week ending 27 July 2012
Free Heat Pumps
You’ve heard of free solar, but now one company has launched a scheme offering to install free ground source heat pumps (GSHP) for businesses. Ardenham Energy this week launched a venture dubbed Sun and Soil, which offers to fund and fit ground source heat pumps to provide renewable heating and hot water to heat-intensive businesses, such as leisure centres and care homes. The offer is only available for busineses that are off the gas grid and currently use oil or gas boilers, or electric immersion heaters, many of which are facing rises in energy bills due to climbing fossil fuel prices.
Business Green 27th July 2012 more >>
Local Authorities & Green Deal
Local authorities will be expected to draw up plans to boost energy efficiency in their areas, under government proposals designed to help ensure the success of its forthcoming Green Deal loan scheme. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) yesterday issued new guidance for local councils in England to help them improve the energy efficiency of their housing stock.
Business Green 27th July 2012 more >>
Solar Portal 26th July 2012 more >>
Details of the new guidance can be found Green Deal pages of the DECC website.
DECC 26th July 2012 more >>
The surge in solar, biomass and offshore wind installations were the main drivers behind a 33 per cent increase in green electricity production last year, according to new government figures that also show the UK imported more energy than it exported for the first time since 1974.
Business Green 26th July 2012 more >>
Micro CHP FiT
The United Kingdom government has announced that it will be increasing its feed-in tariff of micro combined heart and power systems. Micro-CHP systems often make use of hydrogen fuel cells, which are capable of producing a large amount of heat while generating electricity. The UK government believes that these systems hold a great deal of potential and could help the country become less dependent on fossil-fuels. The initiative may be good news for Ceramic Fuel Cells, whose BlueGen fuel cells are the only micro-CHP system that has received certification from the Microgeneration Certification Scheme.
Hydrogen Fuel News 26th July 2012 more >>
Ceres Power has announced further progress towards commercialisation of its solid oxide fuel cell micro-CHP product for residential heat and power. It remains on track for both its planned 2014 field trial and its 2016 product launch target.
Fuel Cell Today 26th July 2012 more >>
The government response to the latest feed-in tariffs consultation provides much needed certainty for renewable energy investors, the NFU has said – especially as an announcement on support available under the latest round of the Renewables Obligation has been much delayed.
Bioenergy Site 26th July 2012 more >>
The latest Feed-in Tariff (FiT) changes by DECC have confirmed the new rates across a range of technologies and scales. The biggest loser appears to be the small wind sector. The new DECC measures quite deliberately seek to re-align the market to de-incentivise small wind projects.
Green Energy Net 26th July 2012 more >>
A NEW school which pupils helped to design has been unveiled. The building’s carbon footprint is kept low with features like a cross laminated timber frame, high levels of insulation, a biomass boiler and classrooms sited for maximum natural daylight. It also has a passive ventilation system when warm air is drawn from classroom vents into the double height area outside then away through roof chimneys.
Bury Free Press 26th July 2012 more >>
Phase one of the NW Bicester eco development, Exemplar, has become the first eco town scheme in the country to receive the green light for work to start, with construction due to begin later this year. Constructed in four stages over the next five years, Exemplar’s ground-breaking development will integrate cutting-edge eco technology, economic opportunities and community engagement to provide the flagship homes of tomorrow for Bicester.
Cherwell District Council 26th July 2012 more >>
The master plan for a new 10,000-home “eco town” in Cambridgeshire has been formally approved by a committee of local authority councillors drawn from the county council and South Cambridgeshire District Council. The new settlement, called Northstowe, will have up to 10,000 new homes, new schools, employment areas, a town centre and other community services.
Planning Portal 26th July 2012 more >>
A low-cost solar water-heating system that started its days at the University of Ulster is to be showcased in London during the Olympics. SolaCatcher, a passive solar water heater designed for pre-heating domestic hot water, has won a place in the Make it in Great Britain Challenge, and will be showcased in London’s Science Museum during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
4NI 26th July 2012 more >>
Building and Land Guarantee (BLG) has launched Solar Shield, a new warranty designed to cover companies installing solar panels on their roofs
Insurance Age 26th July 2012 more >>
Shropshire council has completed the installation of solar arrays on 17 schools across the county, with the help of solar installer SolarTech Ltd. The £1.5 million project saw over 3,000 solar panels fitted to the schools in just four weeks.
Solar Portal 26th July 2012 more >>
Away from the big ticket wind and marine energy subsidy announcements today, developers from some of the emerging renewable energy industries were left mulling a mixed bag of reforms to support levels. Lobbyists were particularly disappointed with the level of support for geothermal, which will fall from 2 ROCs in 2013 to 1.9 ROCs in 2015 and 1.8 ROCs the following year.
Business Green 25th July 2012 more >>
Businesses and homeowners seeking to install solar power systems have less than a week left to complete projects if they are to receive the current rate of feed-in tariff incentives before the government applies another round of cuts to the popular subsidy scheme on August 1. Small-scale systems of less than 4kW in capacity completed after midnight on July 31 will receive 16p/kWh rather than the current 21p/kWh rate, as part of changes to the feed-in tariff scheme announced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) earlier this year.
Business Green 25th July 2012 more >>
South Shields Efficiency
Residents from Marsden, South Shields have this week opened their newly refurbished homes to show-off energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy technologies, installed as part of a collaborative £1.9m European Regional Development Funded (ERDF) Project. A total of 136 ‘Tarran Newland’ – non-traditional construction – socially rented, post-war properties, managed by South Tyneside Homes are planned for improvements in South Shields. To date, 51 homes have been fitted with PV panels, loft and external wall insulation, and energy efficiency boilers as part of measures which are estimated to deliver heating savings of up to £800 per year and electricity bill savings of £200 per year for residents.
24 Dash 25th July 2012 more >>
Northampton Energy Saving
Up to 2,500 homes could benefit from new energy saving measures being rolled out by Northampton Borough Council and E.ON, as part of a plan to cut hundreds of pounds off fuel bills. So far E.ON’s contractors have installed new solar panels to 71 homes. Lovell and FHM, the Council’s contractors, have also carried out the window improvement works, installing A-rated windows. Other energy saving measures which have been installed include external wall insulation, cavity wall insulation, new boilers, thermostatic radiator valves, draft proofing and loft insulation. The work has been funded by E.ON as part of the national Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) and targets low income families, many of which are living in fuel poverty. The scheme was created in September 2009 to give whole-house energy makeovers to 90,000 hard-to-treat homes across England, Wales and Scotland.
Northampton Chronicle 25th July 2012 more >>
Microgeneration Certification Scheme
Over 200 solar companies have written to the administrators of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) to voice concerns over proposals to increase the paperwork, introduce oral assessments and enforce more training requirements.
Solar Portal 25th July 2012 more >>
Solar Co-op sets record
THE local group hoping to buy back the solar farm at Watchfield is sprinting towards the finish line in its attempt to raise £4m in just six weeks. With only nine days to go until the share offer closes, Westmill Solar Co-operative has received almost 800 applications for membership, raising over £3.5m. And it is looking like it will break all records for the fastest money-raising initiative by a local community group for this level of investment.
Swindon Advertiser 24th July 2012 more >>
Guardian 27th July 2012 more >>
Wiltshire Business 24th July 2012 more >>
Solar Portal 23rd July 2012 more >>
Soon we may be able to see into the future, quite literally, as solar windows – the power source of a new era – become a reality. Thanks to newly developed transparent solar cells, compliments of UCLA, your whole home could soon become a self-sustained powerhouse. The new polymer solar cell, as it’s described, is 70 percent transparent but still manages to harvest near-infrared light using its photoactive plastic cells. Yes, we know plastic sounds dated and cheap, but that’s the point. Thanks to the affordable components these transparent solar panels can be made in high volumes at low cost – meaning they can be adopted by everybody.
Stuff 24th July 2012 more >>
PC Advisor 23rd July 2012 more >>
Eureka 23rd July 2012 more >>
Millions of cabbages are being kept cool by the largest roof-top solar scheme in Lincolnshire. Freewatt, based at Stow, installed the green kit at a farm in the south of the county.
Lincolnshire Echo 24th July 2012 more >>
Communities can from today bid for a share of £8 million in funding to support renewable heat schemes. Community groups must submit their bids to the department of energy and climate change by 7 September. The money is for installation of equipment such as solar thermal panels, biomass boilers and heat pumps into homes in their local area. Decc said it expects to support up to 100 schemes with winners announced in December.
Utility Week 24th July 2012 more >>
Business Green 24th July 2012 more >>
Solar Portal 24th July 2012 more >>
Kevin Parslow of Evance Wind, has responded to DECC’s announcement last week that there will be a reduction to the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) for small wind turbine installations, by stating that the decision will undermine the future of the UK small wind industry. He commented, “The UK government is to reduce the Feed-in-Tariff rate by 25% to 21p, from 1st December 2012. Yet only a few weeks ago Japan implemented a FiT rate of over 45p/kWh for small wind, showing support for an emerging sector.
Energy Management 24th July 2012 more >>
More than 250 council house tenants are now benefiting from free electricity thanks to photovoltaic panels that have been installed on Exeter properties. Exeter City Council has teamed up with E.ON for the initiative that helps to tackle fuel poverty head on. This will see the council fit another 50 to 100 properties with solar panels before the end of July.
Western Morning News 24th July 2012 more >>
A DESIGN project at Nottingham Trent University is helping a new business to expand skills in the renewable energy sector through training courses for wind, hydro and solar energy installers. The university’s Future Factory team has been helping Rob and Lynsey Hurley to launch their business Training in Electrical. They have also worked with them to develop a smartphone “app” to allow students to access course information in manageable chunks and practise revision papers electronically.
Nottingham Post 24th July 2012 more >>
Health Centre Solar
Andrews Water Heaters supply solar thermal water heating system to provide domestic hot water for the new Speke Neighbourhood Health Centre in Liverpool.
Building Talk 23rd July 2012 more >>
Solar panel installations are 54% less than the weekly average for the previous year, following a cut to the government’s feed-in tariff incentive scheme in April.
Guardian 23rd July 2012 more >>
New feed-in tariff rates for certain technologies will be in place in Britain starting December 1, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Specifically, new incentive rates for small-scale wind, micro combined heat and power, hydroelectric and anaerobic digestion projects were announced. The subsidies for small-scale wind projects were cut from 35.8 pence ($0.56) per kilowatt-hour to 21 pence/kWh. But micro CHP got an increase from 11p/kWh to 12.5p/kWh. Hydropower projects between 100 kW and 500 kW in size likewise were lifted from 12.1p/kWh to 15.5p/kWh.
Cogeneration & On-site Power 23rd July 2012 more >>
Renewable Energy Focus 24th July 2012 more >>
I was working with a local authority in Scotland recently, discussing all forms of renewable energy and assisting them to develop a renewable energy strategy. Naturally, we discussed solar PV and it transpired that the Council in question had prepared a scheme last year. It had chosen 20 of its civic buildings; had surveyed them for roof condition; undertaken preliminary work such as orientation, electricity supply checks and buildings usage. In fact, it had done all of the preparatory work to progress the scheme and was just about to commence a tendering exercise to appoint a solar PV contractor to undertake the fitting work when the FiT cuts were announced. It re-examined its business case and determined that on the lower rates it did not pass its required return on investment rules. In effect, the scheme was binned. It was scenarios such as this that caused so much criticism of DECC and its handling of feed in tariffs. However, the authority then forgot about the scheme completely, not realising that costs of PV reduced by 50 percent last year and have reduced a further 30 percent this year. When I mentioned these cost reductions in my recent visit some interest was sparked and I suggested that they recover the proposals from the bin, dust them down and have another look at them. Lo and behold, the scheme now makes financial sense again.
Solar Portal 23rd July 2012 more >>
A GROUP of Edinburgh businessmen is spearheading a scheme to unlock tens of millions of pounds for small-scale hydroelectric projects by making them more attractive to angel investors. Sandy Finlayson, founder of Archangel Informal Investment, Ian Rogers of building engineer RPS Consulting, and Bob Salter of planning specialist Geddes Consulting, have overseen the development of a new company called Sustainable Heat and Power (SHP) that is designed to overcome the barrier to investing in small hydro-electricity and other renewable projects. The UK Government’s subsidy system of feed-in-tariffs (FITs), backed by tax breaks under the enterprise investment scheme, aims to make hydro projects that will produce between 50KW and 100KW – enough to power between 50 and 100 homes – particularly attractive. But landowners and communities that own the water-courses with the potential to power these schemes struggle to find backers for the £300,000 to £500,000 investment because banks generally do not lend for projects under 1MW and angel investors do not want to risk that size of investment on one project.
Herald 22nd July 2012 more >>
People living in the Forest of Dean are being offered the chance to invest in a community wind turbine. Resilient Energy wants to put the 500kW turbine - enough to power some 1,000 homes - at Great Dunkilns Farm, St Briavels. The company said people who invest in the project will get a proportionate share of the profit made by selling the electricity to the grid network. Twenty-year debentures are being offered with a £5 minimum investment.
BBC 21st July 2012 more >>
The government has today set out new rules for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) designed to ensure the scheme does not exceed its budget and businesses do not face shock changes to the level of subsidy. Released alongside the announcement of new feed-in tariff incentive rates for a range of renewable electricity technologies, the consultation sets out proposals for an RHI degression mechanism largely modelled on that recently introduced for solar feed-in tariffs.
Business Green 20th July 2012 more >>
The U.K. energy department proposed new incentive rates that cut support for small-scale wind projects while making little change to small hydroelectric projects. The changes in so-called feed-in tariffs coming into effect on Dec. 1 also cover micro combined heat and power plants and small-scale anaerobic digesters, the Department for Energy and Climate Change said today in an e-mailed statement. Rates on all technologies were largely in step with levels proposed by the government in a consultation that started in February.
Bloomberg 20th July 2012 more >>
E2B 20th July 2012 more >>
Dave Sowden, chief executive of the Micropower Council welcomed the changes, saying: “We welcome what is broadly a very positive set of proposals that should bring greater confidence to investors and customers. In particular the decision to increase the export tariff, the clarification of cost controls for micro-CHP, the community proposals and the decision not to extend energy efficiency requirements beyond PV are welcome developments.” Barker also launched a consultation on budget management and environmental sustainability of the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
Cogeneration & On Site Power Production 20th July 2012 more >>
The United Kingdom’s Department of Energy and Climate Change is revising incentive levels for small scale, clean heat and power technologies. The big winner appears to be micro combined heat and power, or micro-CHP. Otherwise, the renewable energy industry fared poorly.
Forbes 20th July 2012 more >>
Government cuts support for wind turbines designed for homes and businesses. Major threat to jobs in Britain’s world-beating small wind turbine manufacturing sector. Wind only represents 5% of generating capacity eligible for Feed-In Tariffs. RenewableUK, the trade and professional body for the wind and marine energy industries, has expressed serious concern at Government cuts to support for small wind power – a sector which employs over 800 people in the UK.
Renewable UK 20th July 2012 more >>
Jobs and growth in Britain’s world leading small wind industry are under threat because of Government cuts to subsidies, the industry has warned. RenewableUK, which represents small wind manufacturers in the UK, said cuts to the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) announced last week by Ministers had “slammed the brakes” on the UK small wind sector which employs over 800 people and has a thriving export market.
Green Wise 23rd July 2012 more >>