Our social landlords – GHA, Cube, Dunedin Canmore, West Lothian Housing Partnership and Loretto Housing – are finding new ways to mitigate rising energy costs and help people make their money go further. We’ve been involved in a number of ground-breaking partnerships to help address these concerns. District heating and renewable energy schemes offer significant benefits for customers and housing providers. A partnership with Scottish Gas and SSE allowed Cube to overclad the multi-storeys and low-rise blocks to improve energy-efficiency. Another partnership saw Lowther Homes, which provides mid and full-market properties for rent, and GHA upgrade a multi-storey block in Ibrox, Glasgow. A £1 million grant from the Community Energy Savings Programme, in partnership with Scottish Power, enabled a combined heat and power engine to be built a stone’s throw from the flats. Of course, energy-efficient heating systems alone won’t end fuel poverty. Buildings need to be maintained and upgraded to ensure they remain warm and dry. The combination of district heating systems with external wall insulation, new windows and new or upgraded roofs means we can make our homes more energy efficient. Cube, in partnership with British Gas, is investing £10.6m in homes in Glasgow’s Broomhill, Gorget and Maryhill neighbourhoods. The biomass heating systems run on wood pellets rather than fossil fuels, making them more environmentally friendly. Elsewhere, Dunedin Canmore, working with the City of Edinburgh Council and its communities, delivered a £6 7million regeneration project to create sustainable housing in the Moredun Park and Hyvots areas of South Edinburgh. Energy-efficient initiatives included solar hot water, solar PV and communal heating. Nearly 300 homes were refurbished to a highly energy-efficient standard meaning low energy bills for residents. Dunedin Canmore has nearly 1,000 homes heated by communal heating schemes. Wheatley Group has joined other housing groups to launch Our Power – a non-profit energy company which aims to save disadvantaged communities around £11m on their energy deals over the next five years. At the same time, we offer a free in-house fuel advice service to tenants to help them get access to the cheapest energy tariffs and arrange low-cost repayments. We can’t do much about the weather but by being less reliant on the Big Six, embracing technology and continuing to invest in our homes we can make a significant difference to tenants’ lives.
Scotsman 19th Feb 2016 read more »
Where there’s sun there’s brass!
GOVERNMENT cuts to solar energy subsidies will mean no more council houses in Barnsley will receive free solar panels – a blow to the flagship £10m Energise Barnsley project.The scheme to fit electricity bill-slashing solar panels to council houses and public buildings was announced by Barnsley Council last year although it was at no cost to the council – or council tax payers. More than 320 council properties in Barnsley already get free electricity through the free panels but no more properties will benefit. Energise Barnsley will still fit panels to 91 public buildings which were pre-registered before the government’s cuts to the feed in tariff and will be in receipt of the payments at the old rate.
Barnsley Chronicle 19th Feb 2016 read more »
Fuel Poverty – Scotland
Cold and hard to heat homes are a major of source of ill-health in Scotland particularly for the elderly. The head of the Royal College of Nursing Theresa Fyffe recently said: “it’s indefensible that cold, hard-to-heat homes continue to leave the most vulnerable in our society at the mercy of cold weather each winter.” Shockingly, it is estimated that between 2,500 and 3,000 older people are dying from cold related illnesses every winter. It’s clear we must to do a far more to ensure that the homes for our elderly are properly insulated.
This is why this week I lodged a motion in Parliament supporting Age Scotland’s warm homes campaign. The charity is calling for a Warm Homes Act and investment to raise all housing to a high energy performance standard. In addition to the serious health risks, poorly insulated homes are also a major drain on household finances with one third of Scottish households living in fuel poverty. But it is worse for older people with nearly half of our single household pensioners suffering from fuel poverty.
Sarah Boyack MSP 18th Feb 2016 read more »
A London-exclusive feed-in tariff (FiT) subsidy scheme and a new solar taskforce are among the new approaches to renewable energy generation that should be taken by the next Mayor of London, a new report from Greenpeace has claimed. Greenpeace has urged all mayoral candidates to increase London’s solar output tenfold – reaching 750MW of installed solar capacity by 2025 – in an attempt to increase the current rate of just 0.5% of the 3.4 million homes in the capital that currently have solar photovoltaics installed on their roofs. Greenpeace UK energy campaigner Barbara Stoll said: “London is a world leader in innovation, yet it’s missing out on the energy revolution of the century.
Edie 18th Feb 2016 read more »
Greenpeace has claimed the next London mayor could increase solar deployment in the capital tenfold through a series of measures designed to make solar panels more attractive for Londoners. In a report released today, the environmental group says mayoral support is integral to addressing the woeful state of solar in London. Only 0.5% of its 3.4 million homes were fitted with panels by the end of 2015, with the most recent data from 2014 showing the technology was only meeting 0.13% of the city’s electricity consumption needs.
Solar Portal 18th Feb 2016 read more »
Southill Community Energy launches share offer for residents to invest in community solar farm in Oxfordshire, one of the last projects in the country to receive higher subsidy rates. Residents of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Parliamentary constituency of Whitney in Oxfordshire are being offered one of the last chances in the country to invest in a community solar project.
Business Green 18th Feb 2016 read more »
Solar Portal 18th Feb 2016 read more »
Almost a fifth of UK commercial property owners must make improvements to their buildings in order to comply with government energy standards or risk being barred from letting them, new research has found. The Government’s Energy Act, which was passed in the last Parliament, includes rules that mean from 2018 it will be unlawful to rent out a business property which fails to meet the minimum energy efficiency standard – an “E” rating.
Telegraph 18th Feb 2016 read more »
Solar Powered LEDs
Most farms have outlying barns and sheds where there’s no mains power. That’s no problem in the daytime, but no fun if you have to rely on a torch after dark. However, Berkshire firm Bright Spark Solar reckons it has the answer with its latest 44-LED solar-powered floodlight. The lithium-ion battery is fully charged after nine hours of bright sunlight, it says, which then gives five nights of light from the low-wattage LED floodlight.
Farmers Weekly 18th Feb 2016 read more »
Nearly one-third of Scotland’s streets will be LED-lit by April 2017 as local councils have announced that a further £56m will be invested in a nationwide lighting replacement programme over the next 12 months. The number of Scotland’s LED streetlights will double to 250,000 and more than 65,000 tonnes of CO2 will be saved thanks to the new public-sector funding announced this week. With support from Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland, £82m has already invested in LEDs over the past three years, with Scotland’s councils at various stages of installing the more energy-efficient lights. South Lanarkshire Council has installed the most LEDs in Scotland – 19,000 street lights – which are generating annual savings of £550k. The Council is on target to replace all of its 58,000 street lights to LEDs in the next two years.
Edie 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Heating and cooling is the unglamorous consumer of half of the EU’s energy, with 75% of this generated from fossil fuels. Only 25% is generated from low-carbon sources. This sector sits alongside transport and electricity, which consume 31% and 20% of the EU’s energy, respectively. Yet it has so far received scant attention from policymakers in Brussels, who have admitted that understanding of the sector is “insufficient” — even while acknowledging that heating and cooling will have a major impact on whether the EU is able to meet its 2020 and 2030 climate change goals.
Carbon Brief 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Solar Hits 10GW
Total solar capacity installed in the UK has broken through the 10GW barrier, Solar Power Portal can reveal. The development comes just a week after European industry body SolarPower Europe claimed that the UK would continue to be the largest solar market in Europe in 2016 having also topped the tables in the previous year, and also follows a bumper 12 months for deployment in 2015. The UK is going to be dominated by ground-mounted solar until 31 March 2016, with 1.3 ROCs expiring at this point.
Solar Power Portal 16th Feb 2016 read more »
PV-Tech 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Europe’s biggest ever floating solar array is being installed on the Queen Elizabeth II Reservoir, to the south of the River Thames. More than 23,000 solar PV panels will be floated on the 317-acre reservoir near Walton-on-Thames, following an agreement between Thames Water, Ennoviga Solar and Lightsource Renewable Energy. The French-manufactured system will have a total installed peak capacity of 6.3MW and is expected to generate 5.8GWh of electricity in its first year – equivalent to the annual consumption of around 1,800 homes. The renewable energy produced will be used to power Thames Water’s nearby water treatment works
Edie 16th Feb 2016 read more »
City AM 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Solar Portal 15th Feb 2016 read more »
Almost two thirds of biomethane FiT applicants miss out on latest wave of feed-in tariff incentives thanks to funding cap A new cap on deployment of anaerobic digestion (AD) plants under the feed-in tariff (FiT) incentive scheme was hit within 15 minutes of the scheme opening for applications, Ofgem data released on Friday has shown. The 5.8MW cap was reached just quarter of an hour after it opened at midnight on Monday 8th February, meaning around two thirds of projects applying for incentives will miss out on the scheme. With the current cap period lasting until the end of March, those developers who did not submit their application within 15 minutes of the scheme opening will now have to wait until capacity becomes available during the next quarter. They will also face reduced tariffs as a result of missing out on the latest wave of FiT awards, according to industry body the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA).
Business Green 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Sunny Islington rakes it in
Islington Council has estimated that it stands to benefit from £1.5 million following the installation of solar panels across three of its properties. A 230kWp system of more than 900 panels has been installed at the Re-Use and Recycle Centre, while a 250kWp array at Sobell Leisure Centre and 29kWp system at the customer service centre in Upper Street will see the council save on its bills and receive an income from the feed-in tariff. The majority of the electricity generated at each site will be used by the buildings, with a small amount from the leisure centre to be exported to the grid.
Solar Power Portal 15th Feb 2016 read more »
Scandinavian-style urban district heating networks in Scotland and another to make all of the country’s buildings warm, healthy and affordable to heat have been named on a shortlist of low carbon, future-proof engineering projects fit for the 21st Century and beyond. Speaking at the Edinburgh based Green Investment Bank last week, climate change minister Dr Aileen McLeod announced the three shortlisted projects which were selected after a rigorous process involving many experts and 1000s of members of the public, who were asked which of a longlist of ten possible projects they felt should be taken forward most urgently.
Scottish Housing News 15th Feb 2016 read more »
National Grid will pay business customers to use more energy at times of excess wind generation, under a new system developed by demand response aggregator Flexitricity. National Grid has signed up to the demand turn-up system, Footroom, which is an automated service that notifies connected businesses of an approaching increase in wind. Businesses can then increase demand and production while wind farm output is at its highest, receiving an additional payment from National Grid for doing so. This means National Grid can leave the wind generation running and avoid making controversial ‘constraint payments’, whereby wind farms are paid to close down when there is too much wind.
Utility Week 15th Feb 2016 read more »
Linlithgow’s Natural Grid
Linlithgow Natural Grid’s (LNG) ‘Heat from the Street’ (HftS) project aims to install the first node in an innovative and expandable Linlithgow Heat Network. A new Energy Centre will be installed, utilising recovered heat from sewer wastewater and powered by solar electricity, with underground district heating links initially connecting six nationally prestigious historic community buildings in the centre of Linlithgow, including St Michael’s Church, Burgh Halls and Linlithgow Palace (birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots).
Linlithgow Natural Grid 14th Feb 2016 read more »
National Infrastructure Priority
We need to take a radically new approach to improving the energy performance of Scotland’s homes by making energy efficiency a National Infrastructure Priority. This would give a project to improve our housing stock the same political focus, and the same kind of multi-year, multi-billion-pound budgets that we give to spanning the Forth with a new bridge or dualling our major roads. All the parties currently represented in the Scottish Parliament have already committed to making energy efficiency an infrastructure priority in last year’s Climate Change Leaders’ Agreement, something that Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) has been advocating strongly in its manifesto for the 2016 elections and elsewhere. And the Scottish Government announced that this approach would be the centrepiece of its response to Scotland’s fourth missed climate change target last year. But the challenge is to move from commitments to reality, by setting out a clear goal for the project, a clear plan for how it would be delivered, and a clear budget and financing strategy. Civic organisations across Scotland, including SCCS and WWF, and other groups campaigning around health, poverty, business, and children, recently set out their vision for what this approach should look like. We believe all homes need to be upgraded to a C energy rating by 2025, backed by funding of upwards of £10 billion over the next decade, split between the public and private sectors. Those who can’t pay must be supported with grants to improve their houses; those who are able to pay should have access to low or zero interest loans. A project of this scale means upgrading around 130,000 homes a year over the next decade. But if we succeed we will help to slash fuel bills, address fuel poverty, reduce climate emissions, tackle excess winter deaths and ease pressure on NHS budgets, and stimulate up to 9,000 net jobs a year, spread across Scotland.
Scotland on Sunday 14th Feb 2016 read more »
ANUPAM PATRA is the energy industry’s worst nightmare — and a glimpse of its future. The 41-year-old uses three smartphone apps to keep tabs on his household power consumption. He schedules energy-intensive activities for when his rooftop solar panels are pumping out maximum electricity, removing the need to draw expensive power from the grid. When the sun came out on Thursday, at 11am, he started a load of laundry from work with a tap of his touchscreen. The upshot? The annual energy bill for his four-bedroom detached house in Gloucester is £600 — about half the typical rate of £1,100. What’s more, he receives so much money from the government through a hugely generous solar subsidy scheme — which has been dramatically slashed for newcomers — that he does not expect to pay a penny for electricity until 2034, when his deal expires. “I actually got paid £80 last year,” he said. “Unless our consumption goes up, I don’t see that changing.” Patra’s is an extreme case, but he represents a future that has arrived much faster than executives of the big six British energy companies had expected. Keith Anderson, chief corporate officer of Scottish Power, admitted: “In its current form, the utility is dead. It’s a dinosaur.” “There is a transformation going on that may well be like the telecoms revolution of the past 20 years,” said Iain Conn, chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica. “One can envision a future where distributed generation is the main source and large fossil-fuel stations back them up.”
Sunday Times 14th Feb 2016 read more »
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has been critical to decarbonising the UK’s heat sector, reports from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have found. Several reports released by DECC yesterday (11 February) evaluated both the domestic and non-domestic RHI schemes, concluding that, after positive feedback, more than 800MW of additional capacity could potentially be added each year.
Edie 12th Feb 2016 read more »
Solar power will cut pool bills and help raise more people’s wellbeing.
Frome Standard 12th Feb 2016 read more »