Hull Shopping Centre Not Fussed about FiT
A shopping centre in Hull is set to make considerable savings on its energy bills after installing around 1,100 solar panels as part of an efficiency drive across the whole site. Two arrays totalling 280kW were completed in early December and are expected to provide around a third of the centre’s energy needs. According to Tony van der Vliet, deputy centre manager at St. Stephen’s Shopping Centre, the site will use up to 95% of the energy generated by the installations despite being completed in time for the higher feed-in tariff export rate. Describing the proportion of energy to be used on site, Van der Vliet said: “That’s the most beneficial bit because it meant we weren’t that fussed about the feed-in tariff.”
Solar Portal 5th Feb 2016 read more »
Hull Daily Mail 2nd Feb 2016 read more »
Installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in your home is a better investment than depositing cash in the bank. According to Stephen Munday, Managing Director of Clean Energy Installations, householders can achieve a 10% return on the outlay in the form of reduced energy costs. This more than four times the return many savings accounts offer in annual interest on cash deposits. Munday said: “Even allowing for the fact the government has slashed its Feed-in Tariffs – the financial incentives for investing in renewable energy – people are still seeing their energy bills drop by an average of £550 every year.”
Scottish Energy News 5th Feb 2016 read more »
Storage Revolution Begins
The setting is decidedly modest: a utility room in a red-brick house at the end of a cul-de-sac in Wales. But if the hype turns out to be right, this may be the starting point for an energy revolution in the UK. Householder Mark Kerr has become the first British owner of a Tesla Powerwall, a cutting-edge bit of kit that the makers say will provide a “missing link” in solar energy. Like many owners of solar panels, Kerr and his family have a basic problem. They tend to be out at work and school when the sun is shining and the 16 solar panels on the roof of their home in Cardiff are producing power. The excess they miss out on is fed into the grid and they make a return on it but it does not seem right that they do not get to use the power from their panels.
Guardian 5th Feb 2016 read more »
Solar Portal 5th Feb 2016 read more »
Bristol City Council has today moved to further cement the city’s reputation as a green hub, with the announcement of a fresh wave of grant funding to support clean energy projects across the city. The city is offering grants of up to £10,000 through the Bristol Community Energy Fund (BCEF) to sustainable energy projects which help local people reduce their energy use, improve access to clean and renewable energy sources, and encourage energy efficiency.
Business Green 5th Feb 2016 read more »
Solar & House Prices
Do rooftop solar panels add value to your home in the same way as a kitchen refurb or new bathroom? Logically they should, due to the significant value of the electricity the panels will produce over their lifetime of 25 years or more. An American study in eight US states has previously shown that a ‘solar home premium’ exists in the US housing market, where homes with solar PV have been shown to sell for an average of $4,000 per installed kilowatt more than equivalent homes without solar. Should such a premium exist here in the UK, that would amount to almost £10,000 for a typical UK domestic PV installation. The US research indicates that as a solar market develops having solar PV becomes a significant attribute when selling a property
Oil Fired Up 5th Feb 2016 read more »
Beating FiT Deadline
As the solar industry recovers from the shock of December’s feed-in tariff announcements, many potential clients and solar providers have entered a period of number-crunching. The question over the viability of solar installations has never been more central, which is why many firms rushed to complete their installations before the cut-off date at midnight on 14 January. Among these firms was social housing provider Gentoo, which was forced to up its game to deliver as many of its planned installations as possible. The Sunderland-based company had targeted 1,200 of its properties to be fitted with solar PV in the current financial year but took action when planned tariff reductions were revealed in August 2015. Jonny Coxon of Gentoo explained: “In order to ensure we installed as many PV systems before the FiT deadline as possible, we increased installation capacity by 50% by essentially adding extra resource to our site teams. This included scaffolding, roofers and electrical operatives.” As a result of these efforts, Gentoo was able to fit 1,350 homes with solar PV, surpassing its target for the whole financial year by 150 installations. At one point during the rush period, 45 installations were carried out over five working days. The company’s annual target has now been re-evaluated and set to 1,615 installations, but a question mark remains over the continuing viability of mass retrofit schemes like Gentoo’s.
Solar Portal 4th Feb 2016 read more »
The UK solar industry is moving towards a market led by power purchase agreements (PPAs) and wider use of storage technology in the wake of subsidy cuts. That was one of the conclusions of a panel discussion held yesterday at the Solar Finance and Investment event in London, which saw figures from the UK and beyond discuss the importance of adopting new business models to survive in a post subsidy market.
Solar Portal 4th Feb 2016 read more »
The solar industry is looking at an “extremely positive landscape” over the next five years despite recent cuts to government support, according to Nick Boyle of Lightsource. Speaking this morning at Solar Media’s Solar Finance and Investment event, the chief executive claimed the UK industry now stands in a better position than it did five years ago due to changes in electricity pricing. “The negatives when we were raising money five years ago were what if the government decide to stop paying the feed-in tariff? The reason why there was a fear the government wouldn’t pay the 33p was because you could buy the electricity for 6 or 7p. That’s not the case today; that risk is no longer there because the individuals that are buying electricity off us are doing it because it’s cheaper than the other technologies that are vying for their business. “That is the change and the thing that turns this industry on its head and puts us in the perfect position to completely change the way people contract to buy electricity going forward.” With work on subsidy-free projects already underway, Boyle believes the viability of solar as an alternative to fossil fuel power providers is now a reality. “The fact that solar is now at grid parity if you’re hard-wired into the electricity users brings into question the other investments that we’ve been competing with. Who in their right mind is going to invest in a 50-year gas pipeline or a large oil-fired power station now?
Solar Portal 1st Feb 2016 read more »
Swindon Council is considering a new community solar project that would offer residents a 6% return on any investment for the next 20 years. The Council will meet next Wednesday (10 February) to vote on the Swindon Community Solar Farm project, which would be the first of its kind in the UK to allow residents to invest directly in council solar bonds. The proposed 5MW farm would cost £4.8m to construct, with £3m coming from the council’s investment, and the remaining £1.8m from community investors. Investors and the council would reap 35% of the profits, with 65% going towards local community initiatives. The solar farm would generate enough electricity to supply the equivalent of 1,200 typical homes and save around 2000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Swindon has an aim to install 200MW of renewable capacity by 2020, enough to meet the equivalent energy requirements of every home in the borough. A total of 140MW has already been built or is being planned.
Edie 4th Feb 2016 read more »
Solar Portal 2nd Feb 2016 read more »
VAT on Solar
The Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) has criticised the government’s plans to exclude solar from the lower rate of VAT assigned to energy-saving measures (ESMs) as part of its response to an EU court ruling. The European Court of Justice ruled early last year that the current rate of 5% violates the EU’s VAT Directive, insisting that the full 20% be paid on all ESMs. In response, HM Revenue and Customs released a consultation in December outlining proposals to keep the tax relief on all measures, with the exception of power generators such as solar panels, wind turbines and water turbines. Its reason was that these technologies could not be considered to ‘renovate’ a property, which serves as a condition of qualifying for the lower rate of VAT. However, in its response to the consultation, ACE claims there are “reasonable and substantial grounds to consider solar thermal and solar PV in certain cases”, such as when integrated solar panels are used as a roofing material. The response also draws attention to the use of solar thermal systems as an integral part of a property’s heating system. With other technologies providing heating services – such as heat pumps, biomass boilers and micro-CHP – being considered as renovation solutions, ACE questions why solar thermal has been excluded on this basis.
Solar Portal 4th Jan 2016 read more »
Green Highland Renewables is set to begin work on a hydropower scheme at Loch Eilde Mor, in the hills above Kinlochleven, the Scottish hydropower developer announced this week. Work on the £13.6m project, which is funded by the hydroelectric specialist’s owners, Ancala Renewables, will start later this month, the company said. It added that the 2MW scheme would see £10,000 of funding provided to a new Kinlochleven Community Trust.
Business Green 4th Feb 2016 read more »
Work is about to start on a new hydro in the Highlands, amidst warnings that the next two years could see the last schemes built because of UK Government subsidy cuts. Perth hydro firm Green Highland Renewables is building the Loch Eilde Mor hydro, in the hills above Kinlochleven. The £13.6 million project, is fully funded by the hydro firm’s owners Ancala Renewables and is one of a number of developments it is pursuing across the Highlands before 2018, when the impact of changes to government support will be felt. The company’s CEO Mark Mathieson said “This is a really exciting project and marks the start of an extremely busy two years for our firm. In the last four years we have constructed and commissioned 25 schemes totalling 17MW across the Highlands and in the process have invested £62m, the majorit y of this going to local construction firms and contractors. “Add to this the £25 million we have committed so far to new schemes this year, and it is clear our hydro projects will make a significant positive impact on the Highland economy. We have well over a dozen active schemes in our build pipeline with further investment to come, and the nature of our projects means the majority of expenditure goes on civil engineering, much of which is carried out by local firms.” He said all of these schemes had secured a feed-in tariff from the UK Government, the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) main subsidy vehicle, but continued: “The only sad note is that the recent cuts to hydro tariffs announced at Christmas mean we will see next to zero new Highland schemes come forward for construction from 2018 onwards. It will be the end of an era.”
Herald 3rd Feb 2016 read more »
Scottish Energy News 3rd Feb 2016 read more »
A new report by the Association for the Conservation of Energy has shone a spotlight on the energy performance of homes in the Wells constituency – the first in a series of local area briefings. The report, which has been welcomed by local MP James Heappey and by Warmer Improved Somerset Homes (WISH), a local front-line scheme delivering warmer homes, shows how tens of thousands of local residents have benefited in recent years from proper insulation and efficient boilers, making their homes more affordable to heat and safer to live in. But the report also highlights that residents in Mid-Somerset have seen half as many improvements per household from recent schemes when compared to the national average. It goes on to identify the huge untapped potential for delivering to the remaining residents the benefits their neighbours have seen.
ACE January 2016 read more »
It doesn’t always rain when you need water, so we have reservoirs – but we don’t have the same system for electricity,” says Jill Cainey, director of the UK’s Electricity Storage Network. But that may change in 2016, with industry figures predicting a breakthrough year for a technology not only seen as vital to the large-scale rollout of renewable energy, but also offering the prospect of lowering customers’ energy bills. Big batteries, whose costs are plunging, are leading the way. But a host of other technologies, from existing schemes like splitting water to create hydrogen, compressing air in underground caverns, flywheels and heated gravel pits, to longer term bets like supercapacitors and superconducting magnets, are also jostling for position. In the UK, the first plant to store electricity by squashing air into a liquid is due to open in March, while the first steps have been taken towards a virtual power station comprised of a network of home batteries.
Guardian 4th Feb 2016 read more »
House of Lords debate FiT Cuts
The House of Lords has clashed over cuts to the feed-in tariff which Baroness Featherstone labelled as “untenable” and an “extraordinary micromanagement of an industry”. Yesterday evening the House of Lords debated the topic following Liberal Democrat Baroness Featherstone’s laying of a motion last month. While it was not expected to result in a vote, the motion did however trigger a debate on the topic after the government announced drastic cuts to the FiT in December. Featherstone started the debate with an impassioned criticism of the government’s energy policy, arguing that the recent subsidy reset risked “far-reaching and detrimental effects” that would “put our renewables industries in serious jeopardy”. The Baroness then broached the contentious topic of the Levy Control Framework, which itself was the subject of a court challenge by UK solar developers yesterday. She echoed calls from the Committee on Climate Change for the framework to be a variable rather than fixed cost and those from much of the renewables industry for further details of its calculations to be revealed.
Solar Portal 3rd Feb 2016 read more »
Lynne Featherston article.
New Statesman 2nd Feb 2016 read more »
Energy Efficiency – Scotland
WWF Scotland has urged the Scottish Government to increase its fuel poverty spending after three Holyrood committees challenged its plans. Following news that the Scottish Government is planning to reduce overall spending on fuel poverty/energy efficiency in 2016/17 by 13 per cent, compared to the total that the Scottish Government plans to spend during the current financial year, three cross-party committees of the Scottish Parliament have questioned its plans for improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes. The economy energy and tourism committee’s Report on the Draft Budget 2016/17 said: “It is now abundantly clear that the deadline for the statutory target of ending fuel poverty ‘so far as reasonably practicable’ by November 2016 is not going to be met. Not only is it not going to be met, it is not going to be met (in the words of Energy Action Scotland) ‘by some considerable way’.” The Report on the Draft Budget 2016/17 by the infrastructure and capital investment committee added: “The committee nevertheless believes that this work [the Scottish Government’s programme of energy efficiency for existing houses] should be accelerated given the established benefits of energy efficiency for existing homes in tackling climate change, promoting energy efficiency and cutting fuel poverty.” Finally the finance committee’s Report on the Draft Budget 2016/17 said: “The [finance] committee supported calls from the EET [economy, energy and tourism] committee in its report on last year’s Draft Budget for a full cost analysis of what it will take to achieve the statutory [fuel poverty] targetâ€¦ This has not been provided and the EET committee has reiterated the need for such an analysis. The [finance] committee agrees with this recommendation and asks the Scottish Government to explain why it has not been provided.”
Scottish Housing News 3rd Feb 2016 read more »
Following news that the Scottish Government is planning to cut funding for climate change action by almost 10%, three cross-party committees of the Scottish Parliament have questioned its plans for improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes. As it stands the Draft Budget is set to reduce overall spending on fuel poverty/energy efficiency in 2016/17 by 13%, compared to the total that the Scottish Government plans to spend during the current financial year. WWF Scotland maintains increasing funding for energy efficiency programmes is one of the clearest ways to better embed climate change in this Budget, whilst also helping to tackle fuel poverty and create jobs. The Scottish Government has previously committed to ’embedding’ climate change in this Budget process On the publication of reports by the Holyrood committees, Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland said “If the Scottish Government’s to live up to its promise of embedding climate change in this budget, it will need to seriously re-think it’s planned cuts. These Holyrood Committee reports point the way by demonstrating investment in energy efficiency is an important way of cutting climate emissions, creating jobs and helping tackle fuel poverty.”
Blue & Green Tomorrow 2nd Feb 2016 read more »
Solar Car Parks
Cambridge-based solar technology firm Solar Cloth Company (SCC) has announced a merger with fabric structures manufacturer Base Structures. The merger will see the two firms collaborate on a significant push for the UK’s nascent solar carport market, however both entities will continue to trade under their current names. While SCC has its knowledge base in the deployment of lightweight CIGS solar technology, Base has developed fabric structures for high profile sites such as London’s O2 arena, the London 2012 basketball stadium and Ben Ainslie Racing’s HQ in Portsmouth. Mike Staplehurst, chief executive at Solar Cloth Company, said that there is “huge potential” for public and private businesses with car parks to save money on their energy bills through solar generation, but added there were a number of problems preventing the market from taking off.
Solar Portal 2nd Feb 2016 read more »
The future is increasingly bright for renewable energy, with the US aiming to cut the price of solar photovoltaics by 75% between 2010 and 2020. Denmark plans to obtain 50% of its energy from wind just five years from now. But one form of renewable energy – and one which attracts few headlines – manages to create two useful products at the same time, and is making a growing contribution to combatting climate change. The medieval alchemists who sought to turn base metal into gold would have thrilled at chemistry that let them turn waste into both fuel and fertiliser. Their twenty-first century successors have discovered the secret of doing exactly that. Unwanted food, animal waste, municipal rubbish, crop and forestry residues, sewage and dozens of other left-overs of civilisation can and are now being turned into methane to generate electricity, provide district heating and to fuel road vehicles. Usually the methane produced in these digesters is fed into generators or small power stations on site and used locally. But if it is further purified the gas can simply be fed into a pipeline and mixed with natural gas.
Climate News Network 2nd Feb 2016 read more »
United Utilities (UU) has announced plans to inject green gas directly into the grid at its Davyhulme wastewater treatment plant in Trafford. The sludge digestion centre at the plant currently produces biogas which is used in a combined heat and power plant to generate electricity. However, UU now wants to introduce a process that cleans the biogas to produce green gas which can be injected directly into the grid. The scheme should be up and running, with gas going into supply, this spring. UU will lay a new gas pipe which will connect into an existing gas network near Trafford Retail Park. Meanwhile, at the treatment works itself, a cleaning plant is being built to make sure the biogas is pure enough to be injected into the gas grid.
Utility Week 2nd Feb 2016 read more »
Energy supplier British Gas is to make 500 staff redundant as it shuts its loft and cavity wall insulation business. The cuts form part of parent company Centrica’s previously-announced plan to shed 6,000 jobs in an attempt to slash its costs and become more efficient. A spokesman said the 500 job losses announced today would be at various locations around the country but about 100 of them would be in Leeds. The affected staff had been working on installing home insulation in order to hit Government energy efficiency targets. However those targets have been scaled back significantly in recent years and British Gas now plans to outsource any further energy efficiency work that is required.
Telegraph 2nd Feb 2016 read more »
British business giants including Sainsbury’s and Dixons Carphone have been handed tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayer cash to install energy-efficient lightbulbs, as part of Government efforts to avert a looming power crunch. The Football Association and Travis Perkins are among other organisations to share in a total of £5 million of Government funding, under a scheme to try to reduce the risk of blackouts in coming winters by cutting electricity demand. Ministers awarded the cash to companies to spend on upgrades such as replacing old fluorescent strip lighting with new efficient LED lamps, if they could show it woul d reduce the strain on the UK power grid during winter weekday evenings. “Instead of spending taxpayers’ money paying Sainsbury’s to change their light bulbs, ministers should be supporting lasting schemes like home insulation that cut emissions and cut household bills.” Lisa Nandy, shadow energy secretary Sainsbury’s alone has been awarded more than £830,000 of the cash to spend on upgrading its lighting, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) documents show.
Telegraph 1st Feb 2016 read more »
Innovate UK has brushed aside ongoing fears around using electric and plug-in vehicles as an energy storage facility, insisting they present a “car park of energy storage” for UK network companies after 2025. Innovate UK’s lead technologist for energy systems Mark Thompson said at a recent storage event that fears that using EV batteries for grid support will rapidly degrade the batteries are unfounded. Innovation projects already undertaken into EV charging reveal the batteries will be accessible to the grid 95 per cent of the time, he added.
Utility Week 1st Feb 2016 read more »
Bringing the UK’s ageing homes into the 21st century should be a key infrastructure priority, ministers have been told. The government is consulting on a multi-billion pound plan for roads, rail, flood defences and energy. But opposition parties and institutions have told BBC News that home energy efficiency is equally important. Unless homes are insulated, they say the UK will miss targets to end fuel poverty and cut carbon emissions. The plan to make home energy efficiency a key infrastructure priority was proposed by the right-leaning think-tank Policy Exchange (PX). BBC News found wide support, including from Labour, Lib Dems, SNP, Plaid Cymru, the CBI, TUC, the union GMB, the left-leaning think-tank IPPR, the all-party parliamentary group Green Alliance, the World Energy Council, the Institution of Civil Engineering and leading energy academics. The government declined to comment but its advisory body the National Infrastructure Commission said it would consider whether to take the idea further. PX argues that improving home efficiency creates many jobs; combats fuel poverty; reduces air pollution; minimises carbon emissions; cuts fuel imports; benefits the balance of payments; and reduces the need to build new power stations.
BBC 2nd Feb 2016 read more »
Warmer Homes presents a character profile of the 2.3 million households in England living in fuel poverty. It finds that over 1 million households who cannot afford to heat their home to a comfortable level are in work, while also revealing that the households living in the least energy efficient properties would have to spend as much as £1,700 extra a year to heat their home to a suitable temperature. It suggests that fuel poverty is a complex problem affecting a broad cross section of people – from low income working households to pensioners.
Policy Exchange 9th Jan 2016 read more »
Salford Royal Hospital in Greater Manchester is expected to slash £1.9m from its annual energy bill thanks to a new efficiency programme part-funded by the Green Investment Bank (GIB). As part of the upgrade, the energy centre at Salford Royal will undergo a full refresh, including the installation of a new 2.5MW Combined Heat and Power (CHP) engine. A series of energy reduction measures will also be installed such as LED lighting and the optimisation of the building management system.
Edie 1st Feb 2016 read more »
Business Green 2nd Feb 2016 read more »
The Government will clash with green energy companies at the Court of Appeal tomorrow about claims it acted unlawfully over the sudden, “cynical” ending of solar subsidies in 2014.The London-based Solarcentury and Lark Energy, in the East Midlands, are furious that the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) withdrew the solar renewables obligation (RO) two years early. The RO supported the construction of large-scale wind farms. The two companies are now appealing, having lost a court case in conjunction with two other energy businesses, Orta Solar Farms and TGC Renewables, in late 2014. Around 6,500 jobs in the solar industry were lost between the summer and Christmas last year, fuelling criticism that the Government is not living up to its clean energy responsibilities. The Government launched its plans to end RO for big projects with a consultation in May 2014. When the closure of the scheme was later confirmed, it was decided that solar companies which had not met certain criteria by the time the consultation started – such as having planning permission – would not qualify for the remaining subsidy, even though this was to run until April 2015. The claimants allege this lack of grace period for firms that had spent money and built business plans based on the subsidy was retrospective and unfair. These businesses, they argue, were not given sufficient warning to get their paperwork in order so they could still qualify.
Independent 1st Feb 2016 read more »
The government has attempted to justify the “grossly unfair” early closure to the renewable obligation (RO) last year at the Court of Appeal, claiming that any operation of the support mechanism was always subject to the “overriding risk” of the Levy Control Framework (LCF). Yesterday Solarcentury, Lark Energy and others took their case to the Court of Appeal, attempting to overturn a decision reached by Mr Justice Green last year that the government, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the secretary of state were justified in their actions of closing the support scheme early.
Solar Portal 3rd Feb 2016 read more »
Zero Carbon Homes
The scrapping of the Zero Carbon Homes policy in July 2015 has left a policy vacuum that urgently needs filling, the Solar Trade Association has warned. The solar trade body has submitted its response to the government’s ‘Cutting red tape review of house building’, calling for the government to set out a clear and ambitious regulatory roadmap for sustainability standards in new build. The government’s focus is now on maximising build rate, however, lower standards lock in higher carbon emissions, as well as higher energy bills for occupants, for decades to come. Higher standards provide a level playing field on which different emissions reduction options can compete and there is no evidence that they stop the construction industry from building houses, says the STA.
Heating & Plumbing Monthly 1st Feb 2016 read more »
There is a growing need for a clear strategy to reduce the demand for electricity in Scotland, according to conservationists, following official statistics just published by the Scottish Government. WWF said electricity demand in Scotland is on the rise, up almost four per cent year on year after eight consecutive years of annual reduction. Although green energy from the likes of wind and hydro power is increasing, the figures come just months after the Scottish Parliament’s Energy, Economy and Tourism Committee called for a demand reduction policy to help secure supply and reduce costs. The report, Energy in Scotland 2016, shows overall energy demand has fallen in Scotland by 14.1per cent over the last decade, exceeding the Scottish Government’s target to reduce demand by 12per cent by 2020 well ahead of schedule. However WWF’s said these figures show Scotland has the highest electricity use per household of any region in the UK. Independent research showed that reducing electricity demand by even one per cent a year would make it easier and cheaper for Scotland to decarbonise its electricity system and hit its climate targets, Dr Sam Gardner, Head of Policy at WWF Scotland said. He continued:
Herald 1st Feb 2016 read more »
The publication of feed-in tariff deployment statistics last month showed that with just 54MW of domestic solar deployed to date, London continues to lag far behind other areas of the UK despite having a much higher concentration of households and office buildings. Boris Johnson has seemingly ruled out the establishment of a feed-in tariff top-up for Londoners, but how else can the mayor and the London Assembly stimulate the capital’s PV market? The GLA’s London Energy Plan could help, but it’s clear other policy measures, such as a relaxation of planning laws, need to be investigated.
Solar Portal 1st Feb 2016 read more »
The UK solar industry has received support from an unlikely source after it was revealed celebrity chef Delia Smith commissioned a ground-mount installation at her house in Suffolk. Smith submitted the application for a ground-mounted domestic installation at her Grade II-listed cottage in November. A planning report issued by Mid Suffolk District Council concluded that it would be “barely visible” from outside of her grounds and sufficient distance had been placed between it and the cottage so as not to be detrimental to the building’s features. Permission was granted in late December and local installer East Green Energy commissioned for the work.
Solar Portal 1st Feb 2016 read more »
In a study released recently in the journal Research Policy, Oxford University researchers found, in the short term, that solar’s upward swing was unstoppable. The researchers said falling manufacturing costs, which have dropped by 10% a year since the 1980s, would grow solar’s share of global electricity from roughly 1.5% today, to as much as 20% by 2027. Not everyone is as optimistic. The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) most ambitious scenario for renewables puts the amount of electricity produced from solar photovoltaic cells at 16% of global production by 2050. However, the IEA has consistently under-estimated solar. In 2000, it predicted the world’s solar capacity would quadruple over the course of the next 15 years. In reality, it took just five. The IEA then upgraded their 2015 forecast from 5 GW to 14 GW. This time it took just three years to get there.
Guardian 31st Jan 2016 read more »
Fuel Poverty – Scotland
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has criticised the Scottish Government for its “short-sighted decision” to cut £15m from its efforts to tackle fuel poverty. Speaking about the issue ahead of addressing Labour Party members in Inverness, Ms Dugdale promised that if Labour win in May’s election she will bring in a “ground-breaking” Scottish Warm Homes Act. The legislation, she said, will “deliver the changes we need to see in planning and building regulations to tackle fuel poverty”. The Labour-led Scottish executive set the target of abolishing fuel poverty by 2016, but Ms Dugdale said: “We know the SNP Government will miss that target.” She went on to say that budget cuts which will reduce spending on tackling fuel poverty by more than £15 million to £103.3 million in 2016-17 “will be devastating for low income families and pensioners i n Inverness and all across Scotland”.
STV 30th Jan 2016 read more »
Northumbria University has become the second UK university to complete the installation of a new solar array in time to beat the government’s subsidy cuts, it revealed yesterday. The new 438 panel rooftop array, which is expected to generate 95,000 kWh of clean energy each year, was installed in time for the higher subsidy tariff rate. The installation is set to save over £9,000 in electricity costs and 40 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year, while the university also expects to generate an additional income of £8,500 per year by selling surplus electricity from the panels back to the National Grid.
Business Green 29th Jan 2016 read more »
A campaign is being launched to get the UK Government to legislate to set up a special license for electricity storage facilities. – A license to store! At the moment the fast-developing battery storage industry, which can help power the renewable energy revolution, is being stymied by regulatory confusion. Establishing a license for storage would set up storage as a distinctive technology where that can be assigned its own place in the system alongside generation and consumption. The problem is that storage sometimes supplies energy, but it also consumes energy to charge the batteries. As a result storage operators are double charged for taxes when they consume and supply the energy, and uncertainty reigns about how much they should be charged to connect to, and use, the electricity distribution network. So please try and write to your MP to support efforts to license storage of electricity. Of course the grid can ‘balance’ a lot more renewable energy than is being generated at the moment without much difficulty, but the point is that storage offers an increasingly cheap method of balancing the grid for whatever purpose (including managing variable renewables of course). But the system is regulated for generation or consumption, leaving storage in a sort of transgender ‘limbo’. Now, supporters of electricity storage, including the Electricity Storage Network, want the Government to solve the problem. Otherwise companies and investors will be put off investing in storage projects because of the higher charges and uncertainty that surrounds the ‘gender’ identity of storage.
Dave Toke’s Blog 29th Jan 2016 read more »
Renewable Energy Focus 28th Jan 2016 read more »
Renewables – Cumbria
A CONTROVERSIAL proposed 24-hectare solar farm near Bigrigg has more supporters than opponents, say developers. Castillium, had its plans turned down by Copeland Council in September with opposition from nearby residents and councillors. But the firm has appealed the decision. Director, Alistair Fell, said there is a petition from over 100 residents showing their support for the farm – which he says outnumbers those opposed. He also said the farm could bring in a community benefit fund of £10,000. He said: “Following feedback from our two public exhibitions we reduced the size of the proposals by more than half, and worked with Egremont Town Council to make sure that the farm can’t be seen from houses in Bigrigg or from Woodend.”
Whitehaven News 21st Jan 2016 read more »