Monthly Archives: August 2014


Four Winds gets green light

Ever wondered how to spend spare change? Well how about investing in a community funded wind turbine? Renewable energy is the key to securing a regular supply of energy and the success of renewable projects lies with local residents. Four Winds enabled members of the public to own a stake in their local renewable energy resource at Duckmanton, near Chesterfield in Derbyshire.

Local residents had the opportunity to invest as little as £100 in the scheme, which is projected to generate returns of between 6-8 per cent averaged over the life of the project. If you are still doubting the financial benefits, it may interest you to know this is currently higher than any return offered by the high street banks. In addition, Four Winds has confirmed that the shares in Four Winds will qualify for EIS tax relief of 30 per cent.

The money for the project has been raised by a public share offer which has generated over £2.6 million – more than enough to build the 500 kW wind turbine! The turbine will be producing electricity by December the 9th 2014 and will feed into the national grid to provide power for local homes.

Sound interesting? Research your local renewable energy projects to see if you too could become a shareholder.

Britain used record levels of renewable energy in 2013

Government statistics show that more than 900 new wind turbines were built at land and sea last year and the UK generated almost 15 per cent of its power from renewable sources – an increase of almost one third from 11.3 per cent in 2012! Even more amazing is that wind turbines produced 9 per cent of UK electricity which is the biggest increase in the green power sector. Power from onshore wind farms increased by 40 per cent as 646 new onshore wind turbines were installed at 139 different sites. Power generated by offshore wind farms increased by 52 per cent with 279 turbines being installed at sea, at four separate offshore wind farm sites.

Although subsidies for wind farms have sometimes received criticism, Dr Gordon Edge, RenewableUK’s director of policy, has defended the technology and said “This abundance of excellent statistics should make those in Government who have failed to support wind energy sit up and take notice. More than half of Britain’s clean electricity now comes from onshore and offshore wind. We’re now on course to hit 10 per cent of electricity from wind alone this year.”

Well said Gordon. This type of news offers encouragement and reminds us why we are in this business. We are making a difference by helping to reduce the dependence on coal-fired power stations and we want to continue to do so. Let’s make today a Fine Energy Friday!

The bidding war begins

On 24 July, the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced a budget of £205m for renewable energy projects. This funding is the first allocation round for the new Contracts for Difference (CfD), a subsidy program that aims to provide long-term certainty and reduce risk for investors (The CfD has replaced the Renewables Obligation (RO)) . Sounds too good to be true? There is a twist, the different technologies will have to compete for a share of the money and onshore wind only has access to £50m, just 24 per cent of the total amount.

The budget will be split between established technologies, such as solar power and onshore wind (more than 5M), and immature technologies, such as offshore wind and tidal power. The final budgets are due to be confirmed in September, with the first auction taking place in October. The government has consistently maintained that competition between different clean energy technologies is essential to ensure decarbonisation is delivered at the lowest cost.

It is certainly encouraging to see the government continuing to support the renewable energy sector and appreciate the positive impacts it can have. Projects such as small scale onshore wind turbines can create green jobs, reduce the UK’s reliance on imported energy, lower energy bills and provide electricity to millions of homes. Renewable energy is crucial in securing the supply of clean energy for future generations and decreasing the current levels of greenhouse gas emissions. The UK has potential for wind power and continued investment will see further development of the technology and engineering required to make wind power the best choice for power generation.

Wind turbine fires are in fact NOT a major problem for the industry

National media outlets and anti-wind farm groups seized a recently published review which claimed that wind turbine fires are a major problem for the industry. Dr Guillermo Rein from Imperial College London examined the potential scale of economic losses from turbines catching fire and concluded that 117 wind turbines catch fire each year globally – 10 times more than the 11.7 fires reported by publicly available sources each year.

However, on the morning of 23 July 2014, the university was forced to apologise after admitting the article may have misled people somewhat. Rein’s research methodology had relied on press releases which was not considered robust data, leading RenewableUK to question the reliability of the data sources.

Chris Streatfeild, health and safety director for RenewableUK, stated that Rein had failed to understand the basic fire safety standards used for any large wind turbine. Whilst fires are a risk for wind turbines, they only become a health and safety issue if they pose a danger to people. Guidelines ensure that wind turbines are installed a sufficient distance away from the nearest residential dwelling. In addition the Health and Safety Executive recently gave the wind industry sector a clean bill of health and did not highlight any cause for concern.

On his personal blog Rein admitted that with one fire per 10,000 turbines, wind remains one of the safest energy sources. “Once more, I would like to defend the robust fire safety record of the wind industry worldwide,” he said.

It is sad to see how quickly people accept negative statistics associated with renewable energy sources such as wind turbines. Inevitably, wind turbines- like all machinery- will require maintenance, however this is far less severe, and easier to control, than a nuclear meltdown.

Endurance release new X-series turbines

After the success of the 225 kW X-29 turbine, Endurance Wind Power has launched four new turbine models specifically designed for farmers and landowners who want to invest in turbines with a higher financial return and power output. Incorporating over 30 years of manufacturing experience, the latest turbines are quieter and more efficient than their predecessors. The new models include the 225kW X35, designed for low winds; the 180kW X35Q, suitable for wind sites previously discounted for inadequate wind or grid capacity; 225kW X33, the most efficient turbine under 250kW in the UK and finally the 225kW X30, the turbine which goes where others won’t!

Endurance are keen to put wind turbine technology through its paces. Between 2012 and 2013 over 40 per cent of 15-500 kW wind turbines installed in the UK were Endurance turbines- demonstrating their dominance in the renewable energy sector! They have teamed up with leading Danish designer Norwin for the release of the X-series, and the combination of these two great teams will surely see the companies grow from strength to strength.

SmartestEnergy revealed farm-owned wind projects in the UK almost doubled last year, and Fine Energy were part of this impressive development. We have worked with Endurance since 2010 and we look forward to finding sites and building relationships with landowners in the near future.