week ending 22 November 2013
The Green Party’s Natalie Bennett argues the answer to the current energy bills debate is obvious, energy conservation. where should the debate be headed? There’s been a focus on trying to deal with three challenges - affordable supply, reliable supply, and environmental impact. But what’s lacking is the key issue of managing demand, or put more simply, energy conservation. We have an incredibly poor quality of housing stock - some of the worst in Europe - and even the new homes we’re building all too often fail to meet even the inadequate building standards we have in place. One pound in four we spend in heating our homes goes straight out through an uninsulated ceiling or a draughty door or window - and private rental homes, generally occupied by those struggling most with their bills - are worst affected. We need to, rapidly, insulate our homes (the Energy Bill Revolution, which proposes using carbon tax incomes to pay for these upgrades points out this would lift most people out of fuel poverty, create up to 200,000 jobs, and cut carbon emissions), and ensure that we use only that energy we need - that we use it well. This would reduce the need for costly new generation facilities, whatever their nature, and cut all of our bills.
Business Green 22nd Nov 2013 more >>
The coalition row over the future of “green levy” schemes threatened to escalate last night, as Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said Tories who want to axe environmental policies were “full of crap”.
Business Green 22nd Nov 2013 more >>
DAVID Cameron has made a huge U-turn on eco policies by ordering aides to “get rid of all the green crap” pushing up families’ energy costs. The PM raged that green taxes which add £112 to annual energy bills had to be slashed in a victory for a Sun campaign.
The Sun 21st Nov 2013 more >>
Prime Minister David Cameron may be regretting his previous husky-hugging this morning, after issuing a carefully worded response to claims in the Sun that he ordered aides to ditch “crap” taxes on energy bills. Whether or not he used the phrase, there are some good political reasons why ‘green’ subsidies on bills could be harder to cut than the Sun believes. In the end, the cuts to ‘green subsidies’ announced in December’s Autumn statement may well be cosmetic - designed to pacify a restless media and backbench Tory MPs - than genuinely significant. But the political fight they have prompted, and the damage to the UK’s reputation as a good place to invest in low-carbon technologies, could have more long-lasting effects on the country’s energy policy.
Carbon Brief 21st Nov 2013 more >>
David Cameron was at the centre of a storm on Thursday over whether he ordered aides to “get rid of all the green crap” from energy bills in a drive to bring down costs. The language, attributed to Cameron in the Sun newspaper by a senior Tory source, sparked a furious reaction from campaigners accusing the prime minister of abandoning his promise to run the greenest government ever. There is likely to more detail about the Treasury’s plans to bring down energy bills in next month’s autumn statement about which green taxes will be axed or moved into general taxation. More than half are linked to schemes to cut energy usage among the poor.
Guardian 21st Nov 2013 more >>
Economically, the implications of Cameron’s failure to put the national interest ahead of short-term political concerns are of even greater concern. I have lost count of the number of senior sustainability executives and green investors who have told me that regardless of how attractive a clean technology is or how attractive a green policy looks, every time political rows end up on the front pages it makes it harder for them to convince colleagues to green light capital spending. “The shifting sands and uncertainty are extremely disturbing,” one industry insider told me this morning. “That kind of statement really doesn’t help anyone move forward with investment, even in organisations that are really committed to decarbonisation.” Every time the Conservative leadership attempts to secure a few more votes in marginal seats by promising to scrap green policies it pushes up the price of capital and makes investment in everything from wind turbines to gas plants harder to deliver.
Business Green 21st Nov 2013 more >>
One of the UK’s largest potato distributors, Branston, has installed solar across a number of its sites in a move designed to slash its utility costs and its impact on the environment. Renewable installer TGE Group completed the installation of over 2,300 solar modules across three of the distribution company’s sites. The four solar arrays total 637kWp and are estimated to generate 487,000kWh every year – negating the emission of 263 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the process.
Solar Portal 21st Nov 2013 more >>
Business Green 21st Nov 2013 more >>
Eight Co-op outlets across Lincolnshire will benefit from solar-generated electricity by the end of the year, as work to install arrays begins. The £120,000 project will see 320 solar modules installed across the stores by Stow-based solar installer Freewatt Renewable Energy. Each of the planned 10kWp arrays is expected to generate in excess of 71,000kWh a year – enough to power 258 fridge freezers a year estimates Co-op.
Solar Portal 21st Nov 2013 more >>
The SunShare Community in Nottingham has raised a record-breaking £500,000 in less than a month for local solar rooftops. The crowd-funded solar project in Nottingham run by online fundraising platform, Abundance Generation, has raised £500,000 from 337 people in just a couple of weeks. The solar investment is for rooftop solar installations on 20 community buildings such as local schools, leisure centres and libraries. The project has a 19 year life span, with a fixed return rate of 6.6%. So for an individual investing £950, an annual reimbursement of £50 in returned capital and a profit of £39.93 on top will be received.
Solar Portal 21st Nov 2013 more >>
Solar Farm for North Devon
A FARMER near South Molton is the latest to be given planning permission to put a new solar array on one of his fields. Some local residents have questioned North Devon Council’s decision to approve the array.
North Devon Journal 21st Nov 2013 more >>
Code for Sustainable Homes
MPs will today accuse the government of attempting to “bulldoze” local decision making powers and ignoring the falling costs of renewable energy with its controversial plans to abolish the Code for Sustainable Homes. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has been consulting on plans to scrap the sustainable homes policy as part of a wider review designed to slash red tape for housing developers and shelve rules that are repeated in a number of regulations or are deemed unnecessary.
Business Green 20th Nov 2013 more >>
BBC 20th Nov 2013 more >>
Solar Portal 20th Nov 2013 more >>
As the most widespread renewable technology we tend to talk about Wind power, but here’s a fantastic example of how the Solar Schools project is helping schools cut carbon, save money, boost budgets, build fundraising capacity and engage pupils, parents and the community with renewable energy. 8 November 2013 Against a backdrop of rising energy prices, schools the length and breadth of Britain are taking control of their energy and generating their own, thanks to 10:10’s successful Solar Schools campaign. Supporters ranging from Mumsnet CEO Justine Roberts to Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker MP are calling on more schools to help create a trailblazing solar revolution across the country. The carbon-cutting campaign helps schools fundraise to buy solar PV and generate their own electricity. And it’s not just schools in the sunny south that can reap the rewards. From Five Islands School on the Isles of Scilly in the Southwest corner of the UK, to Springwell School in Hartlepool in the Northeast, schools throughout England and Wales are recognising the financial, community, environmental and educational benefits of going solar.
Action for Renewables 20th Nov 2013 more >>
Hampshire Community Wind
COMMUNITY ownership of part of the proposed Bullington Cross wind farm has moved closer with an initial agreement with the developer. The Hampshire Energy Group (HEG) co-operative has signed a formal memorandum of understanding (MOU) with EDF Energy Renewables. The proposed Bullington Cross community share ownership scheme will give HEG the option to buy a revenue share of up to 10 per cent in the wind farm. Funds generated by the stake will be used to pay annual interest to members, with any surplus re-invested in other local renewable energy projects.
This is Hampshire 20th Nov 2013 more >>
SUPERGLASS chief executive Alex McLeod has written to Prime Minister David Cameron to demand changes to the energy company obligation (Eco), one of the UK government’s flagship energy-efficiency schemes. The boss of the Stirling-based insulation maker has called for Eco to be altered so that it encourages households to install low-cost loft and cavity-wall insulation rather than more expensive energy efficiency measures, such as replacing boilers. McLeod expects the coalition to unveil a review of its environmental levies as part of Chancellor George Osborne’s autumn statement on 5 December.
Scotsman 20th Nov 2013 more >>
Herald 20th Nov 2013 more >>
More than 98% of the energy-saving measures installed in British homes by government policies since January have been via the energy companies obligations (ECO) scheme threatened by David Cameron, new statistics published on Tuesday show. The scale of measures installed under ECO far outweighs the green deal scheme, originally intended to retrofit 14m of the UK’s old and leaky homes by 2020, which has completed just 219 households. Energy and climate change minister Greg Barker welcomed an increase in the number of people having their homes assessed for the green deal. “Over 100,000 assessments have now taken place. With more than 270,000 properties made more energy efficient this year thanks to ECO and the green deal, it’s clear that Britain’s homeowners are serious about making their homes warmer and taking control of their energy bills.” But Paul King, at the UK Green Building Council, said: “The figures underline is that energy efficiency measures delivered under the ECO dwarf those under the green deal, which demonstrates just how perverse it is for government to be considering cutting it back.”
Guardian 19th Nov 2013 more >>
Energy efficiency measures installed under the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) have topped 300,000, according to statistics published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Under ECO, Cashback and the Green Deal, 311,250 measures have been installed in around 273,000 properties across the UK. However, the vast majority of these measures were installed through ECO (98%).
Solar Portal 20th Nov 2013 more >>
More than 1,000 households have begun to install Green Deal measures, according to the latest government figures. The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said 1,173 households had committed to install measures under the scheme - such as solar panels and insulation - at the end of October, compared to 954 the previous month. But only 219 of these households had measures installed. Some 360 properties had quotes accepted on work and 594 properties had installations “pending”. DECC said 101,851 Green Deal assessments had been carried out, up from 85,177 at the end of September.
Daily Telegraph 19th Nov 2013 more >>
More than a 1,000 people have now signed up to the government’s flagship Green Deal energy efficiency scheme, according to new figures that suggest public engagement with the financing scheme is beginning to build.
Business Green 19th Nov 2013 more >>
Solar panels installed on the roof of Exeter City Council buildings have generated far more electricity than expected. Collectively, the panels installed in March have benefitted from the long, hot summer, generating more than the predicted output for the whole year in the first eight months. The panels, which are fitted at the Council’s Civic Centre, as well as at its Oakwood House offices, the Materials Reclamation Facility and the ARK, the Museum’s storage facility, cut energy costs as well as significantly reducing the Council’s carbon emissions.
Exeter Express & Echo 19th Nov 2013 more >>
Scrapping the government’s commitment to key measures to bring energy efficiency improvements to homes would cost tens of thousands of future UK jobs, research obtained by the Guardian has shown. The energy companies obligation (Eco) is likely to provide 46,000 jobs within the next two years, according to the Association for the Conservation of Energy, in an analysis using the government’s own estimates of employment. Most of those jobs - the majority of which are “blue collar” jobs in installing insulation, new boilers and construction projects - are now potentially at risk following government backtracking. If the scheme were abandoned, as some have called for, at least 30,000 of these jobs would be at risk. Scaling back the scheme, rather than abandoning it, would also result in significant job losses: halving the main requirements would cut employment by 10,000 people in the next year and an additional potential 7,500 future jobs would be foregone. Removing one of the main components of the scheme, which is aimed at people on low incomes, would see 28,000 jobs lost. Andrew Warren, director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy, said: “The vast majority of these jobs would be blue collared, and often semi-skilled. They would frequently be not even in SMEs, but in micro-businesses, precisely the companies that the government is relying upon to ensure economic recovery. Hammering these home improvement schemes makes no sense.” The future of the Eco scheme - which is designed to help people on low-incomes and those with hard-to-treat homes requiring expensive measures such as solid wall insulation - has been thrown into doubt after David Cameron pledged to “roll back” the green measures that are added to consumer energy bills.
Guardian 19th Nov 2013 more >>
More than 10,000 construction and insulation jobs could be lost if the Government cuts so-called “green levies” on energy bills. That is the stark warning from the UK Green Building Council and construction industry as the Government considers its review of green levies. The body warns that the first waves of jobs cuts could strike before Christmas if the Chancellor unveils measures to cut or scale-back Energy Company Obligation in the Autumn statement on 5 December.
Construction Enquirer 19th Nov 2013 more >>
Business Green 19th Nov 2013 more >>
Two-thirds of Britons are expecting to cut back on heating their home this winter, with more 25 to 34 year-olds likely to turn down the thermostat than pensioners. A new report last night claimed 32 per cent of people will “definitely” turn down the heating or switch off lights over the coming weeks in a bid to save money. A further 35 per cent will “probably” act. Some 88 per cent of households classified among those struggling with the rising cost of living fear they will have no choice but to use less gas or electricity.
Telegraph 19th Nov 2013 more >>
There are already plenty of gadgets that allow people to charge their mobile devices while off the grid. Most of those products utilize solar power, while a few have gone the thermoelectric route. The HydroBee, however, generates electricity using the power of flowing water – think of it as a portable hydroelectric station.
Gizmag 19th Nov 2013 more >>
A COMPANY based in Glasgow’s East End, which specialises in sustainable wind technology, has whipped up orders worth more than £1million. UrbanWind is supplying wind turbines to three major landowners at a time of increased demand for renewable energy, despite opposition from some politicians. The firm, which is based in Carmyle Avenue, Tollcross, has started installing a wind turbine at a large farm in Forfar and is preparing to install two more at sites in the north of England and the Midlands within the next three months. UrbanWind is not a manufacturer but a turbine supplier and installer, and employs up to 30 staff across its headquarters in Glasgow and at a hub in England.
Evening Times 19th Nov 2013 more >>
Businesses generate their own
The popularity of on-site renewable energy generation is growing among businesses. Is it a revolution or a response to fuel tariffs? There used to be one reason alone for companies to stick a wind turbine in the car park or a solar panel on the roof, and that was a photo opp for marketing and the annual report. It looked good to be green but added to costs rather than lowered them. But as more businesses are choosing to invest in on-site renewable energy than ever before, the reasons appear to be changing. A recent report found that on-site generation by UK businesses increased by 53% in 2012 alone, with almost 90% of that coming from solar and wind. And the motivation now is one of energy security. According to the latest DECC figures, the annual average price of gas and electricity (including the climate change levy) has increased by 121% and 93% respectively since 2002 for non-domestic customers. Meanwhile costs of renewable technologies have gone down, performance has improved, plus incentives and funding structures such as feed in tariffs (FITs), Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) have come in.
Guardian 18th Nov 2013 more >>
Solar PV in Perspective
In this series of articles we examine the recent history of the Solar Photovoltaic industry, as well as look forward to 2014. In our first few articles to set the scene we look back to how the PV industry fared in 2012.
Renewable Energy Focus 18th Nov 2013 more >>
Oakapple Renewable Energy has announced that it is looking to bolster strategic partnerships with PV installers across the UK. Following the successful closure of the company’s first solar debenture, Oakapple Renewable Energy now has significant funds available. As a result, the Leeds-based company is looking to expand its network of solar installers.
Solar Portal 18th Nov 2013 more >>
South West Water has finished installing 860 solar panels on the roof of its headquarters in Exeter. The 860 panels are capable of producing 210,000kWh of electricity each year – more than 10 per cent of the building’s annual electricity use – all of which will be used on site. South West Water says this is part of its “ongoing commitment” to increase its renewable energy generation. The company has already installed solar panels at 32 operational sites across Devon and Cornwall, and generated more than two million kilowatt hours of solar energy to date.
Utility Week 18th Nov 2013 more >>
London Underground – Islington District Heat
The stretch of track between Angel and Old Street on the London Underground might soon provide an answer for local householders suffering from fuel poverty. The connection between the capital’s iconic public transport system and its worsening fuel poverty crisis might not seem immediately obvious, until that is you take a look at a new project that aims to capture waste heat from the tube and pump it into homes and businesses in one of the poorest parts of the London Borough of Islington. Islington Council unveiled the £3.9m demonstration project late last week as an extension to its existing Bunhill heat network, where a 2MW combined heat and power plant already provides heat to local properties through a network of pipes. That project is aiming to cut energy bills by up to 10 per cent for 860 homes in the local area, while also curbing greenhouse gas emission, and now tapping into heat from the Tube is aiming to deliver further savings.
Business Green 18th Nov 2013 more >>
As much as a third of the heat needed to keep Scotland warm could be provided by tapping geothermal energy from old coal mines across the central belt, a major new study for the Scottish Government has concluded. Warm water piped up from abandoned mine shafts between Glasgow and Edinburgh and in Ayrshire and Fife could help heat many thousands of homes and other buildings for decades, researchers said. They are urging ministers to embark on an ambitious attempt to make geothermal energy a major new source of clean, renewable power within a few years. The two-volume, 345-page study was conducted by the US energy firm Aecom and the British Geological Survey, and has been published by the Scottish Government. Geothermal energy from deep underground has “the potential to play a significant role in Scotland’s future energy provision”, it said. The most promising sou rce is the water that has flooded the hundreds of disused mine shafts that underlay large areas of the Central Belt. Heated by the warmth of the Earth, it averages 17C, with higher temperatures at deeper levels. The study recommends a series of actions by Scottish ministers in the next three yea rs, including the development of a national geothermal energy strategy. It suggests two major new “demonstrator” projects, at the Clyde Gateway in eastern Glasgow and at Shawfair in Midlothian, by 2016. It points out that two small geothermal schemes in Scotland that tap the warmth of mine water have been running since 2000. One is at Shettleston in Glasgow and the other at Lumphinnans in Fife, each serving fewer than 20 homes.
Herald 17th Nov 2013 more >>
Local Energy Revolution
Alan Simpson: This is a story that rises in hope and admiration. It could just as easily be sunk by the cynicism or shallowness of government. The Dancing Ladies of Gigha are not an Abba tribute band. They are a small example of the triumph - and tragedy - of Britain’s engagement with the community energy revolution taking place around us. Gigha is a tiny Scottish island and the “ladies” in question are community-owned wind turbines. Nothing new there. What makes them noteworthy is that, as an alternative to laying additional and expensive new cabling to the mainland, the community are constructing a 75,000-litre battery store for up to 100 kilowatts of their own electricity. This isn’t a lot, and doesn’t compare with storage experiments in Australia that hold up to three megawatts of electricity. But it will provide backup power to the island for up to 12 hours. By 2030 these will be owners of maybe five million solar roofs, 10 million heat pumps and up to 30 million electric vehicles. All will want to feed into, as well as draw from, the energy grid. DECC may want to domesticate the public but the sheer pace of technology change will emancipate the energy sector in ways that are beyond the power of Big Energy to resist. Britain’s tragedy lies in the absence of a leadership willing to drive this revolution. Our energy debate, and what passes for “consultation,” is a hostage to smaller minds.
Morning Star 16th Nov 2013 more >>
Carillion Job Cuts
A major slimming-down of Carillion’s energy services business due to the faltering Green Deal market will cost up to 1,000 jobs, the firm’s chief executive has said. The contractor announced the move last month, blaming a continued slow market for the government’s flagship Green Deal programme and its expectation that the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO), which targets works in “fuel-poor” households, “may now be subject to further delays”.
Building 15th Nov 2013 more >>
The big six energy companies have come under fire again as it was revealed they have taken £1bn from their customers while completing a fraction of the thousands of green and social measures they are required to carry out. Figures from the regulator Ofgem showed that the companies had achieved as little as 3% of the measures to be carried out under one section of the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO), by which they are supposed to pay for solid and cavity wall insulation, particularly for people on low incomes or with hard-to-insulate properties. Companies had achieved 16% of what they needed to do to help rural areas and put in district heating systems, and 25% of the target on measures that reduce the overall cost of home heating for low-income and vulnerable households, including new boilers. These figures come as the scheme is more than halfway through, as the full complement of measures must be installed by March 2015. Andrew Warren, director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy, said: “They have collected £1bn and spent a small proportion of it. This is cynical price-gouging by the big energy companies. We are discussing social obligations here, not a green tax. These companies are blaming ECO for rising energy bills, but they haven’t been carrying out .”
Guardian 15th Nov 2013 more >>
Ground Source Heat Pumps
The worldwide installed capacity of geothermal heat pump (GHP) systems will grow by nearly 150 percent over the next 7 years, from 52.7 GW) to 127.4 GWt, says a new report.
Renewable Energy Focus 15th Nov 2013 more >>
PLYMOUTH City Council has announced it is set to award £500,000 of solar energy business. The decision to award 14 new contracts to provide solar PV installations has been announced. The projects form the next phase of its multi-million pound energy saving programme. Work totalling £527,000 will provide savings on civic energy bills and boost the city’s economy with contractors committing to increase Plymouth’s ‘green’ skills base through new apprenticeships and local employment opportunities. The second phase of the programme takes the number of council properties with solar energy from five to 19. Plans include a large installation on the roof of Western Approach car park and most sites will be completed by spring next year.
Plymouth Herald 15th Nov 2013 more >>