Over the past 10 years, UK electricity consumption – as well as natural gas consumption – has fallen steadily year on year. Electricity sales are now 13 per cent lower than 10 years ago. They are 25 per cent below the level government planning forecasts – which justified Hinkley C’s development – anticipated they would be. One of the main reasons electricity demand is falling is simply that the everyday products we enjoy, that require electricity to operate, do so far more efficiently than before. It is of paramount importance that those charged with delivering Brexit do not willfully reverse this trend in order to satisfy some abstract philosophy.
Business Green 21st July 2016 read more »
A new report estimates the EU energy renovation market at EUR 109 billion in 2015 and 882,900 jobs. It shows that the size of the EU energy renovation market could increase by almost half the current energy renovation market if a 40% energy savings target is adopted for 2030. This would lead to more than one million additional jobs. Increasing the size of the emerging EU energy renovation market would require the design of an overarching, integrated and streamlined framework for buildings based on the “Efficiency First” principle. Such an overarching framework would, as required by the better regulation package, streamline reporting and ensure coherence between the investment-climate-energy provisions currently included in at least 14 EU policy instruments. It would also simplify implementation for Member States, avoid double-counting and facilitate compliance checking. The first step towards this transformation is to address the gaps and loopholes identified in the 14 existing EU instruments aiming to increase investments in reducing energy consumption in buildings and their related GHG emissions. The report suggests a specific recommendation for each of the identified gaps and loopholes. The “Efficiency First” investment-climate-energy proposed framework for buildings would require new governance structure at EU level including setting-up an EU Energy Renovation Facilitator and an EU Risk Sharing Facility. This would give industry confidence to invest in the industrialisation of energy renovation which would unleash the 4th industrial revolution in Europe. The report suggests the first steps towards the design of such a framework.
OpenEXP 22nd July 2016 read more »
Solar is Booming
Solar energy has grown 100-fold in this country in the past decade. Globally, solar has doubled seven times since 2000, and Dubai received a bid recently for 800 megawatts of solar at a stunning “US 2.99 cents per kilowatt hour” — unsubsidized! For context, the average residential price for electricity in the United States is 12 cents per kilowatt-hour. Solar energy has been advancing considerably faster than anyone expected just a few years ago thanks to aggressive market-based deployment efforts around the globe. Since it’s hard to keep up with the speed-of-light changes, and this is the fuel that will power more and more of the global economy in the near future, here are all the latest charts and facts to understand it. If you are looking for one chart to sum up the whole solar energy miracle, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) Chairman Michael Liebreich has one from his keynote address at BNEF’s annual conference in April titled “In Search of the Miraculous”: Thanks to sustained long-term deployment programs, Liebreich explained, “We’ve seen the costs come down by a factor of 150 since 1975. We’ve seen volume up by 115,000.” “How much more miracle-y do you need your miracles to be,” Liebreich added. What that chart doesn’t reveal is that the price drop and the sales volume increase are directly linked. There is a learning curve: Over the past four decades, for every doubling in scale of the solar industry, the price of solar modules has dropped roughly 26 percent. Given how fast solar PV has been coming down in price — and given the world’s commitment in Paris last December to keep ratcheting down carbon pollution in the coming decades to keep total global warming “well below 2°C” — it seems entirely possible if not likely that solar power will outperform the IEA’s scenario. Indeed, it’s precisely because clean energy has been moving at the speed of light that “almost everything you know about climate change solutions is probably outdated,” as I’ve been detailing for months. Stay tuned to this channel for more surprises.
Climate Progress 18th July 2016 read more »
The Renewable Energy Association – the largest trade body for the industry in the UK – has launched a new guide to help commercial building owners and tenants looking to reduce their carbon footprint and gain control over their on-going energy costs. The guide was written by REA members with legal, financial and technical expertise in commercial rooftop solar, and has been published jointly with the BRE National Solar Centre.
Scottish Energy News 20th July 2016 read more »
Green Deal Failure
A damning report on serial failures in the Green Deal energy efficiency scheme published today appears to provide an explanation as to why the Dept for Energy (DECC) was suddenly abolished last week by the prime minister without explanation. It is likely that DECC was axed simply to minimise the political fall-out from today’s highly-critical report by MPs on the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee – published while parliament is on holiday.
Scottish Energy News 20th July 2016 read more »
The Public Accounts Committee report says that failures highlighted by the design and implementation of household energy efficiency schemes put public money at risk and must not be repeated. The Committee’s report concludes take up for the Government’s Green Deal loans scheme was “woefully low” because the scheme was not adequately tested. The forecast of demand for Green Deal loans was excessively optimistic, says the Committee, and “gave a completely misleading picture of the scheme’s prospects to Parliament and other stakeholders”. It raises concerns that while taxpayers provided £25 million—more than a third of the initial investment in the Green Deal Finance Company—to cover set-up and operational costs, the Department of Energy and Climate Change had no formal role in approving company expenditure or ensuring it achieved value for money. The Committee also finds the Government lacks the information it needs to measure progress against the objectives of the complementary Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, including its impact on fuel poverty.
Parliament 20th July 2016 read more »
Business Green 20th July 2016 read more »
Google Energy Efficiency
Google says it has cut its vast data centres’ energy use by 15% by applying artificial intelligence to manage them more efficiently than humans. The servers that power billions of web searches, streamed films and social media accounts are estimated to account for around 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Google is believed to have one of the biggest fleets of them in the world. On Wednesday, Google said it had proved it could cut total energy use at its data centres by 15% by deploying machine learning from Deepmind, the British AI company it bought in 2014 for around £400m. Such centres require significant energy for cooling, as well as constant adjustments to air temperature, pressure and humidity, to run as efficiently as possible.
Guardian 20th July 2016 read more »
Reducing Energy Demand
A new book analysing energy and environmental law and policy in Europe and the US features contributions by two Centre for Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED) researchers who argue that reducing energy demand will prove more challenging than is commonly assumed and that current policy approaches are insufficient. They argue that a multidisciplinary approach that combines social and technical considerations and emphasises the need for wider changes to energy systems is needed to deliver the transformation required.
Centre for Innovation and Energy Demand 20th July 2016 read more »
Businesses could provide electricity equivalent to output of six new power stations by flexing demand and utilising better-enhance onsite generation projects, a new report from the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) has claimed. The Flexibility on Demand report, released on Tuesday (19 July), has revealed that businesses venturing in to demand response initiatives could establish a 10-fold increase in revenue streams – having already gained £100m from the Government’s Capacity Market.The report notes that UK energy consumers would save £2.3bn by 2035 and that more business-led demand response initiatives would reduce demand on the electricity grid and lower national costs by £8.1bn by 2030 – more than £300 per household. ADE’s director Tim Rotheray said: “Keeping the lights on and our factories running is becoming increasingly challenging as the electricity market changes. We are building more wind and solar, which cannot always be depended on, and we are seeing our traditional large nuclear and coal power plants close down.
Edie 20th July 2016 read more »
Britain could save billions of pounds in energy costs by paying businesses to shift their power usage or run their backup generators instead of building new power plants, an industry report has found. Business energy users could ease strain on the grid by 9.8 gigawatts (GW) – a sixth of peak UK power demand, or more three times the capacity of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear plant, the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) said. National Grid and the National Infrastructure Commission have both backed increased use of such techniques, known as “demand side response” services, to help keep the lights on. So far as little as 1GW of such capacity is thought to be on offer, but the ADE, which represents groups providing demand side response services, claimed there was scope for an almost ten-fold increase. The group estimated that it would be economically viable for industrial users to temporarily cut their demand by 2.8GW, by scheduling power-intensive processes for different times of day. Commercial users such as retailers or public sector organisations could provide another 1.7GW of capacity, for example by temporarily turning off refrigeration units and letting the insulation keep goods cold. A further 5.3GW could be provided by getting businesses to run their existing small-scale power generators such as combined heat and power plants or diesel generators, which provide backup power for sites such as hospitals.
Telegraph 19th July 2016 read more »
A new project to design, build and operate combined heat and power (CHP)-based district heating networks is set to get underway in the UK.The project is a joint venture between renewables investment fund Low Carbon and Energy Networks Europe (ENE), a consortium that includes construction firm Urbis Living and CHP project developer First Generation Ltd. Low Carbon announced this week that it has now acquired a majority stake in ENE and the first project is set to begin as part of an urban regeneration project in co-ordination with Bristol City Council. Low Carbon said the project will involve building a replicable, scalable development and financing model for CHP-based district heating networks across the UK.
Decentralised Energy 19th July 2016 read more »
Sam Laidlaw, the former Centrica boss, has invested in a British home battery company with two other veteran UK energy executives in a sign of surging interest in disruptive solar power storage. Mr Laidlaw has backed Moixa Technology, a small London-based company that makes briefcase-sized battery systems that can store electricity from solar panels and sell it to the grid. Separately, Ian Marchant, former chief executive of SSE, another big six energy company, and Brian Count, previously CEO of Innogy, have also invested in Moixa, the Financial Times has learnt. The trio are among the most high-profile UK backers of energy storage, a technology that threatens to disrupt the big, centralised electricity systems the three men once helped to run.
FT 17th July 2016 read more »
Renew Economy 18th July 2016 read more »
Slurry from a Scots farm running an AD-power (anaerobic digestion) scheme has helped the developer scoop a UK industry award. Biogest was awarded the prize for “Best international micro-scale plant” for its Biogest Power Compact technology, specially designed for dairy farms, operating on 100% slurry at the Littleton Farm in Dumfries-shire. Power Compact biogas plants with an electric supply of 100–300 kW have certain advantages concerning plant operation, energy efficiency and operation safety. Currently, four Power Compact biogas plants – built and financed by Biogest – are in operation in the UK. They are operated by partners in the agricultural sector and supported by Biogest technically and with regard to biological issues. The biogas has 124 kW electrical capacity and is able to cover not only its own energy needs, but also to supply approximately 370 households with energy, by feeding in to the public net-work. Thermal energy is used for drying sawdust and woodchips. The plant is fuelled exclusively with slurry, which, after processing within the biogas plant, is available as high-quality ecologic fertilizer.
Scottish Energy News 21st July 2016 read more »
An innovative project involving the world’s third largest ice cream manufacturer, R&R Ice Cream, Iona Capital and resource management company, Veolia, is using ice cream by-product for biogas to power the National Grid. The by-product consisting of sugar, fat and protein, which is left behind after production line cleansing, is to be transformed into biomethane, a biogas. This will then go to the National Grid to heat UK homes, thanks to the nearby Anaerobic Digestion (AD) facility funded by Iona Capital and operated by Veolia. The R&R factory, based in Leeming Bar, North Yorkshire, is the UK’s largest producer of own label ice cream as well as top brands such as Nestlé’s Fab, Rowntrees’ Fruit Pastille lollies, and Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate sticks, and now what’s left over from the production of these sweet treats will help power local homes.
Renewable Energy Focus 20th July 2016 read more »
Business Green 21st July 2016 read more »
Crucially, the National Grid emphasised that the greatest challenge towards meeting future decarbonisation targets in the UK would not be in renewable electricity, but in boosting low carbon heat and transport, for which it urged for a “clear pathway”. “To do this in the most cost-effective way, approximately 25 per cent of heat and of transport need to be decarbonised by 2030,” the National Grid report argued. “This will allow us to continue on a pathway to achieve the longer-term target.” Looking towards a solution for decarbonising heat, another recent report by the H21 Leeds City Gate project set out how the UK’s gas grid could be incrementally converted to run on zero-carbon hydrogen with the assistance of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) – albeit at a potential cost of £2bn.So, with heat accounting for 45 per cent of the UK’s energy needs, the sector’s decarbonisation is clearly a pressing issue – although also, it would seem, an expensive one. Yet, another report last week argues making use of the UK’s existing gas network infrastructure could offer a practical and affordable means of tackling the issue – at least in comparison to the widespread electrification of the heating sector. Prepared by KPMG on behalf of the Energy Networks Association (ENA), which represents the UK’s energy network providers, the report considers the challenge the UK faces in reducing carbon emissions from heating – particularly for homes and businesses – over the next 35 years. Entitled 2050 Energy Scenarios – The UK Gas Networks role in a 2050 whole energy system, the report sets out four possible scenarios for the UK heating system through to 2050: Evolution of gas networks – whereby gas remains the main heating fuel; Prosumer – featuring an increase in self-generating heating alongside wider rise in electric heating; Diversified energy sources with different technologies used across the country; Electric future – based on a general switch to electric heating systems. The report concedes the future is most likely to see a mixture of these four possible scenarios, and that each comes with a set of significant logistical challenges that will need to be overcome.
Business Green 18th July 2016 read more »
The Labour Party has voiced its support for the continued use of gas grids in the future through the use of secure and sustainable green gas. It said that “ripping up all our gas mains and throwing everyone’s boilers out” is not a sensible approach to decarbonising heat in the UK. The party’s Parliamentary Labour Party Energy and Climate Change Committee has set out the policy changes a future government would need to adopt to allow gas to be decarbonised in a way that would use the gas networks in its Green Gas Book. The book, which was launched in the House of Commons yesterday, is sponsored by the Energy Networks Association (ENA) and promotes the use of low carbon gases such as biomethane and hydrogen.
Utility Week 15th July 2016 read more »
Fife Council Turbine
Fife Council has switched on its first commercial-scale wind turbine which it hopes will generate £100,000 a year. The 250ft high structure at Lower Melville Wood reached its final milestone when it was connected to the National Grid. It was built last December, but has stood still since, awaiting connection. The £1.3 million turbine at the council’s recycling and resource recovery facility near Ladybank is expected to generate enough electricity to power 200 homes.
Courier 16th July 2016 read more »