week ending 11 October 2013
AN increasing number of farmers are turning to wind turbines as an additional source of income, according to experts. Earthmill, a farm-scale wind farm specialist has claimed there has been record demand for surveys of farms for the installation of turbines over the last quarter of the year. The firm also claimed ‘impending’ Government energy targets were driving the 150 per cent increase in demand, and said it expects demand to continue for the ‘forseeable future’.
Farmers Guardian 11th Oct 2013 more >>
Good Solar Farms
Good Energy Group has received the green light for a 12.8MW solar farm in Dorset. The listed, Chippenham-based company, aims to lower UK carbon emissions by developing and distributing renewable energy. This latest permissions follows swiftly on the heels of the nod to build a 1.4MW solar farm near Bude, Cornwall, and a 30MW solar site in Pembrokeshire.
Insider Media 11th Oct 2013 more >>
City AM 9th Oct 2013 more >>
A £3m government loan scheme to help farmers generate energy from agricultural waste has been hailed as “a welcome step” by the waste-to-energy industry. The initiative allows farmers to apply for up to £400,000 in financing for up to half of the cost of installing an on-site anaerobic digestion (AD) facility with below 250kW of capacity.
Business Green 11th Oct 2013 more >>
Knowle West homes are basking in an energy-efficient glow. Thirty council houses have been installed with solar panels as part of a £2.8-million project known as SoLa Bristol.
This is Bristol 10th Oct 2013 more >>
Nearly everyone hates ECO – but how else can we make houses more energy efficient? The government could be about to water down a flagship policy aimed at reducing energy consumption and helping poorer people insulate their homes. It’s hard to find fans of the measure – but what will it mean for the government’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle fuel poverty if it goes down the drain?
Carbon Brief 10th Oct 2013 more >>
Hartlepool Lights the Way
Hartlepool Borough Council is proposing to replace all of Hartlepool’s 13,644 street lights with LED luminaires in a 12-month scheme. The council says the scheme, which it is estimated will cost £5 million, will save the authority between £400,000 and £550,000 a year on its energy bill.
Lighting 10th Oct 2013 more >>
Hartlepool Mail 10th Oct 2013 more >>
The Micropower Council has flagged up a factually incorrect remark made by the prime minister during prime minister’s questions yesterday in his reference to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). He stated the coalition had “cancelled” it. Chief executive Dave Sowden has issued a note to Micropower Council Members spelling out the correct situation, and has also confirmed with the government that the PM was incorrectly briefed. Sowden’s note stated: ‘At prime ministers’ questions, energy prices were the topic of robust clashes between the prime minister and Ed Milliband, the leader of the opposition.
Energy & Environment Management 10th Oct 2013 more >>
Germany shows the way
Alan Simpson: First grasp how things we take for granted change. That we use the red phone box to make a phone call was once a given. Now think what we use. We nearly all used to have fires for heat and relied on electricity from the power station. With solar panels, better insulation, micro combined heat and power supply and the ability to distribute energy, the homes of the future will be different in Britain.
Michael Edwards 10th Oct 2013 more >>
Chinese competition and high profile collapses mean investment in solar is shrinking even if solar use is growing. But there’s better news for solar financing and software companies.
Guardian 10th Oct 2013 more >>
Senior UK solar industry figures have added their voices to calls for strengthened support for the mid-sized market for renewables with the suggestion that investor tax breaks could spur on the industry. Climate and energy minister Greg Barker told Solar Power Portal at the Solar Energy UK exhibition in Birmingham on Tuesday that there was a need to remove “regulatory barriers” constraining the mid-sized PV market in the UK. It is unclear whether the minister was referring to the current incentive scheme or alternative means to boost that segment of the UKPV industry. “At the moment we can just about make the projects work financially for our investors,” said Louise Wilson, co-managing director of crowdfunder Abundance Generation. “It’s delivering a good return but it’s not knock out and we are still asking people to do something that is relatively new; there are risks.”
Solar Portal 10th Oct 2013 more >>
World Goes Low Carbon
A few years ago the only signs that we were moving to a low-carbon future were compact florescent lightbulbs and the odd hydrid car. Now the world around us is (all too slowly) learning how to go low-carbon. From the transformation of much loved icons of the community – Middlesbrough FC will soon be powered by wind – to other invisible but no less important changes, such as Bath converting its streetlights to highly efficient LEDs. Or Chicago, which is doing the same to its traffic lights. Then there’s Portugal, which now gets 70% of its power from renewable sources.
Guardian 10th Oct 2013 more >>
Campaign group 10:10 will today for the second year use the 10th day of the 10th month to highlight some of the most inspirational examples from around the world of efforts to tackle climate change and roll out clean technologies.
Business Green 10th Oct 2013 more >>
Solar Road Map
The UK Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has issued a solar roadmap, setting out guiding principles for deployment of solar in the UK. According to the roadmap, support for solar PV should enable viable projects to proceed and help the UK to meet carbon emission objectives, which in turn will help meet the country’s target of 15% renewable energy from total consumption by 2020.
Energy Business Review 10th Oct 2013 more >>
Electrical Times 10th Oct 2013 more >>
A new government roadmap for expanding solar power prompts media claims the countryside could see a “power boom” of 2,000 solar farms by the end of the decade. Solar power’s definitely on the up – but the predictions of huge numbers of new solar farms may say more about the need for a good headline than the reality on the ground. Climate change minister Greg Barker launched a new document yesterday reiterating the government’s ambition to increase the UK’s solar power capacity to up to eight times its current levels. The Times predicted this could mean 2,000 new solar farms and the Daily Telegraph reported that local councils could get new powers to take local objections into account.
Carbon Brief 9th Oct 2013 more >>
More than 2,000 solar farms could be built by 2020 under a government plan to subsidise an eight-fold increase in solar power. Many of the farms will be built on open countryside despite a pledge from ministers to focus on installing panels on factory rooftops, former industrial sites and abandoned airfields. A “solar roadmap” published yesterday by the Department of Energy and Climate Change proposes to increase solar power over the next seven years from 2.4GW to 20GW, which would generate enough electricity to power six million homes. While the roadmap calls on developers to show “greater sensitivity” to the impact on the landscape, the document makes clear that Britain must “grasp solar photo voltaic’s full potential” and take advantage of a halving in the cost of installing panels in the past three years. Almost 300 solar farms have been built to date and more than 300 are scheduled to be built over the coming year, according to solar industry figures.
Times 9th Oct 2013 more >>
Large-scale solar projects on “inappropriate” sites must not be allowed to “ruin it” for the rest of the industry, says Energy Minister Greg Barker. Speaking after an appearance at Solar Energy UK in Birmingham yesterday, he told ELN: “I am being very, very explicit. Large scale solar farms in the wrong place potentially could ruin the sector for everybody.”
Energy Live News 9th Oct 2013 more >>
DECC 8th Oct 2013 more >>
Britain’s booming solar industry faces tougher regulation if it fails to be more sensitive to local communities, Greg Barker, the energy and climate change minister, has warned. If it can grow carefully and lower its costs, however, the industry should be able to lift its installed capacity eightfold to 20GW within a decade, Mr Barker will tell an industry event in Birmingham on Tuesday. New subsidies have seen solar power surge from 94MW when the coalition took office in 2010 to 2,413MW at the end of June this year. But a scheduled cut in support next year has led to a rush of projects, prompting an outbreak of protests in some towns against the most popular form of green energy.
FT 7th Oct 2013 more >>
Brenda Boardman: There are 3.5m to 5.3m households in fuel poverty in England, depending on who you ask and what definition they use – that is up to one in four households. Fuel poverty is getting worse. Does parliament not care? Our elected representatives passed the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000, which created a real sense of hope because it set out a strategy to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016. But that strategy has woefully failed: fuel poverty is growing, not being eradicated. It appears that an act of parliament can be ignored if the government decides there is insufficient money available, and since 2008-09 it has been cutting the funds for Warm Front, the primary policy on energy efficiency. It has now been scrapped altogether. Freezing fuel prices, or lowering them, would help. However, the real solution is to make the homes of the fuel-poor more energy efficient. At the moment, they have to buy expensive heat, because most of the heat they create quickly flows out of the house, through cracks and poorly insulated fabric. If the home is properly insulated and made energy efficient, they can buy cheap heat, because they need so much less of it – it stays indoors with them. So, where is the money going to come from to fund these energy efficiency improvements?
Guardian 9th Oct 2013 more >>
Energy storage is a hot topic in the cleantech sector, as the technology quickly moves closer and closer to financial viability. Lux Research anticipates that the residential market will lead the way in uptake, riding on the shoulders of rooftop solar PV’s phenomenal growth globally. If the dance between the winding back of government and utility incentives for small-scale solar power and the falling price point of energy storage continues without a stumble in the US, Europe, and countries elsewhere, the country will see energy storage smoothly coming in to pick up where feed-in tariffs and 1-for-1 net metering leave off.
Clean Technica 9th Oct 2013 more >>
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers is today calling on Government to reassess its approach to geothermal energy to help fully exploit the potential benefits in the UK. A new policy statement from the Institution urges the Government to embrace an energy source which could one day power and heat large areas of the UK, providing reliable baseload low-carbon energy and making a useful contribution to the UK’s climate change mitigation objectives.
Institution of Mechanical Engineers 9th Oct 2013 more >>
BRE Solar Centre
The Building Research Establishment (BRE) National Solar Centre (NSC) has announced that it will be locating its offices and solar test site to the Eden Project in Cornwall. The agreement will see the NSC share offices in the Eden Foundation Building as well as install a solar PV test site on an area of brownfield land on the perimeter of the site.
Solar Portal 9th Oct 2013 more >>
A solar powered school that’s aiming to become energy self-sufficient is opening its doors to inquiring visitors. John Ferneley College in Melton Mowbray was so happy with its solar panel project it decided to show it off. It wants other schools and colleges in the UK to see how they too can benefit. Alongside an existing wind turbine and biomass boiler, the 50kW solar PV project is able provide electricity even on cloudy days. When the sun shines the school can teach its 1,000 pupils without any help from the National Grid.
Energy Live News 9th Oct 2013 more >>
The final award of the night went to a personality whose work and influence has taken this industry to a higher level. Widely recognised as a key advisor to the government and the UK industry on PV installation standards, this individual’s involvement in solar spans many years. From writing key industry texts to actively participating on a range of other core industry committees, both here and abroad, his dedication to improving and developing industry standards has played a lead role in the development of best practice guidelines, most recently as a main author of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme’s ‘Guide to the installation of PV systems’ - now in its third edition. The winner of the Solar Power Portal Achievement Award was: Martin Cotterell
Solar Portal 9th Oct 2013 more >>
The Green Deal is so “complex” it is likely to be discouraging the public from signing up, the head of the company funding the project has admitted. In an interview with The Independent, Mark Bayley, the chief executive of the Green Deal Finance Company, revealed that he now only expects around 1,000 households to have energy saving measures installed under the plan in its first year. And he conceded that so far his company – which has a start-up fund of £244m to loan to households – has processed applications worth just £3.4m and signed off on only 12.
Independent 9th Oct 2013 more >>
A cross-party committee of MPs has delivered the strongest blow yet to the green deal, the government’s flagship programme for energy efficiency, calling it “unattractive and uncompetitive”. The latest figures for the green deal – formally launched in January after several delays – show that only 384 households have yet signed up for improvements, out of more than 71,000 households that received assessments under the scheme. The green deal is aimed at encouraging people to install loft, cavity and solid wall insulation, which would reduce energy bills and the heat leaking from the UK’s draughty homes. But so far the main beneficiaries have been middle-class households receiving free subsidies for new boilers. At current rates, critics have pointed out, it could take 160 years for all of the UK’s housing to benefit.
Guardian 8th Oct 2013 more >>
Construction and support services company Carillion has said it is to restructure its energy services division due to the slow uptake of the Government’s energy efficiency scheme, the Green Deal. Earlier in the year, the company noted that the slow start to the Green Deal market, together with the delayed start to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) market, has affected revenue expectations from energy services. It also stated that the development of the Green Deal market continues to be slow and ECO may now be subject to further delays. Consequently, the firm has decided to restructure this area of its business during the remainder of 2013 to ensure that it is “aligned in size to the markets in which it operates”.
Edie 7th Oct 2013 more >>
Solar South West
The Decc report, Roadmap to a Brighter Future, predicts a four-fold increase in solar power from now until 2020, with Energy Minister Greg Barker even contending Britain “can go faster and further”. The report acknowledges the South West has the highest number of solar panels in homes in the UK. It goes on that estimates suggest 44% of large-scale solar can be found in the region. But despite the ambitious target, Mr Barker insisted that new solar installations “must be sensitive to public opinion and mindful of wider environmental and visual impacts”.
Western Morning News 9th Oct 2013 more >>
Greg Barker’s Speech in Full
Today is an exciting day for UK solar for another reason. This morning, we launched the first-ever Roadmap to a UK Government Solar PV Strategy. You have been telling me for years that Government needs to listen to the industry better...And I have listened.
Business Green 8th Oct 2013 more >>
Energy minister Greg Barker has launched a ‘roadmap’ towards publication of the UK’s first solar strategy, reaffirming his commitment towards a target of 20GW of PV by 2020 but threatening government action against insensitive development
Solar Portal 8th Oct 2013 more >>
Help to Buy could Boost Green Deal
If the government is going to enable the handing out of mortgages to those with only modest deposits, why not demand something in return in the form of minimum energy efficiency standards. The so-called consequential improvement regulations may have been scrapped after the Daily Mail characterised them as a “conservatory tax” that would force any homeowner undertaking upgrade work on their property to take out a Green Deal energy efficiency loan. But the argument that an Englishman’s home is his castle and the government has no right to demand that it be made more energy efficient looks even more shaky if the government is the only reason said Englishman has been able to buy said castle.
Business Green 8th Oct 2013 more >>
Ed Miliband’s promise to freeze power bills would only bring short-term benefits. What’s needed is microgeneration through community-owned wind turbines and other renewables.
Guardian 8th Oct 2013 more >>
Helensburgh Community Wind
On Friday and Saturday, a team from Helensburgh Community Development Trust and their partners will be holding a meeting with information on their proposals, including their plans for a community wind farm which would generate cash for a Community Fund.
Glasgow Evening Times 8th Oct 2013 more >>
The first collective-switching scheme was launched last summer, and, with rising fuel prices hitting the headlines, interest in the idea is booming, particularly since Labour leader Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze bills. According to the Local Government Association, more than 150 councils are now involved, with 285,000 households already signed up. Under the schemes, councils, together with their public, voluntary and private sector partners, look for the best deal with energy companies for a large group of households, who can then choose to switch provider if they like what is on offer. The LGA says switchers are better off by an average of £125 a year – with many saving several times that.
Guardian 8th Oct 2013 more >>
Scottish Energy Hotline
A campaign has been launched to help make Scottish homes more energy efficient. The Scottish government has made £74m available for home improvements such as insulation, boilers or central heating. It is offering free impartial energy advice and support through a home energy hotline. The government said many people were not aware they might be eligible for cash back on home improvements which increase energy efficiency.
BBC 7th Oct 2013 more >>
According to Hetas, the industry regulatory body, about 175,000 households are installing a woodburner each year, five times more than in 2007. The trend has led to an increase in the number of installers registered with Hetas, up from 791 in 2007 to 3,252 today. Experts say sales of woodburners began to increase at the height of the recession as homeowners tried to reduce energy bills.
Times 6th Oct 2013 more >>
A common criticism of solar panels is that they’re ugly – but not so the latest incarnation of a solar panel designed to imitate normal roof slates. Launched at the Grand Designs Live event in Birmingham earlier this week the new Solar Slate Multi is a single solar panel that looks like multiple slates.
Energy Live News 5th Oct 2013 more >>
Investing in sustainable green-energy projects can be a way to help the environment while pocketing a decent return. This week there have been four new, but offbeat, opportunities offered to investors. But whether you’re keen to be green or simply attracted by the high returns offered, it’s important to understand the risks when you stray from the mainstream. The Foresight Solar Fund; Good Energy; CBD Energy and Abundance Generation.
Independent 4th Oct 2013 more >>
The Planning & Energy Act is a success: most of England’s 324 planning authorities use it to tighten efficiency standards on new houses and install renewables, and it has become the principle driver of such improvements. Yet support of the Private Members Bill that introduced the Act, Eric Pickles, is now considering abolishing it, while Mr Fallon, now the energy minister, seems to want to ditch the Government’s climate-change undertakings. Mr Pickles, now Communities Secretary, proposes to “amend or remove” the Act as part of a review of housing standards out for consultation. The review, aimed at simplifying the “large and complex range of local and national standards, rules and codes that any developer has to wade through”, is long overdue: there are, for example, 12 different wheelchair standards for housing in London alone. But its plans for Mr Fallon’s initiative have caused widespread alarm. The review also plans to “wind down” the Government’s Code for Sustainable Homes, which sets out a roadmap for future improvements, including abandoning a reduction in water wastage that would cost a three-bedroom house only £68.
Telegraph 4th Oct 2013 more >>
THE future is bright for Gentoo tenants after the housing group installed solar panels to its 2,000th home. The milestone marks the latest stage in Gentoo’s ongoing photovoltaic (PV) retrofitting programme, which sees customers pay a £1 weekly maintenance charge in return for savings on their energy bills. More than £8million has been invested and the average saving on fuel bills is 22 per cent.
Sunderland Echo 4th Oct 2013 more >>
Bristol City Council has been working on climate change and energy issues for over 10 years. With lots of successful projects completed already, Bristol is moving forward to a new phase of action. All the positive changes we make today will help to create a better future for the city and its people. Every area of the city is set to benefit, with plans for better street lighting, warmer homes, greener buildings and improved waste collection services. The full extent of the work across Bristol is contained in the Council’s Climate Change & Energy Security Framework, which aims to reduce Bristol’s carbon emissions by 40% by 2020 from a 2005 baseline.
Bristol City Council 1st Oct 2013 more >>