Regrettably, with this issue, we are going to stop producing Micro Power News. We started this weekly news summary over ten years ago when small-scale renewables and microgeneration technologies were not well known about at all. Hopefully, in a small way, we have helped to spread information about these revolutionary technologies, and helped people at one end of the country learn about what is going on at the other.
But we feel that, now that more is known about microgeneration, we have served our purpose.
If you want to keep up with news about this subject, most of the stories covered here will also be covered in UK Nuclear News which you can subscribe to here: http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/mailing-lists/
Or Energy News Service (which is much the same) here http://electricityinfo.org/daily-news-service/
The News archives will still be available on the microgenscotland.org.uk website for a while yet.
Environmentally friendly schools with solar panels on their roof will have to pay hundreds of pounds extra under changes to business rates. But academies, free schools or private schools with the same type of panels will get relief, because of their charitable status. Philip Hammond, the chancellor, is facing further pressure to soften the rate reforms after complaints from high street businesses this week that they will face a sharp rise in charges. “It’s absolutely bonkers,” said Sarah Ewins, business manager of Eleanor Palmer primary school in Camden, north London, where pupils organised cake bakes and other events last year to raise £24,000 for the panels. Instead of reducing energy bills, Ms Ewins said that the panels would now cost an extra £500 in addition to the £4,000 increase to the school’s rates bill. According to the Solar Trade Association, the rateable value for self-use solar panels will rise from £8 per kilowatt to up to £61.60. Campaigners said it was “bewildering” that the government should seek to penalise groups using clean energy to reduce their electricity bills. Leonie Greene, of the Solar Trade Association, said: “The proposed tax hike on solar is bewildering and completely at odds with the government’s new industrial strategy. “Rooftop solar is an ideal means for schools, hospitals and businesses to reduce their energy costs while doing their bit for the environment.” Nina Schrank, energy campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “By penalising these people, ministers could stop the solar industry in its tracks before it even gets going.”
Times 24th Feb 2017 read more »
The Scottish government has capped a massive hike in business rates bills which threatened to undermine ambitious plans to boost plans to boost renewable energy generation north of the border. According to Scottish Renewables, smaller hydro, solar and wind schemes faced business rates increases of up to 650 per cent as part of a wider revaluation of the property tax launched by the Holyrood government in December. However Dereck Mackay, finance minister in the Scottish Nationalist Party administration has announced that rate increase next year for a host of small businesses will be capped at 12.5 per cent.
Utility Week 23rd Feb 2017 read more »
Sunamp has led a successful funding bid jointly with Glasgow University and partners in China to boost the performance of Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) power plants that use clean, although intermittent, renewable heat sources for distributed heat and power supply in China. By integrating Sunamp’s heat storage technologies with the ORC, according to the company it is possible to produce a more dependable distributed heat and power supply using a wide range of renewable heat sources, such as solar energy. ORC has the same working principle as a steam power cycle, except it uses organic compounds with low boiling points as working fluids. It is believed to be among the most promising technologies to use sources of renewable heat and cut pollution generated by fossil fuels, and it perfectly fits the needs of a country like China, still mainly relying on coal for its heat and power needs, but with big plans to increase penetration of renewables.
Renewable Energy Focus 22nd Feb 2017 read more »
As renewable energy projects are rolled out in cities around the world, we spoke to companies and organisations working in the sector to find out what’s happening and what to expect. Here’s what they said.
Guardian 22nd Feb 2017 read more »
Britain will get its first public filling station for hydrogen-powered cars on Wednesday as part of a bet by Royal Dutch Shell on a technology vying with battery-powered electric vehicles to replace fossil fuels in road transportation. Shell is already part of a public-private consortium planning 400 hydrogen filling stations across Germany by 2023, together with partners including its French rival Total. The Cobham facility marks the start of a wider effort to support growth of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in north-west Europe.
FT 22nd Feb 2017 read more »
Researchers have moved one step closer to the dream of the renewables industry: batteries that can store large amounts of energy cheaply for extended periods.
Climate News Network 21st Feb 2017 read more »
Demand Side Management
The Sunshine tariff project testing the ability of time of use (ToU) tariffs to promote domestic demand side response (DSR) has been completed with mixed results, suggesting homeowners are not able to shift enough demand to offset the need for grid upgrades. The trial, which ran over 1 April – 30 September 2016, offered participants a smart meter and a reduced tariff rate of 5p/kWh between 10am-4pm compared to 18p/kWh for the remaining hours. These ‘Sunshine hours’ were chosen as they were closest to the income received by a solar generator through the feed-in tariff and therefore could create a greater sense of connection between the customer and the solar farm. The results of the joint project between Western Power Distribution (WPD), Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network, Tempus Energy and Regen SW showed that those on the Sunshine Tariff on average shifted 10% of their demand compared to the control group. The analysis states that in order to offset the generation from a 250kW solar farm approximately 650 Sunshine Tariff customers would be required, around 20% of the homes in Wadebridge where the trial took place. The group of households using automation technology were able to shift 13% of their consumption into the 10am – 4pm period compared to 5% for those without automation, suggesting just 360 Sunshine Tariff customers would be required to offset generation from the same size solar farm. While this demonstrates the potential of automated control technology in shifting electricity consumption to the middle of the day, the project showed that domestic DSR is only able to shift limited demand.
Solar Portal 20th Feb 2017 read more »
A pioneering £1m battery storage system in Somerset will transfer power to the local electricity network after linking directly to a nearby 1.5MW solar park. The newly-opened Copley Wood facility is said to be the first of its kind in the UK; the 640KWh containerised system was shipped in from China and uses a lithium iron phosphate battery. Funded through Ofgem’s Network Innovation Allowance, the one-year scheme sees Western Power Distribution (WPD) partner with British Solar Renewables and the National Solar Centre. The project aims to demonstrate the technical and commercial feasibility of connecting a large battery storage facility with a local electricity network and a solar park – Higher Hill farm in Glastonbury.
Edie 17th Feb 2017 read more »
Recent stats by the government’s new department for tepid yellow show that UK solar managed to increase by 7% in 2016 While this won’t make much of a dent in the giant climate compromise that’s heading our way (and it’s a balloon-hissing 21% less than 2015’s increase), perhaps this increase is not too bad considering the giant lurches of the ships’ deck on which those of us trying to build new solar PV installations have to operate. While the FIT changes have dropped the installation of new solar installs dramatically, they haven’t killed it. It’s true that the big growth areas of the previous years – notably solar farms – are dead ducks. Yet plucky homeowners continue to add solar to their houses. And there remains a great opportunity in the churches, schools, factories that people like BEC specialise in. That’s not to say it’s going to happen overnight. But we are still building new solar systems.
Brighton Energy 17th Feb 2017 read more »
The BIG Energy Upgrade is a regional flagship £14.9 million project, part financed by the European Union Regional Development Fund, addressing the priority needs of both reduction in carbon emissions and the creation of jobs. To address the issues in an integrated approach the University of Sheffield has brought together a multidisciplinary team of academics working alongside Local Authorities, ALMOs, social housing providers and an energy services company. The BIG Energy Upgrade, is delivered by a consortium of local authorities and social housing providers, led by Kirklees Council. It is a very ambitious project as, for the first time in the UK, the Partners will work together in adopting a fully integrated, whole-house approach while installing energy efficiency measures and micro generation technologies in households. Through individual household assessments the project will identify a highly individual package of measures for each of the households which will provide optimal insulation and energy control to the house.
Sheffield University 17th Feb 2017 read more »