week ending 21 September 2012
The number of UK homes installing solar panels has fallen dramatically since the start of August, following a cut in subsidy rates by the government. Figures published on Friday show a huge rush by householders aiming to install panels before a 1 August government deadline, followed by a huge drop. There was nearly three-quarters less capacity installed in the past six weeks than the equivalent weeks in 2011 for the feed-in tariff scheme, which pays householders for generating green energy.
Guardian 21st Sept 2012 more >>
City Green Deal Boost
Seven cities across England will receive a share of £12m today to help them kick-start the Green Deal in their regions. The cities – Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield – have put forward ambitious proposals to lower their carbon emissions and this new funding will support their plans to test key elements of the Green Deal.
DECC 21st Sept 2012 more >>
THOUSANDS OF homes and offices in Fife could see their energy bills slashed if they were warmed with flood water pumped from long-abandoned coal mines. That is the view of the British Geological Survey (BGS), who said utilising the heat energy in water trapped underground would be feasible if geologists surveyed the vast network of old mine shafts. It follows a similar project in Glasgow where old mine workings have been mapped to help developers identify pools of warm, subterranean water. At the British Science Festival in Aberdeen a fortnight ago, scientists unveiled 3D maps that showed groundwater could be tapped from a flooded network of disused coal mines under Glasgow. Rather than circulating the water through new, dedicated bore holes to draw out heat from surrounding rocks, heat could be extracted directly from water in the mine system. The groundwater wou ld be cooled, depositing the heat extracted from it at the surface, before being returned underground. Already demonstrated in a housing project, the new survey - produced with Glasgow City Council - shows where the heating technique could be used.
Dundee Courier (Not Online) 20th Sept 2012 more >>
The amount of money householders can expect to be paid for fitting “green heating” was published for the first time on Thursday, revealing most homeowners installing solar hot water systems are unlikely to recoup their initial outlay for more than 30 years. The renewable heat incentive (RHI) will reward households for each unit of low-carbon heat generated from solar thermal panels and other renewable heating systems such as biomass boilers and ground-source heat pumps. The scheme was due to launch this October but the government delayed it earlier this year. It will now launch in summer 2013 and the subsidy payments will be made over a period of seven years. For oil-heated homes off the gas grid that install a £3,000 solar hot water system, owners would receive roughly £200 per year in RHI payments for seven years, in addition to an ongoing annual £80 in bill savings, meaning the upfront cost would be recovered in 20 years. However, most homes are currently heated by cheaper gas and will struggle to recoup their investment for more than 30 years at the proposed rates, only getting back around £250 a year on bill savings and payments. Most solar thermal systems cost between £3,000-£5,000.
Guardian 21st Sept 2012 more >>
Progress on support for renewable heat hots up today with the publication of three consultations on the Coalition’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI). The RHI, the first of its kind in the world, was launched for the non domestic sector in November last year, with a scheme for householders intended to open in Summer 2013.
DECC 20th Sept 2012 more >>
The government has today launched long-awaited plans to offer financial incentives to homeowners installing renewable heat technologies, such as biomass boilers and solar thermal panels. Climate Change Minister Greg Barker also published proposals to expand the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme for commercial properties to include air source heat pumps for the first time.
Business Green 20th Sept 2012 more >>
Solar Portal 20th Sept 2012 more >>
Smart meters alone could save UK SMEs between four and five per cent on their energy bills, while the whole country could benefit to the tune of £14bn after the costs of a national rollout are considered. The government intends to replace over 53 million gas and electricity meters in homes and businesses across the country by 2019 to give customers more accurate bills and help them reduce their energy consumption.
Business Green 20th Sept 2012 more >>
Solar manufacturer, Trina Solar, has announced the launch of its live Roadshow which will tour the UK between October 2-10. Trina Solar’s very own event truck will be travelling up and down the country hoping to engage the local solar PV installer community by offering a unique live and interactive experience.
Solar Portal 20th Sept 2012 more >>
Ecobase, part of UK plumbing and heating merchant Plumbase, has opened the doors to its first store in Crowbotrough, East Sussex. Following the opening of the Ecobase showroom in Crowborough , a further two stores in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, and Haslemere, Surrey, will be opened ahead of a national rollout. The newly-launched brand will offer a range of environmentally-friendly technologies including, high efficiency boilers, energy efficient radiators, solar PV, solar thermal as well as biomass heating systems. Ecobase will also be offering advice, education and training on the latest developments in the eco market to help assist energy savings within homes and businesses.
Solar Portal 20th Sept 2012 more >>
A NEW solar panel installation, which is one of the biggest commercial systems in Scotland, has been praised the country’s Energy Minister. Based at the Malcolm Allan Housebuilders warehouse in Kintore, it includes 792 state-of-the-art solar panels and is expected to generate 114039Kwh of green electricity a year – equivalent to the amount needed to fuel 32 typical homes. Scotland’s Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing hailed it as a shining example of the country’s efforts to meet green energy targets in both the consumer and industrial sectors. Ewing said: “This installation is a great sign that the solar sector has a strong future in Scotland, in spite of recent uncertainties over the Feed in Tariff. The proposals for a framework for future tariff changes should provide a sustainable basis for growth and build confidence in the solar PV sector.
Inverurie Herald 19th Sept 2012 more >>
Zero Carbon Homes
As the Prime Minister returns from summer recess to start the new Parliamentary term, businesses have issued a new “report card” slamming progress on his much-heralded ambition to lead “the greenest government ever”. The UK Green Building Council issued its assessment earlier this week, scoring Cameron and his Cabinet against 10 policies, such as the Green Deal, zero carbon new buildings and the planning system.
Business Green 19th Sept 2012 more >>
Energy Efficiency News 19th Sept 2012 more >>
Gloucestershire goes Solar
SOLAR panels could appear on schools, libraries and other public buildings across Gloucestershire. Gloucestershire County Council has teamed up with green energy company BritishEco in a move it hopes will save the authority up to £6.5million in the next four years. The partnership will see Solar Photovoltaic systems installed on the roofs of public sector buildings across Gloucestershire, including schools, libraries and council offices, with expectations that the panels could annually save up to £4,500 per building.
Wiltshire & Gloucestershire Standard 19th Sept 2012 more >>
Solar tops wishlist
The listing of solar panels as the most desirable property extra, in a new study from mortgage provider ING Direct, has been welcomed by solar leaders as valuable and solid business research.
Edie 19th Sept 2012 more >>
Solar Waste Treatment
Lightsource Renewable Energy Ltd and Solarcentury have completed a 5MW solar project in Cambridgeshire which will supply electricity direct to a waste treatment plant. Consisting of 20,000 solar PV panels, the solar plant will meet over 70% of the electricity demand at AmeyCespa’s Mechanical Biological Treatment plant near the village of Waterbeach.
Renewable Energy Focus 19th Sept 2012 more >>
Cameron hails solar
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has talked up solar PV’s potential to help the UK diversify its energy mix as well as curtail its escalating carbon emissions during a visit to his local constituency in Witney, Oxfordshire. The Prime Minister was on hand to open a new 12.56kWp solar array situated on the roof of Eynsham’s village hall. The solar installation is the first step in an ambitious local scheme called the People’s Power Station. Local green group, the Low Carbon Hub has worked closely with Oxfordshire Council to develop the People’s Power Station scheme.
Solar Portal 19th Sept 2012 more >>
Renewable energy specialists EvoEnergy have now released figures showing how many years it takes for the average solar panel installation to pay for itself. They show that installing panels in the north remains a good deal. Unsurprisingly, cities in the south came out tops, with Plymouth, Exeter and Truro named as the three cities with the highest return on investment for domestic solar panel installations. In Plymouth, it takes only 8.4 years for a domestic solar panel installation to pay for itself, compared with the national average of 9.5 years.
Guardian 18th Sept 2012 more >>
Industry ‘terrified’ that reductions under Renewables Obligation scheme could halt building of new solar farms. The government has admitted its planned cuts to solar subsidies could cause construction of large scale solar plants to grind to a halt and instead inspire an increase in gas-fired generation. The admission was made in its own impact assessment into the proposals to reduce support under the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme for solar installations larger than 5 MW of capacity by 25 per cent from next year.
Business Green 18th Sept 2012 more >>
Sun sets on solar farms but rises for Osborne’s ‘gas land’ vision. Green businesses should take note of the government’s assumption that gas could replace a shortfall in solar power. These proposals appear to fly in the face of Greg Barker’s stated ambition to deliver 22GW of new solar by 2020. It seems unlikely that target could be reached if the proposed cuts were imposed. Industry insiders say they had hoped solar farms built with RO support would be able to play a key role in achieving 22GW, especially because rooftop solar looks set to tail off in the light of cuts to feed-in tariffs. But it is becoming increasingly unclear exactly how large scale new plants will be delivered.
Business Green 19th Sept 2012 more >>
In March 2012, Professor John Hills from the London School of Economics published his final report into the issue of fuel poverty in which he recommended that the Government move away from the current definition of fuel poverty, which he argued was not fit for purpose. At the time we committed to moving to a new framework for measurement and consulting on that approach. Today I am laying before Parliament a consultation which seeks views on the approach we intend to take. On the definition of fuel poverty, I intend to adopt the overall framework that Professor Hills proposed in his Review. I believe that this is a better measure of the problem of fuel poverty than the indicator we are currently using because it will allow us to properly understand the problem, and therefore design effective solutions. By adopting a more accurate measure, this will help us to target our resources at those most in need.
DECC 18th Sept 2012 more >>
Solar Portal 19th Sept 2012 more >>
PROSOLIA UK, one of the fastest-growing solar energy companies in Europe, has moved its UK operation to the Knowledge Centre at Wyboston Lakes from Cambourne, where it was established less than a year ago.
Hunts Post 19ty Sept 2012 more >>
Good Energy has posted a rise in half-year profits of more than three quarters compared to 2011, which it attributed to a rise in customer numbers. Interim results up until June 30, 2012, show that the energy company has seen pre-tax profits increase from £0.45million in 2011, to £0.8million this year. The results also showed Good Energy saw feed-in-tariff (FiT) customers increase by almost 37,000, to more than 39,000, giving them a 14 per cent share of the FiT market. Juliet Davenport, Good Energy founder and chief executive, said the results were encouraging and that the company has aims to grow further, setting out a 125,000 customer goal by the end of 2015, and a 110MW generating target by 2016, which could include biomass and small scale hydro schemes.
Utility Week 18th Sept 2012 more >>
Kinsgspan Renewables has announced that it has awarded Liverpool-based renewable specialist, Eco Environments, with its coveted accredited installer status. Eco Environments is now accredited by Kingspan across four different technologies – solar, wind, air source heat pumps and rainwater harvesting. The company, which achieved a turnover of £6.4 million last year, joins a handful of other UK-based installers to win accreditation for all four technologies.
Solar Portal 18th Sept 2012 more >>
Carbon Negative Social Housing
A housing association in the North East has unveiled what it believes to be the UK’s first carbon negative social housing street. Four Housing Group’s Sinclair Meadows - a new development of 21 houses and apartments in South Tyneside - was built to surpass the Government’s definition of zero carbon and to exceed the minimum requirement for Level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. The project - which uses a combination of natural materials like timber, hemp insulation and lime render and renewable energy like photovoltaic panels - is 20 per cent beyond the current zero carbon definition, and will be more than 60 per cent beyond the 2013 definition, the landlord says. The project has been focused on the quality of the building fabric, especially on air tightness and heat loss and thus does not require any external offsetting to achieve carbon negativity – the first time this has been achieved for social housing in the UK, says the housing association.
24 Dash 17th Nov 2012 more >>
Daikin UK, along with the Micropower Council and other industry bodies, has repeatedly urged the Minister to include air-to-water heat pumps in the commercial section of the RHI. The industry has argued that, by leaving air-to-water heat pumps out of the current non-domestic incentive programme, the Government was guilty of falsely distorting the renewable heating market and creating an unfair playing field for air-to-water heat pump manufacturers and installers. However, the Minister has signalled that he will explore how to include air-to-water heat pumps as quickly as possible following a joint trade industry campaign by the Micropower Council, the Heat Pumps Association, BEAMA and the Heating and Hot Water Industry Council, and a recent keynote speech by Peter Verkempynck to an audience including Greg Barker at the House of Commons.”
RAC 17th Sept 2012 more >>
In a Sheffield church hall on Saturday, about 100 people were offered the opportunity to be part of England’s largest community-owned hydro scheme. But to have a role in a national movement that fundamentally changes the way that energy is generated, the Jordan Dam project needs to reach a much bigger audience – and that is where Microgenius comes in. Like many people I had looked into the possibility of installing solar panels on my roof, but the first installer took one look and shook his head. “Too angular,” he said. So I started to look at other ways to invest in renewable energy and stumbled upon the community energy movement. Co-operatives have been around since the 19th century, and increasing numbers of both co-operatives and community benefit societies (Industrial & Provident Societies) are being formed to install sustainable energy microgeneration using modern hydro, wind, solar and biomass technologies. They are selling community shares to ordinary people to make these projects a reality. There are at least 59 energy co-operatives already registered across the UK, according to the Community Shares Action Learning Research Project and that’s just the tip of the iceberg – there are many more bubbling under the surface. The co-operative movement in general is going through a renaissance, both in the UK, where it has outperformed the economy for a fourth year running, and internationally, with 2012 being the UN’s International Year of Co-operatives.
Guardian 17th Sept 2012 more >>
Co-op buys community energy
Co-operative Energy has signed a deal with Resilient Energy Great Dunkilns (REGD) to be supplied with up to 1.5 million kWh from a community-owned wind turbine. REGD, a joint venture between the Resilience Centre of Woolaston and farmer Anthony Cooke, has a 500kW wind turbine constructed on farmland in the Forest of Dean. Abundance Generation, a Financial Services Authority-regulated community finance platform, worked in collaboration with REGD to raise funds for the project by asking people to invest from £5 in the project.
Utility Week 17t Sept 2012 more >>
On Friday, September 14, wind and solar power reached a new record high of combined production at 31,818 megawatts at 1:30 in the afternoon, compared to 37,916 of conventional power. At the beginning of April, Germany drew worldwide attention when the combined output of solar and wind power exceeded the need for conventional power for a couple of hours around 4 PM, with conventional power production dropping to around 23 gigawatts – compared to around 26 of combined wind and solar. But that was on a Sunday, when power production is relatively low; it was below 50 gigawatts at the time. In contrast, the early afternoon on a Friday is generally a time of relatively high consumption, so the combined 31.8 gigawatts of wind and solar at 1:30 PM on Friday pushed demand for conventional power down to 37.9 megawatts, with total power demand coming in at just under 70 gigawatts at the time. The result was relatively low prices on the exchange at below 40 euros per megawatt-hour in the afternoon, with a peak coming in at only 52.56 euros at 8 PM.
Renewables International 16th Sept 2012 more >>
Don’t get angry – get smart
Energy bills are on the up and the “Big Six” companies continue to rake in the profits while stinging households with price hikes. Scottish & Southern Energy is planning a 9 per cent increase to both gas and electricity prices in October, and where one goes, the others are sure to follow. With winter on its way, it’s a perfect time to switch to a cheaper tariff. But don’t miss out on a range of other ways you can slash your bills, improve your energy efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint.
Independent 16th Sept 2012 more >>
VAT on Efficiency Products
If the coalition wants its flagship Green Deal to work and also wants to abide by the law, it must choose one of three options. It can do what the French and Dutch have done and reduce Vat on kitchen and bathroom improvements as long as clean boilers and insulation are installed - bizarrely, this is allowed under EU law. Or it can raise Vat to 20% on energy-saving measures while keeping it at 5% for fuel - an absurdity for which it would rightly be criticised. The third option is the most rational but a tough call in strai tened times when prices are rising, partly to cover the subsidies given to renewable energy. It is to reform Blair’s disgraceful subsidy by raising Vat to 20% on energy consumption and energy conservation and pledging to hand some of the money back through something everyone pays, such as income tax, while insuring the old and the poor do not lose out. If the coalition genuinely wanted to be seen as green and reforming and to get us to insulate our roofs, that is what it would do. But don’t hold your breath: expect the Euro-fudge.
Sunday Times 16th Sept 2012 more >>
Northern Ireland Community Wind
LURGAN businessman Andrew McMurray has been appointed as a director of Northern Ireland’s first community wind energy co-operative – Drumlin Wind Energy Co-op – and is calling on people in County Armagh to invest in and benefit directly from this community focused venture.
Lurgan Mail 16th Sept 2012 more >>
LOCAL farmers are propelling wind power through leasing their land for the development of Northern Ireland’s first wind energy co-operative – Drumlin Wind Energy Co-op – and are calling on the rest of the agri-sector to invest in and benefit from this democratic venture. Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative has launched a public share offer and is aiming 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.
Farming Life 16th Sept 2012 more >>
North Lincolnshire Homes tenants will save around £100 on their annual energy bills thanks to a solar panel scheme. Money-saving solar panels have been installed on more than 100 homes as part of the scheme.
Scunthorpe Telegraph 15th Sept 2012 more >>
Co-operative Energy Knowledge Transfer
Energy and climate policy experts globally agree that much of the push towards a clean energy transition has to come through a bottom-up approach from the local level. In Germany, such a rural and small-town revolution is currently underway where many different groups of society come together to form so-called rural energy cooperatives. The goal of these communities is clear: they strive with pride to become so-called 100% self-sustainable renewable energy communities. In the past five years alone, more than 500 new renewable energy cooperatives have sprung out of the ground. They are replacing fossil fuel imports with renewable biomass, wind and solar power and buying back the local transmission lines. To highlight some of these local successes, the Heinrich B ll Foundation in cooperation with the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) organized a public speaking tour which brought two leading cooperative experts from Germany to the Midwestern states of Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin from June 11 to 16, 2012.
Heinrich Boll 5th July 2012 more >>