Renew On Line (UK) 74

Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 174 July-Aug 2008
   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. Policy developments- 15% 2020 target, go for FIT’s?  

2. Wind power- growing, but Shell out, Lewis blocked

3. Marine Renewables – tidal turbines power up

4. Policy debates- UK ducking it?

5. Regional policy- Scotland, Wales, N. Ireland 

6. EU Developments- EU plan views, Ireland unites

7. Green energy round the world- wind and PV boom

8. Nuclear news- reprocessing waste still an option?

5. Regional policy

Scotland’s max out

Scotland could produce ten times as much electricity from renewables as the country needs, First Minister Alex Salmond has claimed.  He wanted Scotland to become a “global advocate” for renewable energy and suggested there was so much potential in this sector, that the country could not only become self-sufficient but could also produce enough electricity for the whole of Britain. Addressing the National Geographic Society in Washington, he claimed: ‘In total, we have the potential to generate as much as 60GW from across the sector- ten times our peak electricity demand’

He said  that Scotland had ‘25% of Europe’s total tidal and off-shore wind resource, and 10% of its potential in wave power’ and noted that ‘the Pentland Firth, in particular, demonstrates the renewable wealth within Scotland’s grasp. Flowing between Caithness on Scotland’s north coast and the Orkney Isles, the Firth is home to some of the fastest tides on the planet- and thus, a huge potential for generating tidal energy. Taking environmental constraints into account, estimates suggest that as much as 40GW of power could be deployed from that one area alone- and that could be a major understatement.’

He reported the Scottish government was offering an innovation prize, the Saltire Prize, of £10m, for renewable marine energy. It was also ‘consulting on proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050’ and had ‘set an ambitious and stretching target for Scotland to meet at least 31% of our electricity demand from renewables by 2011- and 50% by 2020’.

NFFO fund: Scotland wants its share -£98m

As noted before (see Renew 160), some of the left over money raised by the old fossil fuel levy and put in the old NFFO fund, which is overseen by OFGEM, has been taken over by the Treasury. That has raised some hackles- it really ought to be spent on renewables.  The latest episode in this sorry saga has been a battle to get access to the £98m that the Scottish Government now claims it is owed from this fund.  As the Scotsman (23/2/08) reported ‘Last year, SNP ministers vowed to ensure the cash was handed over to the Scottish Government to help increase wind and wave power. But the money is still being held by energy regulator Ofgem, denying the renewable industry massive investment.’

Wales gets £5m for Low Carbon centre

The Higher Education Funding Council For Wales has provided £5.1m to establish a Low Carbon Research Institute for Wales. The project is led by the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, in partnership with Bangor School of Chemistry, Cardiff School of Engineering, Glamorgan Sustainable Environment Research Centre and Swansea School of Engineering. The institute will build on energy research capacity and facilities around the existing areas of low carbon and energy expertise in Wales whilst looking to expand research activities into other energy-related areas. Prof. Phil Jones from the Welsh School of Architecture, told the Western Mail (10/4/08) ‘Wales now has the potential to exploit a range of low carbon energy production technologies, including wave power, wind power, solar power and biomass. We also have opportunities to reduce energy demand across all sectors, principally transport, industry and heating, and the cooling, ventilating and lighting of our buildings.’

The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has it seems declared that all new buildings in Wales must be zero carbon from 2011, which means they will have to be extremely energy efficient and use “green” energy from renewable sources. WAG also has aspirations to reduce carbon emissions throughout Wales by 3% p.a..  Building regulations will be devolved to Wales ‘so that targets can be met sooner than in the rest of the UK’ and the Low Carbon Research Institute will work with the Assembly and the construction industry to help achieve these aims.

Wind blocks in Wales

Wales is in danger of being smothered ‘in a blanket of wind turbines’, according to Darren Millar AM, the Conservative’s Welsh assembly environment spokesman, who told delegates at the Welsh party’s conference in Llandudno that the Welsh assembly government had a ‘blind obsession’ with wind power. He said the Conservatives were not against wind energy, only large scale windfarms, but the current policy was leading to a ‘massive democratic deficit’. The views of local councillors and local communities were being disregarded. He said Wales’ landscape and tourism industry must not be ‘sacrificed on the altar of a minister’s obsession’.

However, in Scotland: 75% of the tourists surveyed for a study commissioned by the Scottish Executive of the ‘Economic Impacts of Wind Farms on Scottish Tourism’ felt wind farms had a positive or neutral effect on the landscape. 97% said they would have no impact on their decision to re-visit.

N. Ireland gets £75m

Four New York pension funds have committed to investing £75m in Northern Ireland, including in the alternative energy, waste management, property development and conventional energy sectors. The funds involved are the New York City Employees Retirement System, the Teacher Retirement System, the City Police Pension Fund, and the City Fire Department Fund. Projects operating either exclusively in Northern Ireland or both parts of the island will receive upwards of 65% of the total. The remainder will be invested in “green” Northern American-based companies that specialise in renewable and clean energy.

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