Yearly Archives: 2011

/2011

Thinking of using your community or parish land to earn money through renewable energy?

The Department of Energy and Climate Change have launched a Local Energy Assessment Fund to help parish councils and other not-for-profit groups to assess the potential for renewable energy generation and other community energy initiatives.

There is around £50,000 available for each community energy projects (www.greencommunitiescc.org.uk).

Does your area have land that could host wind energy or hydro energy projects?

Act quickly

The Local Energy Assessment Fund is not open for long – Phase 1 bids had to be submitted by 12:00 22nd December 2011 and phase 2 are due at 12:00 on 20th January 2012. Work will need to be completed by 31 March 2012.

If you are keen to apply but not sure how to:

  • For general advice the charity Centre for Sustainable Energy has excellent resources (www.cse.org.uk);
  • If your application concerns wind or hydro energy projects anywhere in the UK we can support you in writing your application – email Helen.dean@fineenergy.co.uk or call 0121 449 4443.

Wind energy and smart grids: both just part of the answer to global warming

Billed as a critique of wind energy, last night’s IET lecture at Austin Court in Birmingham was in fact more wide-ranging, explaining greenhouse gas reduction targets and giving a balanced account of various ways they can be met in the UK, in Europe and globally. The speaker John Loughhead, Executive Director of the UK Energy Research Centre, told a very clear story and provided a great deal of useful graphical information to support his presentation. Slides now available here, courtesy of the IET.

He gave a particularly illuminating account of progress to date on smart grids, and was not afraid to suggest that the project is to some extent being driven by suppliers of the sophisticated equipment that would be needed in order for it to go ahead. In support of this view he pointed out that there is a great deal of work being done on the end state but that there is in his view not enough thought being given to the transition.

The gathering being one of electrical rather than social engineers, it was perhaps inevitable that there would me more focus on supply-side technologies and demand management rather than on the non-technological question of how as a population we can make a transistion towards simply using less energy. It was hard not to be left feeling that, even if all the technology works as predicted, we need somehow to find a way to start making our economy less energy-intensive.

Canadian investment in UK wind energy

Farm-scale wind energy in the UK has been given a boost by Canadian wind turbine manufacturer Endurance Wind Power Inc. Endurance has retained Fine Energy Ltd, a West-Midlands based renewable energy developer, to acquire and develop sites for its medium-scale wind turbine, a quiet and visually attractive machine designed to fit sympathetically into the landscape.

To carry out the additional work that will be required under the Endurance contract, Fine Energy has increased the size of its administration and GIS teams, and is currently searching for experienced site assessors familiar with the factors that determine whether a site is suitable for the deployment of one or more medium-scale wind turbines.

Landowners looking for the opportunity to enter the wind energy marketplace can rent out small parcels of their land to Fine Energy while continuing to use their property without interruption. Potential sites include farms, industrial estates and other brownfield spaces.

In addition to receiving a rental income, landowners may also be able to benefit from the opportunity to use the electricity generated on their premises, at a discount to the retail electricity price. In all cases, the energy generated by medium-scale turbines like the Endurance is used locally, as it is fed into the local electricity distribution network. This ‘distributed energy’ approach, as it is known, is the electricity industry’s version of sourcing food from local farms.

Not every site will generate sufficient levels of wind to justify the installation of a wind turbine, but Fine Energy has access to 25 years’ worth of proprietary wind data, allowing a more accurate assessment of a site’s wind energy potential than is possible from public domain sources.

Endurance’s decision to invest in the UK market shows that, despite recently proposed cuts to the solar feed-in tariff, the government’s backing of renewables is successfully driving inward investment and creating jobs.

The UK is officially the windiest country in Europe and wind has been the fastest growing renewable energy resource for the last seven years. The UK government is committed to the EU’s “20% by 2020” renewable energy target, which means generating 30% of our electricity from renewable sources.

International Energy Agency heralds ‘Golden Age of Gas’

Natural Gas will meet 25% of global energy demand by 2035 according to the IEA, who say that the fuel is abundant and clean, at least compared to other fossil fuels. Sadly the scenario underpinning this prediction will do little to help stem carbon dioxide emissions. Here are the main features of the scenario:

  • global primary gas demand increases from 3.3 trillion cubic metres per year (tcm) today to 5.1 tcm in 2035.
  • Supply increases accordingly, requiring cumulative infrastructure  investment over the period of 8 trillion dollars (around 4$ per additional cubic meter per annum of supply capacity)
  • Shale gas, tight gas and coalbed methane become an increasingly significant part of the supply mix post 2015
  • gas trading volumes double, split evenly between pipeline and liquid natural gas
  • greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and we fail to keep global temperature rises within the 2 degrees Celsius target limit

The full report is in the public domain and can be read or downloaded for free at http://www.iea.org/weo/docs/weo2011/WEO2011_GoldenAgeofGasReport.pdf .

East Midlands Airport installs two wind turbines as part of its drive to go carbon-neutral by 2012

This project has been long in the gestation. East Midlands Airport were granted planning consent in 2008 and have taken advice extensively before going ahead with the work of installing two wind turbines, which can now be seen on site. Read about the planning stage of the project. See images.