week ending 9 August 2013
An algae-to-power project claiming the potential to “power 200,000 vehicles every year with a single toilet flush” has hailed a major breakthrough after this week producing its first crop.
Business Green 9th Aug 2013 more >>
Amid the recent furore over fracking everyone seems to have forgotten about shale’s renewable cousin – biogas. Energy Desk investigates how much biogas the UK is generating, the government policies in place and the prospects for the industry in the years to come. According to the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA), anaerobic digestion is delivering over four times more electricity than solar PV. In Germany biogas is set to generate 4% of all power this year. No one knows for certain how much of the UK’s shale can, or will, be extracted but a study commissioned by DECC based on current assumptions predicts shale will deliver 4.3% total gas demand in 2030 – though others suggest far higher figures. A similar report by National Grid on the prospects of biogas found it could supply 5-18% total UK gas demand by 2020. With the right policies in place biogas could provide half our domestic heat, reduce landfill and help us achieve our climate change targets.
Energy Desk 8th Aug 2013 more >>
Plunging prices are finally making solar power competitive with conventional sources of energy. When Ricard Jornet opened his organic beachside restaurant outside Barcelona in 2007, he was determined to power it with the solar panels the Spanish government was then lavishly subsidising. He had to think again when he saw the price tag. “I looked into it and the cost of the system was nearly 60,000” he says. “It was too expensive.” Today, cash-strapped Spain has slashed those subsidies but Mr Jornet has gone ahead anyway. He has covered nearly half the roof of his Lasal del Varador restaurant with solar panels. The reason? “They cost 15,000,” he says, adding he had put in an 8.6 kilowatt system without any subsidy at all. Until now, the idea that unsubsidised solar power could make enough financial sense to be competitive with conventional electricity has been largely confined to the realms of environmental campaigners and renewable energy advocates. Globally, solar power accounts for less than 1 per cent of electricity supply. But its growth has been extraordinary, largely because of the renewable energy subsidies EU countries began introducing in the 1990s. Only 10 years ago, the generating capacity of the entire world’s solar photovoltaic systems totalled just 2.8 gigawatts, about the same as that of six average-sized coal power stations. Today there is more than 102GW and solar PV power has been the biggest source of new electricity generation for two years in a row in Europe. The industry predicts global capacity will double to 200GW by 2016.
FT 8th Aug 2013 more >>
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has changed the way it defines fuel poverty – seemingly lifting two million households out of it in the process. But is it an improvement? A close inspection of new DECC figures released today shows that while the new definition still has significant problems, it helps illustrate how difficult the situation is for millions of the UK’s most vulnerable households. The government has already missed its target of eliminating fuel poverty among the poorest households by 2010, and looks unlikely to keep its promise to eradicate it altogether by 2016. The Energy and Climate Change committee recently criticised the government’s main policy for helping fuel poor households – the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) – for failing to reach many of the most vulnerable households. The latest figures show that – however it is defined – fuel poverty remains a problem for millions of households, and the government isn’t doing enough to prevent it.
Carbon Brief 8th Aug 2013 more >>
Householders in the UK have invested more than £700,000 in just over a month to fund two solar projects in the country. Abundance Generation, a crowdfunding platform, claims it raised the amount in just 35 days for solar panels installation in schools and on new build housing.
Energy Live News 8th Aug 2013 more >>
Solar Portal 8th Aug 2013 more >>
RENEWABLE energy is the best way to meet the UK’s future power needs. That’s the view of a new campaign group supporting a scheme to build Britain’s biggest solar farm in the Test Valley countryside. Broughton Pro Solar says the plan to erect 225,456 solar panels on a 200-acre site at Eveley Farm in nearby Houghton would help to fight climate change and ensure that long-term energy needs are met.
Southern Daily Echo 7th Aug 2013 more >>
The heat is on: heat pump field trials report reveals that heat pumps are now more important than ever, and can play a significant part in helping the UK reach its carbon emissions reduction targets. Field trials conducted by the Energy Saving Trust examine the comprehensive performance monitoring of the heat pump system, improvements to system performance through design and control, and user behaviour.
EST 7th Aug 2013 more >>
Builders Merchant News 7th Aug 2013 more >>
Ground source heat pumps could earn homeowners without access to mains gas up to £3,000 a year in savings and income, according to new research by the Energy Saving Trust (EST). A new paper to be published today provides fresh evidence that ground source heat pumps can generate significant financial and environmental benefits, while also showing that air source heat pumps could generate annual savings and income worth around £1,350.
Business Green 7th Aug 2013 more >>
A £180,000 hydropower scheme is to generate “clean electricity” at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. The stately home, a World Heritage Site, will install the “Archimedean screw” design of hydropower with renewables firm Hallidays Hydropower. Fitted on the River Glyme, at Bladon Dam, the technology will be within landscape designed by architect Lancelot “Capability” Brown.
BBC 7th Aug 2013 more >>
Renewable Energy Focus 7th Aug 2013 more >>
Zero Carbon Homes Offset
Builders could be allowed to buy carbon offsets from third parties to help meet a government target for all homes to be “zero carbon” by 2016. The Department for Communities and Local Government yesterday unveiled a consultation on so called “allowable solutions” - the offsite measures house builders can use to curb the emissions from new housing stock in England.
Business Green 7th Aug 2013 more >>
Ofgem has published the latest quarterly report for the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which shows that installed capacity under the scheme has topped 400MW. Since the last figures were published in March there has been 138.1MW of new capacity installed under the scheme, representing a 45% increase over the last quarter. The number of applicants has remained steady with 609 received between 1 April and 30 June, compared to 605 in the previous quarter. Biomass boilers continue to dominate the scheme, representing 93.12% of all installations carried out under the RHI. Commercial solar thermal installations represent the second largest technology installed under the scheme but only account for 3.47% of all installs, around 14MW of capacity.
Solar Portal 7th Aug 2013 http://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/non_domestic_rhi_capacity_breaks_400mw_2356
Energy Efficiency Failure
The chief economist of the International Energy Agency has described global policies to promote energy efficiency as an “epic failure” - the ripe low hanging fruit that has failed to be picked. Deeds have not matched words. Government says energy efficiency is a key strategic objective fundamental to decarbonising the economy, securing energy supplies, and increasing productivity. Yet you would never know this if you compare the time dedicated to energy supply policies compared with practical support to cut demand in the first place. Why is this?
Business Green 6th Aug 2013 more >>
While putting a solar panel on your roof is easy enough, and ministers bask in the glow of extravagant, publicly subsidised renewable generation projects, getting a moderately-sized installation up and running proves more challenging. MPs have highlighted that mid-sized renewable generation schemes are falling through a “funding gap” despite their potential to add to the UK’s low carbon generation mix. One solution could be to get communities more involved in planning and building the installations, a new Energy and Climate Change (ECC) committee report says. It recommends a swathe of policy measures to incentivise what it calls “local energy projects”. But before the government sets about creating a web of new regulations, it should cast an eye to the continent to learn how its European neighbours made successes of their community energy schemes.
Carbon Brief 6th Aug 2013 more >>
Schools, businesses and communities should be given financial support to install medium-sized renewable energy schemes such as wind turbines and solar panels, MPs have urged. In a report released on Tuesday, the energy committee found that generous subsidies exist for the smallest green energy schemes, as well as for the projects on the largest scale. But projects of 10-50 megawatts, equivalent to a small onshore wind farm, fall through a funding gap and do not get any similar state subsidy. The MPs found that the biggest wind farms and solar farms would still provide the largest amount of new renewable energy in the UK. But they concluded that medium-sized schemes could provide a significant proportion of energy.
FT 6th Aug 2013 more >>
Communities should be paid for allowing wind turbines and solar panels on public buildings, according to MPs. The Energy and Climate Change Committee said local residents should be offered a cut in electricty bills or a stake in the ownership of renewable energy developments in their area. The cross party group also said Government needs to do more to encourage local authorities to identify suitable areas for wind farms or solar arrays. The report comes as solar companies warn that solar panels must go on more schools and other buildings since there are not enough brownfield sites around the UK.
Telegraph 6th Aug 2013 more >>
Business Green 6th Aug 2013 more >>
Information Daily 6th Aug 2013 more >>
ITV 6th Aug 2013 more >>
Businesses, cooperatives, local authorities, schools and housing associations should be given financial support to install medium-sized renewable energy generating systems – such as solar arrays, wind turbines and district heating systems – because of the benefits these projects can bring to communities and the country as a whole, MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee have said.
Parliament 6th Aug 2013 more >>
Low Carbon Building
This year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival is going green by hosting a Low Carbon Property Festival. The event, which has been organised by the Federation of Master Builders, the National Specialists Contractors Council, the Scottish Electrical Federation and the Scottish & Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation, is aiming to raise the profile of low-carbon building in Scotland. Taking place from the 13-15 of August, the festival will feature presentations on future of low-carbon building, affects of Planning and Building Regulations on micro-renewable installations and grants available.
H&V News 5th Aug 2013 more >>
Scottish homes could soon find it much easier to improve their energy efficiency under a new £3m scheme to be unveiled today. Interest-free loans of up to £10,000 will be available for home owners to adopt a range of renewable heat and electricity technologies, such as heat pumps, solar panels, micro-wind turbines, or biomass boilers. The funding will be directly targeted at homes in fuel poverty, allowing households to access subsidy schemes, such as the feed-in tariff for renewable electricity generation or the Renewable Heat Premium Payment, and then use the new income to pay off the loans.
Business Green 2nd Aug 2013 more >>
BBC 2nd August 2013 more >>
Community Energy & Planning
Leading planning charity, the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) has welcomed the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s commitment to an energy strategy that will help communities reap the benefits of positive local solutions. The TCPA has responded to DECC’s call for evidence by calling for four distinct areas to be addressed: clear, balanced planning guidance, linked to the Climate Change Act and EU Renewable Energy Strategy that is essential to the delivery of community energy projects; recognition of the positive role planning can play in delivering community energy projects; learning from best practice across Europe; and ensuring our planners have the right training and skills.
24Dash 2nd Aug 2013 more >>
A MELTON college has strengthened its commitment to the environment by installing solar panels to accompany its existinh wind turbine and biomass boiler.
Melton Times 2nd Aug 2013 more >>
Davey is bullish, pointing out that the public response to the programme has actually been unexpectedly strong, with over 44,000 assessments undertaken, “probably more than most people expected”, a figure he says demonstrates demand. With four-fifths of those who have carried out assessments telling the Department of Energy & Climate Change researchers that they either have or will undertake some form of retrofit work, he says it is merely a matter of time before this translates into actual work on the ground. “I’ve had my assessment,” he says, to exemplify the problem, “but I haven’t acted on it yet, because I’ve been a bit busy. But I’m going to act on it.” So is he confident of meeting the 10,000-home target? “I think so, yes,” he says – but implies it might not be met directly through the Green Deal finance package itself. “Seventy-eight per cent have either had work done, are in the process of getting the work done, or intend to get the work done. that doesn’t mean they’re all going to go down the Green Deal finance route.
Building 2nd Aug 2013 more >>
Wates is part of a team that has won the contract to deliver a £200m Green Deal scheme for local authorities in and around Newcastle. The team, led by British Gas and including Wates, will deliver Green Deal measures to homes across eight local authority areas from September this year through the Warm Up North scheme. The firms saw off competition from a team comprising energy firm EDF, housing firm Gentoo and contractor Keepmoat. Energy firm Npower had also been bidding for the job, but dropped out of the process in February this year. Much of the retrofit work will go towards fulfilling British Gas’ targets under the Energy Company Obligation, the Green Deal’s sister scheme that delivers energy efficiency work to low income households. Martin Walker, project director for the Warm Up North Partnership, said the partnership “puts this region at the very forefront of domestic energy efficiency”.
Building 29th July 2013 more >>
The market for residential photovoltaic (PV) energy storage systems is expected to boom in the coming years, with cumulative installations amounting to 2.5 gigawatts (GW) by 2017, equivalent to the solar power that could be generated by more than 600,000 homes. Kick-started by the introduction in May of the German Energy Storage subsidy, cumulative installations are forecast to grow to these heights from a trivial 12 megawatts in 2012, according to a new report entitled “The Role of Energy Storage in the PV Industry” from information and analytics provider IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS). The number of PV residential energy storage installations will be greater than the total number of residential solar systems in Germany today.
Altenergy Mag 1st Aug 2013 more >>