week ending 7 September 2012
Homes and offices in Glasgow could be warmed by water pumped from far underground after geologists surveyed a vast network of old mine shafts beneath the Scottish city. The British Geological Survey (BGS) mapped the mine workings to help developers identify pools of warm, subterranean water that could be used as a source of heat for homes and businesses. At the British Science Festival in Aberdeen on Thursday, BGS scientists unveiled 3D maps that showed groundwater could be tapped from a flooded network of disused coalmines. “The mine workings are hugely extensive. Perhaps 50% of the Glasgow conurbation sits above them,” said Diarmad Campbell of the BGS. Rather than circulating the water through new, dedicated boreholes to draw out heat from surrounding rocks, heat could be extracted directly from water in the mine system. The groundwater would be cooled, depositing the heat extracted from it at the surface, before being returned underground. Already demonstrated locally in a successful housing project, the new survey - produced with Glasgow City Council - shows where the heating technique could be used. The flooded mines could provide up to 40% of Glasgow’s heating requirements, and similar levels could be reached in other UK locations that overlie mine workings.
Guardian 7th Sept 2012 more >>
Cornwall Council Solar Park
Cornwall Council is set to become the first local authority in the UK to begin construction of its own solar farm in the UK. The council has green lit plans for a 5MW solar park in Kernow, near Newquay Airport.
Solar Portal 7th Sept 2012 more >>
Solar PV and biomass power will play an important role in boosting our energy security and tackling climate change, Energy Secretary Ed Davey said today. This came as proposals to provide certainty for investors and pave the way for construction of new plant powered by sustainable biomass were published.
DECC 7th Sept 2012 more >>
Network Rail goes for CHP
Network Rail’s new headquarters is set to save 700 tonnes of CO2 each year by connecting to a local district energy scheme. Heat and electricity for the 37,000 square metre office in Milton Keynes, known as The Quadrant:MK, comes from a combined heat and power (CHP) plant owned and operated by Thameswey Energy, an Energy Services Company (ESCO) formed by Woking Borough Council in 1999. Founded as a partnership between the Thameswey Group and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) in 2007, the CHP system supplies over 4,000,000 kWh of electricity and 2,000,000 kWh of heat through over 1.5km of super insulated district heating pipe. Thameswey says buildings connected to the plant can cut their emissions by up to 30 per cent compared to traditional sources of energy.
Business Green 7th Sept 2012 more >>
The European Union has launched an inquiry into the alleged “dumping” of solar panels by Chinese manufacturers. The investigation follows claims by European solar panel makers that Chinese imports are being sold at less than their cost price.
Independent 7th Sept 2012 more >>
Telegraph 7th Sept 2012 more >>
NatWest and the Met Office have today announced they are teaming up to help accelerate the deployment of wind turbines by farmers and other landowners. The bank, which last year launched a dedicated £50m renewable energy fund designed to provide landowners with access to finance to pay for green energy installations such as wind turbines and anaerobic digestion systems, said it would work with the Met Office to promote virtual wind modelling tools to farmers, landowners and businesses considering wind turbine installations.
Business Green 6th Sept 2012 more >>
Preston Trams to be wind-powered
Preston’s new tram network will run using wind power to transport thousands of passengers around the city. Lewis Lesley, a director of Tram Power which is behind the plans, said it had opened talks to take on a plot at the disused park-and-ride site on Bluebell Way, Fulwood where it plans to install a two megawatt generator to power the network.
Lancashire Evening Post 6th Sept 2012 more >>
Rossendale goes Solar
A DEAL is set to be signed which will see Rossendale’s ‘town hall’ pay its way for the next 25 years. Council bosses are putting the finishing touches to a contract which would see solar panels cover the roof of the business centre at their head-quarters at Futures Park in Bacup. And if the projections of business director Stuart Sugarman are correct, the £176,000 investment required would generate a £100,000 profit by 2037. The same principles are curr-ently employed, to varying deg-rees, by local housing associations such as Green Vale and Calico.
Lancashire Telegraph 5th Sept 2012 more >>
New research from Barclays claims that one third of UK farmers are planning to invest in renewables in the next two years, largely because of concerns over rising energy costs. Overall, rising costs are seen as the biggest threat to the agricultural sector with over a quarter of respondents worried about the impact of this on their business in the next five years, and one in ten also worried about price volatility.
Banking Times 5th Sept 2012 more >>
West Lothian Solar
BEECRAIGS Country Park is leading the way in harnessing the power of daylight to create energy. West Lothian Council recently received Micro-generation Certification Scheme (MCS) accreditation, so it can now install solar panels on its own properties. Their first project is the Sutherland Building at Beecraigs Country Park which will have panels installed by council staff, with further projects to follow across the region.
Bo’ness Journal 5th Sept 2012 more >>
Oswestry Firm makes Savings
The solar panels can generate up to 250 kilowatts, or ten per cent of the energy the business needs. It will save Cold Move, which stores and transports food and chemicals among other goods, £10,000 to £12,000 a year on its energy bill.
This is Money 4th Sept 2012 more >>
NI Wind Co-op
This summer, Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative was launched as Northern Ireland’s first project of this kind, bringing a new dimension to Northern Ireland’s wind energy sector and giving local people access to a model of community ownership which has enjoyed popular growth elsewhere. The Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative came about when Belfast-based social entrepreneur Andrew McMurray, of NRG solutions, secured planning for five single 250kW turbine sites in Larne, Ballyclare, Kells and two near Pomeroy. Rather than sell his project to the highest bidder, Andrew decided to work with community energy specialist Energy4All, a not-for-profit social enterprise that has successfully created seven other wind co-ops in the UK and has the expertise to set up and build the wind turbines and raise the capital through a public share offer.
Belfast Telegraph 4th Sept 2012 more >>
The Green Deal is a great opportunity for homeowners to save money on their energy bills by installing pay-as-you-save energy efficiency solutions such as insulation and heating controls. The clever part of Green Deal is that no up front payment will be required from the homeowner. and the pay as-you-save “loan” is attached to the property and not the person. If Green Deal delivers as planned then homeowners will have warmer homes and lower energy bills. The environment benefits and sustainable local jobs are also created, particularly for local SMEs.
Solar Portal 4th Sept 2012 more >>
Scotland and Fuel Poverty
Alex Neil MSP DR Brenda Boardman makes valid points about fuel poverty but your article misrepresents the Scottish Government’s record on this issue (“‘Feeble’ SNP blamed as fuel poverty soars”), The Herald, September 3) The Scottish Government is using all available mechanisms within its limited devolved powers to tackle fuel poverty in Scotland. We have allocated a £65 million budget to tackle fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency across Scotland’s households in 2012/13, and have a raft of measures in place to support families struggling with heating bills.
Herald 4th Sept 2012 more >>
An Edinburgh conference heard how homes had to be made more energy-efficient if the problem of high fuel bills was going to be tackled. Ms Leighton told the conference: “The signals could not be clearer. The Government needs to raise its game if we are to reap the rewards of warm, high-quality, affordable, low-carbon homes for everyone in Scotland.” Oxford University’s Dr Brenda Boardman told the conference that the fuel poverty problem was “a combination of rising fuel prices and inefficient homes”. She added: “There’s a limited amount the Government can do about prices but they can focus more on energy efficiency. “The talk about an area-based approach over 10 years to address insulation is welcome. The difficulty is, who is going to pay for what?”
Daily Record 4th Sept 2012 more >>
THE Scottish Government has come under fire for its “feeble, inadequate and namby-pamby” approach to tackling fuel poverty by the leading expert who first coined the phrase. Dr Brenda Boardman criticised the Government for failing to back up its “weasel words” with actions as it emerged 800,000 Scots families are now in fuel poverty. Over the next few years tens of thousands more are expected to be dragged into fuel poverty, the term used when a household has to spend more than 10% of its income on energy bills. Dr Boardman, whose 1991 book Fuel Poverty first used the term, hit out ahead of a meeting in Edinburgh today on the Government’s strategy to improve the energy efficiency of the country’s housing stock. She said: “Much of this strategy is sensible and good, but there is no guarantee of funding and it is too reliant on feeble proposals like loft insulation. It is a start but it’s not enough, and these measures would be absolutely inadequate to solving the problem. “The regulations and minimum standards are all good, but the public needs to know what it is going to cost and who pays, rather than this approach where we tiptoe around this. “Who is going to foot the bills? It has to be property owners. Landlords have to be responsible. They are the key.” Today’s meeting at the Chartered Institute of Housing marks the culmination of a consultation on a sustainable-housing strategy to tackle both fuel poverty and climate change. It has been organised by the Existing Homes Alliance Scotland, a coalition of groups calling for the current housing stock to be upgraded. It includes environmental, housing, and consumer groups, and the building industry. It has backed the overall objectives of the Government’s strategy, but wants targets raised on the basis of five-year milestones, and new minimum standards for private-sector housing at the point of sale or rental. Elizabeth Leighton of WWF Scotland, which is in the alliance, said: “The Scottish Government has a real opportunity through its strategy to address the dual problems of climate change and fuel poverty, while at the same time winning thousands of jobs. We welcome the ambitions set out in the strategy - but fear it will not be backed up by enough funding to do the job.
Herald 3rd Sept 2012 more >>
Goldfield Partners has launched a fund to target those ultra-high net worth and self-invested personal pension investors who wish to diversify their portfolios with green energy. Called the Solar Green Energy Fund, the new unit trust, which has already got £50m worth of money behind it, aims to provide a return to investors of between 6 per cent and 8 per cent a year, Goldfield business development executive Darren Litherland told the FTAdviser.
H&V News 3rd Sept 2012 more >>
Lord Provost Donald Wilson hosted an event on Friday 31 August at the Bilston Glen Industrial Estate, home of the iconic Pyramid Building. The building is owned by Survey Solutions Scotland and the Lord Provost presented a certificate to the company in recognition of its commitment to energy and carbon reduction. The Lord Provost said:-“On becoming Lord Provost in May, I identified sustainability as one of my key priorities and made a personal commitment to lowering my own carbon footprint. I now drive a hybrid car and have solar panels on my house. Of course, improving efficiency relies on innovation but also education and I would encourage local businesses to make the most of this opportunity.”
Edinburgh Reporter 3rd Sept 2012 more >>
Hackney Homes’ Shoreditch Heat Network (SHN) and Gascoyne Points Community Energy Savings Project (CESP) have been short listed in the 2012 Energy Awards ‘Renewable Energy Project of the Year’. Now in its second year, the Energy Awards recognise the achievements of companies that cut emissions and save energy. SHN replaces aging, inefficient gas and oil fired boilers with a new more energy efficient combined heat and power (CHP) system. Managed and funded by Hackney Homes and SSE and installed by Mulalley and Vital Energi, the Network will supply heat to over 489 homes on Cranston, Wenlock Barn and Fairbank Estates.
24 Dash 3rd Sept 2012 more >>
A major conference entitled Resilience and Innovation: the Islands’ Challenge, is being held on the Isle of Mull later this month. The Scottish Islands Federation (SIF) has lined up an impressive list of speakers from islands all around Europe, with Alyn Smith MEP chairing a panel discussion and local MSP, Michael Russell attending.
For Argyll 2nd Sept 2012 more >>
Nose around Eco-buildings
RESIDENTS will get the opportunity to nose around four buildings with green credentials in Nayland, Hadleigh, Edwardstone and Hartest next week as part of a council eco initiative. The homes – and a brewery – feature in a total of 15 homes and businesses officially designated the best green buildings in Suffolk, and will be open to the public from September 6 to 9.
Suffolk Press 1st Sept 2012 more >>
Norwich City Council goes 100% Renewable
Council bosses believe 100pc of the energy needed to power their buildings will be from renewable energy sources within weeks.
Norwich Evening News 31st Aug 2012 more >>
Energy suppliers are mounting a final push to meet energy efficiency targets by extending offers for free home insulation worth £350 before the government backed scheme ends at the end of the year. British Gas has joined other major energy suppliers - Scottish and Southern Energy, EDF Energy and E.On - in offering free insulation to any homeowner that wants it, regardless of whether they are a customer or not.
Daily Mail 31st Aug 2012 more >>