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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Why is the UK government proposing to sell of the Green Investment Bank?

Cornwall to develop UK's first integrated smart energy system

The Smart Cornwall Business Development project has announced the initial results of its initiative to develop the UK’s first fully integrated smart energy system.

UK offshore wind subsidies "can't last forever" says Amber Rudd

UK Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, recently gave a keynote speech to RenewableUK's  Global Offshore Wind 2015 conference. Although she confirmed that the government does intend to support offshore wind, she also said that subsidies "can't last forever".

Ms Rudd described offshore wind as “one of the 21st century’s industrial success stories” but she added that the industry's costs must be “progressively reduced”so that it “becomes more and more competitive, requiring less and less public support so the future is sustainable and subsidy-free”.

Fergus Ewing MSP, Scotland’s minister for business, energy and tourism, was heartened by Ms Rudd's support for offshore wind but also noted that “there also needs to be clarity of support beyond 2020”. Others felt that she had failed to offer clear policy signals.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Vanadium flow batteries for energy storage

Vanadium flow batteries promise to be even better than lithium ion for energy storage. They don't wear out, they're cheaper and are ideal for large renewable energy projects like wind and solar farms

Community energy projects and the onshore wind row

Last week, the UK government announced it was to end subsidies for onshore wind farms in the country by closing down the Renewables Obligation (RO) a year early, from 1st April 2016. The decision has generated widespread debate, particularly with regard to its likely effects on the UK renewable energy sector as a whole...

Carnegie Wave Energy establishes a base in Cornwall, UK

The Australian tidal and wave energy company Carnegie Wave Energy has established a base in Cornwall with a berth at Wave Hub.

Exeter company wins DECC grant to stimulate UK renewable heat innovation

A renewable energy company called Zero based in Exeter, UK, is celebrating after receiving a substantial grant from the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Vattenfall warns onshore wind farms need subsidies for another year

Magnus Hall, Chief Executive of Vattenfall said "You need time before you produce wind power without subsidies. 

Mr Hall warned that wind farms may have to rely on the taxpayer for another decade. “It’s obvious to me that costs should come down for new investments, because all consumers and governments want cheaper electricity" he said. “We’re committed to doing that, but you also need time before you can produce or invest in wind power totally without subsidies.”

Source: The Scotsman

Friday, 26 June 2015

Why has the UK government chosen to close down subsidies for onshore wind a year early?

Phil Foster of Love Energy Savings explains

The UK government well and truly hit the headlines this month with regard to its decision to close the Renewables Obligation (RO) a year early, announced by the new Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd. The RO is the main subsidy scheme providing funding for renewable energy infrastructure over 5 MW. The previous coalition government had already made provision for its replacement in 2017 by Contracts for Difference (CfD) but now the government has brought the closure forward, amid accusations of influence from senior, climate-sceptic Tories opposed to renewable energy. The closure of the RO in such a manner would hit Scotland particularly, it has been claimed, and there are also widespread accusations that it would damage investor confidence and severely harm the country’s ability to establish a low-carbon economy.

In order to get some clarity on the subject, REM asked Phil Foster of Love Energy Savings why the government would do this. Here’s what he had to say.

RES, GE and Downer to construct Australia's third largest wind farm

Renewable Energy Systems (RES), together with GE and Downer have announced a major contract for the supply of 75 wind turbines to the 240MW Ararat Wind Farm in south-west Victoria.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

REC enters African solar markets

REC is entering numerous markets in Africa, beginning with ECOWAS, East and South African regions, with solar power uptake on the African continent predicted to surge over coming years.

DECC releases quarterly and monthly energy statistics

The quarterly and monthly energy statistics just released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) reveals the following:
  • 7 percent of final energy consumption in 2014 came from renewables, up from 5.7 percent in 2013.
  • Renewable electricity grew by 19 percent and renewable heating and transport also rose. 
  • Renewables share of electricity generation (wind, solar, hydro and others) increased from 19.6 percent in 2014 Q1 to 22.3 percent in 2015 Q1 with wind generation up by 5.3 percent.
  • Renewable electricity was a record 21.1 TWh in the first quarter of 2015, an increase of 15 percent on the same period a year earlier.
  • Electricity from biogeneration increased 45.7 percent to 6.7 TWh in 2015 Q1 largely due to a second converstion to biomass at Drax Power Station in Yorkshire. 
  • Electricity generated from onshore wind increased by 4.7 per cent in to 7.0 TWh, and generation from offshore wind increased by 6.3 per cent to 4.7 TWh. Both increases were due to increased capacity; although average wind speeds were high compared to the 10 year mean for the quarter, they were only marginally lower than 2014 Q1.
  • Generation from solar photovoltaics
    increased by 60.4 per cent to 0.8 TWh, largely due to increased capacity.
  • Renewables’ share of total generation in 2015 quarter 1 was a record 22.3 per cent, an
    increase of 2.6 percentage points on 2014 quarter 1, mostly reflecting increased capacity.
  • Renewable electricity capacity was 26.4 GW at the end of the first quarter of 2015, 23.1 per
    cent (5.0 GW) higher than a year earlier, and a 7.4 per cent increase (1.8 GW) on 2014
    quarter 4.
  • Liquid biofuels represented 2.9 per cent of petrol and diesel consumed in road transport in the
    first quarter of 2015, 0.7 per cent lower than in 2014 Q1.
Renewables 2014
  • The amount of electricity generated from renewables sources in 2014 was 64,654 GWh, a 21 per cent increase during the year.
  • Offshore wind generation increased by 17 per cent, and onshore wind generation increased by 10 per cent. Generation from solar PV more than doubled; both bioenergy sources and hydro generation saw 25 percent increases.
  • Generation capacity increased by 4.8 GW (24 per cent) to 24.6 GW.
  • Heat from renewable sources increased by 4.6 percent during 2014 (to 2,730 ktoe); renewable biofuels for transport rose by 14 per cent (to 1,243 ktoe).
  • Renewable transport fuels accounted for 3.9 per centof road transport fuels in 2014.
  • Renewable energy provisionally accounted for 7.0 percent of energy consumption, as measured using the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive methodology. This is an increase of 1.4 percentage points on the revised 2013 position of 5.6 per cent.
  • The Renewable Energy Directive introduced interim targets for member states to achieve on their route to attaining the 2020 proportion. The second interim target, across 2013 and 2014, is 5.4 per cent, provisional data indicates this has been achieved, reaching 6.3 per cent.
Gas prices

Given that global gas prices, in previous years, have been the main driver of high energy bills (important because anti-renewables voices usually blame green energy for this), it is also worth mentioning that the industrial gas price for 2015 has fallen by 11.5 percent on the same period the previous year. The price paid for consumer gas fell by 4.3 percent.

More information is available from DECC here.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Siemens hands over fourth North Sea grid link to TenneT

Siemens has announced it has handed over the fourth North Sea grid link, HelWin2 to the customer TenneT, marking the start of its commercial operation.

Solar roadways...what works and what might not work

Now this is what I like, if you're going to criticise a new idea for a solar PV scheme, at least suggest an alternative, and that, actually, is exactly what Tavarish on the Jalopnik website has done. You will see on this article various criticisms of the solar cycle path constructed in Amsterdam. The piece includes a picture of what seems to be the glass cover broken up, revealing the panels beneath.

However, rather than using this as an excuse to bash PV in general, Tavarish has pointed out a solar roadway scheme that DOES work, that is to say the bike path stretching along the Daejeon to Sejong motorway in South Korea.

The video is featured above. See what you think. 

Monday, 22 June 2015

Vanadium Flow Batteries For Energy Storage: An interview with Tim Hennessy of Imergy Power Systems

You know all those concerns about renewable energy systems being intermittent? Well, with vanadium flow batteries, those concerns are history.....

Scottish Energy Minister warns renewable energy investors could abandon UK for other countries

The decision by the UK government to end subsidies for onshore wind a year early is “wrong, ill-advised and irrational” said Fergus Ewing, MSP, warning that investors could leave the UK for other countries.

Bombora Wave Power to supply wave power collectors to Indonesia

Bombora Wave Power has signed a Technology Evaluation Agreement with Indonesian company Anoa Power in advance of a manufacturing and distribution arrangement for the supply of its Wave Energy Collector (WEC).

Monday, 15 June 2015

HRH Duke of Gloucester opens new UK waste to energy plant

Recycling and renewable energy company Viridor has welcomed HRH The Duke of Gloucester, KG GCVO, and distinguished guests to the opening of its new Ardley Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) in Oxfordshire.

Veolia awarded contract to operate Ireland's largest biomass plant

Veolia Energy Services, the Irish subsidiary of Veolia, has been awarded a contract worth 450 million euros to operate the largest biomass plant in Ireland, at Killala, Co. Mayo.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

An opportunity missed?

Lack of funding and the limited technological progress of Greece over the years have not allowed this nation to take full advantage of the massive alternative energy sources it possesses

New water rules for California cities

New urban water restrictions went into effect for cities across California on Monday, but the state will have to do more to prepare for a possible "new normal" of increased demand and dry periods that are longer, more frequent and more intense, a group of scientists said.

California's approach to water management is severely outdated and ill-suited to the state's mostly dry climate, according to Monday comments from members of the Union of Concerned Scientists. The state has to overhaul its water rights system, give its water managers the authority to supervise water use and restrict it when necessary. 

Source: CNBC

FloWave and Rockland Scientific join forces on tidal turbulence study

Two leading organisations in ocean energy research have pledged to work together to measure and understand the impact of turbulence on wave and tidal energy devices.

Thailand aiming to be a production hub for electric vehicles

By Danny Tan

Thailand, already known as the Detroit of the East, is now aiming to be a global production hub of electric vehicles (EVs), Bangkok Post reports.Demand for EVs has risen rapidly over the past five years and is expected to keep growing, and being an EV hub would help Thailand capitalise on strong demand for EV parts and batteries, said Thailand’s Science and Technology Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj.

“EVs are expected to be the new industry trend, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and saving limited oil resources,” Pichet pointed out at the opening ceremony of the Auto Parts Tech Day held at the Thailand Science Park in Pathum Thani province.“The global automobile industry is focusing on EVs and biofuel vehicles, while Thailand is a hub for one-tonne pick-ups and eco-car production. It’s a natural fit for the country to prepare for EV output,” he added.

According to the minister, his ministry plans to train staff and prepare facilities for EVs and offer investment privileges to attract investors. Also on the cards are plans to coordinate with universities to set up fuel-cell training courses to be included in the area of mechanical engineering with the goal of creating EV experts.

To further support the vision, the ministry has allocated Thailand Science Park as an EV parts R&D centre, and is set to designate an industrial estate as a special-innovation zone (SIZ) to create new products for the EV sector. For the latter, the ministry will discuss incentive packages for eligible investors with the country’s National Economic and Social Development Board and Board of Investment.

Organisations that are already conducting EV testing include PTT Plc, the Metropolitan Electricity Authority, the Provincial Electricity Authority and universities, running vehicles from small cars to buses.

If the current military-led Thai government pushes on with this EV plan, it will face Malaysia as a rival, as we have been making plenty of electric car sounds lately. Late last year, Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI) CEO Mohamad Madani Sahari announced that two EV models will surface by 2017, priced below RM100k.

It was also reported that MAI will coordinate the EV project, setting aside RM10 million for local companies to conduct EV R&D. As the battery constitutes some 30% of the overall price of an EV, MAI will also work with manufacturers to introduce a battery leasing concept – full story here.
More recently, Chinese carmaker Beijing Auto International Corporation (BAIC) chose Malaysia as its regional electric vehicle manufacturing hub, with a plant in Kedah expected to be operational in July 2016. BAIC’s Gurun plant, which is being built at the cost of between RM200 million and RM300 million, will also serve as a marketing centre for BAIC vehicles for Malaysia and ASEAN.
Of course, we also have the just-launched COMOS EV car-sharing service and a small network of charging stations in the Klang Valley in place. Thailand vs Malaysia – who will win the EV battle?

Source: Paultan

Energy Costs Rising as National Debts Grow

Although gas prices are temporarily low at the pump, long-term energy costs are on the rise. According to State of the World 2015 contributing author Nathan John Hagens, a former hedge fund manager who teaches human macro-ecology at the University of Minnesota, nations are papering over those costs with debt. Higher energy costs are leading to continued recessions, excess claims on future natural resources, and more-severe social inequality and poverty (

The relatively low cost of energy extraction has been perhaps the most important factor in the industrialized world's economic success. Historically, large quantities of inexpensive fuels were available even after accounting for the energy lost to extract and process them. But, as remaining fuels become less accessible, higher energy costs will have ripple effects through economies built around continued large energy-input requirements. Rising costs will endanger highly energy---   intensive industries and practices-including the energy sector itself---   as well as widen and deepen poverty as everything becomes more expensive.

"Despite having 'plenty of energy,' higher physical costs [of extraction] suggest that energy likely will rise from a historical average of 5 percent of GDP [gross domestic product], to 10--- 15 percent of GDP or higher," writes Hagens.

In the short term, nations are taking on growing debt to avoid losses in GDP---   an indicator of the economic health of a country. Since 2008, the Group of Seven nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) have added about $1 trillion per year in nominal GDP, but only by increasing their debt by over $18 trillion.

However, continued use of credit to mask the declining productivity of energy extraction is unsustainable. For each additional debt dollar, less and less GDP is generated, and, at the same time, our highest-energy-gain fuels are being depleted. Energy is becoming more expensive for the creditor in the future than for the debtor in the present.

"We have entered a period of unknown duration where things are going to be tough," writes Hagens. "But humanity in the past has responded in creative, unexpected ways with new inventions and aspirations." While policy choices such as banking reform, a carbon and consumption tax, and moving away from GDP as a proxy for well-being are good long-term ideas, "we urgently need institutions and populations to begin to prepare...for a world with the same or less each year instead of more."

Worldwatch's State of the World 2015 investigates hidden threats to sustainability, including economic, political, and environmental challenges that are often underreported in the media. For more information on the project, visit

Energy & Environment Dates 2012