week ending 29 October 2010
AN energy performance expert is warning homebuyers not to fall into the trap of presuming all new build properties are more energy efficient than their older counterparts. The National EPC Company, the UK’s leading energy performance certificate (EPC) provider says a fifth of UK homes are rated band F or G through the EPC. Properties with F and G ratings are the least energy efficient. Reports earlier this year claimed ten per cent of new properties fail the energy efficiency test. Under Government plans, from 2016 all new homes will be built to a new zero carbon standard, and by 2050 the nation’s entire housing stock will be virtually zero carbon. Marc Blomfield, managing director of The National EPC Company says too many house builders aren’t prepared for these targets. He says the age of a property and its energy efficiency standards don’t always go hand in hand.
National EPC Company 29th Oct 2010 more >>
Energy firm First:Utility has announced it is commencing the nationwide rollout of gas and electricity smart meters to its customers. It is the first firm in the UK to take such action and follows a regional push last year.
Low Carbon Economy 29th Oct 2010 more >>
Business Green 29th Oct 2010 more >>
Merton Rule Alive and Well
Merton Council, in partnership with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and house builder Crest Nicholson, is all set to transform a former school site into a landscaped public park and 217 homes. In line with Merton’s environmental policy - the Merton Rule - the site will be partly powered by renewable energy. The roofs of the Scout and community hall and the medical centre will accommodate solar panels, in addition to other state of the art sustainable energy measures. The buildings will also be well insulated to reduce the need for heating.
Merton Council 28th Oct 2010 more >>
Stevenage Energy Efficiency
To mark national Energy Saving Week (25 to 31 October) Stevenage Borough Council is promoting the Herts Essex Energy Partnership (HEEP) scheme which offers Stevenage residents a variety of grants, discounts and interest-free loans to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
Stevenage Borough Council 28th Oct 2010 more >>
Local Enterprise Partnerships
Agriculture can make a vital contribution to the economic recovery, especially in rural areas. Farming has multiple outputs beyond simply food: renewable energy, environmental services, rural employment and an accessible countryside. We expect that these LEPs will want to work with the tens of thousands of rural businesses involved in farming.
Farm Business 28th Oct 2010 more >>
Two schools in Bordon will become the first in Hampshire to share a new environmentally-friendly heating system installed by Hampshire County Council. A new wood-fired Biomass boiler is among a number of energy efficiency works to be installed at both Weyford Infant and Junior Schools as part of the wider Whitehill Bordon Eco-Town project showing the benefits of low carbon and energy efficiency improvements in publicly owned buildings.
Hampshire County Council 28th Oct 2010 more >>
Development work at the Bishop’s Palace in Wells will begin today. The new developments include providing access to the wells near the cathedral which give the city its name, a green caf heated with renewable energy and serving locally sourced food.
This is Somerset 28th Oct 2010 more >>
A FORMER mining community hopes to be the first in the UK to use the profits from a green electricity scheme to take on and run council services. People living in the County Durham village of Oakenshaw hope the “far-sighted” project would allow them to supply the National Grid. The village’s community association has teamed up with social enterprise Community Renewable Energy (CoRE), of Berwick- Upon-Tweed, Northumberland.
The Advertiser 28th Oct 2010 more >>
The market for underfloor heating in the UK has shown around 30% year on year growth in recent times, with popularity driven partly by government targets to improve energy efficiency. Demand has been accelerated by an emphasis on designing low carbon heating systems, many of which depend on renewable energy sources. Underfloor heating is now accepted as part of the mainstream UK building services industry and is widely used, both in the commercial and domestic sectors.
Plumbing Park 28th Oct 2010 more >>
Cirencester’s Poo Power
Thousands of chickens will next month be contributing their droppings to a biogas power station that will provide enough electricity to light 350 homes. The plant in Cirencester will convert agricultural and animal waste from local farms into heat and electricity. And the project will also help local farmers reduce their operating costs and carbon footprints.
Guardian 28th Oct 2010 more >>
Old watermills could once again become a working part of the landscape under ministers’ plans to power a million homes with hydro-electricity. Over the next ten years, thousands of homes and communities will be encouraged to restore dilapidated water wheels and mills – or build small-scale hydro-electric power plants as part of a drive for green energy. According to Climate Change Minister Greg Barker, our rivers and streams are ‘a great untapped source of power’ and could generate as much electricity as a nuclear power station.
Daily Mail 28th Oct 2010 more >>
BYM Marine Environment News 28th Oct 2010 more >>
Business Green 28th Oct 2010 more >>
Small hydro has an important but limited role to play in renewable energy generation, according to the Environment Agency in the UK. In its new mapping project the agency shows where hydropower could be deployed in England and Wales to utilise untapped potential; helping to fulfil important green energy requirements
Water Power Magazine 27th Oct 2010 more >>
Climate change minister Greg Barker has announced that ‘remanufactured as new’ hydro schemes will be eligible for Feed-in Tariff (FiT) support.
New Energy Focus 28th Oct 2010 more >>
The Environment Agency has today published a new guide to help communities and businesses benefit from small-scale hydropower projects.
Business Green 28th Oct 2010 more >>
“We’ve had a lucky escape,” says Jeremy Leggett. “There were massive forces of darkness lined up against us a whole cadre of politicians and officials trying to, at the minimum, cut back the FIT and, if they could get away with it, shut it down completely.” The FIT is central to the development of Britain’s clean-energy sector, and the back-room machinations over its survival are just a single skirmish in the war for the future of Britain’s energy supplies. Mr Leggett could not be more serious: “The danger is that we will be ambushed by our collective stupidity before we have enough weapons to fight back. The mobilisation of renewable-energy technologies vital to our survival might not happen fast enough to counter the threats of global warming and peak oil.” In both Whitehall and the energy majors, “retrograde thinkers” are already defending the status quo “with amazing vehemence” and the battles are only just beginning. The rhetoric in recent years has been about an energy mix generating capacity of every sort, but the old and the new can no longer co-exist, Mr Leggett believes. And once renewables really take off, the war will begin in earnest, he says, pointing to evidence from Germany that even the fraction of electricity consumption supplied by solar PV is pulling down midday-peak electricity demand, clipping prices and hurting the profits of the energy giants.
Independent 28th Oct 2010 more >>
SCOTLAND has just recorded one of its lowest winter death tolls of the past two decades - despite last year’s record-breaking cold weather. New government figures show there were 19,688 deaths between December and March in 2009-10, the second lowest number of deaths registered in 20 winters going back to 1990-91, and equivalent to 163 a day. The fall in deaths came despite bitterly cold weather which caused widespread disruption throughout Scotland, along with the swine flu epidemic that hit the country. Excess winter deaths, the increased number compared with the rest of the year, was slightly lower than the 20-year average at 2,764 but significantly lower than the number of deaths in the previous year.
Scotsman 28th Oct 2010 more >>
The confirmation that the Renewable Heat Incentive is still on track is very welcome - as is the government’s commitment of £860 million to this scheme. The coalition has given its support to the wide uptake of anaerobic digestion, and we know from our own experience at Wardell Armstrong of getting eight of the UK’s 30-odd large scale AD plants through the planning system how essential the RHI is to stimulating the AD market, facilitating the injection of gas to the grid.
New Energy Focus 28th Oct 2010 more >>
Schools in Croydon are being given the chance to participate in a new environmentally-friendly project that will help them cut costs and reduce carbon emissions. Between them, the borough’s 126 schools are producing around 20,000 tonnes of carbon each year - 45% of Croydon Council’s total carbon footprint. The ‘sustainable schools programme’ is one of the initiatives which will help to deliver a council wide target of 25% carbon reduction under the Carbon Management Energy Efficiency Programme (2010-2015) resulting in significant financial savings.
Croydon Council 27th Oct 2010 more >>
Nottingham University Turbines
THREE wind turbine towers, which would rise 125 metres above the city skyline, are being planned by the University of Nottingham. The £10 million project could produce a third of the electricity needed by the university campus every year.
Nottingham Evening Post 27th Oct 2010 more >>
THE city of Hull should be looking at smaller-scale renewable projects to achieve its dream of producing more green energy – rather than relying on one or two major projects. A recent study suggested that Hull could increase the amount of green energy by more than 15 times.
Yorkshire Post 27th Oct 2010 more >>
A WIND turbine could be built at a Lothians hospital as part of plans to make the health board greener. Health chiefs are considering placing the power-generating facility at Liberton Hospital as an alternative energy source, it has emerged. As well as the wind turbine at Liberton - an elderly people’s hospital which has around 170 beds across eight wards - there are a number of other options on the table. The new Royal Victoria hospital could have solar panels installed along one side, which would provide a significant amount of power. Dalkeith Medical Centre could benefit from a ground source heat pump, which uses pipes to extract natural heat from the ground. A new sexual health “one-stop shop” in Lauriston will also capitalise on renovated premises with solar thermal panels to heat the water. Managers at St John’s Hospital in Livingston are also discussing scrapping the current boiler system and finding power from biomass options
Edinburgh Evening News 27th Oct 2010 more >>
The introduction of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) next April could result in a lucrative new revenue stream for landowners with access to unmanaged woodlands, after one of the UK’s leading suppliers of fuel for biomass generators said it was on the look out for sustainable sources of timber.
Business Green 26th Oct 2010 more >>
Businesses urged to Go Solar
BUSINESES eager to adopt renewable energy systems are being advised to press ahead with their plans now the Government has confirmed its commitment to green subsidies. Going Solar says companies should act quickly to take advantage of schemes such as the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs), which allow consumers to earn money for heat generated from solutions such as solar panels.
Stourbridge News 26th Oct 2010 more >>
Microgen saves money
Many green moves save money in the long run, but we’re not always ready to make the investment. As Ian Cuthbert, microgeneration advice manager at the Energy Saving Trust (EST) says, we don’t yet think of investing in insulation or other green measures in the way we do a new kitchen or car. Help is available to meet the cost of eco outlays, but the take-up of grants and other support schemes is patchy. Cuthbert suggests logging your postcode into the EST’s online database to pinpoint which of the hundreds of energy-saving grants and discounts available could work for you.
Independent 25th Oct 2010 more >>
Waveney District Council is saving money while being kind to the environment thanks to a high-tech installation which will benefit housing tenants in Lowestoft. The Council, with partners the Dodd Group, has installed ‘photovoltaic’ panels benefitting 35 homes at Manor Court.
Waveney District Council 25th Oct 2010 more >>
As part of the comprehensive spending review, the Government have announced its commitment to the Renewable Heat Incentive with £860 million of funding in anticipation of a 10-fold growth rate in the sector. Although some savings will be required from the original policy, the Renewable Energy Association (REA) believes the level of funding is sufficient to enable the development needed in the sector. The REA is awaiting policy details to ensure tariff rates are commercially viable for each technology.
National Non-food Crops Centre 25th Oct 2010 more >>
Speakers at a national green power conference backed microgeneration as the best weapon against the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels for heat. Energy experts who attended the second Green Power Forum (GPF) agreed that heat production was the ‘sleeping giant’ in the battle for climate change action.
Heating & Plumbing Monthly 25th Oct 2010 more >>
FiT Gold Rush?
So last month we reported on solar panels being installed on council houses in Stoke. And today news of a company that wants to install “solar farms” in fields in Shropshire. So why the sudden interest in solar power? Well it’s not just solar power it’s also wind, combined heat and power and others and it’s all because the “feed-in-tariffs” for renewable energy mean this sort of small scale investment can generate a healthy (subsidised) profit.
BBC 25th Oct 2010 more >>
Broadland District Council invested around £125,000 to help install low carbon technologies in community buildings across the district. Now residents can see them in action and find out more about the possibilities of using renewable energy themselves. “We wanted to help community organisations reduce energy use and make their buildings cheaper to run and more pleasant to use,” said Andy Jarvis, Head of Environmental Services, “but also to provide a showcase where Norfolk people can see the technologies in action.” Installations include solar panels and air source heat pumps for water and space heating and electricity generation.
Broadland District Council 25th Oct 2010 more >>
The ceramics sector welcomed the announcement that Feed-in Tariffs, which allow small businesses and homeowners to produce and sell renewable energy, will be funded by the state rather than levy high-energy users.
This is Business Staffordshire 25th Oct 2010 more >>
Free Electricity in Norwich
Up to 5,000 families around Norwich could benefit from free electricity if a pioneering scheme to fit solar panels to council homes becomes reality. Norwich City Council is hoping to sign a contract with a company prepared to install photovoltaic cells on thousands of homes - which would mean free power in daylight hours for the people in those homes. The city council has already been in touch with companies interested in becoming a partner in the scheme and genuinely believes the project could be introduced in Norwich at no cost to the council or to the families who opt-in to the scheme.
Norwich Advertiser 25th Oct 2010 more >>
What effect will the Government’s recently-announced Comprehensive Spending Review have on the HVAC sector? Industry experts gave H&V News readers their response. David Frise, HVCA head of sustainability says that incentives for renewables and the radical transformation of Carbon Reduction Commitment energy efficiency scheme (CRC) are “just what many in the industry have been asking for”. The CRC is now, effectively, the carbon tax many have said was necessary to make energy a boardroom issue.
H&V News 25th Oct 2010 more >>
Shared energy schemes could cut consumers’ bills and boost Scotland’s engineering sector, researchers said today. Scientists at the Universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde looking at how a shared energy project could be implemented in Scotland said investing in European-style community heating could help city dwellers cut consumption and support local jobs. Researchers are to draw on the experience of other European cities, and of pioneering schemes in Aberdeen and Sheffield. Householders tapping into district heating programmes in Aberdeen have reported combined electricity and heating bills of less than £400 per year, researchers said. Professor Jan Webb, from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Social and Political Science, who will direct the project, said: “Huge quantities of heat produced in and near cities are wasted. “Investing in energy efficiency and district heating could not only reduce costs and tackle fuel poverty but it could also support local jobs in engineering, operation and maintenance.”
Scotsman 25th Oct 2010 more >>
Craven Energy Saving Week
It’s not every day that the chairman of Craven District Council invites people into his house. But on Thursday, Coun Paul Whitaker will be throwing open his doors as part of Energy Saving Week. Coun Whitaker, who during his year in office is championing renewable energy, has installed solar panels and a ground source heat pump at his Grassington Road home. The 21 solar photovoltaic panels on his roof provide the house with electricity, with any surplus going into the National Grid.
Craven Herald and Pioneer 24th Oct 2010 more >>
St Albans Energy Saving Week
THE district council is offering grants to residents to help cut your carbon footprint. The grants and discounts are available for a variety of energy-saving projects through the district council’s approved energy efficiency scheme, Herts Essex Energy Partnership (HEEP), until the end of March 2011.
St Albans Review 23rd Oct 2010 more >>
If you have been looking for an ethical investment that also pays a healthy return, green energy company Ecotricity may have come to your aid. This week it invited people to sign up for its new four-year bonds paying up to 7.5% interest. The Stroud-based firm, which was the first UK company to offer consumer electricity produced entirely from renewable sources, is hoping to raise £10m with its EcoBonds.
Guardian 23rd Oct 2010 more >>
Small Wind in India
Winnipeg’s Global Wind Group has designed and developed a vertical wind turbine suited for about 3,000 villages in India that are not connected to the power grid. A young Winnipeg company that has developed a unique vertical-axis wind turbine has signed a licensing agreement with an Indian company that could see thousands of the units all over India within the next five years.
Winnipeg Free Press 23rd Oct 2010 more >>
A recent ‘Declaration of Support for an efficient renewable energy future’, signed by several leading international academics, laid out a basic framework. Similar lists are emerging for ‘green heat’ options- some looking to solar and biomass/biogas fed micro-CHP at the domestic level, but others suggesting a new focus on local district heating grids fed increasingly by medium/large biogas fired CHP or even large solar collector arrays and heat stores, as is being done widely on the continent.
Environmental Research Web 23rd October 2010 more >>
Cornwall’s farmers have more than the harvest festival to celebrate this autumn: the granting of planning permission for the UK’s first purpose-built solar farm and a £14m loan for an even larger solar farm next to Newquay airport. The landmark decisions by Cornwall council, which gave the loan, are predicted to trigger a surge of similar applications from farmers and landowners across the county over the next 18 months, with the council estimating a potential total investment of £1bn for the county.
Business Green 22nd Oct 2010 more >>
A CRICKET club plans to build a new pavilion as part of a major redevelopment. Lindal Moor Cricket Club hopes to demolish its existing building in Pennington Lane and replace it with a modern pavilion to be powered by a small wind turbine.
North West Evening Mail 22nd Oct 2010 more >>
PERTH firm Renewable Energy Consultants, based in Friarton, have won the design and project management contract of a district-wide green heating system for Fintry in Dundee. The £5 million project will see social housing tenants in over 300 houses benefit from communal ground source heat pumps and solar thermal systems.
Perthshire Advertiser 22nd Oct 2010 more >>
Imagine living in a house that costs just £75 to heat a year, not because you have scrimped, saved and shivered your way through winter, but because of its subtle but super-efficient design. Welcome to the world of PassivHaus building, or ‘passive houses’ as they are known as in the UK.
Ecologist 22nd Oct 2010 more >>
Solar power is often seen as nice, but a bit marginal in chilly northern countries. The reality is different. There is now over 20 GW thermal of solar heating capacity in the EU, which much of it being in northern countries like Germany, Austria and Denmark. A lot of it is roof top domestic-scale, but there is also now a growing contribution from large-scale systems. For example, solar district heating is now moving ahead around Europe. The District Heating network in the Austrian city of Graz has 6.5 MW of solar thermal capacity. And further North, Danish collector manufacturer Arcon Solvarme has installed a 10,073 sq. m installation in the village of Gram in the region Syddanmark, and a 8,019 sq. m system in the village of Strandby in North Jutland, which meets 18% of the average energy demand for heating and domestic hot water of 830 households. A third solar thermal system, with 10,000 sq. m, has also been installed in the town of Broager in the south of Denmark.
Environmental Research Web 16th Oct 2010 more >>
The BBC World Service has installed wind turbines at a transmission site on a remote South Atlantic island to save money on diesel fuel and cut carbon, it has been announced.
Institution of Engineering & Technology 20th Oct 2010 more >>