week ending 8 November 2013
Solar Schools has launched the second year of its campaign aiming to help schools cut carbon, boost budgets and help engage pupils with renewable energy generation. The first year of the campaign successfully raised funds for solar installations on 14 schools across the UK from Five Islands Schools on the Isles of Scilly to Springwell School in Hartlepool.
Solar Portal 8th Nov 2013 more >>
Birmingham’s Solar-powered Buses
Birmingham City Council has unveiled its vision for the future of transport in the city which includes proposals to electrify the entire city’s transit network. The Birmingham Mobility Action Plan (BMAP) has been designed to help realise the city’s ambition to reduce its carbon output by 60% by 2027. One of the concepts being considered is a solar-powered bus stop that would not only protect passengers from weather but also help top-up the buses’ batteries through inductive charging.
Solar Portal 8th Nov 2013 more >>
Birmingham Mail 7th Nov 2013 more >>
Community Turbine Thrown Out
Plans for a wind turbine, which could have generated £4 million for the Dunbar area, have been thrown out by Scottish Ministers. The Dunbar Community Energy Company, a wholly owned trading subsidiary of the charity Sustaining Dunbar, had hoped to get the go-ahead to put up a 56.3 metre high, 500kw wind turbine and 40 metre wind monitoring mast at Blackcastle Hill in the Lammermuirs.
East Lothian News 8th Nov 2013 more >>
Hospitals prescribed energy efficiency to reduce swelling bills. Department of Health to fund about 70 schemes set to free up £13.7m previously spent on energy for patient care. Health minister Dr Dan Poulter will today announce just under 70 hospitals are to receive a share of a £50m funding pot designed to cut the NHS’s £600m annual energy bill and drive down carbon emissions.
Business Green 8th Nov 2013 more >>
Association for the Conservation of Energy warns its members are having contracts postponed and cancelled as Big Six crank up pressure on government to ditch ECO scheme. The speculation surrounding the future of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme is having a “devastating” impact on the insulation and energy efficiency industry as the “Big Six” energy companies have responded to the government’s controversial “green levy” review by shelving promised energy efficiency projects. Andrew Warren, director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE), wrote to Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey yesterday to warn that its members have seen the flow of ECO projects dry up since the Prime Minister announced last month that he wanted to “roll back” some “green levy” schemes.
Business Green 7th Nov 2013 more >>
The levy on energy bills to help pay for insulation should be used to help low-income households rather than the well-off, according to a British Gas executive. Ian Peters, managing director of its residential supply business, asked why the most expensive element of the levy on household bills, known as the Energy Companies Obligation (Eco), was not aimed at the less affluent. Just over half of the £1.3 billion annual cost of the scheme is spent on installing the most expensive types of energy-saving measures, such as solid-wall insulation, which costs about £8,000 for each home. Victorian houses and other “hard-to-treat” properties stand to benefit, regardless of who owns them. Of the £112 a year that the levies add to each household bill, about £50 goes on Eco. SSE, the energy group, has warned the cost of the scheme will top £100 next year. The Government will next month announce the result of its review.
Times 6th Nov 2013 more >>
UK Solar Boom
The UK is set to become the largest solar market in Europe for the first time during the first quarter of 2014, according to the latest data from NPD Solarbuzz. The firm estimates, the combination of predictable feed-in tariff rates and the rush to complete larger projects ahead of the cuts in the Renewable Obligation Certificate, in the second quarter, will help the UK to take top spot. The honour will be short-lived with Germany expected to regain the number one ranking by the end of 2014.
Solar Portal 6th Nov 2013 more >>
THE FIRST of a new generation of farm-scale wind turbines has been installed on a farm at Liskeard in South East Cornwall, where it will generate the equivalent of the electricity used by almost 150 homes. The first Endurance X29 to be installed on UK soil is also the first to be built in the UK in a brand-new Midlands factory, and is now generating clean energy on Matthew Rowe’s Great Tredinnick dairy farm.
Plymouth Herald 6th Nov 2013 more >>
Farming UK 6th Nov 2013 more >>
On-site energy generation will save UK businesses £33 billion between 2010 and 2030, according to a new study by energy consultancy Utilyx. The research predicts that on-site generation will grow to contribute 14% of the UK’s energy needs by 2030. Based on a series of interviews with decentralised energy stakeholders which included businesses with annual revenues of at least £150 million, government and decentralised energy technology providers. Utilyx expects solar to lead this growth with combined heat and power (CHP) and energy from waste set to lead savings; £20 billion by 2030.
Solar Portal 5th Nov 2013 more >>
A revolution is under way in personal finance. Investment in clean energy projects is going retail, as people plough their savings and pension funds into renewable energy ventures offering much greater returns than bank deposits. In a savings market where the average no-notice account available on the high street pays a measly 0.66%, a cash ISA offers an average of 1.7%, and inflation is above 2%, investors are being forced to consider alternative forms of income. So the new wave of renewable energy investors are not necessarily environmentally-motivated individuals, keen to put their money where their mouths are. They are as likely to be neutral on the subject of climate change as ardent believers. They might not even like the look of wind farms. The rise of the retail investor has not come a moment too soon. Returns from renewable energy projects have been falling as subsidies have come down, so the VCs and private equity managers that were so keen on throwing everything into renewables seven years ago are no longer in the market. They don’t get out of bed for less than 15%!
Ecologist 4th Nov 2013 more >>
Lancashire Hydro Co-op
A community in Lancashire has launched a bid to raise £750,000 to install a hydroelectric scheme in its local river. Residents from Ribble Valley issued a community share offer late last week, backed by £50,000 from the Co-Operative to fund a project to help harness the power of the River Calder.
Business Green 4th Nov 2013 more >>
Half a million solar homes
Solar energy is on the rise, with the latest data from DECC on PV installations showing that nearly 460,000 homes across the UK now have solar panels. Together the households have a combined peak capacity of 1.3GW, making domestic solar the largest sub-sector of the solar market. The figures show that nearly half a million UK homes are now much less exposed to the frustrations expressed by MPs this week to the ‘Big Six’ energy bosses, over large and unpredictable energy bill increases.
EN Magazine 4th Nov 2013 more >>
Insulation is the key
Actually, insulation is the key. I’m sure you already have loft insulation, but early adopters who had their retrofits put in years ago might need to update. There are new products on the market with high thermal performance. Is your insulation thick enough (270mm deep)? Remember, your boiler accounts for 60-80% of your energy bill. A quarter of people living in a home for 15 years (the optimum lifespan of a boiler is 12-15 years) have never had their boiler serviced. This means it’s likely to be underperforming and giving out low heat levels. Boiler cleaning technology, such as MagnaClean – easily installed by Gas Safety Register professionals – can wipe up to 6% off the average bill.
Guardian 3rd Nov 2013 more >>
Work has started on a £120,000 energy project to install solar panels at eight Lincolnshire Co-op outlets, including Louth. More than 320 photovoltaic panels will be fitted to the roofs of stores around the area by engineers from Freewatt Renewable Energy, based in Stow.
Louth Leader 2nd Nov 2013 more >>
Sullivan Report Mark 2
Published in 2007, The Sullivan Report – ‘A Low Carbon Building Standards Strategy for Scotland’ set out recommendations to drive forward standards and innovation. In recognition of the economic downturn and in support of ongoing and future work, Ministers asked the Panel to reconvene in May 2013 to revisit some of the original recommendations. This report is the findings of the reconvened panel.
Scottish Government 1st Nov 2013 more >>
Passivhaus is in fact the gold standard for ultra-low energy homes, which is enjoying increasing popularity as heating bills continue to rise at astronomical rates. Developed in Germany in the early 90s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the Passivhaus Standard is based on a set of principles that mean homes should be able to remain at a comfortable ambient temperature of around 20C with a minimal amount of heating or cooling. It is a “fabric-first” approach to energy efficiency, meaning the building does the work, rather than relying on bolt-on renewable energy devices, like solar panels and ground-source heat-pumps. Based on the tenets of super-high insulation, absolute air-tightness, and harvesting the sun’s energy through south-facing windows, passive houses aim to keep as much heat inside the home as possible. They also rely on a box, usually kept in the loft: the MVHR, or mechanical ventilation heat recovery unit, a heat-exchange system that uses air from warmer rooms in the house to heat fresh air coming in.
Guardian 1st Nov 2013 more >>
Justine Hutton and her two children Kieran and Alissia watch TV in T-shirts in a similar-sized property. The single radiator is cold and they have a window open, although the temperature inside is 21C. The family will only pay around £20 to heat their home for the whole year. The only heat source is their bodies and the electric cooker.
Guardian 1st Nov 2013 more >>
Sandwiched between an overwhelmingly ugly Surrey shopping centre and a busy main road, Sir David Attenborough, no less, is planting a tree and declaring: “Today, is a historic day.” He really means it. Maybe our children’s future is a turbo-heated Armageddon, but if it’s not, it will probably look a lot like this. The new, carbon-neutral, outstandingly sustainable home of the World Wide Fund for Nature, a hemispherical glass tube on stilts above a council car park in Woking, was officially opened today. If humanity is to survive, it is widely reckoned it will do so living in buildings of this nature.
Independent 1st Nov 2013 more >>
Co-operative Energy invited Ben Hall of Cornwall Energy to speak about policy issues at its Community Energy Conference on 19 October. The main areas focused on were grid connection, including a summary of Cornwall Energy’s recent paper Overcoming Grid Connection Issues for Community Energy Projects, routes to market for power generated by community schemes and why there is a need optionality of support mechanisms after 2017. The report was commissioned by the Co-operative Group and identifies a number of barriers in the connection process, including high connection costs and grid reinforcement charges.
Co-operative Energy 30th Oct 2013 more >>