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Energy saving targets for 2030

23 July 2014

EU commissioners are meeting today to agree an energy savings target for 2030 among disagreement about how ambitious is should be.

The reluctance to embrace ambitious savings goals has been described as “bonkers” by campaigners and industry. Several governments are now pushing for a tough target as they believe it will help them to limit their dependence on Russia.

In January, after difficult negotiations, the EU published outline proposals on what its targets for 2030 should be. They proposed a 40% cut in carbon, while renewables would make up 27% of energy consumed. Energy efficiency was due to be increased by 27%.

Under pressure from countries like Germany, the Commission examined a range of higher efficiency targets up to 40%. The result of an internal review showed that while a 27% goal would cut gas imports by roughly 16%, this would double to around 33% if the savings target was raised to 35%.

The review also pointed out that the costs of going for these targets would be dramatically offset by gains in employment from all the insulation jobs that would be created plus the reduction in fuel consumed.

But there has been strong resistance to upping the savings goal - Energy suppliers are reluctant to push for a policy that would cut demand for their product.

If they find agreement, the Commission's proposals will go forward to a heads of government meeting in October which will have the final say of the 2030 goals.

To find the full story, click HERE.

 

UK renewable sector in line for as much as 50 billion of new investment 

18 July 2014

According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the UK’s renewably energy sector is set for as much as £50 billion of new investment by the end of the decade. DECC’s first report on energy investment in the UK summarises historic data and estimates the pipeline for green technology.

Onshore wind attracted the largest share of UK renewables investment between 2010 and 2013 – £7.6bn of the £28.9bn total in this three-year period – but this will drop to between £3.7bn and £5.7bn over the five and a half remaining years of this decade.

The report also confirms that offshore wind currently supports 18,300 jobs in the UK while onshore wind employs 17,100 people.

To view the article and full report, click HERE

 

UK to Miss Air Quality Targets by 20 Years  

16 July 2014

The air quality in some of the UK's biggest cities is unlikely to meet EU standards before 2030, according to the government.

Member states were supposed to meet targets on pollutants from diesel cars and trucks by 2010 however, the European Court of Justice heard that London, Leeds and Birmingham could still be above these goals in 2030.

The nitrogen dioxide (NO2) produced from diesel cars and trucks is linked to a range of respiratory illnesses.

More information on this story can be found HERE.

 

Sustainable energy becoming cost effective option

11 July 2014

As the cost of renewable technologies continues to fall, sustainable energy is becoming a cost effective option, according to the clean energy UK finance guide 2014, published by The Clean Energy Pipeline.

“Cost for solar PV systems fell by 57% between 2009 and 2014.”

“Onshore wind decreasing by 15%, landfill gas by 16%, municipal solid waste by 15% and biomass gasification by 26%”

The guide’s extensive market analysis supports this claim, with info-graphics detailing solar markets as well as both offshore and onshore wind finances – with figures and statistics to compare.

To find more information click HERE

 

Dark snow from the Arctic to the Himalayas – the phenomenon that is accelerating glacier melting 

9 July 2014

American geologist, Ulyana Horodyskj, set up a weather station 5,800 m up Mount Himlung, on the Nepal-Tibet border to find the world’s highest glacier, Khumbu turning visibly darker. Particles of industrial dust and soil have been blown thousands of miles, settling on ice sheets, adding to the threat of rising sea levels.

On the nearby Ngozumpa glacier, the problem was even worse and Horodyskj found that so much dust covered the snow that the ability of the ice to reflect the sunlight (known as albedo) had dropped by 20% in a single month. The dust warms in the strong sun and melts the snow and ice.

The phenomenon of "dark snow" is being recorded from the Himalayas to the Arctic as increasing amounts of dust from bare soil, soot from fires and ultra-fine particles of "black carbon" from industry and diesel engines are being whipped up and deposited sometimes thousands of miles away.

To read more on this matter click HERE

 

Fifth anniversary of Scotland’s world-leading climate change legislation 

7 July 2014

Since 2009, Scotland has made huge progress towards a sustainable future, with renewable energy accounting for 20.2% of Scottish energy consumption in 2007 to 46.5% in 2013.

Dr Eilidh Whiteford, Banff and Buchan MP, has said: “the Scottish Government’s commitment really is world-leading and sets a shining example on what can be achieved with political will”. Dr Whiteford goes on to explain that Scotland has an international reputation as an engineering hub for renewable and the jobs and income from this industry will benefit everyone.

More information can be found HERE

 

Scottish Independent Renewable Schemes Hit 1.7 GW 

4 July 2014

2014 has witnessed a 40% increase in the amount being invested into renewable energy in the UK, pushing the total figure being pumped into independent commercial scale projects up to £300 million.

Smartest Energy’s Energy Entrepreneurs Report 2014 was released this week and revealed that there are now more than 500 independent renewable generation schemes in Scotland totalling 1.7 GW. In 2013, 169 new projects of 50kW or more went live which was 50% more than in 2012. The total operating capacity of 1.7 GW at the end of 2013 was a 25% increase on the previous year.

More than £66 million was invested into independent renewables generating around £234 m worth of electricity compared with £191 m in 2012.

More on this story can be found HERE

 

Latest briefing paper Onshore Wind: What You Need to Know now available  

27 June 2014

Today, Scottish Renewables have released a briefing paper on all you need to know about wind power. You can access the paper HERE. It is a valuable tool for answering all the questions you may have on wind energy including information about cost, carbon emissions, tourism, jobs, public support, noise, constraint payments and much more. 


The Green Investment Bank is ready to pump 500 million into renewable projects 

23 June 2014

Tomorrow, the Green Investment Bank is expected to reveal a new fund up to as much as £500 million to help initiate more renewable projects.

So far the Green Investment Bank has provided support to renewable projects with an initial funding pot of £3 billion which was raised by a further £800 million this time last year. The purpose of this new fund is to provide financial support that the private sector finds difficult to source.

The bank was set up in November 2012 to accelerate the UK’s transition to a greener economy and to create what the government described as ‘an enduring institution, operating independently of government’.

Chief Executive Shaun Kingsbury said that he had proposals in the pipeline that could help unleash £20 billion of investment. He said that it proved demand was there that would support thousands of jobs.

For more information please click HERE 

 

Family Open Day a Great Success!  

Community Windpower Ltd had a fabulous, fun filled Family Open Day at Dalry and Millour Hill Community Wind Farms, near Dalry, North Ayrshire on Saturday 14th June, where over 1,800 people attended.

Throughout the day the wind farm was bustling with visitors exploring the wind farm, participating in different activities including the Outdoor Climbing Wall, bouncy castles, children’s ride and inflatable slide plus guided tours of the wind farm. The face painting was a highly popular attraction with the children, along with the guided tractor rides around the wind farm in the glorious sun, allowing the visitors to get even closer to the turbines.

The area surrounding the marquee was full of activity with a variety of stands and stalls from local crafts and local produce, through to ice cream from the Lime Tree Larder and charities including the NA Foodbank, Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA), Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Trust and fundraising games for all the family. The Owl Display by Hoots Forever Home was also popular and attracted a lot of attention.

 

Inside the marquee was just as busy as outside, with visitors learning about the two wind farms, BeGreen Dalry and other local projects and as popular as ever with the children was Ranger Pete, who had a brilliant exhibit of local children’s artwork kindly provided by Dalry Out Of School Care.

The BBQ and complementary hot and cold drinks queue was never ending throughout the day, and raised over £500 for the North Ayrshire Foodbank, thanks to donations by visitors to the event.

Overall the whole day was an enormous success in terms of the weather, the turnout of visitors and the stalls/entertainment available on the day. Community Windpower Ltd would like to thank everyone who attended and made the Family Open Day such a successful and wonderful day. 

 

Global Wind Day 15 June 2014 

In 2013 our net energy import dependency (the amount we import minus what we export) was at its highest level since 1975 at nearly 50%. This level of dependency means that the UK has to import fuels from places like Russia. As North Sea oil and gas is running out, this dependency is likely to increase therefore we should develop domestic energy sources like wind power. Wind power already provides enough power for over 6 million homes per year, and is responsible for 34,500 jobs.

To find out more about Global Wind Day and how you can get involved, visit the official Global Wind Day website HERE

 

Huge economic opportunities in onshore wind supply chain 

6 June 2014

New guidance published by RenewableUK highlights the massive potential for local companies to win contracts to plan, build and maintain onshore wind farms as well as providing a wide range of support services for those involved in the onshore wind industry.

‘Local Supply Chain Opportunities in Onshore Wind – Good Practice Guide’ explains how local businesses can work with developers to secure contracts. The guidance draws on positive case studies that demonstrate how developers are maximising their presence locally and raising awareness of opportunities through ‘Meet the Buyer’ events for local businesses.

For more on this story, please click HERE

 

Onshore wind is vital to help UK reach 2020 renewable energy target  

29 May 2014

News from RenewableUK has highlighted that if the UK is to meet its legally-binding target of generating 15% of all energy from renewable sources by 2020, more onshore wind may be needed to make up for a possible shortfall in other parts of the energy mix.

Not all approved onshore wind farm projects will actually get built. It is estimated that around 10% will drop away due to financial and other reasons, meaning that the UK could lose 450 MW of clean energy before 2020. Therefore the pipeline for approved wind farms needs to make up for this short fall.

There are also short falls in other areas such as transport fuel and renewable heat. As the UK is over half way towards generating 30% of its electricity from renewable, more than half sourced from wind energy, renewable could be increased to make up for short falls in other areas and to reach overall targets.

The CCC’s 4th Carbon Budget, currently being considered by the Government, envisages 25 gigawatts of onshore wind by 2030, 12 gigawatts above what the Government says we should have installed by 2020. The CCC has also acknowledged that onshore wind is one of the cheapest technologies to achieve this.

To find more on this matter, click HERE

 

Potential for a soggy summer 

27 May 2014

The UK weather outlook isn’t looking to promising lately, with more unsettled conditions next week and well in to June.

Last year aside, there has been a run of several years of washout summers that often began with heavy rains in spring and especially in May.

There are now concerns that there may be a shift in climate that is exposing the UK to wetter summers. One suspect that has been blamed is the unprecedented melting of the Arctic ice cap. The sea ice is white and so reflects some 80% of the sunlight over the Arctic back into space and helps cool the atmosphere.

But without the ice, the dark sea is exposed, which absorbs some 90 per cent of the solar energy, warming up the sea and upsetting the balance of heat, and possibly climate, across the northern hemisphere.

The full article can be found HERE

 

Oil industry and Fracking estimates exaggerated 

23 May 2014 

Huge oil reserves could kick-off a drive to begin fracking in parts of southern England, which would have implications for the UK's long-term energy security. A study by the British Geological Survey (BGS) covers areas including Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey and Kent, with a report suggesting several billion barrels of oil is located within the shale rocks of this region. This discovery comes after a BGS study suggested there may be up to 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas contained in shale rocks in the North of England.

Tony peer Lord Howell of Guildford told the BBC "there’s big potential for oil and gas explorations across the country but particularly in terms of oil”

However, take these figures with caution as the US suffered a death-blow to industry hype when the Monterey shale reserves in California were overestimated by 96%. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said that the previous estimate of recoverable oil was thought to be about 15.4 billion barrels, when in reality this amount can be downgraded to a puny 600 million barrels of oil.

 

Still, to reach any of these reserves will involve the controversial process known as fracking, and experts are not certain how much would be economically recoverable. The fracking process involves a pressurised mixture of water, sand and chemicals directed at the rock to release the reserves inside. The process is so controversial that some governments have banned the process entirely, as some critics argue fracking can cause small earthquakes and damage water supplies. This has sparked protest by environmentalists. Despite this, a government report released in 2012 suggested that fracking is safe if sufficiently monitored.

Fracking is also a politically sensitive issue, with the Conservative Party losing votes by perusing plans to frack in the North East. Though, the industry has led to speculation of an energy boom in the United States with suggestions that it could be the world’s biggest producer of oil by 2020, anticipating that fracking could be an answer to lowering domestic energy prices. Yet, just last year, the Post Carbon Institute (PCI) published Drilling California: A Reality Check on the Monterey Shale, which concluded that the original EIA estimate was "highly overstated," and unlikely to lead to a "statewide economic boom” and that America should consider their future economic and energy in the absence of oil. Furthermore, a wider PCI study concluded that oil and gas potential is much lower than many believe with oil production in the USA peaking between 2015 and 2017, followed by a steep decline. The exaggerated industry estimates are significant as it demonstrates that production forecasts need to be lowered, as the reality may be that we face an oil shock within the next few years.

Despite the growing evidence that the shale gas boom is heading for a bust, both governments and industry seem to be pinning all their hopes on a rather risky business.

You can find the full article HERE

 

Climate Change causes Tropical Storm Migration 

19 May 2014 

According to researchers, anthropogenic climate change is causing changes to the distribution of tropical storms. Usually forming close to the equator, these storms are produced when hot air above warm oceans rise upwards leaving low pressure at the surface, this draws in air from around the storm where there is higher surface pressure as the earth’s climate system tries to reach equilibrium. The Coriolis force caused by the earth’s spin then makes these storms rotate.

The world’s weather is driven by the tropics, which produces a strong uplift of warm moist air which then migrates poleward. It is believed that the area generating this uplift is expanding by 0.5 – 1 degrees latitude per decade. And that human activity is partly to blame with climate change, ozone depletion and aerosols contributing to these changes.

James Kossin from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center, says "there is compelling evidence that the expansion of the tropics is attributable to a combination of human activities, but we don’t know which is the primary factor”.

Experts say that people living close to the Equator are becoming less likely to face the worst of a hurricane or typhoon. However, those on the edges of the tropics will as the location of peak storm activity changes. This is due to a warming of the tropics and a rise in global sea surface temperatures. Additionally, small particles known as aerosols from cooking stoves and diesel engines contribute to the heating of the atmosphere. Moreover, this leads to stratospheric cooling, affecting air currents originating from the tropics.

The NOAA says that there are regional variations within this pattern, for example, the Pacific and Indian Oceans show a greater pole-ward trend than the Atlantic Ocean does. 

 

UK's oil, coal and gas 'gone in five years' 

16 May 2014

Researchers have warned that in just over five years Britain will have run out of oil, coal and gas.

A report by the Global Sustainability Institute has claimed that this would increase dependency on Norway, Qatar and Russia. The report goes on to say that Russia has more than 50 years of oil, more than 100 years of gas and more than 500 years of coal left, on current consumption.

By contrast, Britain has just 5.2 years of oil, 4.5 years of coal and three years of its own gas remaining.

Dr Aled Jones, director of the institute, has said that "The EU is becoming ever more reliant on our resource-rich neighbours such as Russia and Norway, and this trend will only continue unless decisive action is taken.”

The institute's Prof Victor Anderson said: "Coal, oil and gas resources in Europe are running down and we need alternatives... The UK urgently needs to be part of a Europe-wide drive to expand renewable energy sources such as wave, wind, tidal, and solar power."

To find the full article, click HERE

 

Ukraine crisis underlines importance of UK renewable energy 

14 May 2014

Guy Hands, financer and investor, warns that the Ukraine crisis has underlined the importance of the UK's renewable energy sector, and attacks those wanting to phase out onshore wind subsidies.

Mr Hands, who has close links to the Conservative party, says energy security cannot be achieved by markets alone and that the government needs to play a decisive role. "We should be grateful to President Putin for bringing energy security back to the top of the political agenda in Europe. But it is up to us to ensure we understand and act on the long-term threat. And that is certainly not by turning our backs on renewable energy, no matter how persistent or loud the voices against it," Hands argues in an article on the Guardian website.

You can find the full article HERE

 

Longer droughts and more water shortages in Europe forecast under climate change 

12 May 2014

Rising temperatures and shifting weather patterns caused by climate change are expected to alter water supply throughout Europe. This has raised concerns about an increase in the frequency of extreme droughts, and the severe impacts these events can have. For example, the 2003 drought in southern and central Europe was estimated to have caused more than €8.7 billion in economic damage.

Climate change’s impacts on water resources will require adaptation of infrastructure, economies and society to minimise potential socioeconomic and environmental damage. For decision makers to plan such adaptation strategies, it is important to know how drought conditions are likely to develop.

This study analysed how climate change and human water usage in Europe might interact to affect the frequency, length and severity of droughts over time. The researchers used a number of possible future scenarios for greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption combined with the latest climate models. This allowed them to calculate past and predicted water resources and climate at a regional level throughout Europe, over the period 1961- 2100.

The results show that, by the end of the century, demand for water is likely to exceed available amounts across many river basins throughout Europe. Southern Europe would be most affected by drought, with flow levels of rivers and streams in the Iberian Peninsula, south of France, Italy, and the Balkan region reduced by almost 40% due to climate change alone.

In northern Europe droughts were expected to become less severe with the flow levels of rivers increasing by up to 20% by the end of the 21st century, as a result of increased rainfall. However, some areas of northern Europe, such as along the Norwegian west coast and southern Sweden, show the opposite trend. This is attributed to reduced accumulation of snow in winter.

Intensive water consumption resulted in an increase of 10-30% in the severity of droughts in southern, western and central Europe and, to a lesser extent, the United Kingdom. However, the authors highlight that these results are from the scenario with the largest water consumption rates and as such represent a ‘worst case’ scenario for water use.

The authors also highlight that competition for water – between sectors such as energy, agriculture and households – is likely to increase in drought periods. Reducing the socioeconomic and environmental effects of this competition could present a challenge to policymakers developing climate change adaptation strategies.

Source: Forzieri, G., Feyen, L., Rojas, R., et al. (2014). Ensemble projections of future streamflow droughts in Europe. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 18(1), 85–108. DOI:10.5194/hess-18-85-2014.

 

CWL team defeat Snowdon 

7 May 2014 

Following last year’s successful assent up Scafell Pike, and in preparation for this year’s daunting assent up Ben Nevis, the staff at Community Windpower successfully scaled the heights of Snowdon in a respectable time of 3 hours.  

Yesterday saw a bright and early start for the CWL team as they made their way to the base of Snowdon for a day of climbing. The team decided the best way to tackle Snowdon was by taking the Pyg path on the assent and the Miners Track on the descent – a total of 12.5 km in length and 761 metres in height.

Despite battering winds and impending cloud cover near the summit, the CWL team scaled the mountain in a very respectable time of just under 3 hours and enjoyed a well deserved hot chocolate/cup of tea at the top.

The walk down was much more relaxed, and staff completed the descent in 2 and half hours giving a total walking time of 5 and a half hours. A good time was had by all despite the aches and pains the following day.

Community Windpower’s Ben Nevis Challenge takes place on Friday 6th June 2014 and is being tackled in order to raise money for ‘Save the Family’. Save the Family are a local charity who do fantastic work providing temporary accommodation and intensive 24/7 wrap-around support for vulnerable and homeless families. 

Please support the staff of Community Windpower’s as they participate in the 2014 Challenge by donating at our Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/Community-Windpower

 

Longer droughts and more water shortages in Europe forecast under climate change

5 May 2014

Climate change will substantially increase the severity and length of droughts in Europe by the end of the century, according to new research. The study showed that some European countries could experience a reduction in river flow of up to 80% by the 2080s.

Rising temperatures and shifting weather patterns caused by climate change are expected to alter water supply throughout Europe. This has raised concerns about an increase in the frequency of extreme droughts, and the severe impacts these events can have. For example, the 2003 drought in southern and central Europe was estimated to have caused more than €8.7 billion in economic damage.

Climate change's impacts on water resources will require adaptation of infrastructure, economies and society to minimise potential socioeconomic and environmental damage. For decision makers to plan such adaptation strategies, it is important to know how drought conditions are likely to develop.

This study analysed how climate change and human water usage in Europe might interact to affect the frequency, length and severity of droughts over time. The researchers used a number of possible future scenarios for greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption combined with the latest climate models. This allowed them to calculate past and predicted water resources and climate at a regional level throughout Europe, over the period 1961- 2100.

The results show that, by the end of the century, demand for water is likely to exceed available amounts across many river basins throughout Europe. Southern Europe would be most affected by drought, with flow levels of rivers and streams in the Iberian Peninsula, south of France, Italy, and the Balkan region reduced by almost 40% due to climate change alone.

In northern Europe droughts were expected to become less severe with the flow levels of rivers increasing by up to 20% by the end of the 21st century, as a result of increased rainfall. However, some areas of northern Europe, such as along the Norwegian west coast and southern Sweden, show the opposite trend. This is attributed to reduced accumulation of snow in winter.

Intensive water consumption resulted in an increase of 10-30% in the severity of droughts in southern, western and central Europe and, to a lesser extent, the United Kingdom. However, the authors highlight that these results are from the scenario with the largest water consumption rates and as such represent a 'worst case' scenario for water use.

The authors also highlight that competition for water – between sectors such as energy, agriculture and households – is likely to increase in drought periods. Reducing the socioeconomic and environmental effects of this competition could present a challenge to policymakers developing climate change adaptation strategies. 

2 May 2014

A new joint report published by the REA, Innovas and PwC shows that the renewable energy industry has attracted nearly £30 billion of private sector investment since 2010. This investment has enabled the industry to sustain over 100,000 jobs in 2013, generate turnover last year of £14 billion and deliver 4.2% of UK energy.

The report, REview – Renewable Energy View: 2014, builds on the REA’s 2012 report Renewable Energy: Made in Britain, the first industry-wide analysis of employment in the UK renewable energy industry.

Analysis by the REA has revealed that renewable electricity generation has grown steadily, increasing on average by 20.3% year-on-year between 2009 and 2013 and if the policy framework remains supportive then it is likely that the Government’s ambition for 30% renewable electricity in 2020 can be achieved, with major contributions from wind, biomass, energy from waste and solar power.

More on this can be found HERE

 

Public support for onshore wind at record level 

30 April 2014

A new survey published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) shows that levels of public support for onshore and offshore wind energy are even higher than before.

In the DECC’s Public Attitudes Tracker, 70% of people said they support the development of onshore wind – the highest ever figure since DECC’s regular opinion polls began in March 2012.  A record-breaking number also support offshore wind, at a new high of 77%. Wave and tidal energy also remains popular at 77%, matching its previous highest levels of support. In contrast, public support for shale gas stands at only 29%.

In addition, people strongly recognise the benefits of renewable energy and believe that the UK should accelerate investment in low-carbon technologies. 70% think renewables bring economic benefits to the UK, compared to 47% for nuclear. 80% are concerned about the UK becoming dependent on energy imports and 75% of people think we are not investing fast enough in alternative energy sources.

For more information, follow this LINK

 

Onshore wind turbines helping local communities 

28 April 2014

Scotland’s Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has announced a fresh set of principles designed to maximise community benefit from onshore renewable energy developments.

Following a period of consultation, the finalised ‘Good Practice Principles for Community Benefit from Onshore Renewable Developments’ has now been published.

The key principle is the promotion of a national community benefits package rate equivalent to at least £5,000 per Megawatt per year, index linked to inflation for the operational lifetime of the development.

Other key components of the guidance include the encouragement of renewable energy developers to submit information on potential community benefits as early in the development process as possible and that the Government will work in partnership with Scottish Renewables to set up a short-term industry working group to develop guidance to on communities investing in commercial renewable schemes.

For the full article, click HERE.

 

Fracking methane leaks are at least 100 times larger than estimated 

25 April 2014

Methane emissions from some fracking wells in the eastern US could be orders of magnitude larger than the Environmental Protection Agency first estimated.

In a paper entitled 'Toward a better understanding and quantification of methane emissions from shale gas development', scientists suggest that gas pads in southwestern Pennsylvania were releasing methane at a rate between 100 and 1,000 times greater originally suggested.  

This finding proves rather significant as methane is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2. It has been argued that methane emissions from poorly managed fracking operations could undermine the industry's claims that it will deliver a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by displacing coal power.

The scientific paper detailing the findings of the study can be found HERE.

 

UK wind energy soars 50%

25 April 2014

Figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that UK wind generation rose by more than 50% in the three months to February 2014 compared with the year-ago period.

Government statistics from major power producers show onshore wind rocketed 68% and offshore wind climbed 39%.

The news article can be seen, by clicking this LINK

 

Conservative plans to cut Onshore Wind Subsidies in 2015 'would kill onshore wind dead' 

24/04/2014 

In their Manifesto released today, the Conservative government have pledged to axe all public subsidies for all newly planned on-shore wind turbines.

Energy Minister Michael Fallon said today that any future wind farm development would be done without subsidy and with local approval if the Conservative Party wins the next election in 2015. Devolving responsibility for planning permission to local authorities would give greater prevalence to local concerns and make it more difficult for projects to be realised. Currently the applications are decided though the Nationally Significant Infrastructure regime. 

The Onshore Wind Industry have reacted to the plans, widely criticising the Conservatives proposals, arguing it would have a major impact on investor confidence and, as onshore wind is the cheapest form of renewable energy, would push up the cost of the UK meeting binding targets.

A number of industry professionals have expressed their concerns in light of the announcement this morning:

Professor Richard Green, a member of a working group reviewing UK energy, stated that removing subsidies from onshore wind farms would shift the focus to offshore wind costing taxpayers millions. Green said taxpayers would pay £300,000 for each turbine that shifted offshore.

Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Donna Hume agreed, stating that the policy made little economic sense:

 "Onshore wind has fallen dramatically in price – it already costs less than nuclear, and is set to be cheaper than gas in the next few years.

"Scrapping wind subsidies, rather than phasing them out as costs fall, will simply lead to higher fuel bills for cash-strapped households and make it harder to tackle climate change."

"Scrapping support for wind turbines would be bad news for jobs, energy bills and the environment".

Currently nearly 19,000 people are employed by the UK’s onshore wind industry, with a potential for further growth over the coming decade.

RenewableUK, the voice of onshore wind has also expressed deep concern at the announcement by the Energy Minister, RenewableUK's Chief Executive Maria McCaffery said:

"Onshore wind is the lowest cost form of renewable energy we have, and cheaper than new nuclear. The industry has already seen a reduction in financial support, and a trajectory for further reduction is clearly laid out. However cutting all support overnight amounts to a moratorium as the Minister has suggested. "It's also bad news for bill-payers. As the Royal Academy of Engineering showed earlier this month, limiting onshore wind means having to rely on more expensive technologies to keep the lights on, increasing our dependency on costly fossil fuel imports and exposure to price hikes.

When elected in 2010, the Conservative Government promised to be ‘the greenest government yet’, with a strong focus on reducing carbon emissions and the growing threat that climate change is posing. Instead it has contradicted this, coming to a decision that has been politically driven by the minority’s aesthetic dislike of wind farms, rather than based on economic rationalism, putting the Onshore Wind Industry and essential UK plans to cut climate change in great danger.

As global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, with emissions increasing by 2.2 per cent a year on average between 2000 and 2010, compared to 1.3 per cent a year over the entire period from 1970-2010 (Guardian Sustainable Business, 11/04/14), this decision by the Conservatives will only accentuate the problem. Already, Germany, Britain and France have been burning coal, because of low worldwide prices; a serious contradiction to their original ‘greenest government yet’ statement. 

23 April 2014

1 Billion People Around the World Celebrate 'Earth Day' 

More than 1 Billion people around the World celebrated Earth Day yesterday, on the 44th anniversary of the annual day of action.

Earth Day began in 1970, when 20 million people across the United States—that's one in ten—rallied for increased protection of the environment. At present day, as many as 80 percent of Americans describe themselves as environmentalists.

Earth Day Network events around the world include:

  • B the Hope for Haiti, a group teaching primary school students about recycling, composting,  the importance of proper waste management and tree planting;
  • The University of Fiji hosting its first Earth Day event, a clean-up to improve waste management on campus and help students learn about environmental responsibility;
  • Earth Day Network Philippines staging its first Pro-Earth Run 2014, an advocacy campaign to encourage people in the sensible and sustainable care of Mother Earth; and
  • The 4-H Million Trees Project in Uganda is creating tree nursery projects at schools and helping students begin planting 50,000 trees.

 More information of projects around the world, aimed at celebrating Earth Day can be found HERE.

 

Glaciers retreat irreversible

21 April 2014

Work published in ‘Nature Climate Change’ has revealed that the Pine Island Glacier’s retreat may have begun an irreversible process that could see the amount of water it is adding to the ocean increase five-fold. The team, which included scientists from the CSC-IT Center for Science in Finland, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Universities of Exeter and Bristol, used three computer models as well as field observations to study how the glacier's ice flows and to simulate how this will change over the coming decades.

All the models agreed that the Pine Island Glacier has become unstable, and will continue to retreat for tens of kilometres.

Pine Island Glacier currently contributes 25 per cent of the total ice loss from West Antarctica. If the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet was to retreat, it could cause sea level to rise up to five metres.

For more information on this article, click HERE

 

Action needed to avoid catastrophic climate change 

16 April 2014

The latest study from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found that carbon dioxide and other climate-changing gases have increased in recent years despite efforts to tackle global warming.

Substantial reductions in greenhouse gases will be needed, through large-scale changes to energy supplies and use, as well as curbing deforestation and planting forests.

Emissions need to be cut by 40 to 70% on 2010 levels by the middle of the century and to near zero by 2100, to make it likely temperatures will not go above 2C, the report will warn.

This will require a shift from investment in fossil fuel and a three- or four-fold increase by 2050 in the share of energy from low-carbon sources such as renewables, nuclear and power plants fitted with technology to capture and store carbon underground.

Without action, climate change would increasingly threaten security, health and food supplies exacerbate poverty and damage species and habitats, while the world is at risk of temperatures soaring 3.7C to 4.8C by 2100 if greenhouse gases are not curbed.

To find more on this matter, click HERE

 

Public prefers wind to fracking as a next door neighbour 

14 April 2014

A new study finds 62 per cent of British people would rather live by a wind turbine than a shale gas fracking site.

The survey was conducted by YouGov involving 2,061 participants and 62% answered that they would rather have a wind farm in their local council area than a fracking project, with just 19 per cent preferring to have fracking operations nearby.

Another poll found that fracking is less popular with women than men, with just 9% of female respondents preferring the controversial gas extraction technique compared to 29% of men. Both sexes preferred wind, however: 68% of women and 56% of men selected wind over fracking.

Fracking is also far less popular with the younger generation - only 12% of those that favour fracking over wind were in the 18 to 24 bracket, while 29% were over 60.

The YouGov poll suggests wind is far more popular with their supporters than MPs have suggested - half of Conservative voters and the majority of Liberal Democrat and UKIP voters expressed a preference for wind. 

To read more on the subject, click HERE

 

Eric Pickles extending his period of pulling in renewable energy projects 

11 April 2014

The Communities and Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, has announced that he will be extending his period of pulling in decisions on renewable energy projects for a further 12 months. The Secretary of State announced in October 2013 that he would recover more renewable energy projects in England for a 6 month period, so he could determine how new planning guidance was being implemented.

Mr Pickles has pulled in 33 wind projects, compromising 93% of all wind energy capacity currently at appeal in England. Of the 33, decisions have been reached on 8 projects with all but one being refused.

RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Maf Smith has commented "Mr Pickles’ intervention has led to further delays for developers, a couple of project withdrawals, and a court case. The fact that many of the projects he’s called in since June still haven’t had decisions shows that he’s got more than enough on his plate without adding to it, and disrupting more projects. Now is the time to let the planning system do its job - not to throw further confusion and delay into it with these anti-localism measures. His actions are also threatening the livelihoods of the nearly 19,000 people who owe their jobs to the UK’s onshore wind industry".

 

To find more on the matter, click HERE.

 

Renewable energy on the up despite global dip in investment 

09 April 2014

A report shows that global investment in to renewable fell by 14% last year, but the percentage of electricity generated by renewable sources continued to grow. Investment fell due to cheaper technology and uncertainty surrounding energy policy.

Falling costs meant renewables accounted for 8.5% of the global electricity mix (up from 7.8% in 2012) and 43.6% of newly installed generation capacity in 2013.

More on the ‘Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2014’ report can be found HERE.

 

Wind Farms have 'negligible' impact on Welsh Tourism 

7 April 2014

The impact of onshore wind turbines on the tourism industry in Wales is "negligible", according to a report commissioned by the Welsh government.

Evidence analysed by consultancies Regeneris and The Tourism Company showed that "a clear majority of people" do not react negatively to wind farms or choose to holiday elsewhere because of them.

Case studies near wind farms in Powys, Anglesey and the South Wales Valleys "have not revealed any evidence of significant impacts on tourism to date"

"The majority of visitors are positive or indifferent about wind farm development," the study said.

The document was published by the Welsh government today and can be found HERE.

 

Scottish Renewables warns that axing onshore wind would cost jobs

4 April 2014

If Conservative plans to scrap onshore wind turbines go ahead, Scottish Renewables have claimed that thousands of jobs would be lost and energy bills would rocket.

Prime Minister David Cameron is considering a pledge to halt the construction of onshore turbines and apparently wants to toughen planning laws and tear up subsidy rules to make turbines less financially viable.

Find more on the story HERE and more on Conservative and green issues HERE.

 

Climate Change: the worst is yet to come

2 April 2014

A team of 300 scientists had reported on behalf of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that the threat of climate change has risen to a whole new level. The findings of their research was published in a 32 volume report on 31st March 2014 and highlighted that the effects of climate change has doubled since the last report was produced.

"Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change," said Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC.

The impacts of climate change have become ever more apparent and since the year 2000 killer heat waves have hit Europe, deadly floods have surged through Pakistan and sea-ice and permafrost in the Arctic has melted. The IPCC report stated that climate change will only cause more problems in the future; evidence already shows that global food stocks and crop yields are under threat, including declining wheat production and a reduction in fish catches particularly in tropical areas.

Throughout the report, the forefront of concern was the potential risk of a humanitarian crisis and the impact that food security and increasing extreme weather events are having on the poor, weak and elderly. There is little in place to prepare or protect these people and much of the world is ill-equipped to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

The scientists behind this report hope that the risks outlined and evidence produced will persuade people and the government to reduce the release of harmful amounts of greenhouse gases.

More information can be found here

 

31st March 2014

Today, methane accounts for nearly 9 percent of domestic greenhouse gas emissions. Although this is a small figure compared to Carbon Dioxide, it is known that every ton of methane in the atmosphere has a global warming effect that is more than 20 times greater than a ton of carbon dioxide. Thus, methane reductions yield important climate benefits, particularly in the near term.

The Obama administration outlined a new strategy on Friday for addressing methane, signalling it may move to regulate a potent greenhouse gas released into the air from hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas. New strategies involve replacing leaky pipes that are a source of fugitive emissions. The full strategy can be found HERE.

Fracking has proved rather controversial so far, so will the UK follow suit in aiming to reduce harmful methane emissions?

 

28 March 2014

New figures from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has shown that Scotland generated a record amount of electrify from green energy last year, producing over 17,000 gigawatt hours (GWh), a 16.4% increased on 2012.

Wind power alone produced a total of 11,216 GWh of electricity, which is the highest amount on record.

The Scottish government said the figures showed it was on track to meet its target of producing 50% of the country's electricity needs from renewables by 2015, ahead of the target of producing the equivalent of 100% of needs from green sources by 2020.

To find the full article, click HERE

 

310 million invested in UK wind turbines

26 March 2014

Manufacturing giant Siemens and the UK's Associated British Ports are to invest a total of £310m in UK wind turbine factories, creating 1,000 jobs.

Siemens have doubled its previous plans to invest £80 million in wind turbine production in the UK.

The combined investment, with Associated British Ports, of £310 million is expected to create up to 1,000 jobs, which is 300 more than originally anticipated.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said "This deal is excellent news for the people of Hull and the Humber, the UK, the wind industry, and our energy security".

More on the investment can be found HERE

 

Extreme heatwaves expected to occur once a decade as climate change increases 

24 March 2014

New research has shown that communities in Southeast England are especially vulnerable to deaths in heatwaves. Researchers already know that higher temperatures increase deaths – particularly from heart attacks, strokes and respiratory illnesses – among older people. But this is the first study to see how this varies across the 376 local authorities in England and Wales. The extreme heatwave of 2003 killed tens of thousands of people across Europe, but is expected to occur once a decade as climate change increases.

The research, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that across England and Wales as a whole, a summer that is 2C warmer than average would be expected to cause around 1,550 extra deaths.

Reasons for higher death rates in the Southeast is not yet known, however you can find more on this research HERE.

 

Growing global thirst for energy threatens water supplies 

21 March 2014

On the eve of the UN’s World Water Day on Saturday 22nd March 2014, the World Water Development report states that "there is an increasing potential for serious conflict between power generation, other water users and environmental considerations".

Energy production accounts for close to 15% of the world's water usage, but that figure could rise. By 2035, water use for energy is projected to jump by 20%, the report says. Water demand, meanwhile, could increase by 55% by 2050.

About 90% of power generation is water-intensive, says the report, which warns that less conventional oil and gas production, including via tar sands and fracking, along with biofuels, place particularly large demands on water resources.

More on this article can be found HERE however previous articles have shown that wind power is a less water-intensive power generator, which can be found by scrolling down. 

 

Global warming will cut crop harvests by 2 per cent each decade 

19 March 2014

New research conducted by Australian, British and American scientists have uncovered that climate change will cause bigger falls in crop yields than previously thought, exacerbating food insecurity. The study found that the situation will worsen in the second half of the century, with tropical areas worse hit than temperate regions.

An analysis of more than 1,700 simulations found that across all regions and all crops, including wheat, maize and rice, yields will drop by 2% each decade, based on a 2C rise by 2050. However, for some crops, the situation will be much worse, with wheat and maize in tropical areas experiencing a 40% decline if temperatures reach 5C warmer than pre-industrial levels.

Governments have agreedatarget of limiting temperature rise to 2C above pre-industrial levels, although scientists warn the planet could experience a 4C or even 5C rise if carbon dioxide emissions are not drastically cut.

To find more on this research, click HERE.

 

A lack of clarity in planning for onshore wind developments

17 March 2014

MSP’s have said that planning for wind farms needs to be "urgently addressed" and further guidance is needed if Scotland is going to meet its renewable energy targets.

It has been highlighted that planning documents needed to show much greater clarity on buffer zones between energy developments and communities.

Committee convener Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser, said "Scotland deserves a transparent and consistent policy that provides clarity for planners, developers and communities".

To find on more information, follow this LINK

 

New report warns of massive amount of water used by traditional power plants  

14 March 2014

A report published the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) highlights how traditional power stations use vast amounts of water to generate power and how this needs to be accounted for when the Government is setting energy and climate change policy.

The ‘Saving Water with Wind Energy’ report states that nuclear, coal and gas-fired power stations in Europe use 4.5 billion cubic metres of water a year. This is the equivalent to three Olympic-sized swimming pools being consumed every minute.

The study warns that such plants are contributing to Europe’s water scarcity whereas wind energy uses hardly any water to generate clean electricity.

To find more on the report, click HERE

 

Positive forecasts for the wind industry 

12 March 2014

Europe’s wind energy chiefs have delivered a series of predictions that they believe will shape the market sector by the year 2020.

At a meeting of EWEA 2014 in Barcelona this week, the CEOs forecast an end to regulatory uncertainty, increasing levels of consolidation within the industry and leaps ahead in technology. 

To view the predictions given, follow this LINK

 

More women working in renewables than other energy sectors 

10 March 2014

Just in time for International Women’s Day (8th March 2014), a new report shows that more than a quarter of employees in the Scottish renewable energy sector are women, which is a larger proportion than in the oil and gas or nuclear sectors.

The survey, commissioned by Scottish Renewables found that 28% of the renewable energy industry’s workforce are female, compared to UK oil and gas which has 21% and nuclear with 18%.

To find more on this story, click HERE

 

Flood damage costs across Europe expected to reach 23 billion euros by 2050 

7 March 2014

The first comprehensive analysis of flood risk across the continent has revealed that the cost of flood damage it set to soar five fold in the coming decades. The increasingly intense downpours driven by climate change, as well as population growth and urbanisation, will see a rise to 23 billion euros a year by 2050!

The costs of damage could be curbed by better flood protection and insurance schemes for example new research, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that improving flood defences across the EU to resist once-a-century flooding would save €7 billion a year by 2050 but cost just €1.75 billion. In the UK, most flood defences save £8 for every £1 spent.

Find the full article HERE

 

New wind energy record 

5 March 2014

Wind energy has hit a new monthly record generating 11% of the UK’s electricity with 2,750,086 MWh (megawatt hours), which is enough to power more than six and a half million homes. The previous monthly record of 10% was set in December 2013. These official National Grid figures highlight that wind energy has an extremely important role in our electricity mix. 

Wind energy has succeeded with a number of records recently including generating an all-time half-hour high of 6,215 MW on 31st January and a daily record of supplying 17% of the UK’s electricity demand on 23rd February.

More information on these figures can be found HERE.  

 

Important role of renewable energy 

3 March 2014

New figures have shown that Scotland’s power station gas emissions fall by more than a third in five years.  Environment minister Paul Wheelhouse said emissions had dropped from the equivalent of 18.484 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2006 to the equivalent of 12.147 million tonnes in 2011.

These statistics show the importance of the renewable sector in minimising greenhouse gases. A report last month stated that there were over 11,000 people in Scotland working in the renewable sector which proves that the renewable industry is providing social, economic and environmental benefits to the country.

More on this story can be found HERE.

 

2013 is a superior year for wind power

28 February 2014

Provisional figures released recently by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) reveal that the amount of electricity produced by wind increased by 38% between 2012 and 2013. In total the amount of energy generated by wind grew from 5.5% in the mix in 2012 to 7.7% in 2013.

Low carbon generation in general accounted for 32.7% of the UK supply, up from 29.4% in the previous year.

Initial conclusions suggest that traditional fossil fuel production is falling, in part due to falls in UK output of oil and gas. The report from DECC states that for the first time in 2013 net imports of gas exceeded UK production.

The latest DECC statistics can be found HERE.

 

Policy indecisions cause UK to fall behind in renewable energy league

26 February 2014

The UK is starting to fall behind in the renewable energy chart according to the Ernst & Young’s latest renewable energy global ranking table due to mixed policy measures.

Plans for a number of key offshore wind energy projects have recently either been scrapped or scaled down in the UK and the nation’s largest biomass power plant is under threat of closure because of ever-shifting funding rules. Additionally, the Government’s objection to EU binding 2030 energy and climate targets has not helped the situation.

Prolonged energy strategy consultation and anti-renewables legislation have resulted in ranking falls for France and Australia respectively, while ambitious targets and a series of large-scale project announcements have seen India jump to seventh place. Competitive bidding trendsetters Brazil and South Africa have also risen in the index thanks to a plethora of new projects awarded in 2013 auctions.

Looking ahead, resilience, efficiency and effectiveness, technology beyond generation, new markets and innovative financing have been identified as fundamental to industry growth in 2014.

For the full article, click HERE.

 

Wind Turbine Syndrome Rejected by Health Researchers

24 February 2014

Anti-wind farm campaigners claim that the existence of wind farms can cause a range of human health conditions, often labeled ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome’. Symptoms of this syndrome include headaches, insomnia, dizziness, quivering and nervousness. However, a study undertaken in late-2012 by one of Australia’s leading health research bodies, the National Health and Research Council, found no substantial evidence to suggest that wind farms affect human health and cause symptoms of ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome’.

The study reviewed published scientific research into the effect of wind farms on health and specifically focused on the impact of noise, shadow flicker and electromagnetic radiation. Professor Warwick Anderson, the chief executive of the research council, stated that these factors do not cause any direct health issues and that there is "no reliable or consistent evidence that wind farms directly cause adverse health effects in humans".

Russel Marsh, Policy Director of The Clean Energy Councils states that the information given in this paper should "give peace of mind to those living near operating or proposed wind farms that their health will not be adversely affected".

Further details can be obtained via this link.

New study on turbine lifespan - 21 February 2014

Imperial College research has shown that turbines remain efficient for up to 25 years, countering claims that the devices have a more limited shelf life than other renewable technologies.

The UK’s 531 wind farms currently produce 7.5% of the UK’s electricity and continued investment is critical in meeting renewable energy targets. Yet opponents of wind power have recently highlighted a study that showed turbines’ output decreasing by a third after 10 years.

New research published this week by Imperial College Business School that analyses the nation's fleet of 4,246 wind turbines using local wind speed data from NASA showed turbines will last their full life of around 25 years before they need to be upgraded.

More information on this study can be found HERE.

 

Climate change has made a return as a mainstream issue

19 February 2014

Last week YouGov commissioned an opinion poll which found an increase in public concern for the environment which has not been seen in any national poll since 1980’s. The environment was prioritised over issues such as health, crime and education.

Undoubtedly the recent flooding in Britain accounts for part of this sudden increase in concern as the UK has experienced the wettest January in 250 years. This is clearly becoming a pattern as opposed to an anomaly as four of five wettest years on record have been since 2000.

Over the past fortnight the relentless weather has caused Westminster to discuss climate change once more; David Cameron has stated that he thinks "climate change is a serious threat", Ed Miliband has warned that we risk "sleepwalking into a climate crisis" and Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, said that climate change "is a national security issue, definitely."

More on the return of climate change talk can be found HERE

 

Using wind power, could save water 

17 February 2014

Although much of Britain may be under water following the worst floods in half a century, research from top academics has shown that the country is at risk of water shortages that could shut down power stations and paralyse electricity supplies.

Due to the high dependency of water in electricity generation, alongside climate change and growing populations, some power stations may be forced to decrease production or even shut down if water shortages arise.

Using gas or other fossil fuels with high levels of carbon capture and storage (CCS) could increase fresh water consumption by almost 70% and using high levels of nuclear power could lead to increases in the use of tidal and coastal water by almost 400%.

Using wind power or other renewable power technologies, with a consequent reduction of other more water-intensive power systems, could result in fresh water consumption falling in the electricity sector by about 60%.

To find more on this research, click HERE.

 

Wind Energy and Consumer Bills

14 February 2014

A new white paper published by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) finds that wind power keeps electricity bills low due to the plummeting wind energy costs driven by technological improvements. The report is based upon publicly available data and more than a dozen studies from government, utility and other independent sources to explore how wind energy affects consumers' energy bills.

Consumers in the top wind-energy-producing states in the US have seen their electricity prices actually decrease by 0.37% over the last five years. More on the article can be found HERE

  

UK Storms Continue 

13 February 2014

Yesterday saw record wind speeds of 105 mph causing disruption throughout Britain. The Environment Agency warned that the Thames was set to rise in places to its highest levels in more than 60 years. The Agency issued 14 severe flood warnings (risk to life) and 139 less serious flood warnings.

Many sources including the Met Office have linked these weather events to climate change. One article title ‘Time to break the silence over climate change’ shows that the collective silence on the matter is the biggest challenge of all.

For more information on the UK storms click HERE.

 

UK Storms linked to Climate Change

11 February 2014

The Met Office’s Chief Scientist has said that climate change is likely to be a factor in the extreme weather which has hit most of the UK in the recent months.

Over 130 flood warnings have been issued since December 2013 with some indicating a threat to life. In 2012 there were only 9 flood warnings in total. UK records date back to 1766 and there is no record of similar weather events in the past.

The Met Office report links the recent extreme weather in Europe and North America to "perturbations" in the North Atlantic and Pacific jet streams, partly emanating from changing weather patterns in South East Asia and "associated with higher than normal ocean temperatures in that region".

David Cameron has said that the UK must prepare for more extreme weather.

For more on this story, click HERE.

 

2013 sees a 12.5% global rise in wind energy

6 February 2014

The Global Wind Energy Council has reported that global wind capacity grew 12.5 % to 318,137 MW last year and "the prospects for 2014 and beyond look much brighter". Projects under construction in Europe were led mostly by the UK and Germany.

Elsewhere the report shows that the US totalled more than 12,000 MW by the end of the year, India has a new national ‘wind mission’ and Brazil booked 4.7 GW of new projects.

The annual five year forecast will be issued in April.

The full report can be found HERE

 

European Union set binding renewable energy target for 2030 

23 January 2014

The European Union commission has now revealed a new EU binding renewable energy target of 27% by 2030. Supporting this target, the EU has set a following target to cut greenhouse gases by 40% by 2030. Questions have been raised as to why the EU has not set a new renewable target for 2020.

RenewableUK Chief Executive, Maria McCaffery highlighted the concerns by stating that although they are "pleased the EU Commission has recognised that renewable energy is a key part of future energy solutions across Europe, the lack of ambition in not ensuring there are national binding targets for renewable energy is a disappointment." This in turn could affect the need for a drive towards clean, sustainable, renewable energy, which in turn is the only solution to reducing the carbon emissions.

Although no targets have been set for 2020, the Commission have highlighted that targets can be set nationally; therefore the UK Government could lead the way. In order to meet the Greenhouse Gas emissions targets set previously, the UK needs to investigate and introduce further renewable sources, encouraging job creation and energy security whilst tackling climate change.

The full article can be found HERE

 

UN Climate Chief urges the withdrawal of fossil fuels 

17 January 2014

The UN’s climate chief, Ms Figueres has urged investors to pull their money out of fossil fuel linked funds in order to secure billions of peoples pensions and the risk of global warming. Ms Figueres highlighted the need to invest their money into green assets instead.

In order to prevent a temperature increase of above 2 degrees, then environmental campaigners have stated that around up to three quarters of the coal, oil and gas that remains must stay in the ground. Ms Figueres argued that "the continued and dangerous rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is in large part the direct result of past investments in energy and mobility systems based on the use of fossil fuels". However, financial experts are arguing the monetary value of the resources if they are left unused. Ms Figueres highlight how "new investments must now assist in reversing the unsustainable trend" and focus on the withdrawal of funding for fossil fuels.

The UN Climate Chief is now concerned that too few companies have disclosed their investment in fossil fuels, and that there are greater opportunities to invest in climate friendly assets. The International Energy Agency emphasises the need to invest $36 trillion in clean energy by 2050 in order to prevent the world from warming by 2 degrees by 2050.

The find more on this topic, follow this LINK.

 

Renewable Energy Employment in Scotland

14 January 2014

Employment within the renewable energy sector within Scotland is a key asset research in 2013 has found. The full time employment total for all 541 organisations who took part in Scottish Renewables survey is 11,695.

Research found that the majority of employment is within Scotland’s Central Belt (54%), followed by the Highlands and Islands (17%) and finally the North East (14%). 

Within Scotland, in terms of renewable energy sector, the majority of employment is within Wind Energy, with onshore wind being the main focus (39%), followed closely by offshore wind (21%). Closely behind the main two is wave/tidal and bio energy (9%).  Similar to this, onshore wind and hydro are seen as the most important segments from an employment perspective, with onshore wind dominating employment within Glasgow, the South of Scotland and Lothian.

The future of renewable energy employment is looking positive; with 54% of organisations stating that they considered their employment would increase within the next 12 months, with only 9% considering a decrease.  Highlighted within the research were the skills gaps within the renewable energy sector, focused upon technical, construction and engineering skills. However, each organisation stated the push for the need to employ graduate level personnel to their operations. 

More information can be found HERE

 

Record Breaking Wind Energy 

6 January 2014

Wind power within the UK generated more electricity from wind than any other month within December 2013. Records were broken, including the amount of electricity generated in a week and the percentage of electricity supplied by wind in a single month compared to other power generation sources. Deputy Chief Executive of RenewableUK, Maf Smith highlighted how "in December, more electricity was generated from wind for British homes and businesses than during any other month on record", as well as hitting weekly and daily highs of record breaking wind data.

Throughout December, wind power generated a total of 2,841,080 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity for the National Grid, producing enough power for more than 5.7 million British homes, supplying 10% of Britain’s total electricity demand for homes, businesses and factories. Maf Smith supported this success by stating "this is a towering achievement for the British wind energy industry". Similar to this, he highlighted the move in a direction away from fossil fuels to "clean renewable sources are unstoppable".

However, further records were broken with over a one week period (starting on Monday 16th December), a record 783,886 MWh was generated from wind resources, providing 13% of Britain’s total electricity needs for one week. Similar to this record, Saturday 21st December, the last Saturday before Christmas day, a daily amount of electricity generated from wind was 132,812 MWh, therefore generating a staggering 17% of the nation’s total electricity demand just for that one day.

The record breaking wind generated throughout December provides great confidence for 2014, with increasing amounts of clean energy being generated from wind, both onshore and offshore. Maf Smith highlights the need for the use of clean energy to "lessen our dependence on excruciatingly expensive imports of fossil fuels which have driven peoples fuel bills up". British wind is producing energy as an alternative to fossil fuels, creating a stable, secure and cost effective supply of power. 

 

New Consumption Figures

2 January 2014

DECC published statistics on 19th December 2013, showing that the average annual household electricity consumption for the calendar year 2012 in Great Britain was 4,222 kWh.

In 2011, the average annual household electricity consumption was 4,266 kWh and 4,370 kWh in 2010.

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