A wave power device tested at a marine energy centre in Orkney has been boosted by a £580,000 European grant. Edinburgh-based Aquamarine Power and the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM) have together secured a EU Horizon 2020 grant to improve the performance of Aquamarine Power’s Oyster wave energy converter. The company has already built and operated two full-scale Oyster machines at the European Marine Energy Centre (Emec) in Orkney.
Scotland has the potential to lead the world in smart integrated energy systems, according to a new report. The Carbon Trust said it has outlined a vision for the country to harness its natural resources and technology innovation capabilities. It said developing a fully integrated energy system would help Scotland meet its carbon emissions targets, create jobs and secure an international leadership position in smart grid technology.
Campaigners have hailed the early closure of a subsidy scheme for onshore wind projects – while renewables experts last night warned it will deter investment. Jenny Hogan, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, warned firms were at risk of “shutting up shop altogether” and that 5,400 jobs had been put at risk by the withdrawal of the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme. Ending the subsidy – funded by levies to household bills – a year earlier than expected could cost up to £3billion of investment, she added. Ms Hogan also called for the Westminster Scottish Affairs Committee to consider holding an inquiry on the move, which she said would have a disproportionate impact on Scotland.
After a survey conducted by anti-windfarm campaigners revealed the developments were driving visitors away from Scotland, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing explains why he believes turbines and tourism can co-exist. A successful tourism industry is absolutely vital for Scotland's economy. In 2014, there were 15.7 million overseas and domestic visits, up 10% on the previous year, with tourists spending nearly £5billion. As both energy and tourism minister I warmly welcome the great work being done in this area and we will work to ensure this success story continues.
Robert Gordon University (RGU) and the Mexican Government said yesterday they had agreed to an oil and gas industry knowledge swap. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was announced at Offshore Europe in Aberdeen and follows Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s visit to the Granite City in March. Under the pact, the Mexican energy ministry and RGU will share information and seek opportunities to support the training of Mexicans for the oil and gas industry. RGU will be included on the list of preferred universities for Mexican scholarships.
Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has called for tax cuts for the oil industry and low and middle earners in an attempt to steer a centrist path through the left and right-leaning policies of his opponents.
A Scottish hydro power scheme which could produce enough power for over 800 homes each year has been officially opened.
Plans to build a windfarm at a north-east landmark overlooking the home village of former first minister Alex Salmond have been rejected by the Scottish Government. Muirden Energy wanted to erect a dozen 326ft turbines on top of Mormond Hill – Buchan’s highest peak. But the proposals left people in Strichen outraged and were blocked by Aberdeenshire councillors. Now their decision has been upheld by Scottish Government planning reporters after the developer appealed against the local authority’s decision.
John Bell Equipment has expanded its presence in Scotland with the opening of new offices in Grangemouth. The pipeline equipment supplier said the facility will be used by four members of the sales team who originally worked in a subsidiary of the company.
Investors have been given the opportunity to look behind the scenes at Camco’s Jabil Circuit premises in Scotland. The company said production is well underway at the site in Livingston with 12 customer units being manufactured in parallel this year. This includes on 1.68MWh unit, one 240kWh unit and 10kWh units relating to REDT, which is Camco’s energy storage business.
A jobs taskforce set up to help North Sea workers whose jobs are under threat is to be continued “for the foreseeable future”, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced. The Scottish Government set up the Energy Jobs Taskforce in January after the sector was hit by the slump in oil prices. Initial plans were for the body, which brings together the industry, the public sector and trade unions, to be in place for six months. But Ms Sturgeon has announced it will continue to meet beyond its original six-month commitment. The First Minister said: “The Scottish Government is fully committed to the oil and gas industry; it has been a true success story and we are working to ensure it will continue to be so.
Sgurr Energy has signed a deal worth several million pounds with Chinese lidar manufacturer Oasis. The agreement was announced as Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited Beijing. The company said the deal will complement their package of wind farm SgurrOptimiser services.
The number of companies, farms and communities creating their own electricity has risen more than 50% in a year. Figures show 775 organisations have bought generating equipment in a bid to insulate themselves from rising energy costs and to reduce carbon emissions. The report by independent energy firm SmartestEnergy shows the number was just 509 in 2013.
The Scottish Government has given assurances that it is “not against fracking”, according to the boss of a firm which runs Scotland’s largest petrochemical plant. Jim Ratcliffe, the chief executive and chairman of Ineos, which runs the Grangemouth plant, has suggested an onshore shale gas industry could potentially be set up in Scotland within a few years, despite an indefinite moratorium on granting planning consent for fracking - the method of gas extraction. The firm has ambitions to establish a large-scale shale gas industry, having acquired fracking exploration licences across 700 square miles of central Scotland.
An emergency summit convened in the wake of Westminster’s decision to scrap a subsidy scheme for onshore wind farms was attended by more than 200 people, the Scottish Government said. Energy Minister Fergus Ewing organised the talks after the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced it would end payments under the Renewables Obligation a year early. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and others in the Scottish Government have already spoken out against the decision, which industry leaders Scottish Renewables fears could put up to £3 billion of investment in Scotland at risk.
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing is to chair an emergency summit with the green energy sector today amid concerns about the impact of the UK Government’s decision to end a subsidy scheme for onshore wind farms.
Onshore wind farms could be built without any need for Government subsidies “in the near future”, energy minister Andrea Leadsom has said.
Around 250 onshore wind projects already in development are likely to be cancelled because the Government is ending subsidies which would aid their completion, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has announced. The cancellation of subsidies for onshore wind offered under the Renewables Obligation (RO) is likely to mean that 2,500 turbines which were due to be built are scrapped, Ms Rudd said. She said consumer bills will not rise and insisted the move would save taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds in subsidies that would otherwise have been paid out to energy projects.
Cutting public subsidies for onshore wind farms would result in job losses, rising energy bills and stranded communities, according to energy minister Fergus Ewing. The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is expected to announce measures to deliver on the Conservatives’ manifesto pledge to end any new public subsidy for onshore wind farms. Mr Ewing said he was concerned about reports that the new energy secretary Amber Rudd was considering closing the Renewables Obligation scheme - the main support for renewable electricity projects - a year early in 2016. The move is opposed by the Scottish Government and the industry, which has said it is prepared to take legal action to fight “drastic and unfair” changes.
Nicola Sturgeon will today call on the UK Government to consult urgently on incentives to boost exploration in the North Sea. The First Minister will make the demand at the annual Oil and Gas UK Conference in Aberdeen. Figures show that North Sea exploration last year reached its lowest level in at least two decades, with 14 explorations wells drilled compared to 44 in 2008. The Scottish Government claims the Westminster Government has yet to deliver any follow up action after committing at the end of 2014 to further work on options for supporting exploration through the tax system.
nd farms contribute almost £9 million a year to community projects across Scotland, new figures have shown. The amount of community benefit cash paid to local good causes from on-shore wind farms has now reached just over £8.8 million a year, according to Local Energy Scotland. Grants paid out under the scheme have helped with a wide range of projects, including sending members of a West Lothian dance school to the European Street Dance Championships in Germany. Payments also allowed a new community hall to be build in Daviot, Aberdeenshire, and to a thermal imaging camera so residents in the Sutherland area of the Highlands can see where extra insulation is needed.
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 election has delivered an unexpected outcome, with Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron on course to stay in 10 Downing Street with a parliamentary majority. That’s partly because the Tories defeated Liberal Democrat lawmakers in England. In Scotland, where Ed Miliband’s Labour opposition has been dominant for a generation, the Scottish National Party is set to win nearly all 59 House of Commons seats. Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, lost the Twickenham district in southwest London he held since 1997. Tania Mathias, the Tory candidate, overcame a 12,140 majority to defeat Cable in one of the Liberal Democrats’ safest seats.
Global Energy, who own the Nigg Fabrication Yard, have had their plans for their own harbour rejected by the Scottish Government. They had put forward plans to create their own harbour at the entrance to the Cromarty Firth. However the Scottish Government threw out the bid on a legal technicality.
Imagine an uninformed stranger arriving in Scotland and examining what passes for an energy policy. What conclusions would be reached about the self-contradictory, self-defeating chaos that has been achieved so far? On the one hand, we have a Scottish government which has made massive virtue out of a low-carbon energy policy, targeting a generation equivalent to 100% renewables. On the other, we have one of Europe’s most polluting power stations scheduled for near-imminent closure. Our passing stranger might reach one of two conclusions, or possibly both. First, the closure of Longannet is entirely consistent with the stated objectives of the current Holyrood administration.