The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) launches today a new initiative centred on local authorities to continue the impressive and rapid deployment of renewable energy projects across the UK and Ireland in the face of subsidy cuts. Get it from the Sun (GIFTS) is a new initiative put forward by Professor Keith Barnham that aims to provide information and encourage cooperation among local authorities, town councils, charities, community energy groups, environmental NGOs and individuals working towards all-renewable electricity supplies at the local level, in spite of the extensive subsidy cuts to renewable energy by the UK Government. Renewable electricity is the quickest way to achieve the carbon reductions the government agreed at COP21. In the NFLA‟s view, such local initiatives can overcome government opposition.
NFLA 29th April 2016 read more »
The percentage of the public in ‘strong support’ of solar has soared to new highs according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s latest public attitudes tracker. DECC surveyed more than 2,000 members of the public in late March and asked them a series of questions related to the wider energy market, including the public support for renewables questions asked every other survey. The latest wave of the survey showed that 44% of those surveyed said they were in ‘strong support’ of solar as a source of renewable energy, higher than any previous wave. General support for solar also remained high with 84% of respondents indicating their support.
Solar Portal 28th April 2016 read more »
The Department of Energy and Climate Change has claimed that 370MW of solar was deployed in the UK in Q1 2016. Official statistics released today estimate that around 190MW was added throughout March, coinciding with the 1.3 ROC grace period closure which saw a large number of EPCs and solar developers complete projects up and down the UK. Despite cuts to the feed-in tariff stymieing deployment at a residential level, the ROC grace period had left open a sizeable window for solar projects and, as a result, the industry will have expected more deployment than today’s estimate. DECC has had much noted troubles keeping up to date with solar PV deployment in the UK, perhaps best typified by last year’s record-breaking Q1. This time last year the department estimated that just 614MW was deployed in the first three months of 2015, a figure which immediately caught the ire of much of the industry considering the scale of the 1.4 ROC rush. Just a month later DECC upgraded its estimation to 1,285MW, and two months later Solar Power Portal reported that deployment was actually around the 2.53GW mark – roughly two-times DECC’s upgraded estimate.
Solar Portal 28th April 2016 http://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/decc_estimates_370mw_of_solar_deployed_in_q1_2016
The latest issue of Solar Business Focus UK magazine is now available to download free of charge. The new issue focuses strongly on the UK solar market remaining open for business despite cuts to renewable subsidies stymieing its growth. Opportunities in power purchase agreements, local authority solar, mergers and acquisitions and O&M are all covered.
Solar Portal 28th April 2016 read more »
Community Energy Supply Business
Having already taking up a post as chair of community energy specialist Mongoose Energy, Davey was yesterday confirmed as co-chair of a new initiative designed to promote the development of local energy markets commonly featuring local authorities that also act as energy suppliers. The Local Supply Community (LSP) project is being led by Pixie Energy – a new venture launched by community energy expert Nigel Cornwall, who will serve as co-chair of the initiative alongside Davey. The group said representatives from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and energy regulator Ofgem would act as observers on the project’s board. Local energy markets have become a major feature of the energy market in Germany and a number of UK local authorities are pursuing plans to supply energy to residents. Bristol and Nottingham have begun operating fully-fledged energy supply businesses, while a number of authorities, including Southend and Peterborough, have sought to group residents to secure more attractive tariffs from existing suppliers.
Business Green 28th April 2016 read more »
Power purchase agreements (PPAs) will lead the industry in the post-subsidy environment according to a panel of solar developers speaking on the first day of Solar Media’s Clean Energy Summit. During a discussion focussed on success strategies for UK solar following cuts to government subsidy, speakers from Lightsource, Lark Energy and Green Hedge all agreed that a combination of growing corporate responsibility and energy price volatility would lead to wider take-up of PPAs. Nick Boyle, chief executive of Lightsource, said: “I think for the next period of time – while challenging numbers-wise – the hard-wire, private-wire PPA into large electricity users is definitely going to be a focus. The advantage is the fact that you are competing with retail rather than wholesale.”
Solar Portal 27th April 2016 read more »
In recent years across the UK, citizens, government, and the business community have all demonstrated a willingness to lead the world in the fight against climate change. So the mystery today is – why is the UK walking away from energy efficiency, the most effective and least-cost way of reducing carbon emissions? The introduction of the Green Deal and the reorientation of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) resulted in a sharp drop in the installation rates of energy efficiency measures. By mid-2015 the average delivery rate for loft insulation had dropped by 90 percent, cavity wall insulation was down by 62 percent, and solid wall insulation had declined by 57 percent compared to 2012. It is now widely accepted that the Green Deal failed and the recent report by the National Audit Office confirms this view. The level of energy demand reduction is therefore expected to slow down in coming years
SPRU 28th April 2016 read more »
Policy Connect’s latest report sets out recommendations for how to transform the UK’s increasingly moribund energy efficiency market into a major decarbonisation initiative. The energy efficiency sector has faced an extremely challenging six months, as a whole host of government policies focused on boosting the efficiency of the UK’s draughty housing stock have either been scrapped or watered down in the past year. Most notable was the end of government funding last July for the once flagship Green Deal, which saw loans to fund energy efficiency improvements repaid to the government from the resulting energy bill savings, but which a recent report from the National Audit Office accused of comprehensively failing to attract enough people willing to sign up to the scheme or deliver cost-effective energy-saving measures for those who did. BusinessGreen highlights seven of the ideas which could turn things around for a sector which promises to deliver cost-effective emissions reductions and tackle fuel poverty, but has faced numerous policy setbacks in recent months. 1. Accept energy efficiency fits neatly into current government targets; 2. Domestic energy efficiency policy shouldn’t just be about financial savings; 3. Provide a clean path for strengthening energy efficiency standards;
Business Green 28th April 2016 read more »
The solar industry has called on ministers to abandon plans to cut support for new solar thermal projects from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme – a move proposed in a government consultation that closes today.
Edie 27th April 2016 read more »
Scottish Renewables has warned UK Government plans to change renewable heat support are “counterproductive, and will significantly impact the industry”. With the UK Government’s consultation over the future of the renewable heat incentive (RHI) closing, Scottish Renewables has raised concerns over changes to tariff rates, the introduction of a budget cap, and the removal of support for solar thermal panels from the scheme. The Committee on Climate Change last year warned that the UK is on course to miss its 2020 ambition of meeting 12 per cent of heat needs from low-carbon sources.
Holyrood Magazine 27th April 2016 read more »
Proposed changes to the way renewable heat technology is supported by the UK Government are counterproductive and will significantly impact the industry, according to a Scottish trade association.
Scottish Energy News 28th April 2016 read more »
The recent cuts to solar Feed-in Tariff (FiT) incentives may spell good news for solar thermal installers – but only if the industry can convince the government to keep supporting the technology under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The solar industry is urging the government to abandon its plans to remove support for solar thermal under the Renewable Heat Incentive, arguing that it now has a fighting chance to thrive following the cuts to support for PV.
Business Green 28th April 2016 read more »
BluGlass technology is unique in that it can produce gallium nitrades – a key ingredient in LEDs – at a lower temperature than other technologies. This, in turn, means that the devices can be manufactured at lower cost and are more efficient, and therefore more friendly to the environment because less power is consumed. The technology is also said to be more easily scaleable.
Guardian 27th April 2016 read more »
LED technology creates a more efficient, less wasteful way of producing light output than lightbulbs of the past though, due to ever-changing technology, some consumers can find it difficult to stay up to date with what LED lighting means for them. For example, many people relate the amount of light being produced from a bulb to the wattage being used, yet the wattage of a light bulb is becoming a redundant measure since a 5w LED bulb can produce the same amount of light as a 50w halogen bulb. We must now re-train ourselves to use lumens as the measure of how much light a bulb is producing. More lumens mean it’s a brighter light; fewer mean it’s a d immer light. For example, to achieve the same light output of a 60w conventional bulb, you will need an LED lamp with around 800-850 lumens. Switching on to LED can offer customers cost savings. LED bulbs are highly efficient and last longer than the average traditional incandescent bulb. That means they create the same amount of light using less electricity and save on replacement costs.
Scotsman 26th April 2016 read more »
Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, water company United Utilities and construction materials supplier Aggregate Industries have become founding partners of the Living Grid, a new demand-response ‘energy ecosystem’ which aims to create 200MW of flexible power across the UK. Initiated by sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future, the Living Grid connects large corporate energy users’ equipment with intelligent demand-side response technology powered by technology parter Open Energi. Businesses can then continuously adjust their electricity usage to adapt to peaks and troughs in demand and supply across the grid, without affecting performance.
Edie 26th April 2016 read more »
A German start-up that supplies smart-heating technology to millions of SSE’s UK customers has raised $23m to help fund its expansion into new markets and roll out a remote monitoring system for household boilers in Britain. This latest round of fund-raising from the Munich-based company brings the total raised so far to $57m, making it one of the world’s best-funded smart home technology companies. Before the coming winter, SSE will use Tado’s technology to monitor and diagnose common boiler problems before sending out a technician. The technology will also allow suppliers like SSE to identify a problem before customers are even aware of it. “Because we are able to connect to the digital interface of the heating system we know up front what is going on inside the boiler – what is the water pressure, is the pump s pinning, are there any error codes showing? And this will work across any manufacturer,” said Christian Deilmann, chief executive of Tado. “So SSE can really reduce its operating expenditure because it’ll know what the problem is, which part is needed and how long it will take to fix,” he said.
Telegraph 26th April 2016 read more »
People who do not ventilate their homes properly expose themselves to harmful levels of pollutants, according to experts from the Glasgow School of Art. Specialists at the school’s Mackintosh Environmental Research Unit (MEARU) said modern homes were being built to be airtight. This causes a build-up of harmful chemicals and moisture if householders do not open windows or vents.
BBC 26th April 2016 read more »
SCOTLAND could become a world leader in developing new technologies to store excess electricity production from wind farms, creating thousands of jobs, a leading business organisation has declared. Scottish Chambers of Commerce cited estimates 5,500 jobs could be created across 30 locations north of the Border, some of them rural, on the back of a £1.5 billion total investment in this field, if the full potential of the opportunity were realised. However, it acknowledged strong competition in this arena from the likes of California, which faces similar challenges in developing battery technologies to store excess electricity from solar power generation. Scottish Chambers of Commerce hammered home the importance of building a major presence in electricity storage technology as East Lothian-based Sunamp, one company which is trying to pursue opportunities in this field, announced a multi-million-pound fundraising. Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “Scotland already has a significant installed capacity of wind energy infrastructure, but the future of this industry will be dictated by the development of new technologies to store excess electricity production for use at times of peak demand. Scotland has the potential to become a world leader in this area, with the right investment, helping to increase the efficiency and lower the costs of renewable energy as well as rooting skills and talent in Scotland.” Scottish Chambers of Commerce, setting out its views ahead of the Holyrood elections next week, also emphasised its belief that Scotland and the UK as a whole must develop their energy plans on a 50-year view to enable long-term investment. Sunamp, which has developed batteries that store renewable energy as heat for future use, revealed yesterday that it had raised a further £3.2 million development funding from investors as it eyes growth in international markets. “The global thermal energy storage market is expected to reach $1.8 billion by 2020 and we are excited about the potential of our product to solve a worldwide problem,” said chief executive Andrew Bissell, one of Scotland’s most successful technology entrepreneurs. “We are now ready for the next phase of expansion, and have our sights set on the North American markets, Europe and Asia-Pacific.” The Sunamp batteries can deliver heat and hot water on demand.
Herald 26th April 2016 read more »
Sunamp – the heat energy storage developer based in East Lothian – has raised £3.2 million in its latest funding round led by an international private investor in the energy market. Sunamp is gearing up to take on competitors – including Tesla Motors, the BPV giant (battery-powered vehicle) which has also entered the energy storage market.
Scottish Energy News 26th April 2016 read more »
Ikea solar reboot
Ikea has rebooted its solar panel offering with several ‘solar shops’ opening at stores across the UK this week as part of the retailer’s renewed sustainability drive. The flat-pack furniture expert will push sales of solar panels online and in stores in Glasgow, Birmingham and Lakeside this week with a full UK-wide rollout expected by the end of the year.
Telegraph 25th April 2016 read more »
Guardian 25th April 2016 read more »
UK solar developer Solarcentury has landed the highly sought-after contract to supply solar panels for home retailer IKEA.
Solar Portal 25th April 2016 read more »
Ecotricity founder Dale Vince has said the SunEdison domestic rooftop business it purchased earlier this month is the “missing piece” in the company’s jigsaw. The green utility announced the purchase last week just hours after SunEdison filed for bankruptcy in the US, however the deal was actually concluded earlier this month.
Solar Portal 25th April 2016 read more »
This is the context in which to judge the hype around lithium. The price of lithium will rise as demand for electric vehicles and the batteries that power them increases. But there is a limit. We do not yet know how much extra lithium can be produced. The competition for known existing resources suggests there are serious constraints. If that is so lithium will become more expensive to the point at which its cost becomes a barrier and a constraint on electric vehicle sales. That in turn can only hasten the process of substitution – the development of materials that can displace lithium in batteries. Markets always have ceilings set by the ability and willingness of consumers to pay what is being asked, and by ever advancing technology. Petrol is a prime example of a product that keeps selling in vast quantities because it is readily available and its price is not too high. At the moment lithium is one of the very few commodities for which there is an increase in price. The existing owners are no doubt dining out on the increased economic rents they are collecting. They should enjoy the good times while they last.
FT 25th April 2016 read more »
Many of us have signed up with energy companies that offer 100% renewable electricity, so why not switch to a gas tariff that also promises to be carbon neutral? Energy firm Good Energy is hoping to tempt green households to do exactly that. This week the Chippenham-based firm started offering a domestic gas tariff that will allow customers to claim their gas usage produces no overall net carbon. Launched to coincide with the Paris climate change agreement signing yesterday, Good Energy’s “green gas” tariff will include 6% biomethane, produced in the UK from organic matter including manure and even sewage. The move makes it the latest supplier to offer green gas – produced from the 300 or so anaerobic digesters dotted around the UK, a small number of which directly feed the biogas they produce into the national grid. Good Energy says the overwhelming majority of its 39,000 gas customers will be automatically moved to the tariff. Other emissions produced by customers will be offset through carbon-reduction schemes that support local communities in Malawi, Vietnam and Nepal. After electricity, biogas is seen as the next step towards green energy, as more anaerobic digestion sites open up.
Guardian 23rd April 2016 read more »
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Does the Committee on Climate Change want to blow us all up? Some publicity has alighted on the latest brilliant idea from the “greenies” as to how we can comply with the Climate Change Act by “decarbonising” our economy. Ofgem paid Â£300,000 for a study suggesting that, instead of cooking with CO2-emitting natural gas, we should switch to carbon-free hydrogen. A Â£2 billion pilot project for Leeds would show how natural gas, or methane, could be converted to hydrogen by piping away all its nasty CO2 to be buried in holes under the North Sea.
Telegraph 23rd April 2016 read more »