week ending 14 September 2012
Cameron hobbles Green Deal
Ministerial briefing reveals dire impact of Number 10’s move to block so-called ‘conservatory tax’ David Cameron’s intervention to block proposed changes to the Building Regulations could prevent 2.2 million homes from taking up the government’s flagship Green Deal policy, official documents leaked to Building reveal. A briefing for ministers, prepared by officials in the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), predicts the proposed changes to Part L of the Building Regulations could have led to 2.2 million households taking up the Green Deal. The briefing said the move would “greatly boost demand for home energy efficiency measures at a time of concerns that low demand for the Green Deal is the biggest risk to its launch, take up and viability”.
Building 14th September 2012 more >>
Council leaders in Cornwall have sparked fury among protesters after revealing proposals to spend £16 million building a string of wind turbine farms across the county. Ten possible sites have been circled on the map and, if all goes according to plan, they could be built on council-owned land in 18 months’ time.
Western Morning News 14th Sept 2012 more >>
Cornwall Solar Farm
SOLAR energy company Solar Securities is holding a second pubic exhibition next week about its plans to build a new 5MW solar farm on the edge of Bodmin. Solar Securities is proposing to build the new solar farm on 13 hectares of low-grade agricultural land at Middle Bodiniel Farm, which, it says, could meet the electricity needs of 1,000 homes. It would be located next to the company’s existing 5MW solar farm at Lower Bodiniel Farm off Copshorn Road, which was completed earlier this year.
Cornish Guardian 14th Sept 2012 more >>
Northern Ireland Wind Co-op
Investors wanting to put their money into Northern Ireland’s first community-owned wind energy co-operative are running out of time to stake their claim. The pioneering project was launched in June and aims to raise up to £3.4m to build five 250KW single wind turbines across five sites in Northern Ireland including Pomeroy, Kells, Larne and Ballyclare. The deadline for application is September 21.
Belfast Telegraph 14th Sept 2012 more >>
A team of researchers at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee have found a way to combine silicon, a key component of solar cells, with the protein in spinach that converts light into energy to create a cell made from readily available materials.
Business Green 14th Sept 2012 more >>
Solar Powered Waste Plant
The UK’s first solar powered major waste treatment plant has been announced in Cambridgeshire, which will meet over 70% of the facility’s energy requirements. AmeyCespa’s mechanical biological treatment (MBT) plant in Waterbeach will benefit from a 5MW utility scale solar park close to the village, comprising 20,000 panels.
Edie 14th Sept 2012 more >>
Brighton Solar Scheme
Brighton is set to see the first of a number of community-funded domestic solar under Abundance Generation and Padero South Downs innovative debenture scheme. The two companies have combined with the simple premise of allowing people the opportunity to invest in providing other people with a source of free, renewable electricity. The proposed debenture is expected to provide investors with an expected return of 5.7-7 percent over 20 years through associated feed-in tariff payments from Government. The project is committed to spending a minimum of £500,000 on installing solar arrays across many homes in Brighton and the surrounding area.
Solar Portal 13th Sept 2012 more >>
Penrith-based solar specialist, Sundog Energy, is hoping to shine a light on some of the mysteries and myths that currently surround the solar industry by opening up a new Solar Advice Centre. The new centre will be opened on September 22 at its main offices and North Lakes Business Park, four miles west of Penrith.
Solar Portal 13th Sept 2012 more >>
Farmers and landowners planning to install large-scale solar photovoltaic schemes in the future under the Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) scheme could suffer a 25% reduction in government support payments. The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has issued a six-week consultation which would see a reduction in ROC scheme payments for solar PV schemes installed and accredited after 1 April
Farmers Weekly 12th Sept 2012 more >>
Teinbridge Energy Plan
An innovative plan aimed at tackling climate change and reducing energy costs has been approved by Teignbridge District Council. The Council is leading the way in climate change action after its ruling Executive approved its Energy and Carbon Reduction Plan 2012 - 2017. The aim of the plan is for the Council to reduce waste and the reliance on fossil fuels, become more energy efficient, contribute to ongoing cost savings and protect the environment for future generations. The plan contains 34 projects aimed at improving energy efficiency. Six out of the 34 have already been completed, including installing 52 solar panels on the roof of the Council’s Forde House headquarters and putting in new energy saving equipment at Newton Abbot and Dawlish leisure centres.
This is South Devon 12th Sept 2012 more >>
A community hospital will be able to reduce its carbon footprint after a charity raised £27,000 to fund solar panels. The project, at Seaton, is the first energy scheme ever financed by a League of Friends of any of the 18 hospitals managed by the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust. The array will significantly reduce the site’s electrical consumption and carbon footprint, while the League and the Trust will evenly split any government incentives.
Western Morning News 12th Sept 2012 more >>
Building a wind turbine at St Briavels in the Forest of Dean was one of the first goals we set out to achieve. We wanted to give all the people living close to the turbine the opportunity to invest in it too, and allowing them to do it from just £5. In the last two months we have been absolutely thrilled to raise close to half a million pounds for the turbine and local people continue to come forward with their investments. Investors have ranged from teenagers to those in their 80s and most of them, like us, want to put their money into something which will benefit future generations.
Gloucester Citizen 12th Sept 2012 more >>
Six million households plan to cut back on heating this winter, despite millions of pounds of government help to improve energy efficiency for those on low incomes remaining unclaimed, consumer groups said. Nearly four out of 10 households (39%) are worried about affording their energy bills this winter, and 70% of those, or six million households across England, plan to cut back on heating, a survey for the watchdog Consumer Focus has found. But millions of pounds available through the government’s Warm Front scheme to help the poorest households in England with insulation and cutting bills, is being left unclaimed, according to Consumer Focus, Citizens Advice, Age UK and the National Children’s Bureau.
Guardian 12th Sept 2012 more >>
A group of environmentalists in Glasgow has launched a campaign to improve some of the city’s most dilapidated housing. Not with placards or postcards, but with peas, beetroot and thermal imaging cameras. Volunteers from the charity South Seeds are focusing on tenement blocks on the city’s south side – home to some of Glasgow most dilapidated slum housing - in an effort to increase the buildings’ energy efficiency and raise living conditions for residents. Maf Smith, a key figure in South Seed’s managing committee and a renewable energy specialist, said the project also focused on working with tenants and residents, not housing officials, by training “tenement champions” to strengthen community bonds and foster a spirit of self-help.
Guardian 12th Sept 2012 more >>
Ikea sells solar panels
China’s Hanergy is selling thin-film solar systems at furniture retailer IKEA’s UK stores, in a move it claims could bring in hundreds of megawatts of sales. The systems use solar panels made by Solibro, which Hanergy acquired from Germany’s Q-Cells in June. The Chinese company has previously signed a deal with IKEA to supply and install 383MW of its panels on the rooftops of the retailer’s China stores, and those of its suppliers, over the next three years. The new deal with IKEA’s UK stores could be expanded to other markets, says a company spokesperson. “The UK is just the beginning.”
Recharge News 11th Sept 2012 more >>
Rocketing energy prices don’t faze Perthshire farmers Debbie and Neil McGowan. Their Gaia-Wind turbine powers their water bore hole; cattle sheds; and farmhouse and has given them control over their rising electricity bills.
Farming UK 11th Sept 2012 more >>
Stockholm’s environmental plan, which runs to 2015, dictates that by the end of this period, all of the electricity procured by the municipal authority will be from hydro, wind or solar power, with no room for nuclear or fossil fuels. The city has also set a goal of bringing its inhabitants’ per capita emissions down to three tonnes over the same period - by contrast, the Swedish average is six tonnes, across the EU it is 10 tonnes, and in the US it stands at a whopping 22 tonnes.
Business Green 11th Sept 2012 more >>
Historic buildings are not an energy inefficient burden but an asset argued Historic Scotland at a seminar this week in Edinburgh. The event launched the new Historic Scotland guide (yet to be made available online but I’ll add the link when it’s been put up) on how you can make traditional homes more energy efficient. For those of us interested in the challenges of applying energy efficiency measures to older properties while, at the same time, “retaining the fabric of a building with minimal intervention” it was a fascinating day of talks. And, by the numbers attending from local authorities, architects and the building trade, this is a ‘hot topic’ right now.
GEN September 2012 more >>
A wave of new energy efficiency policies are set to be adopted across Europe, after the European Parliament yesterday voted overwhelmingly in favour of demanding new energy efficiency legislation that will require all large businesses to undertake energy use audits. The draft EU energy efficiency directive was approved by 632 votes for to 25 against with 19 abstentions, and is now widely expected to be formally adopted by member states in the next few months. Governments will then have 18 months to transpose the new legislation into national law. The directive is based around demanding new energy efficiency targets for utilities and public sector buildings that will force governments across Europe to develop new policies to drive investment in energy efficiency. Under the new rules, utilities will be required to demonstrate that they are delivering annual energy savings between 2014 and 2020 equivalent to 1.5 per cent of their annual energy sales to customers. Meanwhile, governments will be required to renovate three per cent of the total floor area of central government buildings each year, while all large businesses will be forced to undertake officially approved energy use audits every four years in an effort to identify potential energy savings.
Business Green 12th Sept 2012 more >>
Welsh Solar Boom
Despite the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) controversial proposals to slash down the Renewable Obligation (RO) support for solar PV from 2ROCs to just 1.5ROCs, the large-scale solar renaissance is continuing to gather steam, nowhere more so than in Wales. Traditionally, developers of large-scale solar parks have turned to the South West of England for its higher irradiance levels and therefore higher energy yield. However, Wales has begun to attract major investment from solar companies after module prices have crashed to such a level that Wales’ slightly lower irradiance levels no longer affect a project’s viability.
Solar Portal 12th Sept 2012 more >>
Carlisle Solar Company
American company Suntech has announced that Carlisle-based Solarlec has become one of its official UK solar panel providers. Founded in 2001, Suntech is the largest global manufacturer of silicon solar modules and distributes its products to more than 80 countries worldwide.
NW Evening Mail 11th Sept 2012 more >>
National Solar Centre
Over the last 3 months BRE has been working to develop a National Solar Centre to be based in Cornwall. BRE Executive Board approval has now been secured and the application for European funding will soon be submitted. The NSC will initially employ ten people and will support the UK solar PV industry in years to come. Project support to date has also been provided by Ray Noble is his capacity as external consultant. Cornwall Council has also been extremely supportive of the development and is keen to cement Cornwall’s position at the forefront of solar PV development in the UK.
Solar Portal 10th Sept 2012-09-10 more >>
Solar Farm Subsidy Cut
The Solar Trade Association (STA) has responded angrily to the government’s latest proposals to cut financial support for solar farms by 25 per cent from next April, accusing ministers of pulling the rug from under the industry. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) launched a new consultation on Friday on proposed changes to the subsidy large solar installations with more than 5MW of capacity receive through the Renewables Obligation.
Business Green 10th Sept 2012 more >>
Edie 10th Sept 2012 more >>
Solar Portal 10th Sept 2012 more >>
Energy Efficiency News 10th Sept 2012 more >>
Business Green 7th Sept 2012 more >>
Glastonbury festival founder Michael Eavis has plugged into Bristol’s first free green public electric vehicle (EV) charger, which offers the chance to repower electric cars using solar energy. The 4kW solar-powered “carport” has been installed by Solarsense at its headquarters in Brockley, near Backwell, and will be free for drivers during business hours.
Business Green 10th Sept 2012 more >>
The government is to fight an EU ruling that the UK must raise VAT on energy efficiency products from 5% to 20%. VAT was reduced to 5% on energy efficiency products in the UK because government wants to tackle fuel poverty, reduce carbon emissions and create jobs. The reduction followed a long fight by green groups. They argued that it was nonsensical to tax energy saving more than energy use, which incurs tax of just 5%.
BBC 10th Sep 2012 more >>
Exhaust Air Source Heat Pump
Families moving into brand new government-funded homes are facing electricity bills up to four times the amount they believed they would pay, an investigation has found. The properties, built under affordable housing schemes, were issued with Energy Performance Certificates that estimated annual costs of between £400 and £500 for heating and hot water. The problem is being blamed on a heating system that some estates are now replacing, the programme said. Called an exhaust air source heat pump, the system works by taking the heat from waste air leaving the property and pumping it back into the home to provide heating and hot water. Swedish manufacturers NIBE claim it is both effective and economic and replaces the need for a gas boiler. But after surveying the system, which is thought to be in 15,000 UK homes, an independent heating expert told the programme he does not believe the main pump is big enough to heat most UK homes. Instead, he said it relies on its extremely costly back up electric immersion heater - leading to higher bills.
London Evening Standard 9th Sept 2012 more >>