Swindon’s Solar Bonds
Swindon Borough Council (SBC) is preparing to launch a second solar bond following the success of its first local authority led investment offer earlier this year, which closed a month early after raising almost £2 million. If approved at a council meeting on 19 October, Swindon’s second solar bond would fund a new 5MW solar farm on a council-owned former landfill site at Chapel Farm in Blunsdon. SBC says the offer would also be the first in the UK to allow investors to use the new Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) to give them a tax-free return. This has been made possible by a government announcement that from 1 November, the IFISA will include peer-to-peer investments such as debentures, allowing individuals to invest directly into businesses and projects. Speaking yesterday to the London Assembly Environment Committee during a session on the new deputy mayor’s plans for energy in the city, Leonie Greene, head of external affairs at the Solar Trade Association, said: “The national framework now for solar is so difficult so the role of regions and local government has become extremely important to the stability and survival in some ways of this sector.”
Solar Portal 14th Oct 2016 read more »
A nationwide shift to LED lightbulbs could slash the risk of a winter blackout, according to new research from Greenpeace. The research, carried out by energy analyst Chris Goodall, found a switch to the energy efficient LEDs in homes would reduce peak electricity demand in the winter by five per cent, or 2.7GW. The study also calculates the use of LEDs in office and other commercial building could save around 4.5GW, around nine per cent of peak demand, while LED street lighting would save a further 0.5 GW. While lighting might not seem an area of high energy demand, it is responsible for nearly a third of total winter peak electricity demand, according to the research. It calculates that a complete switch to LEDs would likely halve power use from lighting. Greenpeace said the research shows a business and government drive to promote a switch to LEDs could see a reduction in the UK’s electricity demand equivalent to over two Hinkley Point nuclear plants’ worth of electricity. Greenpeace estimates it would currently cost around £1.7bn to switch the most used bulbs in all UK homes to energy-efficient LED lighting, adding that the transition could be completed “relatively quickly”. The payback period for switching the most used lighting typical domestic house to LED is two to three years at current prices, with the estimated £62 cost of replacing 21 bulbs in living areas likely to cut annual electricity bills by at least £24, Greenpeace said. However, the new analysis also shows that in addition to helping cut domestic energy bills a national switch to LEDs would help save at least £65m a year on capacity market payments, reducing the subsidies the government pays for back up power capacity.
Business Green 14th Oct 2016 read more »
London’s Solar Strategy
London’s solar strategy will be published in spring 2017 as part of a wider environmental policy consultation to be released under the new deputy mayor for energy and environment, Shirley Rodrigues. Giving evidence this morning to the London Assembly Environment Committee, Rodrigues faced questions on her approach to energy in the capital less than two months on from her appointment by the Mayor, Sadiq Khan. In a session largely dominated by discussion over potential for solar in the capital – due in no small part to the presence of Leonie Greene, head of external affairs at the Solar Trade Association – it was confirmed that the solar action plan would form part of the spring’s consultation. Naming solar among the Mayor’s priorities for energy policy in London, Rodrigues said: “We want to do more on renewable energy such as solar, looking at our solar strategy, rolling out more solar panels. “We’re looking at how much we can use the Greater London Authority (GLA) buildings and Transport for London (TfL) buildings to retrofit solar on to them so it’s very much on our minds.”
Solar Power Portal 13th Oct 2016 read more »
Government hints at solar strategy
The government has offered its first hint towards a strategy to support large-scale development of mature renewables technologies like solar in its response to recent reports issued by the Committee on Climate Change. The Government’s response to the CCC says the arrangement of three additional CfD rounds, the first of which will be held for pot two technologies, before going on to say that the government is to “set out our plans for mature technologies (pot one) in due course”. “We will also set out the details of future Contract for Difference auctions for less mature technologies, and outline our plans for mature technologies,” it goes on to say.
Solar Portal 13th Oct 2016 read more »
APSE Energy is delighted to have linked up with Robin Hood Energy, in a new partnership arrangement, to help promote the work they are doing to provide lower energy tariffs and directly tackle fuel poverty. The model that Robin Hood Energy has pioneered has grabbed the imagination of many local authorities across the UK and there is massive interest from other councils who are looking to follow a similar approach. APSE Energy will provide capacity to deal with the inquiries being received and will support those local authorities that are taking forward work with Robin Hood Energy. They will also have a role in ensuring the Robin Hood Energy message gets out to all local authorities, ALMOs, housing associations and other public sector providers. ‘APSE Energy and Robin Hood Energy have similar values and are pursuing similar objectives to realise the municipalisation of energy’ said Phil Brennan, Head of APSE Energy. ‘We are excited about supporting RHE to meet their goals over the foreseeable future, as our combined efforts will help to push the message that local authorities can successfully intervene in local energy markets – and the proof lies with Robin Hood Energy!’ Gail Scholes, Energy Services Director with Robin Hood Energy said ‘Nottingham City Council have a strong relationship with APSE and we intend to forge similar links with APSE Energy. We have made great strides over the past year in the East Midlands, we are helping thousands of local people with their energy bills, and we have a great product to promote to other local authorities. With APSE Energy’s help it is a message we can spread across the whole UK’
APSE 13th Oct 2016 read more »
Star Renewable Energy has urged energy customers to invest in renewable heating technology before the Renewable Heat Incentive ceases in five years’ time. The heat pump firm said that energy users should invest in renewable heating technologies before government incentives to support their uptake ends. Star Renewable Energy (SRE) claimed that large heatpumps are the only scalable renewable heat system capable of becoming zero carbon by 2050. SRE technical engineer Nicky Cowan said: “Proven renewable heating technologies that avoid burning gas, particularly large district heat pumps, are becoming one of the most talked about topics for governments and increasingly recognised as the best way to combat climate change. “According to the Committee on Climate Change, heating may have to almost fully decarbonise if the UK is to hit its long-term goal of an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050.”
Utility Week 12th Oct 2016 read more »
A recent thermal energy conference has emphasised the importance of the UK government’s new focus on decarbonising heat. And renewable experts – led by Glasgow-based Star Renewable Energy – are urging energy users to invest in renewable heating technology for the future while government incentives to support the uptake of heat-pumps last.
Scottish Energy News 12th Oct 2016 read more »
Radical plans to use hydrogen to heat UK homes and businesses have moved a step closer after the Government’s official climate advisers said the plan was “technically feasible” and called for major trials to be undertaken. In a report, the Committee on Climate Change identified using hydrogen in place of natural gas in the UK’s existing gas grid as one of the two “main options” for greening Britain’s heating supplies. It said the second was the use of heat pumps, which use a reverse refrigeration process to draw heat from the air, ground or a water source. The Government must decide by 2025 what role hydrogen will play in order to implement its chosen plan in time to hit its 2050 climate targets, Matthew Bell, the CCC chief executive, said. About 80pc of UK homes are currently heated using natural gas from the grid, which produces carbon dioxide when burnt. Influential voices including energy giant Centrica and the think tank Policy Exchange have recently questioned the idea of widespread use of heat pumps, which can be disruptive to install in homes and require electricity to produce heat – potentially increasing the strain and cost on the UK’s power infrastructure. Distribution grid owner Northern Gas Networks has proposed the use of hydrogen, which would require new household appliances but could be distributed in existing gas grids. It has drawn up plans to convert the city of Leeds to run on hydrogen as a precursor to a £50bn national roll-out.
Telegraph 12th Oct 2016 read more »
HG Wells may not have chosen the road from Rotherham to Rainham for his time machine. However, the zero-emission hydrogen car of the future completed its first long-distance public outing yesterday from a wind-powered electricity-to-gas refuelling station in South Yorkshire, arriving 180 miles and three and a half hours later just east of Dagenham, to be recharged on solar power. It was a good job the day was breezy and sunny. Today is the official opening of Britain’s 15th hydrogen fuelling station, at Rainham, on the site of the old Ford car factory.
Times 11th Oct 2016 read more »
It was one of the stranger battlegrounds of the Brexit debate: the controversy over the EU’s plans to save energy by banning high-powered toasters and kettles. But now the Committee on Climate Change has poured cold water on Brexiteers’ hopes that leaving the EU would see Britain carry on using power-guzzling appliances with abandon. In a report on the implications of Brexit, the Government’s official climate advisers warned that retaining weaker energy efficiency standards for consumer goods in the UK would jeopardise emissions-reduction plans and be bad for consumers and manufacturers alike. In order to hit the UK’s own climate change targets, it said “some policy previously set at EU level should be preserved and strengthened in future”, including “product and efficiency standards” on household appliances and vehicles.
Telegraph 12th Oct 2016 read more »
Professor Turner is director and Dr Riddoch is senior knowledge exchange fellow in the Centre for Energy Policy at the University of Strathclyde. NICOLA Sturgeon has announced a stimulus package to support the Scottish economy following the EU referendum result, including a welcome £20 million investment to improve the energy efficiency of the country’s buildings. The inclusion of energy efficiency in the Scottish Government’s stimulus plan reflects a new perspective. Economic thinking around energy efficiency is changing. As the wider impacts are explored, multiple potential benefits emerge, from job creation to reduced pressure on the NHS. Our research highlights the benefits of the lasting economic stimulus triggered by such investments. Insulating, upgrading and renovating buildings creates work and jobs during the upgrade process. By putting money into building projects, this investment stimulates new work in the construction sector. The new thinking does not stop there. There is mounting evidence of links between warm dry homes and mental and physical health. A well refurbished, energy efficient house keeps people more healthy meaning the NHS will also benefit from reduced pressure on resources. There are several organisations working to promote a strong energy efficiency policy that advocate the new energy efficiency thinking for Scottish policy makers. The Existing Homes Alliance (EXHA) and Energy Action Scotland realise that there are many reasons to improve all inefficient homes. Our research highlights the benefits of the lasting economic stimulus triggered by improving energy efficiency. EXHA. calls for all homes to be brought up to at least an energy performance certificate rating of C by 2025, an ambition it says would eradicate fuel poverty and achieve Scotland’s climate targets.
Herald 13th October 2016 http://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/14798226.Making_buildings_energy_efficient_will_bring_so_many_added_benefits/
Smart Energy GB has called for digitalisation of the energy market to be “intensely scrutinised” by government to ensure it goes in the right direction. Smart Energy GB also called for issues around serving vulnerable customers are addressed and solved quickly. The chief executive of Smart Energy GB, which is behind the national campaign for the smart meter rollout, was speaking at a meeting of the Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) on the energy revolution. Also on the panel was the Centre for Sustainable Energy chief executive Simon Roberts, who expressed his concerns about an “issue of understanding” in the energy sector that could result in unintended consequences from the revolution. He added: “There are issues around the absolute need to decrease demand, the absolute need to increase the ability to map demand and deal with variable sources but also the opportunity to use data and techniques to support more vulnerable households better. Those are the things we think we can achieve through this disruption and revolution but they are not inevitable. “I think there is an assumption that is built into a lot of the discourse that progress is always positive and markets will do right by consumers. We are not in a world where government yet understand how those rules affect the types of disruption that comes forward. Unless we get underneath the skin of that we won’t get the benefits and may end up with something that wasn’t quite intended.”
Utility Week 12th Oct 2016 read more »
Data has been transmitted across a national electricity grid for the first time, in what could be a significant step towards the creation of virtual power stations, where many thousands of homes and businesses combine to manage electricity use more smartly. The new technology could lead to lower energy bills for consumers who allow small variations in the energy consumption of their appliances, such as water heaters or freezers. The flexibility provided by thousands of appliances combined could reduce peaks in energy use and remove the need for some large new gas or nuclear power stations or polluting diesel generator farms that are started up in times of short supply. The new data system, created using telecoms technology by Reactive Technologies (RT) and now successfully tested on the UK’s National Grid, could also allow the optimum use of intermittent renewable energy, an important feature given the fast-rising proportion of green energy on the grid. Unlike the smart meters being rolled out by the UK government, the new system is anonymous, with no data on household energy use being collected and therefore avoiding concerns about privacy. Catherine Mitchell, professor of energy policy at the University of Exeter, said: “This is a really important next step technologically.” She said it would allow customers to choose which appliances are used to manage demand. “This implies that more people would be content to join [such] programmes – a very good thing.” But she said government policy had to keep up with the energy revolution by providing a transparent way to pay consumers for the service they provide.
Guardian 11th Oct 2016 read more »
Some solar developers maintain well located solar arrays where the power can be used onsite still offer attractive returns to businesses and investors, while hopes remain that the falling cost of solar technologies and the emergence of energy storage systems mean the sector will be able to rebound strongly from the steep cuts to subsidies in the coming years. Now a new initiative it is hoping to speed up this recovery, with the launch of a new smartphone app from climate action charity 10:10. Launched late last month and drawing on the success of the wildly popular Pokémon GO app, the Look Up app gamifies the search for buildings which could provide good locations for rooftop solar panels.
Business Green 12th Oct 2016 read more »
Sunamp are an amazing company, they produce batteries that store heat, charged by solar panels.
Fully Charged Show 12th Oct 2016 read more »
Renewable heat specialist Sunamp is preparing a pioneering project to transport heat from a waste treatment plant to the homes and businesses of Bristol – by barge. The company is in the process of applying to Innovate UK for funding for the novel scheme, which will see Sunamp extract heat from a waste processing plant in Avonmouth, store it in shipping containers and transport it by barge up the River Avon for use in Bristol’s district heating system.
Business Green 7th Oct 2016 read more »
Havering goes Solar
Havering London Borough Council has put forward plans to build its own solar farms in the latest example of wider adoption of solar developments by local authorities and the first to take up the technology on a large scale in London. The council has put forward plans to build two projects – a 6MW farm at Gerpins Lane and a 9.5MW project at Dagnam Park – which will be built on a former landfill site and scrub land respectively. While the Gerpins Lane will bring derelict lane back into use and benefit the local environment, the land adjacent to the Dagnam Park to be used for the larger site which is already owned by the council will be brought back into management. According to a spokesperson, the council intends to fund the proposed solar parks using its own capital budget reserves. However, it is also looking at the potential to release a portion of the capital cost to the public to allow residents to invest directly in the solar parks alongside the council.
Solar Portal 11th Oct 2016 read more »
An early day motion calling on the government to halt proposed changes to business rates attached to rooftop solar installations has received significant, cross-party support. Green party co-leader Caroline Lucas tabled the EDM yesterday, sponsored by one MP from all major parties represented in parliament with the exception of the UK Independence Party, noted for its opposition to renewables, and mainstream Irish parties. Lucas is the motion’s primary sponsor, with fellow sponsors comprising the SDLP’s Mark Durkan, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and fellow MP John Pugh, Labour Party MP Roger Godsiff, the SNP’s John McNally, Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts and Conservative Party MP Zac Goldsmith.
Solar Portal 11th Oct 2016 read more »
Solar panels have been installed on 24 City of Edinburgh Council buildings, in partnership with the Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative. The initiative is believed to be the largest community-owned urban renewable energy project in the UK, and there are calls for other Scottish local authorities to establish similar approaches.
Keep Scotland Beautiful 11th Oct 2016 read more »
The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has published the results of three case studies which show how farmers can diversify their income and increase the productivity of their land by planting energy crops.
ETI (accessed) 11th Oct 2016 read more »
The production of energy crops for use in biomass power plants or biofuel refineries has long been controversial, with critics arguing that they undermine food production and can often fail to deliver promised greenhouse gas emission reductions. But according to new research from the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), some second-generation energy crops can help farmers diversify their income while helping to boost the productivity of their land. The studies found that energy crops can complement other farming activities as they can be grown on land which is less suitable for grazing or food production because of poor soil quality or waterlogging.
Business Green 12th Oct 2016 read more »
Britain’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are keen to make the switch to 100% renewable energy-powered operations, but many are not receiving enough support from energy suppliers in order to do so, a new survey has revealed. An in-depth survey of decision makers within 100 SMEs across the country found that 72% want their energy suppliers to be more committed to renewable energy, with just one in 10 rating their current supplier’s renewable energy support as “excellent”. Almost three quarters (71%) of SMEs agree that the process of switching suppliers should be made much simpler – a key factor in the fact that just one in five businesses that have tried to switch ended up not switching supplier at all, according to business electricity provider Haven Power, which commissioned the survey.
Edie 10th Oct 2016 read more »
Community Energy Scotland has recruited six new staff to boost its support for projects in Edinburgh, Inverness and Orkney and also to strengthen the support team.
Scottish Energy News 11th Oct 2016 read more »
Businesses are front and centre of Sadiq Khan’s ambitious plans to create “the greenest city in the world”, the London Mayor told edie as he unveiled detailed proposals to improve the capital’s air quality. Khan’s wide-ranging action plan to tackle toxic air in the capital forms part of a broader mayoral strategy to ignite a “clean energy revolution”, with the ultimate aim of running London on 100% green energy by 2050. Khan, who succeeded Boris Johnson in May, has previously pledged to create more plug-in points for electric vehicles (EVs) and implement “clean bus corridors” across the city as ways to reach that goal. Today, Khan also underlined his support for plans to develop a new business district in west London which could transform the capital into a global centre for cleantech development, with the Mayor insisting that innovation and technology will play a key role in accelerating Britain’s green economy. “Innovation and technology are crucial,” Khan said. “With technological advances, electric car batteries now run far better than they did five years ago. We’ve got to use this innovation to make sure we encourage people to change their behaviours, and I’m sure we can do that.”
Edie 10th Oct 2016 read more »
With over 30 companies exhibiting battery products or espousing the technology to the thousands of visitors in attendance, storage was always going to play a major role at last week’s SEUK | Clean Energy Live exhibition. With high expectations for the sector on the back of a massive downturn in solar PV deployment and growing interest from government – and more obviously, National Grid – the UK storage market is set for a tipping point, which explained the massive buzz around the show for these solutions. But the point at which UK consumers will tip towards mass adoption is still unknown – we just know now that it’s imminent.
Solar Portal 13th Oct 2016 read more »
The UK has “multiple gigawatts” of energy storage capacity that is proposed or in the development pipeline, but this will fail to come to fruition without a joined-up and more supportive policy structure from Government, the Renewable Energy Association (REA) has claimed. In a report released last week, the REA indicated that the total gigawatt capacity of applications for storage to the distribution network has reached double digits, but that clear market improvements to the policy framework will be needed in order to unlock this potential.
Edie 10th Oct 2016 read more »
A new report has estimated that when combined with greater integration of batteries, the intermittency of solar generation could provide a net benefit to the grid, removing one of the key criticisms of wider adoption of the technology. ‘Intermittency and the cost of integrating solar in the GB power market’ from Aurora Energy Research has concluded that should battery costs reduce to the level of £100/kWh by the early 2020s – roughly a third of the current price – 8GW of batteries would arise on the electricity system by 2030. By this time the report expects solar capacity to have reached 40GW, causing intermittency costs to increase from £1.3/MWh associated with today’s 11GW of solar to around £6.8/MWh.
Solar Portal 10th Oct 2016 read more »
The bright yellow Big Lemon buses are a familiar sight – and smell – on the roads of Brighton and Hove. For nine years the Community Interest Company has run all its vehicles on waste cooking oil from local restaurants, recycled into biodiesel, but now it wants to go one step further. The Big Lemon wants to install solar panels on the roof of its east Brighton depot, storing the energy in batteries and charging buses overnight. It is working with the Brighton Energy Cooperative (BEC) towards a vision of zero emissions bus services in every UK community by 2030, using Brighton as a pilot.
Guardian 8th Oct 2016 read more »
South-West Grid Bottleneck
A bottleneck in the electricity grid and cuts in government subsidies have put the brakes on solar energy in the far South West. Until now the region has led the country on solar energy, but Dr Peter Connor, senior lecturer in renewable energy policy at the University of Exeter, said: “We are at the stage where the distribution company, Western Power Distribution, is effectively not allowing companies to join the grid. “If you want to build a big solar farm it’s problematic.” He said that would continue to be a problem until Western Power completes the grid upgrade in Somerset, known as Route F, in two to three years. Route F is being installed to handle output from Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in the mid-2020s.
Plymouth Herald 7th Oct 2016 read more »
ERP has produced a report on the challenge of reducing GHG emissions caused by heating buildings. The report focuses on fabric energy efficiency for reducing heat demand, exploring why this opportunity is not being fully exploited. The report highlights the potential of leading practice in fabric energy efficiency for new-build and for retrofitting existing buildings, and explores why this leading practice is rarely attempted (the “uptake gap”). The report also highlights why heating performance in practice often differs from the expected levels: firstly due to unrealistic expectations (the “prediction gap”), and secondly due to incorrect implementation (the “performance gap”). The report recommends steps to provide ambition and certainty in regulations for the building industry, new approaches to increase the appeal of retrofit to leverage customer interest, research to improve understanding of heat use in buildings, and better quality control and enforcement to deliver high performance in practice.
ERP 6th Oct 2016 read more »
Philips Lighting has partnered with the Dubai Municipality to launch the “world’s most sustainable LED lamp”, which has been developed for residential and professional use across the city by 2017. Announced at the Water, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) in Dubai on Wednesday (5 October), the “Dubai Lamp initiative” will see two million of the world’s first commercially available 200 lumen-per-watt LED lamps installed across the city over the next 12 months. The initiative, which will increase the rollout to 10 million lamps by 2021, is expected to reduce household and enterprise energy use by up to 90%. Philips could eventually replace around 80% of the conventional bulbs in the city with the Dubai lamps – which can last up to 15 years longer.
Edie 7th Oct 2016 read more »
A record amount of Scotland’s heating is being generated by renewables, according to a new report. Figures published by the Energy Saving Trust on behalf of the Scottish Government show that 2015 had the largest increase in renewable heat output since measurement began in 2008/09. During the year, Scotland generated at least 5.3% of its non-electrical heat demand from renewable sources, up from 3.8% in 2014. Renewable sources produced an estimated 4,165 GWh (Gigawatt hours) of heat, an increase of 37% from the previous year. The majority of the increase came from large commercial sites installing biomass and combined heat and power systems, and from installations supported by the UK Government’s non-domestic renewable heat incentive, which offers financial incentives for those who generate and use renewable energy to heat their buildings. Capacity from small-scale biomass and other technologies such as heat pumps also rose by 44% between 2014 and 2015. The Scottish Government’s target is for 11% of non-electrical heat demand from renewable sources by 2020.
Herald 7th Oct 2016 read more »
Scotsman 7th Oct 2016 read more »
Energy Voice 7th Oct 2016 read more »
Scottish Housing News 7th Oct 2016 read more »