There’s a better alternative to a massively expensive and controversial new nuclear power programme, and you can see it emerging in a council estate on the edge of Oxford. Local renewable energy combined with local electricity storage in people’s homes offers a cheaper, greener and more people-friendly alternative. Project ERIC, a pilot involving nearly 100 low-income homes and community buildings, is showing here and now how this “small is beautiful” alternative to new nukes can work. The basic idea is simple. Deploy as many photovoltaic (PV) panels as possible on rooftops. Whenever surplus solar electricity is generated – more than the household below can use – store the surplus in compact battery pack within the home, rather than exporting it into the local electricity network. Then use it later in the day, instead of importing electricity from the grid. But instead of investing £100billion or more in a new generation of nuclear power station, solar PV and battery storage could be rolled out across millions of UK homes with unshaded, south-facing roofs. To date, only a tiny proportion of UK homes which are suited for PV installations have them. This combination of local PV, local battery storage and flexible tariffs could radically reduce the need for new baseload like. From day-to-day, huge quantities of solar electricity would be stored whenever the sun shone and released at night or during cloudy spells.
Business Green 16th Sept 2016 read more »
The NHS has saved more than £5m through taking a variety of sustainable measures, according to a new report released today from the NHS Sustainability Day campaign. The report rounds up submissions of financial and carbon savings from hospitals and NHS Trusts across England, achieved through a range of initiatives from energy efficiency measures through to waste management and the uptake of low carbon vehicles.
Business Green 16th Sept 2016 read more »
Automotive giant General Motors (GM) has established new sustainability commitments to source all electricity across its global operations from 100% renewable sources by 2050, and will join the RE100 to mobilise the transition. GM is turning to all-renewable sources – including solar, wind and waste gas solutions – to provide electricity to its 350 operations across 59 separate countries. This new initiative builds upon GMs previous goal of utilising 125MW of renewable energy by 2020.
Edie 16th Sept 2016 read more »
Save our Solar
The Solar Trade Association has issued an ‘mayday’ alert to the government over the risk to the UK’s solar thermal sector. The association has written to new junior Energy Minister, Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe, urging her to include solar thermal in the Renewable Heat Initiative. The STA said: “If the proposal to remove solar thermal from the RHI is implemented, the technology will be at a competitive disadvantage and there is every prospect that the current supply chain will atrophy – together with valuable UK skills and the manufacturing industry where the UK has cutting edge capabilities.
Scottish Energy News 15th Sept 2016 read more »
The Brexit referendum has provided an opportunity for the UK to look outwards and become a pioneer for an energy storage revolution, according to Peter Aldous, UK Member of Parliament and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Energy Storage. The MP for Waveney said there is a need to put regulations in place to move energy storage forward to its full potential in the UK, while speaking at a Westminster event, ‘The Cutting Edge: developing a world-class energy storage industry in the UK’, organised by the Renewable Energy Association (REA). However, Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the REA said that for the UK to remain competitive after Brexit, the forthcoming call for evidence on energy storage, which had been touted to take place this Autumn, must be accelerated. She said the industry is “desperately waiting’ for this consultation.
Solar Portal 15th Sept 2016 read more »
The island of Gigha is to play an important role in pioneering work to find a way to store power generated by wind turbines, which could revolutionise the global green energy industry. The island is host to the first community-owned grid-connected wind farm in Scotland, the ‘Dancing Ladies’, which initially consisted of three turbines christened Faith, Hope and Charity. A fourth was added later, but its operation has had to be constrained. The turbines are an important income stream for the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust which led the headline community buyout of the island completed in 2002. Now the turbines are to be connected to a “vanadium redox flow battery”, which is the size of a shipping container. It is a new piece of engineering which some hold could be a game-changer. Energy can already be stored using technologies ranging from pumped hydro schemes to large-scale lithium-ion batteries. But the UK government-funded trial on Gigha, will demonstrate that vanadium redox flow is now commercially viable, says Scott McGregor, chief executive of the device’s developer, the Jersey-registered ‘redT’ company. He said “The technoloy has moved faster than anyone has expected and what you see today is a system that is a commodity product.”
Herald 15th Sept 2016 read more »
The Dancing Ladies of Gigha — a set of community-owned wind turbines — are about to be joined in their Scottish island idyll by a less dynamic but potentially more important electrical innovation: a battery. But not just any old battery. The shipping container-sized object to be installed on Gigha is a “vanadium redox flow battery”, a new class of device that supporters say could revolutionise the global renewables sector. Growing reliance on renewable but intermittent sources of power such as solar and wind have created a huge need to smooth out peaks and troughs in supply and so keep the lights on at night or on calm days. The UK government-funded trial on Gigha, site of Scotland’s first community-owned grid-connected wind farm, will demonstrate that vanadium redox flow is now commercially viable, says Scott McGregor, chief executive of the device’s developer, redT.
FT 13th Sept 2016 read more »
Tender prices came in at a quite unexpectedly low price – half of what National Grid had anticipated. This means that battery storage has effectively now become competitive on price with other forms of storage and by modest extrapolation can be seen to now be ready to occupy a whole range of important energy niches – not in the medium term, but very soon. The prospect for inhabiting the Frequency Response system is perhaps limited and there are indeed other forms of storage like compressed air that can provide the speed of response equally well, but the prospects for areas where batteries can really make a mark are much more substantial. For example, operating in conjunction with existing renewables to convert intermittent output into effectively dispatchable output, or load shifting by storing output at low prices during the night and then releasing it at peak hours, which, by the way, has a price range difference currently of about £55/MWh.
Business Green 15th Sept 2016 read more »
Community Energy Scotland almost tripled the number of active projects – with a concomitant significant rise in associated income – over the past year. Consequently, the 10 partnership projects underway or in development – with a value of around £550,000 – had grown by the year-end to a portfolio of 28 projects with a value of around £700,000. The charity also made big moves into empowering urban communities, thanks to developments on the Tower Power project, set up to help the residents of an Edinburgh housing scheme. In Mull and Orkney, CES is leading two major Scottish Government projects to provide smart electrical demand to keep community generators running when they might otherwise be switched off. And CES’ own generation development in the Borders – the Hoprigshiels windfarm joint venture with Berwickshire Housing Association – made significant progress.
Scottish Energy News 14th Sept 2016 read more »
The number of new community-owned renewable energy projects of the sort backed by Jeremy Corbyn this week has plummeted after a series of government decisions have made many proposals for wind and solar farms no longer viable. Only 10 new community energy organisations have been registered so far this year, compared to 76 last year, according to new data from the trade body Co-operatives UK. The fall has been directly attributed to policy reforms in the last two years as government ministers noticeably cooled on renewable energy before and after the 2015 general election, with subsidy rates slashed and tax relief ended. These changes stand in stark contrast to the promises made this summer by Theresa May of a windfall for local residents from fracking operations, which could amount to thousands of pounds per household.
Guardian 12th Sept 2016 read more »
The number of new community companies setting up to deliver renewable energy projects has dropped by more than 80% following cuts in government support, according to new findings from Co-operatives UK. The industry body claims that just ten new community energy organisations have been registered between the start of the year and 6 September, compared to 76 green energy start-ups launched in the same period in 2015. The severe reduction follows a series of policy changes to have hit the community energy sector, with cuts to tax reliefs and feed-in tariff rates enacted in November 2015 and January 2016 respectively leading to new projects being described as “not financially viable”.
Solar Portal 8th Sept 2016 http://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/community_energy_companies_fall_by_80_following_policy_changes
Corbyn’s Energy Revoltion
Must watch video: A Labour government, under my leadership, will deliver an energy policy for the 60 million, not the Big 6 energy companies, championing community-owned renewable energy.
Jeremy Corby Channel 13th Sept 2016 read more »
Not just any light bulb…
Marks & Spencer (M&S) wants to build on “the most comprehensive, wide-ranging sustainability plan in retail” by fitting out its entire UK estate with LED lighting by 2025.
Edie 12th Sept 2016 read more »
Power Purchase Agreements
One of the UK’s largest solar installations to be completed at a school is saving Wellacre Academy in Flixton, Greater Manchestrer thousands off its electricity bills thanks to a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Eden Sustainable. The 430kW system was completed in April and is projected to save the school around £2.1 million over the lifetime of the installation. The school typically uses 414MWh throughout the year, which is expected to be met almost entirely by the installation. As part of the PPA with Eden, the school receives first call on any electricity generated at the site, allowing it to make the significant financial savings that motivated the project. Principal Melanie Wicks found that using the existing electricity supplier the school would spend £3,087,390 on electric bills over 25 years, but the cut-price electricity deal with Eden would instead incur costs of just £919,083 for the same period.
Solar Portal 12th Sept 2016 read more »
Northern (Low Carbon) Powerhouse
Much has been said in recent months about the importance of bringing more investment to parts of the UK, such as the North of England, where economic growth opportunities have been less forthcoming than in other parts of the country. Today, the Aldersgate Group published its latest report, Setting the pace: Northern England’s low carbon economy, which illustrates how the low carbon economy is already bringing much needed investment to regions across the North of England, with 136,000 people now employed in the sector. It argues that a coherent national low carbon policy and more support by devolved authorities could help unlock further growth.
Business Green 12th Sept 2016 read more »
EU regulators are to propose a more stringent energy efficiency target than was previously set to go ahead, according to a draft document seen by Reuters. The draft law, which has yet to be agreed formally by the European Commission, would see the EU commit to a binding goal to cut energy use by 30 per cent by 2030 compared with a business-as-usual scenario, Reuters said on Friday.
Business Green 12th Sept 2016 read more »
More government investment in home energy efficiency programmes could help tackle climate change and create up to 9,000 jobs, economists have said. Researchers said increased spending could boost economic activity across Scotland and reduce fuel poverty. They have called for a national infrastructure programme to improve the efficiency of Scotland’s homes. The Scottish government said 40% of Scottish homes were now in the top three energy efficiency ratings. Economists at the University of Strathclyde and London School of Economics were backing calls from the Existing Homes Alliance to “transform” Scotland’s existing housing stock by making it more energy efficient. Prof Karen Turner, director of the Centre for Energy Policy at the University of Strathclyde, said: “Our own research shows that energy efficiency improvements free up disposable income for low-income households to better heat their homes or to spend on other things.
BBC 12th Sept 2016 read more »
Third Force News 13th Sept 2016 read more »
Business Green 14th Sept 2016 read more »
Where there’s muck…
Yorkshire Water has been awarded planning permission for a new anaerobic digestion facility that promises to slash the utility’s carbon emissions by 15 per cent from 2019 onwards. The £72m sludge treatment facility, approved by Leeds City Council planning officers late last week, will turn waste water effluent into renewable power for Yorkshire Water’s Knostrop waste water treatment works. The Knostrop site is already home to a 12-metre wind turbine, which generates 10 per cent of the facility’s energy needs.
Business Green 12th Sept 2016 read more »
The Solar Trade Association has responded to the Policy Exchange report published today, saying it highlights “how extensively government needs to act” to meet its carbon targets. The Solar Trade Association (STA) welcomed recommendations in the report including higher building standards for new build homes and refocusing of resources to fuel poor households. However, it disagreed that the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) should be technologically neutral – arguing that fossil fuels should not be included.
Utility Week 9th Sept 2016 read more »
Renewables – AD
Water service provider Yorkshire Water has been given the go-ahead to build a £72m state-of-the-art anaerobic digestion (AD) plant at its Knostrop works in the centre of Leeds. The facility, which is set to be completed in 2019, will process 131 tonnes of dry sludge every day, generating 55% of the site’s energy requirements and helping to achieve 94% recycling of the region’s sludge by 2020. For Yorkshire Water, the AD plant will contribute to a 15% reduction in carbon emissions across the company and deliver “significant operational cost savings”.
Edie 9th Sept 2016 read more »
Flow Energy has launched its Flow Eco RF boiler which could reduce gas bills by up to 15 per cent and carbon emissions by 20 per cent. In 2015 Flow group created an innovative micro-combined heat and power (micro-CHP) boiler designed to convert heat from combustion into electricity. By generating power at the point-of-use while using the heat, the Flow boiler significantly reduces the carbon intensity of that power.
Utility Week 9th Sept 2016 read more »
Not far from the beach on Swansea Bay, a revolutionary new building is taking shape that it is claimed could end fuel poverty and solve the war over the thermostat in offices. For the “Living Classroom”, which construction workers are hurrying to complete before the start of term at Swansea University, is a building that integrates an array of cutting edge renewable energy technology. It generates its own electricity from the sun, which is then stored in batteries made with saltwater – that might help put out a fire, rather than starting one – and also absorbs and redistributes solar heat. But the scientists, architects and engineers who de signed it believe one feature in particular could be used to help companies save money, cut greenhouse gas emissions and end squabbles over the thermostat. The underfloor heating system uses panels coated with a special paint. When a harmless low-voltage electric current is passed through the paint, it heats up. The result is a heating system for each individual desk. Professor Dave Worsley, one of the team behind the building, the subject of a talk at the British Science Festival in Swansea, said: “It’s right by your feet. It heats up very quickly and cools down very quickly. “If your feet are warm, the rest of you feels much better.
Independent 9th Sept 2016 read more »
With the launch of an environment and energy manifesto this week, Jeremy Corbyn may have signalled a renewed focus from Labour on energy policy. In the same week that saw Barry Gardner launch a campaign against rising business rates on solar installations, could it be that Corbyn’s Labour is about to bring green energy policy to the fore?
Solar Portal 9th Sept 2016 read more »