Renewable energy is essential to modern society – reducing harmful emissions from fossil fuels and making us more self sufficient. This site will explore what people are doing to help get us closer to a greener, renewable energy sourced world Read more »
Germany’s largest offshore wind farm ‘Meerwind’ reached financial close at the end of last week according to its owners WindMW Gmbh.
Meerwind wind farm will see a total investment of 1.2 billion Euros when it is built in 2013. It has been a long journey for the project which was proposed back in 2000 and approved in 2007.
The project financing was managed by Blackstone who set up the portfolio company WindMW to fund the wind farm. The wind farm has attracted green investment from Santander and Siemens Bank, Lloyds Banking Group…Read: Germany’s Largest Offshore Wind Project Secures Finance
Supermarket giant Tesco is to start selling solar panels in the UK according to the Timesonline today.
The UK Feed In Tariff is programmed to start on Thursday 1st April and expected to result in a substantial number of people starting to generate their own green electricity. Under the schemeRead: Tesco to Sell Feed in Tariff Solar Panels
The Crown Estate has today announced the 3rd round of UK offshore wind farms. It comes as no surprise that the big winners are giant consortiums made up of globally operating utilities and companies with offshore experience. The winners will be taking on unprecedented challenges with sites up to 195km offshore and water depths of up to 80 metres.
The largest zones at Doggerbank (9000 Megawatts) and Norfolk (7200 MW) go to consortia giants Forewind and East Anglia Offshore Wind. Forewind is made up of RWE renewables, Scottish and Southern Energy, Statoil and Statkraft. East Anglia Offshore Wind is Scottish Power Renewables and Vattenfall Vindkraft.
Eddie O’Connor’s Mainstream Renewables and Siemans bagged the 4000 MW Hornsea zone, whilst SeaGreen Wind Energy Ltd equally owned by SSE Renewables and Fluor, won the Firth of Forth Zone.
Eon and Dutch utility Eneco were left with the smaller south of England coast sites off Brighton and the Isle of Wight.
Prime Minister, Gordon Brown MP said: “Our policies in support of offshore wind energy have already put us ahead of every other country in the world. This new round of licences provides a substantial new platform for investing in UK industrial capacity. The offshore wind industry is at the heart of the UK economy’s shift to low carbon and could be worth £75 billion and support up to 70,000 jobs by 2020.”Read: 3rd Round of UK Offshore Wind Farms Announced
The contentious new power line from Beauly in the Scottish Highlands to Denny in the south was given the green light today.
Minister for Energy Jim Mather MSP announced the Beauly-Denny Transmission Upgrade:
“The Beauly – Denny upgrade is the most significant grid infrastructure project in a generation. Scotland’s electricity network needs significant reinforcement to allow our vast renewables potential to be harnessed, transmitted and exported – currently we simply do not have the transmission capacity to carry the green energy which Scotland will generate over the coming years.”
“The Beauly-Denny upgrade will help unlock Scotland’s onshore and offshore energy potential and this consent recognises the wider context, benefits and challenges of a development of this scale and opportunity.”
The proposed power lines were subject to an extensive Public Inquiry in 2007. Inquiry Reporters concluded that the line is necessary from a technical and economic perspective, and is consistent with both the Applicants’ duties under the Electricity Act and with national Planning and Energy policy.
The Reporters recommended that, apart from two short sections, the line should be consented.
Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables said the upgrade is good news for the economy, employment and the environment. “The upgrade is absolutely vital if we are to capture the full potential of Scotland’s unique wind, wave and tidal resources” said Stuart.Read: Green Light for Power Line Good for Scottish Wind Energy
The Times has started to publish its British Green Rich list annually with the new list out yesterday.
In the face of depleting fossil fuels and the need to find alternative sources of energy these new millionnaires have spotted enormous potential in the green energy market. The list gives a flavour as to which green sectors are commercially evolved in Britain today and flags those technologies likely to continue to grow in the short to medium term future.
Wind energy players take 1st, 11th and 16th places, whilst solar companies take 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 20th places. The wind energy sector, despite a near term slow down in growth is expected to grow by 20% per year between 2009 and 2015. The solar sector is growing at a huge 30% per year thanks in part to reduced production costs. Other green millionnaires have made their money from home efficiency technologies, green infrastructure provision, low carbon fuel manufacturers and green consultancy.
Taking the number 1 spot wind energy producer and retailer Ecotricity has been making money from renewable electricity since 1996. Ecotricity’s 48 year old owner Dale Vince is estimated by the Times as being worth £85 million (US $136m).Read: The Times Green Rich List
Mainstream and joint venture partner Geneses Eco-Energy kicked off public consultation on their Jeffrey’s Bay wind energy project at the weekend.
Displays showing details of the 100 Megawatt project were on display at the town’s ‘shell festival’ over the weekend.
The Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm is one of a number of proposals in South Africa hoping to be in the first tranch to secure a fixed rate tariff from the Government.
Mainstream Renewable Power SA Director Leila Mahomed-Weidman said ‘people have been very positive about the project with many asking how quickly can you get the wind turbines up’.Read: Mainstream Kick off 1st South Africa Project
After the PR disaster of the Vestas factory closure on the Isle of Wight, the UK Prime Minister is looking to reel in another wind turbine manufacturer and step up investment to get the country back on the green manufacturing track.
The Guardian’s Terry Macalister reported yesterday that PM Gordon Brown wants Siemens to open a factory in the UK as soon as possible. The move would provide a renewable energy manufacturing base and green collar jobs. The goverment is desperate to secure economic benefits from its huge potential wind energy market.
According to the Guardian, the prime minister will meet CEO of Siemens, Peter Löscher to provide some certainty and comfort on the delivery of a large scale offshore wind energy market. This lack of confidence in wind energy market growth was what led to the Vestas decision to abandon the UK.
A Siemens offshore wind representative said that the company will be closely watching what comes out of the Crown Estate’s Round 3 offshore wind farm license announcements which are imminent.Read: UK Back on the Green Energy Investment Track
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has today welcomed the announcement by the US government to begin issuing grants for renewable energy projects worth nearly US $500 million.
The Departments of Treasury and Energy made the announcement further to the establishment of a Congress programme with roots in the economic recovery package put together earlier this year. This element of the recovery package aims to boost green energy investment and employment. The grants will be issued in lieu of tax credits of nearly $500 million for 10 wind energy projects in Minnesota, New York, Maine, Pennsylvania Oregon, and Texas.Read: US Kick Start Renewable Energy Grants Worth US $500 million
The reality is however that payments are already being offered to communities by wind energy companies on a voluntary basis. The introduction of a formal system of payments is in itself therefore, unlikely to lead to the desired plethora of delivered renewable energy projects.
Planning problems have been cited as the key constraint holding back British onshore wind energy projects with wind turbine manfucturer Vestas blaming NIMBYS (not in my back yard) for its recent decision to close Britain’s only wind turbine manufacturing plant, on the Isle of Wight. A Vestas spokesperson described Britain’s approach as “like being in Saudi Arabia and not drilling for oil”. In response Ministers are considering whether to establish a “conservation bank” which they say will overcome planning objections to wind farms and other renewable-energy projects.Read: Ministers say Wind Energy Developers Should Buy UK Planning Consents
Wind turbine manufacturer Siemens has won a dispute over the description of its green energy business as “drastically” reducing CO2 emissions.
Siemens marketing campaign posed the question “How can you power a planet hungry for electricity without damaging it?“. The Siemens answer was “efficient energy supply…our innovations efficiently generate and distribute the power we need while at the same time drastically reducing CO2 emissions“. A complaint was lodged by an unknown wind energy sceptic who objected to the use of the word “drastically” when talking about wind energy projects and CO2 reduction helping in the fight against climate change.Read: Siemens Wins Wind Energy Advertising Row
Scottish First Minister – Alex Salmond announced this week that Scotland has hit its target to provide 31% of its electricity from renewable energy sources.
The consented 130 Megawatt (MW) extension to Whitelee wind energy project takes the capacity to a total of 442 MW – providing 300 extra jobs. Salmond said tens of millions of pounds had been invested in renewables providing the Scottish Economy with “serious investment and serious jobs“.Read: Scotland Consents 31% of its Electricity Needs from Renewable Sources
After 10 years in the making, the last wind turbine of the largest onshore wind energy project in Europe was switched on yesterday just outside Glasgow in Scotland.
The Whitelee project is made up of 140 wind turbines and will provide enough electricity for around 180,000 homes. The £300m (US $474m) wind farm was built by Scottish Power – part of the Iberdrola group which employs around 9000 people in the UK.Read: Utility Companies Storming the Renewable Energy Marketplace
UK Electricity Retailer – Good Energy sells itself on the basis that it supplies 100% green energy to its customers and also stimulates the progress of new renewable energy. It’s product is supported by green groups such as Friends of the Earth and the National Consumer Council.
A green energy row has however broken out between Good Energy and competitor Ecotricity. Ecotricity CEO Dale Vince says that Good Energy has been lying about the percentage of ROCs it rips up – or ‘retires’.Read: Is Good Energy Really Good?
With both the US and UK governments making serious investments in small scale renewable energy, community projects are likely to attract keen interest over the next few years.
A range of technologies are available to both existing and new communities including wind energy, solar energy, biomass or combined heat and power and hydro- electric power.
Green Energy Web Conferences are holding a series of webconferences to exchange information about green energy solutions. The first is a 2-day community wind energy webconference comprising live presentations by more than 25 community wind specialists.Read: Community Renewable Energy
Community owned wind energy projects have started to appear in England, Scotland and Germany over the last few years. Many wind energy companies are starting to run schemes where local people can invest in their local wind energy project and in some cases individual wind energy operators are selling 100% of the shares to community investors.Read: Invest in Your Local Wind Energy Project
In the US, the Californian desert and the Mid-West plains are ideal locations for solar and wind energy plants. In the UK the Scottish highlands and Welsh mountains have the highest winds in the UK. These locations have similar characteristics – great resources for renewable energy generation, but limited grid infrastructure and not many people.
Hundreds and in some cases thousands of miles of new expensive, high voltage grid infrastructure is needed in these key locations to transport green energy to areas of high demand – the big cities. This grid infrastructure is both expensive and geographically extensive.Read: Renewable Energy Grid Infrastructure Reality Sinks In
UK opposition leader, David Cameron recently unveiled the Conservatives new policy on returning powers to local government. In doing so however he proposes taking away much needed funding provided to local authorities through the Housing and Planning Delivery Grant – a grant that rewards councils for ensuring their district plans are up to date.
The Conservatives argue that their policy paper is about more local control over decision making and funding.Read: How Does the New Conservative Local Powers Policy Affect Renewable Energy?
Spain has set a record this week by powering 29-40% of its electricity needs from wind energy.
A huge 11,180 MW was generated on Thursday when high winds blew through north west Spain. When demand was lower early in the morning, wind energy supplied 40% of the country’s requirements whilst later on when demand rose, wind energy supplied 29%.Read: Spain’s Record Breaking Wind Energy Generation
The 300kW hydro -electric “Romney Weir” project proposed in the grounds of Windsor Castle has been pulled after over 5 years of work by npower renewables and the Environment Agency on the basis that “the technological challenges prove too expensive“.
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Planning Committee voted unanimously in favour of granting consent for the project in the summer of last year for the scheme which would generate power equivalent to the average annual needs of around 300 households.Read: Plug Pulled on Queen’s Windsor Castle Hydro Project
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has produced an interactive map showing the locations of 1200 green companies across 12 US states.
In the 12 states, carbon caps are anticipated to result in the significant growth of green collar jobs. The map includes a range of businesses from solar and wind power generation to a company growing fuel from algae.Read: US Green Economy Mapping