Renew On Line (UK) 48

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue 148 March-April 2004

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. Even more offshore wind

2. BETTA , RO and Carbon trading

3. Wind - in the city and in the forests

4. Green Alliance : PSI report on Funding

5. Solar, Tidal, Hydro and biomass

6. Throwing caution at the wind

7. CHP gap confirmed

8. Long-life energy deal 

9. EU News

10. US News

11. World Renewables Roundup

12. Nuclear News

5. Solar, Tidal, Hydro and biomass

More PV solar

Last December, the DTI announced a further £1.8m worth of allocations under the £20m Major Photovoltaic  Demonstration Programme- for 16 new projects.  These are the sixth set of medium and large scale proposals approved since the programme began in 2002. The projects include plans to power a new racecourse in Essex, a learning village in Croydon, and an education and resource centre for children at the Eden Project, Cornwall

The 16 new projects are expected to produce a total of 511 kWpeak, enough energy the DTI says to power more than 100 homes. Full details in Renew 149.  The round 5 allocations are described in detail in the Technology section of Renew 148.

Solar Funding

Back in November Energy Minister Stephen Timms gave details of the funding arrangement for  solar  from the additional £98 million funding for the renewable energy capital grant programme to 2006.

 ‘The notional budget for Stream 2 (medium and large-scale projects) is £12 million over the first phase of the Major PV Demonstration Programme. So far, around £9 million has been allocated over five rounds, and we plan to run three further rounds in 2003-04.  This will require some over-committing of funds in the expectation that a certain proportion of projects will not go ahead. Any extra funding allocation for 2004-05 will have to await the outcome of the Renewables Innovation Review around the turn of the year.’

He was then asked how much private sector investment there has been in UK based solar PV manufacturing since the start of the MDP phase one. He replied ‘We do not have precise figures for this, but the recent  announcements by Romag, Marley, BP Solar and Sharp lead us to believe  that a significant UK manufacturing base is beginning to develop in response to the first phase of the Major Photovoltaic Demonstration Programme’.   He also noted that according to a recent report, ‘several hundred new jobs will have been created by March 2004’.  He also reported that by the end of 2002 the estimated total installed PV solar capacity in the UK was 4.14MWp, adding that ‘By the end of 2003 we expect this to have risen by at least 50%’.

Tidal lagoon nearer

The UK’s first power producing offshore tidal lagoon  may be built in Swansea Bay soon, if planning permission  is obtained and financial support is confirmed. The project would harness the high tides in the Bristol Channel to produce electricity- see Renew 143.

The South Wales Evening Post (21 Nov.) noted that ‘the scheme has been on hold for more than 15 months because of difficulties with funding and securing Department of Trade and Industry approval for the technology’.  But it reported that the would-be developer, London-based The Environment Trust, had announced that ‘an investor had been found and they were confident of securing DTI approval’.

The project involves building a lagoon of rock, sand and gravel in Swansea Bay to create a head a water at high tides which, would then be used to produce electricity via 30GW rated turbines. If successful it would be followed by a 432 MW plant off  Rhyl in North Wales.

The Environment Trust is collaborating with Tidal Electric Ltd to build the power lagoon. Tidal Electric’s chief, Peter Ullman, told  the South Wales Evening Post: “The high tidal range around the UK shoreline will enable the vast potential of the oceans to turn renewable power from a marginal to a mainstream technology choice. Private investors stand ready to fund the projects once planning consent is obtained.”

Hydro blockage

A £6m 3.55 MW hydro scheme planned for Scotland may be blocked by the Scottish Executive. The plan to develop the scheme in Shieldaig Forest in Wester Ross has been opposed by some major national environmental groups, and was turned down by the council when first proposed in 1996 leading to a public inquiry in 1997. The developer, Highland Light & Power, submitted a new plan in May last year saying that, after nine years of consultation, it was one of the world’s most environmentally friendly small-scale hydro projects.

Grass Roots Power

Nine farmers in the Stafford and Eccleshall area have so far signed up to provide elephant grass to the £3m Eccleshall renewable biomass power plant, and a further 60 have also expressed an interest in supporting the plant, which is to be built at Raleigh Hall Industrial Estate and run by Eccleshall Biomass Ltd. Local farmers will be contracted to fuel the plant with locally-grown elephant grass, also known as miscanthus.

The Eccleshall Biomass Growers Group noted that the crop could be used not only as a fuel but for animal bedding, biocomposites, paper pulp, compost, concrete block filler and ground mulch. They add “The main advantages of this crop is that it can be grown on land that is not suitable for regular arable crops. Once it is put down it will last for 10 to 15 years without replanting, so it is much less work intensive and reduces the overall cost of farming.” But you needed a minimum of 50 acres to be viable.  Source: The Sentinel Nov 3

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