Six months have passed since major changes to the feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme, a legitimate time to assess performance. Our campaign with Friends of the Earth and 10:10 may have secured FiTs, but you didn’t need a crystal ball to foresee difficulties. Our hope is that ministers in the new Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy will be concerned by the dramatic extent to which solar power has been marginalised here over the past year, just as it has grown to dominate renewables investment globally. While the department restructures we have been busy working with members on cost-effective proposals for the new ministers to help get the British industry back on track.
Solar Portal 25th Aug 2016 read more »
Solar Farming in Nottinghamshire
Plans for a 4MW solar farm on four hectares of green belt land in Nottinghamshire were granted planning approval by Gedling Borough Council yesterday. The council’s planning committee had been recommended to accept developer Earthworm Energy’s case that the proposed array constituted a ‘sustainable development’ and should therefore be given the go-ahead for construction on green belt land near Calverton.
Business Green 25th August 2016 read more »
Healthy fast food restaurant chain LEON has committed to using 100 per cent renewable electricity under a new green energy contract with Opus Energy. Energy provider Opus Energy announced on Tuesday that LEON has opted for its 100 per cent renewable tariff, as well as a fixed energy option to protect against fluctuations in the energy market and help the restaurant chain better plan its energy use. The contract means all of LEON’s electricity needs will be met by generation from wind, solar, hydro and anaerobic digestion, according to Opus Energy.
Business Green 25th Aug 2016 read more »
In recent years, many farmers and landowners have been able to take advantage of the growth in renewable energy by leasing their land to energy companies. For many this has become a vital source of income, however two recent decisions have left many in the agricultural community scratching their heads about the government’s energy policy. In July, with little notice, the newly formed Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) made an amendment to Renewable Heat Incentive Regulations 2011 dealing with non-domestic installation, which may lead to a cut in the level of tariffs that operators of solid biomass combined heat and power installations will be able to claim.
Business Green 25th Aug 2016 read more »
RWE Innogy UK’s latest run-of-river hydro scheme in Scotland has been officially ‘launched’ today by Paul Wheelhouse MSP, the Scottish Energy Minister, and Hans Bünting, Chief Operating Officer Renewables of RWE International. Board members from the British Hydropower Association, contractors and members of the local community were among invited guests on a tour of the 3-megawatts (MW) Cia Aig hydro scheme, visiting the powerhouse and intake weir and viewing first-hand the process of renewable electricity generation.
Scottish Energy News 24th Aug 2016 read more »
Scotsman 24th Aug 2016 read more »
The words are stenciled on the front of the Apple Store, a glass box sandwiched between a nondescript Thai restaurant and a CVS pharmacy in downtown Palo Alto: “This store runs on 100 percent renewable energy.” If Apple’s plans play out, it will be able to make that claim not only for its operations throughout California but also beyond, as the company aims to meet its growing needs for electricity with green sources like solar, wind and hydroelectric power. Like other big companies before it, including Walmart and Google, Apple recently received a federal designation for its energy subsidiary that allows it to become a wholesale seller of electricity from coast to coast. In effect, Apple is creating its own green utility company, although the main customer is itself. The motives may be economic as much as they are environmental. As a wholesaler, Apple could reduce the cost of its electricity load, which reached 831 million kilowatt-hours in the last fiscal year — enough to power about 76,000 homes for a year. But like a growing number of corporations, Apple is intent on reducing carbon dioxide emissions from electricity production — one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
New York Times 23rd Aug 2016 read more »
PLANS for a renewables storage scheme on the Isle of Lewis which could power 200,000 homes will be unveiled today. The proposals from Eishken Limited would see a battery-style installation built next to a windfarm on the island which would be capable of generating 300 megawatts (MW) of electricity. The large pumped storage hydro (PSH) scheme will store electricity, principally generated by windfarms on Lewis. It will also double the use of the Western Isles Link, the cable being installed by the National Grid to export and import electricity generated from renewable energy sources on the islands.
Herald 23rd Aug 2016 read more »
Edie 24th Aug 2016 read more »
BBC 24th Aug 2016 read more »
Scottish Energy News 25th Aug 2016 read more »
A key criticism of renewables is intermittency of supply, with power-generating potential lying in the lap of the gods. When the wind doesn’t blow or the sun goes abroad for a few weeks, as it often does, we could be left sitting in the dark unable to boil the kettle. Scientists around the world are working hard on possible solutions, with all sorts of research into areas such as new-generation batteries. But we already possess tried and tested technology that has the potential to play a huge role in safeguarding our future energy security – hydro electric pumped storage. The technique involves using electricity to pump water from a loch to an upper reservoir during times of low power demand, allowing it to be released to generate power in high demand periods. The UK is home to just four such schemes, two of them in Scotland – at the landmark Ben Cruachan power station, on the shores of Loch Awe, and at Foyers, overlooking Loch Ness. And plans have already been set out to increase provision, with the Coire Glas development near Invergarry receiving consent nearly three years ago and proposals to more than double capacity at Ben Cruachan being explored. Experts claim it is the only electricity storage method currently capable of operating at a commercial scale. So why is nothing happening? The main barriers are cash. Investors are being put off by a lack of clarity with regard to policy and regulation, according to industry body Scottish Renewables. Scottish energy minister Paul Wheelhouse is today visiting Foyers to highlight the huge potential of the technology. Let’s hope he can persuade his Westminster counterparts to end the ongoing uncertainty over renewables development and seize this opportunity to benefit the planet and our economy to the estimated tune of more than £1 billion.
Scotsman 23rd Aug 2016 read more »
Stephen Cirrell: I am currently working with a large group of local authorities that plan to build and operate their own solar farms, but recent news about Forest Heath’s purchase of the solar farm in Lakenheath demonstrates that there are always other options. Normally, local authorities survey their extensive land assets and go through a process of long listing and short listing sites for potential development. Once they have some sites worth working with, more detailed investigations into the grid connection potential and planning permission can be undertaken. This is the way in which over twenty schemes that are currently ongoing have been developed. The turbulent policy environment and the government’s decisions over financial incentives have delayed these projects from their original timeframes. As a result, different business cases have had to be identified, using private wire or sleeving of the power or the potential for sale of power on a retail basis via some form of white label deal. For those authorities that did not have such potential, they are faced with a further delay; until solar panel prices reduce to a level that would put their business cases back on track. But the policy environment has its advantages too. During this delay, the movement on battery storage has been amazing. This now means that projects built out in 2017/18 (which may include many of the schemes referred to) can also add battery storage and increase the options for income generation from sales of power further.
Solar Portal 23rd Aug 2016 read more »
A Suffolk local authority has become the owner of one of the largest council-owned solar farms in the country after using capital reserves to purchase the Toggam Farm solar farm, in Lakenheath. Forest Heath District Council finalised the purchase of the 12.5MW site on 19 August for a fee of £14.5 million. The council says the solar farm, which began generating power in June, will bring in £300,000 in the first year from renewables subsidies, even after the capital outlay has been recouped. This is expected to rise to just over £700,000 per year after a decade, bringing in millions for the council over the 25 year project.
Solar Portal 22nd Aug 2016 read more »
Eastern Daily Press 20th Aug 2016 read more »
Theresa May’s delay in giving final approval to Hinkley also gives us a chance to look more holistically at future energy policy. With around 4.5 million UK households suffering from fuel poverty and over 30% of greenhouse gas emissions attributable to heat, even with 100% renewable electricity we would still need to do a lot more to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the heat sector to meet climate targets. In Aberdeen councillors have just unanimously agreed to an £11m investment to expand the City’s district heating network — offering 350 more homes the chance to save on their energy bills. Aberdeen Heat and Power (AHP) has grown substantially since it began in 2002 and currently provides heat for 2,361 flats in 33 multi-story blocks, two sheltered housing blocks and 13 public buildings. District heating networks can be fed with heat from a range of sources from gas-fired and biomass-fired Combined Heat and Power (CHP) stations which also generate electricity, to deep boreholes which extract geothermal heat from underground. In Glasgow heat is being captured from trapped water in old flooded coal mines via heat pumps. In Lerwick Shetland Heat and Power is hoping to extend its heat network by installing a 2MW heat pump made by Star Renewables in Glasgow to abstract heat from Lerwick Harbour. In the London Borough of Newham there are plans to harness the energy from ‘fatbergs’, the bus-size balls of grease which cost Thames Water an estimated £1 million a month to remove from its sewers. Despite enthusiastic support for energy storage technology both sides of the political spectrum –including The Telegraph right – the government is yet to be convinced we can cope with a high percentage of intermittent renewables. This is where CHP-district heating networks could be crucial. In Germany, for instance, as wind and solar PV take on a greater proportion of total electricity production, CHP plants are expected to take on the role of providing more flexible electricity generation. At the moment CHP plants focus on meeting the demand for heat. Electricity production is seen as a useful by-product. But in future the focus will switch to providing electricity when the output from wind and solar is low. On the other hand district heating systems could absorb large quantities of surplus electricity by using heat pumps to heat water which can be stored for use later.
Energydesk 22nd Aug 2016 read more »
Professor Barnham has just returned from a visit to the United States and looked at a number of promising new initiatives in renewable electricity, as well as discussing sustained progress on the ultimate renewable challenge: developing a solar fuel that could eventually replace gasoline in cars, trucks, buses, trains and aircraft.
NFLA 22nd Aug 2016 read more »
Small wind turbines scaled to the right size for residential and urban areas have so far lived in the shadows of their larger wind-farm-sized counterparts. The power output has been too low for a reasonable return on investment through energy savings and the noise they produce is louder than most homeowners can deal with…A Dutch renewable energy start-up called The Archimedes is working to solve both of those problems in a new class of small-scale wind turbine — one that is almost silent and is far more efficient at converting wind into energy. The company states that the Liam F1 turbine could generate 1,500 kWh of energy per year at wind speeds of 5m/s, enough to cover half of an average household’s energy use.
Ecosnippets 22nd Aug 2016 read more »
Thanks to the great support we’ve received over the last few weeks, our solar build at Infinity Foods’ warehouse is now under way. 200 panels are now fitted to one of the warehouse roofs (50kWp); a second roof – a flat roof over Infinity’s office block – awaits its new decoration of panels, due over the next few weeks.
Brighton Energy 22nd Aug 2016 read more »
The renewable energy hub at Glenskinno Farm – which operates the largest wood chip drying facility in north east Scotland – is holding an open day to showcase its new CHP system next week. Absolute Solar and Wind partnered with the Gall family at Glenskinno Farm to enable them to diversify their business through installing five biomass boilers as well as a state of the art CHP system and wind turbine. By installing the biomass, CHP and wind turbine on site, this project has provided a platform for the landowners to grow their business and become more sustainable by reducing costs and generating significant new income.
Scottish Energy News 22nd Aug 2016 read more »
Air Source Heat Pumps
Glasgow-based Star Renewable Energy has been lined up as a ‘star’ participant at the ‘future thermal energy’ conference at Warwick University this autumn for its pioneering role in developing and installing the first air source heat pump installation in Britain to provide central renewable heating for residential high-rise buildings. Large heat pumps are increasingly expected to play a key role in meeting government heating de-carbonisation targets and Star’s innovative large scale air source heat pump is expected to become the pathway to low carbon and cheaper heat for existing social housing homes. The 400kW air source ‘Neat pump’ is connected to a district heating network which delivers low carbon heating and hot water to seven high-rise blocks in the city’s Hillpark Drive housing scheme.
Scottish Energy News 22nd Aug 2016 read more »
A new venture spearheaded by Elon Musk will create house roofs made entirely of solar panels, in a sweeping expansion of Tesla’s clean energy ambitions. Tesla has finalized a $2.6bn deal to buy solar power company SolarCity to produce solar “shingles” – photovoltaic material that would be fashioned into the shape of a house roof. “I think this is really a fundamental part of achieving differentiated product strategy, where you have a beautiful roof,” Musk said. “It’s not a thing on the roof. It is the roof.”
Guardian 19th Aug 2016 read more »
Business Green 20th Aug 2016 read more »
London Olympic Park
It has been four years since the Stratford site’s transformation from East London wilderness to the host of London’s 2012 Olympic triumph was complete. But for the UK chief executive of the energy company which powered the Games, the area is a blueprint for a new kind of energy system which is only just beginning to emerge. Engie is not a household name but the £32bn French company, formerly known as GDF Suez, is one of the largest power generators in the UK and stands shoulder to shoulder with the Big Six in the business energy supply market. In winning the bid to power the London Olympic Park the company grasped the opportunity to turn its energy supply business on its head and create a model which is being quietly rolled out across the UK from Whitehall to Leeds. The site includes two energy centres and a network of over 11 miles of pipe work which control a small fleet of biomass boilers, combined heat and power plants and water storage units. Mr Petrie explains that biomass provides the steady baseload power needed throughout the day by burning waste wood sourced from UK landscapers at 650 degrees. To meet energy demand over peak demand periods the energy can also be stored in hot water tanks which are topped up using combined and heat and power boilers which run on gas. As a result the Olympic Park is able to generate 75pc of its own energy with carbon emissions 20pc lower than the rest of the UK while using smart technology to keep costs low. It’s a feat Government can currently only dream of achieving at a national level as it grapples with the eye-watering economics of supporting large-scale low-carbon projects and the complexity of shifting households on to smart energy meters. For Engie the shift away from its past as conventional energy behemoth has only just begun. “The first thing is to connect the network across East London. The second is to become more and more involved with the end-user through intelligent systems which can monitor their useage and help customers to optimise their energy use,” Mr Petrie says “Maybe in 10 to 20 years we could be selling something else aside from just energy.”
Telegraph 19th Aug 2016 read more »
An energy project near Larne, County Antrim, has obtained more multi-million pound funding from the European Union. The project, being developed by Gaelectric, will store energy in the form of compressed air in underground caverns created within geological salt deposits on the Islandmagee peninsula.Financing totalling 8.2m euros (£6.9m) covers the drilling of an appraisal well and detailed studies into the design and commercial structure of the project. It previously was awarded EU funding of 6.5m euros (£5.4M) in 2015. The company said the project would provide generation capacity of 330mw for periods of up eight hours duration, enough to meet the electricity needs of more than 200,000 homes.
BBC 1st Aug 2016 read more »