Insulate Every House in Britain
“Certainly, energy efficiency is one of the areas I want to continue to push,” Lucas tells BusinessGreen. “If we’re looking for policies that have a multiplying impact on the economy then super-insulating every home in Britain is just about one of the best you could possible come up with in terms of providing jobs in every constituency, in terms of getting people’s fuel bills down and tackling fuel poverty, in terms of getting emissions down, and stabilising the economy.” Lucas advocated a mass roll-out of insulation in her role as co-president of the All-Party Group on Energy Efficiency and Fuel Poverty and has been a long-standing critic of the government’s flagship Green Deal energy efficiency programme. After a slow start, more and more people are taking up the government’s offer of loans to cover the upfront cost of home improvements, but Lucas remains sceptical about the scheme. “It hasn’t fulfilled any of the promises made for it,” she says.
Business Green 12th June 2015 read more »
Politics and the Built Environment
We need the SNP to play a constructive role in holding Government to account, not least through their chairing of the Energy & Climate Change Select Committee, and embrace policies that will benefit the whole of the UK in pursuit of a green economy. In our sector – the built environment – there is a tremendous opportunity to look for inspiration to the devolved Scottish government, because Holyrood has presided over some pretty progressive policy-making. It would be a gigantic missed opportunity for SNP MPs not to bring some of this experience to bear. New build sustainability standards are more stringent in Scotland. And, under the EESSH scheme, all social housing in Scotland has to meet a new energy efficiency standard by 2020, reporting annually on its progress towards the standard from next Spring. At the same time, commercial buildings will be required to make improvements to their performance from 2016, two years ahead of their peers in England and Wales. The English version of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards covers only private rented homes and buildings, yet Scotland is consulting this summer on going much further – expanding minimum standards to the owner-occupied stock. This is something that many pooh-poohed in the past – saying it simply isn’t politically feasible. Scotland may be about to prove that wrong. Potentially most significant of all, in recent days the Scottish Government announced it will designate energy efficiency as a National Infrastructure Priority. However, although many of the key levers on energy efficiency are devolved, Scottish powers over funding are limited. So, hugely welcome though this announcement is, it would be given far more teeth if a UK government made the same commitment and backed up that commitment with capital investment. The SNP should play a vocal part in advocating this goal, which would drive carbon reductions and benefit the fuel poor both north and south of the border.
Business Green 12th June 2015 read more »
EARTHMILL, the Wetherby-based wind turbine business, has become one of only four UK companies to receive accreditation from the National Farmers Union’s (NFU’s) renewable energy division to install wind turbines. The accreditation as a Farm Energy Service approved supplier recognises Earthmill’s experience, professionalism and high-tech service, from planning to turbine installation and maintenance.
Darlington & Stockton Times 12th June 2015 read more »
Renewable Heat – Scotland
The Scottish Government has confirmed that it is designating energy efficiency as a National Infrastructure Priority as part of its Heat Policy Statement which aims to decarbonise the nation’s heat sector. The nation will use Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) to drive energy efficiency improvements to all buildings in Scotland, both domestic and non-domestic. The new Heat Policy will use the £76 million made available by the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme to “provide tailored project development support” for low carbon infrastructure projects from private, community or public sectors.
Next Energy News 12th June 2015 read more »
New Heat Policy Statement designates Energy efficiency as a National Infrastructure Priority. Energy efficiency will be designated as a National Infrastructure Priority, according to The Scottish Government’s new Heat Policy Statement. The policy, released today, has three aims: reducing the need for heat; supplying heat efficiently and at least cost to consumers; and using renewable and low carbon heat. A key part of the plan will be an Energy Efficiency Programme, providing support for domestic and non-domestic buildings in Scotland for energy efficiency improvements. The Government aims to deliver 1.5 TWh of Scotland’s heat demand by district or communal heating by 2020. Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “We need to totally change the way we produce heat if we are going to get anywhere near our climate change targets, and that is going to be a long, difficult and complex transition. “Heating is also the main element of our energy bills and the key driver of fuel poverty, so there are many ways in which change here can benefit the country. It’s clear that Government is starting to focus on the huge challenges in this area, and on the many different technologies which will be required to start the shift to cleaner energy sources, with measures such as an additional £3 million of funding for the Home Renewables Loans scheme in 2015/16, and recently-announced support for geothermal energy feasibility studies.”
Holyrood 11th June 2015 read more »
Scottish ministers say the country’s heat system should be largely decarbonised by 2050 in an effort to battle climate change. This can be achieved through increasing efficiency and using energy generated from renewable sources, they say. Local authorities will get support to develop a “strategic approach to district heating”, which can provide heat to homes and businesses more cheaply and efficiently. The policy retains the target to have 40,000 homes connected to district or communal heating by 2020.
Scotsman 11th June 2015 read more »
Key points include: Designating energy efficiency as a National Infrastructure Priority. The cornerstone of this will be Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) which will provide an offer of support to all buildings in Scotland – domestic and non-domestic – to improve their energy efficiency rating; The Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP), launched in March 2015, with £76 million over the first 3 years, to provide tailored project development support for established and start-up infrastructure projects, including heat, across the private, public and community sectors; A support programme for local authorities to develop a strategic approach to district heating and supporting use of the Scotland Heat Map to do so; Retaining the level of ambition to achieve 1.5 TWh of Scotland’s heat demand to be delivered by district or communal heating and to have 40,000 homes connected by 2020.
Scottish Housing News 11th June 2015 read more »
Edie 11th June 2015 read more »
The smart meter roll out should be used as an opportunity to assess every home for their energy efficiency performance, Labour peer Lord Whitty has urged.
Utility Week 11th June 2015 read more »
Elon Musk has announced plans to double the capacity of Tesla’s forthcoming Powerwall battery pack – at no extra cost. Speaking at a shareholder meeting this week, Musk said the Powerwall would undergo the upgrade because he “took some negative feedback to heart” after the May 1 launch. Potential buyers reportedly claimed that the 2 kilowatt hour (kwh) output was not enough to run a standard house. Continuous-use capacity will now go from 2.2kwh to 5kwh, while at peak usage, the system will be able to deliver 7kwh.
Edie 11th June 2015 read more »
Atmos Consulting has welcomed the recent £60 million boost for community-scale renewables committed by the Edinburgh-based Green Investment Bank. Dr Greg Fullarton, the consultancy’s Inverness-based Regional Director for the Highlands, said community scale projects may ‘not have the glamour of the big offshore and infrastructure projects’, but they do bring the benefits of renewable energy development to the grass roots level. The £60m will provide equity funding of between £1m and £10m for a broad range of community-scale renewable construction projects including run-of-river hydro-power, onshore wind on brownfield sites such as industrial estates and biogas projects including anaerobic digestion and landfill gas. Fullarton also said that boom in small hydro projects is far from over. There may be a bit of a ‘gold rush’ to take advantage of best tariff rates, but even at lower rates, Atmos expects that run of river hydro schemes will continue to be attractive in the longer term – despite recent gloomy forecasts from Scottish Renewables.
Scottish Energy News 11th June 2015 read more »
Government goes Solar Farming
Construction of a 40MW solar farm has been completed at the site of a new MOD training facility at RAF Lyneham, becoming the first project to form part of the government’s project to install 1GW of solar on government land. However the development comprises two separate ground-mount installations, seemingly flying in the face of opposition towards large-scale ground-mounted solar farms by governmental bodies, specifically the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).
Solar Portal 11th June 2015 read more »
Lincolnshire Solar Farm
Kent-based solar developer, Countryside Renewables has won planning permission for a 5MW solar farm in Lincolnshire.
Solar Portal 11th June 2015 read more »
Solar & CfDs
Solar developers are turning their backs on a new government green energy support scheme as they do not feel it will work for them, according to the results of a new industry survey. The poll of 29 developers and investors responsible for adding over 1GW of solar energy generation to the grid in the past six months finds most will not be looking to secure support for larger projects through Contracts for Difference (CfD) in the year ahead. CfDs replaced the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) scheme for solar developments above 5MW from the start of April, with ROCs set to end entirely in 2017. The contracts require developers to bid to supply electricity at a certain “strike price”, which is then guaranteed by the government, as part of efforts to drive down the cost of clean energy. Five solar projects were awarded CfDs earlier this year, but two of the projects – Wick Farm Solar Park in Somerset and Royston Solar Farm in Hertfordshire – have since been scrapped, with industry experts saying their agreed CfD strike price of £50 per megawatt hour of electricity generated was not commercially feasible, despite a 75 per cent fall in solar costs over the past decade. The remaining projects secured a higher strike price that was broadly in line with that offered to onshore wind farms, but concerns are widespread across the industry that only a handful of developers are in a position to take on the risk involved in bidding for CfD contracts at auction for projects that may then not secure the financial support they need.
Business Green 10th June 2015 read more »
The UK solar sector has seemingly become a victim of its own success, with big developers and investors now claiming they will not be making use of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme for large projects over the next year. According to a new survey conducted by PwC in conjunction with the Solar Trade Association (STA), the majority of developers who were responsible for adding more than 1GW to the grid in the past six months have said they will be focusing on smaller projects in the short-term, due to the recent closure of the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) support mechanism for large-scale solar farms.
Edie 10th June 2015 read more »
Reducing energy bills and fighting fuel poverty are central to the Scottish Government’s efforts to tackle climate change in a package of measures covering transport, environment and energy. Heat accounts for approximately half of Scotland’s emissions and over 55% of energy demand and – in a statement to Parliament – Scottish Environment Minister Aileen McLeod announced that improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes and non-domestic building stock will be designated a National Infrastructure Priority. Following a visit to a housing energy efficiency project in Dumbiedykes – adjacent to Holyrood – Dr McLeod revealed that Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme will be the cornerstone of the National Infrastructure Priority. This new programme will provide an offer of support to all buildings in Scotland – domestic and non-domestic – to help them achieve a good energy efficiency rating over the next 15-20 years.
Scottish Energy News 10th June 2015 read more »
Former climate change secretary and chairman of the London Sustainable Development Commission, Greg Barker, has told the industry that the commission has solar is in the “middle of its gunsights” and is looking to install the technology in the capital “with greater ambition and greater scale”. Speaking at the Solar Trade Association’s Does the new government mean business for solar? event this week, Barker told attendees that he was excited by his new role’s “fantastic opportunity to reinvent the commission” and “carve out a narrative and policy agenda that would commensurate with London’s role as Europe’s only mega city”.
Solar Portal 10th June 2015 read more »
Steel Company Efficiency Savings
ONE of Derby’s oldest companies is expecting to save £500,000 in electricity bills after installing solar panels and LED lighting. Eggleston Steel, founded in 1809, invested £156,000 in making its administration block and two factories energy efficient. It has replaced 90 light units with LED lighting and has installed 288 solar panels. The alterations to the lighting alone are expected to halve energy bills.
Derby Telegraph 10th June 2015 read more »
Former energy minister, Greg Barker has urged the solar industry to focus on achievable lobbying wins which operate within the government’s tight financial constraints. Addressing attendees at the Solar Trade Association’s ‘Does the new government mean business for solar?’ event on Monday, Barker said that UK solar industry was facing a number of different challenges but that the new Conservative majority government was not one of them. Questioning whether the new government was on solar’s side, Barker said that newly-appointed Energy and Climate Change Minister, Amber Rudd was “a paid-up supporter” of solar technology.
Solar Portal 9th June 2015 read more »
ECO Mark III?
The National Insulation Association (NIA) is calling on the government to make a “quick decision” to give energy companies clarity about the future of Energy Company Obligation (Eco) after it ends in 2017.
Utility Week 8th June 2015 read more »
Solar Independence Plan for Britain
The Solar Trade Association (STA) today publishes its ‘Solar Independence Plan for Britain’ blueprint which sets out how the new Government can steer both rooftop solar-generated electricity to parity with retail electricity prices and utility-scale solar farms to parity with new gas CCGT power station prices by 2020. In the report, the STA considers several different options and recommends the Government adopt a ‘higher ambition’ scenario with a target of 25GW by 2020. If adopted, this plan would deliver 2.1 million solar homes, 24,000 commercial rooftop and community schemes, 2,300 solar farms and almost 57,000 jobs in the solar power industry supply chain. Achieving this breakthrough would cost households around £1 per month.
Scottish Energy News 8th June 2015 read more »
Heating and Plumbing Monthly 8th June 2015 read more »
Solar Portal 8th June 2015 read more »
Police go Green
Avon and Somerset Police is set to go ahead and develop a wind turbine near its Portishead headquarters, despite opposition. The force has plans for a 45-metre turbine to be constructed on nearby land in the hope of reducing its energy bills.
Somerset Guardian 8th June 2015 read more »
Villagers in Balcombe in Sussex have scaled up their plans for a solar farm that has already begun generating electricity. If successful the community-owned farm could generate enough power for themselves but also the neighbouring village of West Hoathly.
ITV 8th June 2015 read more »
Solar Art Centre
THE popular 20-21 Visual Arts Centre is set to prove Scunny is sunny by becoming solar powered! Work will start next month (July) on a £589,000-plus revamp of the centre in the town’s Church Square. The investment by North Lincolnshire Council and Arts Council England will see solar panels installed. Council chiefs estimate the solar, plus new energy lighting and improved water efficiency in the kitchen and toilets, will save tax-payers more than £3,000 a year.
Scunthorpe Telegraph 7th June 2015 read more »
The architect of the Government’s much-criticised household energy efficiency scheme has blamed the Big Six electricity providers for its failure. Greg Barker, the former Tory energy minister, launched the Green Deal at the start of 2013, saying he would be having “sleepless nights” if 10,000 households hadn’t signed up for a loan for home energy-efficiency upgrades by the end of the year. Two and a half years later, the number of households with Green Deal-financed measures in place has yet to reach 10,000, says the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Independent 6th June 2015 read more »
George Osborne’s aim is to cut public spending with the minimum squawking: politically astute, but not in our collective interest. If ever you wanted a definition of short-termism, we suspect that the Government is about to provide it. As we report today, Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat former energy and climate change secretary, fears that the Treasury will finally succeed in cutting the budget for energy-saving programmes. It was a budget he fought hard to defend, he tells The Independent on Sunday, and, although he praises Amber Rudd, his Conservative successor, he thinks George Osborne will now prevail. The problem is that energy efficiency is unglamorous, hard to get right, and no one suffers immediately if it does not happen. It is, therefore, an obvious target for the Chancellor looking to make savings. Mr Osborne’s announcement last week of cut s of £3bn in this year’s departmental budgets was a statement of intent. Although the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) got off quite lightly, with just 2 per cent shaved off its spending, this was merely a hint of the deep cuts to come. Part of the problem that Ms Rudd will have in making the case for the energy efficiency budget is that existing programmes have been badly designed and poorly implemented. The Green Deal, the scheme to subsidise home insulation and more efficient boilers, which would be paid for in the long run by savings on energy bills, has had a disappointing take-up. After two and a half years, only 7,800 households had taken advantage of it.
Independent 6th June 2015 read more »
Citizens Advice Scotland Fuel Poverty Report
MANY Scottish households are unable to adequately heat their homes and live in poor-quality housing with bad insulation, a report from Citizens Advice Scotland found. The study recommended that minimum energy efficiency regulations should be brought in to help householders – especially renters – from having to endure poor conditions which could be detrimental to health. Recent figures released by the Scottish Government revealed that 39 per cent of Scottish households say they cannot afford to adequately heat their homes. The Scottish Government is this month due to invite submissions for a consultation over proposals to introduce minimum efficiency regulations. The CAS report said that renters were “used to living in properties with poor energy efficiency”.
Scotsman 6th June 2015 read more »
The UK’s largest community wind farm was completed on Lewis last month and this week the first turbine started to generate energy. This latest milestone for Point and Sandwick Power means that they are now on their way to creating profit from the project at Beinn Ghideag to be invested in the local community.
Stornoway Gazette 6th June 2015 read more »
Energy Efficiency Cuts
Over half of the department’s £70m savings to fall on energy efficiency subsidies – an ‘ominous’ sign of government priorities, green groups warn. Energy efficiency subsidies will bear the brunt of budget cuts at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), leaving industry groups to question the government’s priorities. Around £40m of the £70m savings Chancellor George Osborne has ordered the department to find over the next year will be drawn from the 2015/16 budget for energy efficiency subsidies as part of a review of the long-term framework for making homes more energy efficient, officials confirmed.
Business Green 5th June 2015 read more »
How sustainable is the city of Brighton? What are the different sustainability initiatives that can be undertaken at a local level? How do these local initiatives network and collaborate with each other? What are the barriers and opportunities in such collaborative efforts and in individual projects? These are some of the questions addressed in a stakeholder workshop organised by SPRU (Science Policy Research Unit) as part of the research programme on “Accelerating and re-scaling Transitions to Sustainability”
SPRU 5th June 2015 read more »