week ending 8 March 2013
Microgeneration Certificate Guide
The UK’s Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) has published its Solar PV Guide called ‘Guide to the Installation of Photovoltaic (PV) Systems’ detailing in 124 pages the updated requirements for new solar PV installations under rated outputs of 50 kW.
Solar Portal 8th March 2013 more >>
Thames Water has this week revealed plans to spend £250m accelerating what it describes as a “vast ‘poo power’ programme” designed to ensure the company generates a fifth of its electricity from renewable sources. The utility already uses waste-to-energy anaerobic digestion technologies to meet 14 per cent of its annual electricity needs using power generated from sewage - a practice that saved the company around £15m on its energy bills last year. But now the company has revealed it is to expand the programme with the installation of thermal hydrolysis process (THP) plants at six of its sewage works that are expected to significantly enhance the efficiency of the anaerobic digestion process.
Business Green 8th March 2013 more >>
The full scale of the energy efficiency savings on offer to heavy industries was underlined this week with the release of a new report suggesting the UK’s industrial sector is wasting up to £2.2bn a year. The analysis was unveiled by the Energy Efficiency Financing (EEF) scheme, a corporate green lending service backed by engineering giant Siemens and the Carbon Trust consultancy that aims to provide “pay-as-you-save” financing to businesses, enabling them to undertake energy efficiency improvements at no upfront cost and then make repayments using the resulting savings on energy bills.
Business Green 8th March 2013 more >>
Green Deal Islamic Financing
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has confirmed the government is investigating how to make the Green Deal scheme accessible to devout Muslims, who are currently unable to take advantage of the initiative’s energy efficiency loans.
Business Green 8th Feb 2013 more >>
School cuts Bills
If somebody told you there was a way to reduce your school’s energy bill to almost nothing, you’d probably roll your eyes in mocking disbelief. But that’s exactly what Okehampton College in Devon has done. In the short space of five years, the secondary school has seen the cost of gas and electricity plummet by more than half from a whopping £1,000 a day. How? By simply switching to sustainable power sources. The school’s eco-transformation was kickstarted by physics teacher Keith Webber. In 2008, he oversaw the installation of the building’s first solar panels, thanks to more than £50,000 in grants from the EDF Energy Green Fund, Dartmoor Sustainable Development Fund and the Low Carbon Buildings Programme . Now the college has 80 kilowatts of solar panels, 3,000 energy efficient lights and plans to have a biomass generator fitted and a wind turbine put up on a nearby hill.
Guardian 8th March 2013 more >>
Fife going for Small Wind
Small wind turbines could be built around the region in a bid to generate millions of pounds for the public purse. Fife Council is to investigate the feasibility of installing turbines at 50 locations. The renewable energy generators would be between five and 20 metres high and capable of producing between five and 15KW each of electricity for council buildings. They would cost up to £4.25 million and generate a net income of up to £8.6 million over 20 years. If successful, council leader Councillor Alex Rowley said they could be the first of many.
Dundee Courier 7th March 2013 more >>
Wind turbine plans which could generate nearly £9 million for Fife Council are to go before the executive committee next week.
Dundee Courier 2nd March 2013 more >>
Cambridge-based solar technology firm Polysolar has supplied its solar glass canopy for installation at a petrol station located in Southampton. The company claims that the project represents the UK’s first solar glass petrol station canopy.
Solar Portal 7th March 2013 more >>
Micro-solar lamps are now lighting parts of Africa that the grid cannot reach. Tom Heap investigates how the solar spread is emulating the wide reach of mobile phones in Africa. There are currently over 100 million kerosene lamps across Africa that are the main source of light in parts of the continent that are either off-grid or where people cannot afford to hook-up to the electricity grid. These lights are polluting, dangerous and expensive. Burning a kerosene light in a small room produces the same detrimental effect as smoking two packets of cigarettes. They are a fire hazard and they can cost as much as 15% of an average salary to fuel in some parts of the continent. Tom heap sets out to discover if a small desktop solar lamp that costs a fraction of the running expenses of a kerosene lamp can improve the health of millions of people and help to lift Africa out of poverty.
BBC 7th March 2013 more >>
Solar power charity SolarAid, which sells portable solar lights, expects to have sold 320,000 products in a year by the end of March – an almost 600% increase on the previous 12 months. The charity’s trading arm, SunnyMoney, wants to make solar lights available to everyone in Africa, where in the rural sub-Saharan region, only 9% of population have access to electricity according to Solar Aid.
Blue & Green 6th March 2013 more >>
Small Turbines to Japan
A manufacturer is to start supplying its wind turbines in Japan. The Zephyr 9000, made by Loughborough firm Evance, is the only overseas turbine to receive certification in the country after being tested for performance, reliability and safety. The company, which exports 20 per cent of its products, said Japan could be a strong market after the Government introduced the highest feed-in tariff in the world in a bid to encourage renewable energy and reduce the use of nuclear power and fossil fuels. The product will be sold in Japan by Evance’s partner, Zephyr Corporation.
Leicester Mercury 7th March 2013 more >>
Six years ago about 6,000 people visited Ecobuild, and a few hundred companies showed their kit. This year it is one of only two exhibitions to stretch over both vast halls at the ExCel centre in London’s Docklands and is billed as the “world’s biggest event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment”. More than 800 companies are exhibiting, 60,000 people are expected to visit over the three days along with ministers, debates and seminars so technical that only a few builders or architects in the world might understand. In comparison, the Ideal Home show, which runs from March 15 for 17 days, can expect 250,000 people and mainly features furnishings and kitchens.
Guardian 6th March 2013 more >>
Speaking at Eco-Build today, Greg Barker, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, reaffirmed the coalition government’s commitment to bringing forward the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). In response to a question from Dave Sowden, CEO of the Micropower Council, Barker said: “I can absolutely give you a commitment to bringing forward the domestic RHI - that is absolutely our intent I will be making an announcement soon in terms of exactly when we’ll be bringing it forward and what that is going to mean.”
E2B Pulse 6th March 2013 more >>
Poo Power (II)
Severn Trent Water has scooped a top award – for turning sewage into electricity. The Midlands-based water supplier, which runs the Minworth sewage treatment plant, won a gong at the Climate Week Awards for its renewable energy projects – including using methane gas from ‘sludge’ to generate power. Jon Beeson, the firm’s renewable energy projects specialist, said: “The sewage is treated and then put into a digester where it’s heated to around 40C. “Methane gas is produced and that is put into an engine to produce electricity.”
Birmingham Power 6th March 2013 more >>
Distributed energy and how this is growing dynamically in the European markets; the major players in the market; whether European networks are fit for purpose; and the key issues for discussion at the upcoming Platts Power Generation conference.
Platts 5th March 2013 more >>
Ed Davey, the energy and climate change secretary, defended the government’s green deal loan scheme on Tuesday, saying the interest rates of around 7% for householders to undertake energy efficiency works are not excessive. The flagship scheme, launched in January, allows householders to repay long-term loans for installing up to 40 different energy saving technologies via their electricity bills. But it was widely criticised at its launch for failing to provide enough incentives for the householder and for being overly complex. “I would not expect many people to apply for finance yet. It’s a bit too early,” said Davey. “I won’t concede that loan costs are too high. You have to compare it with unsecured loan and not mortgages. This is a great deal,” he told dele gates at Ecobuild, a sustainable building show in London.
Guardian 5th March 2013 more >>
Eric Pickles’ Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) will face a day in court over its controversial decision to scrap energy efficiency rules that would have delivered an estimated £11bn boost to the economy. The Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) confirmed this afternoon that it will make good on its threat to seek to a Judicial Review over Pickles’ decision late last year to scrap the “consequential improvement” rules.
Guardian 5th March 2013 more >>
Business Green 5th March 2013 more >>
RHI – Non Domestic
Support payments for renewable heat will be subject to tighter budgetary and environmental controls under plans announced by the government. From this summer the Department of Energy and Climate Change will introduce a system of tariff cuts for non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive payments, similar to that applied to Feed-in Tariffs. This means RHI rates for new claimants will be reduced by at least 5% if uptake exceeds a set level, although cuts could be up to 20%.
Farmers Weekly 5th March 2013 more >>
Official figures for November, December and January show that 50 MW of domestic PV (0-10 kW), less than 9 MW of small-medium projects (10-50 kW), plus nearly 41 MW in the large installation band were registered in this past quarter – with a drop in the smaller size classes being made up by the largest projects. Following previous quarterly installations of 164 MW and 98 MW, the latest total of 100 megawatts suggests the rooftop PV market is still running at about half-speed and picking up only gradually. Once again, activity in all these bands fell below the government thresholds for the default 3.5% rate of quarterly tariff degression, which are set at around 800 MW of new capacity per year - so there should be no reductions in tariffs this summer. But since the 50kW-5MW band has already skipped degression twice, this band will be cut by 3.5% automatically in May; for example, the rate for schemes over 250 kW will fall from 7.1p/kWh to 6.85p.
Farming UK 5th March 2013 more >>
Small Wind for Todmorden
Plans to install a single micro wind turbine at a Todmorden farm have been put in to Calderdale Council planners. Mr Ben Leaman has applied for permission to put up the micro turbine, which will be 14.97 metres high to the hub with 5.6 metre diameter blades, at Rake Hey Farm, Stony Lane. A supporting statement from Windcrop Limited, of Leeds, says the turbine will provide the farm with a method of producing renewable, sustainable energy. The turbine is designed to be robust and quiet, mounted on the 14.97m tower and grid connected to a single phase supply.
Todmorden News 4th March 2013 more >>
Privately Rented Property
From 2016, landlords will not be able to refuse reasonable requests for energy-efficiency improvements under the Green Deal, while from 2018 it will be an offence for landlords to let out properties with the worst energy-efficiency ratings. Consumers who want to go further can install renewable energy systems such as heat pumps and solar water heaters. Due to their high installation costs, these systems are not yet cost-effective in their own right, according to Mr Horne, which is why they are supported by schemes such as the feed-in tariff for solar PV panels and the approaching Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), due to be introduced this summer for domestic households.
Telegraph 4th March 2013 more >>
The Ground Source Heat Pump Association (GSHPA) is renewing its call for DECC to conclude deliberations around a revised Renewable Heat Incentive Phase One non-domestic tariff without further delay. Introduced in November 2011, phase one of the Renewable Heat Incentive is designed to support the installation of a wide range of renewable heat technologies into commercial and industrial buildings. The latest figures from Ofgem reveal that the scheme is failing to deliver the required deployment, with only 232MW of installed capacity accredited during the first 15 months. As a result, just £5.38m has been awarded to accredited system owners, with only 1.2% being allocated to GSHP installations.
Heating & Ventilating.net 4th March 2013 more >>
SCOTTISH ministers have been ranked near the bottom of a league table of energy efficiency for UK government departments after cutting their carbon emissions by just 0.5% in the past year. Despite achieving a slight overall reduction in carbon output, Scottish government departments and agencies saw a rise in their emissions relative to their budget. In contrast, the UK Department for Communities and Local Government topped the list after cutting its carbon emissions by 70.9%, while the Department for International Development achieved a 32.7% drop, and the Welsh government recorded a fall of 17.8%. The performance of Scottish ministers leaves them ranked 45 out of 51 government departments and agencies, and 1,449 out of 2,097 UK organisations listed in the Environment Agency’s carbon reduction commitment performance league table 2011-2, which compared the country’s highest energy users. The Scottish government has set some of the world’s toughest emissions reductions targets, committing Scotland to reduce CO2 emissions by 42% by 2020, compared with 34% in the rest of the UK.
Sunday Times 3rd March 2013 more >>
Role of Local Authorities
Our panel of energy experts share their advice on how local authorities can help tackle fuel poverty and promote energy efficiency.
Guardian 2nd March 2013 more >>
Small Wind & Tax
Farms and rural businesses with renewables in mind have been given a quarter million pound window of opportunity over the next two years. Businesses will see an increase in the annual investment allowance (AIA) giving 100% tax relief on investments from £25,000 to £250,000 for the next two years. Johnnie Andringa, CEO of Glasgow based Gaia-Wind said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for those looking to invest in small wind. The allowance comfortably covers an investment in one or even several small wind turbines and means that a farm or rural business could offset the entire cost against their income tax in year one.”
Farming UK 1st March 2013 more >>
There is no doubt there is overwhelming public support for renewable energy, said Tim Croker from the NFU’s Farm Energy Service. However, farmers are increasingly finding it difficult to get permission for new projects. This is down to a whole range of issues, but Nimbyism is one of the most difficult barriers for large-scale renewables projects, he said speaking at the NFU Conference 2013
Farmers Weekly 1st March 2013 more >>
Companies keen to deploy mid-sized solar arrays have until 1 May to take advantage of the current level of feed-in tariffs ahead of a modest round of cuts to the popular incentive scheme. Ofgem yesterday announced the new rates for solar feed-in tariffs that will run from 1 May to 1 July, confirming that under the government’s recently launched degression mechanism incentives for installations with less than 50kW of capacity will remain at current levels. However, incentives for installations with over 50kW of capacity will all face cuts of 3.5 per cent, curbing financial returns for companies installing mid-sized arrays.
Business Green 1st March 2013 more >>
Solar more compelling than ever
The current level of feed-in tariff continues to represent good value for residential consumers, and with balance-of-system costs coming right down, rooftop panels can yield the same return on investment in percentage terms as they did before the cuts. And when you factor in the likelihood of increases to wholesale electricity prices, self-generation can offer a good deal of financial security. Untapping the full potential of the residential sector will be crucial to sustaining the upward trend of the UK market, and official recognition like this is an invaluable proof point of the importance of solar PV that will help the industry do just that.
Solar Portal 1st March 2013 more >>
RHI shrouded by FiT Fiasco
THE Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has been ‘shrouded’ by the boom and bust situation created by the Feed in Tariff fiasco, the NFU Conference heard today (Thursday). Chris Miles of British Gas said the UK Government was, and still is, wary of the RHI fuelling the same situation in renewable heat (biomass) as the FiT did in the solar industry. Back in 2011, the Government cut the payments for any solar scheme completed after December 12 - 11 days before the official consultation closed. Later, a High Court ruled the changes were illegal.
Farmers Guardian 28th Feb 2013 more >>