Cambridge-based solar technology firm The Solar Cloth Company has filed for administration, raising fresh concerns about UK solar employment. Five full-time employees are understood to have been made redundant in late April, however the appointed administrators are confident the company could be rescued by a former director.
Solar Portal 3rd June 2016 read more »
The outcome of an Ofgem review currently underway threatens to significantly reduce the incentives for deploying commercial solar PV according to a report by KPMG. Ofgem was tasked earlier this year by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) with investigating the “embedded benefits” inherit to distributed generators (DGs) like solar. This refers to the transmission charges avoided by these technologies by using only the distribution network, as well as a series of other benefits to not using the national transmission grid. DECC believes the rise in decentralised energy is stifling the competitiveness of larger centralised generators in the capacity market which the government believes are key to long term energy security. Instead of the existing diesel generators that have succeeded in previous capacity market auctions, the government is looking for ways to bring forward new generators, such as Combined Cycle Gas Turbines (CCGTs), by potentially reducing the benefits enjoyed by embedded generators.
Solar Portal 2nd June 2016 read more »
The average cost of a 3kW domestic solar installation was nearly £1,000 more expensive in March than it was in January, according to statistics released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
Solar Portal 2nd June 2016 read more »
South Wales Wind Co-op
SWANSEA Valley residents are being invited to claim a share in a unique community wind farm project. Awel Aman Tawe Wind Farm is currently being built on land at Mynydd y Gwrhyd, and it is expected to supply enough clean power for around 2,500 homes. Members of Awel Co-op have visited the site to see progress on the community wind farm, which is backed by Paul Thorburn, Wales rugby legend, Gillian Clarke, former Wales national poet, and Paul Allen of the Centre for Alternative Energy.
South Wales Evening Post 2nd June 2016 read more »
The UK’s first council solar bonds have sold out a month early after Swindon Community Solar Farm reached its £1.8 million target. The 5MW solar farm is funded jointly by Swindon Borough Council which is investing £3 million and through bonds sold directly to members of the public. The bonds, issued by energy investment company Abundance and Swindon Borough Council, offer a 6 per cent rate of return over a 20-year term and during the three-month offer period attracted an average of £18,000 in investment per day.
Utility Week 2nd June 2016 read more »
Business Green 2nd June 2016 read more »
This is Wiltshire 1st June 2016 read more »
A CUT in subsidies and a VAT increase have been blamed for putting “an unbearable strain” on renewable energy companies. The insolvency body R3 says its members are reporting an increase in distress amongst SMEs in the areas of solar, wind and tidal power. The recent 65 per cent cut in subsidies to solar feed-in tariffs coincided with increases in VAT on the installation of solar systems. Already Sundog Energy, which supplied solar energy systems from its base in Penrith, for 20 years, has gone into liquidation. The business’ assets were acquired by Proton Energy, which moved the operation to Lancaster. Sundog employed 20 staff.
In Cumbria 2nd June 2016 read more »
Cities should be at the heart of efforts to decarbonise the global energy landscape, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) in new research published yesterday. “Cities today are home to about half the global population but represent almost two-thirds of global energy demand and 70 per cent of carbon emissions from the energy sector, so they must play a leading role if COP21 commitments are to be achieved,” IEA executive director Dr Fatih Birol said at the launch of the report yesterday. “Because cities are centres of economic growth and innovation, they are ideal test-beds for new technologies – from more sustainable transport systems to smart grids – that will help lead the transition to a low-carbon energy sector.” District heating and cooling networks, with heat generated by low carbon fuels or waste heat from industrial plants, a one example of how emerging cities can build long-term cost-effective energy solutions into their infrastructure.
Business Green 2nd June 2016 read more »
Nissan goes solar
Car manufacturer Nissan will generate 11.35MW from renewables at its biggest manufacturing site in Europe after switching on a new 4.75MW solar farm. The 19,000 solar photovoltaic panels are alongside 10 wind turbines already installed at the plant in Sunderland which is the European centre of production for the all-electric Nissan Leaf and its batteries. The renewable energy will save around 3,000 tonnes of CO2 per year and equate to 7 per cent of the plant’s electricity requirements.
Utility Week 1st June 2016 read more »
Nissan has completed a new 4.75MW solar farm at its manufacturing site in Sunderland which has been co-located alongside ten existing wind turbines and will provide 100% of its energy to the company’s manufacturing needs.
Solar Portal 1st June 2016 read more »
In the face of repeated attempts by the UK government to suppress the nation’s solar industry in favour of fracking and nuclear, Jeremy Leggett tells the story of how the solar company he founded in 2000 has not just survived, but driven forward with technical innovation – including its new ‘Sunstation’ – an integrated ‘snap-on’ solar generation design that elegantly embeds into roofs.
Ecologist 1st June 2016 read more »
Tomorrow the Financial Times stages a conference on strategies for the revolution unfolding in global energy markets. I am on a panel discussing the role of innovation. I have a thrilling example to recount based on the work of Solarcentury’s innovation team. In the limited time I have available, I will struggle to do their accomplishments justice, so I plan to try and do so in this blog. Their’s is a story of belief and design brilliance in the face of adversity and doubt. It offers an inspirational microcosm of the potential for fast deployment of clean energy in the future, with all the social good that entails. It creates a talisman for the widespread underestimation of the transformative power of solar energy that persists across society. A few years ago, the innovation team told Solarcentury’s management and board that they were aiming for a fully building-integrated solar roof system that would be comparable to a standard system bolted on to an existing roof, whilst winning accolades for aesthetics. I and others doubted such a world-first would be achievable. But their belief was solid, strongly backed up by CEO Frans van den Heuvel, and the prize if it could be realised was potentially huge: market research suggested an in-roof product price comparative with an on-roof product would be extremely popular. So the project went ahead.
Jeremy Leggett 31st May 2016 read more »
As the Department of Energy and Climate Change launched a consultation about feed-in tariff (FIT) support for the green technologies of anaerobic digestion and small combined-heat-and-power (micro-CHP) boilers and generators, Inspirit Energy said it could benefit from potential changes hitting its rivals. DECC’s consultation, which began last week and closes on 7 July, proposed maintaining the FIT for micro-CHP but it does now propose the introduction of a cap of 1,560 units in 2017, 1,560 units in 2018 and 390 units the year after that, as well as proposes a limit of 3.6MW of installed capacity under the feed in tariff scheme up until the end of March 2019. Inspirit said it considered this to be “an incentive” for customers who were interested in its Charger 2.0 micro-CHP generator, as one of the FIT requirements is a maximum electrical output of 2.0kW, to register their interest before the limit is set.
Digital Look 31st May 2016 read more »
Northumbrian Water has paved the way for increased renewable energy thanks to a significant solar power instillation at one of the country’s biggest environmental management sites. The supplier’s Bran Sands water treatment plant based in Middlesbrough will now be home to one of the UK’s largest commercial rooftop mounted solar panel installations, with 943 solar panels. The installation comes as part of the company’s ‘Power Purchase Agreement’ (PPA) with Lightsource Renewable Energy, the leading solar energy company in Europe.
BDC Magazine 31st May 2016 read more »
Two of the three remaining solar projects that were allocated Contracts for Differences (CfD) last year have been beset by delays and the termination of subsidy support. An update to the Low Carbon Contracts Company CfD register confirmed that the Netley Landfill Solar Park CfD was terminated in late March, while Solar Power Portal can report that Cambridge County Council’s Triangle Farm Solar Park has been negotiating for an extended deadline after struggling to gain grid access. Five solar PV projects were awarded CfDs last February and, as it stands, only Lightsource’s Charity Farm will generate power on schedule with a proposed start date of 29 June 2016. The Triangle Farm Solar Park has a targeted commissioning date of 1 July 2016, but SPP understands that the site will not be operational until October at the earliest.
Solar Portal 31st May 2016 read more »
Community-scale solar is the solar electricity market’s latest darling. Utilities are excited by the opportunity for revenue and grid benefit, developers see the attraction of scale for all types of utilities and retail markets, and local communities and state regulators are jumping at the opportunity to expand community participation and enhance solar access, all at what should be a fundamentally reduced cost.
Renew Economy 27th May 2016 read more »
Encourage investment in district heating through regulation, industry groups and politicians urge Scottish government. The new Scottish government should bring in regulations to encourage investment in district heating, a group of businesses, politicians and civil society groups said today. The minority SNP government should take advantage of the opportunity of the Warm Homes Act’s cross-party support to promote district heating, according to the groups, which include Environmental group WWF Scotland, the University of Edinburgh, heatpump manufacturer Star Renewable Energy and cross-party MSPs. The call follows a report published in March by government advisers that recommended local authorities should be required to develop and publish a strategic plan for developing district heating in their area. The report said a deployment of dist rict heating “would make a significant contribution to implementation [….] of the Scottish government’s key priorities in carbon reduction, fuel poverty, energy efficiency and economic development”. Dr Sam Gardner, head of policy at WWF Scotland, said while just one per cent of Scotland’s heat demand is currently supplied by district heating, research suggests this needs to jump to 40 per cent by 2030 in order for Scotland to meet its climate targets.
Business Green 31st May 2016 read more »
Scottish Housing News 31st May 2016 read more »
Household boilers should be replaced with large shared boilers to heat multiple homes in Scottish cities, according to a group of MSPs, environmentalists and academics. They called on the Scottish government to encourage investment in “district heating” as part of a Warm Homes Act. District heating sees large boilers provide heat for entire districts through a network of pipes. The system is popular in several other European countries. The Scottish convention is for homes to have their own self-contained gas boiler – although there are some district heating schemes, including Caithness Heat and Power (Chap), which provides heat to about 200 homes and the local hospital in Wick. Environmental group WWF Scotland, the University of Edinburgh, heatpump manufacturer Star Renewable Energy and cross-party MSPs are behind the calls for district heating to be more widely used in Scotland.
BBC 31st May 2016 read more »
THE Scottish Government must prioritise a Warm Homes Act which helps deliver clean, affordable heat to homes, according to groups from the voluntary, renewable and academic sectors. The groups are urging new Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse to push through the right regulatory framework to develop district heating, a system for distributing heat generated in a central location. The call follows advice from the Scottish Government’s own experts that an increase in the use of the method would help meet targets on cutting fuel poverty and carbon emissions and boosting energy efficiency and economic development. District heating currently accounts for just one per cent of Scotland’s heat demand. If the country is to meet its climate targets, this must increase to 40 per cent by 2030, say WWF Scotland, Friends of the Earth Scotland and RSPB Scotland. The Scottish Government’s Special Working Group on Regulation reported in March that district heating could cut carbon emissions by around 30 to 40 per cent, with reductions in household bills being roughly about the same. The method was also found to have significant benefits for both the national and local economies, in terms of growing the country’s small but growing district heating sector. There is considerable cross-party agreement on warm homes and energy efficiency, with all the main parties having included the issue in the manifestos prior to the Holyrood election. It’s also an issue that has been discussed for over a decade with former Scottish Green Party Convenor Robin Harper having first proposed the idea in 2003. Now representatives from WWF Scotland, academia and the renewables sector are urging the Scottish Government to implement the regulation needed to bring clean, affordable heat netwo rks to the country’s towns and cities.
The National 31st May 2016 read more »
NICOLA Sturgeon should push ahead with the roll-out of Scandinavian-style district heating schemes as a priority, a coalition of groups said today. The First Minister went into the Holyrood election pledging a new Warm Homes Act in a bid to tackle fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency. A coalition including WWF Scotland, renewable energy firms and academics said new regulations should be included to help reduce carbon emissions and aid economic development through the roll-out of district heating.
Herald 31st May 2016 read more »
Eighty two per cent of people in the UK have never heard of district heating. Almost two-thirds have never heard of heat pumps. And more than a quarter have never heard of renewable heat at all. The Department of Energy & Climate Change’s (DECC) latest survey of 2,105 Britons, released last month (26 April), makes sobering reading for anyone involved in the renewable heat sector. A day earlier, the same department closed its consultation into the future of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). Reading the stark figures, it would be easy to wonder why they’re bothering. But decarbonising our heat sector is crucial. More than half the energy we use is in the form of heat. While keeping warm has always been important, doing so in a low-carbon, sustainable way has never been more so. The heat pump sector alone already employs 3,100 people in Scotland. All that could start to unravel, however, if cuts and changes to the RHI are carried out in the way the UK government is currently proposing. RHI tariff rates and structures look set to change – with some sectors hit harder than others. Solar thermal, for example, could see itself out in the cold: DECC wants to remove it from the RHI altogether. The particular strengths of solar thermal include that it has negligible running costs, can be added to existing heating systems and its performance does not depend on investing in a highly-insulated house, making it particularly well suited to homes in fuel poverty.
Scotsman 31st May 2016 read more »
Wrexham will soon be home to a £25m biomass facility following investment confirmation from the Green Investment Bank (GIB) and sustainable investors Equitix. The 5.4MW green energy facility will generate enough electricity annually to power 2,400 homes in the local area, curbing carbon dioxide emissions by around 6,000 tonnes each year. The biomass plant – which is being developed by UK firm Green Plan Energy – will be “combined heat and power ready”, so it could also provide heat to local manufacturing firms in the future.
Business Green 31st May 2016 read more »
UK-based company Renovare Fuels Limited has co-invented technology which can convert landfill gas into high-quality clean energy in the form of liquid diesel and gasoline fuel which is suitable for all motor vehicles, according to the company. The company believes that this new technology will allow landfill operators to resale the fuel formed from the natural decomposition of organic material, or use it as fuel for their own fleets of refuse collection vehicles, saving millions of pounds.
Renewable Energy Focus 30th May 2016 read more »
Thanks to its position on a volatile section of the Mid-Atlantic ridge, Iceland is a world leader in the the use of geothermal energy, and of the six geothermal power plants in Iceland, Hellisheioi (pronounced “het-li-shay-thee”) is the newest and largest. Fully operational since 2010, it sits on the mossy slopes of the Hengill volcano in the south-west of the country; a green and placid-looking landscape that belies the turbulent geological activity rumbling beneath it.
Observer 29th May 2016 read more »
The government has proposed scrapping the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for anaerobic digestion installations of between 500kW and 5000kW from January 2017, saying many are now economically viable without the subsidy. According to the government “market intelligence and anecdotal evidence” suggests an increasing number of these installations are taking the form of combined heat and power (CHP) projects, which are also able to take advantage of Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
Utility Week 27th May 2016 read more »
Edie 27th May 2016 read more »
A new government consultation has proposed steep cuts to the levels of support provided to anaerobic digestion (AD) plants in the UK, prompting industry groups to claim the proposals would severely hold back development of AD infrastructure in large parts of the country. The proposals, released yesterday, include the scrapping of the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for AD sites larger than 500 kilowatts of electrical power (kWe) as well as further reductions on the tariff support available for small and medium plants, which would see support drop to around third of its 2014 level by 2017.
Business Green 27th May 2016 read more »
If renewables are to become fully integrated into the UK’s energy mix, the Government will have to incentivise energy storage systems through the introduction of subsidies, researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA) have claimed. Researchers have argued that as the growth of renewables continues to rise, so too does the potential impact of grid volatility. In order to combat this scenario, new research argues that energy storage systems should be supported by “gradually removing” subsidies used to establish “market mature” energy projects such as solar and wind, to be used to develop storage systems that could provide viable investment opportunities.
Edie 27th May 2016 read more »
The European Parliament has voted to adopt the measures of a report seeking to improve the circumstances for energy consumers in the fast-changing market for renewable self-generation and consumption. The ‘Delivering a New Deal for Energy Consumers’ report, which was launched back in July 2015, focuses on having consumers at the core of the energy system, given that the clean technologies have brought a vast range of options to today’s market. The adoption goes towards further implementing the European Parliament’s Energy Union strategy, which aims to have “citizens take ownership of the energy transition”. The first measure involves optimising information and its availability for consumers to understand the various types and costs of energy consumption. Following this, switching energy suppliers needs to be made quick and easy, without switching fees. Consumers must also be protected from unfair commercial practices within this new energy market. More needs to be done to ensure consumers that inject their own energy into the grid from renewable sources are rewarded in their energy bills and, as part of this, consumers gain control of their consumption and metering data to ensure privacy and fairness.
PV – Tech 27th May 2016 read more »