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The new feed in tariff rates for small scale renewable energy were confirmed today by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
The revised Feed In Tariff rates are due to be implemented on 1st August 2011.
The rate for larger scale solar energy projects of 250 kW – 5MW has been dramatically reduced from 30.7 pence per kWh to 8.5 pence. As a result the UK is unlikely to see proposals for ground based solar parks of this scale.Read: New UK Renewable Energy Tariff Rates Confirmed
The report recommends that “if a set of alternative options can be found to meet the EU renewable energy target, then offshore wind ambition in 2020 could be moderated.”
RenewableUK’s Chief Executive, said:Read: Further Doubt for UK Offshore Wind Industry
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne today announced the reform of the UK electricity market.
Huhne says the reforms are necessary to deal with increased electricity demand, ageing power stations and the need for low carbon energy sources in order to meet climate change challenges. The changes are likely to mean new feed in tariffs for larger scale low carbon technologies.
The government believes that all low carbon electricity generation needs support to capture its benefits to our climate and to ensure security of supply. The department of energy and climate change want the true costs of unabated fossil fuels and the benefits of low carbon electricity to be captured in policy.Read: UK Electricity Reform to introduce new Feed in Tariff
A green campaign group celebrated the construction of a wind farm in the heart of England this week.
The Sustainable Energy Alliance (SEA) supported Lindhurst wind farm, just outside the town of Mansfield from the early planning stages. The wind farm had over 3000 letters of support from local people.
The 5 turbine wind farm will generate enough renewable electricity to provide for the annual average needs of around 5000 homes.Read: Green Group Celebrate Town’s New Wind Farm
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has now confirmed that the feed in tariff (FIT) is compliant with European law on State Aid Rules.
However it is still unclear as to what communities can claim to help them install renewable energy projects. Although the European Commission has said that grant recipients should not be eligible to receive the FIT, the latest DECC advice is that in some cases both grants and FITS can be claimed without breaching State Aid rules.
According to DECC…Read: Can British communities claim renewable energy grants and the Feed in Tariff?
A 13 metre wind turbine was installed in London’s Leicester Square today.
The temporary wind turbine installed by SIAC Wind Power was installed as part of the UK wind week event. The wind turbine and wind week is hoped to promote wind energy in the UK.
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Hulne said:Read: Leicester Square Wind Turbine Installed
The Coalition Secretary of State for Energy has spoken out this week about huge legacy nuclear decommissioning costs. According to the Guardian Chris Huhne disclosed a £4bn black hole in what he described as ‘unavoidable’ nuclear power station decommissioning and waste costs.
Huhne has brought the costs to the attention of the Cabinet and pointed out that the total budget for the energy and climate change department is limited to £3bn annually. Huhne described his department as “not so much the Departement of Energy and Climate Change, as the Department of nuclear legacy and bits of other things“….He went on to say that what we are effectively paying for here is “decades of cheap nuclear electricity for which we have suddenly got a massive postdated bill“.Read: Lib Dem Reveals Nuclear Decommissioning Liability
Tory Planning Policies and Lib Dem Renewable Policies just don’t add up according to former energy and climate change minister Ed Miliband.
Speaking during a House of Commons debate, Mr Miliband criticised the coalition government saying that their renewables policy doesn’t yet add up because they have Lib Dem targets with Conservative planning policy. He also said their nuclear policy doesn’t add up because they have three positions.Read: Coalition Renewable Energy Problems Start to Emerge
It’s official, the Conservatives have formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats. As a result we have a Liberal Democrat cabinet minister for energy and climate change – Chris Huhne.
In 2007 Chris Hulne said “The doubling of our electricity generation from wind in a little more than a year shows what renewables can do, and gives the lie to the need for a new generation of nuclear power.“. It is ironic therefore that he will ultimately be responsible for nuclear power station planning applications.Read: Liberal Conservative Coalition – What has been Agreed on Energy and Climate Change?
Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth (FOE) has today urged David Cameron to double his efforts on Environmental issues.
The FOE statement follows a call to party leaders for determined action to tackle climate change.
FOE wrote to the three biggest party leaders asking them to show that climate change is a priority in their manifestos and requesting confirmation of actions that will be taken. The letter was signed by over 8000 people. In addition FOE has asked candidate MP’s to sign a pledge to tackle climate change.Read: Friends of the Earth Say Cameron Must Do More for the Environment
Labour and Liberal Democrat energy representatives Ed Miliband and Simon Hughes joined forces to put Tory climate change sceptics in the spotlight this week.Read: Labour & Lib Dems Put Spotlight on Conservative Climate Sceptics
The key English political parties have now launched their manifestos in advance of the elections on May 6th.
All parties commit to a substantial proportion of the UK’s energy coming from renewable sources in the near future; however the details of measures to facilitate this move are not yet clear.
Labour’s ‘Future Fair for All‘ manifesto says the party would create 400,000 green collar jobsRead: UK Political Party Manifestos Commit to Renewable Energy
The mainstream press has been keeping a close eye on the COP15 conference in Copenhagen which was always set to generate a host of strong feelings both outside the conference hall and within.
A week into the conference and it has not failed to deliver the expected controvery. At the end of the first week an unauthorized 40,000 person demonstration yesterday led to 13 people being detained overnight.
The conference kicked off a week ago with the EU promising more money to combat global warming. The EU committed to fund 7.2 billion euro (US $10.5 billion) for tackling global warming over the next three years. The move was described by the UN climate chief as “hugely encouraging” for the climate conference process.
EU leaders also agreed to contribute 2.4 billion euro (US $3.6 billion) a year until 2012 to help poorer countries combat global warming. With the UK contributing one third of this – the average woman on the London street has however been left asking what happened to the contributions from other EU countries.Read: A week of Controversy in Copenhagen
Tens of thousands of people will be marching through the streets of London tomorrow to demonstrate their support for a deal to stop climate change.
The Wave will call on leaders across the globe to take urgent action to secure an international agreement to stop global warming rising above the ‘danger threshold’ of 2 degrees C. The march is to make a clear statement on climate change, the weekend before the start of Copenhagen United Nations Climate Change Conference.
Organisers of the march, Climate Chaos say that the world’s poorest and most vulnerable are already suffering the impacts of climate change. They are being hit first and worst because we, and other rich countries, created this mess and are making it worse.Read: The Wave
In the very week that President Obama announces he will be going to Copenhagen and committing the US to a carbon dioxide emission reduction target for the US, climate change sceptics refuse to accept that doing something about the issue is warranted.
The Obama promise of a 17% emissions reduction target below 2005 levels by 2020 were welcomed by some but described as inadequate by green groups. However a much smaller sector has been striving for media attention. Describing prominent scientists who try to warn people about climate change as ‘totalitarian’, Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips claimed on the BBC last night that ‘there is no evidence of global warming and that global temperatures are going down not up.’
Phillips told the gasping audience ‘you may find this hard to understand, but there is no evidence for global warming, the seas are not rising in any way out of the ordinary, the ice is not melting and the polar bears are increasing in number’. The audience, shocked by the claims were quickly becalmed by comedian and broadcaster Marcus Brigstocke, Scottish National Party deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon and Lord Falconer who were quick to point out the irresponsibility of not accepting the possibility.Read: Daily Mail Climate Change Denier ‘Grossly Irresponsible’
The Conservative party tell us they are all about local empowerment and ‘decentralised devolution’. Their decentralisation green paper ‘Control Shift’ released earlier this year set out proposals for change if they are elected next year.
Conservative proposals include abolishing all planning and housing powers exercised by regional government, creating bottom up incentives for housebuilding by allowing councils to benefit from the increase in council tax revenues. They would also encourage councils to establish their own local enterprise partnerships to take over economic development functions.
In this decentralised scenario planners and industry groups have started to question where higher level housing and renewable energy targets would sit, given the need for the consideration of demand and supply opportunities somewhere between the national and local levels. This has previously been dealt with by either mid – tier county councils or regional governments.Read: Local Targets – Good for UK Renewable Energy?
Numerous reports have now been published saying wind turbines work and can make an important contribution towards the UK’s energy needs.
Prominant energy analyst David Milborrow published a new report back in June which the wind energy industry hoped would put to bed the question of whether wind turbines work.
The report confirms that wind energy can substitute for thermal plant and enable the British power system to operate with the same level of reliability. According to Milborrow, Utilities worldwide generally agree there is no fundamental technical reason why “high proportions of wind cannot be assimilated without the lights going out”.
Contrary to what is sometimes banded about in the mainstream media, the findings demonstrate that widespread use of wind power leads to a significant reduction in carbon emissions. In addition variability in wind energy does not mean costs will be substantially higher.Read: Do Wind Turbines Work?
An English MP wants a new rule to say wind turbines can’t be built within 1.5 miles of homes. This would mean saying goodbye to new wind farms in the English countryside.
Peter Luff MP will tomorrow table a ten minute rule bill asking for an arbritrary 2km buffer zone between wind turbines and homes. This would mean a halt to new wind farms in England which is struggling to meet its renewable energy targets, and many parts of Scotland and Wales.
Ten minute rule bills are often used by MPs to provoke a debate and although unlikely to be successful- an arbritrary 2 km limit would bring about a collapse in the entire English onshore wind industry. This in turn would also probably cause some damage to the offshore wind energy sector as England is seen increasingly by wind turbine manufacturers (like Vestas on the Isle of Wight) as anti-wind. Attempts to kick off small or community led renewable energy projects would be much harder without the support of a healthy renewables industry.Read: MP Says We Don’t Want Wind Turbines Near our Homes
With the proposed Conservative abolition of regional planning, many renewable energy developers have been asking the question; if the Conservatives get into power next year, who will be responsible for setting renewable energy targets?
Planning Magazine reported last week that the Tories are looking at a return to county structure plans. Most UK development companies, whether they be building houses or wind turbines believe that area development plans should provide for the needs of its area or else the provision of adequate housing and essential infrastructure is at risk. These companies and the people responsible for providing the decision making framework i.e. the planners are therefore concerned that any changes are managed smoothly and effectively.Read: Will the Conservatives Introduce County Renewable Energy Targets?
A contract between the Department of Energy and Climate Change, The Crown Estate, NATS and the wind industry’s Aviation Investment Fund Company was signed this week.
The contract is aimed at solving the problem of aviation radar interference from wind turbines and includes financing worth £5.15 million towards a solution via new technology being developed by Raytheon.
According to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, ED Miliband, objections from the aviation industry are one of the key reasons UK wind energy applications are either being refused or withdrawn.Read: British Aviation and Wind Industry Contract Signed