week ending 18 October 2013
More than 500 planning applications have been submitted across the UK for farm wind turbines. A fall in income, coupled with rising energy costs, is said to be the reason as an increasing number of land owners turn to turbines as an additional source of revenue. The increase is ahead of changes to the regulations. All proposed new turbines need to be registered with regulator Ofgem by December 31 and hundreds of farmers are now working to beat the end-of-year deadline and benefit from the maximum available revenues.
Telegraph & Argus 18th Oct 2013 more >>
Herald 18th Oct 2013 more >>
Solar photovoltaic (PV) is one of the eight key renewable energy technologies put forward by the government as part of the solution to create a clean, balanced UK energy mix. A framework of policies is already in place to drive investment in solar PV in the UK at a wide range of sizes, and in a wide range of locations, and the government has increased its strategic focus on the solar PV industry as deployment has progressed. Given the increasing deployment of solar in the UK, the government feels that the time is right for it to set out its vision of the strategic direction for solar PV in the UK.
The Lawyer 18th Oct 2013 more >>
Local Authority Tidal Power Promotion
Cardiff and Bristol councils are to join forces to champion tidal lagoon technology in the Severn estuary, effectively dismissing the barrage concept as “dead in the water”. The cities are in talks about forming a public-private partnership – such as a Special Purpose Vehicle – with stakeholders and other councils to develop tidal lagoons on both sides of the estuary. They hope to use their collective resources to study the potential of the renewable energy technology to harness the Severn’s tidal range, the second largest in the world. Cardiff council has already held several meetings with Tidal Lagoon Power Limited, the company planning to pioneer an electricity-generating £550m tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay.
Wales Online 18th Oct 2013 more >>
The UK has installed around 3,743 small and medium wind turbines totaling 37.52MW capacity in 2012, representing an increase of 71% compared to 3,086 turbines totaling 21.92MW at the end of 2011, according to a report by RenewableUK. In its report titled, ‘Small and Medium Wind Market Report 2013’, RenewableUK has revealed that 2012 figures represent an all-time high in turbine installation rate across all scales of the small and medium wind sector.
Energy Business Review 18th Oct 2013 more >>
Renewable UK 17th Oct 2013 more >>
A WIND turbine being installed on an island is expected to be one of the most productive of its size in western Europe. The 900kW turbine on G b Sg rabhal, the most westerly point of Barra, will be run by a community company and profits will be passed on for investment in development projects on the island.
Herald 18th Oct 2013 more >>
Solar PV demand from the UK declined significantly during the third quarter of 2013 (Q3 2013), as the full impact of the Europe-China trade case impacted on module availability. The UK added only 230MW during Q3 2013, dampening any euphoria surrounding the fact that nine-month demand for 2013 from the UK exceeded the gigawatt level for the first time. Over 70% of PV MW demand in Q3 2013 came from the rooftop segment, in comparison to Q1 2013 when ground-mount accounted for over 80%.
PV Tech 17th Oct 2013 more >>
Swansea University has launched a new solar energy research centre designed to deliver world-leading scientific research and to support the growth of solar in Wales.
Solar Portal 17th Oct 2013 more >>
Wales Online 16th Oct 2013 more >>
News Wales 16th Oct 2013 more >>
Green Deal Loans
A coalition of 16 businesses, trade bodies and consumer groups have today launched a taskforce to investigate Green Deal interest rates, as new figures reveal that nearly 1,000 people have now taken out an energy efficiency loan through the government-backed scheme. The UK Green Building Council-led taskforce includes E.ON, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Carillion, and aims to address the biggest barriers to mass adoption of the Green Deal scheme.
Business Green 17th Oct 2013 more >>
Letter: It is unfair to say that the Green Deal has been a “resounding failure”. Since it began, more than 71,000 households have been assessed and these are running at a rate of 13,000 to 14,000 a month. For the first time householders have basic information on what they can install to save energy, the costs of installation, and the amount they might save. In the last survey, 81 per cent of households said that they either have had measures installed, are installing them, or expect to do so. While the take-up of Green Deal finance plans, for those choosing this payment option, has been slower than wanted, reasonable people will understand that it takes time to put in place such an ambitious programme.
Times 17th Oct 2013 more >>
Solar Grid Connections
The Solar Trade Association (STA) has published a Grid Barriers to Solar Power briefing designed as a step-by-step guide on the key issues and actions needed to address the “serious problems with grid access” facing solar developers. According to the STA, the day-to-day reality facing utility-scale solar developers in the UK is that grid constraints are routinely undermining potential projects. One member of the STA claims that it has signed land up for 1,200MW of solar deployment since 2010. However, due primarily to grid constraints 818MW had to be aborted.
Solar Portal 17th Oct 2013 more >>
People don’t trust energy companies. So why are power providers being asked to persuade householders to install subsidised energy measures? Energy companies say it’s difficult to persuade consumers to insulate their homes, even when government subsidies are on offer. And yet two thirds of people would make their homes more energy efficient if someone told them how, according to a new poll for the Energy Savings Trust. But does that ‘someone’ include the energy companies? The polling also suggests that it probably doesn’t.
Carbon Brief 16th Oct 2013 more >>
A million solar panels
SolarFields UK has the lofty ambition of becoming the UK’s largest investment opportunity in solar energy. Setup by property investment specialist, Andrew Freeth, SolarFields UK, a trading name of Renewable Energy Projects Ltd, is looking for 1,000 sites across the UK to develop roof-mounted arrays and ground-mounted arrays. The company is looking to complete projects sized between 10kW and 10MW and will provide a guaranteed yield for each project as well as a CCTV and real-time monitoring of the array.
Solar Portal 16th Oct 2013 more >>
Plans in Bristol for a £47m solar rooftop programme have taken a major step forward, after the Mayor gave the green light for the first phase of the scheme earlier this month. Mayor George Ferguson wants to install thousands of solar photovoltaic panels over the next four years on the roofs of council owned homes and public buildings.
Business Green 16th Oct 2013 more >>
Solar Thermal Standards
Brand spanking new MCS standards for solar thermal products and installers have just been released. Here’s a round up of the important changes they bring to our industry.
Solar Portal 16th Oct 2013 more >>
5YJ Co-operative, a new London-based solar co-operative has announced that it will begin issuing shares. The solar co-op will focus on investing in and operating small-scale solar photovoltaic installations across the UK. 5YJ Co-operative claims that members will benefit from an inflation protected interest income of at least 5% per year. The proceeds raised from the share issuance will be used to finance and install further solar energy projects, with revenue from the projects allocated to investor members.
Solar Portal 16th Oct 2013 more >>
CASH to improve the energy efficiency of homes will drive down fuel poverty and help create jobs, Housing Minister Margaret Burgess has said. Ms Burgess spoke out as almost £9 million was allocated to some of Scotland’s councils as part of the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (Heeps) scheme. The money comes on top of £46m already shared between all 32 local authorities.
Herald 16th Oct 2013 more >>
Well-off households have hijacked the household insulation programme by using it to buy new boilers from British Gas at the expense of the taxpayer. Ministers have set aside £125 million of “cashback” to kickstart the Green Deal, allowing households to claim money off the cost of energy efficiency measures under the heavily criticised programme. However, 97 per cent of the 5,733 payments have gone to households replacing their boilers, entitling them to cashback of up to £310. The majority are not having any other work carried out under the Green Deal and are paying upfront for the new boilers. Those buying new boilers far outweigh the 12 households who, as of August, had other measures installed under the Green Deal.
Times 15th Oct 2013 more >>
Community Energy Barriers
The report from Cornwall Energy and commissioned by Co-operatives UK and The Co-operative Group found issues around complexity and cost to be a major barrier to success for community projects, with connection costs largely being a “postcode lottery” and often disproportionate to the scheme, sometimes costing millions of pounds. To overcome these barriers and realise the UK’s community energy potential it recommends: providing priority grid access to community energy projects; allowing them to pay back their connection costs over time; exemption from wider network upgrade costs; standardised cost assessments, which are then fixed; and improved communications and transparency from electricity grid network operators. Many of these recommendations have already been introduced in Denmark and Germany, which consequently have a much higher proportion of community energy than the UK.
Guardian 14th Oct 2013 more >>
The number of small investors in Britain putting their money into environmental and green energy projects is growing rapidly with the market now valued at almost £500 million, according to a new report. Over one million investments – mainly between £100 and £500 – have helped raise a total of £1.6 billion for businesses that ‘do good’ and offer a financial return in the UK, according to Ethex, the new online exchange for positive investments.
Greenwise Business 14th Oct 2012 more >>
SCOTLAND’S only subway system is at the centre of a pioneering scheme to warm its stations by using the water leaking into its tunnels as a sustainable heat source.
Herald 14th Oct 2013 more >>
Today, we begin rolling out the new documentary on Germany’s energy transition with a trip to one of the country’s numerous 100% Renewable Villages, which are increasingly covering all of their electricity and heat demand from local renewables and becoming exporters to neighboring cities. “They are only 100 percent net – they still rely on the grid when they don’t have enough renewables themselves,” one local skeptic recently told me when I began extolling the village of Freiamt in the Black Forest for showing that how well solar, wind, and biomass complement each other. The man was absolutely right, but of course this is only the beginning. The island of Pellworm in the North Sea, another 100 percent Renewable project, is increasingly becoming a research lab to become completely off-grid – a step that will require power storage.
Renewables International 14th Oct 2013 more >>
IKEA makes solar affordable
Home furnishings expert IKEA has teamed up with global solar giant Hanergy to make it easier for families in Milton Keynes to lead a more sustainable life at home. Many homeowners in the city want to save money on energy bills by installing solar panels but are put off by the price, according to new figures. IKEA quizzed shoppers in Milton Keynes on sustainable living and discovered many were in the dark about solar energy. Only eight per cent of homeowners said they had already made the switch to solar panels, with over two thirds saying they were put off by the cost.
Milton Keynes Citizen 14th Oct 2013 more >>
The chancellor’s plan to placate the belligerent power companies is to release them from some of their green obligations. But energy efficiency is the key to this debate. Labour’s price-freeze promise has finally goaded the government into action over rising fuel bills. But ministers are in danger of seizing the wrong solution if they cut financial support for energy efficiency schemes in poorer households. Clearly, axing the Energy Companies Obligation (Eco) – which costs billpayers £1.3bn per year, or about £47 of an average annual bill – would be extremely negative for those in danger from fuel poverty. It would also have dire implications for a drastically underutilised means of boosting energy security and tackling global warming. A key area of focus for the government should be enabling homes and businesses to use as little power as possible while allowing them to remain warm and highly productive
Observer 13th Oct 2013 more >>
Energy efficiency funds for poor households may be cut, No 10 confirms. Downing Street says government is looking at cutting financial support as adviser attacks plan as ‘completely inequitable’ and ‘perverse’. Downing Street has confirmed that the government is looking at cutting financial support for energy efficiency in poorer households as part of a drive to bring down the overall cost of fuel bills. As the government’s own adviser on fuel poverty warned that it would be “completely inequitable” to target the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), No 10 confirmed that ministers were “looking across the range” to help consumers with their fuel bills. George Osborne is understood to be keen to reduce the obligation, which costs billpayers £1.3bn a year and makes up 4% – or £47 – of an average annual bill, according to government figures.
Guardian 11th Oct 2013 more >>
George Osborne’s plan to cut financial support for energy efficiency in poorer households is an “unforgivable” attack, according to the government’s own adviser on fuel poverty. With a political row raging over soaring energy bills, inflamed further by an 8% rise from the “big six” energy company SSE on Thursday, Osborne and No 10 sources have repeatedly indicated that the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is being targeted for cuts or delays to reduce the government levies imposed on consumer energy bills. But Derek Lickorish, chair of the government’s Fuel Poverty Advisory Group, said: “It is completely inequitable to attack the only measure that is doing something for the fuel poor in England. It is unforgivable when we have energy prices that are going only in one direction.”
Guardian 11th Oct 2013 more >>
David Cameron has put the government’s green energy subsidies under review, setting the coalition parties on a collision course as the prime minister scrambles to find ways of cutting energy bills in the face of Labour’s promised price freeze. The prime minister’s spokesman confirmed on Friday that the government’s £1.3bn Energy Companies Obligation subsidy was among a series of policies under review as the coalition looks to ease pressure on family budgets.
FT 11th Oct 2013 more >>
Independent 11th Oct 2013 more >>
AN extra £70million of funding to insulate poorer people’s homes in Wales has been announced. The Welsh Government said it will allocate £35million in 2014/15 and £35million in 2015/16 to encourage energy companies to invest in Wales.
South Wales Evening Post 12th Oct 2013 more >>
Community Share Offer
For more information go to hpcharity.co.uk or the community shares platform Microgenius. Another share offer featured on the latter involves a co-operative set up to raise money to install woodchip boilers to heat John Cleveland College in Hinckley, Leicestershire, using sustainable locally harvested wood. “We have raised £240,000 and need £640,000 to install the first boiler,” a spokesman says. The prospectus says the projected return is 9% over the project’s 20-year lifetime. Minimum investment is £250 and the offer closes on 11 December. Its website has more: greenfoxcommunityenergy.coop
Guardian 12th Oct 2013 more >>
Zero Carbon Homes
Zero Carbon, one of the most stringent standards in the world, is a more realistic and flexible solution that replaces the existing Level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes which has proved difficult to implement. Insulation requirements are so high for Zero Carbon homes that they will cost almost nothing to heat, making them ideal for those living on a fixed income. If you invest in green technologies (typically with a repayment period of 10-15 years) you might even end up with a home that generates a small income.
Express 11th Oct 2013 more >>
The Government’s £2.9bn domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme due to be launched in spring 2014 is, as it stands, costly, impractical and unlikely to attract consumers unless the focus changes, OFTEC has said. Figures from the Energy Saving Trust show the cost of installing renewable technologies will be prohibitive for all but a few, even with RHI payments. Additionally, the cost savings from renewable heating systems do not justify the conversion costs even with RHI, which will only pay subsidies for seven years. At present, the average cost to heat a three-bedroom home using the government’s favoured renewable technology, an air-source heat pump, is only £8 less expensive per annum than using a modern condensing oil boiler.
H&V News 11th Oct 2013 more >>
Brixton Solar Co-op
This morning, residents of one of the toughest and most deprived places in Britain are getting their first taste of what it is like to be energy barons. Cheques are dropping through doors on the Loughborough Estate in Brixton, south London, as the first dividends are paid out on profits from solar energy generated above their heads.
Telegraph 11th Oct 2013 more >>
Solar is a boost not blot for UK countryside.
Solar Portal 11th Oct 2013 more >>
Community Response to Fracking
Villagers in the Sussex village at the heart of the fracking controversy recently kicked off an initiative to start their own community renewables scheme. Balcombe Energy Coop is now investigating different renewable energy options, from solar PV to a Biomass plant.
Compass 10th Oct 2013 more >>
English farmers investing in on-farm anaerobic digestion (AD) can apply for loan funding as part of a £3m DEFRA initiative. Loans to cover 50% of project costs up to a maximum of £400,000 were announced as part of the On Farm AD Fund by environment secretary Owen Paterson. The scheme is available for small-scale AD plants up to 250kW in size, primarily run on farm waste, with loans expected to be issued to farmers at the beginning of next year.
Business Green 11th Oct 2013 more >>
Farmers Weekly 10th Oct 2013 more >>