week ending 18 February 2011
Solar goes for legal action
More than 20 energy companies have hired law firm Eversheds to challenge the Government’s decision to review £360m in subsidies for “solar farms”.
Telegraph 18th Feb 2011 more >>
David Cameron has today been urged to follow the government’s so-called forest sell-off “yew turn” and ditch the government’s controversial fast-track review of feed-in tariff (FIT) incentives for solar installations. The calls came as it emerged that a group of more than 20 solar energy executives have launched a legal battle challenging the government’s surprise decision to review the level of feed-in tariffs available to solar installations of more than 50kW capacity.
Business Green 18th Feb 2011 more >>
Farmers and landowners interested in renewable energy projects but who are still considering what action to take have had a sharp reminder this week of the need to focus on which type of system to opt for to avoid losing out completely. According to Kirsty Macpherson, of Gillespie Macandrew’s energy group, the recent review of feed in tariffs (FIT) by Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, has flagged up a desire by the government to reduce the budget by £40m by 2014-5
Scotsman 18th Feb 2011 more >>
The Co-operative Group is launching an ethical operating plan that it hopes will set a benchmark for corporate responsibility on carbon reduction, fair trade and community involvement. The group, which employs 120,000 staff, also plans to increase its membership from 6 million to 20 million and double its support for green energy to £1bn. In addition, it will increase its involvement with schools and create 2,000 apprenticeships in the next few years, as well as invest £5m a year to tackle poverty around its stores and branches.
Guardian 18th Feb 2011 more >>
Business Green 18th Feb 2011 more >>
Tesco’s solar plans on hold
Decision comes after government’s review of feed-in tarrifs. Tesco has put plans for huge banks of solar panels on several of its distribution centres on hold after the government this week failed to reassure a renewables industry shocked by its review.
Building Magazine 18th Feb 2011 more >>
The Ecogen won both the Heating and Plumbing category and the Green Award. The judges said that whilst it had “obvious eco credentials it deserves to be taken seriously as a mainstream heating and plumbing solution.” The Baxi Ecogen Dual Energy System is a micro-combined heat and power (micro-CHP) wall hung gas boiler, whichgenerates both electricity and heat from the same source close to where it is to be used. The first boiler of its kind available on the market, it is an easy replacement for a conventional gas boiler.
Builders Merchant Journal 17th Feb 2011 more >>
Engaging with Business
Caroline Lucas: Earlier this week, I was invited along to the Business and a Sustainable Environment conference in London to give my views on the government’s green business policy. The question was “how is government engaging with business to deliver the transition to a low-carbon economy?” My answer was: “not very well”. The government wants the Green Deal to be a “framework” within which the private sector will deliver much-needed energy efficiency programmes in homes. But ministers appear to believe that a market free of government targets is more likely to succeed than government-defined programmes. The consequence is that no one can say what the green deal is expected to deliver, either in numbers of homes treated or in CO2 emissions reduced. There is no target to meet, or to measure delivery against – and therefore no means of assessing success. The government’s disarray over feed-in tariffs (Fits) – reveals the degree to which uncertainty can hamper progress. Just last week the government announced a fast-track review of Fits for all solar PV above 50 kW, the size of an average school installation. This effectively pulled the rug out from under the industry, creating significant job uncertainty in one of the few industries to create thousands of new jobs in the UK in the past 10 months.
Guardian Blog 17th Feb 2011 more >>
Roof Installations better than fields
Farmers invariably start discussing field installations. They quickly change their focus to roof installations when I point out the practicalities. One of the main issues is planning – you need consent for field installations, which can be laborious. Not so for roof panels. Another factor is security – the risk of vandalism and theft of panels from fields. They are much better off installing panels on the roof of an old outbuilding and using FIT payments to subsidise its renovation.
Daily Post 17th Feb 2011 more >>
ONE of the men behind a new multi-million pound renewable energy plan on the outskirts of town has played down the impact it will have on local people. Plans for a five megawatt capacity solar farm with more than 20,000 panels in a field to the north of South Marston were unveiled at a consultancy session yesterday. The scheme proposes to build on a 30-acre plot just 600 metres away from another solar farm proposal at Roves Farm which is from the same company, AEE Renewables.
Swindon Advertiser 17th Feb 2011 more >>
North Dorset Solar Plan
GREEN energy developers are consulting residents in north Dorset over what could be the county’s first solar farm. The proposal to cover 36 acres of a chicken farm at Farrington with elevated panels could provide enough electricity to power 1,200 homes.
This is Dorset 17th Feb 2011 more >>
Caution has been urged by the chairman of a council climate change group over plans to build three new solar farms. Peter Topping, of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s (SCDC) Climate Change Working Group, says he fears green energy companies may recoup thousands of pounds from the sites in Thriplow, Meldreth and Croydon that won’t benefit the local communities.
Royston Weekly News 17th Feb 2011 more >>
New homes solar option
Housebuilder Larkfleet is giving homebuyers the chance to buy rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on any new purchase.
Greenwise Business 16th Feb 2011 more >>
East Midlands Action
Local authorities came together last month to discuss ways of dealing with issues raised by climate change, develop renewable energy schemes and share items of best practice. The annual conference of the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Local Authorities’ Energy Partnership (LAEP) was hosted by Gedling Borough Council and saw around 60 people from 15 authorities attend.
Gedling Borough Council 16th Feb 2011 more >>
A GOVERNMENT review that could remove funding from businesses developing green energy projects will kill off solar farms, it has been claimed. As reported in the Echo last week, Lincolnshire could house the biggest solar field in the UK if Stow-based firm Freewatt receives permission for its £8.5 million 14,544-panel project at its Danes Farm headquarters. But plans that could stop commercial ventures from receiving green subsidies have been slammed as “ill-conceived” by Ecotricity founder Dale Vince.
Lincolnshire Echo 16th Feb 2011 more >>
Cambridge-based Sitec Infrastructure Services, a major service provider to the renewable energy markets, is looking for farmers, landowners and those with large roofs who want to reap the financial benefits of solar energy.
Wiltshire Business 16th Feb 2011 more >>
In the late 19th century, Birmingham faced a crisis. The city’s poor had to put up with putrid wells and slum housing, while the council struggled to find the money to improve things. A big part of the answer for the mayor, Joseph Chamberlain, was to buy the local gas and water works. Armed with the income from these utilities, Chamberlain set about transforming the face of his city. Once again, cash-strapped local government is set to lead the way. Key are the government’s feed-in tariff and renewable heat incentives. These pay over the odds to encourage the development of greener energy. Definitive figures are hard to come by, but a New Local Government Network report, Power and Money, estimates that the total subsidy is about £12bn over the next 20 years.
Guardian 16th Feb 2011 more >>
Energy Efficiency News 17th Feb 2011 more >>
Low Carbon Economy 17th Feb 2011 more >>
Localism think tank, NLGN have called on councils to try and cushion some of the current financial pressures they face by making greater use of green energy subsidies – with an estimated pot available of up to £12 billion over the next two decades. With some council budgets being cut by nearly 9% next year, a new report Power and Money highlights how some authorities are already starting to install solar panels on social housing and other council properties, thereby accessing new sources of funding through the ‘Feed-in Tariff’ and the ‘Renewable Heat Incentive’.
New Local Government Network 16th Feb 2011 more >>
Signs that the government’s Feed-in Tariff (FiT) review is already beginning to affect investor confidence have emerged, with the Matrix Group suspending its Clean Energy VCTs . The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced its review of the incentives last week, saying it was addressing the concerns surrounding large-scale solar farms. Members of the industry then reacted angrily after it was revealed the research would cover any installation capable of generating 50KW of power, which are largely defined as medium scale. They claimed the review could undermine investor confidence in the technology.
Low Carbon Economy 16th Feb 2011 more >>
AD Test Centre
A ‘cutting-edge’ facility where companies can test and develop anaerobic digestion technology was officially launched on Friday (February 11) at the Wilton Industrial Estate on Teesside. The Anaerobic Digestion Development Centre (ADDC) was set up by the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) to aid the development of novel and improved anaerobic digestion processes. Unveiled by Ian Swales, MP for Redcar, it is the first of its kind in the UK.
Let’s Recycle 15th Feb 2011 more >>
Quiet Revolution Financed
UK small wind turbine manufacturer, quietrevolution, has signed a project financing deal to enable it to grow and speed up the roll out of its wind turbines across the UK. Cleantech investment manager Hazel Capital is providing £5 million in funds to quietrevolution that will enable the manufacturer to install at least 150 more of its qr5 vertical axis turbines across the UK’s roads, railways, coastal sea defences and promenades. The deal is structured so that Hazel Capital takes on the financial risk once the turbines are built, leaving quietrevolution to concentrate on manufacturing.
Greenwise Business 15th Feb 2011 more >>
Jobs at Stake
Jobs in the solar energy industry are being put at risk from the uncertainty around the Government’s renewable energy subsidy the Feed-in Tariff (FiT), trade and green groups warned today. The Renewable Energy Association (REA) and Friends of the Earth are calling on the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to move swiftly to stabilise the FiT scheme or risk destabilising recruitment in the solar power sector.
Green Wise Business 15th Feb 2011 more >>
Householders using the first photo-voltaic solar panels in the north could earn themselves £1,000 a year. Inverness firm Cairngorm Windows have made a major investment in the panels, which enable users to take advantage of the 2009 EU Renewable Energy Directive’s target for the UK to achieve 15% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. Cairngorm have invested “a significant six-figure sum” in acquiring panels under an exclusive deal with German ceramic hob manufacturers Schott and in training personnel in installing and maintaining them.
Press and Journal 15th Feb 2011 more >>
Welsh Solar Park
PLANS for a solar park at Baglan Bay, capable of providing the electricity needs of 1,500 homes a year, have been unveiled by St Modwen. The leading regeneration specialist and land owner and developer of Baglan Bay, has submitted a planning application to Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council to create a photovoltaic park at the former BP site in Port Talbot. If approved about 30 acres of the Baglan Bay development will house around 25,000 photovoltaic panels which will generate five megawatts of power – enough to provide electricity for around 1,500 homes a year.
Western Mail 15th Feb 2011 more >>
A STATE of the art training academy has opened at Sharp in Llay. The renewable energy academy aims to train up to 50 people a month in solar panel installation skills. Those eligible to do the training include electricians, roofers, building contractors and heating engineers.
The Leader 15th Feb 2011 more >>
Cumbrian Solar Expansion
A Cumbrian solar energy firm has expanded on the back of rapid growth in the industry. Sundog Energy, of Penrith, has made several new appointments and has completed a move to larger premises. Bill Roberts has joined the business as managing director, while founder Martin Cotterell becomes chairman and technical director.
Carlisle News and Star 15th Feb 2011 more >>
Energy companies developing solar “farms” have hit out at a review aimed at removing green subsidies from the commercial ventures, warning they represent better value for money than household solar panels. The Government last week announced that it was reviewing the feed-in tariffs scheme amid concerns large scale solar electricity schemes were cashing in on the incentives designed to boost small-scale renewables. The tariffs, which are financed by small increases on household energy bills, pay people and organisations for the “green” electricity they generate from small-scale solar panels, wind turbines and other renewables. But with subsidies paying out for solar electricity installations of up to 5MW, the equivalent of 200 homes having the panels on their roofs, solar farms which stretch over a number of acres are being given the go-ahead.
New Civil Engineer 15th Feb 2011 more >>
Simpson – “review a fiasco”
Responding to the angry reaction of firms developing solar farms to the Government’s review of the feed-in tariff scheme, Friends of the Earth’s Renewable Energy Adviser Alan Simpson said: “The Government’s feed-in tariff review is a complete fiasco that has created total confusion within the energy sector. “If Ministers have concerns about solar farms they should address them through the planning system - not by undermining confidence in green energy investment.
FoE Press Release 14th Feb 2011 more >>
24 Dash 14th Feb 2011 more >>
A DARWEN oven company is helping bakeries across the world combat rising fuel costs. Bakewell Ovens, based in Railway Road, is the only manufacturer of a wood pellet-fuelled rack oven. The ovens have integral burners that produce low amounts of carbon dioxide.
This is Lancashire 14th Feb 2011 more >>
With Government incentives providing improved rates of return on installing renewable energy, rising fuel bills, many businesses are wondering whether generating their own energy and heat is becoming a realistic option. Find out more by attending this new event The Renewable Energy Market Place, 22 March 2011 at Westpoint near Exeter.
South-West Tourism 14th Feb 2011 more >>
The founder of a green energy firm developing a solar park in Lincolnshire has slammed a Government review aimed at removing green subsidies from the commercial ventures. Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, branded the move by ministers “ill-conceived”. He said large scale solar costs around 30% less to generate electricity per unit than small PV panels on homes.
Bakewell Today 14th Feb 2011 more >>
SUFFOLK-based Adnams brewery is hoping to harness green energy by installing solar panels. The independent brewer, which has previously won awards for its environmental and sustainable efforts, has applied for planning permission to install ‘photovoltaic’ panels at its distribution centre in Halesworth Road, Reydon, near Southwold.
Lowestoft Journal 13th Feb 2011 more >>
Basingstoke Solar Farm
A PLOT of land on the Herriard Estate, to the south of Basingstoke, could be transformed into a farm of the future if a scheme is backed by borough planners. London-based Alectron Investments is seeking to turn the 20-acre site, off Bushywarren Lane, into a solar farm that will generate renewable energy for the regional grid. Each year, it would create enough power for 1,000 to 1,200 homes.
This is Hampshire 13th Feb 2011 more >>
Solar Fired Up
TWO fire stations could be generating their own power if plans to install solar panels are given the green light. Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue has applied to South Kesteven District Council to put solar photovoltaic panels on the roofs of Stamford and Billingborough fire stations.
Rutland and Stamford Mercury 13th Feb 2011 more >>
Staffordshire Solar Firm
TWENTY FIVE new jobs are being created at a building maintenance and services firm. BGC Group wants to double the workforce of its expanding renewable energy division, BGC Renewables, by the end of the year. The division, which is based at the firm’s training centre in Etruria, specialises in installing solar power to generate electricity or heat water and ground or air source heat pumps. The company targets domestic, commercial and public sector customers and has just secured a contract with social landlord Aspire Housing to fit photovoltaic solar panels at 30 bungalows in Chesterton.
Business Staffordshire 12th Feb 2011 more >>
FiT Reviews go global
The UK’s ‘Clean Energy Payback’ FiT for micropower projects, including PV, is so small (it’s expected to yield just 2% of electricity by 2020) it is hardly likely to have a noticeable impact on consumer prices, but the government aims to cut support for PV in 2013, leading to a £40m saving in 2014/15 (10%), ‘unless higher than expected deployment requires an early review’. And if need be, access to the FiT might be limited for large solar farms on greenfield sites before the review, which was scheduled for 2012, but has now brought forward to this year, because of ‘growing evidence that large scale solar farms could soak up money intended to help homes, communities and small businesses generate their own electricity’. So far around 40 MW of PV has been installed under the scheme, out of about 77 MW in all – tiny by comparison with Germany and Spain, but much more than before.
Environmental Research Web 12th Feb 2011 more >>
One of the UK’s biggest suppliers of heating and renewable energy services yesterday backed a £306 million takeover by support services giant Carillion. Eaga, which was founded in 1990 and now employs about 4,000 people, works with the government, local authorities and housing associations to cut carbon emissions and energy consumption, principally in low-income households.
Scotsman 12th Feb 2011 more >>
THE boss of a solar panel firm yesterday warned Government proposals to limit new rules on solar energy could decimate the industry and urged ministers to rethink. The comments were made by Sharp head of international sales Andrew Lee as he officially opened the pioneering Renewable Energy Academy at the factory in Llay, Wrexham. But he stressed that if the Government proposals did go ahead to cap the feed in tariff which would affect projects over 50kw – rather than the current 5mw – no jobs would be lost at Sharp because the vast majority of their current market is selling to outside the UK – 90%.
Daily Post 12th Feb 2011 more >>
Investment in solar dries up
Renewable energy investors are dumping solar projects and revising their investment strategies in the wake of the government’s surprise announcement it is to formally review the feed-in-tariff (FIT) incentive scheme. Speaking on the sidelines of an investor briefing at the London Stock Exchange this morning, Andrew Newman, finance director of Low Carbon Investors (LCI) said that since Monday the company had shelved all investment plans for solar photovoltaic projects with over 50KW until the fast track review of support for larger solar projects is finalised.
Business Green 11th Feb 2011 more >>
Scotsman 11th Feb 2011 more >>
FiT fires up solar
In just a half-year since the tariff was introduced, more than 10,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) installations were recorded, with the majority consisting of domestic installations. This has led to an increase of twice the 2009 installed capacity in the first six months. The overall installed capacity is also set to rapidly increase as larger-scale (5 MW) solar farms come into play in the next 12-18 months. These outcomes demonstrate the positive effect the feed-in tariff has had on the UK solar market, despite the poor economic conditions.
Rocket News 11th Feb 2011 more >>
The government’s target of an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2015 means that housebuilders need to implement changes, starting now. But with so many ways to reduce emissions in new and existing homes, how do you decide which regulations to follow? How to green the existing housing stock has become a hot topic within the past few years. Much ink has been spilled on the merits of Passivhaus standards, whether the Decent Homes initiative was a missed opportunity and whether the Green Deal can really work. But the big question remains: how much should be spent on improving an existing home? Should we restrict ourselves to a few “quick wins” such as topping up roof insulation and putting in some low-energy light bulbs or go the whole hog with a Passivhaus refurbishment? How much do these two approaches really cost and how long does it take to recoup the capital expenditure?
Building 11th Feb 2010 more >>
WANSBECK MP Ian Lavery visited a Morpeth school to find out how green services provider Eaga is helping youngsters learn about renewable energy. Mr Lavery sat in on a solar energy lesson at Newminster Middle School delivered by Caroline Robinson, Newcastle-based Eaga’s newly-appointed renewables educational officer.
News Post Leader 11th Feb 2011 more >>
Penzance Solar Review
An American company which planned to build two solar farms in a picturesque rural area has ended its interest in the developments. SunPower released a statement late last night which appeared to take notice of local opposition to the plans, earmarked for sites near Penzance – at Trereife and at Boskinning, between Trevaylor and Newmill. A spokesman for the company said: “Having reviewed the proposed site and how it sits within the broader environment, it became evident that issues such as the proximity to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the prehistoric hedge structures as well as being in an Area of Great Historic Value, made this a very sensitive site.
This is Cornwall 11th Feb 2011 more >>
Vaillant, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of heating systems and renewable technologies, will be displaying its extensive selection of products at this year’s Ecobuild exhibition at London ExCeL on stand number N1510. Vaillant’s stand will boast a number of product innovations for the renewable energy sector, including the geoTHERM ground source heat pump, climaVAIR air-to-air heat pump and the auroTHERM solar domestic hot water system.
Heating & Plumbing Monthly 11th Feb 2011 more >>
Financing Carbon Reduction
Funding for small scale solar, biomass and other carbon reduction projects in the UK could rise significantly if consistent reporting guidelines for these schemes can be agreed. The findings are contained in a study carried out by BRE Trust, owner of the UK’s leading building research body BRE. Many companies interviewed for the report “Financing UK Carbon Reduction Projects” said they would prefer to support green projects in the UK rather than invest in schemes abroad provided a standardised mechanism for reporting on the projects is created.
Heating & Plumbing Monthly 11th Feb 2011 more >>
Solar Review impacts on poorest
Large scale solar, like wind farms, give the opportunity to allow communities to invest in the scheme. People can give whatever they want and see a return on their investment – whether its £100 or £10,000. Community groups, such as housing associations, could invest in large scale schemes. This investment would then be a source of revenue that results in their tenants having lower rates of rent. There are plenty other options out there for large scale solar, and it is the best way of getting of people involved in the technology that might otherwise never have had a chance to.
Bright Green Scotland 10th Feb 2011 more >>