A conservation group has urged politicians to act to protect the country’s scenic Highlands from further wind-farm developments. The Friends of the Great Glen group says the Great Glen and Loch Ness area is under threat from a “multitude” of planning applications which could see the creation of hundreds of turbines and industrial infrastructure. The group, which has submitted a petition on the issue to the Scottish Parliament, argues that current planning processes do not afford the tourist destination with enough protection.
The UK Green Investment Bank has confirmed the acquisition of a £236m stake in the 400MW Rampion Offshore Wind Farm. The project has been developed by E.ON, which will continue to own the remaining shares in the joint venture.
Global energy solutions provider Vergnet has set up a UK subsidiary as it looks to set up a British base. The company, which s headquarterd in France, has installed a total of 28 wind turbines across the country. The manufacturer of medium scale wind turbines will set up the base in Ripley, Derbyshire.
Just when India’s biggest oil and gas explorer needs to find new reserves to replace aging wells, it’s running out of money. “Depleting cash reserves are a serious concern,” Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Chairman Dinesh Kumar Sarraf said in an interview on April 30. “But that doesn’t stop us from drilling more wells. As a loan-free company, we have lots of options.” Oil’s 36 percent plunge since June has lowered the valuation of global energy assets, paving the way for takeovers in the sector. State-run ONGC’s $3.3 billion of record cash reserves have all but vanished in the last three years, making it more difficult to compete for acquisitions with rivals such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA that are as much as 14 times its size.
The Irish-Scottish Links on Energy Study (ISLES) project partners are set to announce their key emerging findings from the second phase of their research at All-Energy 2015. The project is a collaboration between the Scottish Government and its counterparts in both Ireland and Northern Ireland. It aims to both facilitate and stimulate investment in an offshore transmission network to support the integration of renewable energy resources.
More than 450 exhibitors from over 20 countries are set to descend on Glasgow for All-Energy 2015 which begins tomorrow. The event, which orignally began in Aberdeen, has moved to the central belt for the first time in its history. There will be more than 440 speakers, including Energy Minister Fergus Ewing, who will speak at the opening plenary session.
A new map shows the full extent of the “industrialisation” of the north-east by the windfarm industry. Produced for the John Muir Trust, it displays “zones of theoretical visual impact” of existing windfarms if there were no trees or buildings in the way. Huge swathes of Aberdeenshire and Moray – and practically all of Banff and Buchan – are affected. Campaigners said the map highlights there is practically no escaping the intrusion of windfarms and single turbines on the landscape.
Tidal devices for the Meygen project in the Pentland Firth are to be built and tested at Nigg Energy Park in Easter Ross. Meygen owner Atlantis Resources said the decision to locate a new dedicated turbine assembly facility at the energy park – owned by Inverness and Aberdeen-based Global Energy Group – was the result of it agreeing to buy English firm Marine Current Turbines (MCT). MCT, currently owned by German conglomerate Siemens, is a company specialising in tidal-energy technology.
A London infrastructure investment firm has made its first foray into hydro-electricity with the acquisition of a Scottish renewable-energy company for an undisclosed fee. Green Highland Renewables (GHR), which has offices in Perth and Dingwall, has been developing run-of-river hydro schemes since 2007, gaining planning consent for more than 50 hydro schemes with approximately 40 megawatts (MW) capacity. Under the ownership of Ancala Partners, GHR will continue to expand its development portfolio and operational assets, a spokesman for the company said yesterday. GHR will also retain its name and management team, he added. Ancala takes over from shareholders including technology investor Scottish Equity Partners and Scottish Enterprise, investment arm of the Scottish Investment Bank. Records published by Companies House show GHR development director Alexander Reading and chief operating officer Ian Cartwright held shares in the company as of February 2015. GHR founder Alistair Riddell and former chairman Ian Wotherspoon were also listed as shareholders.
It is claimed in a new report churned out by the Centre for Policy Studies that renewables-based power generation subsidies have destroyed the UK electricity market. Author Rupert Darwall, a former Treasury special adviser, spouts that the costs of intermittent renewables are “massively understated”. He asserts that current UK energy policy represents the “biggest expansion of state power since the nationalisations of the 1940s and 1950s”, that it is “on course to be the most expensive domestic policy disaster in modern British history” and that, by “committing the nation to high-cost, unreliable renewable energy, its consequences will be felt for decades”. And: “To keep the lights on, everything ends up requiring subsidies, turning what was once a profitable sector into the energy equivalent of the Common Agricultural Policy.” In addition to their supposed higher plant-level costs, Darwall states that renewables require massive amounts of extra generating capacity to provide cover for intermittent generation when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.
The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped by more than 8% last year in the face of lower electricity use and less burning of coal to generate power, provisional figures show. Renewables such as wind, solar, bioenergy and hydropower generated almost a fifth (19%) of the UK’s electricity in 2014, a new record high for the clean technologies. There was a drop in emissions of 8.4% in 2014 compared with 2013, while output of the main greenhouse gas - carbon dioxide - fell by nearly a tenth (9.7%), statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change showed.
Trade body Scottish Renewables has announced the appointment of its new chairman and vice-chairman. Patricia Hawthorn, partner at law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn, has been appointed chairman of the renewables body while Gordon MacDougall, managing director, Western Europe at renewable developer RES, has been appointed vice-chairman. Ms Hawthorn replaces Ronnie Bonnar, managing director of Repsol Nuevas Energias UK, who has chaired Scottish Renewables since 2013.
A £60million boost for community-scale renewables led by the Green Investment Bank, has hit the spot, says environmental specialist Atmos Consulting. The firm said that by focusing on upfront build and operation costs, rather than subsidising generation, the bank was removing barriers to development, and so offering access to long-term subsidy income for rural communities.
The Supreme Court will deliver its verdict on a controversial windfarm on Shetland on Monday. Sustainable Shetland is fighting a decision by Scottish Ministers to approve the 103 turbine Viking windfarm. The long-running legal wrangle began when Sustainable Shetland brought a judicial review against the Scottish government’s decision in April 2012 to grant consent for the windfarm, which is jointly-owned by Shetland Charitable Trust, Scottish Southern Energy and four local businessmen.
Energy North will bring together around 200 representatives from the oil and gas and renewables industries when it holds its second annual conference in Inverness next month. The event will focus on supply-chain development as well as infrastructure and skills and will feature presentations covering a number of company’s including Wood Group PSN and Infinergy. It will also welcome the newly appointed chair of energy at the University of the Highlands and Islands, Professor Ben Wilson, who will deliver his inaugural lecture on marine mammal ecology in industrialised seas as the key note presentation.
Scotland’s electricity system could be powered almost entirely by renewable energy by 2030, according to a report by an environmental charity. WWF Scotland’s report uses independent analysis by an engineering and energy consultancy to test the Scottish Government’s policy to decarbonise the country’s electricity supply over the next 15 years. It found that an electricity system based on “proven renewables and increased energy efficiency” is a credible way of meeting the target.
Scotland’s solar power capacity has increased by almost a third in the past year, according to new figures. More than 35,000 homes and 600 business premises now have solar photo-voltaic (PV) systems, December figures from regulator Ofgem show. The capacity of these systems has reached 140 megawatts, a rise of 32% from 106 megawatts last year and a huge increase on just 2 megawatts in 2010.
EDF Energy Renewables has sold a majority stake in three of its UK onshore wind farms to CGN (China General Nuclear Power Corporation). The company said the money from the sale will be used to make further investments in renewable projects in the UK. It will continue to own a 20% share in the three wind farms and also continue to run, maintain and operate the sites and provide asset management services for the new owners.
Triodos Renewables has extended its crowd funding share issue until the end of January after receiving only £2million of the £5million that it aimed to raise to fund wind farms. The Dutch bank had been due to close its share issue on 30 November but extended the deadline after only 600 investors chose to pump cash into the offer. The lender’s renewable energy arm already owns and operates 11 projects in the UK, which together produce 53MW of power.
Almost 12 million tonnes of carbon emissions were displaced by green energy in Scotland last year. The reduction - an average of about a million tonnes each month - is the highest-ever recorded in the country. UK Government statistics show that Scotland’s renewable electricity industry displaced 11.9 million tonnes of CO2 in 2013, an increase of over 14% on the 10.4 million tonnes of CO2 displaced in Scotland by the sector in 2012.
Hopes have been raised that an innovative renewable energy scheme harnessing the tides could get the go-ahead, after the Government announced it was starting in-depth discussions on the project. The Treasury has announced it will start closer discussions with Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd, the company which is aiming to build the world’s first tidal lagoon power plant in Swansea Bay, to see if it is affordable and value for money for consumers. The developers of the £750-850 million project have said their application is the first step to developing lagoon technology that could meet 10% of the UK’s electricity needs from the tides.
China can double its use of renewable energy from 13% to 26% by 2030, according to research by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The growth in renewable energy use would represent nearly a fourfold increase in the share of modern renewables between 2010 and 2030. A study, Renewable Energy Prospects: China, prepared by IRENA in association with the China National Renewable Energy Centre, also says China can expand renewables from 20% to 40% by 2030, making it the world’s largest renewable energy power user.
Renewable energy project developer One Plant Africa has appointed a former ambassador during the Clinton administration to its company’s board. Ambassador Charles R Stith is considered to be one of America’s leading experts on development issues in Sub-Saharan Africa. The company is a subsidiary of One Planet Infrastructure, a US-based developer which specialises in renewable energy and infrastructure projects in developing countries.
Cumulus Energy Storage (CES) has managed to raise £250,000 from its first round of seed investment. The firm will use the cash to develop its renewable technology. CES is currently developing the low-cost, grid-level energy storage in a bid to reduce energy supply costs by developing prototype battery technology which can be used to cope with the rigours of the industry.
With the sunniest desert on Earth, a windswept coast and limited fossil fuel supplies, northern Chile has become the world’s top market for renewable energy. The government of President Michelle Bachelet has approved 76 solar and wind projects since taking power March 11. Renewable energy developers are pursuing contracts to deliver electricity to mines run by by companies including Anglo American Plc (AAL) and BHP Billiton Ltd (BHP), which consume a third of the country’s power.