Archive for Green Energy

News: More hydro for Scotland – GDF takeover

A couple of quick updates on some interesting energy news:

Scotland yields more hydro power

£100m hydro win for Green Highland Renewables – A good news story from Scotland where a small hydroelectric specialist company Green Highland Renewables (based in Aberfeldy) has won a £100m contract to develop a series of small hydro schemes on Forestry Commission land. The company, backed by Scottish Hydro Electric owners SSE will develop  in excess of 100 hydroelectric dams across the Highlands, many of them in the most remote glens in the region. The programme is set to last for 10 years. Read more on this deal over at recharge news.

GDF Suez takeover International Power – Now for some not so good news for the UK energy sector. The ownership of UK energy is for us and others a rather worrying issue, and with the proposed takeover of International Power by GDF Suez, more UK energy companies are set to fall under foreign ownership. See more from The Herald.

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Act local

While “Think Globally: Act Locally” was a great slogan, like all great slogans its reverberation was louder than its conversion into action, for most of us. I mean, how often do you talk to your next door neighbours. Do you even know their forenames?

Slightly less locally is easier to deal with. Buying locally, that kind of thing. Buying our energy from green energy suppliers who make energy from wind and water. Ensuring that we don’t overconsume petrol, using fewer plastic bags. All the stuff that’s by now pretty much common practise, or if it isn’t, very much should be!

But when local communities work together there are all kinds of benefits. People feel involved and are much more aware of the value of their contribution. It’s partly a social as well as an environmental exercise. Working with local communities also counteracts the illusion that in the modern world eveything is all the same wherever you go. We are still a culturally diverse nation and long may it continue.

So it warmed my heart just a little bit to read that Sustainable Development Commission has produced a report entitled The Future is Local: Empowering communities to improve their neighbourhoods. It’s inspirational stuff, this, with an eye to the future and some real food for thought for the present. Read more about it on the Defra Civil Society blog.

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Learing about energy

One of the best things about the Green Energy topic is that theres always something of interest to read. There is a constant stream of news and opinion out there in the mainstream news and more niche blogs and websites.

For enthusiasts of the subject who may wish to dig a little deeper (we like to count ourselves in here) truly great reading material can be found within the Academic Community: for example this great post by Josh Winn at the University of Lincoln on Oil and the story of energy. There is also a great deal of excellent video content out there, the Open University has a guide to some of the best out there. Of course, we shouldn’t forget about our friends across the pond where a huge academic network exists.

In order to find these sites, simply perform some smart Google searches, ie: “green energy” inurl:.ac.uk” and you should get some interesting results.

Happy learning, and please let us know what your favourite energy learning resource is!

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>> Everything’s Going Green – slowly but surely >>

In terms of renewables, it looks like the UK is surely moving in the right direction. While government policy on renewables hasn’t (so far, at least) been exactly what you’d call ‘radical’, there have been some encouraging signs that the main parties are united in their commitment to getting the country where it needs to be, or to the starting line, at least. The UK electorate (as if anyone needs reminding) even returned a Green member of parliament for one of its constituencies way back last month (how long ago the general election seems now…!)

And while much good work has been done, there are always reminders around us that there is still the majority of the progress yet to be made. So it was with mixed emotions that I read the latest findings by Cambridge Econometrics, who have forecast that renewables will account for seven percent of elecricity sales to final users by the end of 2010.  While this is a move in the right direction, it actually falls pretty far short of the ten percent target. Assuming that certain economic conditions are as expected, the figure is predicted to rise to 11 percent by 2015 – but since the 2015 target is fifteen percent, we will still be wide of the target.

There is always a good news/ bad news element to this type of forecast, and this one’s no exception. The good news? Carbon emissions are predicted to continue fallling. The bad news? They’re going to fall only by a fraction of a single percent, and even only then because of changes to coal-fired power station equipment. The obverse of the good news v. bad news scenario is the bad news v. good news one – and so it has been predicted that the knock-on effects from the economic downturn of 2008 will provide a significant drop in CO2 emissions, rendering the figure lower than initial projections. And the UK will as a result be likely to meet its Kyoto target without much difficulty.

UK Green Energy policy - going in the right direction.

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‘Sustainable Energy – without the hot air’, fantastic free book

Sustainable Energy - without the hot air

This is amongst the best books ive read on the energy sector in a long time – ‘Sustainable Energy – without the hot air‘ by David Mackay (a Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge). I really can’t do the work justice in a short blog post and i don’t really need to as you can download the entire book in PDF format for yourselves. There is a 10 page synopsis available for anyone who doesn’t fancy downloading 27mb. I would recommend that anyone with an interest in sustainable energy get hold of this text somehow – you can also buy a copy from Amazon for £19.99.

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Boiler Scrappage Scheme Closes, Discounts Available Elsewhere

Boiler Scrappage ends, will it return?

Apologies for missing the end date on this, but it appears that the government boiler scrappage scheme has closed after 125,000 vouchers being handed out in three months – good luck to those who managed to get a shiny new, energy efficient boiler! If you missed the scheme do not despair as the energy companies are continuing to offer their own deals, i.e. SSE Home Services gas boiler scrappage scheme, so there are still some savings to be made. Elsewhere in the country, SWALEC in Wales has its own scheme in place from April the 1st and Scotland is set to get its own boiler scrappage scheme, but an exact start date is proving a little elusive.

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OFGEM Certified Green Energy Tariffs Unveiled

green energy tariff

OFGEM Green Energy Certificate

The energy regulator OFGEM has revealed the first tariffs that meet its requirements for green certification. These tariffs meet three main criteria laid out by an panel of independent experts:

1.    All the electricity use by customers signed up to the tariff must be matched by Renewable Energy bought or generated by the tariff’s Supplier.
2.    The Supplier must also contribute to a minimum level of additional environmental benefits for each customer
3.    The Supplier must sign up to the Green Energy Supply Certification Scheme and obey its rules on transparency (including reporting all its sources of electricity by type) and submitting its Green Supply Tariffs to an annual independent audit.

Nine tariffs have been given ‘green energy certification’…..

  1. better plan from SSE – Scottish Hydro’s green energy scheme, also available with  SWALEC & Southern Electric
  2. Zero Carbon (to be renamed) and Future Energy from British Gas
  3. Go Green from E.On
  4. Green Tariff from EDF Energy
  5. 100% Green & Gold from Good Energy
  6. Juice and National Trust Green Energy from npower
  7. Simply Green from Scottish Power

A good move from OFGEM which should weed out alot of the ‘greenwash’ tariffs out there…………

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Isle of Lewis Residents to Pay For Wind Farm

isle of lewis wind farms

Wind farms - coming soon the the Isle of Lewis

It was on this exact day 2 years ago that we posted about the blocking of a Wind Farm application on the Isle of Lewis. At the time there were widespread complaints from some island residents and campaign groups that the wind turbines would have a detrimental affect on the tourism and wildlife of Lewis, particularly the bird population (Scotland’s largest). Well, it now seems that the tide has turned completely and the Isle of Lewis scheme has been given the go-ahead as part of the Scottish Governments latest ‘green energy’ plans. However, it seems that the islanders (whether the want to or not) are going to have to pay £18.5m to buy the equiptment to make it happen.

As with all of these major rural developments there are a wide range of viewpoints – is the generation of power from renewable sources more important than preserving the natural beauty of these landscapes?. A very difficult question to answer, and we imagine even more problematic for the Isle of Lewis residents that will have to live with the development every day.

What are your opinons on this wind farm – should it have been given the go-ahead?

For further information on this developing story see:

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Scotland: Beauly to Denny Line Debate Continiues

Controversy surrounding the Beauly to Denny power line replacement linking Nothern and Central Scotland continues to rumble on. Last week the Scottish Government approved the 137 mile line (with 600 overhead pylons). The decision was made despite 18,000 objections. The latest development is that appears that some of the line could go underground after all – if you take Energy Minister Jim Mathers rather Rumsfeld-esque take on the issue:

“We cannot require them to underground. What we can require them to do is to mitigate. That them leaves them the option to mitigate by undergrounding.”

In other words, he can’t force Scottish and Southern Energy (the developers of the line) to go underground but the option is open.

Another intriguing aspect of this project is the fine line being straddled by environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth Scotland, who lent their support to the line on the principal that it’s worth scarifcing the aesthtics of the Scottish landscape in order to  combat future climate change.

Those of you who have an hour and a half of your time to spare can watch Scottish Energy Minister Jim Mather being questioned on the decision.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “BBC News – Beauly to Denny power line…“, posted with vodpod

What are your thoughts on the Beauly-Denny replacement line?

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Excellent Wind Power Infographic

Im sure that you are all too aware of the feeling you get sometimes: “i wish id thought of doing that!” – well, this sensation washed over me quickly this week when i came across this great illustration from US website Power and Energy.

Essentially, it encapsulates in one tidy design the questions regarding Wind Energy, the generation of which has been risen rapidly in the USA over the past two years. Although the statistics are all related to North America (and New York state in particular), the questions posed still hold relevance worldwide.

With scottish power suppliers and the government in this country pushing Wind Energy as THE answer to our energy needs, perhaps it would help them to consider this graph.

Is wind energy the answer?

Is wind energy the answer?

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