week ending 13 April 2012
Greg Barker: Dispelling myths around the green deal. Our ambitious home improvement programme sounds too good to be true for some people, while others have misinterpreted existing research or just got their facts plain wrong.
Guardian 13th April 2012 more >>
Solar Power Portal 13th April 2012 more >>
Panasonic has revealed plans to establish a £2m fuel cell research centre in Cardiff as part of a push to reduce the high capital costs associated with the zero emission technology. The announcement was made by Prime Minister David Cameron this week during a trade mission to Japan, although the company has yet to reveal any further details of the facility, including timetables for construction and the number of jobs that will be created. The government is also consulting on plans to raise the feed-in tariff for micro-combined heat and power technology from October 2012, which would include fuel cell micro-CHP units, to 12.5p/kWh generated on-site, in addition to an export tariff of 3.1p/kWh for power exported to the grid. Advocates of fuel cell technology claim it provides a zero emission alternative to onsite generators and can provide cost-effective back-up power for offices and public sector buildings such as hospitals. However, adoption of the technology to date has been hampered by high costs and difficulties in supplying hydrogen fuel to power the cells.
Business Green 13th April 2012 more >>
EPCs & PVs
The National EPC Company (NEPCCo) has warned solar PV installation firms about the risks of obtaining inferior EPCs. The UK’s largest independent provider of EPCs has seen a flood of solar installers seeking EPCs after new guidelines introduced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on April 1, required all residential and commercial buildings to hold an EPC category ‘D’ in order to claim the highest FiT rate available. NEPCCo’s Business Development Director, James Dodd, said: “Customers run the risk of spending several thousands of pounds on solar installations only to find out they do not meet the minimum EPC requirements. For example, if, after we have carried out an EPC, an installer decides to change the specification of a job, the revised energy saving calculations may change the entire banding of an EPC. This would be of particular concern for those properties only reaching a marginal ‘D’ rating with the initial design.”
Solar Power Portal 12th April 2012 more >>
Investments in the UK solar industry rose 10-fold last year, increasing the total amount of UK clean energy sector investment by 23 percent in comparison to 2010. After a disappointing year in 2010, investments in the UK’s clean energy sector made a comeback in 2011, rising to £5.9 billion. According to the Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2011 Edition, published by The Pew Charitable Trusts, solar energy played a large part in this increase, with investments reaching ~£3 billion.
Solar Power Portal 12th April 2012 more >>
Nearly 4m homes across the UK will be powered by the sun within eight years, the government have said, and they have backed up this intensified ambition by pledging even more resources. “Instead of a scheme for the few, the new, improved scheme will deliver for far more people. Our plans will see almost two and a half times more installations than was planned by the Labour administration, and that is just by 2015. That is good news for consumers and good news for the sustainable growth of the industry,” said Barker.
The Property Guys 12th April 2012 more >>
There is a wide range of Government and other funding assistance available for renewable energy projects although many options will be limited to specific types of applicant – private households, businesses, public bodies, voluntary organisations, community groups etc.
Green Energy Net 12th April 2012 more >>
Solar panel installers are being offered a £100 discount on training courses that will help them provide energy assessment services alongside solar panel installations in order to ensure new installations are eligible for the government’s feed-in tariff incentive scheme.
Business Green 12th Apr 2012 more >>
Solar Power Portal 11th April 2012 more >>
AN estate is playing host to the country’s first inner-city community solar energy project. Last Friday, people on the Loughborough Estate in Brixton watched as 152 solar panels were activated on the roof of Elmore House. They will power up to 10 per cent of the building’s energy needs – including its lift. Eighty-one investors stumped up a total of £58,000 towards the project in three-and-a-half weeks. Most of them live in Brixton, but one donor lives as far away as the Isle of Man.
South London Press 12th April 2012 more >>
Changes in planning rules for solar installations have opened a “window of opportunity” for businesses, according to an energy consultant. Lincoln-based JHWalter Energy says more companies could be encouraged to buy panels after new regulations came into effect. Permission is no longer required to install commercial and agricultural solar PV systems. Introduced on April 6, the rules say certain sized installations can be treated as “permitted development”.
Lincolnshire Echo 12th April 2012 more >>
ENERGY from the sun is being harnessed to help power sewage treatment centres in Plymouth and Tavistock. South West Water has installed photovoltaic (PV) cells, or solar panels, at the Plymouth Central Sewage Treatment Works and at the Crowndale site in Tavistock. The two sites are among 17 operational locations across the region to receive the panels.
Plymouth Herald 12th Apr 2012 more >>
Community groups hoping to install renewable energy technologies such as solar panels and wind turbines are being offered the chance to win £5,000 from a series of social networking sites backed by TV celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingtsall.
Business Green 12th April 2012 more >>
Fears that “free solar panel” offers to generate £1,000 a year out of thin air looked too good to be true will be fuelled by new claims that banks and building societies are refusing mortgage applications.
Telegraph 11th April 2012 more >>
The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has announced a £1.3 billion boost for Government’s home energy efficiency programme, with at least £540 million of support being made available to help the poorest homes. In a speech delivered today, Nick Clegg said: “We will be requiring the energy companies to provide an estimated £1.3 billion a year of support for energy efficiency in our homes with at least £540 million to fund energy saving improvements in the worst off homes.
Business Green 11th April 2012 more >>
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has today announced a series of measures designed to help alleviate fuel poverty and drive demand for insulation and other energy efficiency improvements. In recent months, the government has faced a series of warnings from the green building industry that demand for energy efficiency improvements could fall in the autumn when the coalition replaces existing grant schemes with its new Green Deal energy efficiency loan scheme.
Business Green 11th April 2012 more >>
Energy companies will have to pay an extra £190 million a year to help low income households insulate their homes and cut their bills. The move, announced by Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, follows criticism from campaigners and charities that the Government’s policies are making fuel poverty worse. Under a new scheme being introduced next year, energy companies will now have to spend £540 million in total on energy-efficient home improvements for poorer customers. The scheme will be funded via a levy on all consumer energy bills. But even with the extra funding, fewer low income households will have loft or cavity wall insulation or double glazing installed than under the existing scheme.
Times 11th April 2012 more >>
Nick Clegg will admit more work has to be done to remove “the hassle factor” that put consumers off reducing their home energy consumption. He will point to the way B&Q is offering in conjunction with local councils to clear someone’s loft while installling insulation, an offer that greatly increased willingness to take up the switch. He will also highlight the government’s plan from the summer to trial a project with First Utility and America’s Opower, where consumers are told how much energy other, similar households use in their locality. Opower has reduced bills by 2% in the US by showing consumers how neighbours are doing better than them. He will also insist the government had arranged the green deal, due to begin in the autumn, so that businesses and homeowners can introduce energy saving home improvements at no cost upfront.
Guardian 11th April 2012 more >>
Telegraph 11th April 2012 more >>
Warm Front Budget Underspent
Thousands of England’s poorest households have been left in the cold after a government insulation scheme underspent its budget by £27 million last year, The Times has learnt. The funding, which enables low income households to reduce their energy bills, will be handed back to the Treasury. The revelation comes a day after Nick Clegg announced a string of initiatives in an attempt to deflect criticism that government policies were making fuel poverty worse. Officials from the Department of Energy and Climate Change told an industry working group last month that they expected more than 25 per cent of the £110 million allocated to the programme to remain unspent. The budget for the Warm Front scheme, which covers England, had already been slashed from £366 million in 2010. Officials blamed the underspend on being unable to find enough households to meet strict new criteria, under which only the draughtiest homes qualified. Campaigners called on the Treasury to release the unspent cash for the scheme’s final year, which has a budget of £100 million.
Times 11th April 2012 more >>
THE Government’s proposals to force us to undertake expensive energy improvements to our homes could not be a greater sign of how ministers, living it up in their taxpayer-funded mansions, have become detached from the realities of life for the masses. Under its new Green Deal, the Government wants to oblige us, whenever we mend a boiler, a window frame or undertake other minor works, to undertake further energy improvements to achieve a higher “energy rating” on our homes. Instead of simply calling in the plumber we may find ourselves having to ring up an insulation company and have our walls padded. The Government claims that being forced to undertake such improvements won’t cost us a penny – if we can’t afford to pay for the work upfront we will be able to take out a loan, the repayments for which will be more than compensated for by a reduction in our energy bills thanks to the improvements.
Express 10th April 2012 more >>
The Tory chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee questioned today whether Government proposals to compel people to fit energy-saving insulation in homes will be effective.
Telegraph 10th April 2012 more >>
THE highest pub in Cumbria has gone green after switching-on the first wind turbines in the national park.
NW Evening Mail 10th April 2012 more >>
Over the next five years, Hitachi will work with a number of large companies, UK small businesses and leading academics to come up with forecasts for future consumer heat demand. Efforts will then turn to developing economically viable technologies to better manage heat demand, before the programme culminates with a demonstration of the first Smart Energy System of its kind in the UK.
Business Green 10th April 2012 more >>
Solar Industrial Estate
MORE than 1,000 solar panels are to provide green energy for a West Dorset industrial estate. The panels, on farmland in Piddlehinton, are expected to generate enough energy to power the equivalent of 100 households every year.
This is Dorset 10th April 2012 more >>
Orkney Wind Project
As part of a £150k investment to help eradicate fuel poverty amongst local residents, energy cooperative Care4Energy has installed five high yield Kingspan Wind turbines on the island of Westray, Orkney.
Energy Management 10th April 2012 more >>
Carlisle City Council has announced that its new solar panel system has gone live - with the work completed before the feed-in tariff (FIT) subsidy reduction came into force last month. Solar panels are now in operation on the roof of the Civic Centre and Sane Centre in Carlisle and are anticipated to generate more than 45,000kWh of electricity per year and save around 24 tonnes of CO2.
Edie 10th April 2012 more >>
Those who want to build conservatories, replace broken boilers or install new windows will be required to pay for measures to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. The works, which will include projects such as loft and wall insulation, are expected to add ten per cent to the cost of any home building project. Those who cannot afford to pay will have to borrow it under the Coalition’s Green Deal and pay it back through an extra charge on their energy bills. The new rules, which have been drawn up by the Communities and Local Government department, are under consultation and could be implemented in April 2014.
Telegraph 9th Aug 2012 more >>
The River Caldew has provided a source of energy for industry in the small parish of Dalston, five miles south of Carlisle, for centuries. The Romans established a corn mill on the river and the first cotton mill was built in 1782 at Mill Ellers. The same spot is set to play a part in the latest industrial revolution – the reintroduction of small scale, renewable energy production back to local communities.
Telegraph 9th April 2012 more >>
The Coalition’s energy efficiency “revolution” is due to begin in just six months’ time. Yet industry experts still doubt whether the Green Deal can deliver on its ambitious aims. Many in the industry fear demand will indeed be low – leaving consumers in draughty homes with energy bills rising ever more steeply. Their concerns are informed by the recent experience of the Big Six suppliers in promoting efficiency to try to meet Carbon Emissions Reduction Targets (CERT) – under the threat of fines if they do not. Insulation has been given away heavily subsidised, or even for free. Sara Vaughan, E.ON’s director of energy policy, says that while the supplier expects to meet its CERT obligation, “the low-hanging fruit has been picked so it is more difficult to get the remaining consumers to sign up for insulation”.
Telegraph 8th Apr 2012 more >>
AD Ice Cream
Ice cream maker to use methane from its herd to power factory and move towards green energy vision. MACKIE’S of Scotland, the ice cream maker, is developing a new way of powering its factory – using dung produced by its 400-strong herd of cows. It is estimated that turning poop into power will help the firm to save up to £300,000 in fuel costs as well as creating one job and safeguarding two others. The company has teamed up with scientists at Edinburgh Napier University’s Biofuel Business Programme (BBP) to devise plans for a plant that will use thousands of tonnes of slurry to generate methane biogas, which can then be transformed into electricity.
Scotsman 8th April 2012 more >>
David Cameron has been accused of hypocrisy for hosting a major green energy summit at the same time as slashing subsidies for solar power generation.
Independent 8th April 2012 more >>