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07/04/17
SolarWind
The second Contracts for Difference auction has now launched allowing renewable energy developers to compete for £290M worth of contracts to help develop clean energy growth in Britain.
Contracts for Difference are won through a competitive process which drives down energy costs for consumers and guarantees companies a certain price for the low-carbon electricity they produce over 15 years. This gives them the support and certainty they need to attract investment and get projects off the ground.
These contracts form the first tranche of the government’s commitment to provide £730M of annual support for renewable energy projects.
Energy Minister Jesse Norman said: “This auction underlines that Britain is open for business to companies seeking to invest in low carbon energy.
“It is designed to deliver clean power to a million homes, create jobs in the energy industry and provide new supply chain opportunities, while reducing carbon emissions by some 2.5 million tonnes per year.”
Funded by a levy which comes through energy bills, the scheme will only award contracts which offer the best value for money. Energy bills will be unaffected until the projects are operational and producing low carbon energy.
The auction commenced on 3 April and will close in the autumn and which point winners will be announced.
In total, there has already been some £52Bn worth of investment in renewable energy in the UK since 2010 and by late 2016 exactly half of the UK’s energy came from low carbon sources. These contracts should help further develop the growth of clean energy in Britain.
Original Article
06/04/17
solar-jags
Jaguar Land Rover has signed an agreement with EDF Energy to buy 100% of its UK electricity from renewable sources up to March 2020.

The supply is backed by Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO), meaning a proportion of EDF Energy’s renewable energy is ring-fenced specifically for the company. The REGO scheme certifies the proportion of supply that comes from renewable generation, which Jaguar Land Rover’s case is 100%.
Ian Harnett, executive director of human resources and global purchasing at JLR said: “Our future is low-carbon, clean and efficient. Our programme to reduce our burden on the National Grid doesn’t end here: we seek continual improvements, both in how we can reduce energy consumption further and how to minimise our carbon emissions. Our aim is to give our customers an assurance that the company’s electricity will come from renewable sources: those being in addition to the solar array at our Engine Manufacturing Centre in Wolverhampton, one of the largest rooftop installations in Europe”.
Béatrice Bigois, managing director of customers at EDF Energy, said: “EDF Energy is pleased to announce that we will continue to supply Jaguar Land Rover with 100% renewable electricity for the next three years. Jaguar Land Rover is a valued partner of EDF Energy – we share a strong focus on sustainability and are very proud to support Britain’s biggest car maker in achieving their low-carbon ambitions”.
The agreement is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s wider sustainability programme, which has seen a reduction in the energy per vehicle produced of over 38% at its UK manufacturing plants and more than 50,000 tonnes of press shop aluminium waste reclaimed in one year, up to April 2016, enough to make around 200,000 Jaguar XE body shells, preventing more than half a million tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
29/03/17

Last weekend’s sunny weather was not only good for beers, barbecues and bees, but also drove solar power to break a new UK record.
For the first time ever, the amount of electricity demanded by homes and businesses in the afternoon on Saturday was lower than it was in the night, because solar panels on rooftops and in fields cut demand so much.
National Grid, which runs the transmission network, described the moment as a “huge milestone”. The company sees the solar power generated on the distribution networks – or local roads of the system – as reduced electricity demand.

The sunshine meant that solar power produced six times more electricity than the country’s coal-fired power stations on Saturday.
Continued good weather saw solar power generate significant amounts of power on Sunday and Monday too, when it was providing around 15% of electricity generation. Demand on Sunday afternoon was also lower than on Sunday night.
Duncan Burt, who manages daily operations at National Grid, said: “Demand being lower in the afternoon than overnight really is turning the hard and fast rules of the past upside down. It’s another fascinating sign of the huge changes we are seeing in Britain’s energy scene.”
Electricity demand usually peaks around 4pm to 6pm at this time of year, as people return home from work, with demand lower still at weekends. But the early hours of the morning are usually the quietest for the Berkshire control centre that monitors the grid, so a reversal is dramatic.
Chris Goodall, the author of a recent book on how solar power is transforming energy systems, said that, counterintuitively, March is a good time for solar panels in the UK, due to the angle the sun is hitting them and because they operate better in lower temperatures.
“A sunny day between the equinoxes can now produce a peak of around 9.5GW. At weekends, when demand is low, this will frequently mean solar is producing well over 25% of the UK power need. This drives coal almost completely out of the mix, as it did at the weekend, and depresses gas use,” he said.
Goodall said that by weekends this summer, on windy and sunny days he expected fossil fuels could be providing as little as 15% of the UK’s power. That percentage could fall to zero in coming years as new offshore windfarms are completed, he said.
The solar industry hailed the landmark last weekend, and said the government had repeatedly underestimated the technology’s potential.

A spokeswoman for the Solar Trade Association said: “This milestone shows the balance of power is shifting, quite literally, away from the old centralised ‘coal-by-wire’ model into the hands of householders, businesses and communities all over the UK who want their own clean solar power.”
Solar power installations grew dramatically in 2014 and 2015 (pdf), but new capacity largely collapsed in 2016 after the government axed and reduced subsidies.
An independent report, commissioned by the STA, found the UK’s power network could handle four times more solar capacity than there was today without increasing costs for the grid. Other studies (pdf) have also concluded that even a significant expansion of renewable energy would impose only “relatively modest” costs to integrate into the electricity system.
A government spokesman said: “This government wants Britain to be one of the best places in the world to invest in clean, flexible energy. Solar power is a great success, with over 11GW of capacity installed in the last five years that’s enough to power more than 2.6 million homes with clean electricity.”

Original article
17/03/17
Uk-Climate-Targets
The cost of supporting new windfarms and nuclear power stations to meet the UK’s carbon targets will add nearly £100 to the average household energy bill by the end of the next decade, according to a government adviser.
But the Committee on Climate Change said it expected the increase to be more than offset by savings as people switched to more efficient fridge freezers, LED bulbs and better boilers.
The committee, a body of experts set up under the Climate Change Act to advise the government, found that a rise of £105, or 9%, to the average £1,160 dual fuel bill in 2016 was down to green policies. These included subsidies for windfarms and solar power through schemes such as the Renewables Obligation. A report by the committee predicts that meeting the UK’s carbon targets would see the cost of the subsidies rise to £200 of an average bill of £1,350 by 2030.
However, other factors were involved in the net increase. The committee also calculated that rising wholesale energy costs and other issues will add more than £200 a year to bills, while an ongoing switch to more energy-efficient appliances and gadgets is expected to save £150.
Matthew Bell, chief executive of the committee, told the Guardian that he thought it was worth spending the money on climate policies. “The reason we’re acting to reduce our emissions is climate change poses real risks, real risks to the UK as well as round the world.”
The cost was relatively modest, he said, adding: “What our analysis says quite clearly is that as a proportion of total energy costs, climate costs are a small minority portion. The vast majority of your energy bill is accounted by other things, like wholesale costs and transmission costs.”
Five of the big six energy suppliers have announced price hikes over the winter, sparking calls for a cap on bills.
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Three energy companies outside of the major supplier group, including Bristol-based Ovo, which has 680,000 customers, and smaller suppliers Octopus and Utility Warehouse, signalled their support on Thursday for a relative price cap. The cap has been proposed by the Conservative MP John Penrose and would limit the gap between the best and worst deals on the market. About 50 MPs have backed a motion to be debated in parliament on Thursday, on the need to protect consumers on standard variable tariffs, which are the most common deal for British households.
Some of the energy companies, such as German-owned E.ON, laid the blame for their rises partly on the cost of supporting green policies. But the Committee on Climate Change said that such policies had in fact shaved £290 a year off the average household energy bill between 2008 and 2016, because they had encouraged a shift to A-rated fridge freezers, condensing boilers and a swing away from incandescent lightbulbs to energy-saving ones.
Bell said that future progress on more energy-efficient appliances was slowing slightly, but there was still potential for huge savings. “We’re still seeing only 1% of lighting being LEDs. And what we’ve not factored in at all is what IT will do for how we manage energy in our homes.”
The committee said British households’ energy costs are not high compared to the rest of Europe. Residential electricity prices are below average, and gas prices the third lowest among 15 EU countries.
Despite the government recently announcing a review into energy costs for businesses, the committee said climate policies were adding relatively little to companies’ bills and had not affected UK plc’s competitiveness.
Rebecca Williams, energy specialist at WWF, said: “This report shows that energy companies are wrong to blame the increase in energy bills solely on UK government policies. It is clear that the main driver here is rising fossil fuel costs.”

Read Original Article
09/03/17

Tital-Hydro
Post Date: 10 February 2017
Atlantis Energy, a division of marine renewables developer Atlantis Resources, has announced a partnership agreement with Natural Energy Wyre (NEW) to develop the first eco tidal hydro energy plant (eco THEP) in England on a barrage across on the Wyre estuary in Lancashire between Fleetwood and Knott’s End.
The UK Government’s recent review of the potential for tidal lagoon power by former Energy Minister Charles Hendry concluded that proceeding with a ‘pathfinder’ project as well as other smaller projects would be consistent with the development of the potentially important resource of tidal power around the shores of the UK.
The Wyre project, which has been under development for several years, comprises a 160MW tidal power plant capable of producing up to 400GWh of carbon-free power each year, coupled with flood protection. The Wyre eco THEP is to mimic actual tidal cycles, which should translate into minimal environmental disruption.
Spearheaded by Bob Long, Managing Director of NEW, the Wyre barrage project has been designed in collaboration with leading energy sector companies including Mott Macdonald, BAM Nuttall, Arcadis and Andritz Hydro.
Bob said: “This is a project that will provide flood protection to an area which will be increasingly vulnerable to rising sea levels. It is a project that offers huge opportunity for the regeneration of Fleetwood and the surrounding area and a chance to enhance the recovery of a previously seriously contaminated estuary.”
Tim Cornelius, CEO of Atlantis, added: “The Wyre project is an opportunity to develop an extremely cost effective tidal range project which represents excellent value for the consumer. The geography of the Wyre means that only a relatively small impoundment is required for the power output produced. This makes Wyre a very cost effective way to test the concepts of tidal range power; its location also offers the chance to offer multiple benefits to the local community and surrounding area through economic stimulus and habitat preservation.
“I believe our proven track record of development means that, together with NEW, we can bring this project to reality very quickly. This project is absolutely in line with Charles Hendry’s recommendations to build momentum in this new industry and with the Secretary of State’s ambition for affordable, reliable energy supply with a strong domestic supply chain focus. It also fits well with the Government’s stated Northern powerhouse strategy as well as contributing to the development and regeneration of our towns and cities.”

Original Article

07/03/17
Emissions
The UK’s carbon dioxide emissions have fallen to their lowest level since the 19th century as coal use continues to plummet, analysis suggests.
Emissions of the major greenhouse gas fell almost 6% year on year in 2016, after the use of coal for electricity more than halved to record lows, according to the Carbon Brief website, which reports on climate science and energy policy.
UK energy from coal hits zero for first time in over 100 years

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The assessment suggests carbon emissions in 2016 were about 381m tonnes, putting the UK’s carbon pollution at its lowest level – apart from during coal mining disputes in the 1920s – since 1894.
Carbon emissions in 2016 are about 36% below the reference year of 1990, against which legal targets to cut climate pollution are measured.
Emissions of carbon dioxide from coal fell 50% in 2016 as use of the fossil fuel dropped by 52%, contributing to an overall drop in carbon output of 5.8% last year compared with 2015, Carbon Brief said.
The assessment reveals that coal use has fallen by 74% in just a decade.
UK coal demand is falling rapidly because of cheaper gas, a hike in carbon taxes on the highly polluting fuel, expansion of renewables, dropping demand for energy overall and the closure of Redcar steelworks in late 2015.
Three coal-fired power stations closed in 2016 – Longannet in Fife, Ferrybridge C in West Yorkshire, and Rugeley in Staffordshire.
UK wind power overtakes coal for first time

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While emissions from coal fell in 2016, carbon output from gas rose 12.5% because of increased use of the fuel to generate electricity – although use of gas remains well below highs seen in the 2000s.
Gas use for home and business heating has been falling for a decade, thanks to more insulation and efficient boilers, but the rate of progress has stalled.
Emissions from oil also increased slightly, by 1.6%, as low oil prices and economic growth lead to more miles being driven in the UK, the assessment by Carbon Brief found.
The analysis uses energy figures from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and comes before the department’s own estimates for UK carbon dioxide emissions due to be published at the end of the month.
The government has pledged that all the UK’s coal-fired power stations will be closed by 2025.
Original Article
22/02/17
Greenfarron
Lib Dem leader issues rallying cry for more investment in low carbon economy in a speech sharply critical of Theresa May's government
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has issued a sharply worded attack on the UK government's green agenda, warning the government is backsliding on its climate commitments and calling for urgent action to spur green growth.
Farron, who was speaking this morning at the London offices of the think tank Policy Exchange, accused the government of failing to "see the business opportunity of investing in a low carbon economy" and called on the UK to lead the low-carbon transition by embracing a new era of Victorian-style infrastructure investment.

"We need to do with clean energy what the Victorians did with rail and infrastructure - to create a radical programme of upfront investment which transforms the world we live in," he said. "A collective patriotic endeavour to become energy self-sufficient, to write a chapter in Britain's history that will make future generations proud of us and keen to follow."

Farron insisted the UK should be on the "front foot" of investing in clean technology and exporting its low carbon expertise to other nations around the world, rather than retreating into an era of economic protectionism post-Brexit. "We must not squander the opportunity to be a global leader in innovation and exports to the world."
The speech was sharply critical of current policy, accusing the Conservatives of "heading in the wrong direction" by "hand-picking" favoured technologies. "They have stopped new onshore wind, undermined solar, avoided tidal, and cut the Renewable Heat Incentive," he said. "They are not planning for the long-term, they are sleep walking their way through with a short-termist approach, while those in industry look on with disbelief."

The government has repeatedly insisted it remains committed to delivering against the nation's climate commitments under the Climate Change Act, and is preparing to release an emissions reduction plan which will set out a range of new policies to boost emissions reductions across energy, heat and transport.
But despite praising the "groundbreaking" Climate Change Act - which commits the UK to cutting emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 - Farron said the time has come to up the nation's ambition. He called for a 100 per cent reduction in net emissions by 2050 and a reframing of climate goals to be in line with a 1.5 degrees scenario rather than the current two degrees trajectory.

The Lib Dem leader said his party are putting together a plan to show how such emissions reductions can be achieved - dubbed the Liberal Democrat roadmap to a Zero Carbon Britain. The strategy will include reform of agriculture and land use, increasing protections of natural forestry and peat, electrifying the transport industry and phasing out diesel cars, boosting clean heating and supporting better climate risk disclosure in the financial industry, he said.

Notably, Farron called for the establishment of a new Green Investment Bank - a British Infrastructure Bank - that will use an initial public investment of £5bn to support clean infrastructure projects in energy and housing. The pledge is similar to that made by Labour last year for a National Investment Bank to "rebuild and transform Britain".
Farron also backed plans for the UK's first tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay, and said his party would commit to a "whole programme of tidal lagoons", with up to 10 being constructed over the next two decades. The government is currently considering whether to press ahead with the Swansea tidal project, after a government review into tidal energy led by former energy minister Charles Hendry backed the scheme last month.

And on electric cars, Farron said more focus should be placed on ensuring EV charge points are rolled out as quickly as possible. "We would introduce universally compatible charging points to make it easier for drivers and incentivise demand - helping urban motorists, not just motorway drivers," he said. "Some areas of our economy are harder to decarbonise than others. Improvements in transport are within reach and we must push forward with ambitious strides."
BEIS was considering a response at the time of publish.

Read original article
21/02/17
powervault
A U.K. energy-storage startup is aiming to take on Tesla Inc. in the competition to outfit homes with affordable backup battery power.
Powervault Ltd. is preparing to boost production of its lead- and lithium-ion batteries, said Managing Director Joe Warren. The London-based company is targeting sales of 50,000 units a year by 2020, up from about 1,000 this year, he said.
“We have a huge market to go after in the U.K.,” said Warren, a data center operator turned battery-maker who’s entering the home storage market just as billionaire Elon Musk switches on Tesla’s U.S. Gigafactory. Musk expects the plant will double the global production of lithium-ion batteries next year.
Energy storage is an essential link needed to make intermittent solar and wind energy reliable. Batteries installed inside homes can store excess energy produced by panels or windmills during peak hours of operation. When combined with smart meters and digital technologies, batteries can help utilities regulate the grid by providing power reserves which can be tapped and transmitted on demand.
“The key market right now is people with solar on their rooftops,” Warren said. “The smart meter roll-out will make people much more aware of their energy consumption. We’re expecting people to take a much more active stance.”
Smart Meters
There were about 900,000 solar systems on British rooftops at the end of 2016, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The U.K. is also rolling out smart meters to 53 million houses and small businesses by 2020 to improve understanding of energy usage.
Founded in 2012 with money from the U.K. government and private investors, Powervault has aggressively tried to bring down the cost of batteries in order to make them affordable to more homes.
A Powervault lead battery that can store 3 kWh of power sells for 2,500 pounds ($3,117) a unit, or, about $1,039 for each kWh of electricity stored. That price is about 12 percent cheaper than the $1,175/kWh average price in the industry, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Tesla’s Powerwall 2 lithium-ion battery sells for $393/kWh, though its 14 kWh size still makes it a more expensive option for consumers.
“At the moment, paybacks for solar PV and home storage are too long for most customers,” said Logan Goldie-Scot, an analyst at BNEF in London. “We expect this to change though.”
Warren said he anticipates prices for Powervault’s batteries, which can cover about half an average British home’s daily power consumption, will be even cheaper going forward. The company’s planning to give used electric automobile batteries a second life by hooking them up to homes, he said.
Even without solar panels, affordable batteries could save consumers money by storing inexpensive power from the grid during times of low demand and feeding stored power into their home appliances during expensive peak hours at night.
Powervault is planning to expand internationally in the next few years with an initial focus on Europe, according to Warren, who said some units have already been sold in Spain.
“We’ve been very careful to design them to be universally compatible,” he said. “We want them to be easy to install and use everywhere in the world.”
©2017 Bloomberg News
Lead image credit: Powervault Read original article
17/02/17
February 13, 2017 Kelsey Misbrener
solarrooftops
Solar net metering policies encourage homeowners and businesses to install solar by paying them for the solar power they feed back to the grid. The policies provide a financial incentive to install solar in addition to saving on electricity costs.
According to SEIA, “Net metering allows utility customers to generate their own electricity cleanly and efficiently. During the day, most solar customers produce more electricity than they consume; net metering allows them to export that power to the grid and reduce their future electric bills.”
Forty-seven states plus Washington, D.C., took some sort of action on solar in 2016, according to Cleantech’s “50 States of Solar” Q4 2016 report. Of those, 28 states considered or changed net metering policies.
Why is net metering contentious?
Solar installers and utility owners are at odds. Utility owners and some politicians say net metering shifts costs to electric customers who don’t have solar panels, and that falling solar prices lessen the need for the incentive.
Many utilities view net metering as unfair because some states, like Indiana, require utilities to pay solar panel owners more than it would cost the utilities to produce the power.
But installers say net metering helps ease load-burdens during high-demand times. Solar installers are in favor of it because it is an added incentive for homeowners and commercial property owners to invest in solar.
“Independent studies, in state after state including Maine, have repeatedly found that solar net metering saves money for all electric ratepayers,” writes Steve Hinchmin of ReVision Energy, Maine’s largest solar installation company, in the Portland Press Herald. “Plus, residential solar development is proven to help grow local economies, create new jobs, raise incomes and reduce pollution.”
Who decides?
It’s up to the legislative bodies of each state to determine the policy. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 41 states have net metering policies in place as of October 2016. Two states—Texas and Idaho—have voluntary utility policies, while three others have distributed generation compensation rules other than net metering. Another three states—Tennessee, Alabama and South Dakota—have no policies in place.
In a Washington Post article about the net metering battle in his state of Indiana, Sen. Brandt Hershman said, “I have nothing against solar. I’m simply trying to reset the marketplace.” He believes solar panel owners are reimbursed at too generous of a rate.
What will the future look like?
Regulators in some states are considering measuring “value of solar” rates in place of net metering, an alternative “designed to capture the value solar installations provide to the electric system,” according to NCSL. But a solar-centric solution means the battle will wage on with other sources of renewable energy like wind power.
Community solar is another initiative that utilities are pushing in lieu of net metering. Under community solar agreements, customers buy or lease panels from large solar projects supported by utilities in exchange for power or financial benefit.
Utilities are fighting for control of energy, but small businesses rely on net metering incentives to make solar economical for customers. Without those benefits, some smaller solar installation businesses might have to turn off the lights.
15/02/17
renewable-energy
What impact will the climate-sceptic, coal enthusiast President Trump have on the prospects for renewable energy? How will Brexit affect the UK’s renewable sector? And what’s driving the growth of clean energy in Asia? These were key questions for participants at a Guardian roundtable on the future of wind and solar power, supported by Julius Baer.
And the answer to the Trump question? Precious little impact at all. The sheer strength of the renewables sector – driven by plummeting costs and a growing appetite among consumers and business alike – means it will continue to thrive despite the new administration’s doubts. That was the near-unanimous view of the participants. And it might even win over the president himself, as his business brain engages with the potential of clean energy on the one hand, and coal’s lack of it on the other.
Gina V Hall, investment director at The Carbon Trust, predicted that “a lot of the talk about bringing back coal jobs will start to fade. The rhetoric will be put aside in the face of the facts.” And the most persuasive fact of all is market logic. With renewables approaching grid parity (costing the same as electricity bought from the mains supply), their momentum is becoming unstoppable.
Many of America’s most powerful companies, such as Apple and Google, are strongly committed to clean energy, said Hall, “and they’re not going to let the government get in the way of what they want to do.”
Several participants at the roundtable pointed to the fact that clean energy enjoys strong bipartisan support. As Laura Cozzi from the International Energy Agency commented, over half of the renewable capacity installed recently is in Republican-governed states. Such support might even help secure the future of the tax credits that presently help underpin new investments in the sector, said Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath of E.ON Climate and Renewables.

Impact of Brexit on Renewable Energy Read Original Article