Renew On Line (UK) 64

Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 164 Nov-Dec 2006
   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         

1. Energy Review and the RO

2. Scotland Accelerates
3. Micro power doubts
4. UK’s first combined PV and wind system
5. Marine Power - wave and tidal ups & downs
6. Tyndall say 90% CO2 cut needed
7. Local Biofuel growth stalled
8. Ramblers fear wind farms
9. Carbon Rationing
10. Planning for Decentral Power
11. UK funding for sustainable energy
12. UK Roundup
13. Renewables in Europe
14. World Renewables
15. Nuclear News

12. UK Roundup
Supergrid OK?

In response to a description by Alan Whitehead MP, during a parliamentary debate in June, of Airtricity’s Supergrid proposal for a 10GW network of wind farms linked across the north sea (see our Technology section), ‘equivalent of the generating capacity of 80% of our nuclear power plants’, Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks commented: ‘The European supergrid proposal is an idea for the longer term, possibly connecting up future rounds of offshore wind projects to interconnectors between different member states. As such, the ideas behind the proposal very much support two of the Government’s key energy policy objectives: first, to cut CO2 emissions, which the proposal supports through the ambitious suggestion for significantly more renewable development offshore; and secondly, to promote competitive markets in Great Britain and beyond by putting in place more physical connections between member states, thereby providing the opportunity for cross-border trade.’

Wicks added ‘liberalisation of the internal EU electricity and gas market is essential to EU economic reform. To progress greater liberalisation, Europe needs to remove barriers to cross-border trade to create more integrated markets, and in some cases to put in place the infrastructure to connect those markets physically. The supergrid proposal to link member states offshore is therefore very much in line with our goal of integrating national EU energy markets by removing barriers to the freer flow of energy around Europe.’

He was however cautious on timescales, noting that ‘there are currently no further plans to develop offshore wind beyond the current round 1 and 2 projects’, although he went on ‘that is not to say that the Government do not believe that further rounds may be needed if we are to meet our longer-term aspirations for offshore wind’.

But, he added, ‘any such moves to further offshore rounds will require careful consideration, as we need to work with stakeholders to understand how offshore renewables can successfully coexist with other marine industries and be developed with the environmental impacts minimised’.

NDA backs Renewables

With the UKAEA’s Dounreay nuclear site being decommissioned, ambitious plans to regenerate a community in Thurso, Caithness, using renewable energy are to receive financial support from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). £60,000 will be invested over the next three years to help Ormlie Community Association Ltd develop its green energy scheme. It will support the appointment of Thurso engineer, Louise Smith, who also chairs the Caithness Renewable Energy Forum, as project manager. The charitable body set up by residents of a Thurso council estate in 1997 has attracted over £3m to date to fund improvements to the neighbourhood. The scheme will test six different types of solar energy heating systems in rented houses. There are also plans to harness the wind and convert some of the energy to hydrogen. The hope is that the income from small-scale renewable generation can sustain the programme in the long-term and provide a source of grant-aid for householders in other neighbourhoods in Caithness to develop their own green energy schemes.

Green Curry's

Currys, the high street electrical retailer, is offering solar photovoltaic (PV) panels for sale in a pilot scheme at branches in West Thurrock, Essex, and in Fulham & Croydon. Currys said rising electricity prices and environmental awareness had created consumer demand. Customers get an in-store consultation followed by a free assessment to check if their properties are suitable. So far under 2,000 UK homes have PV panels, compared to ~200,000 in Germany. But with arrays costing ~ £9,000, it will take a while to catch up, even with a 50% grant from the government and the prospect of being able to sell back any excess power to your supplier.
B&Q are now selling solar heat collectors and the Windsave micro turbine at selected branches: see Renew 164 Technology section

Gadgets galore

UK householders will double the amount of energy they use for running consumer electronics by the year 2010, a new report ‘The Rise of the Machines’ commissioned by the Energy Saving Trust warns. Despite a move to make electronic appliances more energy-efficient, the number owned by an average household has increased greatly over recent decades. However the report found that 52% of householders surveyed were willing to pay more for energy-saving products and 72% said they would choose more energy efficient electrical products if they knew which ones were the best to choose, e.g. Plasma screens can use up to four times as much energy as a normal TV. The EST called for more labelling and a tax on inefficient products. At present, only large items such as dishwashers and washing machines are energy labelled.

BWEA-REA to merge?

The UK’s two leading renewable energy trade associations are exploring the prospects for a merger. The British Wind Energy Association and the Renewable Energy Association say that a combined body would provide a stronger, more coherent voice for the sector offering even better value for members.

The associations are consulting their memberships and, subject to their support, aim for a merger by the end of the year. ‘The industry has been growing strongly in recent years,’ said REA CEO Philip Wolfe ‘and this needs to accelerate to meet our national goals for 2010 and 2020. This means a broader approach to include heat and transport fuels as well as renewable power.’ BWEA’s Maria McCaffery said the Energy Review ‘reconfirms the major contribution that renewables will make to our future energy needs. We in the industry now need to pull together and work with Government to enhance the uptake of new renewables without compromising those that are already contributing and growing- landfill gas, onshore wind and hydro.’

More Changes
The formal relationship between Greenpeace and npower in relation to the latters Juice green power tariff scheme has ended, although Greenpeace says that Juice is still the UK’s best non-premium scheme.

Ford - £1bn on green cars

Ford is to spend £1bn in the UK over the next six years to develop environmentally friendly engine technologies and vehicle designs, aiming to reduce carbon emissions across more than 100 car models. While Toyota and Honda have invested heavily in hybrid electric cars, Ford has decided to invest in improving carbon emissions across its product range, which covers Land Rover, Ford, Volvo and Jaguar models. ‘We are not going to introduce just one or two high-profile green cars that sell in relatively low numbers and leave it at that.... We are not going to tackle climate change just with hybrids.’ As an example, they said future models of its Ford Focus, of which about 145,000 are sold a year in the UK, will emit less than 100 kilogrammes of carbon per kilometre, an improvement of about 20% on the current model.

BP offsets- passing the buck?

BP has launched an initiative which will allow UK drivers to offset their carbon emissions by buying green credits- for typically £20 a year. BP says all money collected will be invested via their target neutral scheme in green power projects, initially a biomass plant & windfarm in India, and a methane capture programme in Mexico. Assuming these projects wouldn’t go ahead without this support, it’s probably not a bad way to get UK drivers to recognise that they have a responsibility for climate change- but critics, like the New Internationalist, say some offset schemes dump the problem on others. More at

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