
A SHETLAND couple living in the centre of the planned 540 megawatt Viking Energy wind farm have been refused planning permission to erect a small micro wind turbine in their front garden because it will look unsightly.
Shetland News 19th Aug 2010 more >>
Clegg highlighted the government’s planned Green Deal scheme, which will use low-interest loans to help households and businesses pay for energy-efficiency improvements, as an example of the kind of policy that will serve to cut greenhouse gas emissions and create new green jobs. “Green Deal Finance will allow householders to make their homes more energy efficient, saving on their bills, without the need for them to provide up-front finance,” he explained. The government is expected to move forward with the legislation required to underpin the Green Deal scheme in the autumn and is aiming to launch the initiative in 2012.
Business Green 19th Aug 2010 more >>
New Energy Focus 19th Aug 2010 more >>
Low Carbon Economy 19th Aug 2010 more >>
Following the recent publicity given to companies offering consumers ‘free’ solar panels that will save them money on their home electricity bills, a Shropshire-based solar energy expert has warned that homeowners will lose out on tens of thousands of pounds under the generous-sounding deals.
Shropshire Star 18th Aug 2010 more >>
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are to be given the opportunity to apply for grants towards greening their businesses, under new measures announced by Wales’ environment minister, Jane Davidson, measures she hopes will help SMEs achieve the necessary accreditation to install microgeneration technology such as solar panels and heat pumps. Through the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) small and medium sized renewable energy installation companies will be able to access interest free loans to cover the cost of gaining MCS accreditation.
Edie 18th Aug 2010 more >>
New Energy Focus 20th Aug 2010 more >>
ASHP in Parliament
The Micropower Council held a special renewable event at the Houses of Parliament last month. In addition to 30 Peers and MP, including Greg Barker MP, the Minister of State for Climate Change, the briefing meeting was attended by senior Civil Servants and interested parties, with over 170 guests able to talk directly to Micropower Council members. Mitsubishi Electric used the event to demonstrate how its Ecodan range of air source heat pumps has quickly established itself as one of the most efficient and effective low carbon alternatives to gas and oil heating.
Plumbing Park 18th Aug 2010 more >>
100 day report card
Government has not yet shown a sufficient sense of urgency about the need to develop a diverse supply of low-carbon energy at competitive prices over the next decade. And its approach to climate change appears to place too much weight on very expensive renewable sources like wind power and micro-generation.
Western Mail 18th Aug 2010 more >>
Take our 26 million existing homes, for example, the single biggest source of UK emissions. We should already be at the stage of retrofitting thousands of them a week to make them energy efficient, yet we are still at the research and testing stage of this mass-scale green makeover. The ‘Green Deal’, the central plank of the Government’s green policy, which will help homeowners up and down the country carry out these improvements through a ‘pay as you save’ scheme, meanwhile, is not expected to come on-stream until the end of 2012 at the earliest. There is real concern also over whether or not the Government is going to introduce the Renewable Heat Incentive, which will reward those who generate heat from renewable sources, and was set to come in next April.
Green Wise Business 18th Aug 2010 more >>
Low Carbon House Prices
Developers need to sell eco-homes at a similar price as conventional properties due to market conditions, according to one expert. Gordon Miller, sustainability and communications director of Sustain, said that currently there is little price difference between a newly built property and a green home.
Low Carbon Economy 17th Aug 2010 more >>
Small Business Efficiency
The government must do more to help small businesses in the UK improve their energy efficiency, a new report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) concludes. Entitled Making Sense of Going Green – Small Businesses and Low Carbon Economy, the report claims that the coalition must provide incentives for small firms to make their buildings more eco friendly and expand the current system of loans to make going green economically viable.
Low Carbon Economy 17th Aug 2010 more >>
A HYDRO-ELECTRIC turbine should be supplying enough power for more than 80 homes in Bradford on Avon’s Kingston Mills development by next Summer. The £360,000 turbine project, led by a Seend couple, received planning permission from Wiltshire Council last week, and is expected to be backed by the Environment Agency on Friday.
Wiltshire Times 17th Aug 2010 more >>
A development in south London intended to provide eco-sustainable, affordable living is being accused of failing to live up to its green energy aims. The 43-storey Strata Tower in Elephant and Castle was completed two months ago incorporating three wind turbines on its top which were supposed to provide eight per cent of residents’ electricity. But the turbines have barely moved, according to its new residents. They also claim the single boiler down the side of the building is overheating their flats.
London Evening Standard 17th Aug 2010 more >>
FOR Steve Heslop, managing director of Darlington’s Natural Warmth, a Government green light on the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) can’t come soon enough. He predicts his business to double in size overnight if the eagerly-awaited cash incentive, which pays householders and organisations for generating their own heat, comes into force next year. The company installs low carbon heat pumps, which are up to four times more effective than standard gas or oil boilers.
Evening Gazette 17th Aug 2010 more >>
Solar Youth Hostel
BRITAIN’S highest youth hostel is now powered by renewable energy after solar cells were fitted on the roof to capture the power of the sun.
Carlisle News & Star 17th Aug 2010 more >>
Scottish Community Fund Closed
The Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) is closing to new applications due to unprecedented demand, it was announced today. The CARES scheme, delivered by Community Energy Scotland, has already helped over 300 community groups invest in renewable technologies like solar panels, biomass and wind turbines since opening in May 2009, with a further 300 expected to benefit by April next year.
eGov Monitor 17th Aug 2010 more >>
New Energy Focus 17th Aug 2010 more >>
Planning 20th Aug 2010 more >>
The Solar Power UK Conference 2010, which will attract approximately 400 delegates, is the first official event of the Solar Power Group, the voice of the solar power industry in the UK. The conference theme, “Enabling the UK solar market for 2011,” will focus on challenges of supply, cost and the rapid growth in demand for solar in the UK. The UK market could reach 250MW installed in 2011 if managed correctly. Solar Power UK 2010 will be the first step in ensuring that all the major players in the UK market can come together as one industry to make sure that the 250MW target is achievable.
Newswire 17th Aug 2010 more >>
The introduction of new European Union regulations on energy performance certificates (EPC) could discourage homeowners from making green improvements to their properties, one expert has suggested. Under the new regulations, homeowners will be required to publish information on energy efficiency ratings on all property sale adverts in the UK. Currently, Brits are required to commission an EPC before putting their home on the market but the information may not be available to buyers when the house is first viewed.
Low Carbon Economy 16th Aug 2010 more >>
Pendle Council’s Executive Councillors will this week be asked to agree for the results of a study into renewable and low carbon (RLC) energy options for Pendle to go out for public consultation. In order to understand the full range of possible RLC sources and technologies available and evaluate their potential for providing electricity and heat in the local area, Pendle Council, together with Burnley, Rossendale, Calderdale and Kirklees Councils commissioned specialist consultants Maslen Environmental to carry out a study of the potential to generate energy and heat from RLC sources within each area.
Pendle Borough Council 16th Aug 2010 more >>
SIG Sustainable Solutions - a distributor of sustainable building products in the UK - has cautiously welcomed the announcement made by Energy Secretary Chris Huhne lifting the ban on the sale of surplus electricity to the National Grid by local councils. Paul Roche, director at SIG Sustainable Solutions, said: “This is a further step towards empowering Local Government Authorities and homeowners to take an active role in renewable energy generation. The lifting of this ban is great news for local authorities, the green economy and the environment.
Heating & Plumbing Monthly 16th Aug 2010 more >>
SOLAR panels and wind turbines could be installed on council land and buildings to help Worcestershire’s councils sell renewable energy directly to the national grid.
Evesham Journal 15th Aug 2010 more >>
Greg Barker: the old dominance of the energy economy by a few large corporations is also being challenged. Our homes, businesses and communities can also become dynamic players in the new energy economy by producing their own green electricity and selling it back into the national grid. New feed-in tariffs – a system of financial incentives to encourage households and communities to produce their own electricity – are at the heart of our efforts to “green” Britain and empower consumers and to create a more local, decentralised energy system. With interest rates providing little return on financial investments, the domestic and community scale feed-in tariffs provide some of the best secure investment returns available in the market.
Telegraph 15th Aug 2010 more >>
Energy firm HomeSun has produced a 10-point plan that it says will save money and the environment. Installing solar panels on the roof generates electricity from daylight so homeowners do not have to rely solely on the National Grid. They can save £200 a year in a typical three-bedroomed house.
Daily Express15th Aug 2010 more >>
Companies are keen to install free solar panels, but paying for it yourself could earn you more than £35,000 over 25 years.
Guardian 14th Aug 2010 more >>
A NOTTINGHAM MP has been given a glimpse into the future of household energy by viewing a “2050-style” home. Nottingham Community Housing Association (NCHA) has turned four empty properties into flagships for the latest renewable energy technology, and chosen four families as tenants to test them. Sherwood MP Mark Spencer visited one of the houses.
Nottingham Post 14th Aug 2010 more >>
The Pay as You Save trial scheme, operated by DIY chain B&Q and the London Borough of Sutton and backed by government funding, included a full energy-efficiency evaluation – or “eco-audit” – which appealed to Mann. Each qualifying household was eligible to receive a maximum of £10,000 to be spent on approved improvements, such as insulation. The funding involves a 40% free subsidy and a 60% interest-free loan. As the government pays 40%, the household needs to repay only 60%. The amount is then collected by the local authority alongside council tax as the interest-free loan.
Guardian 14th Aug 2010 more >>
The Government will allow local authorities to sell renewable energy to the National Grid for the first time this month. Kirklees Council believes the change will bring in £10,000 in a year – a much-needed boost as public spending is squeezed.
Huddersfield Examiner 14th Aug 2010 more >>
Carbon Reduction Commitment
Businesses are pleading for more time to prepare for a new green tax after it emerged that the deadline is sooner than expected and costs could reach £500,000 over the next five years.
Telegraph 14th Aug 2010 more >>
MUIR Group Housing Association is boosting its green credentials by creating a role dedicated to protecting the environment. The job will include looking at how the company can reduce its impact on the environment through decreasing residents’ energy bills, reducing waste generated by staff and residents, introducing renewable energy, such as solar panels into homes and offices, and ensuring houses are energy efficient through proper insulation.
Evening Telegraph 13th Aug 2010 more >>
Mirfield Turbine Plan
A GREEN-thinking businessman is hoping a wind turbine in his garden will make his home carbon neutral. Richard Oakes thinks the 12 metre turbine could produce enough electricity to run his home - and even send some back to the National Grid
Mirfield Reporter 13th Aug 2010 more >>
A sixth form centre in Leicester could be finished by Christmas. The site incorporates a wind turbine and a bio-mass boiler.
Leicester Mercury 13th Aug 2010 more >>
AN eco-friendly proposal for wind turbines in two villages - with income from electricity sales ploughed back into the parish - has been hailed as a blueprint for the county’s green future. The ground-breaking project was the brainchild of Cookpole Energy Action (CEA), a not-for-profit group made up of residents from Cookley and Walpole.
Beccles & Bunjay Journal 13th Aug 2010 more >>
Around 300,000 homes could be heated for a year by the natural gas that can be produced from grass and household waste, a new study has found. The study, from Bord Gais, reveals 7.5pc of Ireland’s annual natural gas demand could be met by processing waste into cheap, green and renewable energy.
Belfast Telegraph 13th Aug 2010 more >>
Cornwall Council has today granted planning permission for the development of the UK’s first commercial deep geothermal power plant, near Redruth in Cornwall. Developed by British company Geothermal Engineering Ltd, the plant will provide both renewable heat for the local area, and renewable electricity, which will be fed into the National Grid. The plant is expected to be fully operational in 2013. The announcement marks a major milestone in the development of geothermal energy in the UK.
Future Energies 13th Aug 2010 more >>
This is Cornwall 17th Aug 2010 more >>
As solar power becomes more popular, the industry has reached the question of how to recycle solar panels once they reach the end of life stage. Although, solar panels are reliable for up to decades and rarely need servicing, the recycling industry for the technology is really just beginning. A new European organisation, PV Cycle has been launched to develop an overall waste management scheme to deal with recycling PV modules and all accompanying technology.
Recycle 13th Aug 2010 more >>