Tag Archive: Energy

  1. Marshfield Energy Project wins £20,000 grant

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    A bid we submitted to the Rural Community Energy Fund has been approved and a new project will be under way very soon.

    This project will comprise a feasibility study for a renewable energy scheme for Marshfield which will update our figures from 2012 on wind and solar power and add in the option of Anaerobic Digestion.

    Anaerobic Digestion ( AD) is a natural process where plant and animal materials ( biomass) are broken down by micro-organisms in the absence of air:

    • The AD process begins when biomass is put inside a sealed tank or digester.
    • Naturally occurring micro-organisms digest the biomass, which releases a methane-rich gas ( biogas) that can be used to generate renewable heat and power; this helps cut fossil fuel use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    • The remaining material ( digestate) is rich in nutrients, so it can be used as a fertiliser.

    Many forms of biomass are suitable for AD; including food waste, slurry and manure, as well as crops and crop residues.

    When the studies are complete we will be holding an event to explain the findings and get your feedback on next steps. We’re not going to do anything without the support and backing of the community, so this feedback will be very important.

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  2. Government’s Solar Strategy turns roofs into power stations

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    Plans to turn the Government estate as well as factories, supermarkets and car parks into “solar hubs” have been outlined in a new strategy by Energy Minister Greg Barker today.

    The Solar Strategy, the first of its kind in the UK, sets out the Governments ambition to see solar rolled out more widely and with it the potential to support tens of thousands of jobs.

    Launching the Solar Strategy at SunSolar Energy in Birmingham, Energy Minister Greg Barker said:

    “We have put ourselves among the world leaders on solar and this ambitious Strategy will place us right at the cutting edge.

    “There is massive potential to turn our large buildings into power stations and we must seize the opportunity this offers to boost our economy as part of our long term economic plan.

    “Solar not only benefits the environment, it will see British job creation and deliver the clean and reliable energy supplies that the country needs at the lowest possible cost to consumers.”

    In a further initiative, the Department for Education is working on ways to improve energy efficiency across the 22,000 schools in England, to reduce their annual energy spend of £500 million. The initiative will encourage the deployment of PV on schools alongside promoting energy efficiency.

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  3. Western Power Distribution Community Chest – funding still up for grabs

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    It’s not too late to apply for a grant to improve the efficiency of your community building. Community facilities across WPD’s region are invited to apply for up to £1,000 to spend on energy saving improvements like insulation, heating and lighting.

    The WPD Community Chest is a £50,000 grant scheme, funded by Western Power Distribution and administered by CSE, which is now open for the third time.

    The scheme aims to help local groups make energy saving improvements to village halls, scout huts and other similar community buildings. Groups in WPD’s area of the Midlands, South Wales and the South West can apply for up to £1,000 each.

    In 2012, the Community Chest helped 66 local groups to carry out simple but effective energy efficiency improvements, making their community buildings greener and cheaper to run.


    Find out more at www.cse.org.uk/wpdcc.


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  4. changes to the green deal cashback scheme

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    DECC recently announced several changes to the existing Green Deal Cashback Scheme (operating in England and Wales) which rewards consumers for taking action to improve the energy efficiency of their homes through the Green Deal. These changes were the result of feedback we’ve had from industry and consumers on how the scheme could be made more attractive to increase energy efficiency in households.

    A quick recap of the changes :

    • The scheme will be open for new applications until 30 June 2014. Vouchers will have a validity period of three months, or six months for Solid Wall Insulation ( SWI). However, all work must be completed and vouchers redeemed by 30 September 2014.
    • The rates have changed for some items: Eg, SWI changes from £650 up to £4000. These new rates will apply to applications made or redeemed on or after 13 December and the Cashback Administrator will contact people affected by this.
    • We have increased the customer’s contribution cap from half to two thirds, bringing more households within reach of the maximum cashback rates for each measure.
    • For customers who do not want to take out a Green Deal Plan to make energy efficiency improvements we are removing the requirements for Guarantees and Insurance Backing for all measures except for cavity and solid wall insulation.
    • Customers will not be able to claim cashback for packages of measures that include a contribution from Green Deal Communities schemes, and from April 1, customers will not be able claim cashback for packages of improvements that include an ECO contribution

    Read more here

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  5. Energising Communities – Programme

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    Here is the programme for the day:

    10.30am Registration and coffee
    11.00-11.15 Introduction by Mark Letcher, Climate Works
    Welcome address by Karen Wilkinson, Marshfield Energy Project
    Community Energy in context, Tim Willmott, Marshfield Energy Project
    11.15-11.35 What’s driving community energy? Merlin Hyman, Chief Executive, Regen SW
    Implications and opportunities for local communities. Karen Wilkinson, Marshfield Energy Project
    11.35-12.05 Energising our community. Tony Kerr, Marshfield Energy Project
    12.05-12.20pm Break – tea/coffee
    12.20-12.50 Questions & Answers to speakers
    12.50-1.50 Lunch
    1.50-2.20 Community Energy – how we approached this.
    Philip Wolfe – West Mills Solar
    Peter Capener – Bath & West Community Energy
    Jane Brady – TRESOC (Totnes Renewable Energy Society)
    2.20-2.45 Panel discussion
    2.45-3.00 Tea/coffee
    3.00-3.30 Rt Hon Vince Cable
    3.30-3.35 Thanks and close


    Download the programme here: Energising Communities Programme

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  6. Renewable Heat Incentive turns up the heat for UK householders

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    Householders could get paid hundreds of pounds a year for heat generated by solar thermal panels, biomass boilers and heat pumps, Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker confirmed today.

    The tariff levels have been set at 7.3p/kWh for air source heat pumps; 12.2p/kWh for biomass boilers; 18.8p/kWh for ground source heat pumps and at least 19.2 p/kWh for solar thermal.

    The new Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for householders is designed to drive forward uptake of renewable heat technologies in homes across Great Britain to cut carbon, help meet renewables targets and save money on bills. The scheme is a world first, and has been up and running for the non – domestic sector since November 2011.

    Today’s announcement follows extensive consultation on how a financial incentive would work best for householders and takes into account lessons learned from the Renewable Heat Premium Payment grant scheme (RHPP) and the RHI non domestic scheme.

    reposted from sustainapedia.com


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  7. Green Deal Report – More than just insulating your loft

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    It is true that wall and loft insulation are very important in terms of energy savings. Getting your loft insulated can save you hundreds of pounds every year. But a Green Deal report does much more than just recommending insulation measures; it provides 1 to 1 tailored advice on where you as a household can save energy and of course, save money!

    The little behavioural things are so often overlooked, but they really do add up. Here are some of the typical pieces of advice we offer at an assessment.

    Lighting and Appliances

    • So who leaves their TV on standby? Your games console? laptop? Maybe your stereo and microwave as well? You are using lots of energy right there. If you are having trouble remembering it all, there are gadgets out there that track movements in a room and as soon as they notice you have left, all appliances connected get turned off.
    • LED lights are one of our favourites! Switching your home from incandescent bulbs to low energy lighting can save you £50-100 a year. But be careful – halogen bulbs are not very efficient, always go for LED. They even come in dimmable, so there are no excuses!

    Doors and Windows

    • Draught proofing, those little strips of fur along the seal of your doors and windows. They make a much bigger difference than you think – in fact they usually pay for themselves within a year or two. How often as an assessor we see old, worn strips that have long since become ineffective at stopping draughts. Check yours and make sure you have some. Brushes underneath the door are also a great way to stop draughts.
    • Close your curtains at night. It is amazing how much of a difference this makes. Some people ask me if it is worth knocking out their 10 year old double glazing and replacing it with triple, when they don’t do simple things like this. It’s a lot cheaper!

    The Kitchen

    • So you are leaving some rice on the hob to cook while you watch TV – put a lid on it! Lots of energy is wasted this way – your food will cook more quickly, or you can set the heat a little lower once the lid is on.
    • Don’t fill your kettle to the brim for one cup of tea. It takes longer to boil and wastes energy. Just heat what you need.
    • Doing your washing or putting on the dishwasher? Make sure you have a full load. It takes the same amount of energy however much you have in there, so make sure it is full. If you only have a half load – make sure you use the half load option on the machine.
    • Drying your clothes? Don’t use the tumble dryer unless you really have to. If you have a clothes line and it’s a dry day, stick your washing on the line.

    Water Use

    • All the more important if you are on a water meter, there are lots of ways to save water in the home. Taking showers instead of baths, fixing leaky taps, watering the garden with a watering can.
    • Saving hot water is even more important. Remember to use your timer to heat your water only when you need it (if you have a hot water cylinder) and to ensure you have your cylinder thermostat set correctly. Most cylinders nowadays have them and making sure you don’t overheat your water is a great way to save money.

    So those are just a few tips that could save you hundreds of pounds each year, and every household can do it. But of course, these things can only get you so far. Installing insulation and better heating systems etc. are also worthwhile ways to improve efficiency, and as Green Deal advisors we are always on the lookout to try and recommend the best deal for you. An example of some of the ‘big winners’ are below.

    Winner – Loft insulation, despite the cliché, is very much one of the biggest most rewarding measures on the Green Deal. It really can save you hundreds of pounds a year. Even if you already have some, it may be insufficient (270mm is now the standard), so get it checked out.

    Winner – Wall insulation. There are so many properties with solid walls, built before cavities came along in the 1930’s. It is expensive, but long term getting solid wall insulation (and throw in some ECO help) will make a big difference to your bills. Cavity walls are obviously more efficient than solid walls, but getting them filled is also a big winner.

    Winner – Heating controls. Many people underestimate how much they can save with good room thermostats, programmers and thermostatic radiator valves. If you install all the insulation and a new heating system you need heating controls to ensure that you keep the temperature of the home at the same comfort level, otherwise the home will be warmer than it was before, but you won’t be saving on your bills. They also help you better control the heating of each room, and the times you want them heated – no more ‘forgetting to turn the heating off’, or overheating the little study while the big bedroom freezes. Getting good controls pays back surprisingly quickly.

    Of course, the Green Deal is also there to help you get involved with renewable energy and with the Renewable Heat Incentive kicking in soon, there has never been a better time to look at these new technologies. Solar PV, with the benefit of Feed-in-Tariffs, will now pay back in around 8 years in many cases. Air and Ground Source Heat Pumps offer another way to save energy at a time when the cost of gas and electricity is spiralling upwards.

    So the Green Deal is not just about insulation – it is a real holistic approach to improving your home. You stand to gain so much from just a few hours of an assessor’s time, why not book an appointment today?

    Reposted from the DECC Blog, author 
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  8. Potential Energy – Potential Jobs: building a low carbon economy in south west England

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    A new report by Regen SW, the renewable energy experts, reveals we are at risk of missing out on the opportunity to create 24,000 new jobs in renewable energy by 2020.

    The report “Potential Energy – Potential Jobs: building a low carbon economy in south west England” analyses progress in renewable energy technologies like wind, solar, marine and biomass. It shows we have made good progress doubling renewable energy, but that on current trends the south west will achieve about 9 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020 – well short of the government’s UK wide target for 15 per cent.

    At this rate of growth the number of people employed in renewables will grow from the 10,000 people currently employed to some 15,500 by 2020. However, if growth accelerates to meet the 15 per cent target we could reach 34,000 renewable energy jobs by 2020.

    The report sets out six key measures for success:

    1. Clear, consistent and certain national policy framework for renewable energy
    2. Local planning policies that back renewable energy
    3. Investment in the local electricity grid to cope with decentralised energy
    4. Improved engagement between local communities and renewable energy developers
    5. LEP & local authorities putting renewable energy at the top of the growth agenda for infrastructure and skills investment
    6. Industry and academia collaboration on new technologies.

    Regen SW is now working on a ‘South West Renewable Energy Manifesto’ to respond to the findings and will be inviting local MPs, public sector and business leaders to sign up later in the year.

    press release by RegenSW
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  9. tresoc – Totnes Renewable Energy Society

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    TRESOC was set up by a group of  residents from Totnes and environs who were concerned about the threats of depleting global oil and gas supplies (peak oil) and the impacts of climate change.

    The current Board of Directors represents a positive complement of skills, local knowledge, experience, passion and commitment. They include people with skills that include management, finance, business law, marketing and communications.

    Their projects include wind, solar photovoltaic, anaerobic digestion and tidal power.

    It hasn’t been all plain sailing: their flagship project – for a two wind turbines – was rejected by council planners. Sixteen voted in favour of refusing the scheme, three were in favour and four abstained in the meeting at South Hams District Council.

    TRESOC’s aims are:

    • To develop the profitable supply of energy from renewable resources for the benefit of the community resident within Totnes and 15 surrounding Parishes
    • To ensure the democratic control of the renewable energy resources by the local community through the establishment of an extensive membership of the Society
    • To ensure that the maximum value from development of these resources shall be retained within the local economy.
    • To provide an opportunity for public-spirited people and organisations to contribute financially to the community with the expectation of a social dividend as well as a financial return


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  10. High Court on the side of wind turbines

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    Judge Quashes Milton Keynes Wind Turbine Planning Document

    In what could be a landmark ruling on local planning policy about wind turbines, the High Court ruled in favour of  a challenge by RWE npower renewables to the Milton Keynes Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) on Wind Turbines.

    The High Court has ruled that the way in which Milton Keynes Council imposed fixed separation distances between turbines and dwellings was introduced incorrectly, breaching Regulation 8(3) of the Town and Country Planning Regulations 2012.

    Dr Wayne Cranstone, RWE npower renewables onshore development and projects director said: “On the matter of buffer zone policies more generally, the Judge concluded that National Guidance “plainly indicates” that local authorities should not have a policy that planning permission for a wind turbine should be refused if a minimum separation distance is not met… We welcome the clarity the Court has brought to this matter, and we believe this will help both the wind industry and local authorities in determining appropriate policies for the siting of commercial wind farms”

    Commenting on the ruling, RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Maf Smith said: “We welcome today’s decision as it provides the wind industry with the certainty it needs to get on with the job of generating more clean electricity for British homes.

    “Many local councils are aware of the benefits of wind energy – onshore wind is a growth industry for the UK, bringing much needed jobs and investment. Every megawatt of wind energy we install generates £700,000 worth of value for the UK, of which £100,000 stays in the local area. In real terms this equates to contracts for local businesses and jobs for local people.

    “Wind energy also offers us an escape route from costly imports of fossil fuels, by generating power from a home-grown resource which will never run out. This gives us a valuable prize: energy security. Onshore wind is the most cost-effective form of renewable energy we have, so we should be using it as widely as possible to protect all of us against soaring electricity bills.

    “RenewableUK strongly believes it’s inappropriate for councils to impose arbitrary limits on where renewable energy projects should be located. Blanket bans and buffer zones are blunt instruments which take no account of local conditions. Each proposal should be examined on a case by case basis so that a well-balanced decision can be reached. As two-thirds of the British public consistently support wind energy, their views should be given due weight in the democratic process”.
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