London’s parks and green spaces will become part of an integrated green infrastructure network, as part of the Mayor Office’s strategy for a greener capital city. A report released this week by the London Mayor’s Green Infrastructure Task Force lays out plans for a future London where all regeneration areas and major new developments include green infrastructure, while greener high streets will prioritise cyclists and pedestrians. In related news, Sadiq Khan, Labour’s mayoral candidate for London this week announced that under his leadership London would reinvigorate its membership of the Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) group, a global association of city and town governments focused on sustainability. Speaking from Paris as he attended the ongoing UN climate change summit earlier this week, Khan pledged to put London at the leading edge of the fight against climate change.
Business Green 11th Dec 2015 read more »
Water companies should be allowed to sell fertiliser and energy generated from human sewage, or “sludge” to help cut household bills and improve the environment, the industry’s regulator has said. Sludge – a byproduct of the water treatment process – can be used to create gas which, in turn, can generate electricity that water companies can either use themselves or sell on to the grid. The remaining solids could also be sold to farmers as fertiliser. “We want to remove regulatory red tape to open up the market for sludge and encourage innovation,” said Ofwat, the industry regulator. “The savings made would keep bills down and help meet our energy needs sustainably.”
Telegraph 10th Dec 2015 read more »
Scotch Whisky Targets
The Scotch Whisky industry sourced 17 per cent of its energy from non-fossil fuel sources in 2014, putting the industry on-track to hit its 2020 target of sourcing 20 per cent clean energy, according to its latest environmental report. The growth of alternative energy use follows a sustained investment by Scottish distilleries into biomass plants, anaerobic digestion facilities and investment into solar and wind energy, the report said yesterday.
Business Green 11th Dec 2015 read more »
Demand Side Management
Open Energi is rolling out invisible and automated technology that allows large industrial consumers to align their energy use with available supply. If just 5 per cent of peak demand is met with flexible power, the response would be equivalent to the generation of a new nuclear power station. With traditional power infrastructure, it has been especially difficult to store electricity. Today however, batteries are fast becoming a megatrend- allowing consumers to store low cost and renewable energy and deliver it back at times of peak demand. People don’t look out their window to see if the sun is shining or the wind is blowing before putting their kettle on, which means we need a new way of making electricity flexible. Arenko is building a portfolio of energy storage assets which puts the power back into the consumer’s hands whilst providing reinforcement to the electricity grid and reducing the need for significant and costly grid upgrades. With the exciting growth of new technologies for managing demand it is important not to forget that people are at the heart of the energy system. Energy tech start-up Open Utility is trialling its first service, called Piclo, with Good Energy. The 100 per cent renewable energy marketplace connects wind, solar and hydro generators with businesses that want to cut their carbon emissions by buying clean energy. We’re moving towards democratised and decentralised energy systems, and we need platforms that let people take part. We’re moving away from large power stations, to people generating energy in their back yards, and selling to their neighbour, local school, hospital or workplace. International targets and pledges for cutting carbon emissions can seem quite abstract and unconnected to the everyday person. The advent of an online marketplace puts people back into the equation, giving them the choice to buy local green energy – and play their own part in combating climate change. With the energy system already transitioning away from traditional models dominated by power stations, Open Energi, Arenko and Open Utility are pioneering a consumer-led, decentralised approach- providing flexible capacity which is exponentially cheaper than the alternatives.
Business Green 10th Dec 2015 read more »
The government has shocked the renewable energy industry by proposing a massive hike in VAT on solar panels and wind turbines from next summer. The moves, announced by the revenue and customs authority, HMRC, made “a mockery of (David) Cameron’s claims to climate leadership” say critics and come amid proposed cuts of almost 90% in some solar subsidies. HMRC blamed the planned increase in VAT from 5-20% on a European commission ruling covering energy saving materials used in the construction trade and said the EC decision had been upheld by the court of justice of the EU. But the UK tax authorities stoked anger within the industry by claiming the changes would do little damage. “The measure is likely to affect fewer than 500,000 individuals and households and the impact … is anticipated to be negligible,” it wrote in a consultation document released on Wednesday. The Solar Trade Association (STA), lobby group for the photovoltaic sector, said it was an astonishing and avoidable blow that could add £900 to a typical domestic rooftop installation and would only serve to suck even more potential investment from low carbon power.
Guardian 9th Dec 2015 read more »
The Week 10th Dec 2015 read more »
Currently homeowners only pay 5% VAT when installing a solar PV or solar thermal hot water heating system as opposed to the standard rate of 20% VAT on other goods and services. However the UK Government has put forward a proposal to increase this to 20% – which would add £900 to the cost of a typical 4kW domestic solar power installation, which is currently around £6,400. The Treasury consultation stems from an EU court ruling that the current reduced rate of VAT for solar and other energy saving products in the UK violates the Brussels VAT Directive as they cannot be considered a ‘renovation to a property’.
Scottish Energy News 10th Dec 2015 read more »
Banking on LEDs
The UK’s fifth-biggest bank has today (8 December) announced a new project that will see 800 of its UK branches fitted with more than 90,000 LED lights in a £17.5m retrofit lighting investment. Both the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) and Sustainable Development Capital Limited (SDCL) have invested £8.4m in the lighting project which will see Santander cut emissions by approximately 7,000 tonnes annually.
Edie 9th Dec 2015 read more »
Scottish Energy News 9th Dec 2015 read more »
Tayside Health Board is to spend £15.4 million on building a new renewable power generator and energy-efficient ‘green’ lightbulbs. Yet this will shave just 10% off the board’s annual utility bills. The new energy centre at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee will provide 90% of the power and 100% of the heat for Ninewells, which also houses Tayside Children’s Hospital and Maggie’s Cancer Centre Dundee. In addition, LED-lighting and insulation will be installed at Perth Royal Infirmary and Stracathro Hospital near Brechin as part of the project. A 25-year performance contract has been signed with Vital Energi, which was procured under the Carbon Energy Fund (CEF) framework. Vital will be responsible for the design, construction, installation and on-going operation and maintenance of the technology for the duration of that agreement.
Scottish Energy News 10th Dec 2015 read more »
Solar Farming in the Community
A bond offer for a new community energy project is to go out to the public for a new solar farm site developed by Anesco. An area of the Portworthy solar farm in Devon set to produce 4MW is to be part-funded through public cash raised by Bath & West Community Energy (BWCE). The total projected cost of purchasing the array is £5.089 million, with £1.862 million to be community funded. The rest of the finance will come from BWCE, which will invest £905,000 alongside £2.5 million from commercial lender Close Brothers. Anesco will hold on to an additional 5MW area of capacity nearby, which BWCE says it will look to sell on.
Solar Portal 9th Dec 2015 read more »
Community energy projects will play a much bigger role in the future energy landscape than Whitehall, Westminster and the renewables industry has expected, former energy secretary Ed Davey has claimed. In an interview with community energy group Mongoose, which Davey joined as chairman earlier this year after losing his seat as MP for Kingston and Surbiton, he discussed the future of the renewables industry in the wake of proposed subsidy cuts and the possible evolution of the UK’s energy sector to more decentralised generation. The effects of the proposed cuts on the industry have been much publicised, however Davey said that they were “all intentional by [chancellor George] Osborne” in order to stymie the growth of the sector as a challenger to gas and nuclear. “I’d like to think we could have a rational debate but we have to remember this is all part of a rather dramatic shift in power and money between fossil fuels and low carbon, to be played out over the next two to three decades. So to get the deal renewables deserve, we mustn’t be naïve,” he said.
Solar Portal 9th Dec 2015 read more »
More than 3,000 Cornish jobs could be lost as a result of proposed changes to UK energy policy, according to new research.
Western Morning News 9th Dec 2015 read more »
Scottish Solar Farm
BWE Partnership and British Solar Renewables have announced that construction has commenced on Scotland’s largest solar park project, New Mains of Guynd, following a £10million investment. The 9.5MW, ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) park located at Carmyllie, Arbroath, will be constructed in two operational phases, with final completion expected by June 2016.
Renewable Energy Focus 9th Dec 2015 read more »
COP21 Urban Legends: Bold Mayors Remaking the World One City at a Time. More than two thousand cities around the world are taking proactive steps to lift their economies and lower greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a perfect example of thinking globally and acting locally.
Green TV 8th Dec 2015 read more »
Something incredible is happening right now across the globe. Achieving 100 percent clean energy is becoming “the new normal” in the fight to solve climate change. What’s driving this trend is a flowering of ambition. Cities across the globe are demonstrating what it means to lead with ambition. Today, 1,000 mayors issued a declaration in Paris at the Climate Summit for Local Leaders, the largest-ever global gathering of local leaders focused on climate change. The declaration states: “We—the undersigned mayors, governors, premiers, and other local government leaders—commit collectively to support ambitious long-term climate goals such as a transition to 100% renewable energy in our communities.”
Sierra Club 4th Dec 2015 read more »
Scottish Water has overseen the launch of the UK’s first heat-from-sewage scheme at Borders College Galashiels campus in Scotland. The scheme, developed by tech firm SHARC Energy Systems, was designed to intercept wastewater from a sewer close to the local treatment works and uses a heat pump to amplify the natural warmth. The heat produced will be sold to Borders College under a 20-year purchase agreement and will provide around 95 per cent of the heat needed by the Galashiels campus, producing savings in energy, costs and carbon emissions. The system, installed using a £4 million investment from Equitix and the UK Green Investment Bank, is expected to save Borders approximately £10,000 a year for the next 20 years.
Utility Week 8th Dec 2015 read more »
A community wind farm project that has been backed by rugby legend Paul Thorburn and Wales’ national poet Gillian Clarke has raised more than £700,000 in three weeks in a community share offer. Now the staff and volunteers at Awel Co-op, the group behind the project, are aiming to take the total up to £1m by the end of January.
Wales Online 7th Dec 2015 read more »
Of all the many technical advances that are transforming the energy business none is potentially more important than storage: it give us the ability to control the way, and crucially the timing, of energy consumption. Used on a major scale it could help to make heat and light available to those outside the commercial economy and could radically alter the energy mix. Two excellent recent research reports summarise the current state of the art in the field and offer some predictions. The first is from Lazards and is the latest in a series assessing trends in the costs of different mechanisms. The second is from Moody’s and concentrates on the advances being made in reducing the cost of batteries. In discussing storage it is important to demolish two myths. First, the technological advances are not about to transform the energy system to the point where a major proportion of consumers defect from existing distribution systems. Second, it does not require a dramatic breakthrough for making it on a significant scale to become economic. The Moody’s paper notes that battery costs have fallen by 50 per cent in the last five years. The Lazards one reports industry expectations of a further significant decrease over the next five years and says that if the projections being made materialise, “some energy storage technologies may be positioned to displace a significant portion of future gas fired generation capacity in particular as a replacement for peaking gas turbine facilities”. The key conclusion of the two reports is that storage is getting cheaper at a rate that is liable to challenge at least part of the existing energy system within five years.
FT 7th Dec 2015 read more »
Subsidy Free Solar Farm
Hive Energy has submitted plans for a new 40MW solar farm on land surrounding its offices in Hampshire, which is intended to be built without subsidy funding by 2020. The proposed Woodington Farm solar park site in East Wellow near Romsey is comprised of two areas of land intersected by Smidmore Copse, totalling around 72 hectares. If approved, the development could produce enough electricity to power over 9,000 homes.
Solar Portal 7th Dec 2015 read more »
Bristol Energy Co-op
A £5 million solar park is to be built in Bristol. UK energy efficiency solutions provider Anesco and Bristol Energy Co-operative (BEC) are working together to develop it. The project is part of a £10.5 million project BEC is currently raising funds for. BEC also aims to raise £2.8 million to develop three community solar projects.
Energy Live News 6th Dec 2015 read more »
An architect has designed a house which costs just £15 ($23) per year to heat, light and power. Colin Usher has built his own four-bedroom home in Merseyside. Will Batchelor has been looking into how Colin keeps his bills so low.
BBC 5th Dec 2015 read more »
ADBA says government funding could see number of UK biomethane plants increase to 180 if workable support scheme is put in place. The number of biomethane plants in the UK could quadruple in the next six years, following a £1.15bn allocation to the Renewable Heat incentive (RHI) as part of the chancellor’s Spending Review last week. The projections, released this week in a new report by the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA), shows there could be 180 biomethane plants in operation by 2021, up from just 40 today. However, the group warned the projected growth figures were dependent on a reasonable allocation from the RHI budget being given to anaerobic digestion and a workable scheme structure. ADBA argue that home-grown gas from anaerobic digestion could potentially meet up to 30 per cent of the UK’s domestic gas or electricity demand, and fuel 80 per cent of heavy goods vehicles. However, it said a viable feed-in tariff incentive is necessary for the technology to reach its full potential, while a system of pre-accreditation that guarantees support levels for projects in the pipeline is necessary due to AD’s lengthy deployment periods.
Business Green 4th Dec 2015 read more »
Policymakers are being called on to create certainty in the solar industry after a new report forecast a significant drop in the number of jobs in the UK market. Research published by consultancy EY for trade body SolarPower Europe claims the number of UK full time equivalent jobs per year in solar will drop to 18,999 in 2020, marking a sizeable reduction from the 35,049 recorded in 2014.
Solar Portal 4th Dec 2015 read more »
East Green Energy has completed its first floating solar panel installation, thought to be only the second in the country. The Suffolk-based renewable energy firm successfully installed the 50kW array of 192 panels on a reservoir in Norfolk, where it will provide power to an irrigation pump as well as the national grid. The solution was chosen for the project as it would keep valuable farming land free for use and according to Linda Grave, director for East Green Energy, the technology is well suited to the location.
Solar Portal 3rd Dec 2015 read more »